Our omnipresent God shows up in some unexpected places. People have “miraculously” seen Jesus’ face on everything from junk food to a rusty water tank. We don’t know what Jesus looked like, of course, but Scripture indicates his appearance was rather ordinary: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him” (Isaiah 53:2, NIV).
On one occasion, however, Jesus’ face was majestically transformed. At his Transfiguration, observed by many churches on the Sunday before Lent, Jesus’ “face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light” (Matthew 17:2, ESV). Some disciples witnessed Jesus’ glory — which will be ours, thanks to his death and resurrection. As 1 John 3:2 (NIV) promises: “When Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”.
The Mount Vernon First Christian Church gathers together as a community of faith, declaring Jesus our Christ, the one who reconciles us with God and with each other. We provide a place of traditional worship in a forthright, supportive, and open atmosphere. We are a congregation committed to serving local and global outreach ministries.
February 2020 - Calendar of Events
Sunday, February 9, General Board Meeting 11:45 am. & Secret Pal Sunday, February 16, Elders Meeting Tuesday, February 18, Men’s Breakfast at 7:30 am. Wednesday, February 26, Gal’s Night Out at 6:00 pm. Friday, February 28, Friendship House Meal prepared and served.
• African-American History Month
• Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2020
• Presidents Day, February 17, 2020
• Transfiguration of Our Lord, February 23, 2020
• Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020
• Leap Day, February 29, 2020
Week of Compassion
Special Offerings Collected at MVFCC on Feb. 16 & 23
Invest In Futures
Imagine that today you were given a dried date. These fruits grow on date palm trees. Before it reached your hand today it went through countless other hands throughout the whole process of planting, growing, harvesting, and processing. This date in your hands was a long time coming. A date tree takes up to a decade from the moment it is planted until it bears this sweet fruit. It can take eighty to one hundred years for a date tree to reach its full height. The fruit that you taste today is the product of many years investment through work, resources, and time. On February 16 & 23 we will receive our special offering for Week of Compassion. Through this offering, we invest in programs that create opportunities, empowering people and communities, and yielding fruit for many years to come. When we join our hands together in prayer and in the sharing of our financial gifts, we join together as co-workers in service of the fruitful future God promises for us all. Take a moment to taste the sweetness of this fruit and to prayerfully consider how you are called to participate in the work of our wider church through Week of Compassion.
The length of sermons/messages in Sunday worship services has been a topic of discussion, consternation, and sometimes even hostility probably since the earliest Christian services in the first century. I’ve even heard of some ministers being warned by their church elders to not exceed a certain time allowance, or they might no longer be employed. Thankfully, that has not been the case in our church.
In one of my peaching courses at Vanderbilt, the professor cited an extensive study that concluded sermons should be no shorter than 12 minutes and no longer than 17. The author of the study results said congregants felt short-changed if the minister spoke for less than 12 minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, beyond 17 minutes, congregants typically lost interest and let their minds wander. There is a certain logic to that conclusion, so I’ve tried to abide by it.
A recent article in The Christian Century reported on a study that reached far different conclusions. The Pew Research Center analyzed nearly 50,000 sermons from about 6,500 congregations and determined the median length of all sermons was 37 minutes. (The median is the midpoint in a series of data, with as many data points above the median as there are below it.) Catholic sermons were the shortest, with the median being 14 minutes. Sermons in mainline Protestant congregations came in at 25 minutes, compared to 39 minutes in evangelical Protestant churches. Sermons in historically black churches were the longest – the median length was 54 minutes. Preachers preach for as long as they hold people’s attention, noted one homiletics professor.
While I agree with the homiletics professor, from my experience, I’m convinced most of us cannot usually hold a congregation’s attention for 54 minutes, let alone 39 or even, on most occasions, 25 minutes. I think I’ll just stick to 12 to 17 minutes and take my chances. If you have different thoughts, please let me know.
Another article, called “The Unwelcome Table,” also caught my attention and was quite disturbing, especially for Disciples like us, who see the communion table as being wholly inclusive and welcoming for all people. I’ll include it without comment and let you draw your own conclusions: “Judge Sara Smolenski, chief judge of Michigan’s 63d District Court, was told by the priest in her Catholic parish in Grand Rapids to no longer attend communion because she is married to another woman. Smolenski was baptized in this parish, her parents were married there in the 1940s, she and her nine siblings attended the church’s school as children, and she and her wife had made a generous contribution to a church renovation in 2017. “I am who I am because God made me like this,” Smolenski said.
With hope for equality and kindness, Steve .
Mount Vernon First Christian Church
Pastoral Support for 2020
January-Revs. Jack & Liz Miller - 360-510-9081/360-318-6068
February-March-Rev. Steve Coleman--360-391-0395
April-May-June-Revs. Liz & Jack Miller - 360-510-9081/360-318-6068
July- Rev. Steve Coleman- 360-391-0395
August-Rev. Steve Coleman-360-391-0395
September-Revs. Liz & Jack Miller-360-510-9081/360-318-6068
October-Rev. Steve Coleman-360-391-0395
November-Rev. Steve Coleman- 360-391-0395
December-Revs. Liz & Jack Miller-360-510-9081/360-318-6068
Note: If pastoral care is needed for such things as a hospital or extended care facility visit, emergency room visit, personal consultation or conversation, or telephone call, please contact the Pastor(s) for the month shown on the above list.
“It’s called the ‘Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).’ You might have seen our churches before; our denomination’s logo is a red chalice with St. Andrew’s Cross” The other person stares at me blankly. I sigh. “Ok, really, it looks like a red wine glass with a big white X on it…” They say, “OOOOHH, yes! Now I know what you’re talking about. I’ve seen that before!!” I find myself repeating this conversation often. Since my husband is an Army chaplain, I meet Christians of many stripes who frequently ask about our denomination; they’ve heard of Baptist and Methodist and Lutheran, but oftentimes aren’t as familiar with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I love taking the opportunity to share about this denomination and about my church. And that’s why THIS red cup matters. The red cup means that the Table is our focus. This red chalice – representative of what was used by Christ during the Last Supper – shows that we are people of the Table. We have differing interpretations of the Bible, and have differing ways of living out our faith, but the Table unifies us. By partaking of this meal together, we remember the life and teachings of Christ; we are woven together, continuing the story of God’s people on earth. Disciples churches celebrate Communion every time we gather in worship. I used to think that the frequency would make it meaningless; on the contrary, it has become the most meaningful part of my week. As we partake, we are fed and filled and sent forth into the world. And because of that… The red cup means that ALL are welcome to the Table. We welcome all to the Table as God has welcomed us. There is no ten-page doctrinal statement to sign, no list of rules by which we must abide. We require no proof or documentation to partake. We do not tell anyone they aren’t good enough – or anything enough – to celebrate the Lord’s Table. Our value of inclusion does not end at the Table; as a woman, in the Disciples I am able to use all my gifts from God for God’s people and the church. Here, I am welcome. We take this from our doorsteps into the ends of the earth because…The red cup means that we are a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As an Army wife, I am ever aware of the fragmentation of our world, of the conflicts that cause blood to be shed, families to be torn apart, and people everywhere to draw lines in the sand about who is in and who is out and why. People are hurt by the church; people suffer with loneliness and suffer because of oppression. Disconnection leads to all sorts of tragedies. We are continually fragmented from the earth and the interconnectedness of all life. And yet, as people of God, we are called to bring wholeness. We are called to live into God’s realm in the earth today, not only waiting for some future hope, but making that hope a reality now. I cannot think of any greater identity statement for a denomination. Which is why…The red cup means that I am home. Brand recognition matters. Driving through a new community, a sign that says “Christian Church” could mean almost anything. But when I see that little red chalice with St. Andrew’s Cross? I know I’m home. As I’ve written before, my husband and I have only been Disciples for about six years now, and making this shift was an intentional and prayerful decision. We’ve been to Disciples churches all over the country, and each is remarkably different. And yet, in each, we are welcome; in each, we worship God together; in each, we celebrate communion every Sunday; in each, we are home. We are diverse, we are faithful, we are God’s people but not God’s only people. We are the Disciples of Christ: People of the (Red) Cup. By Sarah Nave Fisher
News From the Pews
February is Secret Pal month. If you would like to participate in this year-long activity come to church on February 9th and pick a Pal. We are looking for volunteers to prepare a meal for Friendship House the last Friday of every month. Sign up today! We gathered on January 18 for a potluck dinner that was well attended. The food was great, and the Fellowship even better! On Sunday. January 5, we were treated to some excellent piano music from Rita’s students. They are so talented, and we enjoyed the Christmas music!
We will keep our hospitalized, homebound and traveling friends in our prayers this month. At the Congregational Meeting on January 19, the 2020 budget was presented and passed. A copy is available if you are interested. The Friendship House is looking for donations to help with increased costs due to the cold weather. Mark your donations and place in the offering plate on Sunday. We continue to collect canned and dried food for the Neighbor’s in Need Food Bank. Place your items in the bins provided. They are also looking for cash donations to purchase items not regularly donated. Thank You for your continued support of our church and community outreach.
Check the bulletin board for updated information about our congregation and the Disciples of Christ organization.
February Birthdays 6-Dave Meekhof, 7-Glenn Allen, 14-Vi Richardson 16-Jill Allen
February Anniversaries: 14-Conrad & Susan Rodney
Rev. Liz and Rev Jack Miller would like to welcome you to the Saint Clare Pastoral Center website. We are part of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion* (ECC), the largest independent catholic jurisdiction in the United States, and a member of the National Council of Churches. Our denomination traces its history through the European Old Catholic Churches who came together in opposition to the declaration of papal infallibility established by the First Vatican Council (1869-70). Their mission was to offer valid sacraments that are open to all those seeking a faith community whose beliefs are grounded in the traditions of the early Christian church, while maintaining the basic integrity of the Catholic liturgy.
"A Caring, Welcoming Community of Faith"
Minister Family Musings
Steve & Lela Coleman
Our Faithful Volunteers:
February-Kerri & Lady March - Kurin & Ashley
Homebound: Art Neumarkel
February 2, Beverly Madlung
February 9, Jim Paget
February 16, Jill Allen
February 23, June Steen
Homebound: Jill Allen
March 1, Art Neumarkel
March 8, Joyce Leak
March 15, Don Leak
March 22, Beverly Madlung
March 29, Jim Paget
February 2, St Clare Chapel (Birthdays)
February 9, Marcie & Sharon
February 16, Bev & Wilma
February 23, Joyce L & June
March 1, Jeanne & Joyce C. (Birthdays)
March 8, Terri & Jill
March 15, Cece & Debbie
March 22, Lady & Kerri
March 29, St. Clare Chapel