Summer arrives this week which for many of us offers a break in routine. The grill comes out, our gardens are in full bloom and the beach or mountains call. As you enter into the rhythms of summer, look for God moments. God moments are those glimpses into the transcendent. These glimpses often occur when we least expect it. They could be in the beauty of a perfect rose, the laughter of a child, the glimmer of the sky on a star soaked night. Time stops as you capture a glimpse of eternity. Where will you glimpse eternity this summer?
Please hold the Adult Mission Trip in your prayers. They are on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
This Sunday is our last worship service before Union Services begin. The service will be led by the worship team with John Swanson as preacher.
It has rained a ton this spring and that may be an understatement. Even though we've had more cloudy days than sunny, I'm glad for the longer days, the returning birds and the green. Look at those lawns! (I no longer mow....) Look at the unfurling leaves and flowers! Look at the trees! Its one of the greenest springs I remember. There is something about all this wet, messy, new life that brings me joy.
Our Annual Meeting is May 19th. We will celebrate the completion of another year here at the Highlands and approve the budget for next year. A budget represents the ministries of the church, and its approval represents your support for the ministries here-the Sunday School, outreach, community building, worship and faith formation, building upkeep, etc. We hope all our members and friends will attend our potluck as we celebrate the program year soon ending and anticipate the year to come. Childcare will be provided.
Please bring a main dish, salad or dessert to share. I'm looking forward to this time together.
Blessings, Rev. Beth
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. Luke 24:13-16
Just imagine being those two men! As they walk along on the very first Easter Day, the risen Jesus comes along and walks with them on the road to Emmaus. The two are filled with sorrow and frustration as they discuss the events of the past few days. Jesus meets them where they are – on the road, amid their journey, right in the middle of all the pain, frustration, and fear that threatens to overwhelm them. Jesus listens to them as he walks all the way home with them. But they don’t recognize him until they are together around the table where bread is broken.
We are living in times that seem fraught with uncertainty and a diminished value in human rights. Just like those men on the journey to Emmaus, I have often found that I don’t recognize the Risen One until long after an event has passed. Perhaps it was the helping hand that came, the door that opened, the way that appeared when it seemed no way was possible but until I gain some distance, I’m not able to see what so clearly was the presence of God. Most recently, I am finding that as we come together in this place, in community, we find connection. Its together in this community, as we share in the broken bread, sing the hymns, do the outreach, struggle for justice and care for one another that we come to experience the presence of the Risen One among us. This presence gives us the courage to stand up for justice and be the light and love so needed in our world.
Please take a look at our Holy Week and Easter schedule which is found on the back-side of this letter. We begin the week at the Peace Pole on Palm Sunday with a blessing of the palms and palm procession into worship. On Maundy Thursday, we join our brothers and sisters at First Congo for a service of Tenebrae. On Good Friday, we experience the passion with a walk on our Labyrinth in Fellowship Hall. Joy comes on Easter day with a sunrise service at Mt. Hood and our own celebration of the Resurrection on Easter day.
May you and your family have a blessed and joyful Easter!
Rev. Beth Horne
This week was hard. Really hard. I had not intended to watch the hearings but it was on. Everywhere. My heart breaks for all those women I know who now have come forward with their stories. The courage that I have witnessed this week gives me hope for the future.
I pray for our culture. I pray for men and women to work together to end sexual violence and all the norms within our culture that support it. I know many good people working in this area, and I see so many who are raising strong and compassionate sons and daughters.
My heart breaks for our deeply divided nation. My heart breaks. It breaks for this nation that I love. Where oh where do we go from here?
And yet, when I take a deep breath, I do trust that a way will come. It will take the people of good heart and faith to restore us as a nation. I trust God will guide us.
I pray for courage for each of us.
Last June, our Senior Youth Group took a mission trip to a little town called Glendora. We played with the local children, ran their after-school program, built a house and dug a foundation. But there was so much more. The twenty-six youth from our youth group are amazing young people-caring, hard working, flexible. Please come and hear their stories.
On Saturday, September 29th, local musicians celebrate fall by hosting their first Porchfest. Our Praise Band will play on one of the porches!
Behind the scenes at the Highlands are many teams doing the ministries of the church. When you participate in a team you are doubly blessed. You do the work of the church and you meet and work with amazing people. You are invited to join any of the teams below. Please let Rev. Beth know if you have questions.
Sunday School Team-meets September 28th at 11:30 A.M. Teachers, volunteers and staff plan and prepare for the coming month.
Service and Outreach Team-meets October 3rd at 7:30 P.M. to explore "Service Saturday" and upcoming service and outreach ministries.
Membership and Growth Team-meets October 17th at 7 P.M. to check in on coffee hour and other welcoming ministries and to consider a dinner or social event for this winter.
Building and Grounds Team-next meeting TBD. Sometimes they are just too busy to meet and this was a busy summer for this team. They painted the sanctuary, removed some trees but still have some painting and landscaping for this fall. Could you help?
Finance Team Team-next meeting TBD. Are you good with numbers and budgets? Join this team.
Middle School and High School Youth Group
Middle School Youth Group contact Janille Hartung at firstname.lastname@example.org.
High School Youth Group contact Kent Vienot at email@example.com.
Contact Julie Fauvel with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Sunday School registration is on-going. Please register at: Sunday School Registration
More snow. And yet, the snow drops are blooming and a few crocuses have braved the cold to open. Spring is two weeks away. Hold that thought!
The prayer vigil for the victims of the Florida shooting has been rescheduled to Wednesday, March 14th at 7 pm on the front lawn of First Baptist Church, 561 Main Street, Melrose. If the weather is inclement, the vigil will take place inside the church.
Pastor Katie Omberg
Katie Omberg is MHCC’s new interim pastor! She joined MHCC in March 2022.