What’s on the Bookshelf Oct 2016

Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews by Paula Fredriksen (04 D Fre) tackles the fundamental question about Jesus: Why did he die? Jesus died in the manner that Rome used for insurrection but none of his immediate followers was harmed or even arrested. Why? Fredriksen has studied the four gospels and Q (the theoretical pre-Gospel source), the Dead Sea Scrolls, the letters of Paul, and Josephus’ histories. Her book contributes to our understanding of the social and religious contexts within which Jesus of Nazareth lived and to our appreciation of the mission and message that ended in the proclamation of Jesus as Messiah.
Stephanie Grace Whitson, author of Soaring Eagle (09 C Whi) has lived in rural Nebraska and her characters are inspired by the lives of pioneers buried in an abandoned cemetery adjacent to the Whitson property. After losing her husband in the battle of Little Big Horn, LisBeth King returns to Lincoln, Nebraska. When she arrives, she finds that her mother is also gone. How can she go on? What will happen to this young woman of mixed parentage? Being half Lakota and half white causes LisBeth to question where she fits in the world. What if she comes face-to-face with her half-brother, the Sioux warrior, Soaring Eagle?

A Note From Stephen Sept 2016

When does the year begin? That answer to that question is usually January 1. Because I am a minister who uses the lectionary, you may expect me to say the year begins with the first Sunday of Advent, which this year will be November 27. In Shakespeare’s day, most people thought the New Year began shortly after the vernal equinox—about March 25. By then it was noticeable that the days had begun to be longer than the nights, and it fits with the way we all feel renewed with the coming of Spring.
I am still conditioned by my childhood experience of going back to school, usually on day after Labor Day. For me, and many others, the new year at church begins at the same time as the new year as school. I suppose that means, here and now in Nebraska, the New Year begins in late August, as the kids start pouring back into the classrooms. To me this is the “program year” of the church—if something is scheduled in March or April, it is late in the program year.
Hopefully we are all refreshed by a summer filled with vacations, reunions, travels, family time, gardening, barbequing, and swinging in the hammock. It is time to begin a new program year revitalized and refocused.
Some of the things to watch and listen for as the church’s program year of 2016-2017 begins:
 If you have fallen out of the habit of coming to church on Sundays, September is a great time to get back into the groove.
 Our three Ministry Emphases Teams (Nurture the Young and their Families, and Ministries of Compassion and Outreach to Inactives,) will be sharing the fruits of their labors with the congregation.
 Choirs: The Chancel Choir and the Gloria Dei Bell Choir begin their Wednesday night rehearsals. The Chancel Choir sings every Sunday and we hear the Bell Choir on First Sunday.
 Sunday School for all ages resumes on September 11.
 The Martha Circle begins its monthly Bible Studies from Horizons. The theme this year is “Who Is Jesus?: What a Difference a Lens Makes”
 The Confirmation Journey begins with a parent’s orientation on Sunday, September 11, at 9:30 in the Church Library. The Confirmation Explorers, seventh grade and older, will have their first joint meeting on Wednesday, August 14. Each explorer will be given their own itinerary as they explore the world of Christian faith and the life of disciples prior to make a decision as to whether they will become full members of the church.
There will be plenty to interest and involve every member of the congregation, and those who want to join us in bearing witness to the love of Jesus Christ in Kearney and the world.
So happy new (program) year. The great things about God’s grace is that it lets us make a new beginning any time. It is always true, as we sometimes say as words of pardon in our Sunday services:
“To all and to each, where regret is real,
God pronounces pardon, and grants us the right to begin again.
See you in church!

What’s on the Bookshelf Sept 2016

Have you ever had an encounter with an angel? Have you known someone who has? What do Angels look like? Whom do they choose to visit! Why do they appear more often to children than to adults? Angel visitations have been reported throughout history and in different cultures. A Book of Angels by Sophy Burnham (09 E Bur) delights us with reflections on Angels past and present and how they touch our lives. A quote included in the book reads “It is said, and it is true, that just before we are born a cavern angel puts his finger to our lips and says, ‘Hush, don’t tell what you know.’ This is why we are born with a cleft on our upper lips and remembering nothing of where we came from”. -Roderick MacLeish Prince Ombra.
Many of you have heard of Albert Schweitzer but what do you know about him? In Albert Schweitzer’s Gift of Friendship by Erica Anderson (09 E And), the author shows the man behind the legend and reveals his many-faceted personality. Ms. Anderson visited Lambarene to make the film about Schweitzer’s life and work that was seven years in production. The film won an Academy Award for best documentary. She visited the Schweitzer hospital eighteen times and had many conversations with the doctor.