SFC Advent Giving

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Presents for the Silverton Zenith Club’s Tree of Giving!

 

Our annual Advent Giving is underway at SFC and your generosity is overflowing into the community to those in need this season.

Currently, the church office is filling with presents for the Silverton Zenith Club’s Tree of Giving! These presents will be going to support a couple of local families in need during the holidays. Red tags were handed out in church the Sunday before Advent with items needed.  (Just a reminder that these gifts need to be in the church office by this Friday, Dec. 9th.)

Also, it is not too late to participate in our Advent Giving for the second week of Advent which supports Silverton High School Students whose first language is not English. These students have a variety of needs spanning clothing, transportation, and direct financial support to cover life costs. You may still drop off gift cards (Payless Shoes, Gas, Coffee, etc…) or write a check to support the work and help pay bills. We will be collecting them throughout the week in the church office.

This coming Sunday (Advent 3) we will be supporting the Saturday Meals in Salem for the homeless. We ask that you donate tarps, duct tape, batteries, socks, sleeping bags, etc. This is the same group we have supported in the past and that Chuck Castro works with and has made a plea for during open worship.

Our final Advent Giving will go to Somos Hispanas Unidas Silverton. We will again support this organization that works directly with local families navigating the immigration system.  The  giving opportunities will be shared this Sunday (Dec. 11) in our meeting for worship.

THANK YOU for your generosity during this Advent season and for making visible the Kingdom of God in Silverton!

Come, let us meet Him on the Road

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The Season of Advent brings back wonderful memories and traditions for me and my family. Sitting around the table, lighting candles, reading the stories of Christmas from the Bible, and anticipating the big celebration to take place at the end of the four weeks. One of the hymns in our hymnal for this season was The Advent of our God.

The Advent of our God

Shall be our theme for prayer;

Come, let us meet him on the road

And place for him prepare.

I remember singing this as a child and thinking, “This is definitely speaking of a time for prayer and preparation, but why would we meet Jesus out on the road?  What is he doing out there?”

You see, the church my family attended throughout my grade school years was just down a hill from the historic Lincoln Highway in New Haven, Indiana.  So, whenever we sang that hymn, I imagined myself climbing that hill and meeting Jesus on the side of the road.

Maybe his car had broken down. Maybe he was hitchhiking as many people did on that highway. Or maybe he was thrown out of a passing car and left for dead by a gang of thugs.

Obviously, my imagination ran deep at the age of ten (and I REALLY liked the A-Team.)

It didn’t hit me until many years later that the metaphor in the song was about joining Jesus on his journey or what some might call his earthly pilgrimage.  That Jesus had become incarnate and joined us in this world was beyond my full understanding when I was ten.

Today, I think I may need to go back and embrace some of those early memories of Jesus and not just spiritualize them or create word pictures to sing. Maybe we all need to meet Jesus on the road again. Just maybe, we need to seek Jesus out on the byways, highways, side streets, and dirt roads.

Jesus is the drifter going down city alleyways in search of food.

Jesus is the broken-down biker trying to figure out where life went wrong.

Jesus is the bearded man in rags standing with a cardboard sign that reads “Will Work for Food.”

Jesus is one of 20 individuals crammed in the back of a van trying to cross the border.

Jesus is the business woman on her cellphone in rush hour traffic.

Jesus is one of the kids playing a pick-up game of basketball on the cul-de-sac in your neighborhood.

The question is, “Do we see him out there?” and “Are we willing to meet him out on the road?” As we take a walk or run, or as we ride our bike or drive our car out on the roads this Advent, let each journey be an opportunity to meet Jesus in the people on the road and prepare a place to welcome Him into our homes and lives.  Come, let us meet Him on the road.

Grace and peace, Pastor Bob+

 

 

A Statement of Support and Solidarity

unity_432x3281The following statement was delivered or mailed to the administrators and staff of all the public schools in our Silver Falls School District in Silverton, Oregon.  Our Quaker meeting wants to stand in support and solidarity with our local administrators, teachers and staff in these days.

From: Silverton Friends Church

Date: November 10, 2016
RE: Statement of Support and Solidarity

Dear Administrators and Staff:

You have had a difficult couple of days. We write to offer our support for the challenging but critically important work in which you are now engaged.

As Quakers, we believe in the inherent dignity and worth of each member of the community; in the importance of respectful dialogue and listening; in the peaceable resolution of differences; and in tolerance for views that diverge from our own.

These are the same values you seek to uphold in the Silver Falls School District. As our nation emerges from a bitter and divisive election season, we are reminded that our country’s future will ultimately rest in the hands of our young people. We are profoundly grateful for your efforts to create and support a school culture characterized by respect, civility and active engagement, and we will hold your work in the Light over the coming days.

If there is any concrete way we can be of support, we hope you will make us aware of these needs.

In hope and with deep admiration,

Bob Henry, Pastor
Mark Rediske, Clerk of Elders
Judy Scott, Elder
Sheldon Lesire, Elder
Stanley Muhr, Elder
John Pattison, Clerk of the Meeting

Re-Introducing Quaker Unprogrammed Worship

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“Meeting for Worship” by Veronica

“Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10

The Meeting for Worship has always been very special at Silverton Friends Church. From its earliest days as a gathered meeting, SFC has provided an emphasis on quality worship leading and solid teaching each Sunday morning.  Recently, as we have been returning to our Quaker roots, we have been discerning and experiencing a heightened need for new expressions of worship among our community (both at SFC and in the city of Silverton). For a couple years now, the elders have considered and sought God’s will and guidance on how to introduce new opportunities for worship in the manner of Friends.

This fall, the elders and I decided to offer a “new” option for worship at SFC. I say “new,” but in reality it is the form of worship nearest to that of the early Friends. Sadly, many American Quakers have never experienced Unprogrammed Worship. The main reason for this lack of experience is that our American religious culture considers music and the sermon key aspects of most Sunday worship.

The Meeting for Worship in an unprogrammed setting offers a unique way for a group of people to be present with God. Each meeting could be considered an adventure and for beginners a real challenge.  As elders, our hope is that those who choose to attend the unprogrammed meeting for worship find a deeper awareness of what Friends for three hundred years have experienced in being still and knowing God is now present in and among us.

For many, sitting still and in silence for long periods of time is very difficult, especially in our fast-paced world. That is why worship in any form is considered a spiritual discipline. Also, since there is no program, no prepared prayers, sermons, or musical selections, a chosen facilitator from SFC will begin our first few unprogrammed meetings with a poem, appropriate Scripture, or thought/quote to help “center down” those not as familiar.  Our hope is that the gathered will listen as attentively as they can for leadings of the Spirit. If a leading comes, we pray that they will speak the message into the silence – making for a completely different experience of listening and hearing from the Present Christ in our community.

If you are interested, or have never experienced Unprogrammed Worship in the manner of Friends, I would invite you to join us every other Sunday morning in the *new* green room (a.k.a. Sheldon Lesire’s office or the former school library).  I have also put together a one page explanation of Unprogrammed Worship for those interested in learning about it prior to coming (contact me by email for a copy).

November opportunities for unprogrammed worship: November 13th & 27th @ 9:30am.

Grace and peace, Pastor Bob+

“Each an Original” SFC’s 2016-17 Theme

becoming-who-you-are-9781587680366A few years ago now, I happened to come across a book that caught my eye.  It may have been because on the cover were photos of some very important people in my Spiritual Formation, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and Mother Teresa – or it could have been because of the title, “Becoming Who You Are.”  Over time I have come to realize that book crossed my path at that very time because I was desperate for someone to tell me that my “true self” had worth – that I was an ORIGINAL.

We all want to hear this from time to time – actually we all need to hear it from time to time.  And just maybe the world is depending on us to acknowledge and embrace who we are so they too can see it in their lives. If it is true that we are made in the image of God and as Quakers we acknowledge “that of God in each person”, then who we are at our very core is more than simply unique.

“All of us are called to meditate deeply on our own true selves, to embrace the reality of our vocations, and to let God transform our true selves into sources of new life for others.” (Becoming Who We Are, Martin)

When we choose to live out of our originality then we begin becoming what God had intended all along. Our gifting, abilities, perspectives, emotions, likes and dislikes, and so much more make us who God intended us to be.  This originality draws us into relationships and community and gives us unique tools to help those around us – our sisters and brothers, cropped-13958229_1259959927356702_976238140819220672_o1.jpgneighbors, and friends.

This year we at SFC are going to explore just what it means that “each of us is an original.” The Elders and I chose Galatians 5:25-26 from The Message to be our theme verse for 2016-2017.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.    Galatians 5:25-26 (MSG)

It was the religious scholar and mystic, Meister Eckhardt, who said it succinctly, “No one has known God who has not known himself.” You and I are original masterpieces made by the Master Artist. When we explore our own originality, just maybe we will find ourselves bumping into the God who created us and whose image runs through our veins.  What an exciting possibility!

You are invited to join us as together we explore the reality that we are “Each an Original” this year!  Join us on Kick-off Sunday, October 2 before worship @10:00am in the sanctuary to find out all the opportunities and ways to explore this year.  Hope to see you there!

Grace and Peace, Pastor Bob+

Living Out Our Originality – Book Studies 2016-17

img_0057Here is a first look at Pastor Bob’s 2016-17 Book Study choices.

This year’s theme is “Living Out Our Originality.”

As in the past, book studies will meet from 6:30-8pm on Thursday Nights at Main St. Bistro & Coffee, Silverton, OR.

Study 1: “How To Be Here” by Rob Bell
(Dates: Oct. 20: Parts 1-3, Oct. 27: Parts 4-6, Nov. 3: Parts 7-9)

Study 2: “Living the Quaker Way: Timeless Wisdom for a Better Life Today” by Philip Gulley
(Dates: Jan. 19: pp 1-57, Jan. 26: pp. 59-132, Feb. 2: pp 133-212)

Study 3: “When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church” by Lillian Daniel
(Dates: March 23: parts I-II, March 30: parts III-IV, April 6: parts V-VI)

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for lively discussions on these great reads.

IT IS ALMOST SUNDAY FUNDAY!

We are excited to announce our 3rd Annual Sunday Funday at Silverton Friends Church!

August 14, 2016 @ 10:45am 

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For the past couple summers we have created a new tradition at SFC, where we take a Sunday Morning and dedicate it to what we call “Worship Through Play.”  We begin with prayer inside, directions, coffee, and then let the fun begin.

10499499_829283010424398_6817036909909239945_oFrom the always exciting big game of kickball, to board games for all ages, to the Giant Slip & Slide!  There is fun for all ages.  This year we are including bubble play and ***this just in*** PONY RIDES!  Yes, thanks to Jaime Hudson, this year instead of a bouncy house, the kids will enjoy pony rides around the back lawn!11878969_1038777736141590_7894435438598589028_o

As is tradition, Virgil Voth will be offering his coffee arts for those needing a little pep in your game play!

11807623_1038776876141676_4335606248682788565_oAt around noon, we will gather for a bbq potluck in the picnic area. ***New this year will be a SUNDAE BAR!***  We will have a couple of grills going, so bring some meat to grill for your family and a side dish to share.  We will provide the rest. 11838963_1038791389473558_2298414748802809878_o

As for attire, wear your play cloths (young and old alike).  Bring a hat, sunglasses, and protective lotion for the sun!  Anyone planning to enjoy the Slip & Slide should bring a bathing suit.  You may also want a lawn chair to take a break in or eat your lunch.

Let’s worship our God through playing together at SFC! See you this Sunday!