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The Redemption of Scrooge

Night Song – December 10

Saturday, December 10; doors at 6:30 pm; show at 7 pm
Join us for a special holiday evening of music with acoustic acts Pepper Proud, Nick Drummond and March to May. This concert is non-religious, but will take place at All Pilgrim’s Christian Church, in the main cathedral space, which has phenomenal acoustics and will have soft, candlelight. We are all very  excited to share this night with you and hope our music will lift you up and inspire you as we move into 2017.

MTM

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“The Long Night” Movie Screening w/ Q&A

 

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Join us this Friday evening, November 18 at 7:30 pm in the Chapel for a screening of “The Long Night”, a documentary filmed in South Seattle and Renton about teenage girls lured into prostitution, and kept there by pimps who cause them to become addicted or threaten them with harm. A representative from Seattle Against Slavery will join us for a discussion after the movie. If this scourge is to be stopped, it must receive the full light of day. Too little is known or discussed about this growing problem that so devastatingly impacts innocent lives and promising futures.

Holiday Happenings @ APCC

– brought to you by the Hospitality Team

Hanging of the Greens –  Sunday November 20 following worship
The hospitality team is looking for a few able-bodied folks to assist with preparing the sanctuary for     Advent.

The First Sunday of Advent: every household will be given a copy of the Upper Room to help support you as we move through the season of Advent.

Tree Decorating & Lunch in Stuart Hall – Saturday December 3 from 12-2pm
All are invited and encouraged to come for a sandwich bar, side dishes, cookies, hot chocolate, and hot cider. We will enjoy eating lunch, Christmas music, trimming the tree, and decorating Stuart Hall. Come and be a part of creating a beautiful area for our church home.

Target Gift Cards for Residents at the Carolyn W – The Carolyn W is a supervised independent living program on Capitol Hill for persons with mental health issues. The Carolyn W. is also home to our Cookie Ministry; a program which provides fresh baked cookies and companionship to its residents on the third Tuesday of every month. In keeping with the holiday spirit, we would like to provide a gift card in the amount of $10 to each of the 44 residents. To make a donation, please see Stephan Gerhardt or Twila Meeks on or before Sunday, December 11.

From the Desk of Pastor Greg

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This morning we woke up to the shocking reality of our nation’s decision to elect Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States of America. In the many communications that I’ve had with people in these few hours, fear, real fear, appears as an overwhelming, underlying experience and expression.

Below, United Church of Christ leadership speak to this and our call as followers of Jesus:
“Mr. Trump was able to win this election in spite of clear evidence from him of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, and Islamaphobia.This was so blatant that many of his own party’s leaders could not endorse him.Many who voted for him knew this, and yet their fears about what is happening in their lives overrode their distaste for his bombast. …He must now lead a country where people of color, women, Muslims, immigrants, the disabled, and an LGBT community all feel the sting and impact of his public speech.”

And, from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Minister and President, Rev. Sharon Watkins:
“No matter who won the election, today we Disciples were still going to be, and still are, a pro-reconciling/anti-racist church. We are still a church that works tirelessly, led by Disciples women (clergy and lay), to end human trafficking. We are still a church that welcomes more refugees and immigrants than almost any other compared to our size. We are still a church seeking to offer grace and welcome to LGBTQ brothers and sisters. We are still a church that learns from and shares with Christian and interfaith partners around the globe. We are still a church that seeks to walk lightly on this earth, knowing that ‘all of creation waits for revealing of the children of God.’” (Rom. 8:19).

As for me, my mind goes to the early church of the first two centuries, living amidst the Roman Empire. It was a context in which polytheism was the norm. Roman culture had many gods that were believed to be involved in every aspect of life, needing sacrifice and service in order to be pleased. As people gave their lives in these acts of devotion, it shaped them. The followers of Jesus, though, proclaimed one God. This was a great threat in that place and time. A son or daughter, neighbor or friend, husband or wife may come home and no longer sacrifice or serve Roma, the god of Rome, or Saturn, the god of agriculture, and any other. To displease the gods, it was believed, could make them angry and have impact on crops or the city or the social order or whatever other area of life. People believed their lives dependent upon the gods of Rome, and the Christian commitment to serve the One God was a threat as it made them, their worldview, and their actions different than the dominant culture.

Today, November 9, 2016, is a day that we, a people of faith, recognize our call to serve the one God of the Gospel of Jesus, a homeless carpenter mystic. Our faith and lives are not to be oriented above anything else, including the gods of nationalism, patriotism, economic pursuits and systems, family structures, philosophies, supremacy fantasies, or any other potential idol that calls for our devotion and following in pursuit of some personal benefit. Larry Hurtado is a scholar who specializes in studying the ancient Church and ancient writings. He, nor his peers, have ever been able to find any writing beyond Judaic and Christian writings in that early period that spoke of any gods to be of love, act with love, or call to love. This God and their understanding and devotion made early followers of Jesus different. That is the way of our God! In this and all times, including those of fear and uncertainty, on God’s love and life we may depend. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5) We are to become even more of who the God of the Gospel of Jesus calls us to be in this divided, fractured, harmful world as we serve the One God above all else.Together, we will love God, one another, ourselves, and the whole of the human family. That is our call. From friends to enemies, we will express the love of God, and this will continue to give us security and hope and new life. God loves you, I love you, and we are held together by the love of God in and through one another. We will travel this journey, together, and in doing so we will be strong and we will become buoyant with hope.

Let us shine brighter in this and all the days to come that we may continue being a movement of wholeness in this broken world!

Peace,
Greg

InterSpiritual Celebration

30th Annual
InterSpiritual Celebration of Diversity: the Music of Thanksgivingif-music-at-thanksgiving
Sunday, November 20, 2016, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
A cookie and tea reception follows the program

Join us as we:
experience our shared value of gratitude with the diversity of 9 Eastern and Western faith traditions through the rich forms of songs, chants, instrumentals, and movement to warm our hearts with hope as we enter the Holiday season in community!

We are grateful for the creative contributions shared by our neighbors of the following spiritual traditions:
Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, First Peoples, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Sufi

“The Well” — Queen Anne United Methodist Church
1606 5th Avenue West, Seattle, WA  98119
Free!  Family Friendly!
Bring socks for the homeless!

Co-created with Abrahamic Reunion West, Amma’s Seattle Satang, Call of Compassion NW, Interfaith Amigos, Interfaith Community Sanctuary,
Khalsa Gurmat School, Mevlana Sufi Ensemble, Mother Africa, NICO (Northwest Interfaith Community Outreach, Sakya Monestary,
Seattle Baha’I Community, Seattle University/STM, SiSiWiss Medicine Circle, St Patrick Church, The Church Council of Greater Seattle,
The Interfaith Network of WA, The Well/Queen Anne UMC, United Religions Initiative Cooperation Circles and more . . .

Holy Week at All Pilgrims

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A Meaningful Good Friday Service – The Seven Last Words of Christ

Friday, March 25at 7 pm

The All Pilgrims’ Choir presents A Service of Darkness, beautifully and sensitively set by renowned composer, organist, and choir director, Dale Wood.

The Tenebrae (Latin for “shadows” or “darkness”) service, dating from the 8th century, is traditionally a service during Holy Week leading up to and including the suffering and death of Jesus.  Candles symbolizing Christ, the Light of the World, are progressively extinguished as seven anthems are sung in response to the seven last words of Jesus. One additional candle remains, indicating that death only seems to triumph over Christ, and points us toward the coming Resurrection.

Washing Our Windows

I recently read a story told by Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Yongey Mingur Rinpoche. The story is a simple illustration that goes like this – Imagine living in a room with one locked window that is so dirty it barely lets in any light. The room remains dimly lit. Movement outside is hard to make out, and even some of the creatures appear frightening as they cast odd shadows. Suppose that one day, after a big storm, a bit of water leaks into the room and down the wall, onto a corner of the window. To dry it, you rub it with a towel. As you do, the dirt comes off and light begins to shine through. Curious, you get more water and begin to clean more of the windows corner, then from there expand and expand until the window is entirely clean. The sunshine floods the room, and the dark and dreary is illuminated and brightened. Out of the window, the strange shapes are seen to be people, just like you, moving about. Inspired by commonality, out the door you go into a “new world” from the “new room.” Only here’s the thing, the world isn’t new or different, nor are the people outside it.

The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly…” Whether mirror or window, either illustration provides something for us to consider. What more is there beyond our current “seeing?” In the illustration of the room, those moving shapes outside and that which is inside remains the same, except for one thing, the window and how it does or does not let in the illuminating light. When the window is cleaned, little by little, perception of the world, inside and out, is seen and experienced differently. For Paul, he also notes that we don’t accurately see that which is before us in the mirror.

During this Lenten season, we recognize the importance of cleaning the window and the personal investment and work it takes to do so. Some have covenanted to read scripture and pray. Some have joined together to sit, pray, and meditate in silence before worship. Some have joined in the meditative practice of viewing the life of a French monastery with following reflection and conversation. Some have accepted a saintly person as a model of faith. Beyond these efforts, there are other spiritual practices people are engaged in.

By our spiritual practices, among other things, we recognize the importance of our being given to the transforming, illuminating Spirit of God. In the room with the dirty window, it is easy to adapt as if that’s all there is. Thoughts, internal conversation, recognition of things as they are as if they are of the limits of possibility is easy to succumb to because it is all we know. Our thoughts and beliefs and ways come to be at home in the room, then one day water drips in and we give a little effort by wiping a towel. From beyond ourselves, light shines and things, while the same, are changed.

Spiritual disciplines are Holy relational investments that move us from self-limited to God-expanding. They open us beyond ourselves with intentionality and devotional openness to God. “God, I windowcleaninggive myself in this time of spiritual practice that more of my window may become clean for you to shine in, that I may see more clearly and relate more dearly.”

Our investment in giving ourselves to the work of the Spirit by consistent spiritual practices cleans our windows. The world and those in it, including ourselves, while very much the same, are seen and experienced differently. With new “seeing,” the possibility for new ways of being and relating are illuminated. Life is different by the light of God.

Some practices to pick up, if looking…

  1. Pick a Gospel and read a story each morning without trying to “figure it out” or analyze it. Just be open to it as it becomes open to you.
  2. Sit with God in a time of silence each day for whatever time you find on the edge of comfort and challenge. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever.

“God, accept me into your heart.” Then, sit, relax, breathe, notice your breathing. Let thoughts appear and let them go, returning to your breath. If you like, add a prayer word that flows on your breathing. Exhale. “Yah…weh”

  1. Take a walk and notice that which you experience without overthinking. See other creatures, human and others, with compassion and kindness.
  2. Lift evening prayers to God.
  3. Give time to self-examination. Without judgment, know your precious self within the grace of God.
  4. ….and more

Happy window washing! – Greg