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The Phoenix Flamings

Phoenix Community Church UCC
Friday, April 2, 2021

A progressive Christian experience...
Welcoming and affirming the LGBTQ community...

As a spiritual community following Jesus Christ we are called by the Holy Spirit:
  • To create meaningful, inclusive Community;
  • To be God’s voice and hands in Service to our neighbors and Creation;
  • To be a Witness of God’s love in and for the world;
  • To deepen our relationship with the Divine through Worship.

Food For Thought

This Holy Week is already drawing to a close. Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, the observance of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem when Jesus paraded into the city in mockery of the Roman authorities who also would have been parading into the city in a show of power before the Jewish feast of Passover. In my sermon I asked us not to rush through this week to get to the joyous ending of resurrection. Not even an ending, really, but a new beginning. 
 

In his parade into Jerusalem Jesus offered an alternative to the Roman way of violence and oppression. Jesus offered us God’s way, a path of love and justice where we treat each other with love and respect. But, as we know from Jesus’ story, that path can also be risky. It requires not only love but courage because we know what happens when authority is challenged. It digs in and fights back.
 

Today we reach the low point in the story of Jesus’ last week. Tonight we’ll gather online to once again hear the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial and execution – the consequences of challenging the powers of his day. We’ll sit with the pain and injustice while acknowledging pain and injustice in our own time. And we’ll ask God and ourselves: Why? Why did Jesus suffer? Why do so many people suffer today? But we won’t rush to a happy ending. We won’t offer any easy answers.
 

On the other hand, we’re not going to ignore or run from the pain and suffering, either. We’re going to face it. I find Good Friday especially powerful when we stop to acknowledge the evil and problems in our world, when we name that which we need to overcome in order to find new life in resurrection. When we face evil, when we name it, it begins to lose its power over us. And we have the advantage of knowing that death doesn’t prevail. We know what’s coming on Easter Sunday. We know that in the end nothing is more powerful than the love of God.
 

Blessings,
Rev. Ken Arthur
 

P.S. The sermon from Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021, “Making a Statement,” can be viewed along with recordings of other past sermons at https://phoenixchurch.org/home/phx-sermons/.

 

Good Friday Worship is tonight at 8pm via Zoom. We cannot afford to ignore the darkness in our world. This service recounts the tragedy of the last hours of Jesus' life through scripture and music while modern readings remind us of the evil and despair that still exists in our world today. This evening we will sit with the darkness, yearning for the light that returns Easter Sunday. Here is the Zoom connection info (This is different than Sunday worship. Contact the church office if you would like the connection info for Sundays):

Join Zoom Meeting :
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81301926547?pwd=T2liSkhLNGFvS3lGMWdHb1VDb0dRUT09

Meeting ID: 813 0192 6547 
Passcode: 096803 
 

Some folks are gay, what does the Bible say?” We recorded the Zoom gathering hosted on March 24, 2021 by our Open and Affirming Mission Team. It can be viewed at https://youtu.be/d60tRxfv4O8. There are several short presentations, each followed by a short question and answer period. Topics covered include how we understand and interpret scriptures, scriptures that are commonly used against LGBTQ people and scriptures that suggest an unconditional and affirming welcome. The slides from this presentation can be found in PDF format at http://www.phoenixchurch.org under the "Resources" menu.
 

The Spirit Talk discussion group meets via Zoom at 7 pm EST on the first and third Mondays of the month for an open discussion regarding topics related to spirituality. The next meeting is Monday, April 5. Please contact the church office for the Zoom info if you would like to join in the discussions.
 

Steering Committee’s next meeting is Friday, April 9, at 7 pm via Zoom. Anyone is welcome to attend. The connection information is the same as for Sunday worship.
 

The ONA (Open & Affirming) Team will meet on Tuesday, April 13, at 1 pm via Zoom. Anyone is welcome to attend. The connection information is the same as for Sunday worship.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are not ready to re-start in-person services yet (but that time might be getting close!). Our Steering Committee continues to re-evaluate on a monthly basis. In the meantime, continue to keep in touch with each other via phone, text, etc. and be sure to join us for Sunday Worship online! Thank you for your continued patience and support!
 

Pastor’s office hours are now by appointment until further notice. Meeting via phone, FaceTime or Zoom is preferred. In-person meetings will only be considered in emergency situations.

 

Covid-19 Information: For those in Kalamazoo County, here is a helpful link from the county Health Services:https://www.kalcounty.com/hcs/covid19.php.

 

Please remember the churches and people of the Southwest Association, Michigan Conference, United Church of Christ, in your prayers.

For April please remember:

  • First Congregational Church, Athens, MI.

  • St. Paul’s UCC, Watervliet, MI, and Pastor Dani Veenstra

  • Michigan Conference Staff: Rev. Calandra Nevenzel, SWA Minister; Rev. Phil Hart, interim conference minister; Rev. Cheryl Burke, Associate Conference Minister for Church Vitality; Ms. Lisa Soulliere, Executive Administrative Assistant; Ms. Merrilyn Vaughn- Hoffman, Search & Call Coordinator; Ms. Jennifer Ringgold, program associate for youth ministries; Rev. Jodi Betten, UNA ACM; Rev. Ruth Fitzgerald GWA ACM; Rev. Dr. Coni Simon, DMA ACM.

Also remember and pray:

  • For victims of racism and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

  • For those who live in privilege, that we may have the courage and compassion to fight racism

  • For those who are ill, whether it be Coronavirus or another ailment

  • For those in at-risk categories such as the aged and those with compromised immune systems

  • For caregivers, health care workers, and the hospitals and organizations they work for

  • For those that work in situations where they are at heightened risk from Coronavirus

  • For all of us as we navigate the questions and issues of living through a pandemic

  • For students, teachers, school staff, and parents in the midst of a pandemic

  • For all whose employment has been affected by the pandemic

  • For our leaders, that they may act wisely and compassionately for the good of all

  • For the future of our nation, that we may be united in compassion for each other

  • For the victims and perpetrators of violence

If you would also like to make a personal prayer request to be included in the Flamings, please email the request to office@phoenixchurch.org. Do not include information unless it is ok to make it public.

 

Worship begins at 6:00 pm on Sundays via Zoom. While we’re meeting online communion will be observed every Sunday. If you wish to participate, have something to eat and drink with you as we gather together online. Sermons will be posted online on Friday with a short summary and discussion time during Sunday worship. Check https://phoenixchurch.org/home/phx-sermons/ for new reflections and to view older ones.

 

Phoenix Community Church UCC
2208 Winchell Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Phone: 269-383-3222

Office Email: office@phoenixchurch.org

Web Site: http://www.phoenixchurch.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PhoenixChurch  
 

Help support the church: If you would like to donate to the church, checks can be mailed to the church office or you may visit our website and click on the "Give" button in the right hand column or visit https://tithe.ly/give?c=2821191.
 

Peer Ministers for 2021 are Linda Cross, Arlene Scholfield, and Marvel Spencer. Please contact a peer minister if you need assistance or just a listening ear.

 

Also see our online calendar at: https://phoenixchurch.org/home/calendar/. Most events are currently being held online via Zoom. Note that if you don’t have a computer, you can also call in to Zoom on a phone (connection or long distance charges from your phone service may apply). If you need the connection information for an event contact the church for more information.
 

Recurring Events

Sundays, 6 pm: Worship

1st and 3rd Mondays, 7 pm: Spirit Talk (open discussion)

Thursdays, 6:30 pm: White Privilege Discussion (through April 29). Regular book study will resume on May 13.

One-Time Events

Friday, April 2: 8 pm, Good Friday worship

Friday, April 9: 7 pm, Steering Committee

Tuesday, April 13: 1 pm, ONA Team Meeting

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