The youth group will have its annual winter retreat to Camp Tamarack in Wisconsin over President's Day Weekend, February 16-18. We will leave at 6 pm on Friday and return around 6 pm on Sunday. Cost is $15/youth.
The theme for this year is "Tearing Down Walls." How do we build walls between ourselves? How does God help us tear down those walls?
For more information, contact Pastor Kathryn.
We are putting together a pictorial directory of members and friends of North Shore. We want everyone included! Appointments are being taken now for February 22nd through the 25th. Please see Sherry Nelson to reserve your time slot. There is no charge to be included in the directory. You will have the opportunity, if you wish, to purchase photo packages. A pictorial directory is a great way for us to get to know each other better and to put a name with a face. Arrangements can be made if you are unable to attend one of the sittings here.
By Rev. Kathryn Ray
About 10 years ago, I was reflecting on the story of the potter’s house in Jeremiah, and I wrote the following prayer in a journal:
“You are not the potter, and I am not the clay. Clay can only be molded for a time, and then it hardens, never again to change form and evolve, until it ultimately breaks into shards to be thrown away. If I am to be sculpted by a divine hand, let it be as Play-Doh in the hands of a child. Bright and soft, morphing and transforming, from rocks to pizza to dinosaurs. May the limits of my being be the limits of an imagination at play, made into something new with each passing day.”
We will have our annual Healing Service on Sunday, February 11, at 10:30 am. The service will take place in Howel Hall. The Healing Service is a combined worship with all of the congregations, in which we pray for healing of all kinds and perform the ritual of anointing with oil.
Everyone is invited to accompany the Japanese congregation to the commemoration of the annual Day of Remembrance, which marks the anniversary of the signing of the Executive Order which led to the incarceration of thousands of Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II. This year's theme is "Stop Repeating History."
The event is free of charge and will take place on Sunday, February 18, at 2:00 pm at the Chicago History Museum.
By Saw Solomon Opehtoo, Acting Pastor of the Karen Fellowship
From the perspective of a Christian Karen from Burma, Christmas and New Year are the most important events of the year. Christmas reminds us that God-called the Word-became flesh in order to in-dwell among humanity, to show people the way of justice and righteousness. Christmas supports the spirituality of the Christian Karens by showing that God is dwelling among us, and God is struggling with the Karens in order to fulfill their dream.
As the new year begins in January, the Karens find new hope in order to continue to struggle for their dream. The New Year reminds us to evaluate the past year and to prepare a better way of living. In this sense, traditionally, Christians in Burma normally connect the essence of Christmas and that of the New Year celebration to review their Christian life.
The Karens’ experience of worldly suffering teaches them that they need strength from God, because it is impossible for them to struggle without divine power. Their experience teaches them that they have to look for spiritual power to continue to survive in suffering. Coming to the church is meaningful for them to look for their spiritual sustenance so that they can possess enough strength to continue their lives.
For the poor, the oppressed, the persecuted, the marginalized, and the discriminated against, Christmas in December and the New Year in January bring a new strength and a new hope. Although the shepherds were in a hopeless position in the time of Roman persecution, they had been the first group of people who receive the good news about the coming of Savior. Although the Karens are suffering in civil wars, Christmas brings a new hope for them so that they can continue to survive in a world filled with suffering.
People need hope to live. Although the Karen people have been oppressed for centuries, they are still living because they have a hope that someday they will receive “Kaw Thoo Lei,” meaning a land without evil. This is the source of hope for the Karen people of Burma. The Karens’ “Kaw Thoo Lei” hope is simply the hope of all people to create and receive a decent human society in this world. Even arriving in a new world, such as the United States of America, Canada, Australia, and Europe, to resettle and to start anew, the Karen people from Burma still hope that their Kaw Thoo Lei dream will be fulfilled someday.
Pastor Solomon will be presenting on the panel Human Rights Without Borders: Immigration and the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday, January 14 at 1:30 pm. Click here for more information about the conference.