Welcome (with audio)

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 20B, September 20, 2015; The Rev. Pamela L. Werntz

Proverbs 31:10-31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the city gates.James 3:13-4:3, 7-8 Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

Mark 9:30-37 Welcomes…welcomes…welcomes…welcomes.

O God of radical welcome, grant us the strength, the wisdom and the courage to seek always and everywhere after truth, come when it may, and cost what it will.

Hello! I’m so glad you’re here! Happy New Year! Part of the fun of living in an interfaith family like the family Emmanuel Church makes with Central Reform Temple is that we double our holidays! This sanctuary is still humming with the celebrations of the Jewish New Year that began last Sunday evening. So we enter this place today in the midst of the prayers of the Days of Awe – the high holy days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The themes of the Days of Awe are hope, reconciliation and repair – in individual lives and in the world – the Days of Awe are days of reflection, renewed commitment, and action. Continue reading

Getting Our Own Paragraph Right

The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 10B, July 12, 2015; The Rev. Pamela L. Werntz

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19 Michal…despised him in her heart.
Ephesians 1:3-14This is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of [God’s] glory.
Mark 6:14-29 What should I ask for?

O God of our future, the wisdom and the courage to seek always and everywhere after truth, come when it may, and cost what it will.

This is one of those Sundays when “Praise to you, Lord Christ,” just doesn’t seem like the right response after a Gospel reading. Actually, all three of our readings this morning get my dander up. In 2nd Samuel, what gets me is almost a throw-away line about David’s wife Michal, the party-pooper of the story, who saw him leaping and dancing and despised him in her heart. What’s Michal’s problem, you might wonder (if you noticed her at all). Well, Michal has been used and abused by her father King Saul and his successor King David, but according to tradition, she loved David and did not think he should be recklessly prancing around, scantily clad, before the throne of the Holy One. (I’m with her.) Continue reading


One of the greatest challenges that I have faced at my internship this year at Emmanuel is of an interpersonal nature and relates to a challenge that I am working with outside of the internship realm. It has to do with my tendency toward leadership, my need for being seen, and my addiction to creating intended results. I am someone who likes to enter a space and influence an outcome that I can imagine being positive in nature. I am a change agent and have been identified as someone who possesses leadership abilities for as far back as I can remember. (My first dream when I was a child was to be the president.) At Emmanuel this year one of the main things that I have gotten to practice is putting my tendency toward leadership on the shelf and, instead, showing up as just another member of the group or simply as a witness to what is happening to those around me. It has been through these experiences that I have been able to practice the dance of therapeutic presence. Continue reading

A Gentle and Generous Presence

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about power, leadership, and how these notions intersect with age. This comes to mind when I think about the group that Jessi, Bekah, and I started called Café Arts, which came out of a process of brainstorming ideas about how to provide an intermodal space for safe exploration of self as well as build deeper community connection for participants a part of Café Emmanuel. It has been an interesting experience in group process; Café Arts has been held in a collaborative spirit since its inception. From the design of the flier, to the overall structure of the groups, to our co-facilitation, the dynamics, which have existed and continue to blossom among us, have been the central piece of the project for me. This centrality is further emphasized in my mind by the reality that the group participants have been so varied and sparse throughout its time. Bekah, Jessi, and I have been the stable presence throughout and our group leadership has been quite fascinating and dynamic. Continue reading