Welcome to the Capitol Hill Christian Church blogspot!
Here you will find past and present Newsletter Messages
written by Pastor Candice K. Brown. The messages are
appropriately titled "Candice's Comments." Enjoy!
Bruce Barkhauer’s words in his book Community of Prayer offer insights as we embark on our annual Stewardship Campaign in October:
At various times in the cycle of days we call the church year, we spend some
extra moments in reflection and preparation.
To welcome the Christ child, we have the four weeks of Advent. We sit quietly, not rushing too fast toward the stable, lest we run past the babe cradled in straw and miss the meaning of what “God with us” is all about.
With the hope of Easter, and the meaning of both new and everlasting life on the horizon, we observe a period of reflection about the condition of our souls and of our world and our deep need for a word assuring us that nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God.
This work is directed toward an event that also requires preparation: The making of a financial commitment to the work and ministry of the church. If we want to be a full partner in the unfolding Realm of God around us, we cannot come to the moment of commitment with our best without being grounded in an understanding of stewardship.
Stewardship is not fundraising – it is a spiritual discipline. It is about responding with our whole being to the generosity of God. Stewardship impacts every aspect of life. How unfortunate for us that we have reduced this rich biblical concept to being simply about money. Perhaps the greatest sin of all is that we have made it about budgets and board reports instead of about a life-giving adventure and an invitation to discover deeper joy in discipleship.
During the Sundays in October, we will explore:
·Creation as a blue print for generosity
·Self-Care and the Gospel as building blocks for Stewardship
·Understanding our relationship with Money
·Generosity as an Agent of Transformation and Pathway to Joy
This will lead us to respond to “God’s Great Generosity” on Sunday, October 28 on Celebration Commitment Sunday. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Where did the summer go? Already we are heading into fall. The State Fair has concluded, summer vacations are over, and students and teachers are back in school. We celebrate a fresh new opportunity to examine our lives. With prayerful discernment we look at our lives.
·Are we living out the priorities of our lives?
·Are we engaged in the ministries that bring health and wholeness to us and to those around us?
·Are we honoring the gifts God placed in us?
This is a wonderful time of year to re-evaluate how we spend our time, our talents, and our financial resources. It is healthy to do this from time to time. I do this on a regular basis to make sure I am engaged in faithful ministry. I want to be sure my days are spent honoring the things that are important to do.
For example, I have become much more intentional about spending time with those I love. It is important not to relegate them to the “leftover” minutes in my week, but to make time with them a priority. I have recently been blessed to spend quality time with my five grandchildren. (See pictures below!) What a blessing! What an opportunity to build memories!
Are you doing what is “whole and holy” for you as a child of God? If yes, great and keep it up! If no, today is the perfect day to start! So get going!
Hamilton: An American Musicalis coming to Des Moines!
Using hip-hop, rhythm and blues, pop music, soul music, traditional-style show tunes, and color-conscious casting of non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures, this musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton.
My 15-year old granddaughter Elizabeth studied Alexander Hamilton in school and became excited about the musical. She, her mom, and I have tickets to see it at the Civic Center early next month.
In the reading I have done in preparation for this, I renewed my knowledge of what the Revolutionary War was all about and Alexander Hamilton’s role in it. He believed in a strong central government and was willing to sacrifice much to achieve it. He believed the individual colonies should work together rather than as separate entities. He believed they were a stronger force when united in their efforts.
How true that is for the church as well! We are stronger together when we . . .
¨welcome the stranger, whatever the age or skin color or language;
¨work for equity for all God’s people to have living wage employment, comprehensive health care, and adequate housing;
¨feed the hungry, whether for food or companionship or care.
We are the church, called to love and embrace all who are created in the divine image of God. And all means ALL. We cannot pick and choose whom we will love and whom we will not love. It’s not our choice. God loves all, and calls us to do the same.
It comes down to a matter of justice. What is the just way to treat others?
The last words we say when we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America are: “…with liberty and justice for all.”
Alexander Hamilton said, “I think the first duty of society is justice.”
Together, let us stand up, speak out and act for justice for all God’s children.
We enter the season of Pentecost and celebrate the birthing of the church, the community of God’s people, the body of Christ. John Clement Pfitzner speaks of the church so powerfully in his writing below. May its words be lived out in us and through us at Capitol Hill Christian Church.
You don’t need to negotiate
an obstacle course to get here.
There are no fences to climb over.
The world is welcome here.
Nothing human is excluded.
Laughter is not unusual;
tears are not seen as being out of place.
The wisdom of everyday experience
is listened to and honored.
The real and authentic are at home here.
Stillness allows the soul to breathe and listen.
Poems and paintings preach eloquent sermons.
Musicians fill our spirits with song.
Buried gifts are unearthed,
and the community is enriched.
We drink from the Mystery and are refreshed,
feast on acceptance and are strengthened,
bathe in hope and are renewed.
Our mind is kept fit, given a good workout.
New territories are opened up for exploration;
exciting discoveries are made.
We are set free to soar, like pelicans taking to the air.
English is the only language I know. It was the only language class required at my high school so I didn’t sign up to take Spanish or French,which were also offered. I thought English was the only language I would ever need. Was I ever wrong!
I certainly wish I could speak Spanish today! What a benefit and blessing it would be in communicating with the Efecios 2:20 congregation that nests in our building. Members of the Efecios congregation have been so patient with me!
And so many times my communication was limited on the Texas mission trips because I didn’t know Spanish. I have to rely on others to speak for me.
It is difficult for me to communicate with people who speak any language but English. But sometimes language is not the barrier. Sometimes even though we speak the same language, it is difficult to communicate with people who live across the street or sit at the dinner table with us.
On May 20, we will celebrate Pentecost, a very special day in the life of the church.
You are encouraged to wear red.
Long ago, there were people from all over the world gathered in Jerusalem. People came from different countries and spoke different languages. More than anything, people noticed the differences among them.
But then, something special happened. Like a strong wind, like a breath of fresh air, they noticed that they all had one thing in common: God’s Spirit was with them – with each of them. They knew that, because they were followers of Jesus, this was more important than any of the things that might have kept them apart.
We all belong in the church, every one of us. No matter who we are, we belong. God’s Spirit is in each and every one of us. It helps us to try to understand each other, to accept each other, and to love each other. Our differences make us special. God’s Spirit makes us one church
We come to the end of Holy Week. Hopes and dreams are crushed. Jesus suffers, bleeds, dies on a cross. Jesus cried out, “Abba, forgive.”
Mary Magdalene gathers her memories together and heads for the tomb where Jesus is buried. It is very early and so dark. And yet she sees that the stone was moved away from the entrance. How can that be? What’s happened? Where is he? Who has taken him?
The linen cloths covering Jesus’ body were still there. The cloth used to cover his face was there, neatly folded and placed to one side.
Mary begins to cry. As she cried she turns and sees Jesus standing there, but she didn’t recognize him.
“Why do you weep? Who are you looking for?” he asks.
“Where have you put him?” she asks.
“Mary,” is the response.
And Mary knew it was Jesus.
He said, “Go tell my friends that I am alive!”
Jesus called her by name!
Her hopes and dreams are alive again!
Jesus is living, loving and active in life!
It is a time for joyous celebration!
The impossible has happened!
Christ is alive in a new way and calls us into marvelous joy!
Hallelujah! Jesus is alive! Nothing will ever be the same again!
We are halfway through Lent and moving toward Holy Week. Before our journey takes us to
Easter and Resurrection Sunday, we journey with Jesus through the trails and challenges of
We will begin Holy Week by gathering in the narthex on Palm Sunday, March 25, to hear Mark’s version of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem before we enter the sanctuary, waving palm branches and singing hosannas to the one who comes in the name of the Lord. During worship we will hear the complete Passion Narrative, as recorded in Mark’s gospel, as the story comes to life for us.
On Maundy Thursday, March 29, we will gather at 6:00 p.m. for a light meal (provided) and Communion Service as we remember and observe the last earthly meal Jesus shared with his disciples in an upper room. It is a time of close community for Jesus and his followers. Jesus introduces powerful new symbolism into the meal with the sharing of the bread and the cup.
According to John’s gospel, Maundy Thursday also includes Jesus’ washing the feet of the
disciples. Jesus acts as a servant to his followers, expressing gratitude and witness. Jesus voices a new commandment in John13:34-35:
Love each other. Just as I have loved you,
so you also must love each other.
This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples,
when you love each other.
Good Friday (or God’s Friday) on March 30 invites us to do individual (or family) readings in our own homes, workplaces, or wherever we are at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. We will not be together physically in one place but our hearts will be joined as one as we read the Good Friday scriptures.
Mark’s gospel tells us that Jesus was crucified at 9:00 a.m. (the third hour in Jewish time).
At 9:00 a.m., you are invited to pause and read John 18:28 – 19:16a.
At 3:00 p.m., you are invited to pause and read John 19:16b-42, the ninth hour when Jesus is thought to have breathed his last.
We must journey with Jesus through the passion of Holy Week before we can receive the
resurrection which comes on Easter Sunday, April 1.
As the season of Christmas (December 25 – January 5) flows into the beginning of the season of Epiphany (January 6), we are challenged by the poem “Now the Work of Christmas Begins.” It was composed by Howard Thurman, an African-American theologian, educator, and civil rights leader.
Now the Work of Christmas Begins
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
This poem lays out the ministry we are called to do in the new year. We have
celebrated with carols and cookies, gifts and trees, candles and devotions,
family and friends.
Now the work of Christmas begins…
I am blessed to share this ministry and mission with you in the new year as God births a new energy in us.
Let us celebrate the gift of God in one another and begin the work of Christmas…
In anticipation of Advent, we resolve to create an atmosphere of peace, hope, joy, and love in our hearts, our homes, and our relationships. We resolve to disengage from the commercial hype and reconnect to the “real meaning of Christmas.”
And somewhere around December 15 we can find ourselves doing exactly the sort of thing we resolved not to do: buying a frivolous gift for someone who already has everything; agreeing to attend another party when we’d rather stay home listening to quiet music; rushing out for more decorations or delicacies with no thought for the impact on the planet.
This Advent’s readings from Isaiah are spoken to a community who were also longing for their lives to reflect God’s ways of peace and justice. The psalmist
recalls God’s commanding presence with the people in the past, and by doing so invokes hope for the future.
With the angel’s announcement to Mary in the gospel of Luke, we catch a vision of how completely lives can be changed by “the power of the Most High.” There is tension between now and what lies ahead in the future.
We have “Advent anxiety,” wondering what is to come. Our intentions are good but sometimes our actions are a bit slow. The gap between our intentions and our actions affirms that the Spirit is with us.
Presents or gifts of presence . . . crowds or solitude . . . feasting or simplicity…
Every day is a day to give thanks to God! Every day is a day to be grateful for our blessings! Every day is a day to show and tell those around us that we love and appreciate them! And we especially seem to feel called to do this in November.
We are blessed in so many ways as a congregation:
·Freedom to pray and worship God
·Opportunity to gather at the Communion Table
·Christian Education for children, youth, and adults
·Commitment to social justice and inclusion of all God’s people
·Hospitality to the neighborhood and community
·Dedication to mission in our community and throughout the world
·Desire to feed people physically and spiritually
·Celebration of diversity
·Advocacy for environmental issues
·Opportunity to share this earthly journey with one another
·A great cloud of faithful witnesses who preceded us
Blessings can be planned or they can come unexpectedly. Many times I look at my day’s schedule and think I know what is going to happen that day. I think I know where I will be when and what I will be doing.
But God sometimes interrupts those plans with blessings that I could not even
imagine…an opportunity to sit with a bereaved family and hear the stories of their loved one . . . or a call to ride in the front seat with a parishioner as she learns to drive . . . or a call to accompany a child to a Scout meeting when the parents are otherwise
occupied . . . or a host of other serendipities.
So what’s on your list of blessings this day, this month, this year, this lifetime?
Every day is a day to give thanks to God!
Every day is a day to be grateful for our blessings!
Every day is a day to show and tell those around us that we love and appreciate them!