Embraces people of all cultures, races, religions, and sexual orientations;
Allows people to express their doubts and ask important questions;
Sees science as a window into the wonders of the universe;
Serves and empowers rather than controls and manipulates;
Gives people a chance to serve those in need, here and around the world.
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We come along many different paths to gather here, and you are welcome.
If you are young or old, you are welcome.
If you have brown skin, black skin, white skin, yellow skin, or red skin, you are welcome.
If you are married or single, you are welcome.
If you are sick or well, you are welcome.
If you are gay or straight, you are welcome.
If you cannot hear or see, you are welcome.
If you are a man or woman, you are welcome.
If you are happy or sad, you are welcome.
If you are rich or poor, powerful or weak, you are welcome.
If you believe in God some of the time, or none of the time, or all of the time, you are welcome.
So come, let us worship our welcoming God!
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We are proud and pleased to have received both a Letter of Appreciation and a Certificate of Recognition as an Open and Affirming church.
How I live during this trip along the river of life is up to me! I've tried to 'batten the hatch' isolation cruise and found it wanting. Along the voyage I've encountered well-lighted vessels port-ending an 'open to travelers' theme, all aboard happy to share their s-dory. I came to believe that each day we have a choice, either to attract or detract, gather in, remain neutral, or repel. I note the lighted ark seems repaid in kind, as the launch that glows ketches a more lively galley. The silent sloop is a careful coaster, its pilot fearing a-wake, its running lights disappearing into darkness. No schooner said, I'm done with my part as a tug, for I've found my kind of life-boats illuminating a warmth in those like me. We just need a spark in our bark! Sailing together in a festival of lights, our parade of illumination ferries others into current trim. Our mast beacon now reads: 'Add your light to our flotilla!'
~ Chris Galloway
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Book Club for February
*The book Club will be meeting March 3rd
discussing The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins.
Healing Moments are the most important moments in our lives. A time when we surround our members with Intensive Spiritual Care. Please keep in your prayers:
Alex Banwell and Family Susan Simison
Sheila Boswell and Family Mohammed
The Ghafari Family Lois Pew
All those throughout the world affected by natural disasters
Service personnel and their families
Peace efforts around the world
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theSunday Morning Message?
Africa University holds a special importance in the life of SOTH because our former centenarian, Grace Clark, established a scholarship/endowment fund on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Click here for the latest update.
Israel's Punishment and Reform Judaism --an editorial from the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz and a note from Rabbi Lerner on the Re
Editor's Note: For those like me who love Israel and wish to see its citizens safe and secure, and know that that can only happen when Palestinians are also safe and secure, the defacto abrogating of the possibllity of a two state solution should Israel follow through on its punishment of the Palestinians by building in the area cutting the possible Palestinian state in two is a tragic error. Please read the Ha'aretz editorial below. It makes me sad to imagine what will happpen when Palestinians actually see the 2 state solution destroyed in coming years by a Netanyahu-Likud-Beiteinu government, and are then driven into the hands of Hamas or other extremists. The only plausible alternative is for them to demand "one person, one vote" inside Israel, and that is not going to be accepted by many Israelis who still feel scared enough of the world to believe that their only safety comes in a state with a Jewish majority. I discuss these issues in more detail in my 2012 book Embracing Israel/Palestine which you might want to consider for a holiday gift for your Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and secular friends www.tikkun.org/EIP .
Meanwhile, it is disappointing to listen to the Reform movement (Union of Reform Judaism) dealing with all this by castigating Palestinians for seeking recognition at the U.N., as though their desire for international support is somehow a crime, when in fact it was the logical outcome of Israel blocking any serious negotiations by refusing to stop expanding its West Bank settlements. Here is a part of what they said after the vote this past Thursday:
"We are deeply disappointed in the results of the vote in the United Nations yesterday to accept Palestinian non-member observer state status. We believe this decision will undercut incentives for a final agreement that must be negotiated by the two impacted parties directly. We are also concerned about the potential for this decision to enable the Palestinians to challenge Israel, both diplomatically and legally, in the international arena in UN sponsored venues such as the International Criminal Court, a move that will do serious damage to rebuilding the trust between Israel and the Palestinians. We want to commend--and thank--the United States and Canada for their vigorous position [opposing UN recognition of the Palestinian state] regarding this UN vote. We agree with Secretary of State Clinton who said that: '"Only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve: two states for two people, with a sovereign, viable and independent Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel.'
HELLO???? Has the Reform movement been asleep or ethically unconscious these past 18 years after Oslo when negotiations have led nowhere and Israel has expanded its Occupation dramatically and refused the 2009 demand of both President Obama and the Palestinians to stop building settlements while negotiations took place? Have they not even bothered to read the daily coverage of what the Israeli newspaper calls Israel's "arrogance" (see below) in dealing with the Palestinian people. Bad enough that the Obama Administration has fallen back from its original demand, but what about Reform Jews--have they really lost their moral compass on this issue?
The Reform movement in Judaism was once a leader of ethical consciousness--and still is on almost every issue both in the US and Israel--except the one most important issue facing the Jewish people: reconciliation and peace with Palestinians. I hope that Reform rabbis will have the courage to stand up and not allow their important movement to continue to avoid its ethical responsibilities when it comes to challenging Israeli policies that continue to thwart the 2 state solution to which the Reform movement (along with Netanyahu) gives lip service.--Rabbi Michael Lerner
The other side said its piece loud and clear: Yes to a two-state solution. But Israel's government responded with a step that, first and foremost, punishes Israel.
Haaretz Editorial | Dec.02, 2012 | 2:23 AM
The government decided this weekend to build another 3,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and also to move ahead with planning and building procedures for the E1 area, located between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim. That is how the government responded to the UN General Assembly's decision to recognize Palestine as a nonmember observer state; that is how the government decided to punish the Palestinians and the world.
The latter said its piece loud and clear: Yes to a two-state solution. But Israel's government responded with a step that, first and foremost, punishes Israel. The only positive aspect of this decision is the fact that Israel has recognized that the settlements are indeed a punishment.
This is a particularly grave and dangerous decision. Instead of internalizing the fact that a sweeping majority of nations are sick of the Israeli occupation and want a Palestinian state, Israel is entrenching itself even further in its own rejectionism, and deepening its isolation and the disconnect between itself and the international reality. Instead of drawing the necessary conclusions from its resounding failure, the government is dragging Israel into additional diplomatic disasters. And instead of embarking on sincere, genuine negotiations with the new observer state, Israel is turning its back on it, and on the world.
The government's decision is the last nail in the coffin of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan University speech in 2009. It is proof positive that this speech, in which he ostensibly accepted the principle of two states, was merely a deception. What is particularly astounding, however, is the violation of Israel's commitment to the United States not to build in E1, given that construction there would preclude the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank. After America was left as virtually the last supporter of Israel's position at the United Nations, Israel is repaying it with a resounding slap in the face.
Israel's decision is also a slap in the face to another loyal friend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who explained Germany's abstention in the vote as stemming from Israel's refusal to stop construction in the territories. So, even before the next election, in which the joint "Likud-Beiteinu" ticket is presenting an especially right-wing, extremist slate, Netanyahu has already signaled where he is heading: toward extremism, diplomatic isolation, denunciation and ostracism by the world.
The world - even including the United States this time - can't allow Israel's arrogant response to pass quietly. This very government decision might serve as a spur to those who want to transfer the settlements issue to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, as punishment for the "punishment" imposed by Israel. And the next time Israel needs the world's help, on the Iranian issue or on any other, the world will remember this decision.
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