Greta McDonald's blog


This Sunday is Pentecost - a day that commemorates what many consider the Birth of the Church, when the small group of Jesus' uncertain followers were unexpectedly filled with the Holy Spirit. That gift of the Spirit, and the assurance of the continued presence of Christ with them, moved them to step beyond their closed doors into the world. They stepped forward in caring warmth, to speak with courage and compassion to skeptical listeners, and to become a growing band of people committed to meeting the needs of others in Jesus' name.

Lift Up Your Voice

This Sunday, our church's Children's Choirs - Cherubs, Choristers, and Connection - will lead the 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. services with the skits and songs of their cantata "Let Your Light Shine."

What an important message! And what an important moment it is for a young person to find his or her voice is supported, truly listened to, and appreciated by adults in a faith community. Such an experience shapes confidence, a sense of self, and opens doors for a life of "learning to speak the truth in love." (Ephesians 4:15)

Music to Heal the Soul

One of our church members happened to be sharing about some of the struggles and responsibilities that were currently a part of her life. And then she made an interesting comment. She said "that's one of the reasons I'm singing with the Choir, and taking the time to rehearse for the Cantata Sunday. The music of 'The Holy Spirit Mass' is beautiful, and when I sing it, it's like therapy - it nourishes my soul."

Easter people

As you know, we Christians celebrate Easter as a season, not just a day. It's a season that lasts seven weeks, marking the period during which the Risen Christ appeared to his disciples at various times and locations, before disappearing into "the heavens" with a promise that the Spirit would soon be poured out upon them, empowering them to carry on Christ's ministries.

It's a season that is reflected in our hymns, like "Easter People, Raise Your Voices," with its reminder that "every day to us is Easter."

Easter and Holy Week Updates

Here we are, halfway through Holy Week, between the "Hosannas!" of Palm Sunday and the "Alleluias!" of Easter morning.

The next two days, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, offer some of the most moving worship experiences of the year.

On Thursday, we will gather around tables to share the Bread and Cup, remembering Jesus' Last Supper in the upper room, and the love he offered in that meal to all who would receive it. We will meet in the sanctuary for this experience at noon, 6:30 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.

And on Good Friday, we will gather in the sanctuary at 7:30 p.m. for what some in our congregation describe as being, for them, the most meaningful service of the year.

In a candlelit setting, we will hear scripture segments that carry us through the last hours of Jesus' life, and all he faced to be faithful to God and true to his love for all humanity. The Chancel Choir will share powerful anthems that illuminate the story of Jesus' Passion, Pastor Greta will give a message, and we will end in the service in quiet reflection.

We hope you will make plans to attend - and to bring along a friend! - these two services that will help us to truly receive the gift of Christ's Life and Love anew on Easter. We hope you will share in these two services that will help us to truly receive the gift of Christ's Life and Love anew on Easter.

Ready for a Journey

This morning, when I walked into the church entryway, I was met by a suitcase.   I wasn't surprised. I knew, by the name label carefully attached to the handle, that it belonged to an adult working with our Chapel Choir.  Later today, many more suitcases will be appearing in the church parlor, as members of the Choir drop off their luggage in preparation for beginning an important journey.

The Gift of Choice

Last week I traveled to Massachusetts to attend my uncle's funeral service. He was a giving, thoughtful, faithful person in his long life, and I was grateful both my son and I were able to make the trip.

As expected, as we were buckling in for the flight to begin, the announcer noted that we have many airlines to choose from, and thanked us for choosing theirs.

Now is the time!

On Valentine's Day morning this past week, I played a phone message from Kim Coffing, Director of Community and Faith Relations of ChildServ. ChildServ is that Northern Illinois United Methodist agency we help support with our fifth Sunday special offerings.

It was a message of thanks - to you.


What a week it's been! - cars with mannequin drivers being launched into deep space; yet another budget impasse debate in Congress; people standing up and speaking up to protect the rights and well-being of others; athletes gathering in South Korea from around the globe - and now, on this Friday morning, thick layers of snow covering our part of the world, changing how everything looks, and making us slow down and notice what is right before our eyes.

Souper Bowl of Caring

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, and a lot of people are pretty excited about it.

The National Chicken Council is excited. They project that 1.33 billion chicken wings will be eaten before and during the Big Game.

Pizza restaurants are excited. Super Bowl Sunday is their third biggest day of the year, following only Halloween and New Year's Eve, and over 4,000,000 pizzas are expected to be picked up or delivered from the top three chains alone.


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