Thanking God for Surprises

During prayer time a few weeks ago, Nancy celebrated with us the joy of still being able to be caught by surprise. That has stuck with me. Surprise, a joyful thing worth celebrating. In her story, I heard a parable that I am still wrapping my mind around.

Is the ability to be surprised a joyful thing worth celebrating? Many of us don’t think so. To some of us, surprises are events worth guarding against. They are threats to our ability to control our situations. They remind us that we are parts of larger systems and broader relations that we cannot predict. Certainly, we have all experienced the terror of horrible events that we could have prevented if we had only known ahead of time. The unexpected death of a loved one, the loss of a job, betrayal, or a heartbreaking act of violence.

Yet often, it is the ability to be surprised that allows for some real moments of happiness. Do you remember a time when you tasted something so delicious it took you by surprise? What about a sight so beautiful you could barely describe it? Have you ever been startled by your capacity to love and be loved? We have a word for these things: awestriking. We are struck with awe, or wonder. These moments challenge our language and stretch our understanding of what’s possible. They remind us that God/nature/people/ourselves are capable of much more than we know.

Yes, terrible surprises come to us all. Heartbreaks and stomachaches—none of us seek out these things. If we guard ourselves against surprises though, we end up avoiding much joy. And loss still comes.

As I learn to heal from the hardships of the past, I am also learning to appreciate the joys present around me today. I am learning to loosen up a bit, and allow myself to be surprised by the good and beautiful around me as well. For this week at least, I choose to make friends of surprise.

Giuseppe Amato

Waverly Heights UCC Pastoral Intern

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Waverly with Other UCC Congregations, Portland Pride Parade, Sunday, June 19th

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Sunday, June 19th – Orlando: A Lament


The politics we most require in the wake of Orlando is a politics of tears shed over what we have destroyed and can never ourselves restore. The civil politics of religious lamentation: No hashtag can do this for us.     – Mark D. Jordan, Orlando: A Lament

Following our theme of prayer, we will be exploring lament this Sunday. In the wake of the Orlando murder of 50 LGBT (predominantly) people of color, a service of lament is all the more needed.  Where can we publicly mourn all that has been lost?  Where can we proclaim to God our grief over the quick turn to Islamophobia, the ongoing fragility of bodies of color, the denial of Christian complicity in homegrown homophobia, the lack of political will for gun control with the body count mounting?

We’ll make time for these laments, and so much more.

Scripture: Psalm 42 & 43

Sermon: Orlando: A Lament, Rev. Sara Rosenau

Worship begins at 10 a.m.

PORTLAND PRIDE PARADE, Sunday, June 19th. March with Waverly UCC.

Pride has a more intense meaning this year.  Being in solidarity with the LGBT community is now more important then ever.

Many from Waverly will be walking over to Division to catch the Bus 4 downtown immediately following worship. The parade starts at 11 AM. See you there!

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June Worship Themes – Prayer

IMG_2041Our June & July sermon series will explore the wisdom and wondering about prayer more deeply.  We’ll be hosting several prayer opportunities during worship including a candle lighting station and an opportunity to make prayer flags.

Sunday, June 5th, 11AM Worship
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: Drinking Deep through Prayer
Text: Psalm 1 and Philippians 4:6-7
*Communion Sunday

Sunday, June 12th, *10AM Worship
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: Help
Text: Psalm 121, Romans 8:26
*Dialogue Sermon

*June 12th we’ll begin our summer schedule, worship at 10:00am

Sunday, June 19th, *10AM Worship
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: Lament
Text: Matthew 5:44
*Pride Sunday!

June 19th: Pride Parade! After worship we’ll walk to Division Street, catch the Bus 4 downtown, and gather with other UCC congregations for our annual march in the Pride Parade.  Join us! Wear your most colorful, prideful outfit!

Sunday, June 26, *10AM Worship
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: Thanks
Text: Psalm 30, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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Pente-chaos Celebration at Waverly, Sunday May 15th

IMG_2038“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” -Friedrich Nietzsche 

What is pente-chaos?  It is the swirl of fire, breath, and wind giving birth to dreams, vision, and renewal.  It is the flicker of Spirit, about to burst into flame.  It is church as a verb, the people of God going forth and finding their mission.  This Sunday’s worship will be lively and interactive, with some surprises, and something for everyone.  After worship we will pour outside for a pente-chaos festival celebrating the birthday of the church. Cake, balloons, and drinks for all!  (Or possibly celebrate indoors depending on the weather!)

Text: Acts 2:1-4 & John 20:20-22    —   Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau

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Worship Themes in May

Sunday, May 1st
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: God’s presence in relationships
Text: Matthew 28:16-20
*Communion Sunday

Sunday, May 8th
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: God’s presence in Spirit
Text: Acts 1:3-11
*Dialogue Sermon

Mother’s Day is May 8.  We would like to honor any one who has been that person to you.  If you have any hand-made quilts, we would like to borrow them for the day and drape them over the backs of the pews.  If you feel moved to, please bring a small memento of the person you would like to honor, and we will have a place for those items. 

Sunday, May 15th
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: Pente-chaos
Text: Acts 2:1-21
*Youth meet during the service

For Pentecost we celebrate the “Birthday of the Church!” Come join us for birthday cake, balloons, sparkling cider and champagne, AND FIRE! Come dressed in all your RED clothes, and be ready!   
On the first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles who then went out and spoke in the streets, telling all the good news. Pentecost occurs 50 days after Easter Sunday.

Join Waverly in the NAMI Walk following Worship!

Sunday, May 22nd
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: Introducing our Worship Series on Prayer
Text: Psalm 1
*Youth meet during the service

Sunday, May 29th
5th Sunday Labyrinth Walk Service

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Worship Schedule and Themes for April

A Message from Pastor Sara

What a wonderful Easter Celebration we had on Sunday!  Sometimes we think of Easter as the grande finale at the end of a long Lenten Season.  But it is also a prologue, an introduction to the adventure that God calls us to in our individual lives and in the life of our community.  We’ll explore this call more deeply in the next through reading, studying, and conversing about Jesus’s resurrection appearances. How is God present to us in this season of our lives?  What unique work is God calling us towards?

Here’s the Worship Schedule for April, please join us!

Sunday, April 3rd
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: God’s presence in transformations
Text: John 20:11-18
*Communion Sunday

Sunday, April 10th
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: God’s presence in transitions
Text: Luke 24:13-35
*Dialogue Sermon

Sunday, April 17
Speaker: Rev. Sara Rosenau
Theme: God’s presence in doubt
Text: John 20:19-29
*Youth meet during the service

Sunday, April 24th
Speaker: Grant Helbley
Theme: God’s presence in love
Text: John 21:1-24
*Youth meet during the service


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Easter Sunday @ Waverly Heights UCC

Introducing Waverly’s New Pastor, Rev. Sara Rosenau this Easter Sunday! Join us in Celebrating! 3300 SE Woodward

10:00 am: Childrens’ Easter Egg Hunt
10:30 am: Donuts and Coffee
11:00 am: Worship (Childcare Available)
12:00 pm: Coffee Hour and Bake Sale

You are invited to bring flowers from your yard to fill the cross during worship.

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Introducing Waverly’s New Pastor

saraWaverly Heights UCC is very excited to welcome Rev. Sara Roseanau as our new pastor! Her first Sunday with us in official capacity will be Easter Sunday, March 27th.

In the meantime, we are very pleased for Pastor Dennis Alger’s continued service as interim minister. He will be with Waverly for worship through March and the remainder of the Lenten Season.

Please follow this link to learn about Rev. Sara Rosenau, her professional background, ministry vision, and personal and family life.


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Learning more about Waverly and the United Church of Christ

UCCBeTheChurchBanner-nologo_1024x1024-2Would you like to know more about the United Church of Christ, receive a daily devotional from the UCC, follow Waverly UCC on Facebook, or learn more about the UCC Central Pacific Conference and Camp Adams?

Check out these related links

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