Being Spiritually Formed in Your Neighborhood (Part 2)

607caa29e5c1b923647a1bb90b8fa1a8In our last Silverton Friends Together, I challenged you to think about what it means to be “Spiritually Formed in Your Neighborhood.” I would like to continue these thoughts in a follow–up article. My hope is that you will utilize the queries included to help you begin processing the ways you are being spiritually formed in your place.

Our busyness determines a great deal. If we are to engage our neighborhood and seek the spiritual benefits, we are going to need to spend some time there. Sabbath should be a key aspect of our neighborhoods. We should find time to rest well together and re-create in what gives us life. Take a moment to ponder these queries:

When do you go to work? (Who in your neighborhood leaves at the same time?) When do you return? (Who in your neighborhood comes home at the same time) When does your neighborhood seem the most active? What do people in your neighborhood do on the weekends? What is Sabbath to your neighborhood?

“Keeping up with the Joneses” may look very different from neighborhood to neighborhood. For some it may be coveting the new car a neighbor drives, or the new fence they put up that doesn’t allow one to see what they are doing, or the new pool that is the envy of the town. It could be a myriad of things. What we know is that it sets a socio-economic bar for the neighborhood. Take a moment to ponder these queries:

What are the specific things that people covet in your neighborhood? How do those who are struggling with “keeping up with the Joneses” see their neighborhood? What about single parents? The retired? The empty nesters?

Most likely, how we see our own home, determines how we see our neighbors and our neighborhood. If I see my own home as a “protected castle” then my view of my neighbors may be the same. A neighborhood of castles could create an interesting neighborhood environment. It may even cause people to be “at war” with each other – trying to outdo one another with finely manicured lawns, extra garages and storage, or by obtaining prime property. We all know of people who live with “walls and motes” and who seem held up in their house prisons.

Who in your neighborhood lives closed-up in a castle-like existence? What are the “walls and motes” in your neighborhood?

We could also see our homes as simply a “resting place” or “pit stop.” For some, the majority of life is spent at work. Home is only a place to lay one’s head at night to prepare for the next day. Life is too fast paced for much more. If we live like this, then our neighborhoods become simply a place to stop, crash, and brew the next day’s coffee as one heads out the door.

Who in your neighborhood simply makes a “pit-stop” and never seems to be home? Why are those neighbors always on the go? Trying to make ends meet? Keeping up with the Joneses? Trying to simply survive?

The analogies are endless. The important thing is to take a moment to process how you view your home and then challenge yourself to inquire about the other people in your neighborhood. Finally, we come down to the most important discussion – Is God present in my home and my neighborhood? If for you, God is only present at certain times, then you may find it difficult to see God present in your home or neighborhood. Many people live a dual life. God is present at church on Sunday and then they leave Him there until the next Sunday. Yet, when we begin to see our homes as sacred places, our neighborhoods become transformed as well. If each of us makes up the body of Christ, the Church, then our neighborhoods can be seen as places where we meet the present Christ TOGETHER.

Where do you, or have you, seen God present in your neighborhood? How is your neighborhood a “sacred place”? or how could it be? How do you embody Christ to your neighborhood?

My prayer is that our Church building is not the only place people are experiencing the present Christ. As you work through these queries with your families and possibly your neighbors, take some time to see our “place” in a new way. You may find the Kingdom of God right outside your door – literally! Grace and peace, Pastor Bob+

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VBS is going GLOBAL this year!

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Children of SFC, neighbors, and friends, we would like to invite you to this year’s Vacation Bible School, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands!”

We will be exploring different areas of the world and seeing them through God’s eyes.  We will also be learning that God has made us all different but loves us just the same.

As we visit these different areas we will explore the different cultures through  worship, music, games and crafts.

 He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

August 10 – 14, 2015

10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Preschool – 6th Grade

Please download & fill out the registration form (link below) and return it to:

Silverton Friends Church

ATTN: Miss Debbie

PO Box 338

Silverton, OR 97381

 2015 VBS Registration Form

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Also, join us for our2nd Annual Funday Sunday, August 9th at SFC.

This will be a morning of fun and games together as the Body of Christ! We are planning a bouncy house, giant slip-n-slide, family kickball game, cook out and much more. The Funday Sunday will begin at 10:45am in the SFC field!

Join us and invite your friends and neighbors!

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Being Spiritually Formed in your Neighborhood

silverton-or-4167650As summer quickly approaches, and we begin spending more time around our homes, in our yards, and in our neighborhoods, I want us to begin thinking about where we live and what it has to offer us.

Often our neighborhoods are simply seen as places we dwell, where our home resides, even where we have our own space. Our homes, on the other hand, are often protected spaces – which we want to control, limit, and design ourselves. Yet, outside our doors, on the other side of the fence, around the block, we may find more than other families or individuals walled-up inside their own contained spaces, “castles” or “single family units.”

Our neighborhoods are filled with first and foremost – LIFE. The neighborhood offers more than a place to “hang our hat” when we come home from a long day at work. It has the potential to be a place we are spiritually nurtured and where the Church can make visible the Kingdom of God in the lives of ordinary people.

That means our neighborhoods, if we are willing to allow them, have the possibility of being major factors in our spiritual growth. If you and I want to expand our vision of the place we live, we may first need to see the potential of being spiritually formed in our neighborhoods. This will happen when we allow ourselves to see with new eyes, step outside our front doors, and begin to develop relationships with our neighbors. To do this, we need to begin by acknowledging that our neighborhood is a sacred space.

Christine Sine of Mustard Seed Associates described “sacred space” in this way,

A sacred space is any space that encourages us to step aside from our busyness and distraction of the consumer culture and frees us to take notice of the presence of God.

If our neighborhoods are going to become sacred spaces, we are going to have to find ways to slow down and become more aware of the places we inhabit. That may mean that we will need to do some personal soul searching. Take a moment and answer these queries:

  • What causes me to be so busy?
  • Where am I trying to “keep up with the Joneses”?
  • What does my home represent?
    • a protected castle
    • a commons
    • a resting place
    • a “pit stop”
    • an accomplishment
    • _______________ (fill in)
    • Is God present in my home? In what ways?

I hope this encourages you to think about your neighborhood in a new way. Next month we will continue these thoughts and challenge you to ask some more questions about your neighborhood. For now, let’s commit to becoming more aware of our neighborhoods and all they offer us.

Grace and peace, Pastor Bob+

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Burgi Family to visit SFC

1890653_10203212252817071_513097544_oMark you calendars! There are two opportunities planned to engage the Burgi family and find out what’s new in their life adventures. Please join us for a potluck dinner on Thursday, June 18th at the Pattison/Leslie house (1206 E. Main Street). Come anytime after 5pm and we’ll eat at about 6pm. The Burgi family will have a chance to update us on their ministry plans and we can all catch-up on life in general. Bring a salad, side, or dessert to share and the Leslie family will provide the protein and drinks. Then on Sunday, June 21 (Father’s Day), the Burgi Family will be with us for our spiritual formation hour 9:30-10:30am. We will meet in the sanctuary to hear an update from them. There will also be an update from them during the Global Outreach Minute during the service. For those who would like to join them for lunch, we will be heading to a local restaurant to share together.

For those who do not know the Burgi family, here is a updated bio:

Jon, Wanda and their three kids – Matthew (15), Joanna (14) and Rachel (9) will be moving to Managua, Nicaragua this summer.  They are going to Nicaragua with Engineering Ministries International (eMi).  eMi seeks to “design a world of hope” by partnering volunteer engineers, architects, surveyors and construction managers with ministries throughout the world who are sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and helping the physically needy.

The Burgi’s spent five years here at Silverton Friends Church as full time youth pastor from 1998 to 2003.  Since then, Jon returned to a career of Civil Engineering.  These last few years, Jon and Wanda have felt God calling them back to full time ministry.  This time using Jon’s technical engineering experience with their heart for ministry in Latin America.

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Upcoming Children’s Church Schedule

childrens_ministry-02Due to Miss Debbie being granted a one month sabbatical by our meeting, we wanted to let our parents know the Children’s Ministry Schedule for the next couple months.  Miss Debbie will actually be gone from June 1st through July 6th.  We will be having volunteers teaching Children’s Church on June 7th, 14th, and 21st.

Here is the plan for the coming months:

May 31st – Stamps for Camp Sunday & Spend Your Attendance Points Party

June 7th – Graduation Recognition and Children’s Church

June 21st – Make Father’s Day gifts and hand them out during our Meeting for Worship: Collect Baby Bottles filled with money for Birthright

There will be NO children’s church on June 28th and July 5th.  Children’s Church will return on July 12th.

Please join us as we pray for Miss Debbie to find rest and renewal during her month sabbatical.

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A Prayer Exercise to Use

10471094_665675141059_5339443558688408856_nFrom Christine Sine, Mustard Seed Associates

This was the exercise that Pastor Bob used at the beginning of his sermon, “Staring at an Empty Sky” on Ascension Sunday.

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Committing to a Vision at SFC

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It states in the introduction to our Northwest Yearly Meeting’s Faith & Practice, “Friends hold that an authentic Christian belief includes both an inward and an outward expression of that belief.” For the past four years, I have dedicated myself to seeking the heart of our meeting and how we inwardly and outwardly live out our faith in the town of Silverton and its surrounding communities. Many people have asked me for my vision for SFC. When asked, I am quick to explain that as a Quaker minister, I work together with the people of our meeting in finding how best to express our Yearly Meeting’s vision and mission in our unique locale (to read our NWYM’s vision and mission go to nwfriends.org and click the tab, Faith & Practice).

Unique and local vision statements are almost never easy to create or express. Recently the elders and I explored a new way to articulate what we see as the key commitments at SFC. We believe them to be both helpful while simple in nature. Obviously, the following “Vision Commitments” are not all encompassing or narrow in focus. Instead they give us basic categories and broad actions to begin developing in the lives and ministries of SFC.

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Vision Commitments of
Silverton Friends Church

We commit to
declaring the Gospel through our words and actions.
becoming a faithful presence in our neighborhoods.
incarnating the attributes and resurrected life of Christ.
practicing hospitality.
depending on prayer.
discovering, developing, and utilizing our assets.
embodying a non-violent, reconciling and supportive way of life together.
embracing our Quaker (Friends) identity as a unique expression of the Christian faith.

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Our hope is that over the next several weeks and months, we will have a chance to explore, define, and develop these commitments through sermons, conversations, gatherings, and in simply living them out in our daily lives.

Now when people ask me, “What is SFC’s vision?” I have something to share and begin that deeper conversation. I pray you will take some time in the coming weeks and months to explore these vision commitments and find how your commitment to SFC is inwardly and outwardly an expression of your faith in Christ!

Grace and peace,
Pastor Bob+

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