In June, we begin our summer hiatus for both the Sunday adult class and Monday’s Bible Study group. Both will reconvene in early September. The bible Review group will still meet during the summer at 12:00 noon on the first Sunday of each month. The next one is scheduled for June 4, when we will continue our discussion of Rebekah Simon-Peter’s book, The Jew Named Jesus. If you plan to join us, you might want to read the first three chapters of the book.
At the final Sunday adult class on May 28, those present discussed various options for the class to study when we get back together in the fall. We decided to begin a course entitled, “The Apocryphal Jesus,” which is produced by The Great Courses program. It is comprised of 24 thirty-minute lectures on DVD by Dr. David Brakke, Professor of History at The Ohio State University. On May 28, we watched the first lecture, which was an introduction to the course; and we agreed it would be very interesting to consider and converse about the material Dr. Bakke presents in this course. Each Sunday morning, we will watch a lecture and then discuss it, either just for the remainder of our 45-minute class time or we will continue our conversation on the next Sunday, if we decide more time is warranted.
As discussed by Dr. Brakke, the apocryphal New Testament, also known as early Christian apocrypha, is a collection of writings not selected to become a part of the official New Testament. Written during the first four or five centuries of Christianity – the same time the writings in the New Testament were being composed, collected, and made official scripture – the apocrypha provide insight into early Christian beliefs, practices, and controversies that would otherwise have been lost.
In our classes, after we examine the origin and meaning of early Christian apocrypha, which comes from Greek and is the plural of the singular apocryphon, which means “hidden” or “secret,” we’ll explore writings that expand upon the gospel account of Jesus, his family, and his death and resurrection. Some of these apocryphal gospels provide new information about the background of Mary, his mother, while others fill out the stories of Joseph, said to be Jesus’s human father, and of the magi, the wise people from the East who visited Jesus when he was a small child.
We’ll also be introduced to novels recounting adventures of the apostles after Jesus’s resurrection – new tales about John, Paul, Peter, Andrew, Mary Magdalene, and others filled with entertaining and more fanciful plot elements like talking animals, resurrections from the dead, flying magicians, and dangerous cannibals. But, in addition, they contain historical evidence for the diversity of Christian thought on topics like the divinity of Jesus, the roles of women in church and society, wealth and poverty, and Christianity’s relationship to the Jewish tradition.
We’ll conclude the course by looking at letters and revelations attributed to the initial apostles. Many early Christians read a third letter of Paul to the Corinthians, and so shall we. We’ll also hear about forged correspondence between Paul and the great Roman philosopher, Seneca. There will also be discussions about newly discovered revelations to Peter and Paul with seemingly heretical ideas about God and Christ.
“The Apocryphal Jesus” promises to be an exciting and very interesting course of study for our Sunday adult class. I hope you will decide to join us in September.
Shalom, Steve [
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.
First Holy, then Happy
Having been married 16 years, I’m aware that marriage isn’t all flowers and sunshine. Oh, I was realistic enough, even early on, to know that miscommunication and disagreements would intrude on romance, fondness and the glad sharing of chores and childcare. Even so, the subtitle of Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Marriage (Zondervan) grabbed my attention: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”
I pondered that for days, reminding myself I’m to focus on my holiness, not my husband’s. What if marriage is to teach me selflessness rather than to meet all my needs? What if the holiness of love means being patient and kind, not irritable or rude? What if instead of keeping score of kitchen duty I simply did my husband’s (without counting)? What if I offered empathy, not criticism; respect, not resentment? And what if walking in holiness leads to greater happiness?
To such a change in perspective, I say, “I do!”
Jesus calls us to service. In answering his call, we support a number of community service organizations and projects. Among these are the Friendship House,
Skagit County Community Action Agency, Battered Women's Shelter, Everett's Common Ground and Common Table, Family Promise, and Lincoln Elementary School
Stop, look and listen
Literature, painting, music — the most basic lesson that all art teaches us is to stop, look and listen to life on this planet, including our own lives, as a vastly richer, deeper, more mysterious business than most of the time it ever occurs to us to suspect as we bumble along from day to day on automatic pilot. ...
When Jesus [says] that the greatest command of all is to love God and to love our neighbor, he too is asking us to pay attention. If we are to love God, we must first stop, look and listen for him in what is happening around us and inside us. If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.
—Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark
Sunday, June 4, Pentecost Sunday. Book Club Meets. Sunday, June 11, General Board Meeting.
Sunday, June 18, Happy Father’s Day.
June 18-24, Family Promise Week. Volunteers needed.
June 19-21, Colemans on vacation – office closed. Monday, June 19, Elder’s Meeting at 6:00 pm.
Tuesday, June 20, Men’s Breakfast at 7:30 am. Wednesday, June 28, Gal’s Night Out at 6:00 pm. Friday, June 30, Friendship House Meal. Volunteers needed.
Sunday, July 2, Book Club Meets.
Tuesday, July 4, Independence Day, Office closed.
July 8-13, General Assembly in Indianapolis. Office closed. Tuesday, July 18, Men’s Breakfast at 7:30 am.
Wednesday, July 26, Gal’s Night Out at 6:00 pm. Friday, July 28, Friendship House Meal. Volunteers needed.
Sunday, July 30, Summer Picnic at the Leaks!
Sunday, August 6, Book Club meets following Worship.
Tuesday, August 15, Men’s Breakfast at 7:30 am.
Monday, August 21, Elders meeting at 6:00 pm.
Friday, August 25, Friendship House Meal
Wednesday, August 30, Gal’s Night Out at 6:00 pm.
• Pentecost, June 4, 2017
• Trinity Sunday, June 11, 2017
• Flag Day, June 14, 2017
• Father’s Day, June 18, 2017
• First day of summer, June 20, 2017
• Canada Day, July 1, 2017
• U.S. Independence Day, July 4, 2017