All Posts By

Mary Ellen Fitch

Human & Holy Hope

By Talks

Today, Jess Williams talked about the humanity of Mary of Nazareth, exploring how God’s arrival in Mary’s womb served as a proclamation of human dignity and worth. She thinks this message is one she needed and missed in her evangelical upbringing, which mostly emphasized the pursuit of Christian morality or perfection in order to achieve holiness. Jess points out that, like Mary, it’s our humanity that most qualifies us for partnership with God. She draws inspiration from Mary’s response to this invitation, particularly in the way it’s revealed in the Magnificat, and she believes that Mary’s story is our story too.

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A Complicated Life

By Talks

Peter Fitch spoke today about C. S. Lewis, telling some of the stories about complications that he faced in his life and career. Through it all he became a treasured writer who helped a great many people around the world. Even after his death, the complications continued as people dealt with his literary legacy. Before the talk we watched a video by Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton called “Say Something” as it speaks about the feelings we have in the midst of life’s complexities. Then Michael Leung shared some music that he created on the piano. After the talk, we watched a video of Leon Bridges called “River.”

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Take the Baton

By Talks

David Moore spoke to us today from his home in California. He shared Scripture from Hebrews 11 and 12 and compared life to a relay race with a host of predecessors who are cheering us on while we run our segments of the race. They weren’t perfect in their understanding of life and we can see flaws in some of what they believed, but we can still be grateful that we’re all in the same race together. We are also free to choose the ancients that we most want to learn from. Some of the most incredible people suffered greatly for important causes and yet still reverberated with joy. (audio improves when David is speaking)

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

By Talks

Today’s talk was all about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Peter Fitch shared a timeline of Bonhoeffer’s life that he has been working on for his work at the university, and he also focused on a recently-found letter that Bonhoeffer sent to Mahatma Gandhi in 1934, asking if he could come to visit in order to finally see what a community based on the Sermon on the Mount would look like. We finished with one of his poems from prison, “Who Am I?” The gorgeous musical set before the talk was done by Raymond Funk and Haydn Wiebe.

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Becoming a Person

By Talks

Peter Fitch reminds people about the different characters in Jesus’ story of The Good Samaritan. Then he shares ideas from Martin Buber about a sliding scale between ego and personhood. Some people are so detached from others that they are almost all the way over to the ego side, while others are so connected that they are almost all the way toward personhood. This leads to the question, “What is a person like?” Many responses from the people gathered help to answer this question and give insight about how to get there.

Rick Coates and Jessica Williams shared music/poetry.

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Making Peace

By Talks

We had a great service today; everything felt special. Songs before and after the talk were by Amanda Leighton. The poem, “Missing: Mother God”, was by Jessica Williams. Instrumental piano as a background to prayer was by Michael Leung. And the talk, on finding and living in peace, was by Eden Jersak. She taught about the need to moderate our desire for “performance” with the priority of “presence.” Then she gave ideas about how to find peace and how to live in it in such a way that it affects our world.

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Coming Home

By Talks

Today Brad Jersak spoke about the conversions that we experience when we turn from illusions of shame and addiction and self-absorption toward the Light of God’s Presence. Drawing from ideas related to Plato’s cave as well as several New Testament passages (John 1, 2 Corinthians 3 and 4), he inspired people to turn towards greater clarity and freedom. Music was by Peter and Zoe Fitch and each song had something to do with the theme of “home” or “homecoming.”

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The Opening Door

By Talks

Peter Fitch read Psalm 34 and asked what a naive interpretation of this psalm might indicate. Then he showed a talk by Kate Bowler called “Everything Happens for a Reason, and Other Lies I’ve Loved.” Then he read Psalm 34 once more and asked people if they saw any deep truths within the psalm that still rang true after Kate’s talk. There were many rich comments. Music today was by Jacob Rose, including 3 original songs, and a couple of the songs were accompanied by Sarah MacPhail as she and her husband, Tim, were visiting from Germany.

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Reading the Psalms After Experiencing Life

By Talks

Peter Fitch read Psalm 34 and asked what a naive interpretation of this psalm might indicate. Then he showed a talk by Kate Bowler called “Everything Happens for a Reason, and Other Lies I’ve Loved.” Then he read Psalm 34 once more and asked people if they saw any deep truths within the psalm that still rang true after Kate’s talk. There were many rich comments. Music today was by Jacob Rose, including 3 original songs, and a couple of the songs were accompanied by Sarah MacPhail as she and her husband, Tim, were visiting from Germany.

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Understanding the Impact of Anti-Feminist Theology on Women Today

By Talks

Today’s message was brought by Jessica Williams and we wish everyone who has ever attended a Christian church could hear it. Gracefully, and kindly, she leads us through some of the horrible comments that respected people in church history have made about women. Then she explains the four waves of feminism and shows why Christianity has made feminism necessary. Finally, she gives some instructions for a way forward. This is a brilliant talk. It affected the people gathered in such a deep way that it’s hard to explain. The music for today was also outstanding, led by Mayara Goncalves e Lima. There are two songs before the talk and one that follows. This last song was written by Mayara about the effects of colonialism in Brazil and around the world.

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