Advent and Christmas at Waverly

Saturday Dec 2nd 10:00am:

Greening the Church — Come help decorate the sanctuary for Advent and Christmas.

Saturday Dec 2nd 7:00pm: Oregon Koto-Kai Holiday Concert —

Our building partner friends will share beautiful and peaceful koto music in the holiday spirit accompanied by a heartwarming Japanese story for the season. Tickets at

*Waverly Craft Sale at the concert

Saturday Dec 9th 6:00pm: Waverly Caroling Party — An all church caroling party hosted by the choir at Paul and Lisa Kane’s house. Desserts will be provided, bring some drinks to share. We’ll gather around and sing all our favorite caroling songs.1913 SE Larch Portland, OR 97214 

Wed. Dec 13th 6:30pm: A Child’s Christmas in Wales— A Waverly Christmas tradition of the reading of Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Bring the family and enjoy our charming, old-fashioned, radio theater style reading. Bring a dish to share. Mulled wine and welshcakes will be provided. 

Friday Dec 15th 7:00pm: Bridging Voices Holiday Concert — 

Our building partner friends will share their first concert of the season. Tickets at 

*Waverly Craft Sale at the concert  

Sunday Dec 17th 11:00: Waverly Children’s Christmas Pageant — Another Waverly tradition. The children help us tell the christmas story while we sing our favoirte carols. Aine will help direct, so email her if you can help with costumes or stage direction   

Sunday Dec 17th 12:00: Waverly Craft Sale — After church sale of homemade goods by Waverly’s finest.   All proceeds go to the new furnace! 

Thursday Dec 21st 7:00pm: Longest Night/Blue Christmas Service @ St. David of Wales — Waverly will join our friends at St. David’s for a contemplative longest night service. Stations for prayer, song, art, and contemplation.  Beautiful music by Portland’s Threshold Choir. Pastor Sara is involved with the planning.  

Sunday Dec 24th 11:00am: Family-Friendly Christmas Service –A brass quartet and a family-friendly telling of the Christmas story with children’s participation.   

Sunday Dec 24th 9:00pm: Christmas Eve Candle Light Service — Our traditional Christmas Eve service with the Waverly Choir, the Christmas story, and silent night by dandle light.  Note earlier time this year.

Sunday January 7th 11:00: Epiphany — Plan to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas this year, its not over until Epiphany when we celebrate the coming of the light and the magi’s visit.  After church we take down the tree and decorations TOGETHER! 

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September 3rd Sunday Worship, 11 AM at Camp Adams. Sunday, September 10th (and on), 11 AM at Waverly.

You are invited to join us for Sunday Worship at Camp on September 3rd, 11 AM. Camp Adams holds a special place in the heart of the Waverly Community. Come on out for the weekend retreat or just for worship and potluck on Sunday. Please e-mail for more information. Camp Adams is located in Molalla, and directions can be found here.  We will not be holding Worship at the church on September 3rd.

On Sunday, September 10th (and every Sunday following), we will be back at Waverly Heights UCC (3300 SE Woodward) for Sunday Worship at 11 AM.


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Healing the Beloved Community, Silent Prayer and Meditation

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Waverly is pleased to be joining with local communities of worship for an interfaith gathering of peaceful prayer and meditation.

January 22nd – 3:30 PM
Congregation Beth Israel (1972 NW Flanders Street)

In an era of hate speech, hate crimes, and racial profiling, Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of “the Beloved Community” is more important than ever. The interfaith community of Portland is therefore calling on all people who believe in this dream to gather on Sunday, January 22, two days after the Presidential inauguration, to stand in solidarity with all those who stand to be marginalized and silenced by the incoming administration.

We will meet a Congregation Beth Israel at 3:30p, hear from Steve Wax of the Oregon Justice Resource Center about resources for those who have experienced a hate crime, followed by a special liturgy and silent march to Pioneer Square. Then, starting at 4:30pm, we will practice silent prayer and meditation for one hour in the name of Peace, Justice, and the Integrity of All Creation. Some parking is available at Congregation Beth Israel and nearby Trinity Church, but as we will be marching down to Pioneer Square afterwards, make your own best decision as to where you’ll want your vehicle to be. If you’re able, please bring a battery-powered candle that can endure the elements and keep shining out as we pray together.

Please spread the word as you are able, and help us on the actual day by observing total silence as we invoke the Beloved Community together. #BelovedCommunityNW


3:30PM – Meet at Congregation Beth Israel (1972 NW Flanders Street)
4:30PM – Silent March to Pioneer Square
5:00PM– Silent Prayer & Meditation in Pioneer Square
6:00PM – Closing Prayer & Departure

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Happy New Year! 11 AM Sunday Worship

January 1, 2017, 11 AM Sunday Worship

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Mother Teresa 

Scripture:  Ecclesiastes 9:1-12

Sermon: “Live Now!”

Preaching: Giuseppe Amato, Pastoral Intern

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Advent and Christmas at Waverly


You are warmly invited …

Saturday, Dec. 3rd Greening of the Church, 10 a.m. – Noon. We will be decorating the Sanctuary and narthex (entryway).  There will be cocoa and donuts!  Please drop in any time and help out.

Sunday, Dec. 4th 11am – Worship, Second Sunday of Advent and Saint Nicholas Day!!  Please bring all the young ones for a special treat.

Sunday, Dec. 11th 11am – Worship, Third Sunday of Advent

Friday, Dec. 16th 6:30pm – A Child’s Christmas in Wales: The event will be held this year at the home of Paul and Lisa. Waverly’s Christmas tradition (sixteen years and counting) of the reading of the Dylan Thomas classic, A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Bring the children for a light supper and welshcakes. Have a glass of mulled wine and enjoy our old-fashioned, radio theatre style reading (featuring genuine Welsh accents). Please e-mail for Paul & Lisa’s address.

Wednesday, December 21st 7:00 pm – Carolling: Come on by the church after dinner, bring your own after-dinner refreshment, and we’ll sing our favorite Christmas songs together with accompaniment by Theo Burke. (We had planned this event for an earlier date but cancelled it due to snow and ice. Thanks to Theo for his flexibility and offering to reschedule!)

Sunday, December 18th 11:00 a.m. – Worship and Christmas Pageant – The children present the Christmas Story to the Congregation. The Congregation will sing Christmas songs as they fit into the script. The Pageant takes place during the regular 11 AM service. Any last-minute performers are welcome (especially little sheep and angels). Children and youth that would like to take part, please come to the church at 9:30 a.m. and we will have a costume for you to wear.

Thursday, Dec. 22nd 7:00pm – Longest Night/Blue Christmas Worship: Not everyone is feeling cheery during the holidays, some people are living through dark times.  This reflective service honors where we really are and creates space for healing.

 Saturday, Dec. 24th 11pm – Christmas Eve Service – Christmas Eve Family Candlelight Service, 11pm. A lovely and simple traditional service. We will ring in Christmas singing carols, listening to the choir, hearing again the story of Jesus’ birth into poverty and promise. This really is a family service. It’s a special time for all.

Sunday, December 25th 11am – Merry Christmas Worship

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From Pastor Sara

07f59da3-38d3-4568-bd33-66333fd4c049Greetings Church!  It’s been ten weeks since little Ellis Julian came into the world and joined our family.  I am incredibly grateful for the grace and space you have granted me during this important time of transition.  Our family has been on a journey these end of summer days getting to know Ellis, visiting with friends and extended family, and finding new rhythms together. We also caught up on sleep! We were sustained during this time by support from grandparents, visits from aunties and uncles and meals from Waverly members and friends.

You have also been on your own journey while I have been away. I hope you enjoyed the variety of sermons from our maternity leave pastoral team. A special thank you to Giuseppe for providing pastoral care, leading worship, and tending to all that came up during this time. I’m also thankful to the Waverly Consistory and other church leaders who shouldered the burden of being without a pastor for these many weeks.

I’m looking forward reconnecting with you and exchanging stories about where we have been and where we are going next.  Slowly we’ll get caught up individually and collectively. A reminder that for the month of October I will be working reduced hours as part of my maternity leave plan.  My priorities will be leading worship each Sunday, supporting essential functions such as the newsletter, getting caught up with our new tenants, and planning for our November stewardship campaign. I appreciate your continued patience during this time of transition.

With Anticipation,
Pastor Sara

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The Parable of the Workers in the Vinyard

911abc39-f6f6-4d65-a2e7-48f73419b665Matthew 20:1-16 (NIV)

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Our reading today is a parable, or story, told by Jesus and I believe that this story contains within it the seeds for a better and more just world, but like many of Jesus’ stories it is not easy to hear. In this story, a landowner, a rich and powerful man, makes what is by modern economic standards, a really stupid business decision and overpays his labor, managing to alienate and infuriate his hardest workers in the process. He pays those who work an hour and those who work all day the same. It is almost as if he is more concerned with paying a day’s wage to as many laborers as he can than he is in making a nice profit from his harvest. The socioeconomic implications in this story are so shocking and counter cultural that almost without exception exegetes (that is, people who interpret sacred Christian texts) have chosen a spiritual interpretation and described the wages as salvation or future rewards when interpreting this story rather than addressing the more obvious issue of economic justice.

I’m not going to do that. I do not believe that the stories of Jesus want to be spiritualized and I don’t believe that they were heard as theology by the crowds of poor first century Jews who were attracted to Jesus’ messages. I know that the message of Jesus was about something more dangerous than establishing a theology of future salvation because speculations about a future world is not what gets people killed. Jesus’ stories were intentional and they were intended to turn the world upside down, this world, not a future one. They want to shake up our assumptions about what Justice looks like. Our greatest barriers to understanding the stories of Jesus is assuming that they were written for middle class white Americans like us. They were not. Jesus was a poor, itinerant, homeless, person of color from the Middle East and he was speaking to the poor, landless, working class who were far more concerned about economic justice than future spiritual rewards. They understood that a day’s wages was the thing that stood between each day laborer and the downward spiral of poverty and hunger. Go more than one day without food and a laborer may not have the strength to work, without work, there will be no wages and no food, not for oneself and not for ones family. Jesus lived in a world not so unlike ours with a large population of working class poor who lived hand to mouth and were too often the victims not the benefactors of popular definitions of justice. In contrast to that common definition of justice in which only those who can work eat, Jesus offers a different definition of Justice that is good news for the poor.

In a capitalist society, an individual’s value and right to resources is earned through one’ ability to be important to those with power over the resources. An individual is responsible for oneself and justice means getting what you have earned through hard work. Those who are capable of making themselves more important to the powerful either by natural giftedness or by fortuitous circumstances have access to more resources.

Through the character of the generous landowner, Jesus invites his audience to imagine a radical new world where an individual’s value is intrinsic and one’s right to resources is determined by one’s need rather than one’s economic contributions.   The landowner sees his job as redistributing the resources he has and so he is tireless to bring in as many workers as he can and ensure that they each have a days’ wages, the amount necessary to ensure that they will be able to eat the next day. While his generosity is not understood by those whose greater strength or luck seem to have put them in a position to earn more, there is some wisdom in it. By ensuring that his workers have what they need, he is guaranteeing that they will have strength to work the next day. By giving everyone what they need the landowner values each of his workers equally and while he has taken nothing from anyone, those who had a false sense of superiority are angry that there is longer anyone to feel superior over. They wanted to be special.

I am not going to explore the economic or political implications of this story because you are all as qualified as me to find the parallels in our modern world. The implications of this story are many and challenging and I encourage you to struggle with them in your own spirit. What I want us to consider together today is the vision of Justice that Jesus presents in this story and the way it contrasts with popular definitions of Justice that we each encounter and implicitly accept every day. At the bottom of the question “What is Just?” is the question “Is human life of intrinsic or earned value?” We live in a world where our value is determined by what we can do or give but that is not the only possible world. The challenge of the follower of Jesus is to believe in the world Jesus described and then to imagine and through the power of imagination, to create that world. A world built on a new and countercultural definition of Justice where people do not deserve what they earn but what they need. It was this vision of Justice (not a particular theology) that made Jesus and his followers dangerous to the powers of his day, it was this vision that inspired the early believers to sell all that they had and hold everything in common, and it was this vision that caused them to be known by the political powers of their day as the people who turned the world upside down.

If we accept that the laborer who worked for an hour deserves to eat as much as the one who worked all day then we are laying the foundation for a non-violent world because at the heart of every violent act is the assumption that some lives are of less value than others and therefore some people must prosper at the expense of others. Violence is simply the act of sorting out who deserves care and who does not.

Jesus’ story is supposed to make us uncomfortable. It is supposed to challenge us to imagine and believe in a new world that we have not yet seen. It is supposed cause us to ask hard questions of ourselves.   Questions like… are some people more deserving of food, shelter, or respect than others? How should I respond to people who behave in hurtful or harmful ways? Is the idea of private ownership compatible with the kingdom of God? What is my responsibility to my unhoused neighbor? Why do I lock my doors? And how would my words and thoughts change if I affirmed in every moment the intrinsic value and worth of everyone I meet as well as those I have not yet met? Take it from me, These are questions that will keep you up at night and they are not questions with easy answers. A temporary peace can be established by power and weapons but a Just Peace is not an easy work. It is difficult and costly both individually and collectively. Before the external work begins there is an internal work that must happen.

Today I invite you to consider the internal work. The kingdom of God does not begin with a rally although those certainly have their place and are important. Before any public action there is a quiet internal revolution. Or perhaps the right word is healing. In the counseling world we often talk about adaptive and maladaptive coping skills. At some point all coping mechanisms are used because they are adaptive. In the moment of trauma, hypervigilance, avoidance, and the ability to dissociate when avoidance is impossible, may be the difference between those who survive and those who do not. But after the trauma has past, the coping skills that were necessary for survival often begin to work against the survivor. PTSD is the accumulative effect of overactive coping skills that are continuing to function but are no longer adaptive.

Living in a world where one’s basic worth is not intrinsic but must be proved and defended through competition with others, is a kind of trauma, and it requires certain coping skills to survive. Those who learn those coping skills thrive, those who do not, are marginalized. In our current social-political world, competition is an adaptive coping skill, but in the kingdom of God that we are called to create, it is not. In a world that is built on principles of just peace and inherent worth competition is maladaptive. Unless we can unlearn certain lessons learned in this world, we will not be able to create a better one. We can too easily become our own greatest barriers to peace when we feel like our “special” status is threatened. Like the laborers who grumbled against the generous landowner because “You made them equal to us.” We will be too busy defending our small castles of false superiority to recognize justice when it comes.

In the kingdom of God, competition is not adaptive that is why I want to tell you today that the journey to a non-violent word and a peace established on justice begins inside. It begins with our willingness to give up our competitive edge and learn to live together cooperatively. This is what I want you to know today. I want you to know deep down in your deepest self that your worth is not determined by working harder or being smarter or establishing a favorable comparison over others. Your worth is intrinsic. Your needs are valid. And the intrinsic worth of your neighbor does not, can not, diminish your own intrinsic worth.

Sermon by Grant Helbley

Delivered to Waverly Heights UCC on 9/18/16

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9/11 and the Beloved Community

1934246_10156675165670472_2855089483556717689_n9/11 means something different to each of us. It is a traumatic event, a way of life, history, a story that still hasn’t concluded. For millennials, it is the political background for our teenage and adult years. For many of our religious, racial and ethnic minorities, it has been an excuse for oppression.

This last Sunday though, 9/11 came to mean something different. Communities of various faiths and religions came together from throughout Portland for a special service. Some of us from Waverly came. We had no idea what to expect. We just knew that we wanted to stand with our neighbors and show that we love them.

 The service was beautiful, challenging, mournful and celebrative. We wept for the thousands who died from that vicious act of terrorism, as well as those who continue to be affected from that event. We also wept for the hundreds of thousands who have died and been harmed from our nation’s reaction. We gifted each other from our traditions, blessing one another as neighbors and friends. We ate with one another, each one of us assuming the posture of both host and guest.

Fifteen years after 9/11, we committed ourselves to love over fear and hate. In our Christian language, we might call this an act of communion. It reminded me of the offerings of reconciliation mentioned in the Torah. Using the language of Martin Luther King, Jr., some referred to it as our living into “beloved community.”

Every week, we refer to this community in the Lord’s Prayer as God’s “kingdom.” We commit ourselves to this vision every time we utter that prayer. It is a reminder to us that hate and fear does not define us. In the days ahead, I am putting some time aside for prayerful reflection on how I can more fully live into the “beloved community.” How do I choose love over fear, apathy and hate? How do I do this with the people closest to me? What about the church? My neighborhood? How do I love those that I may be tempted to view as enemies? I invite you to also consider such reflection. If you would like to share, I would love to hear what insights you gain.

 Giuseppe Amato

Waverly Heights UCC Pastoral Intern

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Sunday Worship at Waverly, September 11th at 11 AM followed by 9/11 Interfaith Service Downtown, 4-7 PM

Worship this Sunday will be back at church (after a lovely service beneath a cathedral of trees last Sunday at Camp). Worship begins at 11 a.m. Children’s programs run concurrent with worship. Reverend Ron Werner Jr. will be our guest preacher.

If you’d like to join us in the afternoon, several from Waverly plan to attend an Interfaith 9/11 Service downtown. (See flyer, below).

9-11 Commemoration 1st Event_Draft2

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Worship at Camp Adams, 11 a.m. Sunday, September 4

71d5b7c9-8fef-4381-b524-65268686670aSunday Worship at Camp, September 4th

Preaching: Giuseppe Amato

Join Waverly Heights UCC at Camp Adams in Molalla for worship at 11 a.m. with a potluck lunch to follow. (There will be no service at the church this one week).

For directions to Camp Adams in Molalla, follow this link.

Camp Adams has hiking trails in approximately 265 acres, swimming in a glacially cold swimming hole — the confluence of two creeks on the property, crawdad catch and release, games, crafts, and lots of time to just relax. Come just for worship, spend the day, or join us for the weekend. Please e-mail for more information.

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