Phenomenal Woman, 5/2/21

The May 2nd worship service was the first in a four-week series focusing on women. Women were instrumental and played key roles in funding the itinerant ministry of Jesus. Women continue to hold key positions of leadership in not-for-profit organizations making a positive social impact. The worship service on May 2nd highlighted the names and activities of several of these important women.

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Mother’s Day Service, 5/9/21

Mother’s Day is celebrated the 2nd Sunday of May each year. Worship this past Sunday, May 9, followed along with this celebration theme. Included in the service were vignettes about special women who contributed significantly with their lives, and whose contributions while important to the context and time in which they lived have continued as a legacy for us today. At the close of the service, several stories were shared about women of special influence and impact that we have known and know personally.

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Renewal: How New Generations are Approaching Church, featuring Dunker Punks Founder Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred, 4/25/21

This month our services at the Canton COB have focused on renewal. How have we experienced renewal of what the sacrifice of Jesus means in our lives? How have we witnessed renewal in nature? How have we experienced renewal regarding our commitment to sustaining the environment? These are powerful questions we’ve reflected on throughout the month. But this Sunday, it’s appropriate to explore what renewal means in regards to the church. The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we “do” church. Most conversations about church and the idea of “renewal” tend to focus on the challenges. 

A recent gallup poll, for instance, found that fewer than half of Americans belong to a house of worship. This is the first time this has ever occurred since Gallup began asking this question more than 80 years ago. Even more remarkable is how rapidly changes are taking place as just 20 years ago the poll revealed that 70% of Americans belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque.  For years, demographers characterized millennials as “the rise of the nones,”  yet research shows these “nones” are actually on the rise in every age bracket born before 1946.

This morning our aim is to confront these challenges by reflecting on where we see hope. As Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” In particular, we want to explore how newer generations of leaders are redefining ways to do church. To help us better understand this renewal we are extremely fortunate to have Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred with us as our guest.

Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred (@emmetteldred) | Twitter

Emmett is a leading advocate for young adult participation in the church. He was a former intern for On Earth Peace, he was a Youth and Young Adult Ministry Assistant, he served as a contributing editor to Messenger magazine, and he’s a frequent guest speaker at COB conferences & worship services. 

Emmett organized what’s known as the Dunker Punk movement. His leadership then inspired the Arlington COB to start the Dunker Punks Podcast which Emmett serves as a co-host. The DPP has grown today into a country-wide movement that sees headphones and USB cords stretching like the mustard seed weed in Jesus’ parable. The DPP amplifies young prophetic voices to reach across and beyond traditional church, because everyone deserves community in Christ. Emmett was an original voice on the show and has furthered the project in numerous ways. He has a lot of insight into the young adult experience in the church today and we are thrilled to have him as our guest.

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Earth Day, 4/18/21

Creation is a gift to each and all of us. We are called to be stewards of this amazing natural endowment but experience and history reminds us of ways in which we have missed the mark. In 1970, a movement began to express an urgency that we, humans, need to pick up the pace of our stewardship practices or else this wondrous phenomenon with co-exist with may wither around us. That movement, Earth Day, continues and is celebrated each April. The worship service on this Sunday celebrated Earth Day and its reminder to us of our responsibility to care for the created order gifted to us. May we take pride in our individual and collective efforts to do what is right with all that is shared with us on the terrestrial globe we call Earth.

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We are Never Alone In Our Resurrections, 4/11/21

Worship this Sunday focuses on the theme that “we are never alone in our resurrections” and was inspired by American astronauts of Apollo 13. A question to spark our thinking and conversation is: Why should others be included in our resurrections?

Links to the elements of the service are as follows:

Apollo 13 theme music and Hubble photos

Apollo 13 Launch scene

Apollo 13, Houston, we have a problem

Apollo 13, A new mission

Apollo 13, Rocket re-entry

We Are the World

Science Fiction & Faith, Exploring Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man” ; 3/28/21

Kevin is producing the service this Sunday which will consider the subject of desire. Using a chapter entitled The Man, from Ray Bradbury’s book The Illustrated Man, along with thoughts from Irish poet John O’Donohue, the opportunity will be offered to explore desire’s divergent paths.  

What is your response to science fiction? One angle is considering the genre to be purely fantasy and entertainment without any substance. Another angle is learning that we are using today what was considered fiction or fantasy only several years ago. So is it fantasy or prophecy? How does science fiction continue to provide formation for our lives? How does this genre engage our imaginations to focus and re-focus our energies to enter life experiences to adopt and adapt new ways to encourage better human co-existence? In what ways do we find theological perspective (God; the Divine) in science fiction? These and other questions will be explored during our worship services in March. As this journey unfolds over the next several weeks, be encouraged to find theology imprinted within the science fiction genre. May we all be inspired by the nuggets of wisdom we’ll mine together.

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Science Fiction & Faith, Exploring Motifs of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”; 3/21/21

On this Sunday, the service is produced by Martha Harr. She will explore a few motifs from Ray Bradbury’s book Fahrenheit 451. If you are uncertain about the meaning of the word motif, and how it assists in making theological connections, listen in to learn more.

What is your response to science fiction? One angle is considering the genre to be purely fantasy and entertainment without any substance. Another angle is learning that we are using today what was considered fiction or fantasy only several years ago. So is it fantasy or prophecy? How does science fiction continue to provide formation for our lives? How does this genre engage our imaginations to focus and re-focus our energies to enter life experiences to adopt and adapt new ways to encourage better human co-existence? In what ways do we find theological perspective (God; the Divine) in science fiction? These and other questions will be explored during our worship services in March. As this journey unfolds over the next several weeks, be encouraged to find theology imprinted within the science fiction genre. May we all be inspired by the nuggets of wisdom we’ll mine together.

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Science Fiction & Faith with Dr. Steven Schweitzer, Academic Dean at Bethany Theological Seminary, 3/14/21

Mar. 14 – Dr. Steven Schweitzer, Academic Dean at Bethany Theological Seminary, is our guest presenter this Sunday. Steve brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in connecting science fiction and theology. Anyone who has experienced Steve’s presentations can attest that he will keep your attention regardless of the subject matter. His ability to share knowledge is equaled by his capacity to connect with the audience.

Dr. Schweitzer regularly teaches an advanced seminar on Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah and a course on Science Fiction and Theology. He has offered Insight Sessions at Annual Conference and workshops for various districts and congregations. He and his family attend Cedar Grove CoB in New Madison, Ohio in the Southern Ohio/Kentucky district.

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Science Fiction & Faith, 3/7/21

What is your response to science fiction? One angle is considering the genre to be purely fantasy and entertainment without any substance. Another angle is learning that we are using today what was considered fiction or fantasy only several years ago. So is it fantasy or prophecy? How does science fiction continue to provide formation for our lives? How does this genre engage our imaginations to focus and re-focus our energies to enter life experiences to adopt and adapt new ways to encourage better human co-existence? In what ways do we find theological perspective (God; the Divine) in science fiction? These and other questions will be explored during our worship services in March. As this journey unfolds over the next several weeks, be encouraged to find theology imprinted within the science fiction genre. May we all be inspired by the nuggets of wisdom we’ll mine together.

Mar. 7 – Our service today is produced by Carol Davis. It includes a series of scripture readings and introductions to and viewing of movie clips serving as metaphors to God, Jesus, the Bible, and faith. This service, as well as subsequent services in March, will utilize theopoetics to engage our minds and hearts to explore new questions and broader horizons. March 7 is a great kick-off to the other services in March.

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Overcoming, 2/28/21, with special guest Reverend LaDonna Nkosi

This month, the Canton Church of the Brethren will be recognizing the contributions of African Americans and their central role in U.S. History. Please enjoy the following audio recording from our service from Sunday, 2/28/21.

THEME: Overcoming

Overcoming fear of injustice is a reality for people of color that white people may not experience as intensely. How might we understand the fear others have that we may not experience? How do we engage in efforts to help dispel realities that cause such fear to be experienced? Rev. LaDonna Nkosi, Director of Intercultural Ministries for Discipleship Ministries, will be the guest presenter this Sunday (The Gathering Chicago)

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