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The Messenger: May 2017

May 4, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  // 

To read more, click here: MAY 2017


Apr 6, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  // 

I’m finding this article surprisingly difficult to write, knowing this will be my last one for the Messenger. At 4½ years, my time at Forest Hill has been exceptionally lengthy for an Interim Ministry, the longest appointment I’ve had in the nearly 2
decades I’ve been working in this designated category of ministry. Those of us in the wider church who supported giving this extended time period a try wanted to see if that would help the congregation stabilize the shifts made.

I can see the difference. Can you see the difference? Forest Hill has faced difficult Truth and challenges, grown in faith and respect for one another, and become a more Missional, Sustainable Ministry as we’ve worked with the Holy Currencies and around the Cycle of Blessings introduced to us by Eric Law.

This afternoon the new photo directory arrived. Sheryl Fischer was over-the-moon excited. A huge debt of gratitude is owed to her for the incredible job she did – and for the sheer volume of Time and work she put into it!

As I’ve looked through it at your faces – some already gone and others to be added – I’ve been thinking of what
you’ve offered to this congregation over the time I’ve been here: the many gifts, new and strengthened Gracious
Leadership, and a changed ethos. Thank you to every one who has risked, stepped up, or tried something new.

For me, the arrival of the directory is a symbol of your readiness for the new ministry team.

I am pleased to be passing the mantel to Rev. Gary Clark, whom I know, and to whomever is selected from the pool of excellent applicants for the part-time position.

Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter are just ahead. The message of God working in darkness and shadow to birth new beginnings is one you know experientially. The stone of the tomb has been rolled away and Risen Life has sprung forth! The word to the believers then is, “Go and tell!” So, Forest Hill is called to live out your faith in your Relationships with one another and the community.

It’s time, almost, to say goodbye, though I’m sad to be doing so. One of the downsides of Interim Ministry is that when a congregation has developed to a Place of Wellness, it’s time for me to move on. Since many have asked, No, I do not know where I am going, but I rarely do as I am finishing somewhere.

Blessings on you and may you be a blessing. Take care of each other!


The Messenger: April 2017

Apr 6, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  // 

To see more, click here: APR 2017

The Messenger: March 2017

Mar 5, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  // 

To see more, click here: MAR 2017

Alternate Reality

Mar 5, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  // 

The season of Lent in the Christian Church has begun. Colleagues and I were talking today about how most in the
United Church make a bigger deal about pancakes than we do about Ash Wednesday . Face it, most of us don’t
fast, would be self-conscious about having ashes on our foreheads, and don’t ground our theology in language of
sin and death. A few of us may follow the Lenten tradition of giving something up for Lent, like alcohol or chocolate or dessert, but that might be as much about weight loss as Lenten discipline.
What meaning does Lent have for us then? Even if most of the ancient practices aren’t ones that engage us, we can look for ones that do. I still like the notion of Lent as a time for self-examination, though not in the traditional sense of reflecting on sin. At the point where New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside, Lent invites us to renewal. However, because it’s a root-ed in faith, we have the resources of faith to guide us.
To me, Lent is an invitation to step back and to change things up. If you’re too busy, try making some time for meditation. Start with just 5 minutes. Set a timer. Counter-intuitively, meditation gives us more time as we become better both at focusing and at discerning what matters.
If you have too much time on your hands, maybe there’s no better to time to start volunteering. Don’t step-up just because someone is needed for something. Start with figuring out what matters to you. Then what you’re doing will have meaning and give you energy.
What use are you making of your precious life? There’s no better time than Lent to reflect on that question and to take a first little step toward change – which is the actual meaning of the Greek word, metanoia, that gets translated in the Bible as “repentance”. In fact those biblical passages, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near,” (Matthew 4: 17, for example) would be more accurately translated, “Change your heart, for the spiritual realm is readily available.” To me, that makes a lot more sense.
May Lent be for you a time of reflection, change, spiritual deepening, and renewal.

Ready. Set. Go!

Jan 27, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  // 

When a congregation knows not only that a new minister is coming but also who it is, there can be a temptation to sit back
and wait. Wait! Don’t do that! Gary intends to hit the ground running and I hope you’ll be ready for the track meet.
[A disclaimer: While I’m an Olympics junkie, apart from that week every four years I don’t follow track and field – so if you’re a fan, forgive my sloppy analogy.] What’s your event? Something short and quick or one where endurance is
required? 100 metres or 3K, hurdles, high jump or long jump, shot put, javelin or discus?
“Being a Christian is not a spectator sport! Being a Christian means running the race, doing the work, being involved!”
Athletes work hard and train, start with small, local events, and push themselves to achieve more. Why do we think that being a Christian isn’t work or is easier? What the Apostle Paul says to the Christians in Corinth is this:
“Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.”
[I Corinthians 9: 24 – 25]
It troubles me when Christians think their place is in the stands. While that may be okay at the track, it’s not an option in the church. Being a Christian is not a spectator sport! Being a Christian means running the race, doing the work, being involved!
Maybe you’re not an athlete. That’s okay. There are other skills that are required too: race officials and coaches, judges and groundskeepers, and a myriad of others whose participation is essential.
What is your contribution to the team at Forest Hill going to be? We need people to make phone calls, soup, or music; to knit or to chat with those learning English; to help with finances or with newcomers getting to know others; to visit people who don’t get out and to teach children. Yes, these activities and lots more go on here. Or, perhaps, you have an idea of your own for a project you’d like to see happen – not something for someone else to do, but something you want to do yourself.
Tell a Council member – our pictures are in the foyer – that you’d like to be involved and what you’re good at or interested in. You don’t need to wait to be asked. Let us know your idea and what help you need to get started.
Forest Hill is at the starting line. The moment of truth is ahead. Ready! Set! Go!

The Messenger: February 2017

Jan 27, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  // 

To Read More Click Here: FEB 2017

JNAC Report June 2016

Jan 26, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  // 

To Read More Click Here:   JNAC final report

God is Everyday

Jan 3, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  // 

To make sure you have everything that’s coming up on your calendar – Christmas services, office closure, and Aloha for Katharine – the January Messenger is being sent out early. That gives me an opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas.
Our hearts are touched by the message of the timeless story. God is seen in the extraordinary, yes, but more amazingly in the everyday:
 A man and a woman have had a long journey and are looking for a place to stay.
 A baby is born – and God is with us.
 Celestial angels and lowly shepherds are both divine messengers.
 An unusual star lights the way for Eastern astrologers.
If we limit God’s presence and activity to miracles only, we might miss where God is and what God is up to.
But when we learn to see God in the ordinary people and events of life, that’s where we discover innumerable miracles. It takes courage to see God there and to pay attention.
In the ordinary and extraordinary moments of Christmas this year, may you look around, and up and within, and know God-is-with-us, Emmanuel.
I wish you and your loved ones blessings, insight, and peace this Christmas and through the New Year.

The Messenger: January 2017

Jan 3, 2017   //   by admin   //   News  // 

To Read More Click Here: JAN 2017