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.

Continue reading “From the Pastor´s Desk, July 2017”

DE Ponderings, July 2017

The following article is taken from the IL/WI District Church of the Brethren newsletter  ¨The Reflector¨ July 2017, Volume 14, Issue 6.  If you´d like to subscribe to the Reflector, please leave a message in our contact box and we will have one sent directly to your inbox. 

Approximately one month ago, I served as the moderator for a public forum on the State Budget Impasse, which was held in the community of Canton. The forum focused on educating persons within our county about the adverse effects the state budget impasse was imposing on school districts, nursing homes, community colleges, and other social agencies, all of which depend on state funding for operational needs. Persons no longer receiving services from these agencies or who were likely to no longer be served as a result of the impasse stood to lose the most. For those of us who put the forum together, the impasse posed not so much a political matter but more so a justice issue.

Continue reading “DE Ponderings, July 2017”

From the Pastor´s Desk, June 2017

The following post is taken from the Canton Chronicle, Vol 2017 #4. 

Edward Bernays may not be a familiar name. Yet his philosophy permeates our lives, our culture. In this way we know him.

Continue reading “From the Pastor´s Desk, June 2017”

DE Ponderings, May 2017

The following article is taken from the IL/WI District Church of the Brethren newsletter  ¨The Reflector¨ May 2017, Volume 14, Issue 4.  If you´d like to subscribe to the Reflector, please leave a message in our contact box and we will have one sent directly to your inbox. 

Late night show host Jimmy Kimmel opened his program Monday May 1, with an emotional monologue about the birth of his son which occurred just a few days before. Shortly after the birth, a nurse noticed that the baby’s color was purple (Kimmel´s words). A doctor was summoned and upon further testing it was discovered the baby had been born with a heart defect. Efforts began immediately to call in a specialist who within hours performed surgery that saved the little boy´s life as well as helping him avoid complications later on in life. Kimmel expressed thanks to all those instrumental in providing such great care for his newborn son. He also spoke with emotion about other children in the Children’s Hospital where his son’s surgery was performed.  He noted that his son and these other children had the opportunity for a future because of medical knowledge and care, and also because of medical insurance. He wondered what it would be like for children in need of such significant medical treatment without the availability of insurance. It was a plea for the insurance benefits available to all to continue. It was a plea for justice, for life, a voice for the most vulnerable–children and those unable to afford high-cost medical treatment.

Continue reading “DE Ponderings, May 2017”

From the Pastor’s Desk, May 2017

Taken from the The Canton Chronicle 2017, Vol. #3.

I recall visiting the Senate chamber in the Illinois State Capitol and being quite amazed. I had expected when the session opened that the senators would be in their seats being quite attentive to the business-at-hand. What I witnessed was a chamber with many empty seats, senators and staff frantically moving around, and several mini conversations happening here and there while business was being conducted. I may be exaggerating to a degree but not much.

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, May 2017”

Poverty Forum Summary Report Part 1 of 5

Throughout the week, we will post portions of our summary report from the forum on poverty. This first post highlights remarks made by our panelists speaking to the factors that contribute towards poverty in Fulton County.

Introductory Remarks

Pastor Kevin Kessler – Moderator

  1. ¨Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.¨ -Nelson Mandela
  2. The US Census Bureau indicates that over a 3 year period, 1/3rd of all US residents slip below the poverty line at least once for 2 months or more.
  3. We are all affected by poverty in some way and it is in the interest of all that we come together to work out solutions for eliminating poverty for the wellbeing of everyone

Defining the Problem

Question 1 – What are the major factors contributing to poverty in Fulton County?

Continue reading “Poverty Forum Summary Report Part 1 of 5”

From the Pastor’s Desk, March 2017

Taken from the The Canton Chronicle 2017, Vol. #2

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. 3When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. 4 Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[a] stand up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. –Acts 3:1-10 (NRSV)

Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk, March 2017”