News from SOJ‎ > ‎

The Voice of Joy! March 12

posted Mar 12, 2013, 8:02 AM by David Cobb
The good news is that we had some rich and rewarding discussions on Sunday, and that these discussions were the precise reason several visitors found us. More on that below.

The sad and more immediate news is that Verlyn unexpectedly lost his mother yesterday. For now, please keep him in your prayers. 

The long-distance news is that we've heard from Charlotte, who has made it to South Africa. I've copied her note below.
Blessings and Peace,
David Cobb

Pastoral Care

Please keep Verlyn and Kay in your prayers. Verlyn learned late yesterday that his mother died unexpectedly in the morning at her home in Iowa. He had just spoken to her Sunday night. Arrangements are pending. You can send cards to 4703 Penkwe Way, Eagan 55122.

From Charlotte

Greetings to you all, from a sunny South Africa.

After a much difficult trip, due to cancellations, I finally arrived in Cape Town on Friday night (I left my houseWednesday 4.30 am). Saturday morning my daughter and family drove me to Port Elizabeth (8 hours drive) to see my son Arno. He was just released from hospital, and what a pleasant surprise to see his sister (while I was hiding) and then I walked in, what an emotional but extra ordinary overwhelming happy!!!! reunion.

Besides the fact that he is just skin and bone, he looked and is doing so much better , thanks be to GOD and thanks for all the prayers that went out for him. I trust we serve a Miracle working God and he will pour his anointing healing powers over Arno.

I am spending some time here with him, and will go back to Cape Town to spend some time with my girls and grandchildren. Yesterday I was able to pay for his medications and get him enough supply and will buy some more to last him for a while. (his Insurance for medicines is now exhausted.............. I could also fill his cupboards , yes there was just an empty refrigerator facing me.

Thank You!!! to all of you wonderful and generous giving people. Words alone cannot express my  gratitude and appreciation to you all.

Blessings to you all
Love Charlotte and family


Open and Affirming Discussion

The discussion Sunday morning and afternoon around how to describe the church was a rich and rewarding one. It was our fourth time in the past few months to explore together what it would mean to describe ourselves as Open and Affirming. 

We hope to have one more conversation this coming Sunday to see if we are in consensus that this would be a good way to describe Spirit of Joy.

What I heard clearly coming out of the discussions were the following:
  1. We have passionate and widespread agreement that Spirit of Joy is and must remain a safe place for people to live out and deepen their faith, regardless and perhaps especially because of the kinds of rejection some have felt before. This is especially true for those who've know rejection because of their sexual orientation or because a family member is GLBT.
  2. We value and treasure Spirit of Joy as a community where our children learn to value and serve people in the fullness of their humanity, and not to think of or treat people differently because of race, color, economic circumstance, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or theological background, or any other distinguishing characteristic.
  3. We do not want to describe ourselves in a way that excludes anyone. We want to use the most inclusive words we can. We are hesitant to define or delimit the church, making the welcome seem smaller than it is.
  4. There are only a few churches in the south metro area where people feel this sort of safety. One of our visitors told her table how much work it took just to find us. Moreover, once you've been deeply hurt, it's especially risky to take a chance that a church community will be safe, so unless the welcome is explicit, no one can ever safely assume that "all are welcome" really means all or that "open arms" really means to everyone. Usually it doesn't.
  5. Therefore, to describe ourselves to those looking for our kind of community, we have to be explicit and use the words they are searching for. Open and Affirming is a sort of "code" well-known to those searching for a safe community. Some in the church have been describing us this way already to friends.
  6. Finally, one of our younger people said in a way that resonated with many, that there is a difference between defining the church and describing it. Definition draws boundaries. Description is open-ended.  If we use Open and Affirming to describe Spirit of Joy, it stands consistently alongside all the other ways we describe the community: inclusive, thoughtful, intentional, progressive, mission-minded, welcoming, non-institutional. It doesn't build walls like a creed. It opens doors.
We'll talk more about this tonight at Ministry Council, and again Sunday during Study Hour. Please add your voice to the discussion.

Lent Week 5
Our Lenten journey focuses on the transitions and transformations we face in our walk with each other and with Jesus.

Ministry Council
The next Ministry Council meeting istonightMarch 12, at 7:00.

As always, all are welcome to be part of the conversation.

If you have a calling to a ministry you believe the church should consider, contactRollie to get on the agenda. The conversationtonight will be mostly about what it would mean to describe ourselves as Open and Affirming.

Upcoming Saturday
The Men's Group meets Saturday at 8:30 for breakfast and fellowship.

The Healing Ministry meetsSaturday at 9:00. Contact Debbie for an appointment.

St. Stephan's Shelter meal begins at 6:00. Contact Wendy to help.