PASTOR’S PONDERINGS—DISCIPLES AND POLITICS
We are in highly charged political times, and an election year. While it might be tempting to shut it all out and ignore it, that is not our call as disciples of Jesus Christ. The rules of polite society a generation ago dictated avoiding talking about religion or politics as both were considered to be topics that could lead to tension and ruin your dinner party. And both were considered anyway to be purely individual choice that others should not try to meddle in.
Well my siblings in Christ, we need to talk about politics, and religion, and how they intersect. Because Jesus was political. He did not seek to start a faith renewal that only impacted individuals and had no effect on the larger society. Jesus talked, over and over again, about basileia theou, the Kingdom of God, which you could also translate God’s Empire or the Reign of God or God’s Country.
Jesus talked about these things because he cared about people. Politics comes from another Greek word and basically means, having to do with the citizens. Governments of nations are supposed to provide for the welfare of all the people living in them. Throughout the Bible God holds the leaders accountable for caring for the people. And yes our government – a representative democracy- is a different style than theirs, yes we have freedom of religion and not a theocracy.
But people who profess faith in Jesus Christ should recognize that our faith will have a direct impact on how we participate in politics. We do not divorce our faith from the rest of our life. Jesus pushed the people around him, who were of his own faith, to live faithfully and to consider how their actions affected those around them. This is true for us today in political life. Minimally, we vote. We as disciples of Jesus should weigh our decisions carefully and take care to be informed of everything that will be on our ballot so we are ready when time for elections comes. We should also engage everything political in the same way we engage all of life: with care for the least, with justice and love for our neighbors, considering how we can do the most good possible. In political processes there can be a lot of deal-making and power grabbing; followers of Jesus and his Way remember that there is no “ends justifying the means” in Christian faith but our whole goal is live the Way faithfully. This can surely be a difficult road for any politicians who profess faith in Christ but our job as their siblings in Christ and voters is to hold them accountable to integrity. Their words and deeds should match their values, just like for other disciples of Jesus. None of us are perfect, true; but for Methodists especially we continue to work toward perfection.
So beloved, are you registered to vote? Have you considered carefully and prayerfully all that is on your local ballot this year, referendums and political offices? If you would like help in considering faith perspectives for the ballot you can always talk to me, or check out lutheranpublicpolicyca.org or calchurches.org. We ought to be able, as siblings in Christ, to have conversations about how our faith and politics intersect with kindness and respect and prayerful consideration, so that we can act together alongside God in our world.
Elections are important. But they are just one part of our total lives, in which we should seek to love God and love our neighbor. May the ways we live as political beings (no matter what party we find ourselves in) truly express the values of the Kingdom of God that we know about because of Jesus.
Listen to Pastor Michelle’s latest Sunday message on the Church website:
You may already know we have been working towards having an outdoor worship service and had our protocol plan approved by our District Superintendent. We had aimed for our first outdoor service to take place this Sunday, September 27.
However because of air quality concerns and ongoing fires we need to adjust the date. If the fires are sufficiently contained and the weather cooperates, we will now try for Sunday, October 11 for our first outdoor service.
We will continue with online worship via Facebook Live and Zoom at the regular time 10:30am in the meantime, and the Zoom coffee hour. Thank you for your continued faithfulness in sharing Christ wherever you are.
In Christ’s Love and Peace
JOYS AND CONCERNS AMONG OUR CHURCH FAMILY
Please continue to pray for cancer warriors Michael dela Montanya, Jacob dela Montanya, Gerard Laquerrier (friend of John and Pat), Barbara Mohler, Irene Pasillas (Open Gate), and Chase Glosier (Steve and Kathy Botkin’s nephew).
Please keep Phyllis Martzen, Lisa and Vanessa Delgado, John and Pat dela Montanya, Carol (Rossi) Christianson, Linda Gourley (friends of Mary Esmay), Jean Gerstenberg, Louisa Valenzuela, Brenda Godinez, Aiko Takeda, Pat Kurihara, Rosalinda Vasquez and her family, Richard Meffley (friend of John and Pat), Florence Brayfield, Marcia Williams, Terry and Nancy McKittrick, Katherine Rodriguez and her family, Betty Barsotti, Mel Imai (Ruth Fujinaga’s cousin), Molly Osato, Cherry Cadiente (Winnie’s sister-in-law), Steven Bulosan, Lee Bulosan (Janice’s father), Wilma Conner, Sandy Hansen, Dinuba Youth for Christ, Cruising for Jesus, domestic violence ministries, first responders, health-care workers, Open Gate Ministries; teachers and students; and all those affected during the COVID-19 pandemic and lock-down in your prayers.
Sandy Hansen is proud to announce the marriage September 16 of her son Adam Hansen to Elizabeth Kelly via Zoom. Congratulations to the happy couple !
NEWS BITS FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER, 2020
Pastor Michelle will live-stream her Sunday sermons on Facebook at 10:30 AM (more information enclosed), and she will be leading “Grace Groups” via ZOOM. Old Testament Bible Study will gather every Wednesday at 11:00 AM via conference call. Prayer Group will convene Thursdays. Ad Council will meet via ZOOM.
Virtual Coffee Hour will be held following Facebook live-stream and Zoom worship service every Sunday (except October 11) and following Holy Communion on Sunday, October 4 !! (Please have bread and juice ready for virtual Communion.)
Our re-opening team is planning for in-person outdoor worship that may be coming soon! Tentative date for return to in-person worship is October 11 at Norma and Romeo Lozano’s back yard (844 West Nebraska Avenue, SE corner Viscaya Parkway). Please wear a mask and bring a chair, if possible ! (Some chairs and disposable masks will be available.) Facebook livestream and Zoom service will also be offered. (Re-opening has been postponed from September 27 because of air quality concerns.)
OPEN GATE MINISTRIES 46TH ANNIVERSARY TAKE-OUT DINNER will be held Friday, October 16, at the Dinuba Mennonite Brethren Church (corner El Monte Way and Nichols Avenue). TICKETS ARE $35 or 4/$100, AND MAY BE PURCHASED AT OPEN GATE SHELTER, 511 North “K” Street in Dinuba. Silent Auction items may be viewed on the website opengatedinuba.com.
Our Ad Council during the meeting on May 20 decided to invite our entire congregation to spend a moment in prayer every day at 11:24 am, relating to Mark 11:24 where Jesus told his disciples, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Let us join together and ask for: God’s healing and protection for our church family and our neighbors; for us to take good care of one another; for our governmental authorities to have wisdom in providing for wellbeing of all people; for healthcare workers and other essential workers; and for help in finding a vaccine and ending this time of pandemic, as soon as God’s will allows. So set your phone alarms or alarm clocks to remind you and we will join together in prayer every day at 11:24am!
–Pastor Michelle, and Susan Yoshimura, Ad Board Chairman
WAYS TO COMMUNICATE WITH PASTOR MICHELLE
I pray that you are all staying safe and well! These times of pandemic can bring extra pastoral care concerns. Please, if you would like a phone call or visit, let me know! Reaching me on my cell phone is probably the best way, (805) 233- 5796. We can also set up a Zoom to “see” one another if you like. (I just ask that if it’s not urgent, to not call on Monday, my day off.) For now according to the Conference protocol, if you would like a visit I can stand outside of your house and talk to you from 10 feet away, looking at you through a window, and talking “live” or on the phone if we can’t hear each other. If you are on Facebook and would like to be “friends” there please send a friend request to Pastor Michelle Magee. Out of respect for your privacy I won’t request you, but I would be pleased to be friends on that account if you like! Please also like our church Facebook page to see updates there, and you can see the livestreamed worship every Sunday at 10:30am: https://www.facebook.com/PalmUMCDinuba/videos/.
Email is great too: email@example.com. You should also be getting a weekly guide to an at- home devotional to do, and you can catch the sermon in print form on my blog on the website too: palmumc.org under the worship tab. Blessings! –Pastor Michelle
God continues to call us to thankfully be good stewards of all we have received. Please remember, even though we aren’t presently using our facility, we still have bills to pay: salaries, utilities, insurance, etc. Your tithes and offerings are VERY important !! Snail-mail (USPS) always works, and now we have the convenient option of online giving through our web-site or Facebook !! Give it a try – SEE OUR NEW GIVING PAGE. Thank you !!
ONLINE WORSHIP SERVICES
HOW TO LISTEN TO PALM CHURCH 10:30 am SUNDAY SERVICES
WITH PASTOR MICHELLE (and virtual Communion on Octover 4)
“LIVE” through Zoom using a phone for audio only
1. Dial 1-669-900-6833 OR 1-346-248-7799
2. After prompt, enter Meeting I.D. 901-220-3185, and hit #
3. After prompt, hit # again, Option—Try Speaker Phone
LISTEN AND VIEW PASTOR MICHELLE’S
PALM CHURCH 10:30 A.M. SUNDAY SERMON every week on
FACEBOOK LIVESTREAM ( and VIRTUAL COMMUNION on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4)
( even if you aren’t a member of Facebook !! )
After getting the Log-in Window, Click on “Not Now.”
► When the Live Video appears, click on the red LIVE button
Please leave a Facebook comment (If using a computer, click on video to open the Comments field) or click on “Care Emoji Bubble,” or send Pastor Michelle a text (805-233-5796), OR send Marian an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the purpose of attendance record. Thank you !
Please have juice and bread ready for virtual Communion on Sunday, September 6.
TO PARTICIPATE IN VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR FOLLOWING THE SERVICE
“LIVE” through Zoom using computer or smart phone
(or audio only—see instructions above for dial-in, hit * 6 to un-mute yourself)
Join Zoom Meeting—
OPEN GATE MINISTRIES ON-GOING NEEDS
511 North “K” Street, Dinuba 559-591-1241
Feminine Products and Diapers
Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
Lotion, Shampoo, and Hairbrushes
Coffee and Creamer
Cooking Oil and Sugar
Ziplock Bags (quart and gallon size)
Aluminum Foil / Paper Grocery Bags
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Socks and Pajamas- All sizes
OCTOBER WORSHIP TASKS
Newsletter Editor: Marian Clifton
Worship Bulletin Editor: Kathy Lamb
Webmaster: Sandy Hansen
Office Hours: Tues./Thurs 10:30-4:00
Office Phone: 559-591-0746
Listen to Pastor Michelle’s sermons at –
Church Location: Tulare and “P” Streets
Sunday Service: 10:30 AM—Facebook Live
Palm Church Ad Council
Susan Yoshimura–Administrative Board Chair, Education Chair
Jerry Munson—Finance Chair, Financial Secretary
Derek Fujinaga, Interim rustee Chair
Janice Serios—UMW President, Youth co-Chair, SPRC co-Chair
Nancy McKittrick—Assistant Treasurer
Marian Clifton—SPRC co-Chair, Missions co-Chair
Aiko Takeda—Missions co-Chair
Katherine Rodriguez—Missions (Outreach), Youth co-Chair
Cathy Yada—Recording Secretary
Derek Fujinaga—Lay Leader, Annual Conference Delegate
Pastor Michelle Magee—Nominations Chair