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Thoughts from Pastor Dan

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” –Psalm 40:1-2, NRSV

 

Have you ever felt like you’re not where you’re supposed to be?  I’m not talking about misreading directions and getting lost.  I’m talking about being in a place, a situation, a behavior where your gut tells you, “I’m not supposed to be here.”

 

Last week a terrible storm hit the Houston area and parts of the region were flooded.  Christ United Church of Cypress suffered severe damage with their building being halfway underwater.  As soon as the waters receded from inroads to the church, volunteers came in to help clear out salvageable items and put them into boxes and pods for storage.  Walls were pulled from their framework and flooring pried from the ground to prevent the onset of mildew.  It was devastating to the congregation.

 

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Dear Friends Church Family,


Toward the end of my recent sabbatical, I called someone with whom I serve on the United Church of Christ’s South Central Conference Board of Directors. Debra knew I had been on professional leave, and she and I hadn’t spoken in several weeks.
“Hello, Debra. It’s Dan. How are you?”
“Well! Welcome back to the land of the living!”
It’s a common greeting said to anyone from the sleepy-eyed teenager waking up in the middle of a summer day to the PhD candidate getting out of the apartment after days in solitude preparing their defense. But when I heard those words from a colleague and friend, “welcome back to the land of the living,” I took them to heart.

 

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Mark Thomas currently serves as Moderator at Friends Church. He teaches philosophy and religion at Blinn College, and enjoys running and hiking with his wife, Lucy, and son, Canaan.

 

 

One could spend a lifetime—indeed, multiple lifetimes—exploring the many layers and facets of the Bible. Occasionally, however, in certain circumstances, something might click. No matter how many times one may have read a passage, suddenly its meaning is really illuminated, from the inside, as it speaks to the life we have in this world in which we live. There is a difference between theoretical knowledge and existential knowledge, between understanding something in abstraction, with one’s mind, and being forcefully struck in the moment, seeing and feeling the truth deep within one’s total being. When truth intersects with life, that is when it can make us free.

 

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The Rev. Matthew Wise is a priest in the Episcopal Church currently serving as the Associate Rector for Family Ministries, Outreach and Parish Life at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in San Antonio.  Matt and his wife, Amy, are the proud parents of 7 month old twins, Jacob and Sawyer.  Before moving back to San Antonio in January, Matt served as the Campus Missioner at Texas A&M for the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas.  He's also a musician and songwriter.



Easter isn't just one day a year


John 21.4-7

4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ 6He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ 



This is the final appearance of the Risen Jesus in John's Gospel account.  It serves as an epilogue to the whole narrative - the curtain has closed on the Gospel once already, and now the main actors appear one more time.  It's as if John's community felt like the first ending wasn't quite good enough...or better, that we (those receiving the good news) needed one final reminder of what these stories have all been leading to. The work of Jesus Christ is not over when their story has ended.  Instead, the ministry of the Risen Lord continues even after the text is finished.  John's community makes this clear in these few verses appointed to be read across many denominations this coming Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Easter.  These verses serve as a reminder to us that the Easter season and all that it implies for our lives is not over once the Easter service is finished.  The power of resurrection is still on the loose and is doing amazing, beautiful things in our lives to this day.

 

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Today’s mid-week message is written by Pam Engler a retired Christian educator. Pam and her husband Cady are members of Friends Church. They co-chair the Fellowship Committee and participate in the Social Justice Class. She enjoys volunteering weekly with the Meals on Wheels program and the Brazos Church Pantry.

 

Being Easter People

Last Sunday Christians around the world celebrated our faith’s holiest day – Easter. On this day we remember the great love that God has for each one of us and the promises that have been given to us. The season of Easter during the Christian Year is a time of great joy.

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 Today’s midweek message is written by Andrew Roblyer.  Andrew is a member of Friends Church, where he serves on the Faith Inclusion & Disabilities Awareness Team, offers children’s messages in Sunday worship celebrations, and is an occasional lay leader.

 

Where Is The Line?

Limitations are funny things.  We often use them to delineate between two distinct ideas, but sometimes we find ourselves in need of limits to limit our limits.  That statement was probably as clear as mud. Maybe I can set some limits to help clarify.

 

If you were a top notch rule-follower like I was growing up, you not only knew where all of the stated limitations in life were, you knew how to intuit the ones nobody really talked about and probably even created some of your own when you thought there weren’t enough.  Rules were there for a reason, and nothing good came from breaking the rules.  Kind of like how, in early elementary arithmetic, you’re taught that you can’t subtract a larger number from a smaller one.  A nice, clear line that makes total sense.

 

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The Rev. Aaron M. Stockwell serves as the Developmental Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Brazos Valley, in College Station. He and his wife moved from Massachusetts to Bryan, in August of 2015. He completed a parish internship in a congregation affiliated with both the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.


Growing up religiously unaffiliated, and then becoming Unitarian Universalist in tenth grade, I never really observed Palm Sunday. Unitarian Universalism while historically a Christian denomination, now draws from many sources including our own experiences of wonder, reason and science, world religions, Jewish and Christian scriptures, and earth centered religions. So it isn't surprising that it wasn't until my first year of seminary, when I was guest preaching in a small New England church, that I got to take part in a Palm Sunday service. The service coordinator asked me several days before, “Oh it's Palm Sunday, do want to have palm fronds? Do you know where to buy them?” My answers were yes, and no. (You can get them at a florist, I've learned). I distributed palm fronds to the 10 or 12 souls present. And we waved them in the air in celebration of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem. I've since learned that it was customary in many countries to cover the path of somebody important. Palm fronds were considered to be a symbol of victory and triumph. It is the triumphant entry into certain doom, but then new life.


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Krista Burdine is a wife, mom, and freelance writer from our congregation, who lives on a hobby farm in south College Station. She writes about how Food Connects Us when we Grow our food, Cook with confidence, and Feed the hungry. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the Food Connects Us mailing list. Krista currently serves as social media director for the Brazos Church Pantry.


 

 



This week marks the fifth week of Lent, our journey through the wilderness of the soul. During this season, Christians commonly practice a specific self-denial such as giving up luxuries or committing to serve others daily. Self-denial causes us to look in the mirror and acknowledge our pride and determination to direct our own path.

 

While directing one’s own path sounds appealing, what is the real benefit of it?

 

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Cecelia Hawkins is a long-time member of Friends, a faculty member in the TAMU English Department, a founding member of the Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network (BIIN) and secretary to the Board of the Brazos Church Pantry. 

 

 

This coming October, the Brazos Church Pantry will celebrate 30 years of service to this community. More than thirty churches and hundreds of volunteers contribute time and money to ensure that six days a week, the Pantry is open and providing food to those in need in Brazos County.

 

But celebrating the 30 year anniversary of the Church Pantry has a bittersweet edge, doesn’t it? For three decades we’ve been going a good job of feeding the poor—but let’s be candid: we haven’t made much progress in eliminating hunger.

 

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Today’s mid-week message is written by Rabbi Matt Rosenberg.  Rabbi Matt Rosenberg is the rabbi and director of Hillel at Texas A&M, an organization serving the small Jewish population on and off campus. His family of five moved to Texas following ordination from rabbinical school in Los Angeles in 2013. 

 

The Stranger

An amazing thirty-six times the mandate to love the stranger and treat the stranger fairly is mentioned in the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible and the source for Jewish law).  The commandment often appears with a subsequent rationale, for instance as found in Exodus 23:9: “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Jewish Publication Society translation). We Jews remind ourselves of our vulnerability as strangers each year at the Passover seder when we are instructed to feel as though we ourselves are transitioning from slavery to freedom, to annually experience that which is so very much at the core of our ancient identities.

 

This Week @ Friends (DP)

Sunday - Apr 24th

Apr
24


Thursday - Apr 28th

Apr
28


7:00-pm 9:00-pm

Saturday - Apr 30th

Apr
30


5:30-pm 10:30-pm

Apr
30


5:30-pm 10:30-pm

Apr
30


6:00-pm 10:00-pm

Apr
30


6:00-pm 10:00-pm

Sunday - May 01st

May
1


9:15-am 10:15-am