District-wide Spring Zoom Event Saturday, March 6th from 10 AM – 3 PMDanger & Opportunity: What does it mean to live our values today? This past year has brought us an abundance of challenges and crises. Some we’ve never experienced—a global pandemic disrupting almost every part of our lives. Some have been with us all too long—a reckoning with white supremacy and the drive towards meaningful social justice and equity. In moments of crisis, we find ourselves faced with both danger and opportunity. Danger both in what has been lost and in where destructive decisions might lead. Opportunity to build something different and to bring alive new possibilities in the world. Our values can be the compass steering us through these uncertain waters of crisis. Where do our values steer us today? What will it mean for us to live those values individually/collectively? Join us for a day of honest conversation and spiritual exploration. With song and celebration, creativity and authenticity, we’ll consider together what this moment holds for us. Featuring a panel discussion with Ben Green Sarah Kinsel David Morrow Elizabeth Swenson moderated by Debbie Roberts & Howard Ullery …and an afternoon of discussion, music, and creativity. All are welcome, and attendance is free. Please register for this Zoom program at http://www.cobpacificnorthwest.org/event/2021-spring-event/
The Light of Hope Returning Choral Concert December, 2020Tonight, Dec. 21, at 6:00 pm! Don’t miss “The Light of Hope Returning”, an American folk solstice oratorio of the Christmas story from WomenSing and Elektra Women’s Choir, with music written by Church of the Brethren and Los Angeles Master Choral musician Shawn Kirchner (whom many of us know and love), and animated by Kevork Mourad. The music and artistry will be an extraordinary experience for the whole family! You can view the trailer by clicking on one of the links below. It can be found on both Facebook and You Tube. Trailer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btd3nA6ThNo Face Book link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1340756956271020 Light of Hope Returning link: https://www.thelightofhopereturning.com/
An Appeal for Discerning Financial Giving at Ellisforde October, 2020Dear Members and Friends of the Ellisforde Church of the Brethren, We are in the midst of probably the most discombobulated time Ellisforde has experience in most of our memories, with these months of COVID 19 which have forced us to be apart for the past 7 months, with the exception of the month of July. Our finances have dipped at times, and with regular reminders in our weekly Reflection/Check-In, remained somewhat stable at other times. Although some churches in our valley have taken a different tack, we discontinued meeting even outdoors because we felt the need to model good health practices by avoiding even the smallest possibility of spreading the virus which has proven so costly in terms of illness and mortality. We have seen that it’s often difficult to remember to give when we are not meeting in person. As the end of the year is approaching and we need to schedule our yearly Church Council Meeting – probably by Zoom this year – the Leadership Team would like to appeal to you to prayerfully consider your financial support as we complete this year and move into the next one. In our peace church tradition, Ellisforde has a unique ministry of compassion, peace, and justice that is vital and underserved in Okanogan County, before the pandemic, during these difficult days while we’re in it, and into the future. As one of three historic peace denominations, the Church of the Brethren has a long history of service for the cause of peace through such programs as Brethren Volunteer Service, the post-WW II Seagoing Cowboys who brought livestock to war-torn Europe, the Heifer Project, On Earth Peace, and other national and international ministries. Members of our church have played significant leadership roles in these efforts, as well as in our local involvement in the Tonasket Food Bank, whose weekly offerings of food have become even more important for many during these challenging times, in the Tonasket Collaborative Network, in city government, and in other local efforts. As well, in the light of what has felt like governmental repression for immigrants, we became a place for meetings to support the cause of justice and fairness for all and have coordinated communication with our own members who serve as leaders in the Hispanic community. As part of that effort, we hosted information sessions with Justice Northwest whose mission is to support immigrant rights in the courts. And we responded to the threat of government harassment of our Latinx brothers and sisters by creating a space of sanctuary in our church to shelter persons who feared for their safety. Quite out of the blue, our small congregation received the Omak Chronicles’ 2019 Church of the Year Award. How this came about we don’t know, but it indicates that somehow we have had an important impact in our county. We seek to reflect the love and teachings of Jesus in both our words and actions, and to reflect the openness of Christ in his acceptance of all persons. Our mission is to live out the truth that compassion and kindness for the most vulnerable among us is the deepest law of life. Please prayerfully discern what you might give to our ongoing ministry as we prepare for our end-of-year meeting. While we continue to stay safe by staying apart, your checks can be sent to our treasurer, Miriam Caddy, 16 Orchard Loop S, Tonasket, WA, or, you can bring your offering to the church and slide it under the office door. With gratitude for all that you bring to our ministry, in the spirit of living peacefully, simply, together, The Leadership Team of Ellisforde Church of the Brethren Debbie Roberts Ken Vanderstoep Kay Sibley Miriam Caddy Daniel Klayton Norm Weddle Representative of Ministry Support Team (Kathy Swedberg, Sandy Brightbill, Alisa Weddle)
Temporary Suspension of In-person Worship August, 2020
Anne Frank Book Study April-May, 2020Friends of Ellisforde, Whitestone, and PNWD Church of the Brethren, We are beginning our book study of Anne Frank’s book, The Diary of a Young Girl. We will go for 6 weeks, each Thursday until the end of May. I am including the zoom and telephone links below. If you would like to join us and I don’t already have your name on my list, or if you’re not sure I have your name, please email me and I will send a set of themes/questions to consider. You are invited to join to contribute your own thoughts, or join to hear others contribute. Either way, we will appreciate your presence. Here is the link: 1) with a telephone (cell phone or landline both work) —– quick instructions: call 1-253-214-8782, then enter 236 009 838# when prompted, then # again —– back-up option: call 1-301-715-8592, then enter 236 009 838# when prompted, then # again —– second back-up option: call my personal phone at 703-618-4948 2) with a computer or smart device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc) —– quick instructions: click https://zoom.us/j/236009838 and follow on-screen instructions I look forward to connecting with some of you this evening as we discuss this remarkable diary.
Ellisforde & Whitestone Lovefeast, Alone April 9, 2020An Outline for Love Feast this Thursday, Together Alone. Read the following aloud by yourself or with your family members. Introduction: Love Feast is the part of our tradition where we re-enact the event of Jesus’ final week with the disciples, in a meal, in washing each other’s feet, and in sharing communion together. Jesus strongly stressed to his disciples, who were arguing who might be the greatest, that he was among them as one who serves. And throughout our history we have taught our children that the way to be great is to serve. And so we do that through this service of eating together, washing each others feet, and breaking bread and sharing the cup together. Each year we remind ourselves that whenever the community gathers around the love feast table we are reminded of the relationship of all disciples to one another. This year in the midst of COVID 19, it is difficult to be separated from those we love, some of whom we might be worried about. But just as Jesus is present with us in Spirit, so too are we present with each other in Spirit. If it helps to call out the names of those we wish were here next to us, let us do that now. We will have a chance to participate in Love Feast together once it is deemed safe for us to gather again. In the meantime, we can participate together, alone, in this service as a reminder that Jesus was alone in his spirit through much of the last week of his life, but that he also trusted that God was with him and that his beloved friends, though flawed, loved him and were loved by him. This is a chance for us to feel some of the distance Jesus may have felt, and to be comforted that this present distance is not the end of our story, nor was it the end of his. Prayer: God, who brings us together in sickness and in health, bring us together now. God, who calls us to serve in creative and imaginative ways where there is need, call us into imaginative ways of serving now. God who is always with us, as close to us as our very breath, may we feel your presence now, as we participate in this Love Feast service together, alone. Bring us wisdom and grace during this isolated time, that following the directive to stay in our separate spaces will not only offer our communities, our nation, and the world earlier recovery, but will give us a sense of those who also feel isolated and sometimes divided. May we be strong. May we be courageous. May this Love Feast inspire us to continue the work of Jesus in our church, in our community, and in our world, together, alone, until it is safe to be otherwise. In the name of Christ we pray, Amen. The love feast begins with a period of examination. In the Church of the Brethren we cite Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:23-24, calling for reconciliation before offering gifts to God, and Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 about the dangers of participating in the love feast in a thoughtless fashion. Take a moment to read these passages aloud. Footwashing or Handwashing: Remember a time when you were moved by being given something you did not expect. Remember another time when you gave to someone else that which they did not expect. Read John 13: 3-17 Wash the feet or hands of those who are with you. If you are alone, wash your own hands in the spirit of offering your body to receive cleansing, forgiveness, and comfort. Love Feast Meal / Agape Meal: The love feast meal recalls the meal Jesus shared with his disciples, symbolizing the sharing of life. Remember a time when you realized the profound gift of being in relationship with others, whether through an action or simply by being together in the love you share with each other. Read John 15: 9-17 Have a simple meal prepared that you now will eat (bread and soup, a simple one-dish meal, etc.), in gratitude for your relationships and what you mean to each other. The Bread and Cup: Prayer: Our God, as we prepare to share the bread and the cup, may we remember that Jesus did not turn anyone away from his table, and tonight, in our hearts neither do we turn anyone away from our table. Remind us that regardless of our judgments of ourselves, we are welcome; and regardless of our judgments of others, they are welcome. When we break the bread and drink from the cup, may we become the holy community who manifests your love in the world. Amen. Remember a time when your actions or those of others symbolized the holy community called to offer love to a sometimes unloving world. Have some bread available to eat in one bite, and some juice or wine available to drink. The Bread Read I Corinthians 11: 23-24 After reading take the bread and share it with your loved ones, or eat it by yourself. The Cup Read I Corinthians 11: 25-26 After reading, take a small cup of juice or wine and drink it. Prayer to Go Forth: Through this Love Feast service, may we be ready to serve others in your name, O God, to share your depth of love for us in ways that are creative and courageous in this unpredictable and challenging time. May our spirits be filled with loving kindness, and may we live and work in such a way that all will be well. Bless us as we end this time, together, alone, Amen.
PNW District Discernment Event March, 2020
Our Pacific Northwest District Spring Discernment Event is March 7-8, at Camp Koinonia, in Cle Elum. Make plans now to join us as we talk about the future of the church and our district, and enjoy fellowship together. For those who have attended the Spring Event in the past, the event is a bit different this year as the focus will be on the future of our small congregations and our district. We will begin at 6 pm on Friday, Mar 7 with dinner, and conclude Saturday afternoon, Mar 8. Leadership will come from Gregg Carlson, a professional church life consultant with a church consulting organization called Convergence, who will engage us in a process to help guide discernment for the District while also providing a model and insights applicable to local congregational life. A survey is now available to fill out that will help with our discussions that weekend, and the results will be compiled and presented at the event. The best results for the District will come when as many people as possible respond to the survey and share their insights. You do not have to attend the event for your survey to be helpful so please fill one out whether or not you are planning to attend. You can download it or bring a paper copy to church tomorrow or next Sunday. Convergence would like to have all the surveys by Feb 28 in order to have time to compile the results by the time we meet in March. It is easy to fill out the survey online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PNWBrethren.
We have funds to help with your registration. To register for this March Discernment Event, go to www.cobpacificnorthwest.org. Since this event is closer to us than usual district events, I hope that many of us will gather for this important time together.