Blog Author: Anne Scalfaro

Sunday Worship Notes for Dec. 22, 2019

The first story Luke tells in his gospel is Zechariah’s story. Zechariah and Elizabeth’s inability to conceive in their old age reminds us of the stories of many of Israel’s patriarchs and matriarchs. Zechariah’s song is the longest of several songs in the birth narrative of Jesus, and it overflows with language from Israel’s Scriptures. The connection is loud and clear. The story we are now reading is not a new story; it is a continuation of the story of God’s love and faithfulness for generations.

If this is true, then what’s different about the story this time around? What is the proclamation and promise that the birth of John brings?

After centuries of prophets foretelling the Messiah, John is the closest prophet we have to Jesus himself, the one we Christians believe is the Messiah. What can we learn from John about our role of “paving the way” for Jesus? If there was a prophet so close to Jesus in his day and age (even living at the same time as Jesus), what does that tell us about the role of prophets in our faith today? If John came before Jesus, who is coming after? Read More…

Tags: Worship

Sermon Notes for December 15, 2019 Worship

Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-4, 8-13 (NRSV)

On this third Sunday of Advent, we meet Cyrus, the king of Persia. He arrives in Babylon with a very different concept of empire; he gives great freedom to his vassals. His policies were welcomed by the exiled Judeans, who, according to the first part of Ezra, were eager to return home, to restore their community, and to rebuild.

And – believe it or not - Cyrus makes the proclamation they’ve all been waiting for! He tells them to go home (with great blessings) and to rebuild; this is something refugees don’t even dare to dream about! Has Christmas come early? Is this too good to be true? Well, no – it’s not too good to be true. It’s real. But with reality comes complexity, of course.

As the people return home and begin to rebuild the Temple it is an emotional scene. It’s a joyous festival of celebration, quite fitting on this Sunday of JOY in Advent. And yet, along with the people who are rejoicing at what has come to pass, there are people who are mourning too – those who remember and grieve what was lost. It is a very human moment that we can relate too. Often we simplify joy as happiness and celebration, but it can be an ambiguous emotion at times – holding both hope and grief in the same moment.

Join us on Sunday as explore the complex emotions of what it means to be a people of Joy during Advent; we’ll honor the pain of what has been lost in the past year even as we await the fulfillment of the Messiah with Joy and Hope. Read More…

Tags: Enews, Worship

What Is Stewardship?

What is Stewardship? Read More…

Tags: Enews; Stewardship, Top Story

Announcing Our Newest Hire! Meet Dr. David Farwig!

Dear Calvary family and friends,
It is with great joy that I announce that Dr. David Farwig will be joining Calvary’s ministerial team as Director of Music on August 15, 2018. Read More…

Tags: Top Story, Staff Update

Initiate

This is all about learning to begin conversations with people about faith and/or Calvary in ways that are non-threatening and inviting. Through initiating such conversations and opportunities we build relationships and involvement.
Read More…

Tags: Discipleship, Spiritual Practices, Intergenerational, GPS Groups, Pastoral Care

Welcome Rev. Alice Horner-Nelson

Welcome to staff, Pastor Alice Horner-Nelson. Read More…

Tags: Staff Update, Top Story

Voice

The second word in our 2018 INVITE Challenge is VOICE. This is all about speaking out loud to others how you see God working in your life or the world and telling people what you find meaningful about Calvary. It can be intimidating or uncomfortable to talk to others about faith or church, but there are easy ways to working "God" and "church" into your everyday interactions with folks. Read More…

Tags: Discipleship, Pastoral Care, Spiritual Practices, Youth, GPS Groups, Intergenerational, Children's Ministry

Notice

The second word in our 2018 INVITE Challenge (see below) is NOTICE. When we are in our routines of attending the classes and ministries with which we naturally connect, sometimes we do not notice all of the other opportunities for ministry that are all around us. Read More…

Tags: Discipleship, Spiritual Practices, Top Story

Identify

IDENTIFY...
The first word in our 2018 INVITE Challenge (see below) is IDENTIFY. In short, before we can invite others to join us in a conversation about faith or to come to church with us, we have to IDENTIFY what it is that inspires us about our faith and about Calvary. Read More…

Tags: Spiritual Practices, Discipleship, Top Story

A Collective Grief

"The Ash Wednesday mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is the ninth-deadliest American mass shooting in modern history. It is the largest in a school since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn, that killed 27. It is the 25th mass shooting - defined as four or more injured or killed at one location, not counting the shooter - so far in 2018, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit research group not affiliated with any advocacy organization founded in 2013. The AR-15 style rifle used in Wednesday's attack - a civilian model of the military's M-16 - is the same weapon employed in mass shootings at last fall's Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, the 2016 Pulse night club shooting in Orlando, Fla., last November at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and at Sandy Hook." (paragraph source: Baptist News Global)

...An Invitational Lent Read More…

Tags: Top Story

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