The congregation of Hope Community Presbyterian Church invites the community to join us in welcoming our new pastor, Rev. Connie Dorn.  Rev. Dorn comes to us from the state of Virginia and is a retired Navy chaplain.  In addition she has previously served churches in Alaska, Idaho and Utah, and has also served at a drop in center for teenage prostitutes in Seattle.

Her first Sunday in the pulpit will be our 9:30 service on June 25th (not the 18th as stated in the church newsletter) and the service will be followed by coffee an’.  Everyone is cordially invited to attend.IMG_0080

mountain path

Join us Sunday, February 15 to celebrate the coming season of Lent! It will be a festive Mardi Gras worship service complete with festive music. To make it extra fun, wear something colorful (especially the traditional colors of purple, green and gold)! Then join us after worship for a pancake meal. Add your family history (births, weddings etc) to the church timeline we’ll have downstairs. We’ll use this timeline during our Lenten discussions.

The Joy of the Journey will be a time for reflection and contemplation as a congregation. Starting on Ash Wednesday, February 18, we will meet for 6 Wednesdays at 5:30pm for a Lenten meal and discussion. We will have a simple soup meal, a brief Lenten service, and focused discussions on where we have been as a church, where we are now, and where we need to go. We hope these discussions will lead toward concrete ideas and decisions about the future of the church that we can celebrate on Easter Sunday. We hope you will join us in these important discussions that will lead our congregation in a meaningful direction into the future.

Please join us for us for the Joy of the Journey!

Sun, Feb 15 – 10:30am Mardi Gras Sunday, pancake meal
Wed, Feb 18 – 5:30pm Ash Wednesday, Lenten meal, service and discussion
Wed, Feb 25 – 5:30pm Lenten meal and discussion
Wed, Mar 4 – 5:30pm Lenten meal and discussion
Wed, Mar 11 – 5:30pm Lenten meal and discussion
Wed, Mar 18 – 5:30pm Lenten meal and discussion
Wed, Mar 25 – 5:30pm Lenten meal and discussion
Thurs, Apr 2 – 5:30pm Maundy Thursday meal and communion service
Sun, Apr 5 – 10:30am Easter Sunday Celebration!

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Philippians 4:1-9

I spent part of this week emptying my files. I generated most of a blue recycling bin, full of papers I don’t need anymore. It seemed like I was sifting through the tangible remains of five years of ministry (paperwork is not my superpower); but most ministry is not paperwork. Nowhere in those files were weddings, baptisms, bedsides, study groups, and the sacred moments that passed between us.

What does faithfulness look like? Is it a 90-year-old brick building on the downtown corner? Is it a family Bible with meticulous dates and names? Is it numbers, whether of attendance or budget? (more…)

The annual Picnic at Olcott Park will be held on Tuesday, August 27 at the Lions Club Building.  Social time will begin at 5:00 p.m. and we’ll plan to eat at about 5:30.  Meat will be provided by the church and those who have last names beginning with A-L should bring a side dish and last names M-Z should bring cookies or barsCash donations to go toward the purchase of fried chicken are also welcome.  The use of 1 more grill would be appreciated.  If you have any questions contact Carolyn Olsen, chair of the Outreach Committee.  (Members of the Mesabi Community College football team will be our guests.)

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Show and Tell

Greyhounds chasing lureHere is a picture of greyhounds chasing a lure. They’re trained to focus on one thing and go without looking at or thinking about anything else. My cross-country coach called it “running scared.” He said, don’t look behind you to see if someone’s about to pass you, but imagine they already are. Jesus talked about the faithful life as keeping your sights set on the goal of God’s kingdom. So did Paul in this next passage…

Philippians 3:1-14

Paul had lots to be proud of, but he didn’t look at the great stuff of his, he looked at the gift of being God’s child; and that’s the best thing for us all. (more…)

No sermon text this week, but you can download audio.

Thanks to Bob Graham for suggesting the title.

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Philippians 1:3-11

It’s no secret that I’m now in the final four weeks of my ministry here, and it’s time for some goodbyes and thank-yous. I give thanks for the blessing of beginning my ministry here, and I celebrate the core of our identity in God’s love.

So this month we’ll be reading Paul’s letter to the Philippians. This was a special church to him; it met in the home of Lydia, the first Christian convert in Europe. This letter seems to have been written late in Paul’s life, when he’s tying up his affairs from prison. He’s also addressing some difficulties for the church – maybe persecution, false teaching, or division. But through it all, Paul’s confidence comes from the grace of God that had called him to Philippi and beyond.

Paul gives thanks for the church’s gracious welcome. At the beginning, Lydia had prevailed on Paul to stay with her, and that hospitality marked the rest of the church’s life. You’ve opened your homes to me; your hospital rooms; your weddings, funerals, and baptisms – the sacred moments of your lives. You’ve challenged and deepened my sense of the sacred, that God is among us and all around us. I look forward to an even richer spiritual sense in the congregation as we continue to learn new ways of naming God’s presence together.

Paul gives thanks for the church’s generous sharing in ministry, as the Philippians supported him in prison and abroad. Here, I know the budget is a perennial issue, but you give handsomely to particular needs: the new carpet, outreach projects, the deacons fund. There’s all this generosity just waiting for a mission to dive into. In our time together, we’ve said goodbye to many great ministries (and people). Our PW is changing, our youth program is in flux, even our Bible study is on a long-term hiatus. The ground is ready for something new, and I can tell the new energy is starting to coalesce.

I also give thanks for this community of love. Paul knew that love is the truest mark of Christ’s presence. You have loved me and cared for each other. In this congregation, with such a wide range of ideas, beliefs, and politics, we can’t help but learn love. I pray that you continue to disagree (kindly, respectfully, and honestly), and that this will strengthen all your faith. May it keep you open to others and their ideas.

Our life in the presence of Christ, the core of Christian reality for Paul, is the main thrust of Philippians. Love, generosity, and welcome are marks of Christ, not just behaviors. Christ’s presence among us is my hope for HCPC. Christ’s life can end and be raised again, so we certainly can change and be made new. That’s the promise that all our changes – all our days and years of life together – will be fulfilled in us, to the glory and praise of God.