Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sounds of Gospel

For my friends who live in the area, this is going to be good! I'm singing in the choir. No, that's not why it is going to be good...well...not totally. :-) It's a worthwhile cause and a great evening with LOTS of music!

SOUNDS OF GOSPEL...with Christmas Spirit
November 11, 12 & 13
7:oo pm Performance (Doors open at 6:30)
First Congregational UCC
Hwy 67 South, Plymouth, WI 53073
Appetizers and Intermission Dessert
Tickets -- $25
For tickets, call 920-207-SONG (7664)
Supporting the Sheboygan County Food Bank
Honored to be sponsored by: Plymouth Foam Foundation
An Evening of Thanks and Giving!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Clergy Appreciation Month

I'm reposting this, with a few changes, from a few years ago. Still good suggestions!

October is Clergy Appreciation Month. Have you done something for the pastors/ministers in your life to let them know you value their ministry? There are some great ideas here from the Pastor's Retreat Network. Pastors and other clergy are not supermen (or superwoman). They are sometimes expected to do it all, do it all well, do it all well without complaining. Like everyone else, clergy folks usually do better in an atmosphere of appreciation and care. Here are some ideas.


1 Write a note of apreciation.

2 Pray for your pastor regularly.

3 Stop the rumor mill.

4 Invite him or her out to lunch, golfing, or some other shared interest, without an agenda.

5 Offer to babysit the kids (or dog sit, or sit with an elderly mom or dad--whatever necessary) so pastor and spouse can have an evening together; even better, offer them a gift certificate to a restaurant they enjoy.

6 Honor his or her day off – allow time for rest, personal renewal and family time.

7 In times of loss, offer sympathy, care and practical help.

8 Consider holidays and other family days – if the pastor is far from their family of origin, invite them to your celebration – no strings attached.

9 Ask how you can help and then follow through.

10 Tell him or her what you’ve learned from their sermon.

11 Go to for ideas on how to celebrate your minister during Pastor Appreciation Month.

12 Consider a sabbatical time for your pastor and find a way to provide one as needed.

Pastors Retreat Network provides pastors and their spouses with a five-day, self-directed retreat experience that is free of charge. It is a time to rest, spiritually renew, and reconnect with God and spouse. Consider how an experience like this might benefit your minister. For more information, please visit --

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Month. I usually write something, but this year I'm posting a link to a post I wrote four years ago, "Remembering a Dancer."

I will never forget her. I will also never forget the young pastor who made what was quite possibley a fatal error. Not for himself, for her.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Friendship Friday Five

Songbird offers today's Friday Five.

1) Who is the first friend you remember from childhood?
Jackie Wilhout. I have a picture of the two of us somewhere. Such a cute pic that if I had a little more time on this busy day I'd hunt it up and scan it. But I'm posting between errands as it is. Jackie was four and I was five, and we both loved the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans TV duo. So he was Roy, and I was Dale, and we called each other that and played cowboys all the time. He was a sweet kid with an amazing head of blond curls.

2) Have you ever received an unexpected gift from a friend?
Those are the best kinds to receive, don't you think? Hmmm...I think I should be giving my friends more unexpected gifts, come to think of it!

3) Is there an old friend you wish you could find again? Or have you found one via social media or the Internet?
Ah, Facebook has been fun for connecting with friends from high school! There are many friends I have lost touch with over the years. One is George, a next-door neighbor that was a good friend for a long time. He was abused (I know looking back) and life was hard but he was a kind and gentle boy. I've always wondered how life ended up for him. And there are far too many friends I wish I could find and probably never will..
4) Do you like to get your good friends together in a group, or do you prefer your friends one on one?
5) Does the idea of Jesus as a friend resonate with you?
Yes...he is the ultimate friend...but also much more than any earthly friend could be.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Christians and Bullying: Standing with Gays and Lesbians

The following is excerpted from an article by Jim Wallis of Sojourners. I was writing about this issue, and JW said it better than I.

My mother used to give us kids two instructions:

1. If there is a kid on the playground that nobody else is playing with -- you play with them.
2. If there is a bully picking on other kids -- you be the one to stand up to him or her.

Those two principles have served me well .

On Wednesday, I wore purple. I was speaking at North Park University, an evangelical Christian college, with Tim King, my colleague and a former student there. I was pleased to see them passing out purple ribbons and announcing why just before chapel. So I joined thousands of others across the country who believe that bullying should never be tolerated at any time, at any place, or for any reason.

I wore purple... in memory of the many young people who have taken their own lives as a result of harassment and bullying inflicted on them because they are gay. I wore purple because I am a follower of Christ. A bully is a person who habitually intimidates, harasses, or commits violence against those who are smaller, weaker, or more vulnerable because of their "outsider" status. A bully stands in opposition to all of what Christ taught and lived...the stories of young kids being so bullied that they take their own lives has been heartbreaking to hear...

Most bullies don't know that they are bullies. A bully might think that his or her words don't matter that much or affect others that greatly. A bully might think that he or she is being funny or just kidding around. A bully might think that he or she is just saying what everyone is thinking or speaking out about what everyone thinks.

There is disagreement within the Christian community when it comes to issues of human sexuality. But, there should be a united front against all who would disrespect, disparage, or denigrate anyone created in the image of God.

I hope you will join me in prayer for the family and friends of every young person who has taken their own lives. I hope you will join me in a message of hope for any person who has been teased, harassed, or bullied by another because of his or her sexual orientation. More than that, no matter what your views of homosexuality are, I hope you will join with me in standing in the way between bullies and their victims.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Connecting Friday Five

Over at Rev Gal Blog Pals, Jan says, "I am currently reading Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam, where he explores the changes in community in the USA in the 20th Century. He explains how communities, people, and especially children function better when they live where there is high social capital. Basically, it means that "relationships matter."We all know this because Christianity (and other religions) emphasize the Golden Rule: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:1

So here are some questions to ponder for this Friday Five about connecting with:

1. Self: Who was your hero/heroine when you were about ten years old?

I had two. One was Helen Keller. I was reading the story of her life, and as a kid with some physical challenges she made me realize that just about anything could be faced and overcome, especially with someone to help you (like her Teacher, Anne Sullivan). The other was Lottie Moon. Southern Baptist that I was, I did not see women in any sort of ministry role, nor would it have occurred to me that such might ever be the case. But Lottie Moon was a herione to Southern Baptists (I certainly hope she still is). She was a beautiful woman who gave up a fiancee and a life of relative comfort to go off to China. Amazing woman. Another person, come to think of it, who modeled great perserverence in the face of adversity.

2. Family: Who are you most like? Who is most like you?

I don't know...I'm sort of a mix of my two sisters. My late sis, Darlaine, was the reader, more of an introvert. Paulette, the middle sis, was more outgoing. I am a sometimes slightly mixed up and confused version of both of them, I think. According to Paulette, Trinity is like me. I think she may be right. Loves words, music, and there are other similiaries too. :-)

3. Friends: How do you stay in touch?

Phone, letters, emails, Facebook (if you call that staying in touch), and sometimes I do not do a very good job of this. I need to find better ways not to lose track of important people in my life.

4. Neighborhood, community: What are ways you like to be involved?

Hmmm...I admit, living in the town where I was formerly a pastor tends to make me NOT be involved. I go to work in another town, and I am pretty much keeping to myself these days. Not so good, maybe? In general, I like ecumenical gatherings and efforts, parades, community fun times (think Martha and the Vandellas "Dancing in the Streets") and such like.

5. Job/church: Do you see a need that will help in developing connections?

Yes. And I can't share about it right now. Maybe later!

Bonus: A link or anything else about connecting

Here is a song I dearly love. We used to sing the chorus when I was pastoring at Jubilee. Hope you like it too.

Friday, October 08, 2010

An Autumn Word Association Friday Five

The picture is Ken and Trinity about a year ago.

Hello everyone! This morning I drove down the road that is pictured in my blog header. It looks just like that right now. The Canadian geese are excited, forming up and practicing, encouraging each other with honking, the Wisconsin fall color is at peak where I am, and in Kohl's Dept. Store the Christmas decorations are up. Yep, Fall is here. It's my turn to do the Rev Gal Blog Pals Friday Five. It has been a while since we did one of these word association Friday FIves, so here goes, with an autumnal theme. I know, fall is one way on this side of the world and different in other places, but please bear with me as I post words that say FALL--at least where I am.

Give us the the first word that comes to mind (you know how that works, right?) and then add a little something about why, or how or what.

1. Pumpkins
Jack O' Lanterns.
I have five in an artfully placed pile in my yard, alongside a scarecrow and two pots of mums. At least one will soon be carved into a smiley, or scary, face.

2. Campfire
The best thing about a campfire is the aroma. It takes me back to good times camping as a kid, youth gatherings on the beach (I grew up in California) and other good memories. So evocative!

3. Apple
Yum...harvest time for apples is here and the stores, and farmers markets will be well stocked. Nothing better than apple pie to say all is well with the world!

4. Color
Right now they are glorious. Growing up in CA we didn't really have much of a fall, and certainly not the glorious foliage that is part of fall in Wisconsin. Fabulous and breathtaking.

5. Halloween
Trinity is planning her ladybug costume, and she (Trinity is my three year old grandchild) is making this time of year a hoot once again. Gotta love kids and costumes and candy and pumpkins and stuff!
And since it is REV Gals and their Pals, here is the bonus question, sort of a serious one:

What does the following passage from Daniel 2 make you think about?

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
Wisdom and power are his...
He changes times and seasons."

I feel change in the air. I love fall for that. I will soon be taking a small retreat to explore a bit of those changing times and seasons in my own life. I'll let you know if anything of import results. Have a wonderful fall! For those of you in my part of the world--YOU KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!