May 2017 Newsletter

E-Newsletter for May 2017




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Southminster Presbyterian Church

An inclusive, welcoming community of Christian faith.

May 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  


Hey Friends,
I have used several continuing education weeks and most vacation weeks rather early in the year. But, I’m back! I have lots of ideas and fun stuff as we make our way through the apocalypse (I’m just half-kidding.)
First of all, the Bible. The worship services for the rest of the year (for the most part) will be from our reading the Bible Cover to Cover. Beginning on May 7th, we go back to Genesis. The reading calendar with the fabulous prizes is the same. . The worship services will be a whirlwind through the scriptures. The worship guide is on the website here.
We will need a few opportunities to reflect on the readings. I am scheduling some after church sermon talk-backs. I know there is stuff going on after church every Sunday, but we will give it a shot and hope for the best. These Sunday sermon talk-backs are May 21, June 18, July 16, August 13, September 10, October 8, November 12, and December 10. These may change but it’s a start.
Second, the Adult Education Committee has a great line-up for Tuesday evening classes, films, discussions, etc. It is called “The Church’s Role Beyond Its Own Walls.” Every Tuesday beginning May 2 through June 20 from 7 – 8:30 or 8:45. Topics include:
  • Sanctuary Churches as a safe place for undocumented workers,
  • Protecting the Right to Free Speech (particularly the right to protest),
  •  Freedom of Religion (i.e. discuss ban Muslims from entering the U.S.)
  • A Humane Guest Worker Program
  •  Medical Fairness and Care for All
  • A Moral Budget as opposed to a Militarized Budget
  • Education Fairness (should college be free?)
  • Worker Fairness and the right to unionize.
I will kick off the first three sessions, May 2, 9 and 16. I offer my own personal journey through Peak Oil, 9/11, and the End of Religion. I call it “Ethics As Worlds End.” This is a theo-political and theo-poetic critique of the “worlds” we have inherited and are now in position to re-create. I see the task of theology as providing language to uncover the myths that guide us. We will discuss the “myth of redemptive violence” and the “myth of exceptionalism” in particular. These ancient myths are incarnated in the current “powers that be” that make up our modern militarized imperial state. We are in the midst of an “apocalypse” (literally a revealing) of these powers, their values, their ethics (or lack of) and our response as a community summoned by the spirit of the historical Jesus.


Third, for Southminster Reads, the Adult Education Committee has chosen “Why I Left, Why I Stayed,” by Bart and Tony Campolo. Tony Campolo is an internationally known and well-respected evangelical scholar and preacher. His son Bart was in the ministry with him for 30 years until he realized he did not believe in Christianity any longer. This book is a dialogue between father and son about what a radical change in faith can mean to a family. This is a situation so common and yet often one that produces pain and division. The Campolos model how the end of shared faith does not necessarily mean the end of love and respect, in fact, quite the opposite.

For more information on these and other exciting opportunities at Southminster, read on!


Blessed Be,




Southminster Life Events     





Super Wednesday Schedule

Super Wednesdays are an inclusive group who gather for discussion and friendship. As we are finding through research, friendships and socialization are imperative for maintaining a strong mind as we age. However, it’s never too early to start! Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join in regardless of age. The broader the span, the healthier the perspective. The group atmosphere is warm and accepting and embraces sharing. There is time for serious thought as well as time for laughter and joy. Come have a cup of coffee or tea and join the shared camaraderie. You’ll be glad you did. There is no commitment, just drop in Room 7, at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays.


May 3 – movie day – Mother’s Day – Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is a stressed-out, single mom who learns that her ex-husband is marrying a younger woman. Her friend Jesse (Kate Hudson) is a fitness freak who doesn’t tell her parents that she has a family. Bradley is a widower (Jason Sudeikis) who’s trying to raise two daughters on his own, while Miranda (Julia Roberts) is too busy with her career to worry about having children. When their respective problems start coming to a head, the Mother’s Day holiday takes on a special meaning.


May 10 game day – come have fun and play games with a very non-competitive group. Room 7 all are welcome.


May 17 – Coffee and Conversation – come relax and have coffee and conversation. Room 7 all are welcome.


May 24 – Newsletter folding. Conference room. Talk to Barbara if you are interested in joining this group.


Ancient Mariner’s


Mariners will gather on Friday, May 19 at the home of Pat and Doug Eddy. Fun will start at 6 p.m. Bring your favorite dish to share. This is always a great time. A reminder e-mail will be sent out before so you can RSVP to them.

Water 2 Wine – Water Distilled?


Water 2 Wine is heading to Distillery Row in May. Our date May 14, has some competition with Mother’s day, which we understand. That’s why a small group of us will be heading to Eastside (1512 SE 7th) and Vinn (222 SE 8th Ave.) Distilleries. We will be starting at Vinn Distillery at 2:00 pm.


If you want to join us please RSVP by May 7th to as if we have enough people we can have them do a private tasting for us.


Val found that both of these have a groupon making it a little cheaper, or if you are into it you can by a passport for a tour of 12 of Portland Distilleries for $20.


Book Club
Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse by Faith Sullivan is our selection for May. About this book Betsy Schram, The Bookshelf, writes:
“Sullivan has provided a tale that will resonate with anyone who has been faced with the loss of a loved one, a challenge of faith, the gossip of a community, or the search for one’s independence. What better place to find grace than in the heart of a good book?”
We will discuss this book May 8 at 7:00pm.
Spring Sounds
The Tualatin Valley Community Band will be presenting their annual spring concert on Sunday, May 7 at 3 p.m. Please note the location is Tualatin High School, not our usual Tigard High School. Program will last a little over an hour and of course, their is no admission price but good will donations are always accepted. Sandy Ruff is a member of this band.









Southminster Reads 


The Adult Education Committee has chosen “Why I Left Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son” by Tony and Bart Campolo.


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, “Why I Left: Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son.”


Bart is still in ministry. It isn’t Christianity, however. He is the University of Southern California’s first Humanist Chaplain. He speaks with me about what happens in many families when religion divides. Many families stop talking. The Campolos keep the conversation going.
M.A.D. Camp
M.A.D. Camp time is almost here. For an incredible week of fun with music, art, and drama, be sure to register your 6 – 10 year olds. Camp runs June 26-30, 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM, with lunch included. The fee is $45 per child and scholarships are available. Call the church office or pick up a registration form at church. We fill up quickly, so please get registration forms in asap.
Sunday Morning Rides


We are in need of a few volunteers to help members of our congregation get to Sunday services and, occasionally, other church activities. If you’d like to help out please contact Suzanne Angelo. Thanks!


Embrace Festival – May 4th – 6th



An exciting event presented by Progressive Christianity is the Embrace Festival coming up May 4, 5, & 6 in Portland. Featured presenters include Matthew Fox, Gretta Vosper, and even our John Shuck will serve on a panel discussion and lead a class. What is it? Here is the vision:


“In May 2017, people from all over the world will gather in Portland, Oregon to share knowledge and wisdom, learn from each other, celebrate, be inspired, and find the tools needed to create and enliven local movements within our communities. Together we will explore sacred oneness, Christ Consciousness, Buddha Nature, eco-spirituality, social justice and the way of universal and personal transformation that honors the Divine in all.”



Worship Schedule (Subject to Spirit’s Adjustment)


May 7            Torah: Genesis Exodus
We begin. “My ancestor was homeless, an Aramean who went to live in Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 26:5 CEV). So begins the harvest prayer to remember from whence we come. The ancestor here is Jacob who is later named Israel, the father of one daughter and twelve sons who become the twelve tribes of Israel. This prayer is Jacob’s story in a nutshell. It is a prayer of gratitude and a prayer of remembrance. It is the sacred mythology of Judaism and through adoption, of Christianity and ultimately, the West. A sacred mythology is the remembered story that provides identity and grounding in time of change. As we move through this section from creation to the presentation of the mitzvot (commandments) on Mount Sinai/Horeb, we hear the promise of home and covenant-a promise it seems, just out of reach.
May 14           Torah (Exodus); Mother’s Day
One of the oldest texts is Miriam’s Song. She praises YHWH the warrior, “…horse and rider YHWH has thrown into the sea.” The exodus from Egypt is the most essential event in the TaNaKh. Remembered at Passover each year, this is the most important celebration for Jews. African-Americans who were enslaved also found obvious resonance with the exodus as done any people under the yoke of oppression..
May 21           Torah (Leviticus, Numbers)
In the last half of Exodus we find instructions for constructing YHWH’s mobile home, also known as a tent or tabernacle. YHWH lived there and led the people with fire and smoke through the wilderness. Why would the storytellers write a story about their god needing a tent? These stories can be read as signposts in the evolution of their conception of God. Baal was also movable in this time. Baal was YHWH’s major competitor. Baal rode a bull. He would be understood to be an invisible rider on a statue of a bull. When Moses is receiving the tablets of the Law, the folks led by Moses’s brother, Aaron, make a golden bull for YHWH to ride. It is a nice gesture. YHWH doesn’t appreciate the gift. YHWH is not interested in sharing a ride with Baal. YHWH is a jealous god. That is perhaps the most unique aspect of ancient Israel’s religion. What are the consequences of serving a jealous god?
May 28           Torah (Deuteronomy) Legacy Giving Sunday/Memorial Day

Adult Education:

The Church’s Role Beyond Its Own Walls, May 2 – June 20


The Adult Education committee is excited to present Tuesday evening programming beginning May 2nd. We will explore a wide variety of issues through film, discussion, and presentations. Some of the topics we will cover include:
  •  Sanctuary Churches as a safe place for undocumented workers.
  •  Protecting the Right to Free Speech (particularly the right to protest).
  •  Freedom of Religion (i.e. discuss ban Muslims from entering the U.S.)
  •  A Humane Guest Worker Program
  •  Medical Fairness and Care for All
  •  A Moral Budget as opposed to a Militarized Budget.
  •  Education Fairness (should college be free?)
  •  Worker Fairness and the right to unionize.
Plenty to talk about. John also will make 2-3 presentations entitled “Ethics As Worlds End” on his personal journey through Exploring 9/11, Peak Oil, and the End of Religion.
A complete schedule will be available soon!

Sunday Starter 


May 7, 14 and 21 – We will discuss a book – Waking up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. The book is a journey of racial understanding and exploration of white privilege. The Co-Moderators of the PC USA, The Reverends Denise Anderson and Jan Edmonton, have recommended this book to all PCUSA congregations and provided a study guide that we will use to structure our discussions. The book is available from many sources, but reading it is not required for attending and we hope many will take the opportunity to join us and explore this issue together.


Sunday Starter Seeks Your Input!


What topics do you want to learn about, discuss, and explore at the 9:00 am Sunday Starter adult education class? The Adult Education Committee is seeking input to make sure Sunday Starter programs are relevant and exciting as they plan the subject modules for Fall 2017 through Spring 2018.


Please call or email Janet Cruz; to share your ideas. Thank you for your input!


Test the Waters – May 20th



If you are new to our congregation, join us Saturday, May 20th 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 March, interviews were posted with…

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was one of the leaders of the civil rights movement along with Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy. But he was in many ways unsung. Middle Georgia State University Professor Andrew Manis talks about the legacy of Fred Shuttlesworth.  In 1999, he wrote A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. This book is in the process of being made into a film.


I also speak with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. He is a Georgetown University sociology professor, a New York Times contributing opinion writer, and a contributing editor of The New Republic, and of ESPN’s The Undefeated website.  In January he released Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America.



Mary Astor’s biggest role was Brigid O’Shaughnessy.  Brigid was the love interest of Sam Spade played by Humphrey Bogart in the film, the Maltese Falcon.


But Mary Astor is most famous for what happened off screen and was recorded in her diary. Caricaturist Edward Sorel brings her story to life in the book he wrote and illustrated, Mary Astor’s Purple Diary:  The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936.


I also speak with a young minister, who at the age of 37 was diagnosed with a form of cancer usually reserved for men in their 60s and 70s. Jason Micheli tells his story in his book, Cancer is Funny:  Keeping Faith In Stage Serious Chemo.


Stephen Gray is the author of Cannabis and Spirituality: An Explorer’s Guide to an Ancient Plant Spirit Ally. Many misconceptions about cannabis abound. It is much maligned and misunderstood. Today we will address questions such as: What are its effects? What is a good dosage? Why do some people have negative experiences with it (such as paranoia or anxiety)? Is it addictive? Is it good for society to legalize cannabis? We are also going to talk about the spirituality of cannabis. How can cannabis be an ally in spiritual practice?


I also speak with Michael Eric Dyson, author of Tears We Cannot Stop:  A Sermon to White America about police brutality, racism and the killing of teenager Quanice Hayes by Portland police.



On February 9th 2017 in Northeast Portland, a 17 year old child, Quanice Derrick Hayes was shot three times, twice in the chest and once through the head at point blank range. He was shot and killed by Portland Police Officer Andrew Hearst.


The family of Quanice Hayes is calling on Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler who also serves as police commissioner to instruct the district attorney to seek an indictment for Officer Hearst.
The mother of Quanice Hayes, Venus Hayes, and the lead organizer of “Don’t Shoot Portland”, Teressa Raiford, speak with me about their struggle for accountability, transparency, and justice.



Youth News – April 2017  



Sunday Mornings:  Worship 10:00am, Connections & Everyday Leadership 10:15am
Middle School – DV8
May 7 – DV8 Lunch & Something! 11:30-1:30 p.m.@ Mini-Golf – Cost = $7.00
May 21 – DV8 Lunch & Something! 11:30-1:30 p.m. @ church.
May 28 – Happy Memorial Day weekend!
8/High School – SNL
May 7 – Wrap up “Silent Auction” – Thank You’s”
May 14 – Happy Mother’s Day!
May 19-21 – Sr. High Special Event!! T.B.D. (See Don & Student leaders)
May 26-29 – Happy Memorial Day weekend!
June 4 – GRADUATION SUNDAY – 10:00 a.m.
                   Celebrate Carter, Sofia, Yuen Wai, and Bryn
Dates to Remember:
June 4 – Graduation Sunday!
June 15-17 – Rummage Sale for Youth!
June 24-July 1 – Sr. High Spokane Mission Trip
July 2 – Youth Mission & Confirmation Sunday
July 10-15 – San Juan Bike Trip




Read the Bible Cover to Cover      


The Writings (Ketuvim)
Part 1: Poetic Literature(Psalms, Proverbs, Job)

The Psalms is a collection of songs, Israel’s hymnbook. This psalm collection was compiled from older collections used in worship during the time of the second temple (the one built by Zerubbabel). The Psalms are classified as follows:

Hymns–acts of praise suitable for any occasion. They include:

Enthronement Hymns–celebrating the Lord’s kingship, and

  •  Songs of Zion–expressing devotion to Jerusalem, the Holy City,
  •  Laments–an individual seeks deliverance from illness or false accusation, or the nation asks for help in times of distress,
  •  Songs of Trust–individuals express their confidence in God’s readiness to help,
  •  Thanksgivings–individuals express gratitude for deliverance,
  •  Sacred History–the nation recounts the story of God’s activity,
  •  Royal Psalms–these are used for a coronation or royal wedding,
  •  Wisdom Psalms–meditations on the life and ways of God, and
  •  Liturgies–these are of a mixed type and were composed for special occasions.
Some psalms have elements of two or more types. The Psalms are divided into five “books” in imitation of the Torah. The tradition that all of the psalms were written by David demonstrates the high regard for him as a poet. However, this tradition is quite late and evidence within the texts shows that they are a product of many people over many centuries.

Spendtime each day with a few of the psalms and try to classify of which type each belongs.

The book of Proverbs is a collection of sayings and riddles designed to teach young people how to live wisely. Virtues such as fairness, honesty, diligence, and controlling one’s desires are emphasized. Like the books from Deuteronomy through Kings, the basic assumption of is that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (9:10) Wisdom brings success and folly brings destruction. While Proverbs is attributed for the most part to Solomon (the wise king) and other figures, the poetry of Proverbs is the product of many centuries and sources, much like a collection of nursery rhymes or fairy tales.

Job is also a legend that challenges the theology of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. The theological thread that runs through those books is that the good are rewarded and the wicked are punished. Job is a righteous man who suffers and therefore Job challenges the view of God promoted by his three friends who represent this theological tradition. Job warns us against speaking for God too quickly and self-assuredly in light of human suffering.


You can find May’s guide here:


May Bible Guide

Here is the quiz for May:

May Bible Quiz

Here is the family quiz for May:

May Family Story Quiz

Have fun and keep those fabulous prizes in mind!


Printable Calendar for April



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


Contact John
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