october 21, 2020

Reflection 2020-10-21

 

Sonya, Joe and Justin Tinault have built Community Prayer Wall for Coolwater.  The Prayer Wall is on our church grounds near our church sign on Dynamite.  The idea is to have a place on our church grounds to write prayers and messages.  There is a mailbox with ribbons and writing utensils next to it. This is for our members, the people in our “community” and the people who drive by each day. This location offers a safe space to pull on to our church property and be safely off Dynamite Road.  At this place, someone can pull over, walk to the Prayer Wall, and write a prayer, jot a note, or leave a message. Once the writing is complete the ribbon can be attached to the Prayer Wall. 

 

In these tumultuous times, this prayer wall offers a gift to people of our congregation and all around us.  The Prayer Wall gives an opportunity for people to offer prayers, lift up thoughts, express feelings, share hopes and dreams, and voice frustrations and struggles.  It gives people an outlet for expression.  The Prayer Wall offers a message - while our times may be uncertain, the One in whom we believe is certain, steadfast and eternal.  What a wonderful gift and way of reaching out to others!

 

This Sunday is the first day of our weekend Coolwater Food Drive.  Elsewhere in the newsletter are the details for the drive and items most needed.  Saturday is a drop off day for people in the surrounding community.  Postings on social media have helped spread the news about the food drive.  Some of our members have been contacted and have already received items for the drive.  Participants from Coolwater can bring in food on Saturday or Sunday. 

 

Here are a couple of quick thoughts about what the Community Prayer Wall and the Food Drive have shown us.  1. Social media can be an amazing tool for creating awareness, advertising, and reaching out to others.  2. People want to help.  People want to do what they can.  People want to respond and be a part of caring for the needs of others.  People want to be part of something good that is larger than themselves.  

 

As we continue to think in new ways and offer opportunities to reach out, Coolwater will be fulfilling our mission to share the life, love, and hope of Christ.


Blessings to All,

Pastor Rick


october 14, 2020

 

Reflection 2020-10-14

 

In the midst of this pandemic many parts of our lives have been adversely affected and altered.  Masks, social distancing and washing hands are the norms for now.  However, during these calamitous times people have kept going with their lives as much as possible. 

 

That has been true at Coolwater.  For 29 Sundays we offered online worship only.  The last two Sundays, the Soft Launch Sunday and the Grand Reopening Sunday had in-person worship offered once again.  It is good to be able offer in-person worship again while we continue to provide online worship.  It was also a special pleasure to have David Simmons with us last Sunday. As our special music guest, David Simmons blessed the worship sservice with his abundant talents.  

 

During these times, Coolwater kept going.  People of Coolwater have learned to conduct parts of the life of the church in ways we never dreamed would be necessary.  The mission of the church around the world did not stop because of the pandemic.  In tumultuous times, the church offers a message sharing hope and offering light in the darkness.  Coolwater has developed some new ways and is dreaming new dreams, to paraphrase Acts 2:17. 

 

The Christian Church in Arizona has been active as well during these times.  Jay Hartely, our Regional Minister, has helped our Disciple congregations navigate through these uncertain times.  Now our Region is offering insight into ways we are the church now and sharing our mission and ministry in these times. 

 

Each Tuesday in October we’ll have a Region-wide series of conversations led by a variety of Arizona Disciples clergy called “One Region, Many Voices.”   We will gather via Zoom to reflect and share ideas about the mission of being the church “in such a time as this.”

"You're Invited! Each Tuesday in October from 7:00-8:00 p.m., the Arizona Region will gather via Zoom for "One Region, Many Voices". Each Zoom conversation will include several Arizona Disciples clergy who will reflect and share ideas about the mission of being the church “in such a time as this.” Join the conversation and register at
ra.azdisciples.org.

 

There are many members in the body of Christ, but there is One Body.  Now, there are some new ways to do ministry, but the mission is still to build the kingdom and invite people to abundant life in Christ.


Blessings,

Pastor Rick


october 7, 2020

Reflection 2020-10-07

 

Grand Reopening Sunday is October 11!  Since March 22, Coolwater has offered only worship online.  This Sunday Coolwater once again invites you to in-person worship.  From March 22 to October 4 made 30 Sundays of online worship.  Now at 31 Sundays since March 22, Coolwater opens once again for in-person worship open to all. 

 

There have been a few mentions of people who have given greatly of their time and efforts to make online worship possible and to prepare us for returning in-person. It is fitting to acknowledge them once more.  

 

Since March 22 a dedicated group of people arrived on Sunday mornings to produce on-line worship.  This group includes Michael Foster, Susan Foster, Kevin Glenn, Dick Huggins, and Sonya Tinault.  Pastor Carole Williams helped lead worship on many occasions. When Michael Foster went off to the University of Arizona in August, Wes LaDuke took on the role of videographer.  Katie and Kevin Foster have also contributed in this role.  

 

The Reopening Task Group has worked to prepare for the time when Coolwater could worship in-person once more.  Much work needed done to reach this goal.  This group defined areas that needed addressed and developed a plan for reopening. Lynn Allen, Susan Foster, Rick Gates, Dick Huggins, and Sonya Tinault have met via Zoom every Tuesday evening since the middle of August on this project.  

 

Last Sunday, October 4, we reached the first milestone for returning with our Soft Launch Sunday.  This Sunday enabled a trial run of the procedures and personnel needed to offer worship of both varieties every Sunday.  The Soft Launch enabled us to see what worked well and what needed to be tweaked in preparation for inviting all to worship once again.  We learned quite of few things that will make Reopening Sunday flow more smoothly.

 

We also bid farewell to Kevin and Martha Glenn on our Soft Launch Sunday.  Coolwater presented Kevin with a basket containing a variety of gifts and an engraved standing plaque expressing our thanks for their six years with us as Music Directors.  Coolwater has been richly blessed by their gifts of music, dedication and service.

 

I want to make sure that everyone knows we will offer worship in two different ways online and in-person. Since worshipping in-person does not work for some at this time, we will also continue to offer live stream online worship. We have much for which to be thankful and much to celebrate together!  One way or another, we hope that you will join us this Sunday!


Blessings to All!

Pastor Rick

September 30, 2020

Reflection 2020-09-30

 

This Sunday, October 4, is a BIG Sunday for three very different reasons.  Perhaps you know one or maybe all three.

  

Reason #1 is that this Sunday is our Soft Launch for in-person worship.  This Sunday will be dress rehearsal for the routines and procedures we have put in place to open for in-person worship.  Our Grand Re-opening is Sunday, October 11, when all are invited back for worship. The Soft Launch this Sunday gives us a test run of the procedures and time to make any needed adjustments.


Reason #2 is that this Sunday is also the last Sunday Kevin and Martha Glenn will be with us to lead our music.  Kevin has been our Music Director for 6 years!   Coolwater thanks them both for all the hard work, dedication and inspiration they have given to our congregation.  They have been such a blessing to us.  So this will be a Sunday where we welcome back and a Sunday where we say farewell with thanks and best wishes.


Reason #3 is…ask Judy Cox because she definitely knows!  If you don’t want to wait until Sunday to ask her, then keep on reading.  In Disciples of Christ churches communion is celebrated every Sunday.  Communion has a special place in our worship, and many people would say that the Lord’s Supper is the heart of our worship service.  I learned long ago that Judy Cox and I share a passion for communion in worship and look forward to this special Sunday every year.

  

The first Sunday in October is World Communion Sunday.  Christians of many different types will celebrate at the table of the Lord and recognize its importance in worship.  Many years ago the first Sunday of October was selected to be the day when Christians all over the world gathered at the communion table.  Symbolically this is a Sunday when we are gathered as many parts of the One Body of Christ.  This is a Sunday where so many will give thanks at the table for the gift of Christ and the difference He makes in our lives.  So, whether you are at home or at church, please take these moments on Sunday to share the bread and the cup in remembrance.


At the beginning of this article I said that this is a BIG Sunday for three different reasons.  However, after further reflection, I see that they have a lot in common. In remembrance of who we are as the church certainly includes being together again in worship, giving thanks for special people, and being together as the body of Christ at the communion table.


Blessings,

Pastor Rick

September 23, 2020

Reflection 2020-09-23

This Sunday, September 27, will be one of significance for Coolwater.  This Sunday brings down the curtain on the time Coolwater has been in online worship only.  October 4 offers a soft launch where people will be giving our procedures a test run.  October 11 brings our Grand Reopening for in-person worship when all are invited to be here.  And yes, online streaming will still be offered for those who need or prefer to remain at home.

  

Sunday, September 27 will also be significant because it marks the next-to-last Sunday that Kevin Glenn will be present as our Music Director.  His last official Sunday will be October 4.  The departure is related to the coronavirus.  Kevin and Martha feel the necessity to avoid greater risk of exposure.  They are not comfortable with larger numbers that reopening will bring.  This is completely understandable.  Not only are they considering what is safest for them, they also have Siggy in mind.

  

A few years ago Karl and Siggy were regular visitors at Coolwater.  When this elderly couple from Germany had some life difficulties, Kevin and Martha began caring for them.  Eventually they opened their home to Karl and Siggy.  Sadly, Karl passed away earlier this year.  Siggy has remained in the Glenn’s home.  They are thinking of Siggy especially as they distance themselves from a larger group of people.  I bring this up because the care for Karl and Siggy is one of the most remarkable and gracious Christian acts I have ever witnessed.  I have been deeply moved by this example of Christian faith in action.


Kevin and Martha have served 6 years at Coolwater, faithfully offering their musical gifts each Sunday.  I am extremely grateful to Kevin for jumping right in to bring live music to our online services.  He kept that vital part of worship going for not only 6 years at Coolwater, but also in these extraordinary months of online worship.  I have been fortunate to experience Kevin’s flexibility, reliability and expertise in working with him.  The Coolwater chapter in their lives draws to a close as they go another direction in their journey.  It has been a marvelous chapter for Coolwater, and we have been blessed.


Blessings to All,

Pastor Rick

 

 

september 16, 2020

Reflection 2020-09-16


The Sunday draws nearer when we will once again have in-person worship.  Since August, a group has met to devise a plan for Coolwater to reopen.  A priority for the group was to identify tasks and positions necessary for reopening.  Job descriptions were created for the positions Coolwater needs at this time to reopen worship.  Here is the timeline for the next several weeks.

September 16 – Job Descriptions for Reopen Positions go out to our Coolwater family.  Please read them and see what may appeal to you and be a good use of your interests and abilities.

September 20 – Townhall Meeting 11:30 am   The primary purpose is to have an opportunity for discussion and questions about the reopening

September 23 – Signup Genius will go out to Coolwater family giving you the opportunity to indicate interest in one of our Reopening Positions

October 4 – “Soft” Reopening   Worship on this Sunday will give us the opportunity to test out our new procedures.  This will be like a dress rehearsal before the Grand Reopening. 

October 11 – Coolwater Grand Reopening   This is the first official Sunday Coolwater is back to having in-person worship.  Online streaming or the worships service will continue for those who continue worshipping from home.

Please consider that the CDC recommends individuals with serious underlying health conditions and people 65 and over continue to stay at home.  If you choose to come to in-person worship, our procedures are designed to do our best to provide a comfortable place for you to worship.  We will close smaller common areas and the kitchen will not be open.  There will be one entry point and one exit point.  Masks will be required and so will social distancing.   Please do what you believe is best for you and your loved ones.  

Please join the Townhall this Sunday, September 20 at 11:30 with any questions you may have!


God Bless!

Pastor Rick

September 9, 2020

Reflection 2020-09-09


The Task Group working on worship is meeting regularly, usually on Tuesday nights via Zoom.  We identified major categories for reopening worship.  The categories are: Cleaning, Procedures Before Worship, Procedures During Worship, Procedures After Worship, and Communication.   After very thorough dialog over several meetings, we compiled a list of tasks and responsibilities for each major category.  

Next the Reopening Worship Team sorted the tasks in each category by similarities and identified positions needed to accomplish those responsibilities on Sundays.  The Team has developed job descriptions for each position detailing responsibilities, time commitments, and required effort. 

Soon these needed jobs descriptions will go out to the people of our congregation.  You will have an opportunity to read them and consider how you might be able to help.  After  the job descriptions have been sent out, there will be a Coolwater Townhall meeting on Sunday, September 20.   During this Townhall meeting, you can join in a time of discussion and questions about the reopening and the necessary jobs for a safe and successful reopening.

 A sign-up opportunity will follow the next week.  Using that signup opportunity, you can indicate any jobs you wish to do.  Our goal is to have rotating teams for Sunday mornings.  The more people we have volunteering, the more we spread out the workload!

Here are a few things that indicate the broad range of this plan. Every Sunday morning, new chairs will be put out from storage so that people will be sitting in fresh, unused chairs.

Every week tour building will be cleaned by our cleaning service.

Every Sunday morning there will be pre-service cleaning of the space and setup.  

To go to the restroom you must raise your hand and ask the pastor to be excused. (Just kidding!  I wanted to see if you were still reading this article.)

We are making a video that people can watch on Sunday mornings or on Facebook to demonstrate expectations to keep yourself and other safe while you are at Coolwater on a Sunday morning.

We will have communion.  Individual cups and bread in a all-in-one package will be on each seat in the worship space.  After people have taken communion, we have created a procedure for quick, safe used communion cup collection.

Remember that these are a small sample of all that the plan for Coolwater includes.  Our work has been thorough.  We have done our best to think of everything.  However, we want to hear from you.  Please join us for the Coolwater Townhall or email or call.  This is about us taking steps to connect in this vital way as a church.  It is about all of us.

This is also not without expense.  There are supplies needed for us to be safe.  Some of these extra expenses are signs, communion packages, hand sanitizers, thermometers, and the now weekly cleaning service.  As we prepare to gather together in worship again, the online streaming service will continue.  For some of our people, the time will not be right yet to come to Coolwater for worship.  We will continue to offer worship to those who will still be at home.

As we approach this time, I ask you to consider how you can use your gifts for this reopening effort.  What gifts of your time, abilities or treasure can you offer?  We are all in this together because together,  we are the church.


Blessings,

Pastor Rick

Sept 2, 2020

For the Reflection this week, I want to refer to the Aesop’s fable that I used last Sunday. One of Aesop’s fables is about an old crow who as very thirsty.  The crow had not had anything to drink for a long time.  The crow came to a jug that had water way down in the bottom.  The crow reached his beak into the jug to get some of that water, but his beak wouldn’t quite touch the water.  So what did the crow do?  He started picking up pebbles one at a time and dropped them into the jug.  And as more and more pebbles accumulated in the bottom of the jug, the water rose in the bottle until finally the old crow was able to drink all it desired.


 

That is a parable for the church.  The meaning of being good and faithful is not just believing the right things, or strict obedience to instructions, or waiting around for the Lord to do things for you.  Each of us is dropping in our pebbles.  We drop in pebbles as we use the gifts and talents that God has given us and let God lead us to new places and activities.  The pebbles accumulate in the bottom of the jar as we let God move in us and use us and the gifts we have, and as we try new ideas.  

 

Would aviation be where it is today if Orville and Wilbur Wright had not been willing to take some risks?  They certainly had lots of unsuccessful attempts and cracks ups before they achieved flight.  

 

God has not called us to play it safe.  We are called to take risks.  God has give the talents we have as people and as a church to use them, not bury them in the ground to keep them safe.  The ways we share the Christian life – caring, giving, witnessing, trusting, loving, hoping - cannot be understood or lived without some amount of risk. If the workers of Christ cease to work then Christ’s work will never be done.  

 

The good news, the great news, is that as we use the gifts that are ours to serve, they accumulate in the bottom of the jug so that the water rises, and we taste the living water.  Through us God is at work to build a little more of the kingdom.  You are a kingdom builder!  Now, the question becomes this - What kind of stewards shall we be with the talents we have been given by God?


Pastor Rick

 

August 26, 2020

If you heard the phrase, “It goes with the territory,” what would come to mind?  Perhaps you would say, something that is just a part of the job you have or the responsibility you have assumed.  Not always pleasant or exciting, but part of it nonetheless.  Perhaps it refers to where you are in life or life circumstances.  Beastly heat in the summer in this part of Arizona just goes with the territory.  Getting less sleep some nights staying up with sick children just goes with the territory when you have children. Unfortunately, in this moment, that phrase means wearing a mask, social distancing, using hand sanitizer, and washing hands thoroughly.

 

I have been wondering: What goes with the territory of Being a Christian?  What are the occupational hazards of being a Christian?  “It goes with the territory,” for a Christian, means we will go out of our way to be kind, generous, hospitable, helpful, comforting, supporting and loving.  We go out of our way to be sensitive to the feelings of others and aware of the needs of others.  We will resist uttering cutting comments, backstabbing, gossiping, slandering, being spiteful, being difficult, and intentionally hurting another person. 

 

It means lifestyle choices that may steer you in different directions than some friends or work colleagues take.  An occupational hazard is a faith decisions that may set you at odds with opinions or actions of others.  “It goes with the territory” means practicing faith that makes a difference in how we approach daily life.  Faith isn’t an outfit that we put on Sunday morning, as if to say, “Check being Christian off my to do list for the week!”  Being Christian is an intentional choice. Christian faith must continually shape who we are.  It just goes with territory.


Blessings,

Pastor Rick

 

August 19, 2020

When will Coolwater have in person worship again?  That is a good question!  The answer to that question will depend on developments with Covid-19 and downward trends over a period of time. Are we actively engaged in taking steps to be ready to re-open for worship when the time is right?  Yes.  There is a “Reopening Group” working to develop a plan to have Coolwater ready for in-person worship in the future.  This group is identifying necessary tasks, procedures and communication that will make reopening possible.   Discussions have included considerations on cleaning tasks, entering and exiting, wearing a mask, and social distancing, plus many more.  

 

The Reopening Group realizes that communication is very important during this time. Among the communication pieces being developed are job descriptions for the necessary tasks and a signup system for those tasks.  Communication will include keeping the congregation informed about our progress and the procedures that will help keep us as safe as possible. This Sunday will mark roughly 5 months since we began online worship on March 22.  It is refreshing to be working on pointing Coolwater in this direction of having in-person worship again!  I am encouraged by the hope before us of gathering again at Coolwater.  For some people that time will be sooner than it will be for others because of health issues.  This shows us the tremendous importance of staying connected as a church family. 

 

So many people around the world have realized some new priorities in life and the importance of being connected to others.  That describes something about the mission of the church.   New priorities for our life and new life in Christ.  Being connected as the Body of Christ, for we are part of one another.   I am thinking that coming back together may give us all some new insights and vigor for our mission for Christ.


Pastor Rick

August 11, 2020

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks!

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks!

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks!

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks!

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks!

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks!

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks!

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks!

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks!

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks!

 

Yep, I am back in school mode. I bet you remember the stories about a student having to write a sentence on a blackboard or a piece of paper 100 times.  One of the hoped for results was to firmly implant some idea in the head of the student.  It is said that you have to hear something numerous times to get it to really stick in your mind.  Some people say the magic number is three times, while some people suggest different and higher numbers.  

 

Coolwater has always had a heart for outreach.  For the rest August at least our outreach focus will be on needs for food pantries. We are also taking individually wrapped chocolates for Rev. Carole to distribute at Banner E. Del Webb Medical Center.  She has discovered this brings joys and smiles to others as she makes her rounds.  With so many people struggling at the hospital, or to make ends meet, or with unemployment due to COVID-19 the need for food and bringing love to others has been greatly magnified. 

 

In July in a reflection I wrote, “How can you help with this effort?  Perhaps you are staying safely indoors and are not venturing out at all.  I would imagine that somebody gets groceries for you.  When someone does get groceries for you, have that person pick up a few extra times for our food collection or Candy for Carole.  If you are venturing out to the grocery store, gather a few things for the food pantries.  We can arrange a time for someone to pick up your contributions on your doorstep.  It can be that easy!  No need for contact at all so everyone stays safe.”

 

If you would be willing to drive and pick up those groceries from a doorstep, please contact me or Karen Blue at the church.  Through outreach like this we can be involved in helping others in need and making a difference around us.  That is sharing the love of Christ.  

 

Coolwater is having an outreach drive to collect food for area foodbanks! (Did I say that already?)


Pastor Rick