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HELPER 082416

Three Ways That College Freshmen Do Faith Differently

At the beginning of a new school year Beloit College publishes a Zeitgeist list. The incoming class will graduate in 2020. They are mostly 18 and were born in 1998. On the 2020 Mindset List that makes them stand out in significant ways. As a pastor the following three points stand out from the original sixty:

8. Cloning has always been a mundane laboratory procedure.
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I remember back in the 90’s cloning felt like rocket science. When sheep Dolly was cloned the whole world seem to shift. Anything was possible now. As revolutionary as advances may have seemed, the reality is much less grandiose. The Clone Wars that eventually lead to Star Wars remain science fiction. Medical advances based on cloning a real and save lives every day though. Young people entering college this fall have never lived in a world without cloning technologies. The ethical questions surrounding human reproduction remain complicated. But for the most part cloning has been unquestioned mainstream practice their whole lives. There is nothing scary about reviving endangered or extinct species – unless of course our Jurassic Park fears from the 90’s are revived as well.

15. They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.
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I am old enough to remember that you had to go the the living room at a set time and sit down and watch a program that was running at that point in time. If you are entering college this fall, this was not necessarily the case. This generation could always stream or DVR whatever they wanted to watch. Everything is on demand. For one reason or another the church still thinks it is wise to make everybody sit down in the pew at the same time and share an experience in the same space. With school being mostly online these days, church and movie theater are about the only places you have to attend on a schedule. That is a very high expectation.

24. Catholics and Lutherans have always been in agreement on how to get to heaven.
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Radicals have always used nuances of their believes to fight each other. The great in-fight of Christianity started in 1517 with the beginning of the Reformation and ended in 1999 with the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. Since then there has been permanent peace between the two major branches of the church universal. New college students have never known a world where Christians had major disagreements on how God’s love reconciles us. They are not old enough to remember that warring fractions wanted to be better than the church next door. In their world it makes no sense that people would kill each other over issues of faith. And they are right about that: Persons of all faiths want to live in a peaceful world. Religion that focuses on being different from or better than another does not make sense.

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HELPER 081716

Pastors Report for council 08-15-2016

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Helping Hands at Helping Hands

Helping Hands‘s mission is to feed and clothe those in need that live in West Fort Bend County. We have been a charter church since its inception in 1985. Every year we conduct food drives in February and August to help stock their warehouse. Every year we give 9% of our benevolence gifts to help cover overhead and make additional purchases.

Last week we had a group of twelve volunteers bringing their 24 helping hands. Some had a great time bagging peanuts, beans and sugar. Others were sorting through clothing donations. Then we had people conduct intake interviews and put together grocery orders.

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Helping Hands 2016 (2)

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This warehouse is buzzing and especially on Tuesday and Thursday mornings they can always use your Helping Hands when new deliveries come in.
For more information on how to volunteer, please call (281) 232-4904

HELPER 081016

HELPER 081016

Who is in charge of preaching?

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Our congregation just had a meeting where the entire membership approved financial reports. That’s the way we conduct ourselves as a church. There is no higher authority than the gathered congregation. Did you know that that is true particularly as it comes to preaching? Here is how that works: The congregation builds its own pulpit. Then they hire a pastor and she or he is then in charge of preparing and delivering sermons on behalf of the congregation.

Who decides what is preached every Sunday?
In too many churches pastors decide what they want to preach about. That way you usually end up with her or his favorite passages and topics. Or they are trying to please their church but telling them what they want to hear. As a liturgical church we follow the Revised Common Lectionary. The lectionary provides the biblical readings for each Sunday and Holiday. In most mainline Protestant churches you will hear a sermon on the same passages of Scripture on the same Sunday. When you are travelling or moving you fit right in and can pick up where you left off.

With the new school year right around the corner I want to bring these two strengths of our tradition together: On the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 6 pm our Bible Study group will be discussing the lectionary texts for one of the following Sundays. Everyone is welcome! Just because you are reading this invitation here today you are qualified. It means you care about what is going on at the church. That also makes you responsible for its preaching. So please join the conversation. It all starts on August 23 at 6pm.

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HELPER 080316

NYE 2016 culminates after a week of faith, fun in Florida


Written by Anthony Moujaes

Thousands of young people are returning home after a week of education, fun, sun and worship during the United Church of Christ’s National Youth Event 2016, inspired to believe in faith, kindness and service. More than 3,000 attendees converged at Walt Disney World for five days from June 26 to June 30 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This was an NYE unlike any other, as it marked the first time the event took place at a location other than a college campus, and the first that was co-hosted by the UCC and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Hadiqa Bashir’s keynote, as one of three teenagers to speak at NYE, underscored the importance of standing for what you believe in — even when faced with danger. Bashir’s life is threatened because of her stance against early marriages of children in her native Pakistan, but she still believes in change. “I told my [family] I would fight a child marriage case against them in a court if they married me,” she explained to the crowd. “I did not want to live like a slave and get beaten like an animal.” Bashir, a recipient of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award, now advocates for the right to education for young girls in Pakistan and around the world. She also speaks on the importance of protecting religious minorities and the LGBT community in Pakistan. “I believe real change is when all girls can get an education, not forced into marriage,” she said.

Two other youth speakers took the stage during NYE. Innovator Trisha Prabu works to confront cyberbullying in adolescents, which led her to create ReThink — a tech product that stops cyberbullying. Aidan Thomas Hornaday, who uses music to inspire those around him, spoke about the path of purpose he walks. He told the crowd to continually and relentlessly seek out those in need and help them.

As part of the NYE service projects, youth and young adults went to a dozen Orlando-area nonprofit agencies or churches, sorting donations of food, clothing, furniture, and toiletries and helping with landscaping and painting. Others donated their hair at the Locks of Love on-site salon, which will be used to create hairpieces for children who lose their hair during medical treatment.

Run for the White House 2016

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Have you seen enough Convention coverage yet? Well, here’s part of a speech that you could have heard today, or was it at last week’s convention?

“Welcome to our convention!
If this party wins the White House come November we will be in good shape. In recent years the other party has hurt hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans by clinging to their ideology.
Can you imagine what America would look like if our party held the presidency? We would be able to set things right so that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness mean something.
Do you remember when the other party was not as nasty in their attacks on us as they are these days? It was a more civil America, where reasoning counted for something. Comprise was not a bad word but the way of getting things done. Now they are so dug into their trenches that you can barely talk to them.
What kind of America do you want? One where our ideals are upheld or one where they have the last word? With one of our own in the White House America has always been better off. The other party has consistently hurt us in the long run. Generations after generations suffer from the hurtful policies they put in place.”

What matters for us as Christians is what policies best reflect kingdom come! If Jesus were to come back today, what kind of America do you want him to find? One where God’s love is lived out or one where political ideologies rule the day? As Christians we cannot be strict followers of one ideology or another. We can only seek the best human equivalent of God’s intention. And parts of that will be found on both sides of the aisle. None of them are a perfect match of heaven. Politics is a human endeavor. As such it is flawed. But it is necessary to seek the best solution. The key is participation in the process.

We can do this! But it takes your vote. Make sure you are registered to vote. Make sure your friends, neighbors and coworkers are registered to vote. If you are not sure you can search for yourself and everybody else in the Fort Bend County Voter Registration Database. If you have a relative or acquaintance who is not listed in that database by October 11, 2016, they won’t be able to vote come November. Now go and do what is most reflective of God’s love to the best of your flawed human knowledge!

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HELPER 072016

Pastors report for council 07-18-2016

2014 Covenant addendum