Exciting ACC News!

Exciting ACC News!

Hooray! It can now be announced in church that we'll have an Interim Minister starting Dec. 1   His name is Charles Dennis Alger ...prefers to be called Dennis. He's "over 60" years old, has done much of his ministry in Hawaii and Oregon.

He has a good sense of humor, has been an interim pastor already a couple of times, and is Spirit Filled with "Congregational" values. He's very excited about joining us and working with us to form direction for a new ministry. A surprise to the search committee has been an early appearance of a very strong candidate for our next step who will be considered by the newly forming search committee. So far those members are: Bill Day, Tom Dean, Nina Harmon, Linda Young, Anita Baker, Ruth Robinson, and Natalie Morrison in an advisory capacity only. If you would like to serve on that team, please let Linda Young know right away.

ACC has been blessed with the leadership of Barry Cammer, who has worked hard every week to make sure the details of worship are in place. Thanks, Barry! And thanks to the congregation who have been supportive and patient.

Linda Young, Anita Baker and Ruth Robinson

Interim Search Committee

A Labyrinth at ACC

A Labyrinth at ACC

A labyrinth is a path to meaning, circular and convoluted, drawing us to quiet prayer and gentle meditation.

Many of us have dreamt of a labyrinth on our new patio near the new deck, both of which will be built within the next year. We found a well-known labyrinth artist, Lars Howlett, who lives in Richmond. He will design a labyrinth to fit our patio area and install it. It will be constructed so that it is flush with the surface of the patio, so that there is no danger of tripping, and people in wheelchairs can use it. Lars invites us to participate in creating the labyrinth by painting it ourselves (with his supervision). If we paint it ourselves, the cost will be approximately $12,000. If he and his staff do the painting, the cost will be $14,000.

If you'd like to donate toward the cost of the labyrinth, you may send your check to the church or place it in the offering plate. Please write the word "labyrinth" on the memo line.

Remnants and Leftovers October 7, 2018 Sermon by Rev. Dorothy Streutker

In the fall of 1975, I left my small hometown of Monroe, WA to attend Harvard University. As much as I had looked forward to this honor, it was a HUGE social shock for me. I wasn’t ready for it, and by early November, I’d told my faculty advisor that I’d decided to transfer from Harvard, that most hallowed of Ivy League institutions, to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.

That’s when I became obnoxious to my few friends. I complained to them about the too-big classes at the Big H, my lonely weekends (my roommate was from Cape Cod and went home or to a sister’s house most weekends), what I saw as a lack of virtue and spirituality, and on and on. They got tired of it, and eventually told me so. They pointed out that while I was looking forward to something new and what I envisioned as so much better than Harvard, they were staying there and trying to look forward to their own experiences. I was pulling down their source of hope, their futures to convince myself that I was making the right choice.

I was making the right choice, for me. For the most part, I have no regrets about leaving Harvard. But I was being selfish to crow about my decision by running down the place I was leaving.

Pastor Tony was much wiser in his leave-taking. He didn’t suggest to us that he was going someplace much better than Arlington Community Church, even though it is hard to deny that being hired for a position at UCC Central in Cleveland is a promotion of a sort. Tony didn’t crow about going home, back to Ohio. He didn’t make us feel like he was leaving us behind. Instead, he emphasized our accomplishments over the years he’d been here, and emphasized hope for future possibilities at ACC.

Our first Scripture reading this morning references the long story of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem. It began when a king of Babylon (either Darius or Cyrus – there was disagreement in my scholarly source: Wikipedia!) commissioned a band of Hebrew exiles to return to Israel to begin the rebuilding. Gold and silver vessels and bulls and rams and other staples for sacrifice were given to the group as part of their commission.

Some years later, in the reign of Ataxerxes I, another group of exiles was gathered to go to Jerusalem to take some corrective measures. It seems the first group had become less than faithful to the laws of the God of Abraham and Isaac. Ezra was a scribe and high official in the court of Ataxerxes, well-acquainted with the laws of God. He was chosen to lead this second group of exiles.

When they arrived in Jerusalem, they found that Hebrew men had intermarried with women of the tribes around Jerusalem. They had taken up the practices and observances of these people, abandoning the ways of the Hebrew God.

Ezra calls the newly returned exiles to task. He rent his garments (quite the thing to do in those days to show you were upset) and called the people to perform acts of contrition and to change their ways. He called for all the men who had married foreign women to dissolve their marriages. It was quite an undertaking, so the scripture reveals a little negotiation to address the issue in an orderly fashion.

And as these corrections were underway, Ezra gave words of comfort and encouragement, explaining to the rebuilders their central roll in the history of the Jewish people: Some translations say Ezra called the group a “remnant” put in place to carry out the will of God and to reestablish the Temple. The Message, from which we read this morning, uses “foothold.” The thrust of either word is the same, to emphasize the importance of this segment of the exiled Hebrews to show faithfulness to God as an example to surrounding tribes and kingdoms of the power and to show the faithfulness of God to God’s people.

In sewing, which I used to do (had to – it was clear early on that I would not be able to wear regular women’s clothes) a remnant was something that was left over after cutting out the pattern pieces, good only to be thrown away. Yet here, Ezra uses the concept of a remnant to denote something of value, something cherished, with a distinct purpose. This remnant provided a strong foothold for rebuilding the Temple and demonstrating the power of the Hebrew God.

In the reading from Matthew, we hear the familiar story of the loaves and fishes. We usually concentrate on the multiplication of the food, sufficient to feed the four thousand. But I’d like to concentrate on the leftovers. The collection of leftovers emphasizes the abundance of God, demonstrated by Jesus’ miracle. These leftovers were not abandoned. They became a central part of the story, included in all four gospel accounts of the miracle. The only difference between the gospels is the amount of leftovers picked up!

I’m saying these things in case, despite Tony’s care in leaving ACC, any one of us is feeling like a remnant, a mere leftover. If so, we don’t have to change the words, but how we perceive them. If ACC is a remnant, it is a remnant that is charged with growing in the ways of God. ACC is a leftover that is integral to revealing the abundance of God’s grace.

Besides, just as the future continued for both me and my friends at Harvard, just on different paths, there is a future to discover here at ACC, even while Tony is pursuing his new future in Cleveland. And that future can hold amazing surprises, even though things might at times seem to be going wrong.

I have a story to share to illustrate this point. I’ll admit that it is kind of shoehorned into this sermon, but it’s a story I’ve wanted to include in a sermon for a long time.

Here it is: Ray and I were headed for the High Sierra camps in Yosemite National Park. We had reservations for one or the other of our favorite camps, either Vogelsang or Sunrise – I don’t remember anymore. But we had car trouble while driving up Priest Grade. (If you’ve been there, you know how remote it left us). We had to get towed to the nearest garage, but it didn’t have the part we needed, so we had to stay in that town until the next morning. So we were a day late. And then I started having stomach cramps intermittently, but often enough to make hiking for a full day and sleeping on the ground not very inviting. So we arranged to have our reservations changed to White Wolf, a more plush camp just off Tioga Pass Road. We were both disappointed at not following our original plan, but we were determined to make the best of it. We set out for a short hike one day, hoping to see at least some wildflowers and perhaps a vista. We were trudging along, not exactly enchanted, when we turned a corner and …

… we were suddenly surrounded by butterflies! Thousands of them. Above, behind – all around us. We had wandered into a swampy area that the butterflies were using as a rest stop in their migration. It was, I’m sure, every bit as glorious as the monarchs in Pacific Grove, except better, because we were alone among these colorful, delicate creatures.

The moral of this story, and the tie-in to the theme of this sermon, is that God has surprises in store for us, God’s remnant, God’s leftovers!

Remember when Occupy Wall Street used a kind of call and response to fire up their crowds? I want us to try it, to fire us up. So, here goes. Repeat after me:

WE ARE ARLINGTON COMMUNITY CHURCH.

WE ARE NOT JUST A REMNANT!

WE ARE THE HEART AND SOUL –

THE HANDS AND FEET –

OF THE RISEN CHRIST ON EARTH!

AMEN!

 

A Message from Pastor Tony

A Message from Pastor Tony

Dear friends:


Thank you very much for such a wonderful send off. We were so grateful to see so many of you there. The tacos were a great idea!


We have arrived in Cleveland safely (2600 miles in 5 days!), less than 24 hours before the movers. The cat slept much of the drive. Our furniture and boxes have been unloaded (it will be some time before they are all unpacked!), and Darrell's car, which we shipped, has arrived as well.


We are waiting to hang the beautiful oil painting of the Sonoma Coast until after we've done some painting. We know it will look great in this house. Thank you for that generous and notable gift. 


You will always be in our thoughts and prayers. 


Love in Christ,


Pastor Tony and Darrell

18728 Sloane Ave 
Lakewood OH 44107 

Recap for Tony's Farewell Fiesta By Sue Day

Recap for Tony's Farewell Fiesta

By Sue Day

Tony and the Sonoma Coast painting.jpg

By coincidence - Pastor Tony's farewell luncheon and party fell on Mexico's Independence Day (September 16), so we had a Mexican Fiesta theme with Mariachi music playing in the background. About 70 people attended. Freshly made gourmet tacos were available on the deck with four 12-foot tables laden with pot luck dishes in the Social Hall. A special Mexican cake, Tres Leche (three milk cake) was decorated with "We love you, We will miss you, Your ACC Family".

Concha and Javier decorated the Social Hall in green, white and red, the national colors of Mexico.

Our gifts to Tony and Darrell included: royal blue t-shirts with ACC's stained glass love dove logo, a photo album that will contain photographs of attendees, two wool hats knitted by Ruth Robinson and Linda Young with plaques initiating Tony and Darrell into the Order of the Worthy Tam, and finally an original oil painting entitled "Sonoma Coast" by local artist Iris Sabre. Tony and Darrell often drove to the ocean for rest and rejuvenation.  

After lunch 20 singers from the Oakland Gay Men's Chorus**, with whom Tony often sang, performed "It's a Wonderful World".

Assisting Sue Day, Coordinator, were the following: Nina Harmon, Sara and Randy Laferte, Ruth Robinson, Dudley Thompson, Concha Delgado, Bill Day, Helen Winters, Elena Caruthers, Jaima Roberts, Barry Cammer, Alan Gardiner, Ron Yourd, Natalie Morrison, and Beatrice Gonzalez (our facilities caretaker's wife) who made Uruguayan cookies with caramel and vanilla icing with coconut flakes.

** This talented group will be giving a Christmas Concert at ACC on December 9 at 4 PM! Save the Date!!