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Author: Jamie Gaffke

Signs and Wonder

Signs and Wonder: A reflection from Pastor Kris on Luke 24:13-35 If you would like to watch a video of the sermon, click HERE. How many of you have an old cookbook, or old family recipes on index cards around the house? If so, do you have a favorite? {In the chat feature on Zoom, people typed in responses such as: My mom’s cole slaw, vereneke, kolaches, pear bread, homemade noodles, potato hash, Czechoslovak Christmas stollen, Italian crème cake, three-minute microwave fudge, manicotti, and chocolate cake with butter cream frosting. Yum!} In the early 1970’s, my mom wrote a regular article fo...
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Cultivating: Transformation

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Cultivating: Transformation, HERE. Note: At the beginning of worship, Pastor Kris showed us the image of a plant which was brown and brittle. Throughout Holy Week we have been listening to the story of Jesus’s betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, and death. Kris poured water into the bowl in which the dried material rested, representing the tears that were poured out by Jesus’s family, friends, and followers. Waters of grief, lament, and remembrance – all birth waters of something new. Hold this image in your heart as you read the Easter sermon....
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Cultivating: Community

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Cultivating: Community, HERE. Sitting down last Monday to begin my sermon for today on Luke’s story of Jesus’s approach to Jerusalem, my heart stood still. I read the sentence again: “If you only recognized the things that make for peace!” The words caught my breath. I rolled the phrase over and over in my mind. Where do you even start with these words of Jesus, when the daggers of white supremacy have pierced the hearts of so many people of color in the United States for all too long? Over the past few months, I have been participating in a...
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Council Minutes for December 2019

Memorial United Church of Christ Council Meeting December 10, 2019 Present: Dean Baumgartner, Ryan Estrella, Sarah Fritz (President), Pastor Kris Gorton, Cathy Halpin (Secretary), Kelly Jetzer, Rebecca Malke and John Rosch Absent:  Jacy Boldebuck (Vice President) and Sue Webb Kris opened with a prayer. John moved and Kelly seconded a motion to approve the November 12, 2019 minutes. Approved. Ongoing Business: Dean submitted drafts of all MUCC job descriptions, the updated organization chart and revised personnel policies asking for comments, corrections and changes to be finalized at the...
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Cultivating: An Understanding Heart

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Cultivating: An Understanding Heart, HERE.   In the first of the 3 stories the author of Luke offers today, we listened as Jesus foretold of an unsettling series of events which lay ahead in Jerusalem. Somehow, it is all too easy for us to gloss over the “we don’t want to go there…” we don’t want to talk about… let alone actually face… arrest, violence, or death… whether we live in the 1st century or the 21st. But we are in Lent and each and every year of our faith journey as followers of Jesus we purposefully walk this journey to Jerusalem ...
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Cultivating: Space to Listen

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Cultivating: Space to Listen, HERE. One of the “what can we do as we self-isolate at home?” activities you might have taken part in during the pandemic is binge watching shows on a streaming platform. How many of you can relate? Have any of you binge watched a series or two… or three… or more? Which ones have you watched? I am not much of a TV watcher, but even I have gotten hooked on a few shows—the most recent of which has been the Mandalorian. The Mandalorian is a continuation of the Star Wars saga, taking place a few years after the dest...
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Cultivating: Delights of Love

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Cultivating: Delights of Love, HERE. My dad was a high school math teacher. Now and then, he would toss out random story problems for me to solve. Now, how many of you are good doing math in your head? As a kid, I was, and was even on our high school math team (I fully embrace my geekiness!). I remember the excitement I had when my school supply list included a Texas Instrument calculator, and how disappointed my dad was that the school would allow us to use a calculator in class. However you do math, whether it is mentally, or you use a cal...
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Cultivating: The Intent of the Heart

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Cultivating: The Intent of the Heart, HERE. Cultivating and letting go. This is our theme for the next 6 weeks. We will be reflecting on what God is cultivating during these days of inbetweeness. The past year has been really Lent-y, full of grief and ashes. In fact, in many ways, it seems like Lent 2020 (when we first went into full social distancing mode and moved worship online) never ended. A few weeks ago, I shared 8 faith practices with you from the Abbey of the Arts. This is an online abbey which encourages “transformative living thro...
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Expansive Love

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Expansive Love, HERE. When I was a child, one of my favorite poems was by A. A. Milne, Halfway Down[1]: Halfway down the stairsis a stairwhere I sit.there isn't anyother stairquite like it.I'm not at the bottom,I'm not at the top;so this is the stairwhereI alwaysstop.Halfway up the stairsIsn't upAnd it isn't down.It isn't in the nursery,It isn't in town.And all sorts of funny thoughtsRun round my head.It isn't reallyAnywhere!It's somewhere elseInstead! Somewhere else instead. There is anything much more ordinary than a flight of stairs? I re...
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Hope. Compassion. Restoration.

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection, Hope. Compassion. Restoration. HERE As we approach the one-year mark of worshiping online, lay leaders, staff, and I have been making plans for Ash Wednesday, Lent, and worship opportunities for Holy Week. I want to remind you that, in our current, dangerous, deep freeze, there is good news! Easter is only 8 weeks away, with all the hoped-for newness which sprouts in the spring (and yes… in Bible study on Wednesday everyone reminded me that in Wisconsin it can also still snow on April 4)! Reflecting on what lies ahead, I have to share with y...
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