All That Jazz

A NOTE FROM PASTOR GAGE

Jazz. I don’t understand it. But I like it. There’s something about this enigmatic art form that speaks to my spirit in ways other kinds of music do not. So I decided to spend my week of study leave in May learning more about jazz. I took an online course, watched Ken Burns’ 10-part PBS documentary Jazz and listened to a lot of music.

After all of that, I know many more facts about jazz, its history, its musical roots and multiple derivations. I’m better able to recognize certain artists when I hear them. I’m even able to tell the difference between swing and bop (well, sometimes anyway). But the influence jazz has on my soul remains a mystery.

Members of a jazz band individually improvise and innovate, even as they work together intuitively, cooperatively and creatively. Each one is an important part of something bigger. That message carries a lot of appeal to me: working together with our Creator, hearing God’s call and then responding with echoes and variations of God’s theme.

This summer we’ll talk about being part of something bigger, of the mysteries of our faith, and the lessons that jazz can teach us about working in harmony with our Divine One. I hope you’ll join me.

Christ’s Peace and Love, Pastor Gage

Vacation Faith School 2017

This summer’s Vacation Faith School will be held on one Saturday each month. We’ll learn about the importance of water to all life on earth as well as the part it plays in our sacred stories. Kids can attend one, two or all three sessions, which start at 10 a.m. There is no fee. For more information or to register, email or call Pastor Gage. We’re also looking for volunteers to drive and help wrangle the kids. Ages? Potty trained through young at heart.

June 17 – “Under the Sea”

Jonah and the whale, the delicate coral reefs and a trip to the Layton aquarium

July 15 – “River Runs Through It”

Water from rocks, our desert ecosystem and an optional family campout

Aug. 19 – “Lucky Lake”

Jesus calms the waves, the importance of clean water and optional swimming at the Pickin’ Picnic

Church campout on July 15

We’re camping out! Show up any time after 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, at North Fork Park to relax, play games, hike or make an excursion to the Pineview swimming beach. We’ll have a picnic around 5 p.m. Folks who want to may camp overnight at the group site we’ve reserved through noon on Sunday. We’ll sing around the campfire and even have a little campsite worship service in the morning

Rise together with Pride!

It’s time for the 2017 Ogden Pride Festival! From noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, Ogden will celebrate its diversity at the downtown Amphitheater. Our church will have a booth again this year, and we need folks to staff and make it a fun experience. For many people at the festival, this will be their first encounter with (and first impression of) our church! See Rachel Hodgdon or Andy Nielsen if you are interested in helping. The festival itself needs volunteers to plan, set up and run it that day. See Tim Sharp if you are interested.

Bird’s-eye view of Creation Stewardship

Nikki Wayment will bring some feathered friends with her to worship on Sunday, July 30, and tell us about the work she does at Hawkwatch International, an organization that conserves raptors and our shared environment. God gave human beings the responsibility to steward all of creation. Nikki’s work with the birds is one example of how we can do that job to the best of our ability.

Jazz in July

SPIRITUALITY, IMPROVISATION AND CREATIVITY

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ… is about a very, very deep spirituality and about a connectedness between human beings and God, who created human beings. Jesus came into the world pointing, always pointing, to God and helping people find the way to be in relationship with God. … If you really listen to and watch jazz musicians do their craft, do their music, you’ll notice quite often that there is a unity, a oneness that happens within a jazz group that is there because of intuition and spirit. Jazz is a very deeply spiritual music, and the musicians are connected to one another intuitively and responding to one another the way that we are encouraged by Jesus to be in contact with God through our spirits. … Jazz is sometimes about call and response, and it’s also about improvisation and it’s also about multi rhythms. All of these things are the kinds of attributes that are spiritually grounded and take us back to Jesus calling us into the world to respond to conditions by always being ready to create and to improvise and to do what is necessary in the moment to make harmony, to make love happen, to make the world a better place. And ultimately that’s what jazz does.” – Rev. Geoffrey Black, former president, United Church of Christ

JAZZ PIANIST MICHAEL RUSSELL JOINS PASTOR GAGE ON JULY 9, 16 & 23 TO EXPLORE JAZZ, FAITH AND OUR GOD-SHARED CREATIVITY.

Whodunit?

Faith is our belief and confidence in something we cannot prove. Much of our tradition is a mystery. Our questions ache for answers. In August, our sermon series will delve into some of these mysteries:

WHERE DID EVIL COME FROM? If God is all-good and all-powerful and is the creator of everything we see, then what created evil?

WHO IS JESUS? “Who do you say I am?” Jesus asked his disciples. When Peter answered, “The messiah!” Jesus demanded that they keep his identity secret. Why do you think he did that?

WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN? If God loves us, then why does God let bad things happen to us? Illness, natural disasters and more cannot be attributed to human mistakes. So why do they occur