Good morning everyone on this last day of April. I am grateful for today's April showers that will bring those proverbial May flowers, as well as helping to keep us out of a drought.
As we have made the transition back into the building for Sunday worship, some of you have shared questions and concerns about how to make our online community feel more fully a part of the worship service. As an example, when we were all online together both before and after the service there was always a lively discussion going on. Now that discussion continues among those who are in the building, but not so much for those who are online. What to do about that?
Yesterday Katy Kelly, Vicky Goplin and I met at church to talk about it. We came up with a couple ideas that we hope to translate into changes as we move forward over the coming weeks. One thought is to make sure when we have people in the building speaking or sharing during the service that they are speaking into a microphone and facing the camera so those online can see and hear them. A second thought is to have a shared ritual during the service that we practice both at home and in the building. This might take the form of having everyone at home being invited to have a candle, and during the prayer time both in the building and at home we light a candle to remember those we are praying for. I will talk more about this in the future.
Perhaps the biggest change we are proposing is that we bring back the after-service discussion so that we can intentionally bring together those online and those in the building who would like to stay and talk more about the Sunday theme or any other topic of interest. In the building we would create a semicircle of chairs facing the camera, placing a microphone in front of the group. We will have to talk to our tech team about the feasibility of all of this, but it seems like a great way to bring together those in the building and those online.
I would welcome your thoughts and ideas on this. It is really great to have the online option that makes it possible for our folks who are immunocompromised or ill or who are simply living further away to be with us on Sundays. It is also a great option for first time visitors to check us out. We want to make sure we make it possible for them to engage in more of the Sunday experience we have in the building.
As always I will send out the link for the Sunday service in the morning.
Some of my interesting reads from this week:
Nightmare Journey by Nikita Petrov. Petrov is one of the thousands of young Russians who fled the country when Putin launched his unprovoked war on Ukraine. At the urging of an American friend he kept a journal to share with his friend that chronicled his last days in Russia, his decision to propose marriage to his girlfriend, the difficulty of getting their dog out of the country, and the challenge of settling into a new country. Very interesting read.
Reasons to Live Through the Apocalypse by Suleika Jaouad. Jaouad is a NYT best-selling author who writes here about her isolation journey of living with cancer during the pandemic. Also read the poem Reasons to Live Through the Apocalypse by Nikita Gill at the end of her piece. And you might also want to watch her interview on CBS news as she talks about the difficulty of finding a bone marrow donor, particularly for people of mixed ethnicities.
Why nutmeg is so precious by Bee Wilson. Bee Wilson is a food historian and in this article she talks about the rich and sometimes bloody history of this famous seed that was trafficked along the Silk Road. It was once an indispensable spice in many culinary traditions but for a variety of reasons fell out of favor. She thinks we ought to use it more. But I loved her quote about what is the right amount of nutmeg to use in a dish: "One of the reasons nutmeg has fallen out of favour may be that its charm is much more dose-dependent than spices such as cinnamon. A little nutmeg is lovely; a lot is unpleasantly similar to cough medicine (which often uses nutmeg oil as an ingredient). Tamasin Day-Lewis writes in her 2001 cookbook Simply the Best that the correct amount of nutmeg to use in a lasagne is a “suspicion”". A suspicion, the perfect word in answer to the question how much nutmeg should I use? Just a dusting of nutmeg makes all the difference in fettucine alfredo, adding a distinct depth of flavor that makes you wonder what it is if you aren't familiar with its flavor. FYI, this article is behind a paywall but I believe the link gets you through it.
Have a great rest of your weekend! Here is the update:
Men’s Retiree Group – 8:30am
Choir Rehearsal – 5:30pm
Sunday Service – 10:00am
Children’s Story Schedule
5/1: Vicky Goplin
5/8: Kristin Standafer
5/15: Rhonda Gingrich
"Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans in WWII" Exhibit Opening
This new traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History includes engaging personal stories, documents, photographs, and interactives. The exhibition takes a deep look at immigration, prejudice, civil rights, heroism, and what it means to be an American. The exhibit runs April 23-July 3. Karen Lucas will be speaking at one of the featured events. She has agreed to host a gathering of OCC people for a visit to the history center sometime during its run.
We are looking for book ideas for our next gathering. Feel free to send your ideas of books you have enjoyed or books you think might be interesting to read and discuss.
Meet and Greet at the church
June 4, tentative waiting for confirmation from Master Gardener
We are inviting our community garderners, neighbors and OCC folks to come share some coffee and treats as we listen to a Master Gardener talk about some aspect of gardening. We would like to encourage you to put this date on your calendar as we work at getting the word out to others.
CROP Walk 10 Year Anniversary Walk
From the CROP Walk Organizing Committee: On behalf of the South of the River CROP Hunger Walk planning committee, we invite you to an exciting event coming up this fall! Because you and Open Circle Church have been ardent supporters from the beginning, we wanted you to know that we are planning the 10th annual South of the River CROP Walk. We are celebrating this mile-stone by coming full circle and gathering once again at St. James Lutheran Church in Burnsville — where it all started! The date is Sunday, October 2, in the afternoon.
New Community Project Keep ‘em Safe Campaign
Thanks to everyone who has contributed money for the New Community Project Keep 'em Safe campaign. We have received over a thousand dollars of contributions toward building the wall around the shelter in Nepal to protect young girls who have been forced into sex work from the trafficers who are still threatening their lives. We will keep this campaign active here for one more week then send off the check. If you still wish to contribute please let Linda Hoskins know.
Family Faith Formation
Throughout the pandemic months, we’ve tried a couple different things to support you in nurturing the faith of you children. Through the spring and summer, Rhonda provided weekly mindfulness and/or prayer practices. For a compilation of those practices contact Rhonda at firstname.lastname@example.org. Through the fall, we provided at home curriculum centered around one of the central story arcs in the Bible—a story that is at the heart of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions. Our sense was that most of our families were just too overwhelmed with daily life to make use of the curriculum.
So to support the faith formation of families and children in the coming months, we’d like to draw your attention to the #ReadAloud program resourced by On Earth Peace, a peacemaking organization of the Church of the Brethren. They have compiled a collection of stories, read aloud and posted on YouTube. For each story, they also provide a few questions for reflection and conversation. Topics range include: Gender & Identity; Immigration, Migration, & Refugees; Anti-Racism & Social Justice; Kingian Nonviolence & Peace Skills; Environment & Earth Advocacy; Holidays; Own Voices—all themes near and dear to our hearts at Open Circle. You can access the list of story videos and accompanying questions here:
This resource requires no preparation. Simply go to the list, click on a story, snuggle up with your child, listen to the story together, and then talk a bit about it using the questions provided if you wish. As we celebrate Black History month, you might want to tap into the Anti-Racism and Social Justice stories.
Open Circle Volunteer Opportunities
Your time and energy is needed for Open Circle Church to thrive and continue its mission. Whether you can commit an hour a week or a one-time effort, you will make a difference in our continued success. Opportunities continue to be available in Open Circle management and growth, earth stewardship, community outreach, grounds and building management and beautification, adult and youth education, child care, and congregation community life. For more information talk to Jay.
While we are in pandemic time and not meeting at the church, we have two ongoing volunteer opportunities. Each week we have a children’s story as part of our worship. Rhonda Gingrich manages this list. If you would like to take a turn reading a story from your home, you can send an email to Rhonda. You can volunteer for one time, occasionally, or be part of the regular rotation. Let Rhonda know at email@example.com.
We also have a garbage detail, which involves taking the garbage can to the street on a Thursday for Friday pickup, then taking the can back up the driveway on Saturday. We are trying to keep the garbage trucks off our driveway as their weight can cause damage to our new pavement. Bruce Johnson has been managing this volunteer list, but it is now set up on Signup Genius and you can volunteer online here.
Caregiving Response Team
From time to time we have a member in the hospital or recuperating at home from surgery or illness, or someone with another need like moving from one home to another. If we know about the need, we would like to notify our community and ask for help. It could be a meal, a card, a visit, or getting a group of people together to perform a task. If you know of someone who has a need, please feel free to contact Katy Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org 612-750-0263 or Jay Steele at email@example.com.
Do you shop at Amazon? You can shop as you always do but also generate donations to Open Circle through the Amazon Smile app. Click here to find out more.
Brethren Bucks - OCC Scrip Program
Participating in our scrip program has never been easier! Visit the Brethren Bucks link on the church website for more information and to sign up for this great program that pays Open Circle to shop. Kristin Standafer is our scrip coordinator and can be reached at 952-210-5137 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer cash-n-carry gift cards for several retailers on most Sundays
Open Circle Finances
We thank you for your financial contributions; they make possible the mission and ministries of our great congregation. Contributions can now be debited automatically from your checking or savings account Please contact Mark Gingrich (email@example.com) for an electronic funds transfer form.. Contributions can also be made through the website. Click on the "Donate to Open Circle" link on the website home page (www.opencirclechurch.com).
OCC on the web at www.opencirclechurch.com where you can find the most updated volunteer lists, the weekly update, podcasts of Sunday messages, the church calendar, pictures of life at Open Circle, and more.
OCC on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OpenCircleChurch
Peace to all,