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?
This is the biggest celebration of the year! Be sure to join us as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Sunday, April 20 at 10:30 am. This is a morning full of joy and celebration, and the good news of new life in Jesus will be clearly shared – so be sure to bring anyone you can. Twitter it. Facebook it. Email folks. Pick up the phone and call. Whatever you need to do – this is not a week to come alone, so bring someone along!
Join us Friday, April 18 at 6pm for our Good Friday service with Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencio. This is a solemn time of reflection in the Taizé style that centers on the death of Jesus through scripture, silence, song, and prayer. This powerful night helps us remember exactly how costly our redemption was.
Palm Sunday brings Rev. Jason Sisk-Provencio back to us with a very special message from Matthew:
Jesus’ life and ministry reach their apex as he enters Jerusalem, the holy city. A great crowd gathered around Jesus and celebrated his arrival, covering the road with palm branches and even their own clothes for him to walk on. Yet this crowd would soon abandon him, and would be indifferent to his suffering. Perhaps they had found someone else to cheer on, someone else even more full of promise than Jesus. Crowds are fickle, in our time as well as in Jesus’ time. How can we, as contemporary followers of Jesus who are bombarded with TV talking heads, popular opinion polls and social media learn to ignore our own fickle crowds and follow Jesus faithfully, however unpopular it might be?
When Jesus learned that his friend Lazarus died while Jesus was away, Jesus cried. Jesus’ followers were also distraught and mourned Lazarus’ death. Lent is the time of the Christian year that we remember Jesus’ real humanity and vulnerability; fewer things are more human than grieving. Jesus never rebuked his disciples for grieving, nor did he resort to platitudes to try to comfort them. And he balanced his own human need to grieve with his confidence in the power of God’s kingdom, which offers life and hope to all. Lazarus would not remain dead, demonstrating God’s victory over the powers of sin and death. The story of Lazarus provides contemporary followers of Jesus with a model for grieving losses while at the same time sensing God’s love in the midst of them. Communion will be celebrated.
Rev. Andy McComb joins us for this Fourth Sunday in Lent bringing his message from John:
In the story of the healing of the man born blind, John uses “seeing” as a metaphor for believing, for coming to see past outward appearances to the truth deep in the heart of things. The man whose sight is given to him by Jesus stumbles (like all of us) toward belief and understanding, not suddenly or easily but in the course of a long story that leads to another personal encounter with Jesus.
Special music from Tim Treaster and Donn Clarius.
Peter Keller is Executive Director of Aid Africa (www.aidafrica.com) and joins us for the very first time. In 2005 Peter’s friend Ken Goyer said “I’m going to Uganda in May to build 10,000 Rocket Stoves, do you want to go with me?”, Peter said “Sure!” and off they went. They built about 400 stoves, was able to establish the infrastructure and trained three others to carry on. That following February they received word “We have achieved our goal. We have 10,000 stoves.” Not able to stop there, “Aid Africa” was started.
When asked what scripture his message is based, he would only say “To be revealed”. I’m thinking Peter’s message will be quite interesting and not to be missed.
“An End to Poverty?” – Who is poor? How poor are you? What do we do about “The Poor?” Sunday’s sermon will be about poverty and what the Bible says about it. You’ll have the opportunity to answer a couple of questions about “poorness.”
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.