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!
What do I write to convey my feelings as I conclude my pastoral ministry with you and look toward retirement? How do I tell you how blessed I have felt to serve you as your pastor, teacher, servant, and friend? What do I say to thank you for welcoming me into your homes and hearts and lives? How do I say how blessed I have been to walk with you through the stages of your lives?
We have laughed and cried together. We have prayed and studied together. We have worshiped and sung and feasted at the Lord’s Table together. We have worked side by side on mission trips and stood in the baptismal waters together. We have discussed
issues passionately together.
Through it all, I trust that we faithfully served the God we love. I trust that we have been faithful to the ministry to which we have been called.
You were very courageous to call me as your pastor in 1998, the first Disciples of Christ woman senior pastor in the greater Des Moines area. Thank you for giving me the chance to serve.
The words to this song we sang at my Installation Service in March 1999, says it well:
Sister, let me be your servant,
Brother, let me walk with you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.
We are pilgrims on a journey,
Fellow trav’lers on the road.
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
I will weep when you are weeping,
When you laugh I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey thro’.
When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony,
Born of all we’ve known together of great love and agony.
Brother, let me be your servant,
Sister, let me walk with you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.
As I journey toward retirement on August 6, Bill and I are in process of moving out of the parsonage. And what a process! So many things to sort through…so many memories… We have purchased a house nearby that is much smaller than the parsonage so we are making many choices about what to take, what to give away, what to donate to Goodwill, what to sell, etc. It won’t all fit so we are forced to relinquish some of it. Where did all this “stuff!” come from?!?!? It is amazing what is accumulated over the years! As I sort through boxes of “stuff” I have kept over the years, I have shed tears of joy and tears of sadness. I shed joyful tears as I read notes from teachers Luci and William had in elementary school, held honor certificates they received in high school, and laughed at birthday cards from family members. Tears of sadness ran down my cheeks as I found funeral leaflets, letters and notes from former congregational members wishing us well as we moved to a new state (Indiana, Missouri, or Iowa), or handwritten letters from family and friends who are now deceased. This “stuff” will forever remain in my heart and memories, even though there is no longer room for it in a drawer or on a shelf. Love and kindness is always remembered. Much of the “stuff” will not move with us, but the memories, the experiences, and the love will forever be with us. Thank you for being a part of the “stuff” we will move in our hearts. Blessings, Pastor Candice
My husband Bill has spent many hours in recent weeks, cleaning the flower beds at the church and parsonage. Much has built up over the winter: leaves, tree fragments, pine needles, and other debris.
One day I drove by him as he worked and asked, “Are you the gardener?” I was thinking of the Easter scripture of John 20:1-18 where Mary Magdalene does not recognize the risen Jesus. She thinks he is the gardener. Then he calls her name and she recognizes him.
Where do we not recognize Jesus is our lives? Is it the next door neighbor out painting her fence or the guy who holds the door for us at the convenience store or the child that smiles at us perched on the grocery cart seat? Where is Jesus and we don’t even realize it.
Mary didn’t expect to:
be the first to witness the empty tomb and evidence of Christ’s resurrection;
become the first evangelist – the one to call others to take note and believe;
find Jesus standing next to her in that garden, speaking her name;
or to be sent by Jesus, himself, to share the good news.
The message of Christ risen is one that invites us all to be witnesses like Mary. We are invited to listen to the voices around us…to look up in hopeful joy to recognize the risen one with us all along.
As we enter into this 50 day season of Easter, we will meet many witnesses who testify to the risen Christ. They will show us God’s new way to be in relationship with the world. Will our eyes be open to see? Will our ears be open to hear?
Lent is a “truth-telling” season. It is a season when we spend time looking
realistically at our own lives, and the reality of the world in which we live, in a deep way. Doing this will help us to listen to the concerns of our heart and the concerns in the hearts of others, feel compassion for those who suffer,
and connect to the spirit of love that flows through all.
The season of Lent can be a time of transformation and growth. In our busy world, there are few opportunities to slow down and rest in God’s love. Lent can provide the opportunity to catch our breath and be still in God’s presence. It is a deepening time when we reflect on our relationship with God and the awareness of our hope in Christ.
Lent is a season of unfolding honesty and truth-telling about our lives and our world. It begins with Ash Wednesday (March 6) and the humble recognition that we are all human beings with finite lives. No one is exempt from the dust from which we are formed or the ashes to which we return. We are all equal in those ashes, from those with the greatest wealth and power to those who have little or nothing at all.
We live in a time when truth is questioned, yet the need for the truth-telling of Lent remains greater than ever.
We will begin the Lenten journey together on Ash Wednesday, March 6,
with a 6:30 p.m. worship service of scripture, music, prayer and ashes.
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.