Summer Sermon Series

This summer the Rev. Daniel Haas will be asking a series of provocative questions every Sunday. In this sermon series he will elaborate on a resounding NO as an answer in all cases!

July 2nd 2017 Should parents hit their children?

July 9th 2017 Should men dominate women?

July 16th 2017 Should brothers take advantage of each other?

July 23rd 2017 Should Christians go to church?

July 30th 2017 Should marriage only be between one man and one woman?

August 6th 2017 Should believers always be unwavering in their faith?

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A Meditation on the Rainbow

June is LGBT pride month. It stems from protests against the injustice and violence that patrons of the Stonewall Inn had to endure in 1969. We have achieved a lot of progress since. But even in 2017 it still makes sense to wave the rainbow flag boldly. Throughout history its message has been violated. Nazi Germany marked gender-nonconforming people with a pink triangle and gassed them to death alongside the Jews with the star of David on their chest.

The Bible knows the rainbow to be a symbol that God will sustain all of creation no matter what:
“When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:16)
It just so happens that among God’s creatures are also human beings. It also just so happens that 3.8% of the US population identify as LGBT. Now mind you, these are only the people who have had their “coming out”. God’s covenant extends to 100% of living creatures.

For the sake of stability and orientation we make our lives easier by grouping people into certain categories: Nazis labeled Jews, Communists and Perverts. Now we know that gender identity is not as easily labelled as we once thought. What does it mean to be a woman or a man? One is strong, the other is weak? One goes to work, the other stays home? One is emotional, the other is rational? One cooks, the other watches TV? One cleans house, the other mows the yard? One manages the kids’ activities, the other has a hard time remembering what grade they’re in? Wow, my wife is a great man, and I am great woman, or vice versa! Life is much more complex than black or white, male of female, liberal or conservative. Life is a rainbow. There are all kinds of creatures in God’s world. All were made beautiful and “very good.” We may give them labels like Straight or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender. Or they may not fit any category and be truly Queer.

That’s what the rainbow is all about. We are not all the same. We are all different. We all have a unique color. We all belong in a particular stripe of the rainbow. But then these stripes overlap. Pure red overlaps with yellow and forms orange between them. Yellow overlaps with blue on the other side to form green. Purple combines red and blue. Where do you fall on the rainbow? What does it mean to be a man or a woman for you?

Register for Vacation Bible School NOW!


Everyone age 4 and up is invited to discover their strength in God with St. John’s United Church of Christ for Hero Central VBS! To register please go to 2017.cokesburyvbs.com/stjohnsunitedchurchofchrist. For more information about our Vacation Bible School, or to register, call John’s UCC at (281) 342-5159, or email office@stjohnsunitedchurchofchrist.org.

This entire week is at no cost to you:
08/07/2017 to 08/11/2017, 9-12 o’clock

“Do good! Seek peace and go after it!” Psalm 34:14b, CEB

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Council Minutes & Pastors Report

The Church Council met on Monday, June 19th and here are the minutes from the May Council meeting which was presented for approval.

Each month the Pastor presents his report of activities and visitations that he has done and participated in during the month along with plans for discussion of future church activities.

Purpose, Vision, and Mission

A church needs Purpose, Vision, and Mission. As a local congregation it is imperative to find out why God put this particular group of people in this particular place at this particular point in time. On the national level our wider church, the United Church of Christ, needed a fresh start as well. Last fall the Board of Directors affirmed a new Purpose, Vision, and Mission statement for the denomination. If you haven’t seen them yet, here they are:

Purpose:
To love our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and our neighbor as ourselves.

Vision:
United in Christ’s love, a just world for all.

Mission:
United in Spirit, inspired by God’s grace we welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all.

Beginning with General Synod 2017 in Baltimore this summer, the United Church of Christ will begin the transition to a new logo for the denomination. The logo, last re-designed in 2004, has been updated to reflect both tradition and innovation within the church as it faces the challenges and opportunities of Christian witness in the coming decades. The new logo’s design and colors are intended to complement the graphic representation of “A Just World for All,” developed to illustrate our new vision.

“I have been traveling around witnessing the work of our churches,” said the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and president, “and what we are doing will not change. What will change is our ability to tell the story more fully, and to narrate the impact of a mission we are all collectively engaged in. We are hoping to deepen the sense that we are all in this together; and that together we make a profound difference in our world.”

The new logo’s colors were chosen to work with both ‘A Just World for All’ and the ‘3 Great Loves campaign — Love of Children, Love of Neighbor, Love of Creation,’ which will be rolled out during General Synod in Baltimore (June 30 – July 4). Blue has replaced red, with black retained as the second color, in the new design, to visually and symbolically represent Creation elements of water and earth.

At St. John’s the phase-in of the new logo has already begun with a redesigned website, a new newsletter format, and updated worship PowerPoint slides.

The new logo retains an updated version of the traditional element of the UCC comma — a much-loved and widely used emblem of the United Church of Christ introduced as part of the “God is still speaking,” identity campaign. That campaign quoted a line from Gracie Allen that her husband George Burns found among her papers after death. In a letter addressed to him were the words, “George, never place a period where God places a comma.” A variation on that line, along with the graphic comma, has been used since 2004 as a symbol and shorthand way to refer to “continuing testimony,” or the ever-unfolding nature of God’s word for new times.

The new primary UCC logo consists of an updated comma emblem and the words “United Church of Christ.” “God is still speaking,” remains as the UCC’s tagline, and the new logo may be used with or without the tagline.

In addition to the comma, the UCC retains its original emblem for use by congregations and other entities of the denomination: the traditional “cross, crown, and orb” graphic, including the words “That they may all be one” (John17:21), which dates from the founding of the United Church of Christ in 1957—a statement of the UCC’s intent to be a “united and uniting” church.

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“The Story of Joey” as told by Rae Harborth

Somewhere between 1973 and 1975 a young 2 year old boy, very quiet, reserved, that could hardly speak and so weak that he could barely stand and could not walk was brought to St. John’s Day School to Director Rae Harborth by his foster parents to see if she could help him. This little boy’s name was Joey.

Due to weakness in his overall body, he could barely stand and had to be carried everywhere he went. He was so malnourished that he had to be fed small portions of food throughout the day in order for him to keep food down. He was so dirty that she gave him a bath in the restroom sink and he screamed and screamed from not knowing what was being done to him. He screamed so much that when walking out of the restroom with him wrapped in a towel, Rev. Don Kolkmeier had come out of his office to check and see what was happening to one of the children.

But over time, for maybe up to a year, with constant care and love Joey slowly began to eat better and slowly began to stand on his own and then take steps and walk without assistance down the hallway and finally could even run the halls of the St. John’s Education wing.

As time has gone by Rae wonders what ever became of little Joey. He came here but a tiny dependent boy in need of love and care but left here running and smiling. As she says, “We can make a difference” as she feels the recent CROP Walk for Hunger makes a difference in the lives of so many in need.

If you know how we can find Joey please contact us!