We all are not only church, we, the people, are the church and we are on a journey together. It doesn't matter what religion or even if one needs to differentiate. We are ALL God's people on this journey. We love the unity and togetherness we have. Our church (when I use the term our church I mean both, First Christian, and St. Clare's) show the love of God, without judgement but what he has called us to do...love one another. We are truly a caring, loving community. We truly feel blessed to be serving.        

Liz and Jack

News From the Pews:                                                                           Here is the yearly schedule for Pastor Steve & our Associate Pastors Jack & Liz Miller: Pastor Steve Coleman will serve MVFCC:                                                                                 

January-April-July-August-November-December                                               Church/Home Office Hours:  Monday - Thursday from 10:00am-1:00pm           Cell phone: 360-391-0395                                                                                  Associate Pastors Rev. Jack Miller & Rev. Liz Miller will serve MVFCC:          February-March-May-June-September-October                                                

Office Hours: 

Home-based hours on Mondays & Wednesdays from 10:00am-1:00pm & Church Office Hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00am - 1:00pm    

Cell Phones: 360-318-6068 or 360-510-9081                                                                           

*If you are in  need of Pastor care, feel free to call any of our wonderful clergy for help. Building Update:  We have been going through some major work to update and repair our central heating system. A new gas meter and line was installed, and the whole system was checked out and leaks were discovered. The repairs are on-going.  The cost for this huge project is rising. If you are able to contribute a few extra dollars above your monthly tithing, it would be very much appreciated. Our budget does not cover such a large expense, and we are grateful for your help.  As with any structure, repairs and maintenance are required in order to keep the doors open. Please pray that the work will be completed soon!                                                                                                                        

We are excited to welcome St. Clare Pastoral Center back to our building!  Revs  Jack & Liz Miller have worked hard to get the classroom near the main entrance door painted and cleaned. Stop by and see what they have accomplished. They will hold their church group services there each Sunday while we worship along-side them in the Sanctuary, then join us for Fellowship at 11:30. We are thankful for their commitment to our congregation, and we welcome their members to our Fellowship time.                                                                     

We will keep our home-bound members and friends in our prayers this month. Lela Coleman was in the hospital and is recovering at home. Beth Carson is back at home after a fall and rehabilitation at Mira Vista. We remember Chris Smith and Vi Richardson who are unable to attend on a regular basis. We keep Jill Allen in our prayers as she begins another course of treatment for cancer, and Jennifer Francis-Schmidt as she recovers from brain surgery.  Please let us know if there are special prayer requests you would like us to add.  Join us for our Easter events:  April 14- Palm Sunday Service at 10:30 am, April 18-Maundy Thursday Supper at 6:00 pm, and April 21- Easter Worship Service at 10:30 am. 

​​Mount Vernon First Christian Church - Disciples of Christ 

"A Caring, Welcoming Community of Faith"



What's Happening at MVFCC:

                                             Minister’s  Musings

In this supposedly enlightened modern age, the immorality of racism continues to rear its ugly head – here in the United States and throughout the world.  The most recent racial atrocity occurred in New Zealand, where an avowed white nationalist slaughtered 50 Muslim men, women, and children, who were simply attending Friday prayers at two different mosques; and, according to the perpetrator, they were killed because he hated both their color and their religious beliefs.  Here in our country we have been sickened by the massacre of 9 black people attending a Bible study class in Charleston, South Carolina, solely because of their color, by a young man who also was proud to be a white nationalist, and by the too-frequent occurrences of young men being incarcerated, shot, and killed, in far too many cases, it seems, for being black.

Many years ago, at a memorial concert Lela and I attended at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, the guest conductor, the British Consul from Boston, made a statement that has remained with me over the years and continues to inform my understanding of interpersonal relationships.  His rather simple but profound words were, “Patriotism is the love of one’s country.  Nationalism is the hatred of all other countries.”  One is admirable, the other is pathetic; narrow-minded; and, in this time of interdependence among all countries of the world, is to be feared.  In a similar manner, pride in how our ethnic and national backgrounds have shaped us as individuals can also be appreciated as an admirable trait; but the hated of other people simply because their color is different than ours is in like manner pathetic, narrow-minded, and should be feared for the adverse consequences that can and have occurred due such hatred.  Racism is nothing to be proud of and should be condemned by everyone, and certainly by any person who professes to be a Christian, a follower of a man who preached that love for all people must be the hallmark for our interactions with each other.  I’ve been reading a book by Ijeoma Oluo called So you want to talk about race.  The description of the book on its overleaf tells us, “Ijeoma Oluo offers a clarifying discussion of the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on the issues that divide us.  Positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans, and answers the questions readers don’t dare ask…”  Oluo is a Seattle writer, who was named one of the 100 most influential African-Americans in 2017.  I’ve been impressed by the way she cuts through the rhetoric and misunderstandings about racial justice and gets down to the bedrock.    Oluo’s working definition for racism is that “Racism is any prejudice against someone because of their race, when those views are reinforced by systems of power.”  If we are looking for a basic way to determine if something is about race, she provides three rules: 1) It is about race if a person of color thinks it is about race; 2) It is about race if it disproportionately or differently affects people of color; and 3) It is about race if it fits into a broader pattern of evens that disproportionately or differently affect people of color.  The book expands on these ideas and has provided me a much clearer understanding of what it is to be a person of color and how I, as a white person, can, or should I say must, change my behavior and attitudes in order to be a positive agent of change in these racially charged times.    I heartily recommend Ijeoma Oluo’s book to everyone.  It just might change your life, as it is changing mine.  You’re never too old to learn.      

      With hope for peace and understanding,  Steve

 




 In recent months I have been absent at church on Sundays. I believe most of you know I have Lupus but you may not realize I have 5 different autoimmune disorders. And, just recently, the culprit that was the beginning of all these things was diagnosed. It has the confusing title of Common Variable Immunoglobulin Deficiency (CVID). I call it confusing because in spite of the name it is on the rare disease list! A person should have one Immunoglobulin at birth from their mother and then develop others rather quickly. That didn’t happen quite right in my body. Immunoglobulins are what make up the immune system – so because mine are all quite low, I virtually have very little ability to fight infections. That explains why I had a sinus infection that basically lasted 3 years through 3 sinus surgeries and couldn’t be controlled by medications. In fact, when I read the possible problems this CVID causes, it was like reading my medical record. I will eventually find out if there is any treatment when I go to a specialist in Seattle. But, this does mean I am vulnerable to all the bugs that hang around. I have to be a little wary of crowds so I may have to miss some things I really enjoy especially during cold and flu season.   However that is a new diagnosis and I have been living with Lupus and other things since the early 1990’s. I don’t want to sound pathetic but I do want to let you see what it’s like living with a chronic illness that really doesn’t show. Who looks healthier than I do? Almost no one. But, I live with daily discomfort and/or pain. It can be my back, all my joints, my skin, zinging nerves, migraines, brain fog, intestinal system, bronchioles,  and all over fatigue. I have a fairly high pain tolerance but the fatigue can do a number on me. There are times when the pain is too much, also. I hate taking more medication than I have to so sometimes I just wait it out. Then there are days when the pain and fatigue make walking from one room to another almost impossible. I always have to rest after a shower or if I have been to a place where walking was required. This is just an update explaining why I have missed so many things since we returned from the sabbatical in December. It has been a difficult time for me as all the disorders decided to be extra active all at once. I miss seeing our church family and being there to worship with you. I hope this helps you understand my life a little better. I don’t mind being asked about what is going on with my health so if you have any questions, I will be happy to try to answer them. But, please, know I know how very blessed I am with Steve who takes care of me and everything else when I’m in this phase. And I am very blessed with friends who keep us fed with delicious meals, friends who send cards, friends who stop by, friends who phone, friends who bring flowers, and friends who make me laugh. Thank you for caring. I love you all!   Lela      

Check the bulletin board for updated information about our congregation and the Disciples of Christ organization.

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. 

 

April 22, Earth Day Message:  Plastic garbage from Trader Joe's and an AARP card are peeking out of hillocks of plastic trash piling up in Indonesia. It's a sign of a new global quandary: What should wealthy countries do with their plastic waste now that China no longer is buying it? For years, America sold millions of tons of used yogurt cups, juice containers, shampoo bottles and other kinds of plastic trash to China to be recycled into new products. And it wasn't just the U.S.  Some 70 percent of the world's plastic waste went to China – about 7 million tons a year. Numerous Chinese millionaires were minted as recycling businesses started and blossomed. Sure, they paid for the world's plastic and paper trash, but they made far more money from processing it and selling the resulting raw materials. NPR is exploring one of the most important environmental issues of our time: plastic waste.  But last year the Chinese government dropped a bombshell on the world recycling business: It cut back almost all imports of trash. And now a lot of that plastic gets shipped to other countries that don't have the capacity to recycle it or dispose of it safely. To understand the current situation, we have to go back in time a couple of decades. A billionaire is born - In 1995, Zhang Yin started a paper recycling company in China called Nine Dragons. She would become China's first female billionaire. China wanted scrap paper and plastic to recycle into more products, and Yin seized the market. Martin Bourque runs one of the oldest recycling operations in the U.S. as part of the Ecology Center in Berkeley, Calif. "There were brokers going around the globe buying up every scrap of plastic they could find and paying top dollar for it," he says. And there was this brilliant tactic to increase profits: West Coast ports in the U.S. were full of empty Chinese shipping containers that had come to deliver goods to American consumers. "So it made a lot of sense to send [waste] out though the port in an empty ship that was going back anyway," Bourque says. For American recyclers, it was too good a deal to pass up. Many types of plastic — bags, cups, plastic wrap, thin film — gum up sorting machines at materials recovery centers in the U.S. and is of almost no value to recyclers. Waste expert Joe Dunlop at the Athens-Clarke County materials recovery facility near Athens, Ga., explained the problem. Conveyor belts deliver tons of trash every hour, with magnets diverting metal and paper going into bins for recycling. Some plastic is binned up, too, if it's recyclable — bottles, for example. But the rest, like a box covered in film plastic — thin flexible sheets of plastic — is not easy to recycle. He pulls up a 2-foot-square piece of cardboard out of a 10-foot-pile of trash. "A cardboard box wrapped in our No. 1 contaminate, film plastic," he says. "That's just bad. What is so awful about a cardboard box that they had to go and do this to it?" The cardboard/plastic combo originally held beverages, he says, "but have you ever had to unpackage containers? It's a pain in the butt." Dunlop says a lot of that plastic is useless when it comes to recycling in the United States. It mostly ended up in landfills until China came along. China had plenty of capacity to handle plastics and lots of cheap laborers to sort the recyclable materials from the nonrecyclable. By 2016, the U.S. was exporting almost 700,000 tons a year to China alone. Overall, China imported 7 million tons from around the world. About five years ago, the Chinese government started to worry about all this trash coming in. A lot of the plastic was contaminated with stuff that made it difficult and expensive to recycle – paper, food waste, plastic wrap (which is not recyclable). And some of the plastic was hard to recycle and thus not profitable to import. What's more, a lot of plastic sneaked in illegally, without permits. These fly-by-night recyclers dumped stuff they couldn't recycle, causing pollution on land and in waterways. In fact, Bourque actually tracked some of the plastic scrap from his operation in Berkeley. In 2016, he buried a GPS transponder in one of his bales of paper and plastic waste from the Ecology Center. Waste brokers bought it. He followed the transponder's electronic signals to a town in China. Bourque then contacted local residents to document what happened to it. They reported to Bourque what they saw. "And what we found confirms some of our worst nightmares: dumping in the local canyon of materials they couldn't recycle, plastic in the farmland incorporated into the soil of the cornfields nearby," he says. China says no so the Chinese government cracked down.  In 2017, the government started to cut way back on plastic trash imports. Then the big bombshell: In January 2018, it banned almost all imports. Last year, China took in less than 1 percent of its 2016 total. That means a huge amount of plastic is looking for a place to go. Especially, says Bourque, in the Western U.S., where communities depended heavily on the Chinese trade. "A lot of it is being stockpiled," he says. "You know, people who have warehouse space." Many communities — like Eugene, Ore. — temporarily stopped collecting things like yogurt containers and shampoo bottles that used to go to China. Keefe Harrison runs a nonprofit called the Recycling Partnership that works to improve recycling rates. She says more plastic in the U.S. is now ending up in landfills or getting incinerated, which creates pollution. And she says the confusion is discouraging to consumers. "It's very hard to turn recycling on and off," she says. "You can't tell your citizens 'Today we're not recycling any more, but next week we'll start again.' " Harrison says if recyclers in the U.S. are going to pick up the slack, they need help. For one thing, they need more good, valuable plastic — bottles and tubs like the ones detergent comes in, for example, that are easier to recycle into raw plastic they can resell in the U.S. "The truth is that only half of Americans can recycle at home as easily as throwing something away," she says. "So that's step one that we have to fix."  Meanwhile, shipments of plastic waste to other Southeast Asian countries have skyrocketed. Exports from the U.S. to Thailand jumped almost 7,000 percent in one year. Malaysia's went up several hundred percent. Those numbers dropped in 2018 after those countries cut back on imports. Stiv Wilson is an environmental activist and documentary filmmaker who works with a project on waste called The Story of Stuff. He has also been working with an environmental group called Ecoton in Indonesia, another big importing country. Wilson visited a town near a recycling plant in the city of Surabaya. The plant takes paper bales mixed with plastic. "That plastic gets separated by the paper factory," he says. "It gets dumped in the neighboring community, and then the only way to get rid of it is to openly burn it. It is also used as fuel for boiling water to make tofu in small tofu factories all around. ... Air, water and land (are) all affected by this." And he's the one who has documented uniquely American items that indicate where a lot of the trash comes from — "Like AARP cards with names on them. So obviously you know where that's come from." These new dumping destinations aren't likely to last. Already, Vietnam and Malaysia are cutting back imports of scrap plastic because they are overwhelmed. They can't handle the huge diversion of plastic to their countries since China shut out imports. Recycling experts say it's a time of reckoning for their industry and that wealthy countries need to stop exporting to countries that can't handle it