Report from Food Pantry

Report from Food Pantry

Our emphasis in helping the Condon Food Pantry has been to collect non-food items onScreen Shot 2013-09-14 at 10.03.14 AM the second Sunday of the month. Not only were we blessed with non-food items this month but our baskets were overflowing with a special assortment of 64 canned and box food items. We also collected Kleenex (5 boxes), paper towels (8 rolls), toilet tissue (14 rolls), soaps (5), and deodorant (1).

Donations can be dropped off at the church at anytime. Please place them in the baskets in the Narthex. We will bless collected items on the second Sunday of each month before delivering them to the Pantry.

Many thanks to all. SM

Condon & Ferguson: A Response

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November 25, 2014

Dear Friends:

As I move from store to post office to lunch counter I pause periodically to greet my neighbors, friends, and parishioners. This is a joy of living in our small town. It seems a universe away from the unrest in downtown Ferguson.

Like many of you — and the prophet Habakkuk — I have complained to God about the violence unfolding on our televisions and social media streams.

Lord, how long will I call for help and you not listen
I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you don’t deliver us.

Why do you show me injustice and look at anguish
so that devastation and violence are before me?
There is strife, and conflict abounds. Habakkuk 1:2-3 CEB

Despite the friendly faces of our law enforcement, our children as they safely ride their bicycles to local businesses to buy after school snacks, and the beauty of sage and wheat that surrounds us, the images of my hometown linger and refuse to be repressed. I think about my years attending the Ferguson-Florissant schools. I think about my siblings and father who still live in the area.

Yes, we are miles apart but we are also not so different. Mothers and fathers love their children. Men and women work hard to support their families. Some in Condon and some in Ferguson struggle with poverty, food insecurity, and addiction. People in our rural community don’t always make the right choices nor do those in Ferguson.

My family, friends, and former colleagues — some white, some black — with whom I remain in contact are even more distressed than you and I at the few who seem determined to destroy in the wake of their grief and the shooting death of an unarmed teen.

A risk in all of this is our distance-induced inclination to attribute the acts of a few to whole groups of people. When we assume that the actions of those who have burned and looted are representative of the whole community, when we accept the dramatic media coverage as the whole story, it becomes too easy to lose focus on the core issues of racial tensions in our country.

Just as I, a relative newcomer to Condon, do not fully understand the experiences of growing up here, those of us who are white do not understand what it is to grow up a person of color. In my nearly two years here, I have tried to listen to the lived experiences of others, to believe you, and to withhold my own biases. Sometimes I’ve been successful; sometimes I have made mistakes. Like you, I am imperfect.

For those of us who are white, the same approach is necessary if we are to understand the experiences of our African American sisters and brothers. We must listen with open minds, with loving hearts, and with a willingness to believe.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to stand with the oppressed and poor. I think that in this situation, that means we listen more than we talk. We believe that our law enforcement and legal institutions are imperfect and have too often failed those of color. As the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

Please join me in continuous prayer for an end to the violence, for changes that prevent racial injustices, and for a listening spirit of grace as we move forward.

In Service of the One,

Tim Graves
Pastor
Condon United Church of Christ

Focused Prayer, Outreach, & Education: Light a Candle for Children Begins September 14

Focused Prayer, Outreach, & Education: Light a Candle for Children Begins September 14

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 5.20.44 PMThe Condon United Church of Christ will focus prayer on the needs of children in our community and world for five weeks as part of the Light a Candle for Children Prayer Vigil. The church will also be collecting items for twenty-five school kits for Church World Service, an ecumenical relief agency. Additionally, an educational workshop on raising moral children will be announced within a few weeks.

Believing that all children are, “Precious in God’s Sight,” the church invites the community to join in guided prayer. Free devotional books with daily scripture readings, reflections, and prayers are available at the church and other community locations. The daily meditations are also available by email at http://lightacandle.blogspot.com/, by Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Pray4Children, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LightaCandleforChildren .

Light a Candle for Children is an advocacy & prayer vigil project that invites congregations to join in Days of Prayer for Children. The vigil begins five weeks before the National Observance of Children’s Sabbath sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund, Washington, DC. Thousands of congregations from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith groups unite during Children’s Sabbath weekend to simultaneously witness for children through prayer, education, and worship.

Light a Candle for Children, a project of the Family & Children’s Ministries Partnership of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a part of this witness for children. Pastor Tim Graves of Condon is the editor and project coordinator for this national emphasis within the two cooperating denominations.

Like the disaster relief kits the UCC made last year, the school kits for Church World Service are used by the ecumenical relief agency to respond quickly to disasters in the United States and around the world. According to CWS, “School Kits give children in impoverished schools, refugee camps, or other difficult settings some of the basic tools for learning.” Thirty-seven Christian denominations including the United Church of Christ are members of Church World Service.

Visit http:///www.CondonUCC.org or http://www.Facebook.com/CondonUCC for more information. Call Rev. Tim Graves at 541-256-0565 or email CondonUCC@gmail.com if you have questions.

James: The Sin of Exclusion

James: The Sin of Exclusion

Adult Bible Study resumes this Sunday following the pastor’s surgery and recovery. We meet in the church at 9:15 a.m. We will begin a study of the Letter of James to coincide with the worship and sermon emphases during Eastertide.

On this fifth Sunday of Easter, the focus is on James 2:1-13 (read it here). The sermon is titled The Sin of Exclusion. If you’ve been away for awhile, if you’ve been thinking of coming, or if you are simply curious about the UCC in Condon please join us for Bible Study at 9:15 and/or Worship at 10:30 this week.

If you have questions call Tim at 541-256-0565 or email condonucc@gmail.com

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Bible Study & Worship are a Go

hopeinwinter-001.jpgThe building is warm though the roads are a bit wintry. Join us this morning at 9:00 for Bible Study. (We’re looking at two healing stories in the gospel of John.) Then, join us for worship at 10:30. We will Skype with Maggie Sebastian who will share observations and answer our questions about her ongoing month-long trip to Guatemala.

As much as we’d like you to join us this morning, if you do not feel safe walking or driving to the church, please stay safe at home. Your safety is more important than your presence today.

Live From Guatemala

Live From Guatemala

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 8.27.19 PMIn lieu of a formal sermon on Sunday, Maggie Sebastian will Skype with us. She will make a few opening remarks (about 5 minutes) and then we can ask her questions in real time about her experience in Guatemala so far.
The focus scripture for worship on Sunday will be Micah 3:5-12. You can find it below.
(This is NOT the same as the scripture we will be discussing in Bible Study. For Bible study we will begin looking at John 4:46-54 and John 5:1-18.)
Here is the focus scripture for worship:
Micah 3:5-12
5 The Lord proclaims concerning the prophets,
        those who lead my people astray,
        those who chew with their teeth
            and then proclaim “Peace!”
            but stir up war against the one who puts nothing in their mouths:
6 Therefore, it will become night for you,
        without vision, only darkness
        without divination!
The sun will set on the prophets;
        the day will be dark upon them.
7 Those seeing visions will be ashamed,
        and the diviners disgraced;
    they will all cover their upper lips,[a]
        for there will be no answer from God.
8 But me! I am filled with power,
            with the spirit of the Lord,
            with justice and might,
        to declare to Jacob his wrongdoing and to Israel his sin!
9 Hear this, leaders of the house of Jacob,
        rulers of the house of Israel,
    you who reject justice and make crooked all that is straight,
10         who build Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with injustice!
11 Her officials give justice for a bribe,
        and her priests teach for hire.
Her prophets offer divination for silver,
        yet they rely on the Lord, saying,
            “Isn’t the Lord in our midst?
                Evil won’t come upon us!”
12 Therefore, because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field,
        Jerusalem will become piles of rubble,
            and the temple mount will become an overgrown mound.
Footnotes:
Micah 3:7 Or mustache or beard
Climate Change: What Would Jesus Do?

Climate Change: What Would Jesus Do?

Boonstra-281x300The Rev. John Boonstra will facilitate an interactive sermon, “Climate Change: What Would Jesus Do?”, this Sunday, February 23 at 10:30 at the Condon United Church of Christ. Rev. Boonstra’s ministry is focused on environmental justice and climate change. The public is encouraged to participate.

“We have a biblical mandate to care for the earth and all of creation. John will help us to unpack what the Christian response to climate change ought to be,” says Tim Graves, pastor of the Condon UCC.

The Central Pacific Conference of the UCC encourages congregations to be first responders to the climate crisis. Boonstra’s leadership in worship this week is the first step in defining what the role of the Condon congregation will be. 

Rev. John Boonstra is a UCC clergyperson working on environmental justice and climate change ministry. He formerly pastored Bethel Congregational UCC in White Salmon.  Prior to that, he served for 17 years as Executive Minister for the Washington Association of Churches.  He has also done ecumenical staff work and held leadership positions for the National Council of Churches in the USA and the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

His spouse, Rev. Vicky Stifter, pastors Riverside Community Church UCC in Hood River. He has three daughters, 27, 15 and 8 years of age.