The Phoenix Flamings

Phoenix Community Church UCC
Friday, January 31, 2020

A progressive Christian experience...
Welcoming and affirming the LGBT 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

We often perceive something lacking in our lives. We want something better, something more than what we’ve got. Perhaps we’re seeking a better job or a romantic interest. But what are we truly looking for? What would fulfill us? Are we seeking love? Peace? Hope? Meaning? A deeper knowledge of ourselves and of God? A sense of belonging? Community? Maybe we are looking for ways to contribute to making the world a better place. Do we even know what we want and need?

If we don’t know what we’re looking for, how do we know we’re looking in the right place? It’s a lot easier to find what we need if we know what it is. So often, we sense a lack in our lives and we try to fill it in the strangest places and in the worst ways. We buy stuff as if how many possessions we have is the answer to all of our unasked questions. Or we turn to alcohol or drugs. Or we seek power or to control other people.

In the gospel of John, Jesus notices two people following him and asks them, “What are you looking for?” and they respond by inquiring about where he lives. How strange! But one answer is that Jesus lives in the kin-dom of God. The kin-dom, however, is not a literal place but a way of life. Is that what they were looking for, a new life? The good news is that Jesus invites them to “come and see” for themselves where he lives. If we are looking for God, for love… if we feel a lack in our lives and want to be fulfilled, then we too are invited to come and see where Jesus lives…

Do we find ourselves falling into despair because of what’s happening in the world and in our country? Or are we also able to see those that are working for justice, that are making a positive difference in the world? Because that’s where Jesus lives – in those that reach out a hand to a stranger in need. Do we take time to look within ourselves? We need to interrupt our thinking heads once in a while to see and feel what is in our hearts. For there also Jesus dwells. I wonder if what we really seek is our true essence. I wonder if what we really want and need is to uncover that gleam of the Divine that lives within each of us.

Perhaps the full answer to what are we looking for is uncovered through the journey. This journey to “come and see” is best taken in community. If you’re looking for people to walk with you and don’t have a spiritual community, you are always welcome at Phoenix Community Church no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey (as we are wont to say in the United Church of Christ). If we seek the kin-dom of God, if we seek a life of hope and peace, a path of justice, then come and see where Jesus dwells. On the path revealed by Jesus we experience the kin-dom of God and open ourselves to the transformation and healing that uncovers our true essence, that lets our lights shine, filling the world with hope and love.

Pastor Ken

This reflection was inspired by the sermon, “What Are You Looking For?” from Sunday, January 19, 2020. Audio recordings of most sermons can be found at



Join us for Spirit Talk, a time of relaxed discussion over the refreshment of your choice. There’s no pressure to join the church or think in a certain way – just an opportunity to talk about whatever spiritual questions have been on your mind. We meet on the first and third Mondays of the month. The next gathering is February 3 at 7:00 pm at the Main St. Pub on Westnedge Avenue in Portage. Bring a friend and a question!

Pastor’s Office hours for February will be 1:30 to 3:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, except that there will not be any office hours on Thursday, February 6. If you stop by and the front door to the church is locked please ring the bell. We don’t want to miss your visit but we are unfortunately not able to leave the doors open if no one is upstairs to monitor them (our office is downstairs). Other meeting times can also be arranged by making an appointment.

Movie Night is Tuesday, February 11, in the church office. We’ll gather at 6:45 pm and the movie will start promptly at 7 pm with a short discussion to follow. Bring a snack to share. The movie will be “The Hate U Give.” Rated PG-13, the movie is about Starr, who witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right.

The season of Lent and Easter is nearing! We’ll try to put a full schedule of opportunities in the next Flamings but for now be sure to get these on your calendar. All events will be held at 2208 Winchell Avenue.

*  Ash Wednesday Worship service @ 6 pm on February 26, 2020

*  Taize Lenten Prayer service @ 6 pm on Wednesdays, March 11, 25, and April 8.

The Timid Poet Open Mic is coming back! Our first open mic of the year will be Friday, February 28, 2020. Doors open at 6:30 pm and readings start at 7 pm. To sign up for email notifications about this and future events, please visit

It’s that time of year again when cancellation of events due to bad weather is a possibility. If we have to cancel Sunday worship, it will be posted on our website as well as on Channel 3’s website, For smaller gatherings, cancellations are usually handled by contacting those who regularly attend. If the weather is bad and you’re not sure whether an event might be happening you can check in with the church office at 383-3222.

Steering Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 pm on Friday, March 13, in the church office. Anyone is welcome to attend these meetings. A potluck dinner and Congregational meeting will be held after worship on Sunday, March 15.



Book Discussion at Skyridge Church of the Brethren: Beginning February 5, Skyridge (394 S. Drake Road) will have a five week discussion of this year's community read, "We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast," by Jonathan Safran Foer. Discussions will be 1:30-3:00 Wednesdays Feb 5, 12, 19, 26, and March 4. Copies of the book are available at any branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library and at some neighboring libraries. For more information see Reading Together Kalamazoo at You're welcome to join any or all of these conversations. Please feel free to let others know about this opportunity.


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

For February please remember:

  • First Congregational Church, Coloma, MI, and Rev. Susan Greenwood.

  • Zion St. Joe UCC, St. Joseph, Michigan, and Rev. Adam Bohland.

  • Michigan Conference Staff: Rev. Calandra Nevenzel, SWA Minister; Rev Ruth Moerdyk, SWA Search & Call 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; Mr. Bob Heisler, Business Manager; Ms. Jennifer Ringgold, program associate for youth ministries; Rev Ruth Fitzgerald GWA ACM; Rev. Jodi Betten, UNA ACM; Coni Simon, DMA ACM.

Folks often make personal prayer requests during Sunday worship and at our Wednesday prayer group. If you would also like to make a personal prayer request to be included in the Flamings, please email the request to Do not include information unless it is ok to make it public.


Worship begins at 6:00 pm on Sundays. Communion is observed on the first Sunday of the month. Sermons from previous weeks are available online at

Feb. 2: “Blessed”

Feb. 9: “Light to the World”

Feb. 16: “A New Way”

Feb. 23: “On the Mountaintop”


Phoenix Community Church UCC
2208 Winchell Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Phone: 269-383-3222
Office Email:
Web Site:

Peer Ministers for 2020 are Linda Cross and Arlene Scholfield. Please contact a peer minister if you need assistance or just a listening ear.


All events are at 2208 Winchell unless noted otherwise. Also see our online calendar at:

Sundays, 6 pm: Worship

Tuesdays, 1:30 am - 3:30 pm: Pastor's Office Hours
Wednesdays, 4 pm: Prayer Group
Thursdays, 1:30 am - 3:30 pm: Pastor's Office Hours (except February 6)
Thursdays, 3:30 pm: Book Study

Mon, Feb 3: 7 pm, Spirit Talk @ Main St. Pub, Portage
Tues, Feb 11: 6:45 pm, Movie Night
Mon, Feb 17: 7 pm, Spirit Talk @ Main St. Pub, Portage
Wed, Feb 26: 6 pm, Ash Wednesday Service
Fri, Feb 28: 6:30 pm, Timid Poet Open Mic Night


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