On July 23rd, our little family joined my larger family to go to a Seattle Mariners game. Eighteen in total, we all wore hats that said “70” in front and “Team Tom” on the back. We took up two whole rows and cheered wildly when a “Happy 70th Birthday, Tom!” appeared on the huge board above the game. We were celebrating my Dad turning 70! We rented a huge house in Bremerton for the entire weekend and had a blast. We came home totally exhausted and smiling.
While this plan has been in the works since Christmas last year, it fit in nicely with what we have all agreed to in having me come as your pastor halftime. One Sunday a month I will be away. This doesn’t mean that I am not working but my hours are allocated differently that one week a month. Instead of a chunk of time devoted to sermon prep, I get to attend more meetings related to our housing coalition. I get to visit more people and pursue more community contacts. I get to explore Milwaukie and plan larger ideas. I get to dream about what I might teach at some point in our church and read a bit more about what our church might be dealing with.
In return, as well, I will be transparent about when I am away and what will be in that
sermon time on Sunday morning. You will know when and where things are happening, and we will be prepared in advance. We were so lucky to hear an amazing word from Erin Smiley while I was away. We only benefit from more voices and more ideas.
On August 27th we are lucky to have Rev. Hand back in the pulpit. On September 17th, your worship team is scheming up an idea and October 22 will bring us more voices. November 12, during our annual Stewardship Campaign, you may just see something creative being cooked up in the financial realm and since December is Advent, I will be in the pulpit every Sunday. Stay tuned for more details on upcoming events as well! The Fall will bring a season of questioning and I can’t wait. I am excited about what is to come in our life together!
If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to email, call, text, or wave me down on
Sunday. In the meantime, I would still love to visit you! Let me know when I can!
Peace, Pastor Courtney
Hello from Berlin, Germany!
When you are reading this, my wife, baby, two pups and I will be busily packing up boxes from our life in Berlin. I moved here five years ago, taking a leave of absence from the world of the church, to pursue healing and love. You will hear much more about our adventures in the future and we are so excited to share as we get to know one another. I grew up in Lebanon, Oregon and served in four UMC appointments as you have probably heard. I am ready to return home and to introduce my son to the many wonders around us in Oregon. My wife grew up in Belgrade and is excited to explore Oregon more than a two week itinerary when we get to visit.
Ana and I met while walking the Camino de Santiago in 2017. We know our way through pilgrimages and walking together. We know that our time together beginning July 1 will be a different kind of pilgrimage and on a more communal level as the church. We look forward to hearing your stories, learning about your walk in life, and walking alongside you as we journey together.
You will be hearing more from me soon and until then let’s keep each other in prayer in the midst of this transition!
A new video features the voices of hundreds of Christians singing Charles Wesley’s beloved Easter hymn “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” Churches can use it on Easter Sunday and throughout the Easter season. Individuals and families can view and share it as they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ at home.
The piece is a gift to the world from The United Methodist Church to allow all people to hear and sing along as they celebrate Easter in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 300 Christians from across the globe, including the United States, Singapore, and the Philippines as well as from countries in Africa and Eastern Europe submitted videos of themselves singing the hymn. One sang in American Sign Language.
Congregations can use the video produced by Discipleship Ministries and United Methodist Communications as part of their online Easter celebrations or stream it before or after their service. They might also feature it on their websites as a gift to the community.
Third of Six Special Sundays – April 23, 2023
Native American MinistriesSunday serves to remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions madeby Native Americans to our society. Withmore than 20,000 Native Americans within the denomination, this special Sundayhelps to ensure that Native American United Methodist leaders arerecognized. It was officially recognizedin 1988 and has been celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of Easter since1989.
In 2022, you gave over$426 thousand to develop and strengthen Native American ministries in theAnnual Conferences, Native American rural, urban, reservation ministries andcommunities. Will you please join me aswe take this opportunity to give a financial gift in support and recognition ofour Native Americans.
Barbara Maxwell, FinanceChair
April 23rd – After Sunday Worship
Come to an informational session with Stephan McMurtrey about opportunities for creating more Affordable Housing in our area, and possibly on St. Paul’s property. McMurtrey will make a presentation about options for St. Paul’s to use it’s land for low cost housing. Something we have been discussing with the Land Housing Coalition. This is an informational meeting only. Stephan has a great background with the State and Clackamas County housing and now has a company that works on low cost housing.
Stephen McMurtrey, who grew up at St. Paul’s is a life-time affordable housing advocate and administrator. Since 2019, he has led a local affordable housing development firm: DCM Communities LLC.
Stephen describes DCM Communities as a mission driven affordable housing development firm providing integrated development across Oregon. Their primary focus has been in suburban and rural communities. They recently began construction of seventy (70) units of family housing in Pendleton, OR. Currently DCM has similar projects in North Bend and Roseburg, planned to provide over 225 units of affordable housing.
Stephen will be answering questions after the presentation. All are welcome to participate.
The End That Wasn’t
You will see him, that’s the message of Easter. You will see him, the living one, the alive one, him. And in that seeing, you’ll be able to breathe deeply again. Happy Easter.
Easter is a shout of jubilation that shakes the foundation of our presuppositions about what makes a good life. So, pull out the stops; shout from the rooftops. Let all the voices be heard. This is not a story only to be heard, but a story to be lived, to be performed.
But hearing the story is important too. Read it, proclaim it, sing it, perform it. Let it ring in our ears with awesome joy. We are stricken this day, not with fear, but the opposite of fear: with confidence, with certainty of faith. We claim the central truth of our faith, that Jesus the Christ is not dead but was raised and is alive. Our job this day is simply to embrace that promise and to live that joy. We stand in awe of the grace of God who would not leave us alone in our brokenness and sin, but provides the means for our redemption and the community who offers acceptance and healing.
While today is a day of rejoicing and celebration, it is also a call to move out. We are, above all things, followers – that’s what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ. We follow where he leads us; we go where he sends us. We move out into the world to live our proclamation in acts of service and in hospitality. To live in awe of grace is not to be stunned into inaction, but to live each day alive with possibility and hope, with love and with peace and longing for the kin-dom of God that brings justice and community and wholeness. Happy Easter!
A Special Offering Provides Easter Hope
As we celebrated Palm Sunday, we are reminded that “Jesus followers joined the many pilgrims who had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the great feast commemorating God’s deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. On Sunday, crowds lined the streets of Jerusalem as Jesus, mounted on a donkey, made a triumphal entry into the city. For those who knew the Jewish scriptures, this was a much hoped for and welcomed sign. Through this single prophetic action—riding a donkey from the Mt. of Olives into Jerusalem—Jesus announced he was the expected Messiah, come to save Israel, fulfilling the words of the prophet (Zechariah 9:9).” By this simple act of riding a donkey, here was the Hope for which the Jewish people, had been waiting. However, it was not the kind of Hope they were anticipating.
Within a few days, the sign of Hope for the Jews and the followers of Jesus comes to an end as we are reminded of Jesus torture and his death on a cross. For the Jews and Jesus followers, all Hope was gone.
Almost two (2) months ago, as people in Turkey and Syria were retiring for the evening, but, like us, mentally making plans very possibly filled with Hope for the next day. On Monday, February 6, 2023, at 4:17 am a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred. Their Hope and plans for this Monday, were shattered. For some their Hope was they were alive and had their family. For others, they asked the question; Was their Hope for the future?
We can say “Yes” because we know Christ is the Hope of the World. We know that three (3) days after Jesus’ death, Mary and Martha met the resurrected living Christ and ran to share the good news of Hope for the future. Likewise in Turkey and Syria, Hope was there as people were found alive two weeks later buried under the rubble.
As Members and Friends of St. Paul’s, I invite you to play a part in providing a financial means of Hope to the people in Turkey and Syria as we give a special Easter Sunday Offering on April 9. This special gift of Hope will go to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) who will distribute our gift through the appropriate channels for the renewing of lives and the rebuilding of communities in Turkey and Syria. As we give, may we remember that…
Jesus Christ is the Hope of the World.
Please make your check and/or electronic gift payable to St. Paul’s UMC and designate your gift for the Easter Offering. Thank You.
Barbara Maxwell, Finance Chair
Susan Robb: Seven Words: Listening to Christ from the Cross.
This is the day that the Lord has made. For us. Because of us. It could be argued that out of all these high and holy days, this one is the most … human. “Well, of course,” you might think. This week is a divine and human encounter; in fact, we might argue it is THE divine and human encounter. This is true; but hear me out. This day, this slash day, this Palm/Passion Day is the most human day of this whole event.
Every day is a holy day if you live into the truth of the ever-present God. Every moment is a moment rich with possibility and hope; every relationship is a potential insight into the activity of the Spirit; every conversation is a living word of grace and peace. “Best of all,” John Wesley supposedly said as his last words, “God is with us.” Amen.
Yet there are times and seasons that seem even more holy. There are moments that reverberate with the living presence of the living God, and our only proper response is to fall to our knees in awe of grace. These eight days are one of those times. Some argue they are the preeminent days when history, our history, and our understanding of self and God and life itself all changed. From Palm Sunday through Easter, the world is remade, a new creation, and we are blessed to be a part of it, blessed to receive a gift beyond words, which is nothing less than eternity itself.
Palm/Passion Sunday is technically the end of the season of Lent and is usually included in the Lenten worship series. It is the day to begin our walk with Jesus in the last week of his incarnated and earthly life. Carry through the sense of wonder and amazement; Read the story and then reflect in awe, corporately or individually.
March around the sanctuary, into the aisles, and up to the chancel. Dance if you can; march if that feels better, or just walk. Walk and wave as a way of drawing attention; you’re trying to catch the eye of the rider whose eyes are full of tears for you and for the fate of the city and the world you inhabit.
That’s the hint, those tears, that broken heart. “If only,” the Savior says. “If only you knew the things that made for peace.” For there is more. There is poignancy; there is suffering to come; there is a threat to the peace we long for, the justice we hope for. There is something deeper, something more involved, something in which to be invested, though it will cost something, from him first but then from you as well.
We all need a reminder of the story; we need to take our place around the table in the upper room, in the darkness of the garden, when sleep overwhelms us and then chaos reigns. We need a moment to listen from the courtyard as the trial commences and then the accusations fly, and the denial rises unbidden from our hearts. We need to stand on that skull-shaped hill and hear the hammer blows and the raspy voice offering forgiveness and grace almost unimaginable. We need a reminder of this before we make our way to the cemetery very early in the morning on Easter.
In some way, both triumph and tragedy are present on this day—both the declaration and the death, both the parade and the passion.
St. Paul’s is hosting a labyrinth in the sanctuary during Holy Week. The labyrinth will be open for all people to walk in prayer and contemplation. Hours are:
Monday – 10am to 1pm
Tuesday – 10am to 1pm
Wednesday – 6pm to 8pm
Thursday – 10am to 1pm
Friday – TBD
Saturday – 11am to 2pm
Walking the Labyrinth
There are many ways to walk a labyrinth. You may be seeking relaxation, prayer, problem solving, or healing. Here are some guidelines for the process that are frequently used. Remember, it is your walk.
- Prepare– Set your intention. Reflect on your life right now. Maintain silence for your own reflection and that of others.
- Walk In– Set your own pace. Stop if you choose. Let go of burdens, ideas, the need to control. Simply follow the path. Remember, all things on your walk will instruct.
- Center– When you reach the center, walk in and stay as long as you like. This is a place for reflection and gratitude, a place to listen to the still small voice of God.
- Walk Out– When you are ready, begin your journey back. Be aware of your feelings, your energy and insights or images.