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!
The angels sing and alert the shepherds to proclaim the birth of a savior.
The time has come...
The wise ones from the east have followed a star in the sky and have come to worship the newborn king.
One of my favorite actors of all time was Lucille Ball. How ironic that we share a birth date (just 40 years apart!). I still enjoy and laugh at the reruns of the "I Love Lucy" shows.
I particularly remember the show when her son was born. Husband Ricky and neighbors Fred and Ethel each had a part to play when Lucy told them it was time for the baby to be born. One called the doctor, one got her suitcase, one got Lucy and her coat.
Over and over they practiced their roles. Ricky would say, "The time has come" and they would each calmly and efficiently carry out their task.
But as you might guess, when the actual time came for the baby to be born, they did not act calmly and efficiently but bumped into one another and all tried to do the same task. Eventually they left for the hospital without Lucy, who was left standing in the middle of the living room saying, "Hey, wait for me!"
As we move into the seasons of Christmas and Epiphany, the time has come for us to respond to the birth of our Savior. What is our task? Will we carry it out well or mess it up? What difference will it make in our lives that this baby was born?
The time has come...to celebrate the birth and follow this infant into adulthood. On the journey we will witness miracles and healings, teachings and preachings. The time has come...to follow Jesus to the cross...and beyond.
On December 6, I will celebrate my 20th year of pastoring with you at Capitol Hill Christian Church. Thank you to all who had a part in the wonderful reception held on November 11 to acknowledge this anniversary. It was great to have colleagues, family, congregation, and neighborhood folks be welcomed with such hospitality.
Special thanks to the Community and Care Committee, Pastoral Relations Committee, Diaconate, and Elders for their leadership in pulling it all together. Many hands and hearts working together made for a beautiful event!
Thanks also for the many gifts and cards. With your cash donations, I look forward to purchasing a brick at the entrance to Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO, where my favorite baseball team, The Kansas City Royals, play ball. And I understand there is a DVD coming with more kind words and pictures. Thank you to all who participated! I am so blessed to serve Christ and this congregation!
As I anticipate the coming Advent and Christmas seasons, I am aware that not all are welcomed so kindly and so hospitably. Mary and Joseph were not welcomed so warmly when it was time for Jesus to be born. They did not receive a cookie and hot cider reception. They did not receive gifts wrapped with bows and glitter. They did not receive love and acceptance and warm embraces.
So as the holy seasons of Advent and Christmas approach, I wonder:
·Who might need the nourishment of a cookie or a loaf of bread or a warm drink?
·Who might need the gift of a winter coat or pair of gloves, a soft blanket or pillow, a visit or a letter?
·Who might be in need of a hearty welcome and a joyous reception?
·Who might be seeking hope, peace, joy and love in their lives?
I pray that we will look at the needs around us and respond with generosity, both now and always. May we extend God’s grace to all!
Although one day each year is set aside to celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s important to realize that thanks-giving is something we can (and need!) to do every day.
So…I have a challenge for you. During the 30 days of November, I challenge you to write down 30 things (one each day!) for which you feel abundant gratitude.
Each Sunday I will ask you to name the 7 things you wrote down that week for which to give thanks. (November 4 you will have only 4 things on your list!) Let us be especially mindful of the many blessings of our lives.
Here is a Thanksgiving prayer to start us thinking of our blessings:
Hot showers in the morning,
and cool breezes in the evening;
work that provides for our families,
and abundance that makes us generous;
funny jokes told by third graders,
and the silent tears of a grandmother lost in her childhood forever.
Teachers who patiently help us with our math,
and mentors who keep us on the right path;
friends who clear off sidewalks before we waken,
and employees whose hearts are greater than their profits;
piano teachers who smile at our repeated mistakes,
coaches who teach us (one more time)
how to hold a baseball bat.
Dogs who bounce us awake early in the day
and cats who lullaby us to sleep at night;
grandfathers who teach us how to whittle
and sisters who give up a date to baby sit;
little boys who always remember to say “thank you.”
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.