Friendly Notes: Volume 20, Issue 3

James’ Jots:  A Bit of a Snapshot...

Many pastors in the Yearly Meeting serve on various Yearly Meeting committees, and frankly, I was trying to escape from Yearly Meeting last year without joining any of them. At Yearly Meeting, however, I found out that along with accepting this call I inherited a de facto membership on William Penn’s campus ministry committee. Historically the pastor of College Avenue Friends seems to always have played some sort of role in campus ministry, and I am very comfortable with this as it lines up perfectly with the call God has long placed on my heart. In fact the very reason I wanted to avoid joining a committee was because I wanted to deepen my roots to Oskaloosa Iowa, the people of our community, and of course, to William Penn University. As many of you know, with the cutting of Spencer’s position and the restructuring of the campus ministry committee, people are asking new questions about how the campus ministry program at Penn will continue. Various committee members have taken up certain aspects of campus ministry. Scott Biddle will be involved in various ways. Tom Palmer will continue his work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). I felt the Lord put on my heart that I should get involved with coordinating chapel, and Bailey Hupp has been indispensable in helping me learn the ropes of how this is to work. 

While on my trip to Oregon, a young woman named Beth from the William Penn Chronicle sought me out to ask what is happening with campus ministry at Penn. Though she will likely pull a few things here and there from what I wrote as she was intending to create her own article, as I reflected on what I wrote for her I couldn’t help but include it in full for my newsletter. Beth’s last question on behalf of the students may well be the question many of us at College Avenue Friends are also wondering about. It seemed fitting that after many meetings and a bit of experience now connecting with students at chapel so far that some kind of update was in order. Beth’s questions helped me put into words a bit about what has happened, what is happening, and perhaps a little bit about what God has in store for campus ministry in the future. These were her questions to me and my responses to them are included below:

1.) What position do you hold within the church?

I am the pastor of the church, however I prefer the title released minister. This title fits better with the Quaker idea of the priesthood of all believers in which everyone has a call to ministry and can serve God in whatever vocation they inhabit. Basically it means I am a minister among ministers… 

2.) How do you feel about the termination of the campus minister position, and what direction do you think they will take now that there is no one officially in charge?

I have mixed feelings about the termination of the campus minister position. I consider Spencer to be a close friend and a co-laborer in the work of ministry.  On the one hand I feel that Spencer was very effective in one on one connections with students, and his ministry will be sorely missed. He really invested in the lives of students and in the building up of leaders. I also think he took the school’s mission statement seriously regarding the pursuit of excellence, yet he marched to the beat of a different drum and was seeking that excellence in ways that are not easily quantified or understood. On the other hand, not having one person “in charge” and decentralizing the work of ministry resonates with the Quaker understanding of how ministry should be a shared burden. Many people were understandably upset by the decision, fearing it would eventually lead to the demise of all effective ministry at Penn. There is a danger that this sentiment could in fact turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy as hurt feelings replace actual engagement, but I see this not as a step toward “the end” but a step toward a new beginning. There is a great deal of opportunity here to reimagine what campus ministry could look like here at Penn. While a volunteer-led model does lack a bit in efficiency (though not necessarily effectiveness) it really opens up ways for people to get involved, to share together in the work of ministry, and strengthen the historic relationships between WPU and Iowa Yearly Meeting, and of course, College Avenue Friends Church.

It was once common knowledge that College Avenue Friends Church was called into being to serve as a light to William Penn University. Before the days of car travel, Quaker students of old wrote a letter to the Yearly Meeting and to a few country churches asking them to consolidate and build a church near the college so that the students would have a sorely needed place of worship. These students sparked a real change with their request, resulting in the birth of our church. Unfortunately a few short years after the church building was built, the college had a tragic fire which resulted in the death of a faculty member and student who attempted to salvage the academic records inside, only to have the bell tower collapse upon them. When the college rebuilt after this tragedy at its current location, I think the role of College Avenue Friends as a place of student worship was eventually overshadowed by Spencer Chapel. Time and other factors have led to a long stretch of growing apart and a weakening of the vision originally cast by WPU students of a place to worship God they could call home.

If nothing else, the cutting of the campus minister position has pushed us toward reflecting on the relationship between WPU, Iowa Yearly Meeting, and College Avenue Friends Church.  I believe that the desire to rebuild these historic relationships is a divine appointment. Our church had a meeting to discern God’s leading for us in light of the university cabinet’s decision and it seemed clear God was calling us to step out in faith, and in a spirit of love and humility, seek to strengthen our historic role as a light to WPU, impacting its students, faculty, and destiny as God leads. The spirit of unity at that meeting was palpable, and there was a real sense that we should “take the ball and run with it,” making the most of this new opportunity, and rising to face this challenge with the grace and humility it deserves.

Though there is no one person—such as a campus minister—officially and visibly “in charge” at present, that does not mean no one is in charge of campus ministry at Penn. I am a part of the newly restructured Campus Ministry Committee, a group of wonderful folks honestly trying to go forward in this new direction and help make it work. While some are still wounded by the decision itself, we recognize the importance of serving the spiritual needs of the Penn community. This work has always been larger than one person, and as I mentioned earlier this is opening up new opportunities for service. The piece of this I am taking up is the role of chapel coordinator, something I am very excited about. It is a great way to connect to students, though of course many students have to rush off immediately afterward for class. At chapel we are striving to embrace a sense of hospitality, regularly sharing a home cooked meal together as the early church often did. We are shooting for a more interactive approach, seeking ways to grow in depth and authenticity through table fellowship, discussion, and challenging one another to grow and serve in tangible ways.

Many ministries at Penn such as FCA, Intervarsity, sports devotions, and student led bible studies are largely autonomous, free standing entities. It is exciting to see Team Christ—a newly formed student led group—grow and thrive, reaching out to the Penn community in Jesus’ name. The biggest struggle involved in not having a campus minister is that communication and coordination of all these wonderful student led ministries is a real challenge. Good things come from cooperation and collaboration, and this is harder to do without one person acting as a point of connection. The committee is seeking some graduate assistants to take on the role of Spiritual Life Coordinator, connecting and communicating the work of ministry on campus, as well as investing in Religious Life Scholarship students and being available to minister to students, faculty, or staff. A job description has been created and the committee is beginning to promote the position and seek those whom God is leading to serve in this way.

It is hard to see a great deal of fruit presently stemming from the work of our committee. I for one am still learning the context of my small corner of campus ministry involvement and as of yet ways of gauging effectiveness seem elusive. Yet there are real signs of hope on the horizon. The opportunities present in this new work are something of a new testing ground, calling for creativity and collaboration between students, volunteers, and of course, faculty and staff. So many of the seeds we have been sowing will not sprout until next year and beyond, but the framework we have been working on will hopefully serve the spiritual life of WPU for years to come. I for one am excited about what God is up to and bringing forth in this new adventure.

 

Agape,

James Tower

Released Minister of College Avenue Friends Church and Chapel Coordinator of WPU

 

 

The Community Good Friday service will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Central United Methodist Church.  The choir would like to host singers from community churches for a couple of anthems under the direction of Quinton TschetterSinging IN PILOTS HALL and SEE HOW HE DIES. Anyone needing a copy of the music should contact Quinton (641-660-9745 or qct1944@gmail.com). The plan is to meet an hour before the service for rehearsal.

 

Easter Lily Orders

Pat Brainard will be taking orders for Easter lilies until Tuesday, March 17. The cost per each lily plant is $13.38 (this includes tax). Pat will be ordering from Stam Greenhouse. There will be forms in the narthex for ordering. Payment is due at the time of ordering ~ checks should be made payable to Stam Greenhouse. There will be an insert in the Easter Sunday bulletin listing who purchased the lilies and who the lilies are in memory or honor of. Stam Greenhouse will be delivering the lilies to CAF.

 

 

 

Community Garden Update

The Peace & Social Concerns Ministry Team's update on its two year involvement with the Penn Community Garden project begins with THANKS for all the support from College Avenue Friends.  Spencer Thury secured and worked with two excellent Penn Student Interns, Bailey Hupp and Holly Groom, who were Garden Managers over the summer months.  William Penn University furnished the plot, compensated the Student Interns for their Work-Study hours over the summers, and furnished water and hose needed for the garden.  In the first year, when the call went out that help was needed to harvest the food, many CAFers responded.  By the end of the season, several pick-up loads of boxed vegetables grown in the garden were delivered to the Senior Citizens Center, and received with great appreciation.

The second year, Haleh Everett Weaver, an experienced truck gardener living on a family farm north of Oskaloosa, heard about the garden through Cadwalladers and volunteered to lead us through ordering seeds in bulk, which was a great savings.  Haleh also volunteered to start all the plants in her home greenhouse and deliver them to the garden when we were ready for them.  Spencer's contact with Rene Visser, from First Christian Reformed Church in Oskaloosa and a specialist with herbs, resulted in her advising us in ordering herb seeds, which Haleh started, and both Haleh and Rene donated perennials from their yards.  Eves' special garlic cloves found their way into the soil in the Fall, and the project was beginning to feel like a real "community" garden!

The $200 CAF budgeted was used for seeds and needed fertilizer. Chuck Watson was involved in small machine work in the garden, Jeff Robbins was on call and did the larger machine clearing of the plot at the end of the 2nd year. Scott Biddle, and Mike Rucinski had their turns with tillers, Spencer and a small crew handled emergencies such as the hasty covering of plants during a late frost, plus many others from our church including James Tower, Erma Coppinger, etc., etc. . . MANY Friends were to be thanked for their help in the garden.

Spencer's vision for the garden was that the work would be done by the "community of people" including Penn students who, having worked, could have a share of the crop, but the abundance would be given away, free to those in need, in our case, to the Senior Center at former Grant School.  In reality, it seemed the needed steady flow of workers in the garden dwindled soon after the seeds and plants were in the ground.  In general, come mid-May when gardens (and weeds) begin to flourish, college students vanished for the summer.  Spencer developed an extensive email list of people thought to be interested, based upon the previous year, and Holly sent many notices when "work days" were needed, but response was poor.  Though there were ample rains, the cool days moved into sultry heat.  Our lives were full and we were limited in a number of ways, one being how many things we were able to commit to.

After two years of experience and learning from the garden project, fortunately, while our Ministry Team was wrestling with the issues, we learned that a new development in community gardening was in discussion.  Three from our Team attended several brainstorming meetings, along with Holly Groom.  Holly brought many skills to the table during her management of the garden in its second year, and fortunately, she generously volunteered her time to assist in the transition to the new plan, which then relieved CAF from direct responsibility.

The garden has now become part of the Blue Zones energy pool in Oskaloosa, and will be overseen by the Alumni Office at William Penn who are in charge of community events at large.  Those of us who subscribe to the Oskaloosa Herald may be familiar with recent information of four garden plots planned within the city, the New Hope Garden located in the southwest sector in their 6th year this Spring, and Penn Garden in its 3rd year, plus two others.

For a small fee, a family may choose a plot and be responsible for it throughout the gardening season.  Details will be in print soon for all wanting information about the total plan.  In brief, it is our hope that interest in gardening will increase as families take pride in their "return to the soil" and that they will grow fresh food for their tables and have more healthy diets.  With guidance from the Iowa State Extension Service, Mahaska County Office through beginning gardening lessons soon to be available, and many entities in our community working together, perhaps we will all become better Stewards of our very lives.

The Penn garden is ideally located on North E Street near the south edge of Penn property, with off-the-street parking for vehicles.  It is set back from the street and surrounded by spacious, well-kept lawns that provide play space for young children under the watchful eye of parents as they work.  This Spring you will see a handsome sign erected at the site, which is part of the benefit of joining the cooperative city-wide encouragement of Gardening.

Finally, may we take a 30-second "look Back?"  It's interesting that in the 1960's when the Bowman's came to William Penn College, there was a "Penn Pond and Gardens" area located on then College land north of the present Oskaloosa Senior High School, and Allen was one of several Penn Professors who were avid gardeners there!

Is the new interest in gardening today one small step toward living more healthy and happy?  Join the ranks!  Reserve a plot in Penn Community Garden to add healthful gardening to your exercise regimen.  The air is fresh, the sun warm, and the rains fall soft there!

 

Iola Cadwallader

 

 

 

“The C.A.F.eteria Line”

By Iola Cadwallader

 

What a great Winter we're having!  Nothing's been done half-way-- when its cold it's REALLY cold.  When the deck is icy, it's 1" thick and there's no question about whether to wear cleats or stay in all day!  And the wind?  There's no wind chill anyplace that's more chilly than in Iowa!  But it strengthens our fortitude.  We know we could spend hundreds of $$$ traveling to the Arctic Circle to have our fortitude strengthened, but save your money.  Just bundle up and go out and face it!  It's Iowa!  And funny thing . . . we forgive it, when the next day is still, there's a brilliant blue sky full of sunshine and the thermometer outside reads a warm 40 degrees!

Super Bowl Party was exactly as predicted:  "SUPER GREAT!"  Thanks, Pat, for all the ways you saw to it that EVERYBODY had fun-- no small task when the age-range is delightfully wide! (Now, let's not talk about the weather again; however, "it" came up against a band of hardy Quakers that night!)  The amazing news is that around 30 brave souls defied all efforts the weather made to keep them at home!  Hoorah!  Three Cheers for the Thriving Thirty!

But what's your guess?  Has anyone out there realized that when we pass March 1st, in just 4 Sundays it will be Palm Sunday?  And that means Easter next, and S-P-R-I-N-G next!  Remember, it's never too early to think Crocus & Tulips!

Have you watched the tracks in the snow toward the Free Little Library in the Park?  Our church neighborhood people appreciate picnic tables in the summer shade, but winter continues to bring them to the Park for a book or two from the Free Little Library.  When Deb checks the FLL each Sunday she finds lots of adult footprints these days, not too many kids', but she says "Wait 'til Spring and Summer-- that's when the kids come!"  And would you believe it?  James put a barcode on the window so people with Smartphones can scan and it will take them to the CAF Website!  Will wonders never cease?  Greatest thing of all is the Little Library has proved to be rain, snow, wind and moisture proof!  Thanks, Mike Moyer, for seeing to that from the beginning!

Are we remembering that ALL OF US CAN CONTRIBUTE BOOKS to the FLL?  We can either hand them to Deb if we want the CAF label on them or simply put them inside the door of the Little Library.  If it's full of books, we can save ours for next time we're driving by.  We need to supply all kinds of books for all ages, and good magazines are fine too, such as National Geographic.  And if you want to learn more about the growth of this great idea for communities across the country, just go to the Free Little Library Website.

How many of us followed up on last month's suggestion that we take a peek at the clean church kitchen, including the stove?  The historic headline this month is "CAF Women Share Kitchen With CAF Quaker Men!"  Did you know Quaker Men are cooking their own breakfasts one Saturday morning a month now?  It's a new tradition that's great fun for the guys!  There's some sort of unwritten rule now that the used & washed kitchen equipment must be put back where it was found.  Of course, the men ask, "Why does this measuring cup need to go over there when it fits here?"  Okay, we'll leave it at that, but treat yourself to a laugh and ask Deb about the Measuring Cup Mystery she had to solve at her house recently!  FYI, Mike R. makes Hot Biscuits and Gravy to wake up early for, while Mike M. offers stiff competition with his Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs & Bacon, part or all of the above on a given Saturday morning.  Who else dons their Quaker Men's Chef's Hat? Don’t be shy . . .

Hopefully it's never too late to say "Welcome" to Katy Palmer who worships at CAF and has also favored us with her lovely singing voice on occasion.  We hear she recently travelled to Dallas, Texas where she attended "Catalyst," a well-known Christian Leadership Conference for "next-generation leaders in the church and beyond."  This is Katy's fourth time to attend and, as usual, she heard speakers from a wide scope of career leadership-- a Neuroscientist, an Economist, an Officer in the Salvation Army, a Pastor and others whose vision is to re-shape our culture in positive ways through Christian values put into practice daily in all walks of life.  We applaud that vision, Katy, and your part in it.  Way to go!

And Martha-Faye Circle got to hear this month that Jan Palmer is about to embark upon her first trip to Belize!  She's traveling with Tom, a 3rd time visit for him, and Ann Nichols of Iowa Yearly Meeting.  All three are looking forward to seeing and having conversations with Dale Graves, who is Friends United Meeting's appointee to study all aspects and potentials of the Belize Mission.  Jan, in particular, has a desire to visit informally with some of the students in the school, and get a sense of the community and dynamics of the area surrounding the school. As we know Jan, in general she'll have her eyes wide open the whole time as she is quietly present there.  It will be surprising if Tom doesn't comprise a "work team" all by himself, if he sees something that needs repair.  Let's lend prayer support for these three in this venture.

If you missed the trial run The Cooking Club gave us, just for “practice” on the upcoming Potato Bar, you missed a great meal. Instead of bringing “covered dishes” Monthly Meeting cooks came with dollar donations to defray the cost, and the result was resounding approval of the big upcoming Potato Bar event for the community.  As you know, it’s a benefit for the 2016 International USFW Triennial that Iowa Friends Women are hosting.  Those classy street-signs advertising the Soup Supper last Fall will appear before long with POTATO BAR in big letters! Give all your relatives and friends an “Upfront” to save the date, 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17.  Oh, and remember to sign up to help! (You DO remember how the women help the men with Soup Supper? “Turn about, Fair Play?” Thanks, Guys!)

Until next month, stay well and keep smiling!

Friendly Notes Volume 19, Issue 2

James’ Jots:  Adventures in Prayer

Leonard Sweet once wrote; “Insects crawl. Fish swim. Birds fly. Humans Pray.” I have come to see through my near death experience that prayer truly is a natural part of human experience. Though prayer is often conceived of as “talking to God,” for me prayer does not always have to involve words, or even thoughts. It is something miraculous, yet prayer is also natural. That does not mean our prayer lives could not be improved or that we always pray as we should. Richard Foster reminds us how we often “experience the agony of prayerlessness.”

I am reading MaryKate Morse’s book, A Guidebook to Prayer.  It is wonderful to read a book by a person I know, and even more interesting there are peppered throughout it comments from students. Some of the students quoted in it I have actually shared classes with. One student I know, Pete Garcia, wrote of his experience with God in terms of a juvenile romance:

“Prayer and I have endured a relationship not unlike that of junior high would-be lovers. It’s great, then awkward, then I stop texting and we drift apart. This cycle repeats ad infinitum. The busier my life becomes, the less time and space I create for prayer. And then I feel empty, yet emptiness is the crux of our humanity precisely because it creates space for us to be filled with God’s Spirit. This is the great battle of the desert: our dual longing for and requirement of love. Love is the space in which we can cup our hands to contain enough small water to wet our faces in Gods stream of life.”

-Pete Garcia

The imagery Pete put forth as a junior high relationship with its yearnings and emptiness was to me both comical and profound. I have experienced this sort of juvenile “dark night of the soul” where the emptiness rekindles a burning desire to encounter God once again. It seems that my prayer life goes through these kinds of cycles: cycles of shallowness and depth, richness and poverty. One day I feel like I haven’t missed a beat with God, another I realize I haven’t prayed much for a few days because of all the busyness and exhaustion. When this hits me, I just have to go off, to the sanctuary or elsewhere, and push through the awkwardness of prayer once again. At times the connection with God gushes right up like living water welling within me, and other times it feels like work—redigging a well even—that eventually opens the channels up once again. The acknowledgement of the awkwardness of prayer really struck me. I feel that often and profoundly in ministry (and in general). 

When it is just me praying alone, I do not always feel the need for audible prayer. For me, words do not matter a whole lot anymore, so hunting for the right words is not something I am typically concerned with. Corporate prayer, on the other hand is vastly different and somewhat intimidating also. One thing I am waking up to is the power of and depth of non-spontaneous prayer. I have always had a tough time with liturgical style prayer, by which I mean written prayers. I eventually became fine with writing out my own words, but for me, borrowing someone else’s words, no matter how beautiful, appropriate, or elegant always seemed like an odd fit for my own prayer life. I also see that I can find myself praying different versions of the same prayer, and becoming perhaps too satisfied with that. I can see how borrowing words can help break free of this monotony, yet there is something about the intimacy and honesty involved in spontaneous prayer I still value greatly. In the same way that I think reading my wife a love letter might be nice once in a while, but it would feel weird reading her someone else’s. Or worse, I imagine some kind of marriage sitcom where a married couple can no longer use their own words, but can only read to each other someone else’s. These extremes of course do not have to be. As always dabbling with new things, in prayer just as other areas of our lives, can be a rewarding thing. 

Praying the Psalms, as Foster pointed out, makes a great starting point for delving into these more structured ways of praying. In traditional Jewish prayer, one would face east toward Jerusalem. The Psalm of the day is read three times, each time the pray-er would step back three steps and wait in silence, then step forward three steps and read again. I have been doing this recently for my prayer class and it has been quite stretching. Later Jewish people would adopt a system of 18 blessings called the Shemoneh Esreh. In it there are prayers centering on who God is, personal prayers, national prayers for the people of Israel, and prayers of worship.

Prayer number 16 is about humbly asking for, and being grateful for the simple fact of God hearing our prayers. As you read it you will notice the vowels from the references to God’s name are missing. This reflects the Jewish understanding that the name of God revealed to Moses YHWH (Yahweh) should be kept holy and unprofaned, eventually leading to the divine Name no longer even being pronounced.

Hear our voice, O L-rd our G-d; spare us and have mercy upon us, and accept our prayer in mercy and favor; for You are a G-d who hears and answers prayers and supplications; from Your presence, O our King, turn us not away empty; for You hear and answer in mercy to the prayers of Your people Israel. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, who hears and answers prayer.

I have felt a strong desire to take on the adventure of incorporating these blessings into my prayer habits. I also felt challenged to simply dust off my pen and write out some of my own prayers rather than always “winging it…” I know myself well enough to know that remixing and riffing off prayers is far more natural to me than simply reading the prayers of others. All of this is a stretch out of my comfort zone, but it is also stretching past the low hanging fruit I have grown accustomed to. The sweetest fruits are often not the easiest to reach.

I want to challenge you to try on something different in your personal praying habits this month. If you are feeling adventurous, add in something new that is a lot different than what you normally do. Do something a little crazy! Set apart a time and a place for prayer outside your normal rhythm. Find a prayer closet or “tent of meeting” and inhabit it. Build an altar, even if it is something small that you place on the edge of your desk. Take a crack at Jewish prayers, or borrow a prayer from some obscure person in the Bible and make it your own. Dabble!

Jesus has given us access to God, but so often we do not take advantage of, or ponder how wondrous a thing prayer really is. As my friend, Peter from seminary reminds us, “The busier my life becomes, the less time and space I create for prayer.” It is a challenge to reclaim some of that lost room in our lives, but in this we may well find a pioneering spirit that can revitalize and refresh our connection with God. Not every new thing is always beneficial, but we always benefit from chasing the mysteries of prayer. May we find Him in the seeking at College Avenue Friends. Hear our voice, O L-rd our G-d

 

Agape,

James

 

“The C.A.F.eteria Line”

By Iola Cadwallader

 

It's January, with February ready to go, so time to bring CAFeteria Line out of hibernation!

 

Wasn't the whole Christmas Season wonderful?  All the traditional happenings of our church seemed to glow with warmth-- the Christmas tree provided by Norm & Connie Sneller for Fellowship Hall was a first-- the Sunday morning story of Jesus' Birth exceptionally well portrayed-- the joy overflowing into our families and homes-- what more could we ask?

 

Then there was the fun-packed New Year's Eve Party for the whole family!  Donna R. put out an advance call to clear our houses of the White Elephants to bring for prizes, plus some favorite games, and, being CAFers, a groaning Snack Table was guaranteed!  Now, after-the-fact, we know it was all a howling success, ending with blessings to all for 2015!

 

Many Thanks to everyone behind the scenes doing the planning of all these events, and to those carrying each one out, which includes everyone in attendance!

 

Isn't it great to have Heather Nelson graduated from the Indian Hills Culinary Art Program, completing in her valuable Internship with the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island?  She had no trouble landing the job of Catering Cook with William Penn's Catering Service, where she now is solely responsible for creating a variety of rare, delectable dishes on Call.  She also works on a part-time basis at On The Green.  Congratulations, Heather!

 

With our children and youth back in school and the days getting longer, would you believe Kristine Jaennette spends some of her time sitting on the edge of a wrestling mat cheering Lynnville-Sully High School wrestlers to victory?  For us wrestling novices, imagine Kristine's squad on one side of the mat, the opposition's cheer leaders on the other, and the wrestlers competing in the middle, and you get the picture of Kristine, The Cheerleader!  Go for it, Kristine!

 

Has anyone checked on how far Liz Tower's Soft Caramels travelled in December?  They were sent to North Carolina and Indiana, for sure, but where else?  Liz made them essentially as fundraisers for the Summit travelers during Christmas break, but also those Caramels took the prize for easy-to-mail, delicious gifts!  Thanks, Liz, for those melt-in-your-mouth treats, and for your part in the fundraising!

 

By-the-way, did you see Greta's t-shirt a few Sundays ago?  The words colorfully written on the front were "Keep calm-- and carry me."  Part of the fun of it is Sydney Robbins made it as a little love gift!  Hey Sydney, we didn't know you were a Fashion Designer too!

 

Orchids to the famous CAF Cooking Club!  In fact, chains and bouquets of Orchids, because guess what they've done!  They have cleaned the church kitchen, INCLUDING THE STOVE!  If you've never been involved in really deep-cleaning that huge institution size stove, inside out, you can't appreciate what a job it is, and very few of us have even thought of getting involved at CAF in that particular task!  But it must be done, periodically, and it IS DONE once again!  For fear of leaving someone out, names of those strong women who are responsible for the work are being left out here, but whether others can see it or not, those gals have a silver crown hidden under their hats!  Don't miss peeking into the church kitchen soon!

 

Then there was Missoula Children's Theatre giving Rapunzel back in mid-January!  Three of those many local children having their time on-stage that afternoon and evening were KeyganKlayton and Kylynne Roberts, and they did a great job!  What a delightful story, the overriding moral being how important Kindness is . . . just try a little Kindness.  That's something worth remembering!

Friendly Notes Volume 19, Issue 1

James’ Jots:  The Cry of the Heart

The final thought I want to leave us with as I conclude my series on worship is, how do we evaluate worship? As with many things, you can’t just ask one person. We all have our opinions of course, but most of us know we can only speak to our own experience. Neither could we ask a certain demographic like young adults, or our more “seasoned” members. I suspect even if we asked everyone at once the criteria for each person would be different, likely based on what was familiar and even what was going on in their lives at that moment. If, as I have tried to point out, performance level or even people’s enjoyment cannot be very good indicators of a worshipping community’s response and participation, is there much left for a person like me who plans worship services to go on?

In reflecting back on a Sunday morning worship experience, there are some occasional feedback comments that spring to mind. To be honest, though, most of what comes to mind is the ethereal looks on people’s faces—the passion or lack of enthusiasm I see on your faces staring back at those of us sitting on the stage. I would love to have some kind of congregationally based planning group to help me evaluate how planning for worship actually “achieved” worship, but so far my own leadership in this direction has been slow coming and difficult to say the least.

I do know one metric I would love to be the sole criteria for whether or not the plans for leading our congregation into worship have been successful: were people’s hearts pointed to and encountering Jesus? Among the various other criteria such as what is biblical and theologically grounded, the historical practices of the church, and the metric of our own sense of the familiar—whatever we end up doing, be that singing, praying, or listening to a sermon, no matter the technical excellence involved, if people are not genuinely encountering Jesus it was hardly worth the effort. There are always things that could have been planned better or gone as planned better and evaluating worship from a technical standpoint cannot be avoided. Moreover, evaluating the technical specifics of worship is both needed and necessary. The only way we can step down that path though is with a great deal of humility, honesty, and open mindedness. 

Different elements of worship can both add to, or take away from, the flow of the corporate worship experience. This isn’t black and white territory either, for each person’s experience is subjective.  Amid all of this are bound to be both solid food and hiccups. As long as there is a human element involved, every now and then you get a curve ball thrown your way. One of the most difficult things a person can do is evaluate the technical side of worship with grace, keeping the proper balance of both speaking the truth and doing it with love.

Things being off can be distractions that take away from the experience of seeking God in community. Small details such as sound system quirks, a song leader being too far from a mic or singing too softly to be heard, various musical missteps, the lyric slide arriving too late on an unfamiliar song, a boring sermon—all of these things can play havoc on that faint nerve of OCD within us all. Yet what we do with this negative energy in worship can have a profound effect not only on our own worship, but that of those around us. There are powerful destructive possibilities at play as we find ourselves stepping into a critical role. Being a trained musician, speaker or sound tech means one can no longer be unaware of the many hiccups of a worship gathering. This sort of training in fact pushes us to be aware of things others might not be, as part of this training involves actively searching for fault to correct it. I know my training as a sound person and speaker can at times be an obstacle to being caught up in worship, it can stop me from focusing on a song or sermon in very tangible ways. Even without training, some of us can find ourselves knowing something is off, even if we lack the words to describe it. 

Being critical however is not without its strengths. It calls us to ask dangerous questions beyond simply “did people like it?” It also helps us ask big questions such as, “are we merely singing these songs because they are familiar, or popular?” We can learn a lot about what we care about by what questions we are willing, or even are unwilling to ask. It takes a great deal of grace and humility to evaluate worship from a technical standpoint. This is because it pushes us beyond our own preferences and biases. If we are not pushed beyond our preferences and biases, we are simply being ruled by what is comfortable for us. I believe worship should be so much more than doing what we do because we have always done it that way or simply adopting whatever is trendy. I believe worship should be an experience of encountering God. The details are only semi-important, and hopefully help us along the way to that encounter. Yet on the other hand, the details matter a great deal and we should take them with the utmost seriousness.

A popular Christian artist named Matt Redman was a signed and successful professional musician, yet his church in Australia was deeply divided by the worship music. People grew so bitter about the rift between traditional and contemporary styles that the lead pastor took the bold move of cutting music from the worship services. After a few months without music they slowly began introducing spontaneous a capella music into the services. This singing came from the hearts of the congregation, not merely the stage. The church music rift eventually healed and became revitalized. The main criteria of the worship actions on a Sunday morning became “did our actions form a deep experience with Christ in the hearts of the believers in the congregation?” From this experience Matt Redman wrote a song called “The Heart of Worship” that became something of a surprise anthem among the early 2000’s contemporary worship music scene. So many churches resonated with the message of the song that nearly overnight it was sung in many English speaking churches across the globe. 

For my final thought concluding thought about this series on worship, I simply want to leave you with the lyrics of Redman’s song, “The Heart of Worship”:

 

When the music fades

and all is stripped away

and I simply come.

Longing just to bring

something that's of worth

that will bless Your heart.

 

I'll bring You more than a song,

for a song in itself

is not what You have required.

You search much deeper within,

through the way things appear,

You're looking into my heart.

 

I'm coming back to the heart of worship

and it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus.

I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it

when it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus.

 

King of endless worth,

no one could express

how much you deserve.

Though I'm weak and poor,

all I have is Yours,

every single breath!

 

I'll bring You more than a song,

for a song in itself

is not what You have required.

You search much deeper within,

through the way things appear,

You're looking into my heart.

 

I'm coming back to the heart of worship

and it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus.

I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it

when it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus.

Agape,

James

 

Martha-Faye Circle/USFW invites you to their soup and salad luncheon on Saturday, January 2015 at 11:30 AM at CAF.  

The program will be presented by Kathleen Evenhouse, author of Less Than A Widow.  Attached is an introduction of Kathleen’s book written by the author.

I’d like to introduce you to Ruth, Naomi, Boaz, and a few more old friends. You might be saying, “I know that story. I learned it in Sunday School.” 

If you still believe that the biblical story of Ruth and Boaz reads much like a Disney romance—where a kind and lovely young girl falls on hard times, is rescued by a prince, and they live happily ever after—then perhaps now would be a good time for you to reacquaint yourself with this narrative. You have grown and matured since you first met Ruth, and you may be surprised to find that her story has depths you never knew were there. 

My new book, Less Than a Widow, gives you an opportunity to get reacquainted with Ruth, Naomi, Boaz, and many others. This work of historical fiction brings you into the lives and times of people living in ancient Middle East. It presents a clear view of their culture and beliefs without deviating from the biblical outline. 

Less Than a Widow paints a rich picture of the traditions and trials of ancient womanhood, bringing new life into the ageless account of the biblical Ruth.

As the 3000-year-old story unfolds, it becomes clear that today’s women are still affected by many of the same issues. In the patriarchal culture of the ancient Middle East, Ruth was a social castoff—a widow without legal rights. As the title reveals, her inability to conceive a child brought her even lower, to a point where her very existence wasted the limited resources of her people.

Deeply affecting, Less than a Widow combines rich historical storytelling with a contemporary voice.

Submitted by Pat Brainard

M&C has begun a discussion about the direction God is leading us as College Avenue Friends thanks to our Pastor James Tower. In listening to the various voices on who we are as a church, from the mission and purpose statements to comments from our World Café discussions he has begun attempting to articulate the unspoken answers to who we are and what we value at College Avenue Friends.  In the past, CAF developed some Covenant statements that spoke to the way we treat and behave with one another. Since then in various situations and meetings, the questions have arisen, "Where are we headed?, What is our vision?, and Who are we as a church?" James has listened to many discussions and has written the following tentative Vision and Values statements for our consideration. Hopefully, these will guide our actions and decision-making for future years. We would like for you to read over these, pray over these, and act on them in the February Monthly Meeting. M&C plans to have a Visions workshop on Saturday, January 24, at 9:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall with coffee and snacks. Come and share with ministry team clerks and members as we value your input. A snow date will be the following Saturday, January 31.

 

1) College Avenue Friends exists to be compassionate examples of Christ bearing God’s message of love to the world with not only our words, but also with our deeds as lived out by the Friends Testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, and Equality. We believe we are called to “let our lives speak” as a demonstration and proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

2) College Avenue Friends exists to be a Christ-centered fellowship that stays true to our heritage as Friends. Hence, we are committed to a listening spirituality allowing room for the inward experience of Christ - one tested against the example lived by Christ and also God’s revelation found in the Holy Scriptures. We believe God’s living Word, Jesus, will always lead us in ways that are consistent with His written word of biblical revelation.

3) College Avenue Friends exists not only for its own sake but also for the sake of those outside our walls that Christ calls us to love and serve. We are committed to pushing beyond the status quo and being a light to others in our daily walks of faith.

4) College Avenue Friends exists and has existed from its beginning to serve as a light to William Penn University and to impact its students, faculty, and destiny as God leads.

5) College Avenue Friends embraces a spirit of hospitality that shapes our worship. This calls us to an inclusive vision that makes room for new members to find their place in our family and allows them to grow in Christ using their gifts and talents.

6) College Avenue Friends embraces the fact that we are an intergenerational church, committed to intergenerational inclusivity. We are committed to a balanced approach that embraces this diversity in our worship planning of music, preaching, and other worship activities.

     

Submitted by Donna Rucinski

 

Please remember to have address, phone number, and e-mail address changes in to the office by January 25th so new directories may be completed.

Friendly Notes Volume 18, Issue 12

James’ JotsA Rhythmic Life of Worship

When the word “worship” becomes synonymous with the word “singing” on Sunday morning, something is lost. On the opposite end of conceiving worship as specific actions like singing, praying, or listening to a sermon, is the big picture of “a life of worship.” When we think about dedicating our entire lives to God, giving Him “our moments and our days in ceaseless praise” as the old hymn puts it, we are freer to think about how our story intersects with God’s big story of salvation for the world. We can even begin to see our actions as something that contributes to a divine romance so to speak; even a human/divine dance of activity, intimacy, and rest. I recently preached on Psalm 90, a prayer attributed to Moses about how he found wisdom in “numbering his days.” As I write this and in thinking of its connection to this metaphor of a human/divine dance, it seems a fitting reflection that at some point the “music” will stop and this dance will be over. Then the eternal dance with God will begin as we regroup in the resurrection. For now, it seems, we should just enjoy the dance we are called to at present.

The ancients had a way of thinking about the connection between our story and God’s big story, a way of “numbering their days” if you will, or marking out time in the search for a wisdom filled life. They thought of every year as a journey from the foreshadowing of Jesus’ incarnation and birth (Advent and Christmas) and moving toward Jesus’ death and resurrection (Lent and Easter). While we Quakers struggle with what we perceive as “high church forms,” I think we can gain a lot from slowing ourselves down and putting our “moments and our days” back into God’s big story in our sanctified imaginations. While holidays like Epiphany or Ash Wednesday might seem to be huge distractions or “forms” to us with our simple, Quaker perspective on worship, the church year does not have to be something we eye with suspicion. I think we can see it is complementary to our idea that our whole lives can be sacraments. It fits as a way of experiencing our faith in a new dimension, because we are reflecting on our journey with God as a larger rhythm than we are often conscious of. If all of life is a sacrament, then our time is also a sacrament, and there is nothing wrong with marking it out in ways that remind us of God’s big story of redemption. This sets the story in its proper place, as an active drama being lived out even now.

In my worship planning at College Avenue, I have tried to make room for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter for this very reason. I want to challenge you as we begin another journey through Advent to pay attention to God’s story and its meaning for you. To do yourself a favor and not cut to the end of the story simply because we already know how it ends, but to try to let the “moments” of this Advent season remind you of the slow journey toward Bethlehem, and the One we are to meet there. 

God calls us to a rhythmic life of worship. A life of order and discipline that lets the Spirit prune and sanctify us, even sanctify our imaginations and meddling with the desires of our hearts. In the Old Testament, God commanded a series of feasts, fasts, and festivals. There is something about us that requires this sort of divine nudge toward setting apart time to focus on God as a community. While the liturgical year can seem overly complex to us Quakers, it serves this very purpose of marking out space, of carving out some time in our busy lives for God to enter into. This starts with creating a worship space in our own hearts—a space with room enough for God’s big story at work in our lives. This measured approach to life is one of holding ourselves back so that we can once again watch and wait for the Spirit’s movement.  May the simplicity that undergirds our Quaker perspective on worship allow us to keep focused on the big story this advent season, the story of love brought into being in the person of Jesus Christ. May we keep Christ at the center—not only of our being—but also at the center of our own stories of living the resurrection life.

Agape,

James

White Gift Offering

This year Christian Education selected Mesquakie for the White Gift offering. We will be collecting both money and paper products such as paper plates, cups, napkins, plastic spoons and forks, and toilet paper. At the end of the Christmas program the White Gift offering will be collected.

 

World Café Summary

As CAF has had two World Cafes over the last few months, two things were obvious. We want to be connected to Penn students and we want to have our younger members get to know our ways and us. That calls for some real commitment in making intergenerational connections that are meaningful. At Monthly Meeting in October, M&C presented six suggested actions we might take as a church. (Please read these in the Minutes in this newsletter.) We want your feedback! We want support for those items you feel will help us grow closer to one another as a church family.

One way to involve the young adults with musical talents who are members of our church is to include them more often in our praise worship perhaps on the fourth Sunday to let them know we value their talents. We will continue with the organ and piano music on the first and third Sunday.

As we gather for worship on Sunday mornings, it is observed that many of our members come in late or gather in the foyer to visit. To offset worship beginning late, it is suggested that we experiment with a morning fellowship time in the fellowship room with coffee and light breakfast type snacks on non-monthly meeting Sundays beginning at 9:15 a.m. This provides all an opportunity to visit before worship and also give Penn students an opportunity to join us. This would replace the fellowship time between church and Sunday school. Thus church would begin at 10 a.m. and SS at 11:10. It might be nice to experiment with this in the winter months of snow, ice, fog and cold. 

We all notice when individuals are absent from worship. We want people to know we care. The pastor and M&C cannot do the job alone. Your ideas are welcome on this. Visitors also need to be greeted and made to feel welcome. We need contact information. Why not have friendly people their age volunteer to sit with them and have a first visit memorable small gift? What ideas would you like to contribute to this?

To help us all become more like family, we need to have more regular activities to mix the generations together. For example, we used to have 2 x 4 small groups. What new ways of mixing might we try as we have singles, couples, families, and youth. How would you like to help be a part of planning such activities? We are planning to have a New Year’s Eve party with snacks and games! This is one way. What other type of activities might we try?

Some of our members would like to know their spiritual gifts better and know how they may help the church by serving on committees or being a part of serving in some other way. One way for them to learn their abilities besides taking a spiritual gift survey is to have the nominating committee recognize and encourage their growth by intentionally placing them on committees. We recognize the pastor and Monthly Meeting clerk may be in a better position to help identify the interests of these younger and new members. We just need to ask our youth, young adults, and older new members what are their interests.

Please share your comments and suggestions with any of the M&C committee members who are Mary Thury, Bill Blake, Erin Patterson, Del Coppinger, Mike Fogle and Donna Rucinski.

 

“The C.A.F.eteria Line”

By Iola Cadwallader

 Hello, Winter!

        Does anyone find it shocking that if this Newsletter hits the church mailboxes for pickup Sunday, November 30, the next day will be December 1?  December!  What happened to all those other months?  The good news, of course, is that we're not only approaching Christmas now, but we're preparing for it!  How?

        Well, guess what!  For starters, the Penn Choir Christmas Concert is going to open the Season for us on December 6th right here in our church, and while our women are baking up a storm of Christmas Cookies, the Penn singers are wrapping up their gifts of music we'll all be receiving that night!  Don't you think they'll like having Cookies, Punch and Coffee afterward?  There'll be enough for EVERYBODY, so you be sure YOU come down to Fellowship Hall, too!  Oh, and the Choir Director, Anita Meinert, tells us she has the largest group of singers she's had in a long, long time!  Don't miss seeing for yourself, when they take the stage at 7:30 pm, Saturday, Dec. 6!

        What is it with Christian Ed. Committee who reports to Monthly Meeting-- just enough information about our CAF traditional Christmas Program to make us extremely curious, but totally un-informed.  They whet our appetites!  It's to be Sunday morning, Dec. 14, yes, and between now and then, something is going to happen that's going to make this one, as always, the "Best Christmas Program Ever!"  Don't miss it!

        Can't forget all that's been going on among us, looking back. Ron and Sharon Byers take the prize for highest number of grandkids getting married in a few months’ time.  They have packed three weddings into their summer and Fall! Take time for a visit with Sharon who knows all of the beautiful details!

        In the same vein, isn't it fun having Mark and Nicole Humphrey among us these days, whose wedding bells rang at Mom Caroline's Indiana home farm, with Tom Palmer officiating!  To take a peek at the lovely pictures contact Caroline!  Nicole is a Dispatcher with Newton Law Enforcement and Mark is an experienced Construction worker, who, by-the-way, was instrumental in the new window installations at CAF.  Ask him which ones he did and notice how perfectly they fit!

        Most recent was the wedding of Connie Sneller's grandson in Des Moines, uniting Josh and Candie in their Renaissance/Masquerade Theme Wedding, officiated by Connie who was ordained in their former Community of Christ Church.  What a huge celebration it was-- the vows familiar and touching, and the atmosphere as colorful and as "Renaissance" as possible, in the year Twenty Thousand Fourteen!  Day-to-day, Josh is a Care-giver in a Group Home for handicapped men and boys in Des Moines, and Candie has worked with General Nutrition Co. (GNC) but her gift as a Seamstress is ongoing.  Connie is going to have pictures some day, and until then her memory bank is full of that joyous wedding.

       Now let's see, what's next?  Oh, about those Swim Grandkids now in OHS and Middle School.  Both Connor and Karson have ended up on their respective school Student Councils, Connor as Sophomore Class Pres. and Karson as 7th grade Rep.  It's kind of rare, don't you think, that a brother and sister attended the IA Student Leadership Conference in Des Moines earlier this school year?  Great representatives of the Osky. School System; but another thing, Connor up and earned a Varsity letter in football as a Sophomore,  and to top that, he got a spot on the Class 3A All-District Academic football team, District 7.  It seems like there's some sort of hidden theme here, like, "If you're going to do it, do it well."  So be it!

        "Our famous Quaker Men's Soup Supper was a smashing hit again in this community, and word has it that three Penn student members at CAF are getting help from the proceeds for their trip to CA for SUMMIT late December.  They are Bailey Hupp, Elias Thury and Lydia Thury. Thanks to the incredible Chefs who worked all day long in the kitchen, the very young Quaker livewires and older youth working the tables along with some ageless volunteers, the pie bakers and servers-- and everyone who came!

        An added feature for money-raising was the sale of Liz's melt-in-your-mouth Caramels, 3/$1.00 or 15/$5.00. Bailey Hupp had a "Salesmanship With A Smile" tactic that kept everyone smiling!  Without question, a good time was had by all on Soup Supper night!

            And that's it for this time, except . . . now that Thanksgiving is past, let's remember our many, many blessings and where they come from . . . and may our Christmas celebrate fully the Holy Birth of Jesus, true Light of the World.

Christmas Greetings may be placed on the south bulletin board in the narthex to share.

Please come and enjoy the Christmas program

December 14th immediately following the service.

 

 

New Year’s Eve Celebration

 

There will be a celebration held at the church on New Year’s Eve beginning at 7:00 p.m. Please bring snacks/finger foods and games to share.

 

 

 

Friendly Notes Volume 18, Issue 11 - November 2014

James’ Jots: The Work of the People

 Underneath the surface of our expectations, we all have unwritten rules about how we encounter God in worship. Some have a hard time engaging in worship if they do not sing what they refer to as “the old hymns,” for others, worshipping without a sermon or open worship would be unthinkable. Ironically, the idea of worship in church history, is best characterized by an understanding of “liturgy.” Liturgy sounds funny to us “low church” Quakers, but in Latin it means “the work of the people.” This is how worship has been historically thought of, before our consumerist cultural values have caused us to rethink that. Nowadays we are plagued by a mentality were worship has lost its “work” and worship that requires us to get outside of our comfort zone is looked at with suspicion. But worship is not supposed to be like baseball: a lot of people in the stands who desperately need exercise watching a few others on the “field” who desperately need a break.

As I continue to write about my interview with Jared Ross, the choir director of Barclay College and worship pastor of Haviland Friends Church, an understanding of what is meant by liturgy needs to be grasped to fully understand what he was saying. Especially to understand his response to “What specific goals and objectives do you have for the congregation, as you are leading worship?” Jared answered:

My main goal for them starts in my planning, whatever worship actions I am planning I am hoping to create different worship actions that will allow the people to encounter God in real ways, to experience Him and respond to Him. My goal then is the same as that of hospitality, setting up an environment that is going to allow people to engage and respond to God. For instance, musically I want to pick songs that can be sung by the majority of people. I want to make it easier for people to encounter God and respond to Him, not necessarily just singing the hippest newest thing. My second goal is that they will respond. I want them to participate. Worship is their work. 

Jared’s twin goals of attempting to create an environment where people encounter God in real ways and respond to Him speaks from the heart of most anyone planning or leading worship, but he goes further in connecting this to a spirit of hospitality. How would you characterize the level of formality at College Avenue Friends? Would you see elements of that formality that add to a spirit of hospitality, or elements that take away from it? Realistic and healthy expectations about musical talent and ability might add to a spirit of hospitality, in which experimentation and empowerment are encouraged. Whereas unrealistic expectations can actually quench that same hospitality, as people are not encouraged to use their gifts, rather they are encouraged to be spectators who watch the “professionals” do their thing.

            You may have noticed at times in my worship planning I try to allow for alternative ways to respond. This has taken a few forms over my time here, involving anything from sticky notes to rocks, or pressing people to share with their neighbor. While I recognize this pushes people a bit out of their comfort zones at times, a crucial part of the reason I do this is exactly what Jared stated his second goal to be: desiring participation. Letting “the people” do their “work.” If worship becomes too bound by our expectations, something is lost. Worship should feel like a journey we are on together, and journeys can take unexpected turns. Worship should allow room for surprise, for being caught up in the moment, not always being too worried about what time it is, especially if we see God’s Spirit at work among us. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, but also the “Convicter.” It is hard to let the Spirit move among us when we cling too hard to the familiar, to the things that comfort us— we can actually miss that engagement element that is a part of true worship.

            Ephesians 4:12-13 reminds us that the work of a pastor is not to make people comfortable, but “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” This means encouraging the church to passively sit in a pew as a spectator is not a legitimate goal. A pastor is called to push the people to do the work of worship, as well as equip and build the people up.  If my work as a pastor is stretching you to grow and do new things together on our journey with God, that is a good sign. That means I am on the right track. So often we buy into popular models like “the pastor as CEO,” or most commonly “the pastor as superhero.” People can mistakenly expect a pastor to do the people’s “work” of worship for them, or expect the pastor to do all the reaching out to the community, or various other unrealistic and unhealthy expectations.

            In Ephesians 4 we find the work of the pastor is not to go alone as a superhero, but to take others along. Really, to equip and build up others to go new places the pastor will not go; to respond faithfully in the ministries God has called them to however exotic or mundane. It is not the work of going alone, but of building up others who will in turn, win, build, and send others. A pastor’s job is not to make people comfortable, but to help them see that we have not arrived, that we still have plenty of growth and plenty of ways God is calling us to reach unity, grow in maturity, and strive for the fullness we have in Christ. I for one do not feel called primarily to a “hospice” ministry—that of keeping people comfortable until they die—but to a ministry of hospitality where people are empowered to use their gifts, to experiment, and to find their own way along their journey toward Christlikeness. I recognize of course that I have a role to play in comforting and loving on people, a role that I am privileged to fulfill. Yet the big picture of connecting “the work of the people” inside and outside the church is not something I can neglect if I truly want to be a pastor, rather than merely a CEO (or a person bound by the messianic delusions of a superhero). So I invite you, humbly, to the work of worship. It is here that we are transformed by an encounter with the living God, a presence far more powerful than our own preferences and comforts. We come to receive grace, even when that grace looks a lot like work; the work of God’s people.

Agape,

James

 

 

“The C.A.F.eteria Line”

By Iola Cadwallader

        Last call for Indian Summer!  With the turning and falling of leaves, plus cooler weather, CAF is lively with folks going-about-and-doing-good!  Prayer groups have continued from summer and started up again with Fall ... breakfast atFogles for Ministry Team Clerks netted good discussions ... young & older guys retreated to West Branch Cabin for some overnights ... and Steve Shoup's Sunday night Football-Fellowship is rolling along to the goal-posts!  Family Fun in Fellowship Hall brought in Hallowe'en smiles one evening, and right on its heels comes the Nov. 2 Friendly Bowling Party from 2-4 in the afternoon, Pizza included!  Then the really BIG TALK is the Annual CAF Quaker Men Soup Supper!  Tell ALL your friends that this year it's the 2nd Monday night in November instead of the first, so we'll see them November 10, without fail.

        Favorite memory for October?  It has to be Chuck and Margaret Watson's surprise for the congregation for their 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration after church!  Their daughter Sharon and sons James and Ken planned the joyous occasion with help from spouses.  A number of the Watsons' out-of-town relatives were able to come to church that morning and the party afterward.  Remember the decorations, and delightful food topped with delicious Punch and Anniversary Twinkie Cake, all bearing that Watson touch?  Those grandchildren, of whom Chuck and Margaret are so proud, were right in there helping make it happen, too, and Friends enjoyed visiting around the tables.  Congratulations, Chuck and Margaret, and many more!

        What a rare thing Bobbi Fogle finds herself involved in now!  You know she's a Senior at Osky. High and is still super-active in FFA, but last Spring she wrote a big paper on China's demographics and, hold your hat, that country's potential for feeding its people into the future.  Of course, this relates to Agriculture food production, but her paper won her a place in the prestigious Norman Borlaug Global Youth Institute held in Ames, this year the 2nd week in October.  She's just back, and thrilled with the total experience.  She got to discuss her paper one-on-one with two different Iowa State Professors and also the CEO of a non-profit organization in Africa!  The experiences Bobbi and 159 other students had were part of the large dream Borlaug had to help fight the world-wide war on hunger.  The Youth Institute hopes to inform and encourage the next generation!  It succeeded with Bobbi, and here's her Congrats. from us all!  There may be more to the story into the future, so stay tuned.

        Here's to all of us who remember to turn our clocks, is it backward or forward?  Anyway, when they tell us, let's do one or the other.  Does anyone out there know who's making those big decisions for us?  Seriously, who's deciding when and what?  Oh, well . . .

        The poet said "God's in his heaven, and all's right with the world!" 

         Look for something beautiful to happen in your life today!

Eight representatives of College Avenue Friend’s United Society of Friend’s Women-Martha/Faye Circle submitted 13 creative baskets for auction at the Women’s Fall Retreat at Mesquakie Friends Center on October 11, 2014. A total of 96 women attended the event. 75 baskets were auctioned by Kerry Hadley resulting in over $2300.00 for the USFWI 2016 Triennial scheduled for July 7-10, 2016 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

There was a lunch of Indian tacos made with freshly fried Indian Fry Bread with a variety of toppings. The tacos were complimented with soups and many fresh homemade pies. The Mesquakie dancers in their brightly beaded costumes fascinated the attendees. Several USFW women participated with the dancers in the slide dance. Daneen and Juan Ahumada shared their hearts’ mission for God.

The USFW Spring Fling event will be held at Lynnville Friends at a date to be determined.

Submitted by Pat Brainard

 

 

2014 Penn Community Garden a Success

                In dormant winter
                is the time to start garden     
                with seed catalogs.

and that is what we did with Haleh Everett Weaver's masterful garden experience and professional catalogs.  As seeds arrived Haleh started them in her greenhouse.  The garden was tilled with Chuck Watson's tiller by Scott Biddle and Mike Rucinski.  Penn's maintenance staff installed an outlet from Rosenberger Apartments for the availability of water.


                Spring pushed winter back,
                the sun began its warming
                the Earth for planting.

Spencer selected Holly Groom, a Penn student, as the Intern who managed the garden this year.  She kept a superb timeline of garden events from which the following are taken:

May 6  Group came and planted garden including the healthy greenhouse plants raised by Haleh.  More ground was tilled by Jeff Robbins.

May 21  Planted sweet corn and more beans and parsley.

May 28  Group set steel posts and started a new tie-up method to support tomato plants.  Holly spent hours weeding, trimming herbs and laying grass for mulch.  She also spent time recruiting help for garden care.

June 9 & 11 she reached out to Blue Zone project leader and United Way for options to help promote the garden and market garden produce.

Late July and early August much harvesting was done--tomatoes onions, peppers, cucumbers, corn and some herbs and delivered to Mahaska County Agency on Aging.  It was a busy summer!

     Another quote from Holly, "During most weekly weedings a volunteer from the community would take vegetables home with her.

So now it is time to put the garden to bed for winter.  Jeff Robbins has agreed to supervise pulling the steel posts and stakes, removing of the string and collecting all wood row markers.  Then he will mow and finally till the garden.

It has been a good year for the Penn Community Garden.

From seed to harvest.

Therapy, maturity,

Connecting with God.

Eves Cadwallader

Friendly Notes Volume 18 Issue 10 — October 2014

“With Everything”

Hello Friends!

            A few articles back I had mentioned that I had interviewed Dr. Jared Ross, the choir director of Barclay College and worship leader of Haviland Friends, for my worship class, and that I would be doing a series of articles on “what is worship” that is based on this interview. Jared has dedicated his life to the study of worship, getting his first two degrees in music and his terminal degree in worship leadership. When asked to find a worship leader (generally conceived in Protestant thought as a music leader), I went right to the “top,” and was not surprised that Jared’s insights were both very deep and very practical. I asked Jared, How do you define worship? His response was:

I define worship from three different angles: First, the overall biblical pattern of worship that we find from Genesis to Revelation is God revealing Himself to humans and humans responding, which means worship is ongoing; a relationship. God is not some distant deity; we have to respond to Him. I know that I have worshipped because I have been changed and transformed; when I have to obey what God is asking me to do. Then I know I have worshipped. Just because I have sung my favorite song does not mean I have worshipped. It is much more than the musical side of things. Worship is also Trinitarian… It has nothing to do with style. It has everything to do with who God is. We respond in belief, with thankfulness, and obey.

 

There are three things I want to highlight from Jared’s response that resonate with me as I seek to help lead others in worship. The first is that worship is a response. It requires something of us. It makes a claim on our lives. As we come before God seeking to encounter Him, we come expecting to be changed. I do not, however, see this change as always reflecting a movement from spiritual “mountaintop to mountaintop.” I do not expect that every Sunday morning worship will be an unsustainable, drastic life-altering encounter. Yet I do see worship as having an effect on us, even if its effect is slow and subtle like water dripping on a stone. Last week we did a worship activity with prayer rocks where we placed them back upon the altar signifying a willingness to let God use our gifts unhindered. Many people commented during open worship about how the smoothness of the prayer rocks reminded them of the slow and graceful way God had been wooing them along in the process of transformation. My experience with worship reflects this slow and steady work, where rough edges are hewn and polished into something beautiful. If when we worship we do not allow ourselves to be changed—if we do not come with an expectation that God will move through us—we might need to take a deeper look at our motivations for coming to worship in the first place. We as Friends believe that God is still speaking, and should come waiting in holy expectation for God to show up and make an impression on our hearts that leads us to action.

Next, I love that Jared points out the two-way give and take of a dynamic relationship. We come expecting God to reveal Himself to us afresh. We experience comfort for our afflictions and afflictions for where we are more comfortable than we should be. Worship is also Trinitarian in nature: the Father molds us as a Potter into a new creation, the Son redeems us and teaches us by His example, and the Holy Spirit gathers us together in unity as the people of God. We experience this not only as individuals, but corporately. We understand God, not merely as a proposition, but as a person of energetic and frothing immediacy. We connect with God in the present moment, experiencing union with His very identity.   

            Lastly, this experience is something we take with us into the practical realm of daily life. We follow through with what God is asking of us in sacred obedience. While God does give us mystical experiences and sweet experiences of ecstatic worship, these are not an end unto themselves but seeds within us sprouting up in kingdom building and living into our own unique ministry and calling. Worship then, as Jared points out, is not merely about singing our favorite songs. Worship has nothing to do with musical or liturgical style, formality or informality. It has to do with encountering God and exploring faithfulness together in a lived response to who God is.

            What this means to College Avenue Friends, I suspect, is that we should come open to change, open to a God who still moves and still speaks to us and through us, and that we should come open to obey and be led by God. It is easy to put our conceptions of God in a box, a box where we resist change in our innermost being, a box where we rush off ahead of God in our impatience, and where we are closed off to anything that stretches us beyond the comforts of the safety and predictability in our lives. Yet without a willingness to respond with belief, with thankfulness, and with the courage to obey, we make our reservations to response a false god; we hold ourselves back from worship in ways that are justified by fear-based reasoning that stems from our worship preferences. As you wrestle with these three tensions and tendencies in our worship, what ways are you discovering an encounter with God that rises above preferences and style? In what ways can we revive a focus on who God is, rather than what we want, like, or enjoy; on encountering God in an ongoing relationship; and with a faithful response to what we are being called to do, not merely at Meeting for Worship, but out in the marvelous and mundane of our Monday through Saturday lives?


Agape,

James

 

(Birthday Section Removed)

Other Events—

  2 — 6:30 p.m. World Café II

  9   Noon Christian Ed.

12 — POTLUCK FOLLOWED BY MONTHLY MEETING FOR BUSINESS

14 — 6:30 p.m. Ministry & Counsel

19 — 2:00 p.m. USFW Martha Faye Circle

20 — Newsletter deadline

23 — 5:30 p.m. Golden Circle, Scheuermann Rm

29— 7:00 p.m. “Cultivating Agile Leaders”, Dr. Scott Cormode. Free program, Vermeer Global Pavilion

 

 

Sundays— 

               9:30 a.m. — Worship.

            10:30 a.m. — Fellowship.

            10:50 a.m. — Sunday School.

 

 

 

Leadership Alliance

Seminar Opportunities

 

Dr. Scott Cormode will be giving a presentation on “Cultivating Agile Leaders” on Wed., Oct. 29, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. at the Vermeer Global Pavilion in Pella. This is a free event and open to the public. 

Registration is required for the second day of Dr. Cormode’s presentations. On Thurs., Oct. 30 he will present “Cultivating Change”. This will begin with registration from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m. and end at approximately 3:45 p.m. The registration fee is $25 if postmarked by Tues., Oct. 21 or $35 if postmarked after Oct. 21 (this fee includes snacks, drinks, lunch and registration). For more information call 641-628-3141 or e-mail: charitablefoundation@vermeer.com. You may also visit: www.vermeer.com > About Us > Community > Vermeer Charitable Foundation > Leadership Alliance Events

 

 

 

“The C.A.F.eteria Line”

By Iola Cadwallader 

        What did you say?  We have passed the Fall/Autumn Equinox, and on Del's birthday?  Happy birthday, Del, and Happy Autumn to us all!  FYI, the Equinox is the day the sun rises and sets in the middle of true East-West roads!  Thanks, Eves, for reminding us.


        CAF kids are always being awarded for something, and Karson Swim came out 2nd in her age group in a big "run" put on by Mahaska Health Partnership.  She made it in 29:08.3, which indicates to this reporter that it wasn't exactly a hop across the street!  Congrats, Karson!


        It's never too late to share here a mid-summer joy for Pat Brainard's family-- the birth of Caroline Marie Brainard, born July 7th in Ohio!  Big sister Evelynn, almost 2 1/2 at the time, highly approves of her precious sibling and shares plenty of loving pats and sweet talk with her! We're thinking that although our Greta (Tower) is older than Caroline Marie, every time Pat holds Greta after church, her hugs for Greta are for her new grand-baby also.  Kurt and Laura are the happy parents, and it's fun to know that Caroline's middle name, Marie, is for Mom Laura's twin sister Holly Marie.  Regulars at CAF morning worship know Holly is battling leukemia, and we're praying for her steadily!  . . . How nice that Pat, and son Mike and his wife Amy spent a few days in Ohio checking on baby Caroline, then in coming through Indiana were able to be present for Mark Humphrey (Caroline Jeannette's son) taking as his bride a wonderful woman named "Nicole!"  Congratulations, Mark and Nicole, who are settled in near Rose Hill!  Keep alert, ladies, for the upcoming Shower for them-- a Shower that's about "happiness," not "rain!"


        Aren't we proud of the group that went to Mesquakie, near Tama, IA, that Saturday to help with some refurbishing of that site which is part of our Iowa Yearly Meeting ministries!  Great thanks to Norm & Connie Sneller, Chuck & Margaret Watson, Mike Rucinski, Scott & Michael Biddle and Ron Bryan.  James sent regrets because of a meeting and many others sent prayers for safety of the workers on ladders, etc.  Connie & Margaret took food and cheered the crews on!  Thanks, thanks!


        Family support is a blessing to so many at CAF!  But a case in point was the "validation with wings" that Don & Marilyn Swim received from Stacy's and Kara's families when they gave a 50th wedding present to their parents/grandparents this summer-- tickets to Oregon to visit Dick and Dianne Marr who are weighed with Dick's cancer challenges.  It was heart-warming from beginning to end-- the gift, the trip, and the memories!


        More next month . . 

On September 5, 2014, Church Women United met at College Avenue Friends for the Fall Forum. We served 24 various churches in Oskaloosa women for this occasion. This is not a business meeting, it is set aside each year to have a speaker and get needed updates and a social time.

 

Debbie Howe, Director of the LOVE INC office, spoke to our group about what Love INC is doing for our community and how we can help in various ways by volunteering, donating and praying for this ministry.

 

A brief overview: “Our goal is to mobilize the church to serve the community. This includes:

Counseling                                                   Mentoring

Transportation                                              Furniture

Budget Counseling                                       Financial assistance

                  And more

 

Love In the Name of Christ is a non-profit Christian organization that is run by partner churches in Mahaska County. In 1998, Love INC was introduced to Mahaska County by six local churches who saw the need for local churches to reach to our community in the name of Christ.

 

Today Love INC is governed by a board of directors consisting of members from our partner churches. We are primarily funded by our partner churches, private donations and United Way.

 

Love INC acts to connect people in need with churches that can meet their needs. All requests are taken, screened and then referred to an agency or church for a volunteer.

 

College Avenue Friends is a member church and we are encouraged to:

Get involved in a work project

Volunteer to be a driver for a client

Volunteer to be a companion for a client or help with various projects

Donate used/new goods and furniture 

Help out at annual events”

 

To be able to pray with and encourage those in the community who have nowhere else to turn is truly a blessing.”

 

Phone: 641-676-3750                                       E-mail: loveinc@mahaska.org

 

Submitted by Becke Arnold

 

WEEKEND GET AWAY

October 10-12

 

Our Thursday evening Bible study group would like to invite any boys, young men and older men to a log cabin along the Cedar River, near West Branch.  This cabin was built 45 years ago by the youth group of the Friends Church.  It is a beautiful and rustic cabin without modern amenities.  It has no electricity or water.  You know you love an outhouse!!! It will be great time to enjoy the fall colors and each others’ company.  And most importantly to hear from God.

What to bring:  Bible, fishing gear, air mattress, sleeping bag, pillow, matches, towels and toiletries, your own food.  We will have things to cook on and containers of water and coolers. If you want to go horseback riding, Cedar Valley Stables is nearby but it costs $35 an hour to rent a horse.  There is no other fee involved for the weekend.  Come when you can and leave when you must.

 

For more information and directions, check with any of the following: Darren Radcliff, Jason Morad, Kip Schuler or Tom Palmer.

Friendly Notes: Volume 18, Issue 9 — September 2014

Friendly Notes: 

For and about members and friends of College Avenue Friends Church

Volume 18, Issue 9 — September 2014

James’ Jots:

 

Church Music: A Young Person’s Perspective

A few weeks ago in a closed FaceBook group, I had a lively discussion on church music. It was a discussion that really bridged the generational divide and it was an honor to be a part of it. What sparked the discussion was an article entitled, “Why I have stopped singing in your churches,” in which the author lamented the excesses of contemporary worship music, and pined for the olden days of the hymns. This person refused to sing in church because his expectations were not being met, and after a great deal of pent up frustration railed against current trends in worship music with an emotionally charged critique. At the end of our conversation online—much of which seemed to pour out of me—I looked at all I had written and thought “healthy churches should be able to talk about these things.”

Many of the tensions that came out in the discussion are at work in every church in America, but the issues involved have proved so divisive many churches have stopped talking about them out of fear it will do more harm than good. The musical worship preferences across generations have proved to be one of the major obstacles to church unity, and clearly a healthy balance, rather than one generation getting its way should win the day. I see great harm in the current trend of splitting people into two styles of service, one traditional and the other contemporary. This is not a compromise that values relationship over preferences, and it is fracturing the church. Still, what is often missing from the conversation is the perspective of a young person, so it is with as much humility, grace, and tact that I can muster that I want to lay out what many young people would never dare to say.

Music changes

Music changes in the church a great deal more than many people are willing to admit. Case in point the hymns were once a radical innovation from canticles (singing parts of the Bible). When hymns first came out, people in the church openly questioned their validity. They asked, “How can we set the highest thoughts of theology to simple drinking music, the music of sinners?” Charles Wesley, the most prolific hymn writer who ever lived wrote tens of thousands of hymns and yet people today know only a handful of them. A few have lasted, but most have not. The truth is this should show us that there really isn't that much staying power in worship music. It is ever changing with the times and that is mostly a good thing.

Every time a new hymnal is created it is a snapshot of popular music at a given time. Some things last, but let’s not forget that Amazing Grace was once a contemporary song. Just as our modern songs, it was once popular and new and touching people's lives. Expecting young college students to "sing the old hymns the old way" can be very unrealistic at times, as they may know a hymn only by way of remix off the radio and not from ever hearing it in the church they grew up in. Yet young people dusting off an old hymn and sharing it with us in worship should be praised, not unappreciated. It may even be the very new life that adds staying power to an old hymn that might otherwise just fade into obscurity.

Music is a bridge to the present and the past

People changing musical styles to connect with and encounter God is a healthy and natural thing. No less than six times in the Psalms we are told to “sing to the Lord a new song.” Charles Wesley might not have appreciated the musical stylings of today’s Christian recording artists, but he would salute their attempts to connect with people at the popular level. Luther new his Reformation would not last without the help of poets and songwriters capturing the hearts of the common people, so he actively pursued them. We should think more like missionaries, and like Wesley, be willing to adapt the Christian message in a way that is accessible to people who have not yet heard the gospel. If we simply parachuted in to this time and culture and were thinking as missionaries, we wouldn't probably be asking people to sing in archaic English or be talking about which week to play an organ. Stained glass and hymns have their charm, but they both have roots in connecting the gospel to illiterate people. They come to us as a heritage, but that heritage is not only about aesthetics, it is about bridging a chasm back to the common people by meeting people where they are at.

Motives are not based on style

I hear a lot of people talk about individual performance and its effect on leading people into an experience of worship. My concern of course is that  judging the motives of the people who are trying to help lead us into worship is a slippery slope, but even worse, we are in essence saying that what a person is doing is equated to why they are doing it. Is this not more the mentality of David's nagging wife  who was shocked as he danced naked before the Lord (2 Sam 6), than it is the mentality of David himself swept up in a spirit of worship that is at work in such thought? Can the people on the stage attempting to lead us in worship not be swept up in worship without being accused of “individual performance” or seeking personal glory? Is not evaluating performance itself one of the biggest distractions to fully engaging in worship?

Forms and Formulas

I once heard a joke about the difference between hymns and choruses as lampooned by a farmer communicating the message that the “the cows are in the corn.”

As a chorus:

MARTHA,

O Martha MARTHA MARTHA,

The cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows,

The black and white cows,

The COWS COWS COWS,

Are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,

CORN, CORN, CORN

As a hymn:

'Oh Martha, dear Martha, Hear thou my cry,

Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth,

Turn thou thine whole wondrous ear by and by,

To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.


Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,

Have broke free from their shackles, their warm pens eschewed,

Then goaded by minions of darkness and night,

They all my mild Chilliwak sweet corn have eschewed

These forms are often unwritten, yet they are there just the same. A hymn for instance has a fairly rigid meter; is often written with four part harmonies in mind; is designed to be led by an organ or choir; and shares many qualities with classical music. From the first verse to the last, the meter’s pace runs uninterrupted. A contemporary worship song also has an unwritten form: simple, easy-to-pick-up melodies in a mid-vocal range; repetition of a chorus between verses; familiar chord progressions, and often a key change on the bridge. Contemporary praise choruses share some musical similarities to rock and roll, and often are led by a guitar or piano with vibrato style singing. Both forms have strengths and weaknesses. One is not better than the other, one aims at the head and the other at the heart. One takes the form of a theological treatise, the other a simple prayer to God.

Common and accessible music

When I was a child I wanted to be a piano player, but was told it was for sissies. As a poor kid growing up, I knew that music lessons were beyond my means, not to mention the cost and maintenance of a piano itself. A piano is one of the most complex of all musical instruments, with thousands of moving parts that need to be tuned just so, but even the piano pales in comparison to an organ. The reason we use organs in worship in the church is because at some point in church history Roman emperors had them in their private chapels, and the church slowly began to adopt them. The church coveted the luxurious worship music played for the emperor. At times, I hear people lament the amplification of a guitar, and comments like “is that really necessary?” We should not be surprised if younger people think the same things about pianos and pipe organs, once reserved exclusively to the realm of concert halls and imperial sanctuaries. As I sat with some young people and marveled at our beautiful organ, we all knew that learning to play an instrument such as this one remained something for an elite few. I wondered at how many and varied instruments could be bought for the price of something such as this…

This also makes me wonder though, why a guitar or drums raises concerns about individual performance that a piano does not? Or why if someone leads worship in a crooning, bluesy style people talk about individual performance, but not after singing songs from the hymnal that are way too high for me to sing, while accompanied by accomplished musicians who have been classically trained? Worship music should be accessible. While I would grant that there is plenty of inaccessible music both in the hymnal and on the radio, what qualifies as individual performance seems very much in the eye (or ear) of the beholder, and in my book, just another way to harp on an unappreciated musical style. I went to school in the 1980’s, when the budget woes of a major recession virtually eradicated musical education from being something all public school kid’s experience. Unless you were in band or choir, most kids today have not had any instruction in musical theory or an opportunity to learn how to read music. Four part harmonies or singing in certain keys are impossible for people like myself, and if the song is too high for the voices of most men we will forever be self conscious as we stumble along.

Another thing young people might never tell you is that one singer and an accompanist is not a very inclusive model for leading worship; it sends the message to young people that “we don’t need you or your gifts, just stay in the pew. We will leave this up to the professionals.” Whereas older people might see a big “rock band” as flashy and bearing the connotations of performance, younger people see the same thing at work in the single song leader model, where one “elite” person can be the only leader.     

Content and Familiarity

I often hear people say the hymns have "a firm theological foundation," but then notice that when the time comes to sing them we only sing half the verses! Such irony! Mostly I think it is the familiarity that is important... familiarity is more important than people would like to admit, but familiarity to whom? Most of the music that has touched my heart and been a part of my experience with God was written in the last twenty years. For some people it was the music of the 90's they grew up with in church and not the 1900's. Many of the people who grew up with contemporary worship music are even becoming grandparents now. Some of the college students at Penn who come here may never have used a hymnal in worship. It just is not something that has any familiarity to them. Familiarity, however, is a wonderful thing that helps bring about the cohesion of a community. It is necessary to have a shared identity.

I will readily admit that at times the theology of some modern songs on the radio bothers me a great deal. I don't like the "Jesus is my boyfriend" style songs at all. We must look at the content of what we sing, not just the popularity level. But to be fair, the hymnal is full of bad theology too. The Old Rugged Cross sounds an awful lot to the younger ear like someone is worshipping a piece of wood. It may be popular in the church, but to the uninitiated, they are not really sure why. Yet I sing it, not for myself, but for those who continue to encounter God in a powerful way through it. And since it is valued by those I value, I continue to experience it and continue to try and see what they value in it. Every now and then, I even sing one of those sappy Jesus love songs too...

True musical worship should rise above generational preferences, and somewhere across the generations, there must be an understanding that worship is more than singing. It is more than musical styles. We must choose a relationship with one another over our likes and dislikes and what we find familiar in church music. We need to be hospitable to the outsider. At the same time, any group should try to be itself, not trying to be someone they are not. We are an intergenerational church at College Avenue Friends. We have a rich diversity of experiences glorifying God in song, whether those songs that help us encounter God are old or new. We must make room for each other, and sing each other’s songs for one another; but more importantly, we must make room for God and strive for meaningful experiences in worshipping God together. We cannot come to worship refusing to participate, refusing to experience God together. Sing with all your heart, even if your “joyful noise” falls a little flat now and then like mine…


Agape,

James 

 

 

“The C.A.F.eteria Line”

By Iola Cadwallader

 

       Someone wisely observed last week that they "turned around twice and Summer was gone!"  But what a Summer it was for CAF folks -- full to the brim and running over with action involvements from young to old!

Blessings abounding through ample rains gratefully accepted even though the hum of lawn mowers is still needed.  Great thanks, Margaret Watson and family, for your cheerful generosity in that department!

    What's been new on the horizon?  Well, Linda Eliason, faithful citizen among us, has been serving on Jury Duty these many weeks, though so far, at last report, all the issues have been settled out of court.  Still, the required weekly check-in has been a dominating force in her otherwise busy life.  Big change for the couple's travel plans, of course, as Larry chose to skip his High School 60th class reunion in Arlington,WA since Linda couldn't come along; but they both now take pleasure seeing everything checked off their "Honey-Do-List" at home.  Sound familiar?  It's the old adage cropping up again -- "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!"

    Right-of-passage comes into youthful lives in holding down a job, and our youth are spreading their wings right before our eyes!  While Robert Barber's summer job was in a health facility in Haviland, KS, his sister Katie worked on staff at Quaker Heights, made a trip back to Belize and popped in at CAF before returning to Barclay College as a Sophomore.  Great to see you, Katie! . . . Elias Thury's job was on the Banquet Staff at Honey Creek Resort this summer and he returned to Penn full-time, including work-study with Sodexo . . . Robert Mann is at MUSCO as an Assembler in the same department as Bill Blake . . . and speaking of the Blakes, did you know Jean has made a shift in her job from County Health to serving as the Triage Nurse at Mahaska Health Partnership?  Can anyone make a guess as to what that nice French title involves?  Take time to corner Jean in the Narthex next Sunday for an explanation!  It is truly fascinating!

    Speaking of summer jobs, CONGRATS to Randy Wright for dreaming a dream months ago while on his early morning walks, then accepting the challenge of a Leading, and laboring through Phase 1 of a new Project-based Cross-Curricular Learning Experience for a number of entities in our community!  And BIG THANKS to CAF families who became involved in the Project, "Georgiana," from first-hand experience and huge commitment!  Honing their Musical Theatre skills, in one way or another, were Friends Joanna, Abigail & Mary Thury, Troy & Merle Mann, Tom & Jan Palmer, Vicki Wright, Keygan, Klayton & Kylynne Roberts, Kip Schuler, Donovan DeVore, Amanda Edenholm & Darren Radcliff, plus many others who helped collect set and prop items.    The unsung heroine backstage was none other than Michelle Roberts whose job was to shepherd the children, getting them out under the lights On Cue and keeping them quiet and happy at all other times.  Check Michelle to see if she has sprouted wings yet!

    Until next time, keep smiling, and get involved in the good things happening this Fall at CAF!

Sunday School Kick-Off

By Pat Brainard

 

Children’s Sunday School year begins Sunday, September 7th, 2014 and runs through Sunday, May 17, 2015. Children’s Sunday school classes will start 10 minutes after the end of church with 11:45AM as the ending time. Jeanne Marshall and Pat Brainard will teach the primary group (4 year olds through Kindergarten) using The Beginner’s Bible. Heather Fogle will teach the juniors who are in the 1st through 5th grade using Hands-on-Bible. Deb Moyer and Michelle Robbins will teach the tweens and teens (6th through 12th grades) focusing on the theme of Energize, Equip and Connect and using Surprised by Grace by Dr. Tim Roehl. Mary Thury will be assisting with teaching as needed. There will be no children’s Sunday school on holiday-related Sundays: November 30, December 28, 2014 and January 4, and April 5, 2015.

 

The four classes for adults include: College and Young Adults, Questing Quakers, Bible Searches and Life Applications.

 

The Christian Education Ministry Team would encourage you to join a Sunday School class to enhance your Christian experience at College Avenue Friends!