From the Pastor’s Deks, 5/9/22

   I’m nearly finished reading Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John & the Praying Imagination by Eugene H. Peterson. I consider the book to be one of the best I’ve read on understanding the book of Revelation. Peterson views the Revelation not as some futuristic world event yet to happen with fantasy-type events, but more so as a commentary by John on the present reality of the time. With this view, we have the opportunity to understand the book as a relevant commentary on our present-day challenges. I recommend Reversed Thunder as a helpful commentary on a difficult book to grasp, and as a helpful to considering our response to present day challenges.

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Deks, 5/9/22”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 5/2/22

Exile is the experience of powerlessness, in extremis. Everything is determined by another. We are removed from where we want to be and whom we want to be with. We are isolated from place and persons. We are victims. The worst punishment possible in ancient Israel was banishment. To be separated from family and country, from community worship and family faith—that was the cruelest decree. The severest judgment that the nation experienced was exile to Babylonia. A person created for personal relationships of love cannot live adequately without them. Exile dehumanizes. It sentences us to death by bread alone. “On the island called Patmos” Rome showed St. John who was in charge. Every lonely hour on the barren rock was proof that Rome determined St. John’s destiny, that Rome’s word was the final word on his life, that Rome’s decree set the limits within which he was permitted to exist. St. John was alone, powerless, and bereft. –from Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination, Eugene H. Peterson (Harper Collins, 1988) pages 88-89

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From the Pastor’s Desk, 4/18/22

After my mother’s death, my sisters and I (and spouses) sifted through mom’s possessions, which included some of Dad’s things, too. One item of interest in particular we found was a clothes hamper stuffed full of scraps of material. The material was useless in our eyes but, we assume, valuable to Mom. Why? Well, Mom loved to sew and, we speculate, she may have used the scrap material to piece together a quilt top had she retained her ability to do so sans dementia.

Scraps of material are useless unless or until fused together to produce a beautiful piece of quilted artwork. Fragments then become a masterpiece, a thing of beauty.

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, 4/18/22”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 4/11/22

I’ve been thinking lately about the ways in which our worship services are developed and presented. A beauty of this process is that it involves a number of people to make it happen, and some of these folks are not known to us personally while others are quite well known. For instance, we have been utilizing the SHINE curriculum produced by Brethren Press and other associated communions as a guide for developing worship services. The writers of and contributors to this material are generally not known to us personally. Occasionally, we may know some of those who help to publish the material. But the number of people involved in bringing the material from ideas to the printed page to making it available for us are numerous, and mostly unfamiliar to us.

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From the Pastor’s Desk, 3/21/22

From the Pastor’s desk—

   The following quote by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks gave me reason to pause and reflect: “People resist change, and can become angry and hostile when faced with the need for it.”

   I’m aware that proposed and/or implemented changes can arouse anger. Having read various books and articles on the subject of change, anger often stems from loss in the midst of change. Change means something different may or will happen which in turn has the potential to eliminate a comfortable feeling or practice of the past. This loss may be necessary for a system or organization to not only survive but also to thrive. However, loss is usually not wanted and can move into anger.

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, 3/21/22”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 3/14/22

From the Pastor’s desk—

I enjoy watching YouTube videos about woodworking. It’s a great way to learn about tips and tricks of the trade.

A recent video I watched offered a few tips to beginners. The tip I found really profound is this (paraphrased): Strive for improvement, not perfection. The presenter of the video shared that striving for perfection nearly cost him the opportunity to continue in the woodworking enterprise. He claimed that his personality is such that he wants to do everything as perfectly as possible. And in woodworking, perfection is not always, perhaps never, achievable. He had to move past this personality trait to grasp a new reality of continually improving.

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, 3/14/22”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 1/31/22

Robert Burns was widely regarded as Scotland’s national poet. However, his poetry is known beyond those boundaries. One of his poems, To a Mouse, gives us a line that is frequently quoted, although paraphrased to a degree. The line is: “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley.” The paraphrase is: the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. Burns wrote the poem after disturbing the nest of a mouse. He realized that the mouse had diligently planned for making a dwelling place. After destroying the nest, Burns’ poem is an attempt to apologize to the mouse.

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From the Pastor’s Desk, 1/24/22

 The Christian Century magazine always includes an art selection inside the back cover of each issue. In the latest issue, the selection is a work entitled Praise by Martin Wenham, and includes a verse from Daniel 3 (The Catholic Bible) which reads, “Let the earth bless the Lord, yea, let it praise him and magnify him forever.” Psalm 148 includes similar language: “Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord…”

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, 1/24/22”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 1/10/22

    When attending Annual Conference (pre-pandemic), Tammy participates in the blood drive, if possible. Frequently, a tee-shirt is given away as a gift for participating, and Tammy usually gets a size that fits me. So, I am the beneficiary of her benevolence. Those who receive her blood are too.

   The tee-shirts, of course, are imprinted with advertising for the local blood-drive organization and include a catchy phrase to alert others about the benefit of giving blood. One particular tee-shirt received has imprinted on the front in big bold letters, OUT FOR BLOOD, with the word “blood” in red. On the back, in small print, inconspicuously, is the name of the blood drive organization.

   I went to the post office one day wearing this tee-shirt. As I stood at the counter being waited on by the usually friendly employee, I noticed her demeanor being somewhat different than usual. I think I caught her momentarily glance at my tee-shirt. That is when her usual outgoing personality changed. She didn’t smile much and spoke only to ask a question or state her usual pitch about the survey at the bottom of the receipt. Otherwise, she was reserved and seemingly disturbed.

   Thinking about how unusual the encounter at the counter was, it dawned on me that maybe the message emblazoned in my tee-shirt was the problem. Without proper context, OUT FOR BLOOD can have weird connotations. Did the post office employee think I was some kind of enraged goof ball waiting  to pick a fight if someone looked at me cross-eyed or said something I didn’t like? Was she concerned that I would go off on some crazy tangent if she inadvertently did something to cross me? Maybe she was simply having a rotten day and I’m blowing out of proportion the whole scenario, but, I have never worn that tee-shirt publicly since.

   Words matter, even those displayed on a tee-shirt. If the words we choose are heard or observed out of context, then the good meaning we intended may have consequential outcomes. It is important to choose wisely.

   Abraham Lincoln was a prolific letter writer. A number of the letters he wrote were never sent. Lincoln let the letters simmer in a desk drawer, and after giving careful thought about their content, he ultimately realized it would be best if the recipients did not receive his remarks.

   Recently, Tammy and I were engaged in a conversation in which I could have responded very quickly to one of her comments, which reviewing in hindsight, would have escalated the conversation to an argumentative pitch. I walked away for a few moments and gathered my wits to respond more calmly and with a greater degree of diplomacy. The conversation developed much more amicably at that point. I’d love to tell you that this is always my response but, quite frankly, I all too often reply quickly and curtly with some of the aforementioned consequential outcomes. Thankfully, once in my life, I thought before I spoke.

   Words matter. When and how we say or display them matters. To think before speaking or wearing a tee-shirt, matters.

Recap: Worship, Jan. 9, 2022                                  

   The scripture text around which the worship service centered was 2 Samuel 12:1-15, the story of the prophet Nathan confronting King David about his unacceptable actions involving Uriah and Bathsheba.  

The service emphasized the importance of caring for those who are vulnerable and elevating their dignity. Those in powerful positions have a tendency to think of their own well-being at the expense of those unable to exert power. Nathan’s efforts are a reminder that the powerful need to understand the consequences of their actions for the good of all.

   Songs and videos used in the service may be accessed using the following links:

Prelude in C Major (Bach) – J.S. Bach – Prelude in C Major – YouTube (Intended to use this in the service but inadvertently skipped past it.)

Lord, Speak to Me – Lord Speak to Me, That I May Speak – OUMC Choir – YouTube

Disney Princess Advice – The Wisest Disney Princess Advice! | Disney Princess – YouTube

Beauty for Brokenness – Beauty for Brokenness (God of the Poor) – YouTube

Worship Services January 2022

   The Leadership Team recently engaged in conversation regarding continuing to meet in-person for Sunday worship services in view of heightened pandemic concerns. Consensus reached was to continue in-person services noting the importance of following helpful pandemic protocols such as wearing masks, practicing social distancing, sanitizing, and washing hands. Also, if you are not feeling well or have been in contact with anyone with COVID, please refrain from attending in-person, and if you have the capability, connect via Zoom. We are continuing to provide the Zoom option with all in-person worship gatherings. The Zoom link is included here (also above in the opening article) for January through March services. If in-person services need to be canceled due to inclement winter weather or state mandated pandemic protocols, information about such changes will share using the prayer chain and other means as needed.

   January through February worship services will follow themes from the SHINE curriculum. SHINE curriculum is produced by Brethren Press. Biblical stories encountered during worship include Nathan confronting David, Esther saving her people, proclaiming jubilee, a son returns home, Zacchaues making amends, and more. We will spend two Sunday’s on each theme.

Topic: Worship Services January – March 2022

Time: Jan. through Mar. 2022 each Sunday 09:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

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From the Pastor’s Desk, 12/21/21

  The secret is not to make your music louder, but to make the world quieter. –a quote from The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

   Tammy and I enjoy watching The Voice, a prime-time reality show where amateur or semi-professional singers compete to be named The Voice winner. Contestants are coached by one of a panel of four coaches. The coaches are in competition, as well, striving to coach one of the contestants to the winning

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, 12/21/21”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 12/6/21

A WORSHIP SERVICE

FEATURING

ANGELS AND SHEPHERDS

December 12, 2021

In what ways is joy expressed and experienced in the Christmas story?

   Can the angels and shepherds in the story give us clues?

      How do we find this joy to carry with us on our journeys of life?

During the worship service, anticipate…

·       …joyful music and diverse images of Christmas.

·       …the addition of more décor to the simple Christmas atmosphere in the church sanctuary.

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, 12/6/21”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 11/29/21

A WORSHIP SERVICE

FEATURING

ANIMALS OF CHRISTMAS

December 5, 2021

Animals, as well as symbols, can inspire our anticipation of the Christmas miracle.

   Have you ever imagined what the animals experienced that first Christmas?

      Some of our familiar Christmas songs mention our furry and wooly friends. Surely this inclusion of animals is important.

During the worship service, anticipate…

·       …imaginatively learning the insights of animals.

·       …adding more Christmas attire to the sanctuary, whetting our appetite for the experience of Christmas moments.

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, 11/29/21”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 11/15/21

grat·i·tude

/ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od/

noun

  1. the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

“she expressed her gratitude to the committee for their support”

   Ten days from now we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation in 1863 declaring the final Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving. For 36 years prior, Sarah Josepha Hale, a prolific writer and noted magazine author, as well as author of the nursery rhyme “Mary had a little lamb…”, had published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to government officials campaigning for a national holiday of Thanksgiving. Hale earned the nickname “Mother of Thanksgiving.”

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, 11/15/21”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 11/1/21

   Worship is often thought of in terms of people gathering in a particular space to share together in singing, praying, sharing, reading scripture, and hearing a sermon or similar exposition of the scriptures. Over the past 20 months or so, our congregation has experienced worship beyond the usually understood terms. The ZOOM platform has given us the opportunity to understand that worship can happen with participants engaging from their own personal space. Yes, participants are gathered but in a different way than has always been the custom. Additionally, new ways of worshiping together have been introduced, opening the door for greater participation from everyone. These newer methods also expand our ability to encounter God and/or God’s imprint in all corners of life and experiences. Stories, music, art, poetry, images and so much more point the way to the presence of God in places and ways that inspire and amaze us anew.

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, 11/1/21”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 9/27/21

John 7:53 – 8:11

   The scripture reference above is the story of the woman brought to Jesus and accused of adultery. Those who accused the woman were intent on stoning her. They were seemingly confident Jesus would agree with them. Jesus surprises them. He says, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” The stone throwers slowly dispersed indicating that they, too, had unresolved sin in their lives. How could a sinner condemn and use capital punishment against another sinner? When all had left Jesus asks the woman where her accusers were, and who now condemned her. She sees that her accusers are gone, and she replies that no one condemns her. Jesus says that he does not condemn her either. Then, Jesus makes a pronouncement that has always puzzled me. He says to the woman, “Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, 9/27/21”

From the Pastor’s Desk, 8/9/21

   My expert knowledge about myself is that I am not an expert. I do the best I can with the abilities and skills I have at many different things but if I encounter a task that is beyond my capabilities I submit to the experts. For example, if I am approached to provide counseling I immediately state that I lack those credentials and will help find an expert who is trained appropriately. For my new business, if I am asked to complete a project requiring expert electrical or plumbing skills I quickly defer to the experts with licenses in that particular field of work. I know my limitations and trust the experts who are trained and experienced.

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From the Pastor’s Desk – “Big Things in Small Packages” (7/12/21)

BIG THINGS IN SMALL PACKAGES

   Some significant gifts come in small packages. A diamond ring is encased in an exceedingly small box. Two $100 bills are enclosed in a congratulatory card. A $500 gift card is found in a tiny envelope. A concise, informative, erudite concept emerges from a 52-page book. It is the latter that captured my attention this week.

   Vernard Eller, a past-professor of religion at the University of LaVerne in California and author of over twenty books, has become one of my favorite authors of things related to religion and the church. Eller thinks outside the box and adds imaginative perspective. Even though his writings are several decades old, they remain relevant to the present age, in my humble view.

   The book alluded to in the opening paragraph of this article, written by Eller, is entitled Proclaim Good Tidings: Evangelism for the Faith Community. The e-word, evangelism, frequently elicits anxiety and fear primarily because it is associated with telling (speaking) the good news of Jesus Christ in a manner that will entice people to come along, to join the company of Jesus followers. Moreover, evangelism invokes images, maybe nightmares, of well-defined programming wherein “evangelists” are trained with tools to convert non-believers to the way of Jesus, to Christianity. Anxiety and fear kicks in when those of a more timid nature are concerned about speaking to strangers. What if difficult questions are asked or the good news is rejected? OH MY! Those more outgoing have less trepidation about visiting with others, but…OH MY!…there isn’t enough time to squeeze in a training program!

   Eller, consequently, eases these evangelism burdens. Instead of boxing evangelism into a programmatic monster to be tamed, he develops a portrait of evangelism as a community effort of radiating the essence of the Jesus way. In other words, the body of Christ, the church, or the community of Jesus followers, simply needs to let their manner of living serve as their witness. This manner of living “speaks” volumes, not always in words, but unquestionably with actions. Eller calls this “evangelism through body language.”

   A paragraph from Eller’s 52-page gem provides a nice summary of his thesis. He writes: “The calling of the church is that it function (sic) as ‘the body of Christ.’ Thus, within the body, the members are to operate, not for their own enjoyment or enhancement, but to the end that the body as a whole is built up. When the group is functioning so, its body language is such that a chance observer can read it and be moved to fall down and worship, crying, ‘God is certainly among you!’ And what is going on here is nothing more nor less than evangelism.”

   Eller also helps us to understand that evangelism is not a one-person enterprise. Sharing the good news of Jesus and the Jesus way is most effective when it is done together, in partnership, as the whole. It isn’t a programmatic enterprise, either. It is, at the most basic level, a way of being, acting, and living, revealing evidence of the Spirit of God moving within and acting upon our individual and collective lives.

   So, if the e-word puts you into a state of panic, take heart. Simply be who you are shaped and informed to be in the Jesus way, joining with the company and gifts of others. The rest, in a manner of speaking, will take care of itself.         

“The Stories Will Rise” – by Carol Davis, 2021 Peace Essay Winner

We are pleased to share this essay from Carol Davis entitled, “The Stories Will Rise.” The essay was selected by Bethany Theological Seminary for its 2021 Peace Essay Contest. The contest was funded by the Jennie Calhoun Baker Endowment and open to students in graduate school, college, or high school. This year’s contest solicited entries on the theme, “Civil Resistance and Nonviolent Social Change in an Increasingly Virtual World.” (Read more about the 2021 Peace Essay Contest here)

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Sunday Morning Meditation at the CCOB, 5/17/2020

THE CCOB MORNING OF COLLECTIVE MEDITATION

Sunday, May 17, 2020, 9:30 a.m.

ANGELS AMONG US

READING 1:

In the New Testament we learn that at each significant moment of Christ’s life on Earth, angels showed up. Whether they were in the air or on the land, these guardians relayed prophecy, celebrated moments of joy, provided protection, and delivered messages of hope.

The angel Gabriel not only told Mary she would bear a son, but what the boy would be called, who he was to become, and how his future was already established (Luke 1:30-33).

Angels rejoiced and sang Glorias from the heavens when the baby was born (Luke 2:13-14).

An angel told Joseph he could finally take his son home because Herod and those who wanted to kill the baby were dead (Matthew 2:19-20).

After Jesus endured the Devil’s temptations in the wilderness, the angels came and ministered to him (Matthew 4:11).

An angel sat with Jesus as he prayed in the Garden at Gethsemane (Luke 22:43).

When Jesus was betrayed, he exclaimed that he could have twelve legions of angels to sustain him if he only asked God for help (Matthew 26:53).

An angel rolled back the stone of the tomb of Jesus and another announced his resurrection (Matthew 28: 2, 5-6).

Jesus ascended into Heaven with angels watching nearby (Acts 1:10).

And someday Jesus will send out angels with trumpets to gather his elect from the four winds – from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:31).

Whether we believe in the actual physical embodiment of angels or not, the significance of angels in our lives can be very real.

In his inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln, with a Civil War brewing all around him, spoke of angels. He stated,

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again

touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

As we now face a pandemic which has disrupted our lives in every way imaginable, we must continue to believe in angels…we must BE angels… deliverers of joy, of protection, of hope.

For as we learn in Hebrews: Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (1:14).

And as we are reminded, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (13:2)

Continue reading “Sunday Morning Meditation at the CCOB, 5/17/2020”

CCOB to Offer Services Online: Message from Pastor Kevin Kessler

I continue to hope and pray that you are safe and well. If at any time you need to visit or you have thoughts and concerns you need to share, please contact me by phone (cell: 309-224-4828), text (same number), or email (cantoncob@gmail.com).

Because we are social beings, having the ability to continue meeting together on Sunday is important The online platform Zoom provides us with a means of connecting electronically. It isn’t the same as being present with each other in the same location, but it is a platform that allows us to be present with each other by video/audio or audio from the safety of our own homes.

Therefore, for the next 2 Sundays, March 22 and 29, we have the opportunity to connect with each other using Zoom at our regular meeting time of 9:30am. If you have access to a computer, microphone, and camera (fairly standard laptop) you can easily access the Zoom connection. Even if you do not have this equipment, you can still join in by phone. Using the phone does not provide video but at least offers connection by voice (you can share and you can hear others who are sharing). A few directions will follow.

Continue reading “CCOB to Offer Services Online: Message from Pastor Kevin Kessler”

You’re Always There, Special Music from Baylor Carper & Ed Carper

On Sunday, July 7, 2019, the Canton Church of the Brethren was privileged to hear a special performance from Ed Carper and his daughter Baylor Carper.  The song they played was called “You’re Always There.” Please enjoy!

CANTON CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN PRESENTS “FORGIVEN” ON PALM SUNDAY

The Canton Church of the Brethren presents “Forgiven” on Palm Sunday, April 14, at 9:30 a.m. The church is located at 269 E. Chestnut. The public is invited to attend.

The service features the words of Jesus, special readings, poetry, and a variety of music presented by the Canton Church of the Brethren Choir. The choir, directed by Carol Davis, consists of Candice Stuckey, Wilma Long, Doris Howater, Robin Henry, Tammy Kessler, Jackie Davis, Kevin Kessler, Colin Davis, Bob Champlin, and Ed Carper. Accompanist is Pam Willison.

Special musical guests include Carla Bobell, Lindsey Larson, Alex Smith, Tammy Weaver, and Trygve Meade. Chad Murphy provides narration.

“The message of Easter directs each of us to paths of forgiveness,” said Carol Davis, music director. “The Holy Week story is one of hope for everyone. We invite any and all to join us for this service of inclusion.

Song selections include “My Father’s House,” by Bruce Springsteen and sung by Colin Davis, “Forgiveness” from the musical Jane Eyre, “One God” as recorded by Barbra Streisand, “Hosanna to the King,” “Every Time I Think of You,” and more.

For more information, please contact Carol Davis at carol.davis31@gmail.com

Lectio Divina (Divine Reading)

Lectio Divina is a prayerful approach to the scriptures.  Some would say it is a way of praying the scriptures.  This practice, which translated means Divine Reading, was introduced by a 12th-century Carthusian monk named Guigo.  Lectio Divina can be practiced a number of ways both individually or in groups.  he most common method has 4 steps: Reading, Meditation, Response, and Contemplation.  Sometimes another step of prayer is added.  Or, the method can be reduced to 3 steps of reading, meditation, and action.

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Bigger Than the Box, 1/6/19

Sermon Title: Bigger Than the Box

Speaker: Pastor Kevin Kessler

Date: January 6, 2019

Scripture: Proverbs 2: 1-15

Today is Epiphany Sunday, the time of the church year when we celebrate the story of the those who traveled great distances seeking the Christ child. The child was nearly 2 years old when the seekers arrived. Whatever had sparked the curiosity of these seekers caused them to continue pursuing a goal. Something mysterious, something of wonder was out of their reach, something that compelled them to continue on until they were able to experience first-hand what they sought.

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Canton Church of the Brethren Presents CANTATA

The Canton Church of the Brethren Choir and guests will present the John Purifoy cantata

Christmas Seekers on Sunday, December 16 at 9:30 a.m. in the church sanctuary. The church is located at the corner of Third and Chestnut Streets in Canton. The presentation is open to the public.

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Our Land, Our Earth, Our History!

With Award Winning Singer/Songwriter Barry Cloyd

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2018

11:00 a.m. following worship service in the sanctuary

A concert celebrating the environment and God’s creation

Sponsored by the Environment Passion Group

Potluck luncheon to follow at noon in the Fellowship Hall

Free Will Offering

Barry Cloyd is a Midwestern based, full-time touring singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who performs more than 125 shows of all types per year.  In addition to a concert schedule, he has been the resident stringed instrumentalist/vocalist on The Spirit of Peoria Paddlewheel Riverboat for 18 years, traveling the inland waterways.  Barry also has created and toured dozens of edu-tainment programs which focus on our own history with music. He has shared the stage & recorded with many stars of the Blues and Americana worlds including members of Buddy Guy’s Band, The Byrds, Stephen Still’s, EmmyLou Harris’, The Oak Ridge Boys, John Denver’s and Dan Fogelberg’s Bands.  Barry is also a recording artist with 10 CD’s, the last of which, the all original “Southland”, won an award for best Americana album in 2016 which resulted in his tracks “Spirit Dance” and “Know This River” being placed on radio stations in more than 45 countries worldwide.

www.barrycloyd.com

CCOB Celebrates Earth Day 2018

The following post was taken from the CCOB Newsletter, Volume 2018, Issue #5

“God of heaven and earth, the work of your hands is made known in your bountiful creation and in those who faithfully live their lives in your grace. Today we especially remember those we have mentioned trusting your promise of everlasting life and love. Be present with us this day as we mark their lives through the planting of this tree. May this tree speak the power of your life in our midst, deeply rooted and ever growing in all creation, through Jesus Christ. Amen.” —Kevin Kessler

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Camp Emmanuel Special Offering

The following post is a Mission Moment prepared by Martha Harr for our service on July 1, 2018. 

Do you ever get tired of turning on the news to hear about all of the bad things that are going on in the world? Sometimes, it would just be nice to tune in and find that EVERY SINGLE NEWS STORY for the day was focused on only happy, good things that are happening!

Continue reading “Camp Emmanuel Special Offering”

Educational Bee Summit Workshop to be Held at Canton Church of the Brethren, June 20

Bee Workshop

As part of its year-long focus on dignity and the environment, the Canton Church of the Brethren is offering a Bee Summit/Workshop by local beekeeper Greg Mathis on Wednesday, June 20 at 5:30 p.m. at the church located at 269 E. Chestnut in Canton.  The event is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about bees, bees impact on our world, or the art of beekeeping.

Continue reading “Educational Bee Summit Workshop to be Held at Canton Church of the Brethren, June 20”

From the Pastor’s Desk: April-May 2018

The following post was taken from The April-May edition of The Canton Chronicle, Volume 2018, Issue #4. 

In our backyard are two crabapple trees. One has pink blooms and the other white. Usually I would contend that the one with pink blooms exudes more beauty. But this year was different. The one with white blooms was gorgeous to the point of being nearly radiant. Interestingly, though, the radiance was short-lived. On about Monday or Tuesday the blooms were at peak. By Saturday not a bloom was left on the tree. Beauty is fleeting.

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk: April-May 2018”

Canton Provides Polo with Rain Barrel

This year, Polo Church of the Brethren is creating a community garden. However, the organizers realized that a water source was needed. Luckily, Canton Church of the Brethren was working on a rain barrel project, which initiated a conversation between Canton COB and Polo COB. These conversations lead to Canton COB donating a rain barrel to Polo COB’s community garden project. Pastor Kevin Kessler of Canton COB said “A community garden is a valuable ministry. We, at Canton, are glad for the opportunity to share in a sister congregation’s efforts. As congregations, we are not entities unto ourselves. Together we make a difference.

 

DE Ponderings: May 2018

The following post was taken from The Reflector, a publication of the IL/WI Church of the Brethren Newsletter May 2018: Volume 15/Issue 4. 

Neal F. Fisher, president emeritus of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, offers these thoughts in an article in The Christian Century:

What morality, we might ask, does one culture or social group create that another with equal authority could not revoke? On what basis should my personal perceptions make a universal claim? The issue here is not to challenge universal moral claims. The point, rather, is that many of those who make universal claims disavow any reasonable basis for explaining how that claim can be made,” 

Continue reading “DE Ponderings: May 2018”

Your Giving Matters: Amazon Smile

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price (.5%) to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile smile.amazon.com, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make will result in a donation to Canton Church of the Brethren.

Remember, shop locally, but when shopping online through Amazon, remember AmazonSmile, and donate to Canton Church of the Brethren.

Leading the Way: Ecology Theology Worship Services at Canton COB

April services will prove that our Canton Church of the Brethren is a “happening” place to be! Benefiting from the culminating project Carol Davis has created for her Bethany Theological Seminary class, Ecological Theology and Christian Responsibility course, the CCOB congregants will have the opportunity to experience the fruit of her labors.

Continue reading “Leading the Way: Ecology Theology Worship Services at Canton COB”

Leadership Team Issues Call to Christ-like Discourse

Taken from the Brethren Newsline March 23, 2018

The Leadership Team of the Church of the Brethren has issued a letter calling for Christ-like discourse at this time in the life of the church. The Leadership Team of the denomination includes the general secretary, the Annual Conference officers, a representative of the Council of District Executives, and the director of the Annual Conference office.

Here is the full text of the letter from the Leadership Team:

 

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‘Lukewarm No More’ calls for repentance and action on gun violence

The following article is taken from the Church of the Brethren Newsline, March 13, 2018 (Link to the Brethren Newsline webpage here)

The Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren adopted a statement on gun violence at its spring meetings held at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on March 9-12. The statement was initiated by staff of Global Mission and Service, and quotes from the Bible and previous Annual Conference statements in its call to the wider church.

“Our sister churches pray for us as an American church in a time of violence, as we undergo repeated acts of mass shootings, and they express love and concern for us,” said Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, who recently returned from a trip to the emerging Brethren body in Venezuela. He noted the scripture’s call for Christians not to lose their “saltiness.” In Venezuela, that may mean considering how the church may be “salt of the earth” in that country’s economic crisis. Here in the US, he commented, “if we have continued gun violence and we have ready access to guns, and mass shootings, and children are unsafe in schools, don’t we have to ask the question whether the church has lost its saltiness?”

Continue reading “‘Lukewarm No More’ calls for repentance and action on gun violence”

Easter Cantata: Praise to the Lamb, 3/25/18

The Canton Church of the Brethren is please to present a special Easter Cantata service, Praise to the Lamb by Stan Pethel.

This service will be held on Palm SundayMarch 25, 2018 at 9:30 am at the Canton Church of the Brethren.

Come hear the Story of Holy Week in song. 

Please, invite your friends, family, and especially young people to attend this service. 

This service will feature

  • Carol Davis – Director
  • Pam Willison – Accompanist
  • The Canton Church of the Brethren Choir
  • Special Guests – Tammy Weaver, Sara Mathis, Greg Mathis, and Trygve Meade
  • Martha Harr – Narrator

…and will include a Special Children’s Story Moment that even the adults will enjoy!

Let us know if you have any question or need any accomodations.  Or you can visit our  “First Time?” page for more information.

From the Pastor’s Desk, February 2018

The following article was taken from the Canton Chronicle Vol. 2018 #2 issue written by Pastor Kevin Kessler and edited by Martha Harr

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:25-32 NRSV)

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, February 2018”

A Pastoral Letter for a Time of Grief and Fear

The following post was taken from the Church of the Brethren email service Newsline. Subscribe online by visiting the following webpage: http://cob.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=37179.0&dlv_id=45238

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This Sunday: Savor and Serve, 2/18/18

Jesus meets us in the midst of our grief and weeps with us, but then helps us to move forward with and into life.
Sermon Title: Savor and Serve
Speaker: Pastor Kevin Kessler
Date: Sunday September 18, 2018
Scripture: John 11: 28-37
First time at Canton COB?  Visit our webpage for information and let us know if you have any questions.

Continue reading “This Sunday: Savor and Serve, 2/18/18”

Dorothy Day Offertory Thought, 2/11/18

The following excerpt was taken during the offertory thought of our worship service on Sunday February 11, 2018. 

The well-known social activist Dorothy Day has said: “The sense of futility is one of the greatest evils of the day.…People say, “What can one person do? What is the sense of our small effort?” They cannot see that we can only lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time; we can be responsible only for the one action of the present moment.”

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This Sunday:Deeper Sight, 2/11/18

Blindness occurs or remains when we are unable or unwilling to receive the support or direction or help of others. Sight is experienced at the moment when selfishness or stubbornness is set aside. Sight opens the door for faith.

Speaker: Pastor Kevin Kessler

Sermon: Deeper Sight

Date: Sunday February 11, 2018, 9:30-10:30am

Scripture: John 9: 1-41

*For more information about the Canton COB see our First Time page.

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Beyond Limits, 2/4/18

Jesus meets us at our most vulnerable points in life and offers us life beyond the limits we place upon ourselves. The abundant life Jesus offers then reaches beyond the limits of our lives to impact the world.

Sermon Title: Beyond Limits

Speaker: Pastor Kevin Kessler

Scripture: John 4: 1-42

Date: Sunday February 4, 2018

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This Sunday: Beyond Limits, 2/4/18

Jesus meets us at our most vulnerable points in life and offers us life beyond the limits we place upon ourselves. The abundant life Jesus offers then reaches beyond the limits of our lives to impact the world.

Continue reading “This Sunday: Beyond Limits, 2/4/18”

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.

Continue reading “DE Ponderings, January 2018”

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

Continue reading “This Sunday, 1/21/18: Follow Me”