Worship Buzz - 8/25/2017

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Dear Ones,

The long, winding road of our summer worship series has taken us on a virtual vacation!  We hung out in our neighborhoods. We spent time together at Reed-Kepplar Park. We talked about seeing Jesus at the lakeshore. The tidal rhythm of life surprised us. We laughed loud and long at the poolside. We stopped at the museum to see the Viking Ship and turned our worship center counterclockwise for a traditional look. What a joyful trip the summer series has been!

This week as we return to the home fires, we want to have a camp fire after worship.  Can you help get that ready?  We’ll work on the weed management tonight (Friday). Text me at 630-360-0471 if you want to be involved with that, or on Sunday to help with the fire or s’mores.   We are not outdoors for worship, but those who want to join us after worship at the fire may.  

This week we’ll sing folk hymns. Musicians (guitarists, vocalists and percussionists) can meet with Ron at 9 am to run through the music.  Let’s start thinking about getting back into our regular routines of Chancel Choir, Unity Band and Church School.  Ron is starting rehearsals September 6 at 7:30 pm.  Church School and Station Youth Group resume on September 10.

Have the students in your family started school?  We’re praying for them and their teachers to have an excellent year.  This Sunday in Worship we will have a special blessing for students and teachers.  Students and Teachers should bring something symbolic: a back pack, a planner, a pencil case, your student id or license.  At prayer time we’ll invite those wanting a blessing to come forward.

Are you ready for summer to end?  Let’s enjoy the good weather with friends. The women meet for the Salad luncheon tomorrow (Saturday). Then Sunday we hope to make s’mores at the fire pit.  What more do you want out of your 2017 Summer?  I know you can find it with us.

Blessings and good health to all,

Pastor Nancy Rethford

Worship Buzz - 8/11/2017

As we head into the weekend, let’s take a few key travel images with us. 

  • A key – It’s needed for doors to our homes, our cars and also vacation places.  Keys unlock something valuable. What are you unlocking today?
  • A suitcase – If you like to bring home things from a trip, you need to leave room in your luggage. Under pack your expectations too. As we travel the road of life and there will always be room to learn something new.
  • A sturdy pair of shoes – Glamour often leads the prideful to sore feet at the end of the day. Put on clothing you can depend on. The highways and byways of life have unexpected hazards.  You’ll make it home because you planned ahead.

And now for the complete opposite. Flip – Flops are welcome in Church Sunday.  Our rummage sale workers don’t need to put their feet back into their sturdy work shoes or tight dressy shoes. It’s another casual Sunday. Come prepared for playful moments in worship. We’re talking about lessons from the pool and that means pool shoes are permitted.

Don’t miss this year’s RUMMAGE SALE.  It starts in a few minutes --- 5 pm to 7 pm tonight. Tomorrow morning the sale opens at 9 am. Bag sale is in the last hour. By noon we’re closing shop.   I know you’re thinking you don’t need more junk, but maybe someone you know does.  Remember this fundraiser is for our missions, highlighted throughout the year, and managed by the United Methodist and Congregational Women.  Your support makes a difference.

Wherever your summer has taken you, we invite you to share your stories at the church. You are always welcome to come early and/or stay late, make an appointment with me, or stop by the church.  We are hear to refresh your soul, like a dip in the pool on a hot day. -- 

Blessings  and Joy,

Pastor Nancy Rethford

Worship Buzz - 8/4/2017 - Sandy Beach

This weekend at Church we gather to worship & to pray.  God’s love comes down to us in Word and song, in the sacred Lord’s Supper, in the fellowship of believers. We pray for the sick that their faith doesn’t weaken in times of suffering, for the innocent that trouble won’t find them and for those who morn, God’s grace.  We gather to worship and to pray.

If you’re on vacation this week, please take our summer series to heart and enjoy the place where you are. There are lessons of faith everywhere.  This Sunday we are finding lessons from the oceans.  Hmm what could the oceans be saying to us?  “No, more plastic bags! Please!” was how a tour guide in Boca Raton put it.  Though Jesus doesn’t teach at the beach, he did have some rather gnarly waves in John 6:16-25. Read this for yourSunday devotions. If you ask the question in verse 25 with an open and honest heart, no matter where you are, God will answer you.  

Better yet, come to worship to get the whole spiritual experience of being with Jesus and his friends. We have Holy Communion this week.  The kids will get to play “in the sand”  (volunteer leaders needed). For music, we have Ron Benner back on the keyboard and he’s picked two familiar tunes to splash around the water themes. We’ll end with a rockin’ version of “O For a Thousand Tongues” (music leaders meet Ron at 9 am). I’m looking forward to sharing worship with you.

As a people, we need to work a little harder on our hospitality.  Please consider taking a role at greeting or setting up the coffee.  Our regular host was at Camp last week and we missed having the drinks.  We also need more greeters on 5th Sundays and more children ministry volunteers. 

Let me leave you with a funny fictional story, although I think it has happened to me. One Sunday morning, as our young pastor was preaching, a two-month-old baby started to fret, and her mother wisely decided to take the infant out of the church before whimpers became wails. Their escape to the nearest exit took them past the pulpit. Interrupting his sermon, the pastor looked down at his wife and daughter and said, "Ah, yes, your family are always your severest critics."

Let us take ourselves lightly, or at least try not to be so serious while on vacation. 

Peace and Blessings

Pastor Nancy Rethford

Worship Buzz - 7/21/2017 - Reed-Keppler Park

Dear Ones,

Warm days, lazy breezes, dogs on a walk, people on bikes – summer is so much fun!  Before we get ready for school, harvest the last tomato and rake falling leaves, let’s enjoy the summer we have left!  Worship this Sunday will be our annual outdoor worship. Instead of in the grassy sanctuary, we will meet at the North Pavilion at Reed-Keppler Park

Do you know the story of how Barbara Reed’s family donated the land for the park?  We’ll be telling this story and other stories this Sunday as we experience faith and worship outside.  We’ll have two guitars to accompany us and worship words in the bulletins.  You may miss the screens and the piano at first, but I believe this worship will be a significant experience in your summer.

When I think of my outdoor worship experiences, one in particular strikes me as pivotal in my life. We were on a boundary waters trip with 14 others from our church.  Divided into two camps we had few opportunities to be together.  We came together for worship on Sunday morning at the water’s edge. Slabs of hard stone were our pews. The sun was hidden by clouds and I struggled to bring the Word of God to my fellow campers, most of whom were barely awake. Short and sweet was my intention, but even that was interrupted.  A bird flew into our gathering space and for a while everyone just watched it. I let the grace of God overwhelm me and the Holy Spirit helped me speak words of grace and worship. The bird flew off and we sang a praise song. It was God’s worship, not mine.  Though I was leading, I wasn’t in charge. I’ll never forget that lesson.

Jesus said that the stones will cry out to him if God wants.  He said mountains can move with faith. He said that our clothing will always be less beautiful than the flowers and trees.  Reading an agrarian based testimony of our relationship with God, I wonder why we don’t worship outdoors more.  It’s so clear that nature has understood God better than humans.

Sunday we’ll delay the start until 10:10 so everyone can get to the park.  We have Dave Purnell leading the music while Ron’s on vacation. If you bring a dish to pass – like sandwiches, fruit or chips, we’ll have a food table set up.  Worship Hospitality is bringing water, some chairs and tables.  Please bring your own table service – utensils, plate and cup.

This will be fun. Cause it’s summer and we’re chilling in the park with our friends in the faith.

Blessings on your summer however you are experiencing it.

Pastor Nancy Rethford

Worshsip Buzz - 7/14/2017

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Dear Ones,

Grace and peace to you and your neighbors!  Walking the Railroad Days parade last Sunday reminds me of how important our neighbors are to our survival.  Many of the people I spoke to come to our church Several times a year for valued programs. They need us and we need them!

Why do you Bless animals, people and sometimes things? I've been asked. Well, first I do it because God gives us the power to bless in God's name. Second, because people like having to the power of blessing, especially God's blessing, on their side.

There's been a trend in the Christian church to bless significant parts of our lives, the animals, the land, and, yes, things we drive. One church blesses new drivers licenses. I would like to bless our bike riders this weekend as we begin our summer series: Faith Lessons in Vacation Places.

How can we bless our bicyclists given that riding to church is prohibited by traffic?  What about blessing our bike helmets? If you ride or own a bike, you probably have one. I've got extras to give away. We'll bless the helmets and thank God for protecting us this summer as we ride and walk our neighborhoods. 

Lastly, we kick off the summer series with an ice cream social at fellowship. There's always something fun going on when you're with your church friends. Come every week of this 8 week series as we travel to a park, a lake, an ocean, a pool and many more virtual vacations. 

Don't forget to bring us your rummage sale items. We made room for your donations in the choir room. The office is open Tuesday and Friday this week.  Or give us a call at 630-231-3344.

Peace and joy,

Pastor Nancy Rethford 

Worship Buzz - 7/7/2017

Happy Heritage Week! 

With origins half way between today's Warrenville and West Chicago (Gary's Mill at 59), we are an historic church with an historic role in our community.  After a long Independence Day, we move into our Rail Road Days elebration of the local heritage. This is a fun way to celebrate our common heritage. Although we all have other heritage stories (my family likes to say that Lief Erikson founded America) we hold this history in common:  The Gary family had a vision of bringing the railroad to the western settlements.  We are the beneficiaries of that vision! Let's celebrate!

Every year we pull a float in the Sunday 1 pm parade. There's a crew who assembles it on Saturday morning. On Sunday after worship we bring the remaining float items (mini church tower and banner poles) to the float being housed at Woodwards on Claremont. We will be the 3rd parade entry south of the stop sign at Elmwood and Elite, in front of the Howard house.  You won't find Frieda Howard there. She's a Grand Marshall, along with Ron Benner. Both friends have had long histories of developing the arts in West Chicago. Let's celebrate!!

Our float will highlight our growing children's ministry with a Noah's Ark display from last week's VBS program.  All kids are welcome to sit cross-legged on the float. Parents and adults from church will walk handing out fliers to other adults in the crowd.  Please help us as you are able. Exuberant cheers from parade side is also participation. Let's celebrate!!!

TONIGHT is our 8 pm Movie Night at the back of the church. Please bring a chair or blanket to sit on. 

TOMORROW at 10 am is our blessing of the animals. Leashed or caged animals only please. We don't want to be chasing critters on a busy Saturday.

IN WORSHIP (Sun 10 am) we will be blessed by a visiting niece who will sing for us. You'll have to come to find out who and what she's singing.  Ron and I are open to any special music this summer. If you know someone who can perform a solo, vocal or instrumental, please speak to them about enhancing our worship with their music. 

Next week we'll start a new series:  Faith Lessons in Vacation Places.  We'll laugh and pray together about the vacations we take, but mostly we'll learn that we don't take a vacation from our faith. It goes with us.

Celebrate your Faith with us every week, every where we see yo, for God is GOOD all the time.

In Joy,

Pastor Nancy Rethford