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April 2023

Growing Together


The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part. – Ephesians 4:16

Dear Gatherers,

It’s spring and in our apartment that means indoor gardening. Living in a high-rise apartment, Walt and I don’t have any yard to worry about. But we do have big windows, which means from April until October, our house is a lush lab of fabulous herbs growing on windowsills and bookshelves. It’s something we take very seriously because it gives us so much joy.

As I’ve pulled together our indoor garden this year, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about how Gather is growing. I’ve also thought about how being ecstatically inclusive is a lot like growing a widely varied herb garden. And then I’ve considered how building a healthy, productive community can’t be the work of a select few. It needs to belong to all of us, who put our roots into the rich soil of faith and love, not only tending to our own growth, but working hard to enable others to grow.

I’ve never known a group of folks who better fits Ephesians’ description of a “body [that] makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.” At the same time, I trust we are reaching an awareness that more is being asked of us now than what we literally phoned in during the pandemic. There are physical tasks that must be undertaken. Pulling equipment out of storage. Chairs put into place. Tables stacked with visitors’ cards. Potluck dishes set out. Cleaning up to do. All of which means we need volunteers.

This Sunday, after our monthly YouTube service, we’re going to scoot over to a Zoom meeting to get organized. We’ll ask folks to sign up for specific tasks for the live and online services. We’re going to make the ground of Gather rich for new plants and comfortable for everybody who comes to us looking for growth. It will take all of us. Plan NOW to be with us THIS SUNDAY, at 5pm CDT for worship, with a brief (<30 minute) meeting to follow.

We’re doing church unlike anybody we know. Let’s do it right and do it together. See you on Sunday!

Peace, with much love,
Pastor Tim


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God’s Nature in Nature

Talk to earth, and it will teach you – Job 12:8


Dear Gatherers,


Daniel Cooperrider is a United Church of Christ pastor who grew up in the North Woods of Wisconsin and now lives near Madison. Although I’ve never met him, it feels like he’s become a good friend through his wonderful book Speak to the Earth and It Will Teach You: A Field Guide to the Bible. It appears he’s always been fascinated with nature. As the young pastor of a church in Vermont’, he began connecting the dots between natural scenes in scripture and what those texts may be saying about God and us.


Especially at this time of year, with nature waking up from winter rest, his book is a gift of joy. Rev. Cooperrider reminds us many rivers flow through biblical narratives. Mountains loom large in the story. Winds and clouds, weather and wonder alert our senses to God’s voice, God’s face, God’s breath.


I can think of no finer conversation for this springtime than talking about how God may be seen, imagined, and understood apart from us trifling humans. The earth will teach us if we turn off our phones, leave our cars, move out of our boxed-in spaces to listen. The great American writer Norman Maclean famously said, “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” I share Rev. Cooperrider’s conviction that God is the “one” that results when everything flows together. And the river’s run is God’s life, the river’s music is God’s voice.


Join us on Thursdays at 7:30CDT for conversations about the earth and how we can see God’s image in places we may have overlooked.


Peace, with much love,

Pastor Tim