Baking is living

Jesus is called the bread of life. You may have heard that before. But do you know what implies: Baking is living! On Sunday, St. John’s UCC will once again host a fundraiser for the Souper Bowl of Caring. Basically it is a month-long push to support our local food pantry. We do that by sharing a meal of soup and auctioning off all kinds of fun things. It all starts with a worship service that also includes holy communion. Bread and wine symbolize Jesus Christ, the bread of life. This year we are going to take it a step further: We are going to make bread during our worship service! The kids will knead the dough and toss it onto griddles. In effect we will create a bread that is pretty similar to what Jesus actually ate at the last supper with his disciples.

The act of preparing bread is a profoundly worship-like experience. At first you gather, like the congregation does. You gather your ingredients and equipment. You are getting ready. Then you start preparing your mind – you literally meditate on what you are about to make, what it is going to look like, what it is going to smell and taste like. You craft your recipe like you ponder scripture. Then comes the time for mindfulness. That’s when your hands hit the dough. You are in the middle of a creative mess. The phone can ring all it wants, you can’t answer right now because you are literally stuck to the project at hand. You are forced to be present to the dough, with body, mind, and spirit once the kneading has commenced. A church service tends to last longer than the 22 minutes an average person can focus on an average TV episode. Baking is the same way. It forces you to practice patience. Your dough has to rise. Can you handle it when you can’t do anything? All your effort does not make a difference, the yeast does as it will. Isn’t that what makes faith so hard – to surrender control? And once the bread finally comes out of the oven you get to share it. Eating alone doesn’t taste nearly as good as sharing does. The virtue of altruism comes into play here, the giving. That is what we are trying to inspire through the Souper Bowl of Caring: A profound spirituality that leads to an extravagant generosity. Enjoy.

SFC 2019 Work Camp Volunteers Needed

This past year, groups have led retreats, campers enjoyed the summer programming, and visitors continually commented on the beauty of Slumber Falls Camp. One of my first remarks after thanking them for their kind words is to tell them that this is a ministry that love has built. Each year volunteers give of their time, energies, and skills to shape the facilities and programs offered here. Without volunteers, this camp would not be what it is today.
In the past two years, we have collated comments from groups, researched other facilities, and formulated a strategic plan on keeping Slumber Falls Camp in good working order with amenities to enhance our groups’ programming. Work Camp is one of the events that has the most impact in the year, and it sets the stage for what our guests will experience.
This year, we have a long list of potential projects ranging from dead tree removal, bunk bed construction, camp store updating and inventorying, painting projects, tree trimming and flower bed construction and maintenance, observatory maintenance, cleaning and building updates to highlight just a few. If you or your church has noticed a project that you would like to take on, we would love to chat with you to talk logistics. If you are skilled in a particular area, let’s talk about possible projects!
The cost for this event is only $15 to help cover some of the food expenses. Registration is open online or you may click on the registration link below.
Please join us for this special event that means so much to us and we hope to all of you!
Rev. Jeremy Albers,
Director of Outdoor Ministry

Sing and Pray for Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a time to come together to pray in common and encounter one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. It is an opportunity to recognize the richness and value that are present in each other as we join Christ’s prayer, “that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” John 17:21 For Greater Houston the 6th Annual Ecumenical Prayer Service During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be held on Thursday, January 24, 2019. The Ecumenical Prayer Service begins at 7 P.M., but you are cordially be invited to be there at 6:15 P.M. for a gathering with a light meal. The 2019 Host Location is ChristChurch Presbyterian 5001 Bellaire Boulevard 77401.

The Liturgy for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019 has been prepared by Christians from Indonesia. With a population of 265 million, 86% of whom are reckoned to be Muslim, Indonesia is well known as having the largest Muslim population of any country. However, about 10% of Indonesians are Christian from various traditions. In terms of both population and the vast extension of the country Indonesia is the biggest nation in South East Asia. It has more than 17,000 islands, 1,340 different ethnic groups and over 740 local languages and yet is united in its plurality by one national language Bahasa Indonesia. The nation is founded on five principles called Pancasila, with the motto Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity). Across the diversity of ethnicity, language and religion, Indonesians have lived by the principle of gotong royong which is to live in solidarity and by collaboration. This means sharing in all aspects of life, work, grief and festivities, and regarding all Indonesians as brothers and sisters.

SINGERS WANTED
Help us demonstrate Christian unity by ministering with us as an interdenominational choir for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’s Prayer Worship Service. Prayer Service Choir Rehearsals will take place on Tuesdays, January 15th & 22nd, 2019 @ 7:00 p.m. @ ChristChurch Presbyterian 5001 Bellaire Boulevard Bellaire, Texas