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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 »


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 »


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 »

Advent Devotional: Third Week of Advent (Dec. 15-21)

  Sunday, December 15 Gathering up the straw of joy On this third Sunday of Advent, reflect on the ways in which you showed the love of Christ to others. What did you do as an individual, as a family and as a church? How were these acts of love transformative to you, your family… Read more »

Advent Devotional: Second Week of Advent (Dec. 8-14)

  Sunday, December 8 Gathering up the straw of love Start gathering the straw of good deeds for this week by spending this second Sunday of Advent reflecting on where you brought hope to someone last week. What did you do as an individual, as a family and as a church to reach out to… Read more »


Memory Box Boxes For Memories A Christmas Project by Ken Rummer   A box to put memories in. That’s my current project in the wood shop. The vision came from a friend who was sorting through her late husband’s drawer of keepings. She wanted to pass some of them on to family, along with a few items… Read more »

Gospel and Inclusivity

Reforming our churches: Becoming intercultural communities From “Chosen People-Promised Land Model” to expansive covenant by Andrew Davis   When I think of multicultural churches, I do not necessarily think of my own — I picture congregations that reflect many different races and ethnicities. Like most PC(USA) churches, Union Presbyterian Church of Saint Peter, Minnesota, is… Read more »

Advent Devotional: First Week of Advent (Dec. 1-7)

  Sunday, December 1 Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?” — Matthew 25:37 Gathering up the straw of hope On this first Sunday of Advent, consider what gives you hope. Who took notice of… Read more »