Youth Leads Congregation at CROP Walk

This year, the youth of First Church of Christ Longmeadow will be leading our congregation as participants in the Greater Springfield CROP Walk  on Sunday November 2nd, 2014 – an event raising money to fight global & local poverty & hunger.

 

Here is a link to the TEAM PAGE for First Church of Christ Longmeadow!

 

Let’s mark & honor this exciting time of renewal and spirit in our church: support our youth & community with your generous gifts!  You can donate online via PayPal or Credit Card, and donations to this 501(c)(3) corporation are tax deductible.  You can also donate by check.

Here is a link to Frequently Asked Questions about the CROP Hunger Walk.

 

The need for assistance in the Greater Springfield Area is remarkable & challenging.  Together we can make a difference & walk with Christ to help those in need!

Disappearing Religions of the Middle East

Gerard Russell is the author of the newly published Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms, which explains & details the disappearance of seven religions in the Middle East.  Russell was a diplomat in Iraq from 2005-2006.

Russell’s book provides a view into more of the history behind the tribes of people – such as the Yazidi’s.  The Yazidi’s, and other unique tribes have been persecuted for thousands of years in the Middle East & most recently have been persecuted & driven from their homes by ISIS, victims of the Syrian civil war.  Many of those  who have been lucky enough to survive are living in UN-issued tents in Iraqi Kurdistan while the unrest in the region unfolds.

But who are these people & what is their faith?  How has this group managed to survive this long?

Here is an in-depth interview completed by NPR that is well worth a listen.

You can read an excerpt of the book here.

Some of these religions predate Christianity by thousands of years – to Babylon & Assyria.  Now their extinction is threatened as never before in this volatile modern world.  What can we do as a congregation to help preserve these threatened ancient faiths?

Let the children come to me…

In this recent article from The Christian Century, Stephanie Paulsell looks pointedly at the issue of child refugees from a faith perspective.  She includes the response of Governor Patrick to the issue in a recent press conference:

 

[Governor Patrick] reminded us that in 1939 the United States failed to shelter Jewish children from Europe, to our lasting shame. And then, his voice breaking, he said, “I don’t know what good there is in faith, if we can’t or won’t turn to it in times of human need.”

 

Here is the press conference:

 

Why is so little being reported about why these children have fled their homelands?  Certainly we can care for these children… what does our failure to do so say about the state of our society?

Interconnectedness & Early Christian Chants

Really following that “voice”, intuition, God is not easy.  Indeed, if you allow one thing to lead to another & listen to the signs & messages, there’s no telling where you will end up.  In the case of  Jason Hamacher, God led him to Syria to preserve ancient Sufi & Christian chants.  He has created a production company called Lost Origin Productions, dedicated to preserving the chants of Aleppo, Syria’s St. George’s Syriac Orthodox Church.  

 

About half way through this story, you will hear a Syriac chanting of the Lord’s Prayer – recorded at 1 a.m. in a Syrian cathedral.  If you do nothing else, please consider taking the time to absorb & commune with this ancient Christian rendition of the prayer.

 

Hearing this music & the story took me right back to our pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  These remind me how struck I was by the intimate interconnectedness of our modern Christian history, with the Middle East.

 

You can hear in these recordings the extreme holiness of these places, people, scripture & songs.  God bless you, Jason Hamacher, for following those voices & intuitions – thereby preserving these treasures and jewels for history & the future of our civilization.