February 2017 Newsletter


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February 2017 Newsletter

Notes from West Mountain

As Lent approaches, all of us are living in a new era, politically and socially, and it is perhaps unrivaled in our memories. Challenging questions seem to arise daily and it is essential for us as faithful followers of Christ to re-examine old assumptions and well worn adages. What is God saying to us here and now, today, as we engage in our common lives together? How do we welcome our neighbor? G. K. Chesterton wrote: “We make our friends, we make our enemies, but God makes our next door neighbor.”

The time is right to work more deeply into our faithful understanding of the Biblical mandate for radical welcome. Nothing is more central to our scripture message than God’s insistence regarding hospitality and treating others as we would have them treat us.

Peace to all,

Mark

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Worshipping music of this age…!

A new music initiative…collecting songs of our time that speak to us

spiritually and express our faith.

What music speaks to you?

What songs, sung by popular artists, poets, or rock and roll legends, provide a glimmer of the wonder of life? What songs that you know, do you find yourself wondering, “Why don’t we sing that one in church?” We are beginning to collect modern songs that have meaning to us. Our hope is to create a musical collection of these songs and to go through the proper steps to be able to reproduce them to be shared in worship together. MORE TO COME!

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BOARD OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE

February Second Mile Offering 

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders has been recommended as the recipient of February’s Second Mile Offering. MSF was initially created in May 1968 in response to Parisian upheavals and officially founded on December 22, 1971. Their mission-“Medical aid where it is needed most. Independence. Neutral. Impartial”.

MSF employs over 30,000 people consisting of physicians, nurses, and other staff with offices in 28 countries. Since it was founded MSF has treated over a hundred million patients with 8.25 million outpatient consultations carried out in 2014 alone. Their staff provide medical care to patients and communities and advocacy to alert the public of crisis around the world. They provide services in conflict zones, after natural disasters, during epidemics, and more.

MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. It has maintained its institutional and financial independence and 88.7% of donations are used for Program Services.

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LENTEN BOOK GROUP BEGINS MARCH 5TH 

Stigmatized: From 9/11 to Trump and Beyond: An American Muslim Journey

Dr. Reza Mansoor, (husband of Aida Mansoor, leader of the Greater Hartford Muslim Coalition), wrote this as a way of processing his own experiences in America.

Words from the author: “Our nation was founded by very wise people and, as Muslims; we have faith that our Constitution will ultimately protect us from xenophobes carrying out their hate. Our nation was founded to prevent such religious extremism…I invite you to join me in our quest to make our nation a little more welcoming, a little more loving, and a little more whole.”

The study will begin March 5 and continue through the Sundays in March. Sign-ups will begin February 5th in the Lounge.

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MARDI GRAS PANCAKE DINNER & BINGO NIGHT

Please join the Youth Group and Board of Christian Service for a Pancake Dinner and Bingo Night on Tuesday, February 28th, starting at 6:00! The Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras feast will include a pancake dinner and King’s cake, and the celebration will continue with a multi-generational bingo game, complete with prizes! There is no cost to attend. Please reserve your spot by signing up in the Lounge or emailing Linda at cateringbylinda@comcast.net

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WHITE PRIVILEGE DISCUSSION GROUP UPDATE

 Our study group working with White Privilege wraps up our process on Sunday, February 5th at 11:30 a.m. in the large classroom

The study has engaged us with five running commentaries focused upon opening conversations regarding race and our American society’s long-standing preference for “whiteness”. This included some significant self-reflection which we shared with one another. The commentaries discussed overt ways in which our culture continues to divide along racial lines as well as more hidden and embedded ways racism negatively influences social position, community engagement, and economic opportunity.

The study encourages groups to move into a new phase beyond this study. This phase would be to examine and discern where, how and when we can move towards being “allies” with people of color and work towards opening up similar conversations and studies elsewhere. There is no road map. Any next steps have yet to be determined. Thanks to all who shared our work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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