The Phoenix Flamings

Phoenix Community Church UCC
Friday, December 13, 2019

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

During Advent we often read scriptures that talk about the Kin-dom of God drawing near. What do you think of when you hear that? Do you think of a place of peace? Love? Justice? Joy? At this Christmas season, what are your hopes for the world, for your family and friends, for your own life? What are your dreams? What does the Kin-dom of God look like? I usually think of God’s Kin-dom not as a place or a political entity but as a way of life. It’s just as much internal as it is external. It’s about caring for my neighbor and the earth. On the other hand, if we live according to God’s Kin-dom, living lives of love and compassion, that’s going to have an external effect on everyone around us. Imagine if we all lived that way! We would create a wonderful world of justice and peace. A place of hope.

Isaiah chapter 11 offers us one vision of such a world. Isaiah describes scenes of peace unlike anything we’ve experienced, a world where the wolf shall live with the lamb and all manner of creatures, including humans, even vulnerable children, will live together in peace without hurting or destroying each other. Isaiah says this will be because the earth will be full of the knowledge of God just as the waters cover the oceans. In other words, the Kin-dom is achieved when we know God intimately, when the presence of God covers us completely, like being submerged in water. This image might make us think of the womb, being completely surrounded by the God who gives us a new birth, a new life.

Unfortunately, our world is far from this vision. Violence is all too commonplace. How do we transform this world into God’s Kin-dom? John the Baptist, preparing for the coming of Jesus, tells us to confess and repent. In other words, we start with ourselves. We confess what’s holding us back. Confession isn’t about telling anyone how bad we are. It’s about naming what we need help with. If we can’t name those things, then we can’t change them. Likewise, repentance isn’t just saying we’re sorry about something. To repent is to change directions, to turn from wherever we’re headed and walk (or run) toward God’s path.

The Kin-dom is coming near! Christ is bringing a new life, a way of love and peace. Let us prepare ourselves for this new life, letting ourselves be submerged in the presence of God, letting the Holy Spirit consume us with the fire of compassion as we recognize our shortcomings and turn to God for help. Let us become co-creators of the Kin-dom, bringing love and peace to the world through the witness of our own lives.

Pastor Ken

This reflection was inspired by the sermon, “The Kin-dom Has Come Near,” from Sunday, December 8, 2019. Audio recordings of most sermons can be found at


Steering Committee will meet tonight, Friday, December 13, at 7 pm in the church office. Guests are welcome.

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 other, smaller meetings, 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.

Christmas Eve Worship will be held at 11 pm on December 24. This very special service of song and word ends in candlelight as we welcome the birth of God’s love into the world. Wassail and cookies will be available after the service.

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 what’s on your mind. Bring a question and a friend with you and together we’ll tackle the mysteries of life. We meet on the first and third Mondays of the month. The next gathering is December 16 at 7:00 pm at the Main St. Pub on Westnedge Avenue in Portage.

Pastor’s Office hours for December will be 1:30 to 3:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays but there are lots of exceptions during this holiday month. On Tuesday, December 17, hours will be 2:30 to 3:30 pm. Office hours will not be held on December 24, 26, or 31. 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.

The Timid Poet Open Mic: Hey Everyone! Thank you all for supporting our Timid Poet Open Mic night! We really appreciate everyone who has come out and shared or who just came to enjoy the great poetry. The open mic previously announced for Saturday, December 21, has been canceled so everyone can do their holiday things instead. We'll be back in January! For more details and/or to sign up for email notifications, visit

The Prayer Group will not meet on Christmas, December 25, or New Year’s Day, January 1.

The Book Study Group will not meet on Thursday, December 26. Also, we are wrapping up our current book and expect to start reading "Holy Envy" by Barbara Brown Taylor at our January 16 meeting.

Pastor Ken will be on vacation beginning December 25 through January 1. If you have a need during this time, contact one of our peer ministers or our moderator, Angie Willard.

The Flamings will not be published on December 27, 2019. Our next issue will be January 3, 2020, after which we’ll resume a bi-weekly schedule.

Movie Night is Tuesday, January 14, 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 “Groundhog Day.


Do you have concerns about falling? The Kalamazoo County Area Agency on Aging is sponsoring “A Matter of Balance,” an award-winning program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels for older adults. There are several sessions being offered at various locations beginning in January. Classes are free of charge to participants, and funded through local, state, and federal grants. Registration is required. For more information, contact Kelly Milliman, LLBSW, Healthy Living Program Coordinator at 269-373-5021 or

Have you ever heard of the Wild Goose Festival? Does spending an inspiring weekend at a campground with a couple of thousand progressive Christians sound like fun to you? Check out for more information. Pastor Ken has been to the festival twice and will be going again in 2020. This is a truly wonderful and uplifting time. Let’s carpool!


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

For December, please remember:

  • Zion UCC, Baroda, MI, and interim pastor Rev. David Moffett-Moore

  • Union UCC in Tekonsha, Michigan, and Rev. Jennifer Fair.

  • The Association’s Council for 2020: Rev. Mary Beth Moran Cross, Vice Moderator; Rev. Adam Bohland, secretary; Ms. Kristi Blythe, treasurer; Rev. Ken Arthur, Registrar; Ms. Melanie Johnson, Member-At- Large

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

Dec. 15: “Are You the Messiah?”

Dec. 22: “God is with Us”

Dec. 29: Christmas Carol Sing

Jan. 5: “A Light in the Darkness”


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

  • Dec 17: office hours start at 2:30 pm
  • No office hours Dec 24, 26, or 31

Wednesdays, 4 pm: Prayer Group

  • No Meeting Dec 25 or Jan 1

Thursdays, 1:30 am - 3:30 pm: Pastor's Office Hours
Thursdays, 3:30 pm: Book Study

  • No meeting Dec 26

Friday, Dec. 13: 7 pm, Steering Committee
Monday, Dec 16: 7 pm, Spirit Talk @ Main St. Pub, Portage
Tuesday, Dec 24: 11 pm, Christmas Eve Worship
Monday, Jan 6: 7 pm, Spirit Talk @ Main St. Pub, Portage

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