Studying James

Paying Attention to an Ignored Book: James

James is different. The brief letter was possibly written by Jesus’ older brother. Or not. It may have come from a synagogue pamphlet, a brief set of guidelines on how to treat other people, both in the synagogue and in the community. It has been condemned by theologians who say there is no direct reference to Christ and the teachings of the church. It has been lauded by those who love the scriptural inferences to Christ and the early church.

One thing is certain. The protestant reformer Martin Luther despised it. And that is probably understating. (He also felt that way about The Revelation to St. John) His introduction to the Book of James had these words: “I do not regard it as the writing of an apostle…..He (James) mangles the Scriptures and thereby opposes Paul and all Scripture….Therefore I will not have him in my Bible to be numbered among the true chief books.”

Sounds like a great book to tackle for four sessions beginning November 18. We will meet in our chapel, and meet from 7 to 8:15 PM. Our study guide is written by Dr. Carol Miller, a retired and redirected Methodist minister. It’s a great “stepping-off” point.

Voluntary cost, to cover materials, is a $5 donation per student. We do have scholarships available.

Here is our schedule:

1. The Mysteries of James. November 18
2. What is Faith? November 25
3. The Dangers in Ourselves. December 2
4. Warnings and Instructions. December 9

Please call our church office (815 895 2706) or let me know if you want to participate in this book study. It is the most evident example of the Jewish and early concept of “Wisdom.”

Blessings in and through this season,
Pastor Dennis

Thanksgiving Feast

Our annual Thanksgiving Feast will be held on Sunday, Nov. 16, immediately following the 10 a.m. worship service.  Members are asked to bring a favorite Thanksgiving dish to share and invite friends or acquaintances who may be spending Thanksgiving alone.

Saturday Worship Service

On Pumpkin Festival Weekend, October 25-26, the congregation held worship on Saturday evening at 5pm Saturday INSTEAD OF on Sunday morning.  This was a special Halloween-themed service.  Many participants wore costumes; children trick-or-treated through the sanctuary then went to Kids Club for Halloween activities.

Adult Bible Study

Studying the Book of Job

Pastor Dennis Johnson will lead a seven-session adult education course on the book of Job, beginning September 23. The series will run on Tuesday nights, from 7:00 to 8:15 at the church. Titled “The Every Person: Job and the Life of Faith,” topics will include an Introduction to Job the Book and the Person, An Ancient Story of Every Person, Job’s Impatience, When Familiar Answers Fail, Closing Arguments, The Voice of the Whirlwind, and Life Within Our Limits.

The book of Job cuts straight to the heart of what it means to be human. It is the most profound exploration of the life of faith ever written, and wrestles with some of life’s most perplexing questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people? Is there a correspondence between sin and suffering, obedience and blessing? Can God be trusted? Why should we serve God if there are no guarantees?

There was never a time when the book of Job was not relevant, but it is especially relevant in a post-9/11 world. This is not because the book of Job has changed, but because we have. We may be more ready to listen now, less certain of our own answers. Perhaps every generation has an experience that makes this possible. In any case, when Job asks, “Why?” we, too, strain to hear any answers. And if answers are not forthcoming, then we, like Job, at least need to know how to live without them.

The book of Job takes a deep journey into human suffering. It has been called, at the least, “challenging.” It is one of the most difficult books as well as one of the most important books of the Bible. During this study we will try to meet that challenge.

A $5 donation is requested to help cover the cost of materials. Please call the church office at 815-895-2706 for more details or to request a scholarship. You don’t need to “know the Bible” to attend this series. This is adult education: another step in a lifetime of learning, and all “inquiring minds” are welcome.

Parking is available behind the building.

 

Rally Day

On Sunday, September 7 the Federated congregation celebrated Rally Day. The morning began with 10:00 am worship. During the service the congregation celebrated their safe journeys and reunion with “water communion” – sharing water collected from summer activities and travels. Rally Day is the start of the fall Sunday School program known as Kids’ Club and there were lots of children attending.  Nursery care was available for the youngest little ones.

Following the service, the Board of Religious Education hosted games and activities for all ages. Topping off the morning was a potluck in Dutton Hall. The Board of Membership and Fellowship  providee beverages; members and friends brought a dish to share and their own table service.

A god time was had by all.

Fall & Winter Clothing Sale

A Fall & Winter Clothing Sale was held on Friday & Saturday, Sept. 26-27.  A variety of used warm clothing was available including pants, shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, coats, jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, boots and shoes.

June worship schedule

Summer worship activities at our church:

June 1:  We share flower communion and the sacrament of communion.
June 8:  Pentecost, the church’s founding birthday, is celebrated. (Wear red symbolizing the flames of the Holy Spirit).
June 15: Pentecost continues (please wear red again!) as we observe Education Sunday and the awarding of college scholarships.  The Father’s Day sermon that day is based on the movie, “Field of Dreams.”  Its title is “Want to Make a Grown Man Cry?”
June 22:  Kids Club car wash during worship.  All proceeds go to our summer camp fund. Last year we sent 17 of our children.
June 29:  “Retirement/Redirection Sunday.”  We will honor those who have retired from their jobs, their vocations on this special day.

All through the summer we have special music. Please make some room for us in your summer schedule. We are always a better church when you are present!

Sue Lyon Book Sale

The annual Sue Lyon Book Sale was held June 5 – 7.  Used books filled Dutton Hall on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning.  Proceeds went to fund the church ministries.

Spring Salad Supper

Our Spring “Salad Supper for The Girls” was held Wednesday, May 14, at 6:00 pm.   A delicious assortment of salads was enjoyed and three lucky ladies won plants to add to their gardens.  After dinner, the Sycamore High School Jazz Choir entertained us with a wonderful assortment of music.

Study of Hinduism

Pastors Amy and Dennis led a three-week discussion on Hinduism from April 22 to May 6 at 7pm in the chapel.  There were presentations and stimulating discussions.