Interim Director of Youth Ministries

First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights is seeking an Interim Director of Youth Ministries to begin working no later than June 1st. Our current Associate Pastor for Children, Youth, and Family is leaving for a new ministry. We are looking for a candidate who can take over our youth programming for the summer and fall. 
 
To view full application, click here
 

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Holy Week

In Holy Week we walk with Jesus during the last week of his life. We celebrate on Palm Sunday, turn sorrowful on Maundy Thursday, experience the crucifixion on Good Friday, and then resurrection on Easter Sunday.

 

I was saved on Easter Sunday 45 years ago. I know we don’t use the term “saved” or “conversion” in the Reformed tradition but indulge me as I share my testimony with you throughmy Pentecostal lens. My conversation happened at a small Pentecostal church in Ann Arbor,Michigan, in a Sunday School class! Because I had to return to Chicago for college, I couldn’t stay for worship, so they baptized me at the end of Sunday School before worship began. I received the glossolalia experience of the Holy Spirit while coming out of the water! This continues to be a bright light in my spiritual journey. I still get emotional when reflecting upon that experience.

 

I have since had many more conversions and experiences with God, including a call to ministry, a call to seminary, and a conversion of grace to the Reformed tradition. As I look back over the steps in my Christian journey, I can see what began as a love for Jesus evolving into an ecumenical and interfaith love for all of God’s people. I can see where God shifted my focus from an individual experience to being part of a particular faith community of complex and loving human relationships.

 

In her On Being podcast interview with the late Pastor Eugene Peterson, Krista Tippet talks about church shopping. Peterson makes it clear that he recommends attending small churches because people will have to face relationships that are not easy. In the unedited version, Tippet responds, “I think that for most people, church is an experience they go to have, rather than being a part of a group of people.”

 

My hope is that for you and those who attend worship this week that church can be both an individual experience and a community involvement. My hope is that Holy Week will be a bright step in someone’s journey as they engage the grace of Jesus Christ in new and refreshing ways. Maybe this Holy Week we will make our churches a place where people are welcome to experience a lifechanging God, while being in the midst of all of God’s people.

 

Blessed Holy Week.

 

Rev. Craig Howard

choward@chicagopresbytery.org


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Youth Intern Indian Boundary Prarie

Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. We are seeking a knowledgeable, driven professional to serve as Youth Intern Indian Boundary Prairies. This is an exceptional career opportunity for a highly motivated, capable individual interested in joining the world’s leading conservation organization. We value collaborative approaches, diverse perspectives, and encourage innovative ideas.
 
Click here to view the full detailed application

 


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What Time Is It

2 weeks ago Chicago removed it’s mask mandate for most public places. Yay! Although we no longer have a mask mandate or have to show our proof of vaccination in public facilities, I don’t think we can declare that the pandemic is quite over yet. Maybe we should say we are in a post-2021 time. In this new era, all future plans are tentative. Events come with a forked decision of live, online, or hybrid. In the post-2021 time, we are accustomed to shifting from celebration to cancelation in a moment’s notice. Put another way, planning in the post-2021 time is a wreck!
 
In her book, No Cure for Being Human, Kate Bowler talks about the three types of time in the Christian tradition. These are tragic, apocalyptic, and pastoral time. In tragic time we witness a vibrant life ravished by illness or cut short by accident. We struggle with evil that lives long while the good die young. Bowler points out, “In tragic time the problem of evil has swept away the illusion that all things will be made right, and suddenly we wonder at the goodness of the world.”
 
“Apocalyptic time is when “systems are irredeemably broken and injustice reigns. The veil has been lifted and now we see ourselves on the brink.” Apocalypse means to reveal. This is the time to retreat to the mountains, look for the anti-Christ. “The end of the world is nigh.”
 
Pastoral time is what we know as ordinary time in Christian calendar. “It is marked by the seasons, the sowing and reaping and herding that keeps the land tilled and the herds fenced. It is most of time.” Pastoral is from the word shepherd. It reminds us that our calling is watching over and caring for the ordinary: printing bulletins, attending meetings, writing sermons, and unjamming the copier.
 
I would like to add a fourth time. I call it layered time. It is living in all three times simultaneously. The time we are in is often determined by incidents outside of ourselves. Russian invades Ukraine and the price of gas skyrockets. COVID retreats and the pressure to return to normal ramps up. Shifting from one time to another in the layered time creates stress, pressure, and anxiety in an already wrecked system.
 
We feel overwhelmed, confused, and a little paranoid. We wonder where the next flair up will come from, what the next world-wide drama will be, what political decision will influence the peace, purity, and unity of our congregations. We question if this is our call or is there something else we should be doing with our time.
 
But we are not alone. We are surrounded by colleagues in ministry who are also seeking communion. As a connected church, we are going through time, whatever it may be, together. Our strength is in our God and in our community. Now is the time to be part of a small group, cohort, or class. We find comfort in stories, laughter, and tears of one another. We find strength and comfort when we are together.
 
Take the time (if you are able) during this break from COVID in post 2021 time to hang out with friends and colleagues. Call, Zoom, or meet. Get together and just enjoy being with one another. Amen.
Rev. Craig M. Howard

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