Conference Connection: Silverton (continued)
After Christmas, we use the parsonage for worship to save money on propane to heat the church. We move back to the sanctuary at Easter.
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We are very active in supporting our community. We collect a loose change/mission offering every month. Six of them are in support of RMC and UCC funds and we are a 5 for 5 congregation. The other six offering are for community related needs. Examples are the Silverton Youth Center, Silverton Public School, and an individual who had brain surgery and had no health insurance. A proud achievement was last November when the UCC was doing Mission 1 to raise funds and awareness for world hunger. We decided to support the Silverton Food Bank and formed a partnership with the 2nd and 3rd graders in the Silverton School. The students sponsored a food donation contest at the school, while the church raised cash funds as well as food donations. The challenge to the Silverton community was 500 lbs of food and $500. The end result was almost 700 pounds of food and $777.14 in cash! This spring, with community assistance, we raised $1800 for a Silverton School graduate, whose family is without resources to assist her, to help with her college expenses. She had scholarships and loans for tuition and books, but needed assistance with things like clothes, dorm setup, vehicle, all those things that make for a successful entry into college. She is attending the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
We also sponsor a number of community events which are held in our sanctuary. Examples are a fund raising concert for the music program at the Silverton School, a free community concert by the San Juan College (New Mexico) Community Band, and the annual community Easter egg hunt (sometime held outside if the weather cooperates!)
Our part-time pastor retired at the end of 2011, and we now are a totally lay led congregation. We have a worship leadership team of 8 people who share the responsibilities of worship planning and lead services. We have a wonderfully diverse group of musicians and singers who add their talents to our worship services. David Popham, Associate Conference Minister visited with us in June to discuss options for search and call for a new pastor. The congregation made the decision at our August congregational meeting to not pursue calling another part-time pastor at the present time and to continue with lay leadership. David continues to be a support person for us and we appreciate his advice and friendship very much.
If you are enjoying our mountains on a Sunday morning, we invite you to worship with us!
Ann Bolson's Speech at Evergreen (continued)
I’d like to begin by thanking Rabbi Jamie Arnold and Neshama Mousseau for their wonderful efforts in making this day happen. Rain, snow or shine, they are on the ball.
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Barbara Baylor, Minister for Health Care Justice in the UCC has helped me with history and details, Rev. Tom Rehling of the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Church of Christ stands behind the program of which we speak today, as does the Metro Denver Association of which Wild Rose is a part. We urge all clergy to sign up to endorse Michelle Obama’s program found on the Let’s Move Faith and Communities website.
As early as 1985, the United Church of Christ adopted a statement on health. We vowed go engage in preventive health education and to nurture personal responsibility for health maintenance. The church’s mission is advocacy for full and just access to health and human services for all.
Wild Rose Church participated in the first lady’s 3 million mile walk across the nation last year and our denomination submitted over 250,000 walking miles from congregations across the country. Wild Rose Church offered, to the public, a book study of Hungry for Change, about food, ethics and sustainability. We co-hosted a film called “The Dark Side of Chocolate” about child slavery in the harvesting of cocoa beans.
I’d like to praise now the community of Evergreen, CO. You see, I live very close to the high school, and I’m aware in so many ways of what wonderful students live here. It echoes what Linda Sosa just said about how our children will be our teachers.
When the weather is warm, I sit on my back deck and watch dozens of young athletes run in my neighborhood. Sometimes they run sprint trials up very steep hills, sometimes they run distance. They sweat, they pant, they laugh, they gasp. They encourage one another, and throw their arms around flagging friends. It is a beautiful thing to behold.
Even when the weather is cold and the skies are dark and with evening stars, I step out on either of my decks to hear the amazing music of the Cougars Marching Band. I’ve hiked up to watch them perform as well. In that I’m a musician myself, I can tell that these students have got a sound. What I lift up today about the Evergreen HS band students is their incredible discipline. A band does not sound like they sound without an awfully lot of dedication and discipline.
The third feature of Evergreen kids will be amplified next Friday when the second annual diversity day happens. Yes, we are a very white community, and probably many of the students are straight and not gay, and many of them are non-churched or Christian. But next Friday, and throughout the year, they will have great opportunities to find out how other folks live and what other folks believe. Each year they learn more inclusivity and compassion. I would also like to point out to all who hear or read these words that the Evergreen High School cheerleading squad included a Down Syndrome student long before this idea was written into the popular television series “Glee.”
What does all of this have to do with “Let’s Move Faith and Communities?” It is this: Exercise programs require encouragement to stay the course. Will a friend walk with you? Your dog would love to walk with you! Might a friend contract with you for accountability to help motivate you for self-discipline? Finally, can you find tolerance and compassion for yourself, even if you are terribly out of shape physically? I pray that the answer to all of these questions may be YES! And this prayer is for children of all ages, even 110 years of age.
- Rev. Ann Bolson
Empowering the Small Church (continued)
The conference resulted from a shared vision of Judy Baillie, Jean Parry and the Rev. Jeannine Lamb of Christ Congregational UCC in Pueblo. The vision was born as the result of many conversations and experiences at the RMC UCC Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah (2011). They believed that not only was there a need for conversation but also training and sharing of the experiences of the small churches. This vision began to take shape and was shared with the Conference Minister; the Rev. Dr. Tom Rehling who was supportive of their idea.
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The program was built through feedback elicited from the small churches themselves. Two dynamic speakers provided not only food for thought and conversation but also tools to share with the congregations. Mr. Don Davis addressed leadership styles, identifying each person’s own style and how it affects working together in the small church. Dr. Barbara Medina helped to explore how to talk together, while affirming different perspectives and prioritizing efforts. She helped clarify the need to share and understand the ministry of both lay leaders and pastors in small churches.
The small church conference laid the groundwork for networking, sharing resources and developing support among the churches. Many exciting things are happening in these churches. CCUCC averages around 22 in worship on Sunday morning. The congregation of CCUCC working together, eliciting help from family and friends, and the willingness of these committed folks to travel to Pueblo(some over 9 hours) shows all of us the amazing things our God can do!
We also want to express our gratitude to the RMC-UCC Board of Directors for their financial support of $500 and to those of you who gave to the special offering at the Annual Meeting in Fort Morgan. The registration was free for the first participant and $50 for as many as could come from the same church. All meals were provided and some home hosting was available. The financial support helped to make it possible.
It was said from the beginning that we wanted to “continue the conversation”. Our feedback said that we accomplished that goal and more. The overwhelming response from the participants was to meet again next year. We have more to share with one another and hope to continue the conversation on other important topics. Reports, plans and connections are underway. Stay tuned!
- Rev. Jeannine Lamb
Reach Beyond Mission (continued)
Youth will have the opportunity to volunteer at numerous metropolitan area non-profits working with the homeless, low-income families, children, people with disabilities and the elderly. Speakers, age-appropriate activities, and discussion starters to help young people explore the biblical, theological, economic, social, and political issues related to poverty are provided. We provide a life-changing experience while giving youth the tools to work for long-term social justice.
Lodging is in a local church or school and food is provided. Evening meals are prepared by participants. Two trained young adults serve as hosts, coordinators, and mentors to youth. This theologically progressive program is targeted to United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, and Alliance Baptists. All are welcomed, regardless of race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Participants provide their own transportation.
Time: June 18-21, 2013 and June 23-28, 2013 in Houston;
July 7-12, 2013 and July 14-19, 2013 in Austin
Group Size: 50 maximum per week
Minimum Age: Completed 6th Grade
Maximum Age: Completed 12th Grade
Cost: $285 per person per week
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