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.

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From the Pastor’s Desk, June 2018

The following post was taken from the CCOB Newsletter, Volume 2018, Issue #6. 

We must loathe lukewarm people. This message is found throughout scripture. Those who are violent are better off, even if initially they do evil. We cannot expect anything from souls who are slumbering; from those who do good – or think they do good – by abstaining from evil. A heart that is on fire, even if it bewilders us at times, is equipped to serve. God freely chooses his saints from among the great sinners, but never from among those who are lukewarm – from those who do not risk anything.

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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.

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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,” 

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From the Pastor’s Desk: March 2018

I have an appreciation for the classics in literature. I like the author Thomas Hardy. I’ve slogged through War and Peace and can’t tell you much about the giant novel except there are too many characters of which to keep track. Les Miserable offers great lessons about grace. I had to read The Scarlet Letter twice, the second time very slowly, to understand the full magnitude of a wonderfully written and emotionally entwining work of art. And I’m presently enjoying Daniel DeFoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

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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)

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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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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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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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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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