Our Church’s Event Calendar is NOW ONLINE! Upcoming guest clergy & speakers, ministry meetings and special events are available in this new online resource. How do I find the calendar?
Dr. Anneka Scranton shares a very timely message from Deuteronomy:
“Let Water Roll Down Like Justice” – Many of us are praying to God for rain, perhaps even doing rain dances. But what role should the Christian community be playing as a moral voice in the public conversation around water policy? How can we participate as co-creators of God’s kingdom on earth? I will attempt to raise up the call to conserve water as a sacred gift, as a critical resource in God’s holy creation. Further, I will discuss water security and safety as a pivotal social justice issue. I believe that access to affordable water has become the most important environmental and economic justice issue, not only for our state, but for our planet.
Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencio returns to us yet again, 2 weeks running! Rev. Jason shares his message from Romans:
“Jesus: God’s Do Over” - In this section of Paul’s letter to the Christian church at Rome, Paul shares his thoughts about who Jesus was (and is) and what he means for Jew and Gentile alike. Here he pictures Jesus as a new Adam, one whose life and choices mean righteousness for all. Adam’s disobedience brought suffering upon humanity; Jesus’ obedience brings eternal life for all people. During Lent we remember Jesus’ struggles and temptations, but we also remember his faithfulness and obedience. As our Lenten journey begins again, we have an opportunity to create do-overs in our own lives, to do things differently than we ever have before, taking our cue from a difficult time in the life of Jesus, God’s Do-Over.
Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencioreturns to us with his message from Matthew:
“Peak Experiences” – Psychologist Abraham Maslow argued that there was a hierarchy of human needs, and that self-actualization was the highest of those needs. He maintained that rare moments in which we experience transcendent pure joy and elation are key to self-actualization, and called them peak experiences. Several people in the Bible had these kinds of experiences on mountaintops, so they are peak experiences in two senses! This week we will remember the life-changing experience of Peter, James and John (and Moses and Elijah too) on the mountaintop as they witnessed the profound connection between Jesus and God. Their peak experience breathed new life into their understanding of God, Jesus, themselves and their mission. These transforming moments, while rare, still happen to us in the midst of our everyday lives, and have the same power of self-actualization.
It’s been awhile since Rev. Tom Norwood has been here. Come and join us and find out what he has been up to as Rev. Tom shares from both Psalm 105 & Matthew 15:
The God of the Old Testament made covenants with the people of Israel. There were two way agreements: I will do certain things and you will do certain things. We, as members of free churches likewise enter into membership by agreeing to covenant together. What are we agreeing to and how do we act?
Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencio has a message from Deuteronomy.
“Choosing Life” – The author of Deuteronomy firmly believed that the way of God and God’s law was life; by loving God and following the law, we would be choosing life. But plenty of good women and men did and do precisely this, and yet experience tragedy and suffering. Was the author mistaken? Have we misunderstood him? To confuse matters even more, the New Testament author Paul argues that life is not found by following the law, but that it is a product of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. How do we make sense of the struggle between law and grace? Is it possible that they are both God’s gifts to creation, expressions of God’s love and faithfulness?
Rev. Andy McComb shares his message from 1 Corinthians & Matthew. The salt and light passages from Matthew shed a new perspective on the meaning of discipleship. Followers of Christ fulfill the law and the prophets by answering the call to justice as the path to divine connection. When the Israelites turned their back on justice and compassion, they lost their connection with God. But in receiving the judgment that justice must be the center of a godly life, we are all given the good news that God is with us in our justice-seeking and our compassion-giving. Our light breaks forth like the dawn and shines brightly upon the hill for all to see. Our lives are salty with Christ-like love and mercy when we feed the hungry, house the homeless, and break the yokes of injustice and oppression. Let the light shine!
All of this week’s music was specially chosen by Margaret Montgomery in honor of Valentine’s Day.
We welcome back our guest musician Matt Kuster!
Matt and Margaret “Get Together” for some very special music this week.
Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencio returns to us with a message from 1 Corinthians:
Paul encouraged the Christians in Corinth to let go of some of the wisdom of their world—competitiveness, the need to get even and the need to always appear strong and confident—in order to make room for some of God’s wisdom—inclusion, forgiveness and humility. This was difficult for them because Corinth had become an important and prosperous city, and they enjoyed their new prestige and wealth. Could they let go of some of their old wisdom in order to live in the new wisdom of Jesus? As Christians today, what bits of old wisdom do we hold on to, instead of following Jesus’ example of vulnerability and forgiveness? How might our wounds be openings in which we can experience the fullness of God’s wisdom? Communion is celebrated this week.
He’s back and has something he has to say! Rich Carsel shares his message from the Gospel of Luke.
Entertaining? You bet! But he is also informative, your not going to want to miss this one!
In the fellowship hall right after Worship Service. It’s “Souper Bowl Sunday”! Come celebrate with us and you will be served delicious homemade soups by church members as we recognize Mission Sunday. This year our speaker is Dee Torres, Director of Homeless Services, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO).
Rev. Nancy Bacon returns with a special message from Isaiah:
This piece of scripture is referred to as the second “Servant Song” in Isaiah. It appears written out of concern for the Jewish community and its internal problems. It asserts that the servant’s mission is to restore Israel, while Israel itself is also a servant, with the task of being a light to the nations. Each individual servant God has made into a “polished arrow.” This makes me think of the wildly popular movie, The Hunger Games. Imagine each of us as one of Katniss Everdeen’s arrows – able to help her accomplish her mission of staying alive and overcoming evil. We are not arrows meant to overpower and destroy, but rather to seek God’s target of light and restoration. God holds and shields us in the holy quiver of our beloved church community. Be brave and may the odds be ever in our favor.
Come one and all – It time for our Church’s Annual Meeting! We will hear reports from members of the council on the state of our church. The council will present our next year’s budget. Now is your time to get involved! Come and hear the reports, express you opinion and don’t forget about the food! I hear we are getting the GOOD sandwiches this year!
Special music by our own Margaret Montgomery, and we have a special guest musician this week!
We begin another year here at the SLO UCC and are proud to have Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencio as our first speaker of 2014. Rev. Jason starts the year off sharing his message from the Gospel of John.
The popular 20th century theologian Henri Nouwen said that, “The spiritual life does not remove us from the world, but pushes us deeper into it.” In our text for today, John understands all of God’s promises becoming enfleshed in Jesus the Anointed One. God does not remain removed from the world, but becomes enfleshed in it, transforming everyone and everything in it into something full of grace and truth. God’s downward mobility means that there is no longer a distinction between the sacred and the secular; every relationship and every event, even the common act of sharing a meal, now has sacred significance. Communion will be celebrated.
Here we are, the final Sunday of the year and we welcome another first time guest with us, Rev. Paul Ward, Lt Col (Chaplin) with the CAP-USAF.
We are standing between two years, 2013 and 2014. We look back over an old year, a road traveled and worn. We look forward to a new year, a road untraveled and untried.
As we look at the account in Joshua 3:4-7, the people of Israel were standing at the place of where they had been and where they are going. Facing the unknown, they had the assurance that they would not be going alone. They were given the assurance that God would be with them.
The coming year will present unknown challenges and opportunities but we also have the assurance that God will be with us.
Here are the highlights of our Christmas Eve, Candlelight Service.
Featuring (in order of appearance): Margaret Montgomery Erin Montgomery Tim Treaster Banjer Dan (Dan Mazer) Jeffrey Bruenning Michael Quinette Rosalind Crew Mark Buhl
Special Thanks to: Steve Carlton our pianist, Dan Hampl & Leslie Cotham for technical services.
This final week of advent brings the lighting of the “Candle of Love” and Rev. Nancy Bacon’s message from Matthew:
Joseph radically protects a child that is not his. He role-models what it means to be a parent, despite biological seed. He risks his ego and status. He depicts the meek, humble servant who will be exalted, while powerful inhumane rulers are brought down and diminished. Joseph, the unsung Dad, may have left an imprint on Jesus that can be seen throughout his ministry.
Special music presentations as we celebrate the birth of Christ.
It is then we hear Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencio’s message from Matthew:
Imprisoned and discouraged, John the Baptist asked if Jesus really was the long-expected Anointed One. “Maybe it’s not Jesus, and we should continue looking for him,” John remarked. When we are discouraged and struggling to make sense out of our life, it is tempting to wonder that too. How did Jesus answer John’s question, and how is that answer relevant for us today?
Somehow in the midst of the music Rev. Karen Gatlin brings her message from Isaiah & Matthew:
Isaiah promises that a righteous branch shall grow out of the shoot of Jesse—a branch bringing justice and peace to all of creation. In Advent, Christians prepare to receive this branch in the birth of Jesus. Matthew warns that the peace promised by Isaiah will be accompanied by the destruction of the wicked. Indeed, the axe is already lying at the root of the tree. In the name of the one who baptizes us with fire and the Holy Spirit, it is time to lead lives worthy of repentance. Such living promises us hope for the future.
Looks like a busy day as Rev. Nancy Bacon joins us this First Sunday of Advent where we will also celebrate communion in addition to recognizing World Aids Day. If that wasn’t enough we also adorn our tree with the symbols of Jesus Christ during our Chrismon Service. Did I mention the kids in the cute animal masks? Rev. Nancy also brought along a few folks to help out with the service today. Dr. Steve Bacon (husband), Whitney Bacon (daughter), Katy & Evan Rodriquez (friends of Whitney). Let’s give them a warm SLO UCC welcome! From the lighting of the first advent Candle (Hope) until we sing the last hymn and the benediction it should prove to be an eventful morning!