Adult

Good Friday

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

4/2/21

Kate Bowler is a writer, historian, and professor at Duke Divinity School. Today she shared a blessing for Good Friday. You’ll find it printed below. If you’re interested in learning more about her and her work, you’ll find a link to her website below.

a Good Friday blessing in the midday night 

Oh dear God, we’re in darker places then we’ve ever known
God, light the way for this whole sad earth, for the helpless ones, and for me.

God have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Spirit have mercy.

night has fallen
on the light of the world
and betrayal seems the order of the day
love itself is handed over
to brutal ignorance
and cunning that loves the dark.

oh God, you chose to feel what we feel—
how it is to die totally alone,
ghastly to behold
in your outstretched arms of the cross,
are you gathering to yourself
every hideous thing?
every failure, travesty, and wrong?

blessed are we who shout: yes! do it!
turn things right side up again!
blessed are we who bow
and wait
for the morning of the world
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

God have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Spirit have mercy.

open your hands. receive it–
love that comes gently as the dawn.

Kate Bowler


Maundy Thursday

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

4/1/21

Lutheran World Relief serves people worldwide. Food. Housing. Clothing. Medicine. They do it all. Click the link below to watch a Maundy Thursday message from the organization.


Hill of Crosses

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

3/21/21

If you joined Desert Cross for our livestream worship service this morning, you heard Pastor Andrea talk about the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. If you’d like to learn more about this unique site and see a photo gallery, click the first link below. If you missed this morning’s worship service, we’ve included a video link for you.

Hill of Crosses


Lenten Concert @ Home

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

3/17/21

Although the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans Massachusetts isn’t meeting for in-person worship services during the pandemic, they found a way to bring their Lenten Concert to the world. Click the link below for a concert @ home with Gloriae Dei Cantores, Singers to the Glory of God.


Silence . . . Time with God

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

3/3/21

The following passage is from Breathing Space, a daily Lenten email devotion, offered by Paraclete Press. It’s an excerpt from Amid Passing Things: Life, Prayer, and Relationship with God by Fr. Jeremiah Shryock. Finding God in the silence is a spiritual practice we can try during our Renew Our Hearts: DCLC Retreat @ Home. Read on to learn what Fr. Shryock has learned from his silent time with God.

“The greatest experience I have of God is in silence. Even though, as a priest, much of my life is spent talking about God—teaching and explaining God to others and reflecting on the mystery of God—it is silence that provides me with an experience of God that is unique.

At first glance, this way of prayer might not appear like prayer at all. It does not consist of much speaking, thinking, or reading. This way of prayer is more about being than anything else. There is no doing: no long prayers, petitions, novenas, or reading.

When we sit in silence, we are not looking for consolations, insights, answers to difficult questions, or anything else. (Though if God chooses to give them, we can accept them with gratitude.) Instead, we are, quite simply, sitting in silence, or in other words, attempting to rest in him beyond words, ideas, and images. When I speak about this way of prayer, people often close their eyes as if they were savoring fresh, cold water on a sweltering summer day. When their eyes open they look at me with a smile that seems to say, “This is what I need so desperately.” They “need” it for the same reasons I do. We are distracted, noisy, confused, and torn in various directions. We are overwhelmed, anxious, insecure, afraid, and weak in the midst of countless temptations and endless change. 

Despite how many spiritual books we read and prayers we recite, this feeling of being tossed about at sea continues to increase. Even though we experience a reprieve at times with insights from Scripture, vocal prayer, the example of the saints, and so on, there is still something more that we need. St. John of the Cross says that “our greatest need is to be silent before this great God with the appetite and with the tongue, for the only language he hears is the silent language of love.” Silence before God is not only our greatest need; it is also our greatest teacher.

A few years ago, I realized that no matter how much I read and study, my knowledge and insights are, in the end, limited. It was as if all my talking to God and thinking about God brought me to the edge of a cliff. To get to the other side, I would need something else. That something else, I finally realized, was silence.

I began to follow this inclination toward silence more and more each day. I would sit for fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, sometimes even a whole hour, opening my heart to God alone in silence. When I would get tangled up in my thoughts, I would simply say the name of Jesus or Abba, or recite a short prayer from Scripture, such as “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20), “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9), or “Draw me after you” (Song of Songs 1:4), so as to bring my attention back to the Lord, with whom I was desiring just to be.

One of the first fruits that we discover from praying in silence is the simple yet profound realization that we are not our thoughts. For almost my entire life I identified my self with my thoughts. If I felt lonely, afraid, or inadequate, then I identified myself with these things. Instead of being a child of God made in his image and likeness, I was whatever my thoughts were telling me simply because they appeared to be true. Silence provides us with the space to discover that our thoughts, like the passing clouds, are simply a facet about us and not our whole self. Beyond them, like the clouds, is a clear blue sky, the presence of God, in whom we discover our real identity.

A second fruit from praying in silence is the discovery of the nearness of God. Even though I knew in my mind that God dwelt inside of me, subconsciously I lived most of my life believing that God was “out there,” distant from me. God, in this mindset, is more like an alien, inhabiting some remote galaxy, rather than a loving Father who holds all creation in his hand. Through sitting in silence, we can experience that God does not live far away but is one in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

When I reflect on my own relationship with God, and ask myself what I desire, the answer that comes back is very simple: God. I don’t want just to think about God or talk about God, as necessary as both of those things are. I want God. Without silence, not only do I become a slave to impulsive decisions, fear, competition, inordinate desires, and anxiety, but my perception and experience of God will be, at best, immature. This is because God is ultimately beyond our words, language, and concepts; and silence is a bridge leading to a deeper and more mature relationship with God. In this deepening experience of God in silence we can encounter from the very depths of our being a God who is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 145:8) and not the distant, detached, dictator God that we, and our culture, often envision God to be. 

Lest I fool myself into thinking I have discovered some mystical secret, the reality is I have discovered nothing new. God has been recommending this way of prayer from the beginning. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In other words, silence leads to intimacy. Perhaps the reason I never heard this before was because I wasn’t listening.”


Ashes: A Lenten Playlist

Andrea Cain, Senior Pastor

2/18/21

I often listen to music while I’m studying the Bible and writing sermons.  Ashes, a playlist put together by the Lifelong Learning Team at Virginia Theological Seminary, will definitely be playing in my office during Lent.  The music varies from chants to Mozart to rock.  Click the link below to hear a piece of each song.  If you want to listen to the entire playlist, just create a Spotify account by using the link below.  Creating an account is free, and you’ll have nearly four hours of music for your Renew Our Hearts:  DCLC Retreat @ Home.


The Black Church

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

2/11/21

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America.  Our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces are more integrated than they were decades ago; however, our churches are not.  Most of us sit in the pews with other people who look like us.  PBS is presenting a documentary next week that explores the importance of the Black Church.  I’m looking forward to watching it and learning more about the history of the Church in Black communities in America.  Click the link below to watch a preview.

The Black Church


Comfort in the Cathedral

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

2/3/21

Interior of Salisbury Cathedral (Photo–Nigel Jarvis)

Sanctuaries are places of spiritual healing, but Salisbury Cathedral in England is being used for another kind of healing during the pandemic.  The cathedral was built 800 years ago and has an incredible organ, but today it’s serving as a vaccination site.  Folks come for their vaccines, and while they’re there they hear the comfort of beautiful music.  Click the link below to listen to the story and the music.

Comfort in the Cathedral


The Bible and The Beatles

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

1/27/21

Pastor Scott Miller leads a Methodist congregation in Ohio.  He regularly shares a message that, for him, starts with rock music.  Seeing God’s message in the world around us is important and brings that message to life.  Click the first link below to read more about Pastor Miller’s project.  Click the second link below to check out his podcast.

The Bible and The Beatles

Music With A Message from Wilmington United Methodist Church April 25, 2021 The rscottmiller1's Podcast

This weeks show is featuring music by The Traveling Wilburys
  1. Music With A Message from Wilmington United Methodist Church April 25, 2021
  2. Music With A Message from Wilmington United Methodist Church April 18, 2021
  3. Music With A Message from Wilmington United Methodist Church April 11, 2021
  4. Music With A Message from Wilmington United Methodist Church Easter Sunday 2021
  5. Music With A Message from Wilmington United Methodist Church March 28, 2021

Finding Hope, Joy, & Love

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

12/23/20

In the video link below, Savannah Guthrie, anchor of the Today Show, interviews her pastor, Michael Rudzena, founding pastor of Good Shepherd New York.  It’s a conversation exploring hope, love, and joy seen during the challenging year of 2020.  I hope it brings you some peace this holiday.  Merry Christmas!


Service of the Longest Night

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

12/21/20

Today is the shortest day of the year during a year that’s been very difficult for the world.  The Service of the Longest Night, offered by the Grand Canyon Synod, will include candle lighting, prayer, readings, and music.  Click the link below for a full description and to access tonight’s worship service.

Service of the Longest Night


Hanukkah Hope

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

12/15/20

Rabbi Ari Saks shares some beautiful Hanukkah stories in this interview.  Stories that show hope during a pandemic and hope at Auschwitz.  Click the link below to hear some Hanukkah Hope.

Hanukkah Hope


Christmas Festival

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

12/11/20

One of the many things I’m missing this time of year is listening to live Advent and Christmas music.  There’s something about being in the same room with the singers and musicians.  In this pandemic year, we can’t gather together in person, but we can gather together online.  The National Lutheran Choir Christmas Festival will be presented online tonight at 7:00 pm MST.  The link below is to their website where you can get more information.

National Lutheran Choir


Thanksgiving 2020

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

11/25/20

If you’re like our family, your Thanksgiving dinner will be quite different tomorrow.  For the last week or so, I’ve been vacillating between feeling grouchy and feeling grateful.  Grouchy that the pandemic keeps us from gathering as usual for the holiday.  Grateful for many, many things.  Grateful for health.  Grateful for family.  Grateful for friends.  Grateful for home.  Grateful for church. Grateful for work.  And yet, I still need gratitude reminders.  I found one such reminder in this article from Diana Butler Bass.  She is an author and speaker who specializes in American religion and culture.  Click the link below to read her thoughts on giving thanks this Thanksgiving 2020.

Thanksgiving 2020


Prayer Stations for Election Day

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

11/2/20

Tomorrow is Election Day in the United States. Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent, I think we can all agree that this has been a difficult election in a difficult year. We all love America, but we don’t always agree on its direction or its policies. One thing we can agree on is prayer. Let’s join together in prayer by using this prayer tool designed for Election Day. You’ll find a link below to the original Stations of the Cross post along with four images designed to go with the prayers. Please take some time to pray for our country and its leaders.

Prayer Stations for Election Day

Breathe
Piecing Together
Headlines
Resilience

Circle of Love

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

9/23/20

Pastor Robert Graetz was called to serve as a pastor in the Lutheran church.  He was a white man from Ohio, and he was called to serve a black congregation in Montgomery, Alabama.  He survived threats from the KKK and multiple bombs directed at his house.  Click the link below to listen to his story and hear his wife tell of the Circle of Love that protected them during those frightening days.

Circle of Love


Maybe We’ll Hum

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

8/17/20

The numbers in Arizona don’t meet the health guidelines for gathering together for worship, but it’s safe in New York.  One church there figured out how to worship without singing.  When I heard this story, it brought tears to my eyes.  It’s beautiful to hear them join their “voices” by humming.  When it’s safe for us to gather at Desert Cross, maybe we’ll hum.  Click the link below to listen to the story.

Maybe We’ll Hum


Open Conversations

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

8/7/20

The Grand Canyon Synod is hosting “Open Conversations about Race” via Zoom beginning Tuesday, August 11.  The synod says “these conversations are a safe and thoughtful space where you and others in the synod can wrestle with questions and talk with each other.”  For a full description and registration information, please click the link below.

Open Conversations


We Miss You! We’ll Be Back!

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

7/30/20

My husband and I saw Hamilton at Gammage last year. When it started streaming earlier this month, we watched it again. King George is Mike’s favorite character from the musical. He starts laughing as soon as King George starts singing, “You’ll Be Back.” You’ll laugh, too, as you watch this version from an Episcopal Priest. We all miss each other at worship. When it’s safe to gather, we’ll be back! Click the link below to enjoy the song.


Mental Health and Faith

Denise Viker, Parish Nurse

6/30/20

Many people who have challenges with their mental health don’t want to talk about it. Some believe that feelings of anxiety or depression don’t happen if a person simply prays harder or has a stronger faith. The fact is that mental health problems are medical conditions, just like heart disease or diabetes. Today’s healthcare system knows more about how the brain works and has more treatment options to care for those who have challenges. A big part of receiving proper diagnosis and treatment comes from being willing to talk about feelings and thoughts.

Kevin Love, an NBA player, received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2020 ESPYS for his efforts to promote mental health. Kevin overcame fears of being stigmatized and spoke out about his condition. In being open, he found that he was able to be a role model for others who are struggling with their mental health.

Click the link below for the full story and to hear Kevin’s acceptance speech. I hope that after watching it, you will be a champion for encouraging people to speak out about how they are feeling. Especially during this time of a pandemic health crisis, my prayer is that people will be able to say how they are feeling and that when they do, they will find love, acceptance, and support from people of faith.


This Little Light of Mine

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

6/25/20

If you know me, you know I LOVE Bruce Springsteen!  One of my friends sent me a video this week for a bit of fun.  It made me smile, dance, and sing!  Click the link below for some joy as Bruce and his band perform “This Little Light of Mine” in Dublin.  Enjoy!  And let your light shine today!


Lift Every Voice and Sing

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

6/17/20

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” began as a poem written by James Weldon Johnson.  It was put to music by his brother and adopted by the NAACP as the organization’s song.  The next time you sing the hymn in a worship service you’ll know more about this special song.  Click the link below to watch the story.


In Another Person’s Shoes

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

6/2/20

I was a little girl in the late 1960’s during the race riots.  I remember being confused by the images I saw on the news.  I remember my mother crying when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.  I didn’t understand what was happening in those days, but I knew my mother was upset.

I was a young stepmother in the early 1990’s when the beating of Rodney King was on the news.  I remember my stepdaughters being confused by the images on the news then.  To them, police were helpers, and those images made no sense.

Now I’m a grandmother.  Last week I saw tears in my granddaughter’s eyes.  She was full of questions as to why George Floyd was killed.  She knew it was wrong, and her way of expressing that wrong was to make a yellow heart out of clay for him.

Yesterday I read an open letter by Monty Williams, the coach of the Phoenix Suns.  His words made me remember the words of Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  In a conversation with his daughter, Atticus tells Scout “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”  For a moment, I tried to put myself in the shoes of Mr. Williams.  I’ve never had to wonder about my children being judged because of their skin color.  I’ve never had to wonder why a security guard was watching me in a store.  I’ve never had to instruct my son on where to keep his hands during a traffic stop.

Last night I saw a story on the news about police putting themselves in the shoes of protesters and protesters doing the same.  It gave me a moment of hope, but we have a long way to go.

The first link below is to Mr. Williams’ letter.  The second link is to the news story about the police and the protesters.

You can use the comment section at the bottom of this page to share your thoughts.

In Another Person’s Shoes


National Day of Mourning

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

6/1/20

100,000.  More than 100,000 Americans dead from COVID-19.  It’s truly heartbreaking.

Join us in prayer today for a National Day of Mourning.  Click the link below to read more from the ELCA.

National Day of Mourning


Day of Pentecost

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

5/31/20

Today is Pentecost.  Take a deep breath.  Feel the Holy Spirit.  Listen to this message of grace.  Click the link below to hear “O Day Full of Grace” brought to you by the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.


Pentecost @ Home

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

5/28/20

Pentecost marks the gift of the Holy Spirit.  At Desert Cross we wear red as a sign of the Holy Spirit.  Some congregations even have birthday cake!

The video link below is a beautiful presentation of Acts 2:1-4.
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

The first verse tells us they were all together.  We won’t be physically together this Pentecost, but we are together.  We’re together in spirit.  We’re together in mission.  We’re together as a community of faith.  We’re together as we’re apart protecting our neighbors and each other from the virus.  Let’s wear red on Sunday as we worship online together!

If you’d like to learn more about the Holy Spirit, click the link below for information about a webinar being offered by Paraclete Press next week:  Who and What is the Holy Spirit in the Jewish and Christian Traditions? An Interfaith Conversation between Rabbi David Zaslow and Professor Jack Levison Hosted by Jon M. Sweeney.

Holy Spirit Webinar


Bar and Bat Mitzvahs @ Home

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

5/27/20

Gabe Silverman had his Bar Mitzvah via Zoom.  It was a beautiful ceremony that even included Rabbi Danny delivering the Torah to Gabe’s home.  Click the link below to listen to the story.  Be sure to scroll through the text to see pictures of the Torah delivery and of Danny reading from it.  You can share your thoughts by using the comment section below.

Bar and Bat Mitzvahs @ Home


Ramadan @ Home

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

5/26/20

Ramadan is observed by Muslims around the world.  It’s a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community.  Gathering as a community was not a part of this year’s celebration; yet, this story shows us how new connections were made for some.  Click the link below to watch the story.


Amen

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

5/20/20

Shades of Yale is an a cappella group at Yale University.  The group was founded to celebrate the music of the African diaspora and the African-American tradition.  Their spring concert season was cut short by the pandemic, so we’re bringing it to you!

Below you’ll find several links.  The first one is a radio story about the group.  The second link is the group singing “Amen” and “We Shall Overcome” from their online spring concert.  We think you’ll love it, so we’re including a link to the full concert.  Enjoy!

Share your comments below.

Shades of Yale

Amen

Spring Concert


Go in Peace. Serve the Lord.

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

5/13/20

Frederick Buechner defines vocation as “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  The world hungers for more people like Paul Cary.  He was a firefighter and a paramedic who answered a call to serve in New York City during the pandemic.  His fellow paramedic said he lived by these words:  Be humble and go help people.  That’s exactly what he did.

Click the link below to watch the story.  You can share your thoughts in our comment section below.

Go in Peace. Serve the Lord.


Prayer of Thanks

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

5/6/20

Jesus tells us in Matthew’s Gospel to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).  These words are part of the Great Commandment.  One nurse from North Carolina is living those words. She is serving in New York City because it’s her “duty” to help, to care, to love.  Her story is one of selfless giving.  It’s a lesson she has taught her sons, and it’s a lesson she’s teaching us.  

Click the link below to meet her.

Please take some time to pray a prayer of thanks for nurses today.

Prayer of Thanks


Light is Hope

Andrea Cain, Senior Pastor

4/27/20

For the last month, the village of Zermatt, Switzerland shared global signs of hope, solidarity, and gratitude with a light projection of every country in the world by light artist, Gerry Hofstetter. The village shows solidarity with all the people who are currently suffering and is grateful to all those who are helping to overcome the crisis. It will continue to bring joy to all hearts to see their country projected on this mighty mountain as as symbol of unity, strength and an anchor of hope.

Click the first link below to see the images. Click the second link to read Pastor Andrea’s recent letter to Desert Cross referencing this project.

Light is Hope

Pastor Andrea’s Letter


I Remember Your Eyes

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

4/22/20

I don’t know if Dr. Halleh Akbarnia believes in God.  I don’t know if Mr. C believes in God.  I do know this . . . I see God’s light in them.

Click the link below to read about them and how they’re helping each other survive the pandemic.

I Remember Your Eyes


Love Spread More Quickly

Denise Viker, Parish Nurse

4/15/20

In these difficult days, we sometimes run out of words to express how we’re feeling. We may even run out of words during our prayers. Click the link below to watch and pray a visual prayer.

Peace to you.

A Praise Song


Alleluia!

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

4/13/20

More than three hundred United Methodists from around the world gathered online to create this amazing video.

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Click the link below to enjoy some beautiful music.

Alleluia!


The Lessons of Maundy Thursday

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

4/9/20

At our Maundy Thursday Worship Service, we hear the following verses from John 13:

. . . 12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them . . . 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”   

There are many to admire in these difficult days.  The truck driver, the grocery store clerk, the first responders, the healthcare workers, the list goes on.  Don Giuseppe Berardelli is probably not a name most of us know, but he’s an example of true service and sacrificial love.  As a priest, he knew the verses from John 13 well . . . and he lived them.  He was ill with COVID-19, and he gave up his ventilator so that another could live.  Let’s remember how he lived out the teachings of Jesus on this Maundy Thursday.

You can learn more about him by clicking the link below.

Peace to you.

The Lessons of Maundy Thursday


Signs of Hope

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

4/6/20

Last week Desert Cross received an email asking us to share pictures of Signs of Hope we see around us in these difficult days. By chance, I took the photograph above last week. I left the house for a walk feeling quite overwhelmed by the news reports. The shortage of personal protective equipment. The rising number of positive tests for COVID-19. The increasing number of deaths. The heartbreak of those left behind with no chance to care for their loved ones in their last days. The projections of what we’re facing in the days and weeks ahead. Quite frankly, I felt hopeless, and then I saw this written on the sidewalk in front of a neighbor’s house. It was a Sign of Hope for me. I hope it is for you too. Peace.


Pictures from the Front Porch

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

4/2/20

We’re spending a lot of time at home these days.  Staying home is an important way all of us can protect each other, but we’re missing each other.  We’re missing our families.  We’re missing our friends.  We’re missing our co-workers.  A photographer in the Twin Cities is helping folks stay connected through photography.  He’s taking pictures of people on their front porches.  What a beautiful gift!  You can watch the story by clicking the link below.

We thought it’d be fun to join in our own way.  Take a picture of yourself on your front porch and share it along with the link to today’s post on our faith formation website with your family and friends.  Reach out to your Desert Cross family too!  It’s a fun way for us to stay connected!

Here’s a picture of my husband Mike and me at home.

Stay home.  Stay safe.  Stay connected.

Pictures from the Front Porch


Bible Project: Church at Home

Andrea Cain, Senior Pastor

3/23/20

Here is an excellent home bible study option for you to do alone, with family, or on Zoom with your friends and small groups. Last Advent, we introduced The Bible Project videos to you with word studies of our weekly themes of Hope, Love, Peace, and Joy. We use The Bible Project videos in Adult Forum on Sundays and also in Confirmation. The folks at Bible Project have used their gifts to create a resource for churches to use in this time of social distancing. Let’s come together around God’s word in a brand new way each week!

Use the link below to check it out. You can even sign up to receive it directly in your email from Bible Project. Share your comments with us by using the comment section below.

Bible Project: Church at Home


Acting on Acts 20:35

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

3/19/20

My husband watches a lot of sports on television. I sometimes join him, but when it comes to ASU and U of A we’re a divided family. Go ASU!

Dave Pasch often broadcasts games we watch. He’s on so often that we jokingly wonder if he’s ever home. Well, he’s making a huge difference in his home state now. He’s helping others, and he’s challenging all of us to help as we can. Maybe it’s getting groceries for an elderly neighbor. Maybe it’s making a phone call and checking in with someone. In these strange days, maybe it’s sharing part of that coveted package of toilet paper!

Click the link below to read Mr. Pasch’s story. It’ll inspire you . . . and give you some hope. Use the comment section below to share your thoughts with us.

Acting on Acts 20:35


For the Good of All

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

3/14/20

The following are excerpts from an editorial in The Washington Post. Good words for all of us to remember these days.

Prayers for peace and health to all.

From The Washington Post:

Amid dread and uncertainty, the American people are displaying extraordinary purpose and motivation to meet the coronavirus threat head-on. From darkening Broadway to silencing professional and amateur sports leagues, from closing Disneyland to shuttering cathedrals, we are witnessing the response of an open democratic society, with unfettered news and social media, and civic and political institutions and leadership ready to make hard decisions. This is America at its best.

Ever since experts began calling for social distancing to reduce transmission of the respiratory virus, people in the United States have demonstrated they were listening. Their actions have ranged from small acts of kindness, such as a young woman buying groceries for an elderly couple, to disruptive decisions that until recently would have seemed unthinkable, such as emptying sports stadiums and turning out the lights at universities. Costly, emotionally fraught choices have engendered remarkably little complaining or bitterness.

After a slow start, the nation is mobilizing impressively. We will all be called on to show patience, resilience and determination. There’s no way to know how long the test will last, but we have the capacity, as a nation and a society, to make it through.


Lent 101

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

2/26/20

Our Lenten journey begins today with Ash Wednesday.  Ashes are only one of the faith practices of Lent.  Some adopt a devotional book.  Some add a new way to serve.  Others fast or pray.  Click the link below for Lent 101.  You may find a new way to practice Lent this year.

Lent 101


Epiphany

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

1/6/20

The dictionary defines Epiphany as the sudden understanding of something, a realization, an illuminating discovery.  For the Church, Epiphany is about the coming of the Magi to visit the newborn Jesus.  Today we’re sharing some information from our Methodist brothers and sisters about Epiphany.

Click the link below to learn more about the Season of Epiphany and how it’s celebrated around the world.

Epiphany


Peace & Hope

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

12/16/19

As you know from my previous post, my husband and I made a trip “across the pond” to England, Scotland, and Ireland in October.  While there, we visited St. Anne’s Church in Cork, Ireland.  We were struck by a Peace Banner on display in the sanctuary.  The letters were formed by the handprints of children.  It was beautiful.  But even more amazing were the ways they defined Peace.

Jacobe wrote, “Peace is neutrality between all countries.”  Another child defined peace as “when my mum and I spend time together.”  Most striking were Anouck’s words:  “Peace means a quiet little haven where there is no war and everyone gets along.”  You can check out pictures of the banner and the definitions below.

The kids at Desert Cross made a similar banner during education recently. Their banner is a Hope Banner.  You can see it at the midweek Advent worship services on Wednesday.  We’ll be adding our definitions of Hope.


Baptism

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

12/4/19

Our grandson, Miles, is being baptized Sunday.  Before this, our kids were brought for baptism.  Before that, my parents brought me for baptism.  Before that, my husband’s parents brought him for baptism.  And so on and so on.  Our faith is passed on from generation to generation.  Baptism has been on my mind for a few weeks because of something I saw recently.

My husband and I took a trip to England, Scotland, and Ireland in October.  While we were there, we visited St. Anne’s Church, an Anglican church in Cork, Ireland.  We went to climb the clock tower and to ring the Shandon Bells.  You can check out the photos below of Mike climbing the 132 steps and ringing the bells.  We certainly got our exercise that day!

After that, we went in the sanctuary.  There we saw an amazing baptismal font.  The font was made in 1629.  The pewter bowl insert was added in 1773.  The font is still used for baptisms today.  How many people, young and old, have been baptized in that font?  How many generations have passed on the faith in, and outside, the walls of that church?  What a gift.  I’m including a photo of the font and a photo of the sign explaining its history.

Who brought you for baptism?  Who passed on the faith to you?   Use the comment section below to share your stories.

Clock Tower at St. Anne’s Church in Cork, Ireland
Mike Climbing the Steps in the Clock Tower
Mike Ringing Shandon Bells
Baptismal Font at St. Anne’s Church
Story of the Baptismal Font at St. Anne’s Church

Navigating the Digital Age

Andrea Cain, Senior Pastor

10/30/19

The digital age has changed how we work, communicate, learn, and play.  It’s even changing how we parent.  We’re sharing this article on our Adult page, and it applies to all of us, with or without kids.  It’s helpful for parents of young children in thinking ahead and parents with older children who are in the midst of navigating the digital world.  The article connects the digital world and social media with faith in daily life.  This is a new perspective in thinking about how we use our phones and how we guide our children in that world.

Click the link below to read the article.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Navigating the Digital Age


Helping a Neighbor

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

10/2/19

The Jewish High Holidays are here.  Tree of Life Synagogue was the site of a horrific shooting last year.  That congregation is still in mourning, but they’re opening their doors for worship.  In fact, they’re holding services at a nearby Episcopal church.  It’s an amazing demonstration of helping a neighbor.

Click the link below to listen to a story about this beautiful partnership.

Use the comment section below to share your stories of witnessing people of different faiths showing kindness and peace towards one another.

Helping a Neighbor

Peace in your Grief

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

9/25/19

Stephen Colbert is better known for making jokes on late night television.  Anderson Cooper is better known for reporting the news.  In this powerful conversation, the two of them talk about their personal grief and how to get through such a difficult time in life.

Click the link below to watch the conversation. 

Use the comment section below to share your thoughts and experience with us.

Peace to you.

Peace in your Grief


Deep Sea Diving . . . In a Wheelchair

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

8/26/19

During Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Andrea talked about how following the teachings of Jesus can change our perspective and make us think of things in new ways.  To demonstrate this teaching, Pastor Andrea referenced a TED Talk by Sue Austin.  She lives her life in a wheelchair.  Ms. Austin says the wheelchair is a tool for her that gives her freedom; yet, she discovered that others view it as a restrictive object of limitation.  To challenge this thinking, Ms. Austin came up with the idea of an underwater wheelchair for scuba diving.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Scuba diving in a wheelchair.  Talk about thinking with a new perspective!

Click the link below to hear Ms. Austin’s talk and to see the amazing video of her Deep Sea Diving . . . In a Wheelchair.

In case you missed the sermon, we’re including a link to it too so that you can listen to it.

When has your perspective changed? How was it changed? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Listen to Pastor Andrea’s Sermon–August 25, 2019


Remembering Rachel Held Evans

Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries

8/19/19

Rachel Held Evans, Christian author and theologian, died a few months ago. Rachel was a popular, young voice in the Christian community. She grew up in a fundamentalist church, started exploring her faith, asked lots and lots of questions, and encouraged her readers to explore their questions with her. For some, her honesty gave them permission to not always have the answer.

We’re sharing some links with you to get to know Rachel a bit better. The first link is from a podcast called The Bible for Normal People. It’s one of the last conversations recorded with Rachel prior to her illness.

The second link is to another podcast called The Daily. It discusses the legacy of Rachel Held Evans.

The final link is to the message of hope delivered by Nadia Bolz-Weber, an ELCA pastor, at Rachel’s funeral.

Take a listen and share your thoughts below. Have you read any of her books? Do you want to recommend one to us? Please post a comment and let us know.

Interview with Rachel Held Evans

Legacy of Rachel Held Evans

Message of Hope

Join the Conversation

5 Comments

  1. I appreciate her comment about exploring, struggling with, and asking questions about the stories of the bible and not “expecting quick or easy answers” from it. This made me think of ChristCare groups at Desert Cross. In these groups we explore, share, question, make connections and more!

    Like

    1. Shannon, thanks for sharing your experience. I, too, have found ChristCare Groups to be a safe place to have doubts and to ask questions. It’s been a comfort and a joy to experience that kind of open conversation.

      Like

  2. We saw the church when we were in Cork. Your story and the age of the church is a reminder of the lasting grace and how important it is to pass the faith down to the ages.

    Like

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