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Barn Boots and Blessings

And the steeple bell rang A rural church’s Holy Week witness in a pandemic by Donna Frischknecht Jackson   Frank, I really don’t think it’s a good idea to gather at the church. Yes, I know this is the holiest of weeks. You are correct. Easter is coming. Yes, I know you miss your church…. Read more »

Sightings

COVID-19, plague, finch The goldfinch and the virus With a word and a prayer   by Ken Rummer Walking the trail yesterday, I caught a flash of yellow in the wild plum stems—a goldfinch, the first I’ve seen this season. After last week’s snow, I took it as a welcome sign of spring. Red-winged black birds perched along… Read more »

Gospel and Inclusivity

A pandemic of racism Preaching the gospel during the coronavirus  by Samuel Son   In early March, a car drove up to me and the driver screamed, “Coronavirus.” I wasn’t alone. Other Asian co-workers at the Presbyterian Mission Agency in Louisville have experienced harsher harassment during their commute. A female Asian experienced racial and hate… Read more »

Hopeful Church

  How do we deal with dissenters? by N. Graham Standish The session was in the midst of a future-changing discussion. Our “Future of Worship” task force had given them their final proposal after spending 15 months discerning how to adapt our worship to a changing world. They had studied different kinds of worship and… Read more »

Sightings

ashes, charcoal, fire Poking around in the ashes A reflection for Lent by Ken Rummer    Last year’s palm branches are burning down to ashes as I write. Tonight we will receive a smudge of those ashes on our foreheads as we repent and remember and head into the wilderness with Jesus. Growing up, I didn’t have much… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Spiritual experiences in church A ‘no’ or a ‘yes’?   by N. Graham Standish For years, when leading retreats and seminars on spiritually transforming congregations, I’ve often asked a revealing question: How would we react to someone who told us on a Sunday morning, “Hey, I want to share an amazing experience I had the… Read more »

Sightings

Hallelujah Singing Hallelujah  Even when you don’t feel like it by Ken Rummer  The hurting and disappointed pieces of my heart have found a ballad they can sing in Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” While I’ve been working on the song in choir practice, the song has been working on me. Out of eighty-some verses he had written,… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Are we too religious to be spiritual? By N. Graham Standish  I’m a little bit obsessed with the phrase “spiritual but not religious.” I have been ever since I first said it about myself when I was in college: “Nah … I don’t go to church. I’m spiritual but not religious.” I still said this… Read more »

Sightings

Desperate journeys And a word of blessing by Ken Rummer  Aunt Betty came down to the depot to see us off. We didn’t have any food with us. It was raining…. By the time we got to Columbus we were all starving, so Dad got off to get us something to eat. He missed the… Read more »

Advent Devotional: Fourth Week of Advent (Dec. 22-25)

  Sunday, December 22 Gathering the straw of peace With just days to go until Christmas, how much straw have you filled Jesus’ manger with? Where did you bring joy to someone? How did this joy brighten the world? There is still more straw to add to the manger — the straw of peace. And… Read more »