One notable characteristic of the 21st century church is that many congregations are looking for unique and creative ways to be the church in the world, to carry out the agenda that Jesus taught.
Jesus never flinched when confronted with hungry people, but innovated, using what was available. On one occasion as told in the Gospel of John, he used five loaves of barley bread and two fish and ended up serving lunch to some 5,000 folks.
On another occasion, when Jesus, his disciples and his mother were attending a wedding celebration, his mother noted that the celebratory wine was running low. He took charge and had all the jugs filled with water. When individual cups were poured from the jugs, it was wine, not water, that filled those cups. Not Mad Dog 20/20 or Night Train Express, but fine wine that even the connoisseurs among the guests agreed was the best of the evening.
I think this Jesus-Man was the kind of guy who although his mission in the world was serious business, might drop in uninvited at suppertime and if the main course were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (what working Mom has not had to resort to such a tactic), he might join right in with the kids, licking their fingers and smacking their lips.
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(Although some folks say a tomato sandwich made with white bread and Duke’s mayonnaise is the “Sandwich of the South,” I think PB&J is the all-American one.)
Chapel Hill Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a small congregation that meets at 10:30 Sunday mornings at 108 Bim St. in Carrboro, has its own notions about peanut butter.
The congregation began its Jelly Ministry in 2007, motivated by the fact that the Inter-Faith Council Pantry, which provides over 1,300 bags of groceries each month to area hungry folks, uses its funding to buy basic foods, like peanut butter, but not jelly.
And since the perceptive folks at the Christian Church think PB&J are natural go-togethers, like macaroni and cheese and bread and butter, the Jelly Ministry got off the ground.
“We began by providing 10 jars each week and quickly went to 30 each week,” says Pastor Rebecca McCulloh. “We are always seeking to increase our Jelly Ministry.”
It’s funded in several ways. Members bring jelly to worship, and the church sells “Jelly Cards” at Christmas that can be given as gifts. Folks can buy cards to deliver one jar, five jars or 10 jars, and during Lent, the church collects alms to buy jelly. Also, individuals make contributions directed to the Jelly Fund.
The inside of the church’s Jelly card reads: “Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread’ and Chapel Hill Christian Church added a little jelly.”
A diverse group of local faith communities, including Muslim, Jewish, and Christian congregations has joined with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County for an Interfaith Build.
The project was launched last week in the Tinnin Woods neighborhood in Efland with lunch and a program. Speakers included Rabbi Larry Bach of Judea Reform Synagogue in Durham, Brooks Graebner, rector at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Hillsborough and the future homeowner Abby Martinez. Special music was provided by singer-songwriter Mary Rocap of St. Matthew’s.
The future homeowner, who has two daughters Michelle, 12, and Shayla, 6, now rents a house in Burlington because rents in Orange County are too high for her budget. She has worked for more than five years as a cleaner for Orange County government.
Volunteers will work with Abby every weekend until the house is completed in the spring.
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 300 E. Rosemary St., is inviting the community to a special book sharing conducted by the author Scott H. Hendrix, whose book is titled “Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer.”
Hendrix is emeritus professor of Reformation history at Princeton Theological Seminary and his book has been called “a bold and insightful account of the life of Martin Luther.” It provides a new perspective on this man who was one of the most important religious figures in history.
His presentation at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31, will include discussion and a Q&A time. Refreshments will be served.
Beginning Zen practice, a class with David Guy will begin on Monday, Feb 1, and continue on Monday nights from7:30- 9 p.m. through March 7 at the Chapel Hill Zen Center, 5322 N.C. 86.
Zen meditation, or zazen is the practice of being present with one’s experience. This class will introduce participants to meditation and give them support as they develop a daily sitting practice. It will also introduce them to other aspects of practice.
The first night will include meditation instructions and a short period of sitting. Each week participants will continue to sit for a period at the beginning of class, gradually increasing the time.
As the weeks progress, other aspects of Zen practice like walking meditation, protocol around the zendo and the service of bowing and chanting will be introduced.
The cost of the class is $60, payable on the first night and will be contributed to the Zen Center. Partial scholarships are available.
Contact Flo Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910-361-4135.