Newsletter 117: Translating Baptism Into Daily Life


In this issue:


Video feature

Stories of members on mission


For meditation

MM shorts

“Maybe a better analogy [for dominion over the earth] is thinking of God asking us to serve as babysitters.”

– Bill McKibben

“Basic values for daily life: availability and vulnerability”

– The Northumbria Community

“The March on Washington teaches us . . . that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together . . . to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling . . . that found expression in this place 50 years ago.”

– Barack Obama

“Member Mission’s purpose: …translating baptism into everyday life . . .”

– Jonathan Weldon

“We read that Thomas Edison made light.  But in Sunday school they said you did it.  So I bet he stoled your idea.  Sincerely, Donna”

– Children’s Letters to God

A new format for our web site!

New Website

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Both When the Members are the Missionaries and Living the Gospel are online as e-books in the original printed formats. Go to; cost $3.99.

Newsletter news

MMNews goes bi-monthly with this issue to allow us to develop webinars and other capacities available on the Internet. It’s longer to cover two months’ worth.

Video feature

Jeff Glover: co-chair of the Food Shelf in Hinesburg, VT.

Jeff Glover
Fast-forward to the segment you want to watch:

  • 0:00 – 01:07 – how he works there
  • 1:08 – 02:05 – what led him to take up this work
  • 2:05 – 04:17 – how did he see God at work there
  • 4:18 -05:33 – how does he see God helping him now
  • 5:34 – 08:30 –  a tour of the food shelf; its variety; and who supports it.

Stories of Members on Mission

Post-tornado: rebuilding, helping, & Finding a friend – community mission

“Since the tornadoes in Alabama two years ago, I have ‘felt called’ to work with a community in Hale county that lost 40 homes, 37 roofs, 6 children!  This is a very low economic income area with a lack of education, broken homes, and many single parent homes.  It is a world very different from where I live, while only 35 miles away.  So far I have helped to build two debt-free homes to replace the two mobile homes; and assisted a student to acquire her GED and get a job at the local nursing home.

“The real success is the story of a woman so unlike me in every way.  We made a connection very similar to the one between Mary, the mother of John, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus.souls sisters“We are soul sisters in the very depth of that meaning.  We talk on the phone, visit, share our joys and frustrations, laugh and cry, love and hug like we have known each other forever.  From the very first day that I visited and shared with her, I was there for her immediate physical needs.  I would not leave her; I would continue to be present with her.  She welcomed me with open arms and God did the rest.”

Finishing college in his 40s – a work-centered mission

With his great-grandfather a priest, his grandfather a cantor, and his father active in church life, Florin, of Romanian descent, thought about church leadership of some kind as he grew up and was asked by his rector to consider priesthood as he left high school.  Police work in Law Enforcement and Emergency Service became his career choice.  He married and now has three children – Crystal at 17, Michael at 14, and Maria at 13.
During his 19th year on the job, he suffered a severe auto accident.  His car rolled both sideways and end-over-end.  Doctors called his survival a miracle.  Six years in recovery have given him time to reflect on his survival as God’s work.  Ordained ministry returned and this time he said yes.  When his call was affirmed by his diocese’s board, he chose to meet the bachelor’s degree requirement by finishing three years of college rather than to seek a waiver from it based on his work record.

He is finishing his final year towards a degree in History at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh.  While returning to a student’s life was not easy, he finds that he met every challenge that came his way only with God’s help.  Much of that help has come through Ana, his wife, who is also on the ordination track.
[Based on notes from an interview; for a transcript of the full interview, contact us


“Being Watched”

An article by Daniel Schultze in the 7/10/13 The Christian Century. Know what data is collected about us.  Pro tem, consider these criteria – “sufficient sustainable cause (i.e., no fishing expeditions), integrity of motive, proportionate methods, right and lawful authority, reasonable prospect of success, secret intelligence collection only as a last resort.”  See htp:// for copies for discussion.

The Mission Continues

A rapidly growing non-profit program which enlists veterans to serve their communities in over 37 states so far. Its founder, Eric Greitens, came up with the idea for starting “The Mission Continues.”  Visiting his injured comrades after his unit was hit by a truck bomb, he began asking “‘Tell me what you want to do when you recover; every single one of them said to me, I want to return to my unit.  A lot of them were not going to be able to return to their unit. I said tell me if you can’t go back to your unit right away, tell me what else you’d like to do. Every single one of them told me that they wanted to find a way to continue to serve.”  Started in 2007, over 500 have graduated as Fellows.  For more for discussion, go to Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and search for “The Mission Continues.”

Sermon from Tanzania: “A tree with nothing but leaves”

The mission continues

corn in tanzaniabased on Mark 11:20.  The photo of maize dried up beyond hope comes from a village.  The Rev. Charles Mwihambi, a seminary dean, sends it so that we can “make connections between how natural weather affects people who are hungry and, like Jesus, they look for something to eat in a place where there is nothing to offer.”  For a congregation of about 105; youth, young adults, middle age; village people; a primary education only; farming is quite familiar to them.  For the text visit this article on the Member Mission Website.

Sermon – “Just passing through”

Rev. Debbie Ingram, United Church of Hinesburg, VT, on 8/11/13, based on Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16.  When we move, going from place to place, home to home, we feel unsettled and insecure – but Abraham and other people of faith were comfortable in that transitory process because of their great faith in the home God prepared for them.  Pass through the discomfort of being unsettled and not yet having the things you hope for with the faith that God is preparing just the right place for you.  For the text visit this article on the Member Mission Website.

9 Ways to Organize the Next Civil Rights Movement

Carl Gibsonby Carl Gisbon from Reader Supported News; he fulfills the title; go to 9 Ways to Organize the Next Civil Rights Movement

For Meditation

Why so many conspiracy theories?

“The new system of diffusion – the Internet – is more likely to transmit irrationality than rationality,” said political theorist Yaron Ezrahi, who specializes in the interaction between media and politics.

“Because irrationality is more emotionally loaded, it requires less knowledge, it explains more to more people, it goes down easier.”  That is why conspiracy theories are so rife in the Arab-Muslim world today – and unfortunately are becoming so in many quarters of the Western world, for that matter.  Conspiracy theories are like a drug that goes right into your bloodstream, enabling you to see “the Light.”  And the Internet is the needle.  Young people [and anyone] used to have to take LSD to escape.  Now they just go online.  Now you don’t shoot up, you download. You download the precise point of view that speaks to all your own biases.  And the flat world [the world of the Internet] makes it all so much easier.”

– Thomas L. Friedman, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, Picador, 2005, p. 398

May your missions this Fall enrich your celebration on Thanksgiving Day.

God is most interested in how lovingly and justly we live from Monday to Saturday. Let this be your guide for Sunday worship.