Pastors’ Columns

The Ordination Journey Comments Off on The Ordination Journey

The Ordination Journey

Posted by on Mar 12, 2023 in Church News & Events, Pastors' Columns

The Blaine Memorial UMC congregation raise hands and pray over Pastor Mia as she embarks on a week of interviews with the Oregon-Idaho Conference’s Board of Ordained Ministries – as they will determine if she will move forward with the ordination process.

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What is God seeking? Comments Off on What is God seeking?

What is God seeking?

Posted by on Mar 9, 2023 in Church News & Events, Lenten Season, Pastors' Columns

Lent, Spring, Sukiyaki: What is God Seeking?

By Rev. Karen Yokota Love, Senior Pastor

There are clear signs that Spring is approaching as cherry blossoms bloom sparsely among the trees in the neighborhood. Spring screams renewal, regeneration, and new beginnings, with a sudden burst of fresh energy, after the carefully considered and controlled conservations of winter. However, I feel a great sense of tension. American musician Henry Collins once said, “In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.” Blaine Memorial continues to be a vibrant place with new ideas and ministry activities, while reviving much loved events hosted prior to 2020. 

After a three-year hiatus, our Sukiyaki Benefit Fundraiser will return to Blaine Memorial UMC on Saturday, April 29 from 2pm-6pm, take-out only. This year’s benefit recipient will be the Rainier Valley Food Bank. Invite your family and friends for a delicious homemade meal!

As we enter the second week of Lent, I hope it is meaningful for you. Just as Jesus prepared for ministry through prayer and fasting for 40 days, we have sought to further open ourselves to God’s presence, work, and vision for us and for this world. Our Lenten programs are yielding the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of those who are participating in-person, online, through service or by way of prayer and support.

This year’s Lenten theme is “Seeking: honest questions for deeper faith”. We’ll continue to use Lectionary A which offers us many stories of Jesus encountering people who are seeking: 

Nicodemus comes to him in the veil of night

Jesus approaches a Samaritan woman at a well

• Jesus heals a man born without sight 

In these stories, each person is seeking a new beginning, a different life, and a deeper faith. Often, an unveiling occurs — assumptions are disrupted, a new perspective is revealed, mystery grows. This year’s Lenten series is founded on many questions. Some feel restorative (Can these bones live?). Some feel like a charge or challenge (Who will you listen to?). Some questions are hopeful and curious (How do we begin again?). Our questions won’t necessarily lead to answers, but they can help us find clarity and a new perspective. Ultimately, we pray they lead to a new beginning, a restoration, and a wider grace.

We are also seeking many things: clarity, connection, wonder, justice, balance. We are seeking our calling, the sacred, and how to live as a disciple. During the last few years, many of us have asked big questions about our lives and our faith. If you are returning to church, you probably have more questions and a critical lens. We hope this series will help unpack some of those questions in honest and faithful ways. We hope you will continually ask yourself, “What am I seeking? What is God seeking?”

Blaine Memorial continues to seek answers and dig deeper into our faith as the Reconciling Ministries (RM) Team continues to offer safe spaces for conversations about human sexuality. The RM Team will facilitate a 3-part Bible Study about Reconciling Ministries on March 15, March 22, and April 5 from 7pm-8:30pm. Subscribe to our weekly emails for updates.

Rev. Karen having fun with our youth on Palm Sunday 2022.

Save the Dates for Holy Week in early April: 

Palm Sunday Service, April 2, 10am: We will have a procession of palm leaves into the Sanctuary.

Good Friday Service, April 7, 7pm: Join us at Blaine Memorial as we collaborate with Japanese Baptist Church as we reflect on how Jesus bore the full brunt of our violence, sin, weaknesses, and pain. A simple soup supper in the Social Hall will be at 6pm. 

Easter Sunday Service, April 9, 10am: Celebrate and worship God’s love, grace, new life, and the miracle of the resurrection! We’ll have the flowering of the cross and an Easter Egg Hunt for our children and youth! 

Rev. Karen, Rev. Angeline Lau (JBC), Rev. Mia and Rev. Samuel Kim (JBC) at Japanese Baptist Church on Good Friday 2022.

We invite you to engage in the spiritual practice of seeking during Lent. Stay curious, open, and nimble. Soften your assumptions and expand your perspectives. We pray that these questions will create a safe space to explore — to be drawn more deeply into the fullness of life, into the heart of God. 

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