August 30, 2015 Outreach Worship – Pastor Kelli’s Reflection

As the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, I’ve reflected on my own experience with the devastation. After the storm, I drove from Fort Worth, where I was in seminary, to Shreveport, where Hirsch Coliseum was a makeshift shelter for those coming in buses from New Orleans and the surrounding areas. My graduation from high school was in the same room that had now become home to hundreds. Inflatable mattresses in rows, parents in zombie-like states, and children playing in the walkways — I can close my eyes and can be transported back there with a simple, deep breath.

While volunteering, we did whatever was needed: organize donated clothing, input information to the Red Cross database, pray with strangers, play with children and get to know their parents. It changed me in ways I am still discovering. Most deeply, it brought to my attention the reality that those in poverty lacked means to get out of the city when the storm came in. This wasn’t some other country. This was my home state, my country. How could this happen? No matter our country, state or neighborhood, we all live in systems of inequity that feel like they are beyond our control. Certainly, they are beyond our control if we were to try to dismantle them alone or all at once. Even worse, sometimes scripture is used to keep us from working against inequity and poverty.

When we hear that Jesus proclaimed that “the poor will always be with you,” (Matt 26) we can often resign ourselves to just taking care of ourselves. Those words can become a way to absolve ourselves of the responsibility to act. Upon closer look, Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 15, where  it is proclaimed that because there are people in poverty, we have a hand open to help always. In Matthew 26, a woman in poverty anoints Jesus and helps him prepare for the cross. In that moment, Jesus’ own poverty is revealed and it is clear that even the most vulnerable among us have the ability to reveal God’s love.

In reading Matthew 26, it is important to know that God does not will people to suffer in poverty. Too often, humanity refuses to engage in the work to upend poverty. As Christians, we proclaim with Jesus that the poor will always be with us because that word of God catapults us into action. Could we say it this way: If there are poor, they ought to be with us; even more, we should be with them?!

Many things happened in the time I sat on the floor playing or talking at Hirsch Coliseum. Friendships developed with a family from Gentilly, a neighborhood in New Orleans. We worked together to find their mama who had ended up in a hospital in Monroe, LA. We made trips to the store together. We laughed and we cried. As it came time for me to head back to Fort Worth, I received a gift from the women of this family: a bud vase, a partially used body spray that made it out of New Orleans in one of the women’s purses, and a $5 bill with a note written on it – Katrina didn’t take it all. With that gift, I felt the oil poured over my head, anointing me to work for justice and always find myself with an open hand to help.

This Sunday, worship will be different. It is my hope that we will find ourselves reminded that we are all anointed to unravel the systems of poverty and racism that keep our culture divided, weaving ourselves together in love. We will not upend systemic poverty in our city in this one Sunday, but by working together we will find the energy to keep making choices that empower us to say poverty, death, and even the cross do not have the last word — God does.

katrina didn't take it all

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July Sermon Series

David July 2015 sermon series

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Visit the Booth at Pride!!!

This Sin equality-01aturday, June 6, we hope to see you at the Bethany booth from Noon to 8 p.m. We will have water for dogs, fans to cool off, sunscreen, and friendly people.

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Sermon Series in June – What do healthy relationships look like?

final heart question outside propo

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Easter Egg Hunt and Lunch on PALM SUNDAY!

Egg Hunt Flyer 2015

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HOLY WEEK AT BETHANY!

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Lent at Bethany!

Lent at Bethany 2015Lent is the time of the Christian year when we anticipate Easter. We orient our hearts toward contemplation, contrition, and forgiveness. This year we have many entry points to focus on this Holy season.

Sunday Sermons: Each Sunday we will focus on Words to Treasure in the Heart. Those words will be Beloved, Treasure, Light, Darkness, Raze/Raise, Prepare, Glory, Unexpected. See you Sunday mornings at 10:45 am in person or online!

Gather at the Table: On two Wednesdays, March 4 and 18, we will have (free) dinner and conversation. This is an all ages event where children will work on a service project. Please RSVP to the church office by phone (918.492.1353) or email (churchoffice @ bethanybelieves.com)

Video and Haiku Series: Everyday in Lent except Sundays, Pastor Kelli posts a video devotional on Facebook and YouTube that correlates to our Words to Treasure in the Heart series. Bethany member Mike Cross provides a haiku reflection on the word that you can read on Facebook or Twitter.

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Trunk or Treat on Halloween

Trunk or Treat PicClick the image for more info!

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Spread the News!

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This Summer at Bethany

trajan a future with hope rectangleSince January, Bethany has engaged in the Jeremiah Project, a process to discover who we are! And, have we ever! We have 4 passions here at Bethany: Community, Hospitality, Outreach and Justice. You will find at the end of this post statements about our 4 passions.

While Pastor Kelli is on maternity leave, we’ll have preachers reflecting on one of our 4 passions. Community Life Groups begin soon. Created based on your input during the Jeremiah visioning process, small groups have been formed to give us opportunities to get to know each other better and to know ourselves better. Leaders have graciously accepted the call to care for each group. Your leader will be in touch with you soon and they are already keeping you in their prayers! They will be there for you, and hope you will let them know if you need them anytime, they will keep you informed of special church news (such as the baby’s arrival). The leaders will also be hosting four gatherings for your group during July, August,and September. These small group events, will be fun and informative; we will learn about each other, learn about ourselves, and continue to explore ways to live our faith withone another. After the summer sessions, your leader will continue to care for you. However, the members in your group may change. Groups may decide to meet based on shared interests, a project, or to mix up so that we can all get to know more people in the church. The possibilities are endless! Anyone can join a community life group, just let the church office know.

Community: Living in the way of Jesus, we are an intergenerational family of faith embracing the value and beauty of each individual. We nurture one another spiritually on our journey from infancy to the far side of maturity. Through experiences of worship, education, and service we grow in relationship with God, with our neighbors, with ourselves, and with all creation.

Hospitality: Living in the way of Jesus, we embody radical hospitality. We build relationships within an environment safe for all, where all means every person. We welcome the stranger and the friend, the child and the teenager, the marginalized and the mainstream, sharing the love of God by affirming individuals for who they are, reflections of God’s presence.

Outreach: Living in the way of Jesus, we partner with the larger community, locally, regionally and globally, to share the abundance of God’s creation in an equitable and sustainable way so that all may thrive.

Justice: Living in the way of Jesus, we are empowered to bring wholeness to a fragmented world. Through education and prayer, we discern what is just and proclaim God’s shalom.

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