Monday, October 23, 2017

Church, Worship, Sacred Space


Last Wednesday we had our second Pop-Up Church, a concert by Bobby Jo Valentine in an empty store front in downtown Lowell. To prepare, we cleaned and swept the space, hung lights, brought in chairs and tables. We brought snacks and pizza and juice and made sure to hang our rainbow banner so that everyone would know they were welcome. We put signs in the windows and passed out postcards and wrote Pop-Up Church on the wall. And then we waited to see what would happen.

What do you think of when you hear the word “church?” How about “worship?” How about “sacred space.” I felt that sacred space began to form as soon as people began wandering in. A parent with her children. Grandparents. People we see every Sunday. Guests we know from Under the Oak. People from the bar next door who had helped us set up, people just wandering by wondering what was happening. The music spoke to us all, Ebony’s gift of song became our prayer, Bobby Jo’s words of pain and restoration became our sermon. And there we were, a new, small gathering of God’s children, worshiping together in this amazing space created for just this single night.

As I thought about the event the next morning, I thought about how many times Jesus found himself in large crowds. People followed him, applauding his words and his healing and his leadership. He had the numbers. He had the “Likes.” And what did he do? Often, in the stories we know and love, he either gave them the slip or he singled out an individual to pay attention to. “Who touched me,” he asks, in the midst of an immense jostling crowd. And we learn that a desperately ill woman, impoverished and probably scorned by her society, has reached out to touch nothing more than a piece of his clothing. And she is made well. Jesus speaks to her in the crowd and commends her faith and wishes upon her joy and peace! (Luke 8:43-48)

So I wonder about all our gatherings – Sunday morning, Wednesday evening, Church, Sacred Space. I think the question stays the same. “Who touched me.” And I think many of us were granted a touch of Jesus’ healing joy and peace as we worshiped together in an empty storefront on a mid-week evening in downtown Lowell.

                                                                                        Janet

Friday, October 20, 2017

Making a Difference

In the Jewish tradition there is a phrase that describes what CCU is seeking.  This idea is central to a “just peace” church.  Acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world are known in Jewish tradition as “Tikkun Olam”. This idea comes from classical rabbinic teachings meant to assure protection to those who may be at a disadvantage.

One way we at CCU "patch the world" is by our mission giving.  We set aside close to ten percent of our budget funds for mission.  This allowed us to create the Robinson Fund.  Through this fund we help to heal the world and protect the vulnerable.  So far we have made this happen in the following ways:

      Assistance for Legal Help with Immigration for a Pastor       $2,500
      Donation for "Gift Cards for Guns"                                            $200
      Food for Pathways to Justice                                                      $75
      LTLC Fundraiser Walk                                                               $500
      Travel Expenses for Lao Church Visiting Pastor/Consult       $1,274
      Donation to Medical Fund for Charlottesville                             $500
      Merrimack Valley Project Fundraiser                                      $1,000
      Merrimack Valley Project Membership                                      $590

Now there are new expenses related to our Sanctuary Network project.  The Robinson Fund will help to cover these.

Perhaps there is no better example of "just peace" work than the Sanctuary Network.  As I sit and type I can hear our volunteer contractor putting up a wall up in what will be our guest’s room.  Check the video below for progress.  This will be an effort that will require the cooperation of those within and outside of our church.

Soon the Just Peace Committee will be working on a covenant that represents CCU's commitment to becoming a courageous church.  Stay tuned.

Will Miller



Thursday, October 5, 2017

One Year Community Yoga Celebration

Our CCU Moderator, Valerie Jones, attended the one year celebration for the YOGA class which meets in our building.  This class is one of a number of offerings that makes up what we have come to call "Lowell Learns."

Lowell Learns is a way we offer our members activities that enrich their inner lives.  We also offer the the Lowell community an opportunity to come into our building and to take advantage of our "inner self enriching" classes.  The community gets to know us a bit better and we get to know them better.

Valerie's thoughts on the one year anniversary of the Lowell Learns Yoga class are below.

One Year Community Yoga Celebration 


Friday night September 29, 2017 there was a joyous celebration of community at Christ Church United in Lowell. It has been one year since Kimsokun Ket, better known as Kim, started
teaching community yoga free of charge supported by voluntary donations. I began yoga classes for the first time on week two. In the beginning it was difficult to perform the poses but with persistence in one year I am able to complete the flow of most moves. The healing affects of yoga physically and emotionally are priceless. Yoga helps to channel peace love and joy internally.

As changes occurred within so did the seasons. The warmer weather had us venture outdoors , "Yoga by the Sea" which attracted people to join into the community.  At the one year celebration Kim chose to showcase the many talents of the yogis. As we sweated next to each other, everyone of varying skill, we were unaware that we were in the presence of such extraordinary talent, such as life skill mastery, art, poetry, and music. Through Kimsokun's Vision of giving freely of her gifts to empower others she was able to add to her community and to ours. Friday night's one year celebration was alive with diversity and talents that filled our church with the laughter and love of a thriving community.  Come and join us at Christ Church United for community yoga on Thursdays at 6 PM for a life changing opportunity.

Valerie Jones

What’s in a Song?

At the Jazz, Justice and Gospel concert last Saturday, we were privileged to hear many fabulous musicians, among them Marco Torres who pe...