Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.14.13

Grace Waves

Make us worthy, Lord, to serve all persons throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger.  Give them through our hands this their daily bread and by our understanding give love and peace and joy.  —Mother Teresa

Dear Members of Peace,

It was a delight to worship with you last Sunday and have the opportunity to celebrate the internship partnership between PLTS and Peace. It was my personal joy to connect with many of you who knew the late Chaplain Norman Behrmann and supported his ministry in a variety of ways. His memory is honored through Brock’s unique internship at Peace and the Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin. 

As I reported on Sunday, we have already received $8,000 in grants, with additional funds coming through the Norman Behrmann Memorial Fund at PTLS.  My heart was warmed as many of you were asking how to contribute to this internship.  Checks made out to Peace with “Internship” on the memo line will make it possible for this venture to be fully funded.  The ministry at Peace is a wonderful setting for Brock’s vocational growth. I witnessed this first hand last Sunday, both in the Sunday worship and the personal interactions after services.

Thank you, Pr. Steve, for your supervision.  Thank you, members of the Intern’s Lay Committee, for your investment of time. Thank you, members of Peace, for opening your ministry and your lives as a place of learning and serving for our seminarians. 

Every blessing on your ministry, 

The Rev. Donna DuensingRetired Director of Contextual EducationPacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

Inequality–Why is there a Wolf at the Door:  Our thanks to Ron Elsdon for his presentation in worship and at our Forum.  It is valuable to receive such a clear and cohesive view of the inequitable crises facing our nation and world.  It is also empowering as people of faith to learn how we might engage in creative, compassionate and committed ways.  And appreciation to Linda Elsdon for her presentation on the Realities of Hunger in our community and country.  Our Wake Up time is long overdue.  Cuts by Congress to the SNAP program which impact the most vulnerable are cruel and irresponsible.  We will continue to act in solidarity with Bread for the World / www.bread@bread.org with whom we have been a Covenant Church for decades.  Thanks to all of you signed letters on behalf of the hungry this past Sunday.

Thanksgiving Sing Along:  This Sunday, November 17 at 4:30 pm all are invited to join Gary in the Gathering Hall for a joyful, seasonal sing along.  Bring edible goodies with you too!

November Forums:

  • November 17 –  Stewarding our Gifts.
  • November 24 –  Spiritual Nurture for Children: Come learn and converse this week with Charlene McPherson about the spiritual nurture of our children through Sunday School education and Children’s Time.  This is a critical time in their lives for spiritual formation.

Veterans Day:  In the eight years since the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom until the end of 2011, 4,480 US troops died in Iraq.  This is a figure commonly cited in the US media.  A figure we might not have heard is the following:  4, 471 Iraqi civilians died as a result of ongoing violence in 2012 alone.The Veterans Holiday is one of mixed emotions:  gratitude for those who have risked their lives and yet we know over 2/3 of the deaths in war zones today are of civilians; the treatment vets receive on their return home is despicable (lack of medical care, homelessness, depression and despair – read ‘Thank You for Your Service’ by Frankel; and most troubling is the reality that veteran suicide totals back home in the US are greater than the number of those who died in combat.   After 12 years of working with Vets organizing the Stand Downs (a resource rich 4 day temporary Camp for Veterans), I have personally witnessed the destruction of so many men who are praised as heroes and discarded as worthless.  War making (the Pentagon now outsources 69% of its business) and Arms Sales not only make extravagant profits but are creating what some analysts see as a permanent war economy.  Meanwhile the destruction of the poor continues as President Eisenhower made clear more than 50 years ago, “every bomb produced deprives the hungry of food”.  The terrible suffering of war never discourages people from participating when they believe they are serving a noble cause.  WWI was “the war to end all wars” — now we look back and see that war as quaint compared with our destructive capacities today.  Perhaps it is time to utilize the ‘weapons of the Spirit’ as our scriptures began encouraging us a long time ago.

Clothing Exchange—A Holiday Event for the Women of Peace:  Nette and Elana have proposed a Clothes Exchange at Peace on Sunday, November 24.  It is designed quite simply:  Bring a couple nice items to church and spend the Hospitality Hour swapping clothes and jewelry you no longer wear.  That way, we could all bring something home that would be new for us in time for the Holiday Season—without spending any cash.  It’s  like shopping without a card…!

Keep in your prayers:  the people of the Philippines, Margaret Bender, Lance, Ari, Annie, friends with dementia, the people of Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Shoe Box Ministry:  Several women met at Nette’s home this past Wednesday to pack all the shoe boxes for shipment and enjoy each other’s company.  Thanks to all who have contributed and remember all the children whose earthly possessions can fit in one shoe box.

Be sure to check out these new articles by Peace Members on our website:

Hunger is a Cold Fire
Let us sit down soon to eat with all those who haven’t eaten

Let us spread great tablecloths

Put salt in the lakes of the world

Set up planetary bakeries

Tables with strawberries in snow

And a plate like the moon itself

From which we can all eat –

For now I ask no more than the justice of eating.

—Pablo Neruda

Blessings,  Pr. Steve