Many of you have heard of eHarmony an on - line Christian relationship service right? I’ve heard (no I do not have personal experience here!) that it’s a great way for singles to find compatible long - term relation- ships. The founder, Dr. Neil Clark Warren who is a clinical psychologist did extensive research on relationships and found that: “ the most fruitful marriages involved highly compatible people while the marriages that ended involved people with core differences that were too difficult to resolve over time. ” His research and clinical work led him to creating eHarmony, a way of matching people on - line based on compatibility . Today eHarmony boasts that 438 people get married as a result of their compatibility matching . That’s pretty awesome! Compatibility is important. Not just for marriage partners, but for congregations and their Pastors as well! As we move forward toward calling a regular installed Pastor we’re happy that our denomination (PCUSA) has a way for us to make a compatible match through a web - site they developed: The Church Leadership Connection (CLC). In the not too distant future we’ll be signing on to the CLC with the hope of being “ matched up ” with a Pastor who’ll be most compatible with this congregation! It’s an exciting adventure we’re embarking on and I want you to know as much as possible about it!
“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.”
― John Calvin
Indeed John Calvin you were quite right: we are surrounded by so much to: “ make us rejoice! ” Perhaps it’s especially true in Port Angeles where we’re graced with majestic mountains on one side and lovely blue waters on the other. Everyday I thank God for the blessing of being in this lovely city....and for a time to be part of this very special congregation. YOU cause me to rejoice and here’s some reasons why: The All Church Retreat last week - end! WOW! It was such a beautiful time of fellowship, fun and food! Sheri & Paul Stutesman & Cindy Sofie cooked up meal after meal of the most scrumptious food! Katie Cobb & Leah Haworth led us enthusiastically in songs around the campfire where we were also wowed by Kate Weller’s spectacular ability to sing tongue twisting lyrics! It was so fun to see Isaac Mayo & Micah Hay race gleefully around together Sunday morning before Dan Cobb & Randy Schuchardt led us in worship. Todd Haworth delivered a great sermon while I listened joyfully holding baby Isaac Hay. I could get used to that! The whole week - end of games, a crackling fire, the loveliness of Lake Crescent and the SUPER good company of everyone there made for the Best Retreat I’ve ever been on! Thanks to all who made it happen and for Loretta Chapman to bunk with!
Our Annual Camp David All Church Retreat
Is right around the corner and I want to encourage you to COME! This will be my first Camp David Junior Adventure and I’m so excited to “retreat” with my church family: YOU! This is going to be an awesome time of playing games, (I’m bringing Bananagrams! Don’t know how to play this super fun game? I’ll teach you!) we’ll feast on ooy gooey smores, we’ll sing around the campfire, have grand Pinecone battles, and eat epic food provided by our very own resident chefs: Paul & Sheri Stutesman! Our Youth will entertain us with commercials like they did at Celebrate the Children, and lead us in foot-stomping, hand-clapping camp songs! We’ll dabble in arts & crafts, drink hot chocolate, sit around & gab to our hearts content, or just lean back dumbstruck & be-dazzled by our Artist God’s massive art project called: The Olympic Peninsula! Now why in the world would anyone want to miss all that and more?!? Well, the truth is we do find reasons to say “no” to fun & relaxation. But, I’m here to tell you that it’s really to our own detriment. Being intentional about making time for time away is super important.
Here’s what the experts recommend:
“Gather gladness from the skies;
Take a lesson from the ground;
Flowers do ope their heavenward eyes
And a Spring-time joy have found;
Earth throws Winter's robes away,
Decks herself for Easter Day.”
I love the way that Hopkins depicts the earth itself as coming out of the dark days of winter to celebrate Easter! We can relate with his imagery as we move ever further out of this time of Lent & towards Easter Sunday. But, we’re not there yet. Still in Lent we find ourselves in a time of grappling with darkness, a time of intro-spection, delving into the dark recesses of our hearts, finding those things that we may wish could stay hidden, but which Christ calls us to confess, to bring into the light of his presence. Christ calls us to this Lenten work not as a punishment, or to shame or cause us to despair, but so that he can transform our darkness into light, enabling us to truly arrive at Easter celebrating what he has done in us.
We've begun a new sermon series in the book of Mark. We'll be going through the entire book chapter by chapter and I trust that you will find as I do a deeper appreciation for what Mark writes, how it connects to the rest of scripture and how it relates to our lives. As we begin our time in the book of Mark it's helpful to keep in mind that his purpose in writing is to tell the story of Jesus. He writes in his own unique, succinct way, one story falling off his pen right after another. And, it's important to know that Mark writes with only one goal in mind: that his readers will all come to faith in this Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah of the world. That's it. Mark wants us all to have faith in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith. Sometimes don't you wonder what it really is? Mark gives us the answer all through the book, through the stories beginning in the very first chapter.