March Newsletter

E-Newsletter for March 2017

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Southminster Presbyterian Church

An inclusive, welcoming community of Christian faith.

March 2017 E-Newsletter

What is the E-newsletter?

Subscribers will now receive a digital version of our monthly newsletter. Don’t worry–if you like receiving the paper newsletter, we are still sending them out. We know many of you love getting them in the mail, and that’s great! But, we have had some feedback that an e-mailed version is perfect for some.

If your paper newsletter usually winds up in your recycling bin (we are not offended), please sign up HERE to opt-in to receive the online version only. You will no longer receive paper newsletters monthly, and you’ll be saving some paper and ink.

Pastor John   


Dear Friends,
I am thinking a lot about truth. The most ironic, post-modern question in the scriptures is found in the 18th chapter of the Gospel of John.
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.
What is truth? Typical for the Gospel of John, the writer creates scenes for Jesus to speak on an “above” level while Jesus’s interlocutors are stuck in the basement. They are concrete, literal thinkers while Jesus is above it all.  
So is truth above it all? Is truth only in the realm of the mystical, fancy metaphorical talk of Jesus? Or is truth earthy? Is truth real? Is there such a thing as truth? Is truth a fiction, a fancy, a subjective speculation? Is truth no more than what those who control the means of communication say is truth?  
I don’t buy it. Okay, sure, absolute truth will always be ultimately out of reach. The universe is a big place. But there are some things more true than others. One plus one is two, not three. In the world we inhabit, the below world at least, there are some things that are facts and some things that are not. In this below world there are those who control the means of communication and spin it to their advantage. The very fact that happens means that their “truth” can be questioned.  
I heard good advice from JoAnn Hardesty when she spoke at Southminster in January.  She was asked, “What can white people do to dismantle racism?” She said, “Be critical of the narrative. Don’t trust the narrative. Look deeper. Hear voices that are critical of the narrative.”  
She was speaking specifically of the narrative given by the white power structure to explain the racial disparities between white people and people of color, particularly African-Americans. Be critical of the narrative that explains why African-Americans graduate at a far lower rate than their white counterparts and why African-American men are more likely to go to prison than college. While we are at it, let’s talk about the narrative that quickly is created by the Portland police and packaged by the media when a 17 year-old African American child (Quanice Hayes) is shot to death by police.
“Be critical of the narrative,” says JoAnn.  
“What is truth?” asks Pilate.
“Everyone on the side of truth listens to me,” says Jesus.
Do we care? Do we care about truth?  
Do we care enough to be critical of the packaged narratives that exonerate white people when human beings, our sisters, brothers, and children suffer?
I refuse to be cynical and post-modern and ironic when it comes to truth.  
I think there is such a thing as truth and that saying we cannot uncover it is little more than laziness.  
Let’s make 2017 a year to be critical of the narrative.  
Seek truth.
Blessed Be,


Upcoming Community Life Events

Super Wednesday Schedule 

All Super Wednesday events are at 10 am and are in room 7 except for newsletter folding day. All are welcome to join! 

March 1st
– game day at Bea Luchsinger’s 
March 8th – movie day “Sully” On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career. 
March 15th– coffee and conversation 
March 22nd – bulletin folding 
March 29th – travelogue – to be decided later.

Women’s Retreat

The Women’s Retreat Planning Committee would like to thank all the women who were willing to register early for a full weekend. Because of these early-adopters, we will be able to offer a Saturday-only retreat option! We’ll open up registration again after the Art Show! (mid-March)


Ancient Mariner’s

Ancient Mariner’s will be meeting Friday, March 17 at 6 p.m. at the home of June Carlson and Andy Gordon.  Bring your favorite food to share and beverage of choice.

Water 2 Wine – March Madness:

Our next meeting of Water 2 Wine is scheduled for Sunday, March 12th at 2:00 p.m. at the home of Georgia Walp. We are going to have some mystery wines.  Well, wines that are yet to be determined. While we all learned a little more about wine, we think that the best part of the group is meeting fellow Southminsters in a relaxed social setting and getting to know each other better.

As a reminder, please RSVP to to ensure that we have enough wine and just one glass is needed for this event.  We have a suggested donation of $10 per person to cover the cost of the wine. We still have some months that we need hosts so let us know if you can host.


The Art Show is Approaching!

Click here to view the flier for 2017 


The Southminster 39th Celebration of Creativity fine art exhibit & sale will be March 2-5, 2017. Please invite your family and friends to come and enjoy this wonderful event.

Here is the schedule for the show:

7pm-9pm: First Look Gala ($10 at the door)

Exhibit and Sale: 10am-5pm
Meet the Artists: 7pm-9pm
Exhibit and Sale: 7pm-9pm

Exhibit and Sale: 10am-5pm

Worship in the Art: 10am-11pm
Exhibit and Sale: 11:30pm-3pm

Flowers and Cookies Needed for Celebration of Creativity
The following items are needed for floral arrangements:
Nandina  –   Forsythia   –  Quince   –   Pussy willow  –   Red barked dogwood   –   other flowering branches

If you have any of these in long stems, please bring them to the church on Wednesday, March 1st and the morning of Thursday, March 2nd. We also need large vases, approximately 10 inches tall and larger, either clear or ceramic. If you have any questions, contact Donna Bekooy or the church office.

If you’re bringing cookies for the art show, please deliver them to the kitchen starting Sunday, February 26th. Keep them coming all week long to replenish our supply as the show goes on. Thank you!

Worship Schedule (Subject to Spirit’s Adjustment)
March 5 Celebration of Creativity: Worship Among the Art, Lent One – One of the ten commandments instructs the people not to make “graven images.” No images of earth or sky or anything in them and certainly no images of God. These images might become “idols” and we might honor and serve our images rather than the real thing. Christians have been loose interpreting this commandment and thus we have art. Through the centuries Christian art has painted characters from the Bible including God. The images we use to assist in prayer and meditation we call icons not idols. “Don’t pray to the icon, pray through the icon,” so goes the instruction. Art, we have concluded, does not need distract us from the real thing but it can enable us to see what is real. We will look at some early art inspired by stories in the Bible and explore how theology itself is an art.

March 12 Lent 2 – The journey of Lent is a wilderness experience. It is a 40-day intentional “leaving of home.” The design is to move us out of our habits and to challenge us to see differently. It is designed to connect us to and to feel compassion for fellow human beings, especially those who struggle, who are literally, not figuratively, houseless. Jesus once said, “Foxes have dens. Birds have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” How do we with integrity follow the one who has nowhere to lay his head?

March 19 Lent 3 – One day Jesus and his disciples were looking at the temple that had been built by Herod the Great. It was a magnificent structure. They were awestruck. Jesus told them that “not one stone will be left upon another.” That statement had to shock their world. That was where God lived. This was his holy city. The stories of Jesus by the time they made it into gospel form had to account for the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in the Jewish War, 66-70. How does one survive the loss of one’s world? The gospel creators attempted to respond to that.

March 26 Lent 4  – John on Study Leave at Westar. Guest Worship Leader


Eyes on the Prize for Building the Beloved Community

The weather gave us a delayed start. Now we are ready! Beginning Tuesday January 24th we will watch the six-part series, “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965” produced by PBS. This is an incredibly well-done video series that we will watch and discuss on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 in Room 7. Here is the schedule for March:
Part 4 – March 7
Part 5 – March 14

Part 6 – April 4


If you missed the first parts you can catch it on YouTube.


Southminster Picture Directory

Thanks to David Chapman and Josh Townsley, we now have a picture directory for our Southminster members. Thank you too everyone who participated—this directory will help people become better acquainted with each other and help newcomers feel more welcome!

Click here to see the directory!


Test the Waters – March 18th

If you are new to our congregation, join us Saturday, March 18th at ten a.m. Test the Waters is an opportunity to learn more about Southminster, meet some great folks and enjoy a free lunch.  We think Southminster is a fun place that does important work and we would love you to be part of it! RSVP If you can to John at or call the church office. Childcare is available on request.

Progressive Spirit & Beloved Community Podcasts

The main web page is From there you can find many links to download podcasts such as iTunes. During February, interviews were posted with…
Bart Campolo, Why I Left, February 23 – March 1 – Tony Campolo has been a fixture in the evangelical Christian scene for decades. For the past 30 years his son, Bart has followed in his footsteps. Their brand of Christianity is evangelical (personal salvation through Jesus) but with an emphasis on social justice and care for least of these. Just over two years ago, Bart decided to tell his parents that he no longer could believe in God. Out of this painful and liberating revelation is their story, the film, Far From the Tree, and the book, Why I Left: Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son.
John Teton, International Food Security Treaty, Feb. 9-22 – In this episode we discuss a condition that is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. It is a condition that is completely preventable. Hunger.

John Teton is the director of the International Food Security Treaty. The International Food Security Treaty or IFST aims to establish enforceable international law guaranteeing the right to be free from hunger, and to oblige countries to establish their own related national laws.
Maggie Rowe, Sin Bravely, Feb 2-15 – Actress and comedian, Maggie Rowe, producer and performer of Comedy Central’s stage show sitnspin writes about her three month experience in an evangelical psychiatric institution. Diagnosed with a form of OCD known as scrupulosity she couldn’t shake the fear that she might not avoid hell.

Maggie is not alone with this fear. She took her heaven and hell religion more seriously than many. Her book is Sin Bravely: A Memoir of Spiritual Disobedience. Because she writes with honesty and deadpan humor she has found a way to reframe her own experience of spiritual abuse and offer a path to others as well.

She has written for “Arrested Development” and “Flaked” for Netflix. She co-wrote the screenplay for and directed the New Age religious mockumentary “Bright Day” and is the creator of the theatrical satires “Hollywood Hellhouse” and “Hollywood Purity Ball.”

Youth News – March 2017  


Sunday Mornings: Worship 10:00am
8/High Connections & Grades 5-7: 10:15am 

March 5 – All Youth Breakfast: 9:40 a.m. – 9:59 a.m.  

Celebration of Creativity Sunday Youth participate in service projects (i.e. Security)!
March 12 Grades 5-7 in Room 9, 8/High Youth in Loft
March 19 – 8/High goes to Breakfast (Location T.B.D.); Grades 5-7 in Room 9
March 26 8/High with Carter in Loft; Grades 5-7 in Room 9
March Youth Highlights
Middle School – DV8
(Grades 5-7 — 1st and 3rd Sundays)
  •  Week of March 5-11 – T.B.D.:  Service Project @ Northwest Children’s Outreach Center!
  •  March 19 – 5:30-7:30 p.m.:  Mall or St. Patty’s Day Scavenger Hunt!!
8 grade/High School – SNL
  •  February 26 and Weekend of March 2-5Celebration of Creativity!  Service Opportunities!  Sign up to serve with security or chair moving….
  •  March 19SNL goes to Breakfast (Location T.B.D.) – 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Sr. High Confirmation Retreat w/ Pastor John – TBD

Read the Bible Cover to Cover  


Major Prophets (Nevi’im)

(Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel)


You can find March’s guide here: 

March Bible Guide – Major Prophets

Here is the quiz for March:

March Bible Quiz

Here is the family quiz for March:

March Family Story Quiz

Have fun and keep those fabulous prizes in mind!

Printable Calendar for March 

Click here for a copy of March’s calendar that appeared in the paper newsletter for printing at home. 

Contact John
Won’t you be my friend?  
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterVisit my blog             
Phone:1-423-943-0634 (Yup, I text)
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