And the Beat Goes On

On Saturday my husband Jeff and our daughter Paige were preparing for a worship service that they were leading at a youth event to mark world Malaria Day.  As they were practicing I joined in on some of my favorite church songs.  These were songs Jeff and I used to lead together at Vacation Bible School or in worship.  Jeff is the musical one, but I am the enthusiastic one.  Which means he plays and sings while I sing and do the motions! It’s been a long time since we were regularly leading worship together and I realized how much I missed these songs.  It was renewing to sing my theology with joy. Luckily we have a family here at the Sellwood Faith Community (SFC) who have a similar passion for music.  The dad of the family, Ace, along with Jeff will begin a music ministry starting May 3rd.  Every week those who want to sing will gather half an hour before dinner starts for a time of worship and celebration.  I’m so excited about this and know it will be nourishing to my spirit to sing regularly with this community. Ace & his wife Allison also have a gift of hospitality and so they are hosting a new event for SFC.  Once a month we’ll gather at their house for a musical bonfire.  In the busy summer months there is something so lovely about gathering with friends as the twilight descends and focusing on God around a fire. I’m so thankful for the beautiful people God keeps bringing into this community and for the gifts they share.  I’m...

Rest & Renewal

The Lowery 3 just got back last night from 2 weeks in Europe.  We were visiting my family who live in Scotland (all of my mom’s siblings & my cousins) and then spent a few days in London and Paris seeing the sights and relaxing.  It was wonderful to be together and to have this break from the rewarding, but intense work of church planting.  Having prescheduled my blogs, printed out the bulletins for Capitol Hill (the traditional church where I serve half time), and typed up lists for the house sitter about cat care and how to work the tv, we blissfully tuned out of our neighborhood and home life. It was a lovely trip and I’m so glad that we could take this time to meet my newest wee relative and share with Paige the delights of Parisian street food.  Being away brings a new perspective to home and rest allows me to be my best in ministry here.  I know from being silly and not taking my days off that I cannot be my best if I’m always on, always busy. Time off is a biblical pattern from the start.  God rests in the creation story.  The 10 commandments include one about keeping the Sabbath holy, which means taking time off- from everything the work and home to do lists get a break and so do you.  Jesus continually takes time away from the disciples and his ministry of teaching and healing to rest and pray.  It’s vitally important to our spiritual health to  take a break. One of the things that makes it easer for...

12 is a Magic Number

According to a blog I read not so long ago 12 is the number a new church start needs to have as the core group to really begin succeeding.  I’m not sure what the statistics and research are behind this number, or if it’s just conveniently biblical, but it’s been a goal of ours for a while now.  We long to have 12 committed and active adults as part of the Sellwood Faith Community.  The picture at right was taken one night when we had 15 people at dinner!  2 of the women pictured moved on to another faith community and one has been ill and unable to participate (members of the community visit her regularly).  Two of the people in the picture are ringers who do not live in Portland and were just visiting on this night.  The four of us not pictured are all still active as are 6 of the people seen here.  This night I remember feeling so close to our goals and a tipping point of some sort to be sustainable as a community.  Then life happened and things changed and the ringers went home.  Now, several months later, our table is regularly full again.  We have 11 adults in our core group and 6 kiddos.  Are we going to hit that magic 12 soon?  Will it really make a tangible difference?  I have no idea.  I sure hope so, but I’ve decided to let go of worrying about it.  We have delightful, committed disciples here and I am learning a lot from them as we journey together.   This is a place where...

Easter Blessings

This Easter a group of us from the Sellwood Faith Community met down at the river in the darkness.  There we sang songs, prayed, and read scripture. As the sun rose we thought about the ways people in our community could feel God’s presence through the risen Christ.  We painted rocks with words that we thought people in our neighborhood might need.  These are a reminder of the stone that was rolled away so that something new could unfold that Easter morning two millennia ago.  They are also a reminder of Christ present with us now.  We are going to leave out a big platter with the rocks in the front yard of the SFC house for the season of Easter, which is 50 days long.  We’ve put up a sign that says “Take What You Need.”  At dinner on Sunday nights throughout Easter we’ll have more rocks to be painted by the kids and any adults who would like to do so.  We’ll replenish the platter in the yard as needed.  Hopefully our neighbors will appreciate taking a bit of Christ’s presence with them through things like peace, hope, clarity, love, light, joy, serenity, openness, and wonder. The idea for this community love project sprang from the auction art that my daughter’s class did this year.  They made outdoor art from painted rocks and a cool leaf platter.  We’re keeping the class art we won at the auction as a memento from this year, but we were inspired to create our own art for the neighborhood.  As a faith community we already engage our neighbors with positive message...