Beginning the Journey with Love
Beginning the Journey With Love
Micah 6:8~ “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
The prophet Micah was a very young man of modest means from a rural town in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. God gave him prophetic words to speak to the elite city dwellers in Judea and the Northern Kingdom of Israel. What an audacious position for this young prophet. Though he was an insider as a descendant within the 12 tribes of Israel, he was an unexpected voice from the margins speaking against corruption, idolatry, and other practices that hindered the common good. Micah rebukes unjust leaders and defends the rights of the poor against the powerful and wealthy as he speaks forth hope about a world at peace under the just leadership.
Throughout the Old Testament of our Bible, scripture exposes historic misbehaviors among people in the mistreatment and/or neglect of vulnerable populations; addresses abuses of power and privilege and warns of the consequences of departing from God’s guidance. Television dramas pale in comparison to the lived experiences the Old Testament offers. With destruction looming because of rampant disobedience among the people, Micah spoke God’s warnings and redirected the people to a simple message that applies today.
I encourage you to take the time to carefully read the whole Book of Micah. Particularly, Micah 6:8 states, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Let’s not sugar-coat the conditions of this day. Our world is a hairball of tangled conditions accumulated over generations that are killing generations. Because of the layers and tangles, underlying conditions at the core of this massive mess are covered with active threads carefully interwoven to maintain the shape of things present. But we have the blessed opportunity to help shape things to come. This is Micah’s point! Regardless of what has been or what is, the LORD simply requires that we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.
What God requires is not complicated. However, it will take courage and intentional effort to cut through and see to the core of our global, local, and even personal conundrums. In 2020, our world has been slowed so we may more clearly see our reality. If we are not willing to see--to identify and acknowledge--problems (and there are many with human-created complexities), we cannot/will not pursue effective remedies.
While economic, educational, housing and healthcare disparities, profiling, inequitable sentencing, and other injustices may not seem to be your issue, you are impacted by the diminished progresses we could already have made and the hindrance of present structures to possibilities ahead. God has far greater plans for this world than what we have experienced or imagined so far. There is a marvelous journey ahead if we will simply do what our God requires of us.
In September, the Mountain Sky Conference of the United Methodist Church will begin a Pilgrimage to the Land of Love. Please visit mtnskyumc.org/pilgrimage for full details and to join the journey. This is not limited to United Methodists; all are welcome. I pray that you will join me and invite others to the journey as we pray, watch/read/listen and reflect daily, dialogue weekly (Sun 6pm) and do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God in all aspects of our being. I look forward to our pilgrimage together. For the changes to come within us and among us, to God be the glory!
Mother's Morning Out
Recently, I have been given the perfect opportunity to begin a new journey. I have just accepted the position of Director for the Mother's Morning out program. I have been part of this program for 14 years and it truly is part of my heart. I love the families that we serve and the children that come to our classes every week. It is a magical thing to see a child's face light up when they understand new things. We get to be the first experience some children have away from their families and that can be scary.
Here is another excellent place to begin a journey with love. When we surround the children with God's love and peace, it makes all the difference in how their day is going. I have put this into action over and over again and it works every time.
When the parents see how happy and cared for their children are while at the MMO program, it alleviates many worries on their part. That is what the program was created for. To give parents time for themselves and to give children a place to learn social skills and to feel safe in a loving environment without their parents. This situation greatly prepares the children for a successful academic future. Starting their experience with love gives them confidence that they will be safe and shows them that learning is fun.
We are hoping to start registrations soon and are excited to serve your families with God's love. If you know of anyone looking for a program for children from 6 months to 3 years of age, please contact me, Becky Elliston at email@example.com.
MMO is also looking for teachers. Would you be interested in beginning this journey with me? Together, we can make a difference in our community when serving these amazing families and their precious children.
If we love one another,
God dwelleth in us,
and his love is
Perfected in us.
1 JOHN 4:12
Children's & Youth Ministries
Children's Fall Sunday School Kick-Off
September 13, 2020 9:30 am
Children’s Sunday school will meet via Zoom for the month of September. The Children’s Ministry Team expects that Sunday school will be held over Zoom through the end of the year. We will update you each month. Sunday school will be held at 9:30 am each Sunday. The Zoom link will be emailed to the families at the beginning of each month.
Children’s ministry will begin using the GO! curriculum this fall. GO! Takes kids through the entire Bible once a year, but it uses different stories each time around. Children will get the big picture of scripture that lines up with the Christian calendar.
This September we will be boarding the Imagination Time Machine—a contraption that can take you not only any-where, but any-when! The only limitation is your own imagination! During the “Imagination Time Machine” series, kids will join Max on a journey through the Bible. Our imagination destination: The Promised Land. Kids will get to experience firsthand what it was like to be an Israelite by imagining the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and tastes of life in the land God gave them to call home.
Enjoy the Labor Day Weekend with your family.
September 13, 2020 9:30 am
The Sun Stands Still Big Idea: God has power over all things, so we can battle our fear with faith.
Solomon Builds the Temple Big Idea: The Holy Spirit lives within the Church, so we should make meeting together our #1 priority.
The Kingdom Divided Big Idea: Sin tears God’s people apart, so we should confess and turn away from our sinful desires.
Youth Ministry Kick-Off
September 13 4:30 – 6:00 pm
Let’s meet on Sunday, September 13th at 4:30 pm on the Hilltop House Lawn for Youth Group Kick-Off. Youth and Parents are invited to plan this year’s activities including Sunday School, Youth Group, and the Summer Mission Trip. Please bring chairs, your face masks, and ideas. Food will not be provided. If you want to bring snacks, please bring your own. Hope to see you on September 13th!!
Mountain Sky Prophets Podcast
Episode 1 of Mountain Sky Prophets is out NOW! In our first episode, we spoke with Isaac as he shared his thoughts on what role the church should be playing when it comes to social justice. You can tune in wherever you get your podcasts, or listen in on YouTube! Please subscribe and like.
Mountain Sky Youth Council Date Changed
We are meeting on Saturday September 12, 10:30am-12:00pm via zoom.
ALL are invited!! Join the Zoom Meeting here: https://zoom.us/j/94591066215?pwd=MlhoVis2OExXTGlvV0l4Z2ZrRWpodz09
Interested in joining the Mountain Sky Youth Council? Then complete This Form, and join us on September 12th.
What is the MSYC? The youth council is comprised of youth grades 6-12, from across the conference. The council serves as the voice for youth in the Mountain Sky Conference, and works along side Amanda Daniell, the Director of Young Peoples Ministries for the Mountain Sky conference, to plan annual retreats (Ignite, Convo, Youth Quest, etc.). We typically meet quarterly, but lately have been meeting more often. We also work to create new and creative opportunities for youth in our conference...AND in addition to youth we need adults to serve on the council as well.
Who Is My Neighbor?
Who is My Neighbor?
Children’s Books for Discussion of Race and Inequality at Home
by Karen Moser
It is back-to-school time once again! Whether your family is starting the year in person at school, in a virtual classroom, or in home school, we are all likely in for an eventful year full of growth opportunities. We will continue to experience some different ways of doing things as we all work to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe during a global pandemic.
Ruby Bridges also had an unusual back-to-school experience when she started the first grade. Ruby was the first Black child to attend the William Frantz Public School in New Orleans, LA in 1961.
This Month’s Book: Ruby Bridges Goes to School by Ruby Bridges is available in the Salt Lake County Library system
Summary: Ruby writes in simple language (this is a Scholastic Level 2 reader) about her memories of her experience as a pioneer of elementary school desegregation in 1961. Instead of illustrations, the book includes photographs from the 1960s that bring Ruby’s world to life on the page. She describes the realities of segregation plainly. Eventually, people came to see segregation as wrong and looked for ways to bring Black and white students together in school. Ruby recalls her first day at the Frantz School, and how US Marshals escorted her and her mother to the school building for safety. Many men and women in Ruby’s town were unhappy that she was allowed to attend the school and protested, yelled at Ruby, and kept their children at home. Over time, they came to accept Ruby as part of the school community and the other children returned to class. Ruby discusses some ways her story has been shared with many over the years, and ends with a positive message. She says that when she tells her story to children, she likes to remind them to be kind to each other.
What Do The Kids Think?
Heidi- “I like that Ruby is telling her own story.”
Clark- “I like that Ruby tells kids to be kind to each other.”
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
1. Have you ever started classes at a new school? What did it feel like when you were the “new kid?” What do you think it felt like for Ruby to be the only Black girl in a school where not everyone wanted her to attend?
2. Do you have friends at school from different countries or with a different skin color than yours? What have you learned from your friends that you might not have known otherwise?
If you have recommendations for books to feature in future months, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pilgrimage to the Land of Love
Monday, September 7
A gathering of those embarking on the Pilgrimage on Sunday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. At the Sunday night gathering, you will receive guidelines for the Pilgrimage and for us to Remember our Baptism. This is a Fall spiritual journey, with fellow Mountain Sky members as we together expand our understanding of racism in our lives and our world. Each month we will focus on a different theme. There will be weekly 30-minute zoom meetings, on Sundays at 6 p.m., for debriefing and sharing. May our journey together help further Beloved Community in our churches, communities, nation, and world. Please register by Friday, Sept. 4, 2020.
From Bishop Karen
I am inviting all the laity and clergy of the Mountain Sky Conference to join me and others across our area on a pilgrimage. You don’t need to leave home for it. All you need to do is set aside some time each day so that together, we can take a Pilgrimage to the Land of Love.
We stand at an important moment as we are brought to a deeper awareness of the high price of racism. We are seeing the toll it takes on persons of color and how racism defiles the beautiful image of God each person possesses.
As disciples of Jesus, it is time for us to address this, first by beginning with ourselves.
It is written in Psalm 139:
Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong — then guide me on the road to eternal life.
For me, the imperative to doing an inward inventory of not only the ways I sustain racist systems and structures, but the ways I benefit from them and especially how I, too, am a racist, even unwittingly, is a demand of discipleship: I follow a Jesus who was a boundary crosser, exposing racist, sexist, classist ideologies and commanding us to overturn them by calling us to increase our love of God and neighbor. Not some of our neighbors. But everyone in every place on this earth.
Undergirded by the power of scripture, we will hear songs of struggle, read prophetic words, and view powerful videos. These will help us broader our worldview as we hear the voices and experiences of others. Together, we will share insights and new learnings and integrate these into our daily walk with Jesus. And then, we will allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit to a Land of Love.
I hope you will join me on this pilgrimage.
Music & Arts Ministry
The Right Time is Now
Sometimes things go our way, sometimes they don’t. When we look back on events in our lives, though, we often can see how, through all circumstances, God has been shaping, refining, and molding us – for this time, for this season, for this purpose.
The pandemic has affected each of us differently. It has treated some brutally, through loss of income, stability, emotional troubles, and even severe illness and death. Others are moving through this historic time fairly unscathed.
The social unrest we are currently experiencing and witnessing also has had tremendous impact on lives and psyches. There is a palpable sense that we are on the edge of historic change.
It all can seem so terribly overwhelming when one looks only at the situation, and not at the long view. To most of us, the pandemic is getting rather old, but some people are stuck living solely in the situation (“We can’t – the pandemic, you know.”), putting life, and living, on hold.
What can we do today that will help us become what we want to be? This is a rare opportunity for us to plan, grow, and live in new ways, with renewed hope, renewed strength, and renewed vision.
The Hilltop Gospel Choir is responding by bravely planning mission work in England in the summer of 2021. Hilltop Gospel Choir is a community based choir, inclusive of all faiths and cultures, whose mission is to create fellowship and spread love through the sharing of gospel music.
You can engage with us in rising to what God expects from us as his people. We are capable of so much, and so much more than we realize! HGC will be holding a major fundraising Walkathon on Saturday, October 3, in the parking lot of Hilltop. Participation in the Walkathon may also be done virtually. Details will be coming out in the weekly email Hilltop Happenings.
We need you to joyfully and enthusiastically join with us and support the realization of this dream!
We Were Made for These Times
By Clarissa Pinkola Estes
The following has been a very important reading in my life in times when I am discouraged, when I wonder what positive effect I could possibly be having. I’m not exactly sure when it was written, maybe a decade ago, but it couldn’t be stated better than what Clarissa Pinkola Estes has said (shortened a bit here). Read about her life, too. She has something to say. - RNS
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement. …
… In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes is an American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.
Betty Brown Sept 5
Andrea Miller Sept 8
Kathy Wheeler Sept 8
Jack Thomasson Sept 8
Don Bowlin Sept 10
Dave Nydam Sept 10
Allen Locke Sept 11
Jan Bender Sept 12
Claudine Haight Sept 16
Bruce Cockrell Sept 17
Katell Coquemont Sept 17
Tim Owen Sept 19
Mackenzie Garrison Sept 23
Susan Dunlap Sept 28
Walk to End Alzheimers Fundraiser
September 29 5:00-9:00 pm Café Zupas at Quarry Bend
Pick up your dinner from Café Zupas and help Kathy Wheeler’s Fundraiser for Alzheimers research.
Leigh Anne on Vacation
Leigh Anne will be on vacation September 12-24 and the office will be closed. You can still reach her on her cell phone and through e-mail (801-953-3450 or email@example.com.