An Open Table

This past Wednesday we gathered for our third dinner at a local restaurant.  Our theme this month is different faiths, and this night we were talking about Judaism, Islam, and Baha’i faith. One of our folks had never even heard of the Baha’i faith, so I was googling the answers beyond my surface knowledge when a lovely woman from the next table came over.  We had met briefly when we first arrived because her son had some of the dinosaur toys at the restaurant and he kindly offered to share a few with our kiddos.  When she came over this time, it was to tell us she had been eavesdropping and she wondered who we were and what we were about because she was Baha’i.  We quickly invited  her family to join us and asked if we could ask her some questions.  We were here to learn, and what better way to learn about a faith than from a practitioner of that faith? She was very open and quite willing to share her faith with us.  I played with her son while she talked with the rest of the group.  Since our table was the only one with kiddos we got all the dinosaurs together for an extravagant play session.  She started asking us questions about who we were and what kind of a church this was.  As her son got less interested in the dino party and more interested in going home she tossed off a quick, “I’ll see you next week here” and was out the door.  She has already found us on Facebook. This is part...

Planting Church at Home

Some of you may remember that in November we shot film for a video about SFC.  Here is the result of that adventure.  I am so proud of the work we are doing and of the people who make up this community.  They were asked questions about the community and answered on the spot in such lovely and articulate ways.  I hope you enjoy this glimpse in to life at SFC....

New Things are Afoot

This past week we launched two new programs at SFC.  On Wednesdays we are meeting for an hour to have dinner at a Laughing Planet restaurant in the next neighborhood over.  The restaurant is the kind where you order at the counter and then food is brought to your table.  It’s family friendly with really healthy choices of the burrito, bowl, and broccoli variety.  Dinner here means our families that don’t have time to cook, or who have early bed times can join us for the discussion part of the gathering.  We don’t have the candles or the singing.  We don’t all load the dishwasher together afterwards.  What we do have are dinosaur toys to play with and a greater variety of food options for each person. We also have room to grow, since Sunday night dinner has been almost to capacity nearly every week since July.  It’s sort of like having 2 different worship services on a Sunday morning.  Both share a theme, but the feel and components of each is a little different. On Sunday nights we have added a new children’s ministry.  We usually have around 8 kiddos on Sunday nights.  For the past year we’ve had a teenager keep on eye on the children while they played with games or did crafts.  Several of our folks stepped up this fall and said they would like to start a children’s ministry.  A different person will teach a lesson each week based on the dinner discussion.  This past week was our first lesson and the kids loved it.  Our somewhat reserved 4 year old was right in...

Back to the Future

From the very beginning stages of our faith community in Sellwood, we always considered what we were doing less of a new start and more of a continuation of the Methodist presence in this community.  A new form,  but deeply connected and shaped by the past.  This month I found out a bit more about the heritage that we share and the history of Methodism in this area.  I took a trip down to the United Methodist Conference Archives in Salem and looked around in the Sellwood file, 3 big boxes of photos, papers and a history of the church written in 1950.  A Sunday school was organized in 1883 in the Sellwood neighborhood.  The ministry continued well over 100 years in various homes and buildings.  In looking at the files, I was most interested in the founding members, what were they like, where were they from?  Thomas D. Yarnes writes this about those first organizers, “But what kind of people were those twelve who organized a church where there had never been one before? Perhaps pretty much like those who have come after them.  There have been others just as devoted, and just as talented, and just as faithful and far-seeing, no doubt.” In reading about those first members it is clear that they were just normal folks who had come from all over; Illinois, New Mexico, Indiana and many different walks of life.  They were normal folks who dared to listen to God’s call to start something new. I wonder if they could ever imagine what form their church would take in 2015.  Although what we are...