Category Archives: 2016

Pastor’s Pen for June, 2016

2 Corinthians 3 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with  ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (NIV) I have been talking a great deal about the Spirit of the Lord and the truth of the Trinity during recent worship messages.  How crazy is it that we have a God who loves us so much that living within each and every one of us in the form of the Spirit is an option.  God could have chosen to sit removed from us all and watch us destroy ourselves and then just start over again with a new batch of beings.  But that doesn’t happen.  God could have chosen to force us to be vessels for the Spirit.  But that doesn’t happen.  We have a God who knows that loving and caring and showing kindness is a choice that each person needs to make.  How lucky are we to have that choice. We each express our choice in our own ways.  Some demonstrate their choice through their service to others: cutting pies at a Church supper, peeling potatoes at a senior center, visiting people in the hospital, or donating clothing to a homeless shelter.  Some exhibit their choice through worshipping wherever they are: in the Church, the shower, the car, the woods, on a volcano, in the middle of the ocean, in bed, while washing dishes – everywhere.  Still others express their choice through prayer.  They pray for: peace in the world, healing for those who need it, the Spirit to enter those in need, missions to be completed, comfort for those who are missing loved ones, homes for the homeless, food for the hungry, jobs for the jobless… Everyone expresses their choice to live with the Spirit of our Triune God differently and all ways are valid and true and worthy. By the time that you read this message, the transition team will have met with Chris Heintz on Sunday, May 29 after church to begin the process of discerning who we are as a church and where we are being led.  As we move forward we want to involve many people.  I am hoping that many of you who read this newsletter will come out to help us answer some questions about our church.  If you are not able to attend to help out, I hope that you will pray for our Church and this process.  We have such a privilege in knowing that God is involved in this process.  That is demonstrated through the greatest sacrifice and knowing that our Triune God cares enough to guide us with their Spirit. Here’s to a faithful and worshipful experience as we move forward. In Peace, -- Sunnie
   

Pastor’s Pen for May, 2016

Pastor's Pen

Hosea 6:3 “Let’s do our best to know the Lord.  His coming is as certain as the morning sun; he will refresh us like rain renewing the earth in the springtime.” (CEV) I think that springtime has indeed arrived.  I’ve seen flowers pushing their way up through the earth, worms on the sidewalk during the rain, robins hunting those worms in my back yard, grass that is greening, geese and ducks, and vernal ponds temporarily full of life.  The earth is being renewed after a long rest during the winter.  I think that the same can be said of our church. We all agreed that we needed a winter, a time of rest.  Now we see spring emerging.  The service that we held to honor veterans, especially those from the Vietnam Era, brought many tears of compassion to the eyes of people who were present.  We were able to share together and listen to words of turmoil and hope.  A week later I watched Doris, Irene, Phyllis and Tony perform an impromptu quartet rendition of “I Believe” while Doris played the accordion.  During both of these occasions I was reminded of how much love there is in our church.  Watching the joy on their faces as they sang, made my soul feel renewed just like the rain renewing the earth in the springtime.  Hosea reminded us to “do our best to know the Lord.”  In recent weeks we have been imagining a life of perfection with the Lord and examining what we believe as individuals. During our Bible study times (Tuesday evenings at 6:30 in the Lighthouse) we often share what we believe and what we can imagine.  During these studies, we look at the readings for the week ahead and talk about what they mean to us.  For some, it helps to give more meaning to the message that is shared on Sunday morning.  I  invite anyone who would like to join us to attend.  Each week is different so you don’t have to worry if you haven’t been before. As we move forward on a path of discovery for our church we will keep Hosea’s words in mind.  We will do our best to know the Lord because we know that His coming is as certain as the morning sun. My the Lord’s light shine on us as push up through the soil and bloom reveling in the brightness of His love!  Spring has sprung. In Peace, -- Sunnie

Pastor’s Pen for April, 2016

For in this hope we were saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  Romans 8:24-27 (NIV) We just celebrated the victory of our Lord over death.  His sacrifice means so much to us.  Because of His sacrifice, we are the recipients of the Holy Spirit.  How lucky are we that we have a God who cares enough to hear our prayers.  And luckier still, the Spirit knows the inner most concerns of our hearts and speaks on our behalf when we don’t even know what to say.  Have you ever had that time when you just couldn’t find the right words to express the way that you felt?  The Spirit can express those feelings for us. The flowering of the cross during our Easter service really spoke to me about hope.  We start with a bare and barren cross and through the simple act of adding flowers, we see a masterpiece unfold before us.  Each flower that was placed on the cross brought a new sense of hope for beauty and completeness.  Working together, that hope was realized.  For anyone who had never witnessed this happening, it can be quite awe-inspiring to see the finished product. I think the same is true for the future of our church.  Right now, we are quite bare (but definitely not barren).  We will be adding flowers as we move along the path to charting a new future for our church.  The Spirit will be active among us and will cry out with the words that we are searching for.  We will need many to come and help.  Each flower that is added will help us to create a path that moves us onward toward the Will of our Lord. We will keep you updated about meetings that will happen to determine the next steps in our journey.  We invite many, those who regularly attend our services and those who do not, to come and add your thoughts to the process.  The more input we have, the more awe-inspiring the results will be. In Peace, -- Sunnie

Pastor’s Pen for January, 2016

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”  John 1:1-2 “New Beginnings.”  That is the title for the first sermon of 2016.  Not very original, I must admit, but very appropriate.  Each new year brings the chance for renewal.  Each new year brings the reality of change.  Looking back over the past year, we see just how much has happened for our church and for each of us personally.  While change is as inevitable as the passing of time, we can rely on one thing to remain steady.  The triune God will always remain with us and unchanged. Over the advent season, we focused on the Light of Christ shining in our lives and through us.  As we move into this new year, we will continue to focus on how Jesus is at work in and around us both personally and in our church.  Each of us will have to make choices and changes throughout this year – some we know about now and others are still to be revealed to us.  How fortunate for us that God already knows what is instore and will be with us to see us through.  We will not be alone in our joys, our sorrows, our frustrations, our worries, or our elations! As a church, we will also be working on new beginnings.  At our January meeting, we will be discussing what comes next for our church.  During 2015 we saw many changes: the retirement of our Pastor and the decision to have a time of rest with a lay-pastor.  During that time of rest we have seen members coming and going, small groups reaching out to the community in many ways, the reinstatement of Church Suppers, and the formation of a Bible study group – that doesn’t sound like rest!  That sounds like Christ making us ready for change and action! I urge everyone to come to the Annual meeting on January 24.  We’ll be talking about what comes next.  Are we ready to begin the process of calling a new Pastor or do we need more time to rest?  How should we go about reforming committees?  Are we ready to look at our bylaws again and make the appropriate changes?  What do we want to look like in the community of Sharon?  So much to pray and think about.  I really hope that many people will come out for this meeting to let everyone know how they think things are going and what else they feel God is calling us to do!  God definitely has a plan for us – let’s talk and figure out what He is telling us! In Peace, -- Sunnie

Pastor’s Pen for February, 2016

“If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place.” Proverbs 24:10 (The Message) My Bible reading this week led me to the Proverbs.  For me, this is a book in the Bible that always has exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it.  The verse that I quoted above felt very appropriate to the situation in which we find ourselves as a church.  We have been faced with challenges but we are not falling to pieces.  We are taking this time to rely on God to help us move into God’s future. I was overwhelmed by the positive feeling that I had in our recent annual meeting.  I was impressed that we were able to discuss what could be a very difficult situation (not having an actual Pastor).  We were able to look at the pros and cons of a plan of action for our church.  We talked with each other, prayed with each other and listened to each other all in love.  In the end, we had a plan that sounds amazing!  We will begin the process of creating our Small Church Profile in April and thus begin the process of searching for a settled Pastor.  It was suggested that I stay in my current role until one month after we find a settled Pastor, however long that may be. During the annual meeting, I saw people taking on responsibility, joining committees and pledging to help move the church forward.  We acknowledged that we are healing, but we are not falling apart.  We agreed that we want to hear opinions about the needs of our church from people who are not coming through the doors each week.  We want to include everyone that we can in our process whether they attend Sunday services or not. The most important thing that I felt, was the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room with us as we shared a meal, watched a slide show of some of the faces of Jesus in our midst, heard about the positive financial position that we are in, and planned to move forward into new missions and a new future.  I am so grateful that God led me to this position at this time in this church!  We are blessed – those who come to the Sanctuary on Sunday morning and those who participate in Spirit.  I thank the Lord that we are not falling to pieces! In God’s Love, -- Sunnie

Pastor’s Pen for March, 2016

7 Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.  8 However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all.  But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many.” Ecclesiastes 11: 7-8 (NIV) The Lent Bible study is focusing on different aspects of light and how it affects our faith journey. Some of us have been feeling the effects of the long nights during the winter.  As the days begin to lengthen we start to feel relief.  Hope is renewed and we look forward to spending more and more time outside.  We see the lights that God created: the sun, the moon, and the stars.  We see the lights that God gave us the capability to create: the lights in our homes, or the lights of a town or a city viewed from a distance.  Seeing light gives us hope and security as we move throughout our lives. But there will always be times of darkness as well.  If we never have darkness, it can be difficult to rest or appreciate the light.  We can become irritable and restless.  It can be during times of darkness that we learn most to rely on our Lord.  We can choose to move about in the darkness on our own and bump into obstacles and trip and fall on things unseen or we can choose to fully rely on the Holy Spirit to guide our steps.  The darkness brings opportunities to grow.  Experiencing the times of darkness and remembering what we have gained is very important as we move back into the light again. Sometimes the transition back into the light can be temporarily unsettling.  The light seems too bright and makes it difficult to see.  Jesus is very patient with us during those times.  He waits for our eyes to adjust.  He never forces himself on us.  He shows us the way and waits for us to open our eyes slowly and follow His path.  During these weeks leading up to Easter, we will indeed be following Jesus’ path through some very dark times that are filled with lessons of light.  On Easter we will rejoice and celebrate the true coming of Light into the world.  Let us all take time to reflect as we follow Jesus in His journey! With the Love of the Risen Savior, Sunnie