Our Ministries


According to Staci...

Thursday
Oct102013

What's your Gospel?  

Recently, the RBCC Youth Group and I sat down to watch the acceptance speech of Ashton Kutcher as he received a Lifetime achievement award at the Teen Choice Awards.  Ashton Kutcher is not who I think of immediately as someone to receive such an award.  After all, he's only 35 years old, and he did jokingly call it the "Old guy" award.  He is the creator of the show "Punk'd" and the first Twitter user to have over 1 million followers.  I actually thought he would be more crass and try to come off as cool in an arena full of screaming teenagers. Surprisingly, he gave a wonderful and moving speech that was filled with wonderful personal reflection that he wanted to share with young people.  Serious kudos to Kutcher for turning one of his last moments at the teen-oriented podium into something more useful than yet another appeal to sexiness and acting stupid. 

His speech focused on three of his life lessons he wanted to share: 

  • "I believe opportunity looks a lot like hard work."
  • "Be smart, be thoughtful, be generous."
  • "When you grow up, you tend to get told the world is the way it is. ... Life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing: Everything around us that we call life was made up by people who are no smarter than you. You can build a life that other people can live in. Build your life, don't live it."

While it's maybe not the gospel, it was Ashton Kutcher's Good News for our young people.  His offering of hope and life learning to share.

So the youth and I reflected on the 3 things that each of them would share about living life right now.....what is their gospel or Good news to living life?  Here are some of the thoughts of our youth:  

Have goals that you can work toward
Treasure your friends, they are a blessing
Be Generous
Grow your Intellect 
Push yourself past your limits every once and awhile
Welcome everyone and share what you have
Don't freak out, it gets better
Make the best of what your have, even if it's nothing much
Give everybody a chance
Stand up for someone else
Do something you love and do it with enthusiasim
Only dish out what you can take yourself
Your creativity is who your are
Forgive
It's OK to let go
Be kind and gentle with yourself
Work Hard, Play Hard, Try Hard, Have Fun
Someone always needs a hug

What's your gospel or good news?  What is a life lesson and story that you woud share with a youth? The youth group would love to hear from you too!  Send us a note, email, letter, text, or other communication!  Share with us the Gospel according to ____________!

 

Monday
Apr152013

Prayer in Violent Times

'God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble.'  Psalm 46:1 NRSV


God our Refuge, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They run to lonesome places, screaming an alarm
Calm our hearts so we can find you above the fear

God our Strength, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They race to revenge, pounding with anger
Calm our hearts so we can hear you above the hammering

God our Help, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They rush to human strength, grasping for control
Calm our hearts so we can hold to your way, your truth, and your life

Calm our hearts, so they may beat in unison with yours
So healing may flow over bodies and spirits broken by the chaos
So hope may fill families and communities devastated by violence
So compassion and peace and unity may rise up among all people

God our Strength, our Refuge, our Help
We entrust our lives to you. Amen.

**********
Prayer for Violent Times © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Friday
Mar082013

Youthful Compassion

Compassion is often found in the small things.......

Below is the result of regular Sunday evening Youth Group.  Our conversation, thoughts, and prayer for Pilgrim Congregational in Anacortes that was recently burned by fires set to the building. How wonderful to be witness to our youth's sincerity and compassion for others.  But also the love they have for their own church and community.  I thought I would share:

____________________________________________________________________________________

Hi Rev. Sally, 

My name is Staci, and I am the Director of Faith Formation to Children and Youth at Richmond Beach United Church of Christ in Shoreline, WA.
This last Sunday, prayers were lifted up for your congregation in Anacortes and the loss of your church building during our regular worship service at RBCC-UCC.  Our youth were saddened by the news of what happened to your church and later had a great deal of conversation about it in our evening youth group.  I wanted to share with you the thoughtfulness that transpired that evening, as our prayer for you and your congregation. 
We started out with the question of the night:  What is the role of church in your life?
I personally thought, the youth would write down a word or sentence like....community, questioning, love, outreach.......
They surprised me by writing whole paragraphs about relationships, being themselves, acceptance, love, and a safe place to grow, question, doubt, and have fun. 
Interestingly, most all of the short paragraphs started with.......'A place where.....''    Then came the conversation about, what if there was no 'place' .  We talked about the loss of a church building and how that might effect a faith community, but in the end, the youth knew/know in their heart, that the faith community is the church. They then decided to write down their thoughts, and asked me to mail it to you.
I've attached their thoughts to you and your faith community that they wrote down, as well as a picture of their answers to the question, and a crazy picture of our youth group so you have some faces to go with their prayers. 
Our blessings of peace and hope to you and Pilgrim UCC, 
Staci and the RBCC Youth Group-- 
___________________________________________________________________________________
Hello Staci of the wonderful youth group!!

What an immensely thoughtful, fun, beautiful gesture. I loved reading of your sweet amazement with everyone's thoughtful responses-- what a heartening group. Truly they get 'church' --even when the word itself isn't always popular or can be misunderstood.

I shared the pictures with a couple members today. . .perfect.  What I especially would like to do is see about using a projector to get the images on a wall. . . One of the churches we'll be using (too much smoke damage in our building) has a projector I could hook up to,  If that doesn't work, I know there will be a children's message that will get the whole congregation's interest. . . Showing your pictures and reading your words.

Bless you, thank you, you all are a part of our healing and hope, a part of God's love on the loose.

Sally Balmer (Rev)
Pastor, Pilgrim Congregational UCC, Anacortes


 

 

Friday
Dec142012

God is There.....Helping Children Cope

 

Tuesday
Oct232012

Job Vacancy: Disciple

This last Sunday, the Jr. High Sunday school class mentored the 3rd and 4th grade class. They broke into small groups, shared joys and concerns, searched the scriptures for Sunday's story (Mark 10:34-45), and read aloud to each other.  They shared their thoughts about James and John's request of Jesus, and imagined what being a disciple in our modern day would mean.  

Our culture bombards young people with messages that are at odds with Jesus' teachings.  The world claims that leaders derive their power from wealth, fame, beauty, possessions, and popularity.  Jesus offers the opposite in his teachings, that power comes from serving each other.  Youth culture often creates an environment that defines young people by their status.  We can help free our youth from the notion that only the beautiful, powerful, and wealthy can be leaders, by offering our understanding of how difficult it is to be a servant in a status-obsessed world.  We can walk with them, and remind them, that we are all empowered by God's Spirit to serve together and that even the smallest acts can be quite powerful. 

The Jr. High group and the 3rd / 4th grade group, together, came up with a job description for a modern day disciple.  An idea of what it takes to serve each other in our world today.  Here are the qualities they identified........are you up for the job?

Job Title:  Disciple / Jesus Follower

Location:  Flexible. You will be a field worker, on the front lines, working in your local community.

Ideal Qualities:  A young, healthy, multi-tasker.  Strong willed, respectful, responsible, and educated. Willing to learn, be equal and fair, compassionate, willing to help others, able to teach, caring, kind, lovable, accepting, hopeful, faithful, not afraid to get dirty and happy to work hard. 

Wow!  

 

 

 

 

 

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