DE Ponderings, January 2018

The following article was taken from Volume 15 Issue 1 of  ¨The Reflector¨ a publication of the IL/WI District Church of the Brethren.

Last week I caught up on a few chores at home that I´ve been neglecting, one of which was cleaning an old stereo system. The components of the system were all separate, so I carefully removed each one from the stereo cabinet. When cleaning the 5-disc CD player, I tilted it in such a manner that 2 CDs slid out the front. I finished cleaning, replaced the components in the cabinet, turned on the CD player, opened the drawer, and found 3 more CDs. After removing them I pushed the button to close the drawer. All was not well. The drawer did not close completely; it remained about a third of the way open. I could not get the drawer to close no matter what I tried.

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GFI Grant supports gardens and gardeners

The following article was taken from the Church of Brethren Newsline on January 26, 2018. You can subscribe to the Newsline by clicking the link here.

The Global Food Initiative (GFI) of the Church of the Brethren has made several grants in recent months. The grants support a Going to the Garden retreat, an aquaponics system in Haiti, two community gardens in Spain, and a feeding ministry in Mexico.

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This Sunday, 1/21/18: Follow Me

Join us this Sunday, January 21st as Robin Henry will join us speaking from Mark 1:14-20 when Jesus called his first disciples. We will also hear a poetry reading from Martha Harr with worship being led by Harrold Rose. Hope you can join us!

Date: Sunday January 21, 2018

Speaker: Robin Henry

Sermon: Follow Me

Worship Leader: Harrold Rose

Poetry Reading: Martha Harr

Scripture: Mark 1:14-20

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Dignity Passion Update, January 2018

Ministry & Education

If you would like to check up on what this Dignity Passion Group has been doing, you will need to check out the previous blogpost on our church website; Their trip to the Anshai Emeth Jewish Center in Peoria. The visit was the culmination of the 3-part study on Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism. We want to thank this Passion Group for offering such a rich, educational opportunity to broaden our horizons.

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From the Pastor’s Desk, January 2018

¨It is a mistake to sharpen our minds by narrowing them. It is a mistake to look to the Bible to close a discussion; the Bible seeks to open one…. The Bible is no oracle to be consulted for specific advice on specific problems; rather, it is a wellspring of wisdom about the ambiguity, inevitability, and insolubility of the human situation…. The Bible makes us comfortable with struggle but uneasy in success…. [The Bible is a signpost, not a hitching post].¨ –William Sloane Coffin, The Courage to Love (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982), 7-8

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Joint Cantata Service with Trinity Lutheran, 12/10/17

Please enjoy this joint Cantata Church service with Trinity Lutheran and Pastor Micah Garnett.  Music was led by Carol Davis with Pam Willison accompanying.

The event was warmly appreciated, so much so that a member of the Trinity congregation expressed: “Our two congregations should do this again, and join together for a picnic this summer.”

Read more about this service here: Combined Worship Service and Cantata

It’s Not a Miracle, 1/14/18

Date: Sunday January 14, 2018

Speaker: Kevin Kessler

Worship Leader: Robin Henry

Sermon: It’s Not a Miracle

Scripture: John 2:1-11

Special Music by Pam Willison

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Broadening Our Horizons

On Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, a group of 11 people (Ed Carper, Brenda Carper, Carol Davis, Jackie Davis, Tammy Kessler, Kevin Kessler, Caryl Harrison, Nels Henry, Robin Henry, Harold Rose, Martha Harr) from the Canton Church of the Brethren visited the Anshai
Emeth Jewish Center in Peoria, IL, as part of the study of Judaism.

The evening included conversation with Rabbi Bryna Milkow (between Pastor Kevin and Jackie Davis in picture), seeing the Torah scroll,viewing various items displayed throughout the building (e.g., shofars, shawls), experiencing a Friday evening Shabbat service, and enjoying oneg (a time of fellowship after worship).

“The evening was delightful,” reports Pastor Kessler. “We were welcomed by our Jewish neighbors, shown hospitality, and enriched with a great learning experience.”

While Judaism and Christianity have distinct understandings and values, we have learned that we hold much in common as well. That we can respect our differences and serve together in our commonality is truly a blessing.

This Sunday, 1/14/18: It’s Not a Miracle

Join us this Sunday at the Canton Church of the Brethren.  Pastor Kevin will be speaking from John 2: 1- 11 (the wedding at Cana) and we will hear special music by Pam Willison. Look forward to seeing you there!

Date: Sunday January 14, 2018

Speaker: Kevin Kessler

Worship Leader: Robin Henry

Sermon: It’s Not a Miracle

Scripture: John 2:1-11

Special Music by Pam Willison

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Brethren Leaders Endorse Christmas Letter Regarding Federal Budget

This article is taken from the Brethren Newsline, December 21, 2017

Church of the Brethren general secretary David Steele and Office of Public Witness director Nathan Hosler have given endorsement to a Christmas letter to Vice President Mike Pence “to protect the humanitarian, diplomatic, and peacebuilding budget in the FY19 budget” of the federal government.

The letter was organized by Search for Common Ground ( www.sfcg.org ) and was hand-delivered to the Vice President’s office on Wednesday, Dec. 20. It was copied by e-mail to other government officials at the White House, USAID, the State Department, and Congress as key decision makers in the budget development process.

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Christmas Cantata: A Service of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love

Trinity Lutheran Church and the Canton Church of the Brethren are celebrating Christian unity with a joint worship service and Christmas cantata on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 9:00am! The blended service will feature worship traditions from both Lutheran and Brethren perspectives, along with the celebration of Holy Communion. A fellowship and discussion time follows the service, and coffee and cookies will be served.

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The Big Clean!

Hey, everyone!

Come and share in the big clean, a few hours of working together to make our church building sparkle!

Date: December 8, 2017

Time: 2:00pm to 6:00 pm

Spend a few minutes or all 4-hours or any time you have available; many hands make light work.

Please call 309-647-4828 or email cantoncob@gmail.com with any questions. Hope to see you there!

Living in Exile, 11/26/17

Please enjoy this special message from Pastor Kevin Kessler entitled “Living in Exile.” We also included the children’s story and giving message.

Sermon: Living in Exile

Speaker: Pastor Kevin Kessler

Scripture: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14

Date: Sunday November 26, 2017

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Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference Proclaims Good News

This article was taken from the Church of the Brethren Newsline on November 17, 2017. It was written by the District Executive minister and Canton Church of the Brethren Pastor Kevin Kessler.  

The Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference on Nov. 3-4 was held at York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., on the theme, “Don’t Be Afraid, I Bring You Good News” based on Luke 2:10. The conference was capably led by moderator Allegra Hess, a member of the York Center congregation.

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2017 Shoebox Information

It´s not too late to contribute to this year´s Operation Christmas Child!

We’ve added a prayer card to each box for you as well as a picture of a child or a group of children who have received shoeboxes and a page that says God Love You in many languages; they can find their own there. In your bulletins for today and next week there is an insert for ¨How to Pack Your Shoebox¨ for a trip around the world.

A ¨wow¨ gift is best to add. This is a larger gift for example, a stuffed animal, a doll, or a car a little larger than a Matchbox car. Then get a few things listed in the brochure to round out the box.

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A Great Multitude, 11/12/17

Message: A Great Multitude

Speaker: Kevin Kessler

Date: November 12, 2017

Scripture: Revelation 7:9 “After this I beheld, and see, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds.”

From the Pastor’s Desk, October 2017

Taken from the The Canton COB Chronicle Volume 2017, #7

A few days ago, I left the office around 11:00am, drove home, picked up Tammy, and went to CEFCU. We went inside, took care of our business, and then came back to the car to move on to a couple other errands. As normal, I inserted the key in the car’s ignition switch, turned it to start the car, and just as it sounded like the car would start, everything stopped. The lights on the dash went out. Turning the key to start produced absolutely no sound. And when I tried to turn the key to off and remove it, I could not do so. We all have many “firsts” in our lives; this was a “first” for me. I’ve experienced turning the key to start and nothing happens. But I’ve never been unable to remove the key from the ignition.

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DE Ponderings, September 2017

Taken from September 2017 edition of “The Reflector” (a publication of the IL/WI Church of the Brethren District Newsletter)

I have an appreciation for the writings of Vernard Eller, one time professor of Religion at the University of LaVerne, primarily because his views are cutting edge and sometimes cutting. I never knew him personally, but I gather from his books that he was a person comfortable in his own skin even if what he said or wrote stirred thoughts and emotions in others.

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Is it a Weed? – 7.23.2017

Sometimes weeds are obvious, but not always. In an immature stage, a productive plant may have a similar appearance to a weed. Pluck the wrong one and the crop hoped for vanishes. Leave both and there is a glimmer of hope for a crop.

Sermon Title: “Is it a Weed?”

Speaker: Pastor Kevin Kessler

Scripture: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Date: Sunday July 23, 2017

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“The Financiers”

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. -Luke 8:1-3 

 

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From the Pastor’s Desk, August 2017

This article was taken from “The Canton Chronicle” September 2017, Volume 2017: Issue #6.

Tammy and I recently made our first trek on the new walking/bicycle trail that extends from Lakeland Park to Wallace Park. I’m not sure why we waited so long to check it out. It’s a peaceful place to walk while enjoying the beauty of nature.

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Choir Begins September 10

The Canton Church of the Brethren Choir begins Sunday, September 10, 2017, at 8:45am in the Fellowship Hall. A highlight of the choir season will be our joint cantata Candles and Carols with Trinity Lutheran on December 10. The music program was mentioned on our church survey as a congregation favorite. If you have been considering joining us, this would be a great year to do so. For more information, contact Carol Davis by email, carol.davis31@gmail.com.

DE Ponderings, August 2017

Article taken from “The Reflector”  a publication of the IL/WI District of the Church of the Brethren August 2017 Volume 14, Issue 7.

I enjoy reading, especially a novel in which the author delves into a variety of subjects relevant to our human condition. George Saunders does this spectacularly in Lincoln and the Bardo. He is also, in my view, a master at character development. These two literary accomplishments alone put the book high on my list of good reads. However, one particular scene in Saunders’ novel sheds brilliant light on a matter that has been coursing through my mind most recently, which can be articulated best with a question: In all of our human diversity, what will open the door for us to exist in harmony while still holding on to and utilizing our unique identities?

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Brethren Newsline: Children Disaster Service deploys teams to 3 cities in Texas

Article taken from Church of the Brethren Newsline August 31, 2017

Mary, one of the CDS volunteers, holds a baby at one of the

Photo by Pat KrabacherMary, one of the CDS volunteers, holds a baby at one of the “mega shelters” in Texas. She is one of dozens of Children’s Disaster Services volunteers being deployed in response to Hurricane Harvey and the flooding caused by the storm. The response will be the largest in a decade for CDS, according to Brethren Disaster Ministries.

 

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is now deploying teams of volunteers to aid children and families in shelters in three Texas cities: San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas. “We have 24 people as of today and another 30 will be arriving over the next week to replace those teams,” reported CDS staff.

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The Alternative Way

Our culture values the newest product, the next big idea. Celebrities endorse endless merchandise and businesses obsess over ways to make profit.  The influence of consumerism in our society is massive, its impact felt even in the Church.  But God offers an alternative way.  He desires us to be active participants in His kingdom of justice and peace. Yet with so much consumption around us, how can we be practitioners of this Jesus way? 

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This Sunday August 27: The Alternative

Our culture values the newest product, the next big idea. Celebrities endorse endless merchandise and businesses obsess over ways to make profit.  The influence of consumerism in our society is massive, its impact felt even in the Church.  But God offers an alternative way.  He desires us to be active participants in His kingdom of justice and peace. Yet with so much consumption around us, how can we be practitioners of this Jesus way? 

 

Join us this Sunday as we hear from guest speaker Joe Brewer as well as a special message from Music Minister Carol Davis as she shares her recent experience at Bethany Seminary.  Let us know of any questions you might have in the comment box on our “First Time?” page. Look forward to seeing you there!

 

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Salvation is For All

God does not turn away the stranger, the alien, the immigrant. Quite the opposite. God gathers the outcast, the outlier, the outsider into relationship. So, what does this mean for us?

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This Sunday August 20: Salvation is for All

God does not turn away the stranger, the alien, the immigrant. Quite the opposite. God gathers the outcast, the outlier, the outsider into relationship. So, what does this mean for us?

*Join us this Sunday as we hear from Pastor Kevin with special music from Pam Willison.  Let us know of any questions you might have in the comment box on our “First Time?” page. Look forward to seeing you there!

 

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Many Brethren across the country gather, pray, speak about Charlottesville

Taken from Church of the Brethren Newsline August 17, 2017

Many Brethren across the country have been involved in prayer gatherings, prayer walks, vigils, and other gatherings responding to the events in Charlottesville, Va., while others have helped issue a variety of statements. Here is a sampling:

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Dignity Passion Groups Update, July

The following post is taken from the Canton Chronicle, Vol 2017 #5. 

DignityFostering wholeness, balance, and peace through respect of God’s creation. 

Ministry & Education

Connie and Ed have completed their study group discussions of what it is to be Brethren.
Attendees of Connie’s class were able to examine handouts, videos, excerpts from the Bible, and shared experiences in their discussions of Brethren theology. A chapter-by-chapter reading and examination of the Book of James in the New Testament during Ed’s
classes reminded us of the roots of our beliefs. Everyone agreed that the two classes provided food for thought, even when we came from different directions about our personal beliefs.

Carol’s study of Buddhism provided us with a look at how we share many tenets of Buddhism. The study meetings of background information and the book club discussions of Siddhartha culminated in an inspiring trip to a Chicago trip to a Buddhist temple.

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Continuing a Rich Tradition of Music

The following post was taken from the Canton Chronicle, Vol 2017 #5. 

Canned music is great in the car, a local restaurant, or an elevator in a tall building, but it can’t hold a candle to the richness of the human factor in a service of worship. We have enjoyed the wonderful tradition of musical talent among us—organists, pianists, guitarists, vocalists, and more. Much of this talent is shared with us on a volunteer basis by those from within or significantly connected to our congregation.

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From the Pastor´s Desk, July 2017

On Wednesday, July 26, we will begin a study on Judaism. I have been fascinated with all I’ve learned in preparing to lead this study. What I found most interesting, though, is how the Jewish tradition approaches scripture. The Jewish emphasis is not about searching the scriptures to find ancient answers that speak to life matters for all time. Rather, the focus is more on asking questions about the text in understanding its relevancy for a particular time, or more to the point, for the present time, and to learn how the Divine becomes evident through the text.

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