Thursday, June 30, 2011

Freedom to Love, Grow & Serve

No official Gathering is scheduled for July 3, 2011. Gather with family and friends to enjoy the July 4 holiday. Peace and blessings.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gathering for Nourishment, Rest & Renewal

This Sunday, June 26, will be our last regular Sunday evening Gathering for a few weeks. We will gather for a time of what we do so well: reflect on and discuss together a sacred writing and how the writing intersects with, inspires, challenges, and furthers our spiritual pilgrimages. Our offering will be designated for The Gathering. While we will not share a potluck, feel free to bring light snacks if you'd like. We will gather at 5:30 pm, 618 Locust Street.

July will be different than years past - following the recommendation of the "UCC New Church Start Guru" Rev. Cameron Trimble, the Worship Planning Workgroup has graciously offered July as a mini-sabbatical for me. We have been gathering weekly for two years now! And bi-weekly for some years before that, so it's time for some personal spiritual rest and renewal. While I will still be working at my Hospice of San Angelo day job, I will also take some vacation time from there.

I very much appreciate The Gathering caring for me and recognizing the value of sabbath time. I also appreciate and affirm Gathering participants taking responsibility for the July Gatherings. I do, however, regret I won't be participating in the July Dinner Gatherings! A delightful aspect of The Gathering is the diversity of participants, and a frustration is that we go in so many different directions, it's hard to get to know each other. Ann Light and Nancy York have planned a wonderful way of getting to know each other more intentionally. July 10, 17, and 24 Gatherers will join together in small groups to share dinner and conversation. You may participate in one, two, or all three Sundays. I have no doubt the evenings will be nourishing and satisfying in many ways: spiritually, intellectually, physically - and just plain fun! These are also great times to include people interested in The Gathering but afraid to come to "church." To be included or just to know what's going on, contact Ann or Nancy.

In addition, Ann Light has volunteered for "e-newsletter duty", so an e-newsletter or two will be coming your way during the month. Many thanks to Ann for keeping everyone in the loop!

Because of the July 4th weekend, we will not meet Sunday, July 3. We will gather back together as one community Sunday, July 31, 5:30 pm, 618 Locust Street. I'm looking forward to it already!

Honored to be Creating Sacred Community with You,


Friday, June 17, 2011

Gathering for Freedom

In celebration of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, we'll be inspired with some great old spirituals and also explore the concepts of freedom: emancipation, bondage, oppression; we'll converse about that which keeps us in bondage, what it is to be free, and emancipation as a justice issue. Our offering is designated for Wesley Soup Kitchen. In addition, it's Father's Day, so bring a dad, or a father-figure, or dress like one. Our potluck theme will be foods our fathers and/or father-figures like(d).

Sunday, 19 June 2011
5:30 pm, 618 Locust

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mindfully Gathering

Neil Snipes will lead us in a mindfulness experience Sunday night. Our offering will be designated for the Kids Eat summer program. The Tom Green County Kids Eat-FREE effort is affiliated with the Texas Hunger Initiative. The goal of the Texas Hunger Initiative is to end hunger in Texas by 2015 through local and statewide collaboration - policy, education, grassroots organizing and community development. During the summer of 2010, over 50 churches (one of which was The Gathering), ministries, organizations, businesses and many, many individuals and volunteers partnered to provide meals at 11 locations in San Angelo and at one site in Carlsbad. Approximately 25,588 meals were served. This summer, there's a need for even more.

As for our own community meal, please remember, we will NOT share a Gathering potluck this Sunday night. At our Gathering for Sacred Business time Sunday, May 29, we decided to experiment with our community-wide meals, and this, the second Sunday of June is our first Sunday of experimentation. We decided we'd try community meals the first and third Sundays, and drinks (and maybe snacks) the second and fourth Sundays. So come ready to be nourished in soul and mind, come ready to share tea and coffee and conversation, but plan to nourish your body elsewhere. Perhaps we could gather for a DQ Blizzard following our service.

Now that's nourishment!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sacred Lanscapes

Tell me the landscape in which you live and I will tell you who you are ~ Ortega y Gassett

"The experiences of place and space profoundly structure our experience of self and others in relationship to God, that is, our spirituality. And, conversely, our spirituality structures our 'landscape,' that is, our vision of the 'where' of our experience," says Sandra Schneiders in Landscapes of the Sacred. Ellen King will lead The Gathering in exploring our sacred landscapes, our spiritual geographies, Sunday night during our time of worship. She notes we'll be more deeply exploring those places in which we find God, the places in which we meet God, and the places where we are found by God. She invites and encourages us to bring photos, magazine pictures, drawings, postcards, travel brochures, etc, of places where we've experienced the Sacred - even if it's somewhere we've never been except in our prayers.

Many thanks to Ellen for her willingness to lead worship while Ann Light and I are returning from attending the South Central Conference UCC Annual Conference meeting in Clearlake. Sunday's offering will be designated for the Conference mission effort - Church World Service Kits. Church World Service Kits (hygiene and school kits) are small packages of supplies assembled by volunteers and shipped to people in need around the world; our offering will be added to the combined effort of the rest of the churches in Conference and go for supplies and shipping. In addition, we'll receive a special offering of non-perishable food items for a family of 4 - two parents, a 2 year old boy, and a 4 month old boy. The family is related to The Gathering (some of you may remember Grayson - Irene and Larry's grandson) and in need of special care right now. Our pot-luck will be general. Join us!

Sunday, June 5
5:30 pm
618 Locust Street