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More news this week: February 1, 2013

posted Feb 1, 2013, 2:18 PM by David Cobb   [ updated Feb 1, 2013, 9:54 PM by Jackson Cobb ]
I feel a real sense of forward motion in the church. We've given time and attention these past three weeks of Wednesday night studies to talk about ways we can be more visible in extending an intentional welcome to all people. Whether we use language like Open and Affirming or Welcoming and Inclusive, there's an underlying reality at the heart of Spirit of Joy. We aren't just waiting for people to walk through the doors. We want the community to know: if you've ever felt excluded because of who you are or who you love or where you are theologically or politically or philosophically, or for whatever other reason, we hope you'll find you belong at Spirit of Joy.
 
We'll talk about more ways we can get this message out to people who have given up on hearing it. I don't think I could ever be active again in a church that's not "out" there inviting everyone into full community. I resist labels as much as the next person, but without a little truth-in-labeling, who will know there really is a church here for them? I'm looking forward to seeing where our conversations take us.
 
We have quite a few things to be aware of as a community. See below:
  
CORRECTION: Pancake Supper and Ash Wednesday (Talent Show to be held later)
Okay, I was premature in announcing how we'd kick off Lent. Your loving and thoughtful responses were a great example of how our community communicates at its best. I heard you say it would be better if we postponed the talent show to later in the spring, giving more advanced notice. Good! We'll make that a big event in March. And you thought we should still have dinner and tie it to Ash Wednesday, but do it actually on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Again, much better. SO, here's the new and improved plan:
 
Wednesday, February 13, we will get together at 6:00 for a Pancake Supper in the upstairs community room, followed at 7:00 by an Ash Wednesday service in the sanctuary. Game night is still February 22. And we'll have the talent show on a Wednesday night in March, date to be determined.
 
Children's Sunday School launches this Sunday, February 3, 9:30
At long last, our Children's Sunday School begins. This week! Come one, come all!
 
The focus this week is LOVE, and the text our children will read, hear, and talk about is 1 Corinthians 13. Wendy Barta leads this week's lesson. Candy Retka is the guest storyteller with the elementary kids, talking about how she's learned a lot about love in caring for her mother. We'll also have a middle school class, thanks to Dirk Niles. You might be prepared to talk about what love means to you, how you've known you're loved, how you've loved others.
 
If you haven't signed up to be a guest storyteller for the elementary class, we still have a few openings in March. I'd like to have the calendar full this week. It's a great way for the kids to get to know you... and for you to get to know them. Then we can really say with Jesus, "Let the children come." Let's talk Sunday about what you can share.
 
Website up and running
After several months of development, the new website is up and running! It's built on a more user-friendly platform so I can update and make changes easily. I just wasn't technologically gifted enough to figure out the previous one. And yes, the calendar is live! If you have items to add, just email me and I can get them on there right away.
 
Could you do me a huge favor? Go to http://www.spiritofjoymn.org, and help me out by looking at it through newcomers' eyes. Try it on your tablet or cell phone, too. This will be crowd-sourcing at its best! As you have ideas of things that first-time guests and visitors should find, email me with changes you think they would hope to see. Keep in mind that the main audience is not you, inside the church, but those who are outside our circle, people who are looking for a church for the same reasons you were looking once. Maybe their questions weren't welcome elsewhere, or their gifts weren't valued, or they've never been to church because they've assumed all Christians are like the ones they see on the news or hear on the radio. In the next few weeks, the site will be made loads better for them, and the church more accessible, because of you!
 
If you have pictures that you think would be good to upload, send them to me by email. We can put them on the church Facebook page, too. We'll be respectful of privacy and not show any children's faces close-up without permission from their parents.
 
Known issues I'm working on (in other words, you don't need to tell me about these):
  • The sermon audio files do not yet open automatically. As it is, you have to download and open in separate steps.
  • The .com site isn't forwarding yet to the new location. For now, it's still showing the old site. That will change in a few days to a week.
  • The naked domain (that's what you call it when it doesn't have a www. in front of it) isn't opening properly. Within the week it will. 
Furnace up and running
We've had someone out to repair the furnace this week, and we've found that some repairs cost more than others. We've decided to take the least costly route, which means the thermostat in the upstairs community room now control the heat and air for that room as well as the nursery and kitchen downstairs. Bottom line: if you need heat for either the nursery or the upstairs, use the thermostat upstairs to get it. The one outside the nursery won't control anything right now. 
 
Dates for your calendar:
Today is the early bird registration deadline for the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition Day on the Hill event February 21. http://www.jrlc.org for details.
 
This Sunday be sure to sign up for Dinner Club, Flowers, and Fellowship Hosting. Also bring non-perishable items for the Food Shelf.
 
Monday, February 4, 6-8 p.m. - JRLC dinner meeting to hear about the Governor's tax reform plan, at Mary Mother of the Church in Burnsville
 
Sunday, February 10, 10:45 a.m. - Global Warming Preach-In during worship
 
Monday, February 11, 7:00 p.m. - Centering Prayer
 
Thursday, February 14, 3:00 p.m. - Freedom to Marry Day Rally at Capitol Rotunda - register at http://mnuited.org
 
Saturday, February 16, 6:00 p.m. - St. Stephen's Shelter dinner
 
Wednesday, February 20, 6:30 p.m. - AED (defibrilator) training for everyone who wants to learn to use the church's new life-saving device
 
Blessings and Peace,
 
David
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