Important Updates

We’re back to in-person worship every Sunday at 10:00 AM. The worship service will also be live streamed via YouTube. We will continually assess and adhere to safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

July 15, 2021

Update on Roger

Just before noon on Saturday, July 10, while returning home on his bike Pastor Roger Nelson was struck by a car at Flossmoor Road and Cicero, and brought to Advocate Christ Hospital, Oak Lawn, by ambulance. He suffered a concussion, several fractured ribs, and will require skin grafting and orthopedic surgery on his leg. Thankfully, there is no evidence of head trauma.

We encourage you to join us in prayer for Rog, Sandi, and their family, but respect their wish that we refrain from phone calls, texts, or visits until further notice to provide the rest and calm Roger requires for his recovery.

Doctors have not yet given any indication of when he may leave the hospital, but we wait in hopeful expectation of that day. Join us in thanksgiving to God that Roger’s life was spared in what could have been an even more tragic accident.

Peace in Christ,
The Council at Hope

August 1, 2021

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Join us in worship using the following links. May it be a blessing to you.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship

July 25, 2021

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Join us in worship using the following links. May it be a blessing to you.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

July 18, 2021

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Join us in worship using the following links. May it be a blessing to you.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship

July 11, 2021

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Join us in worship using the following links. May it be a blessing to you.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

July 4, 2021

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Join us in worship using the following links. May it be a blessing to you.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

June 27, 2021

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Join us in worship using the following links. May it be a blessing to you.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

June 20, 2021

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

This is our first “normal” Sunday since the second or third Sunday of March 2020. There’s only one service. We’re indoors. We’re celebrating communion by intinction (sort of…). The singing promises to be robust, the joy will be palpable, and the Spirit will be present. Thanks be to God!

Please find the resources for worship linked below. We’re still learning and trying to improve the live stream experience. We think within in the next few weeks you won’t get this note (here or via email) but will simply connect to the service from our website. Thanks for your faithful participation and encouragement in this format. Wherever this finds you this morning, we’re glad that you’ve joined us. Our prayer is that you’ll be blessed by the community gathered in hope.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

June 13, 2021

Third Sunday after Pentecost

This is our last morning with 2 services. On June 20 we’re back to 1 service at 10:00 AM. Thanks be to God! We will continue to live stream that service.

We’re planning on a full re-opening in September. Choir will start singing, Sunday school and adult education will pick up again, catechism will meet, and there’ll be a “Baptismal Lamaze” class. We’re planning for a kick-off BBQ on September 12 and an October 2–3 celebration of Hope’s 60th anniversary. All of this could go sideways, but it is sure good to be filled with hope.

Join me in thanking the many folks who flexed and fixed and found creative ways to help get us through these last 15 months. The list is long but it surely includes Erin and Schuyler, Sharon, Lynn and Dora, Rita Hollender, Jeremy Hulford, Dan Quist and Mark Friesen, elders and deacons who navigated difficult decisions and took on new responsibilities, etc, etc. Thanks be to God for these gifted servant-leaders.

I’m grateful for your faithful participation through podcast, live stream, or socially-distant-masked-in-person-worship. While these were poor substitutes for the experience of being fully present in gathered congregational worship, you stayed connected with us as best you could through these other formats – and for that I’m exceedingly grateful.

We’re not out of the woods yet. There are a variety of difficult unresolved issues, and we’ve all been changed by this experience, but for today join in my gratitude. Join in my celebrating God’s faithfulness – even in this. And, we hope to see you next week!

Thanks be to God!

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

Peace,
Roger Nelson

June 6, 2021

Second Sunday after Pentecost

It is hard to break through the noise of this world. In a text message world, how do we hear the ancient text of scripture? Given the immediacy of Instagram, how do we learn to wait on the Lord?

I wonder or worry about stuff like that. How does an 18-minute sermon break through the noise and make any difference? How do the formative practices of liturgy, congregational singing, and the sacraments hold us when there are games and trips and coffee and lakes and comfort and the world wide web at our finger tips?

I don’t have answers for all that, but as I wrote in News & Notes earlier this week,

“Our hope is that as the virus retreats and mask mandates are lifted, that we’ll be able to return in August and September to normal unencumbered Hope life. That’s our prayer. That’s the way we’re trying to plan. As you travel and vacate and enjoy the summer, we also hope that you’ll return to worship quickly and regularly.”

We’re glad that so many join us through live streaming.
We hope you’ll join us in person – quickly and regularly.
We miss you and need you.

Here are the worship resources for this morning. We begin a new sermon series in Mark and we baptize Nolan Gus Drenth. Thanks be to God!

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

Peace,
Roger Nelson

May 30, 2021

Trinity Sunday

Part of what we’ve missed during the pandemic is the sacraments. We’ve missed the regular practices of baptism and communion as physical signs of spiritual truths. They are embodied rituals that point to spiritual realities.

I came upon a line this week that gets at the importance of these sacramental acts. The author was writing about how easy it is to drift in worship, to think about all manner of other things, to get preoccupied with the worries of the day, but he goes on to write this:

“…having to face and forgive my own failures, I have learned from them both the necessity and wonder of ritual. For ritual allows those who cannot will themselves out of the secular to perform the spiritual, as dancing allows the tongue-tied man a ceremony of love.”

What a beautiful line, “as dancing allows the tongue-tied man a ceremony of love.” We’ve missed “the embodied dance that performs the Gospel, the ceremony of God’s love.”

I’m pleased to report that we have some baptisms lined up and that the elders will be considering ways that we can safely be joined in communion. We are slowly emerging from the pandemic and recovering those essential practices that sustain our life together. We’ll be dancing soon.

This morning is Trinity Sunday. The liturgy and hymns point us toward the mystery of God in three persons and the sermon explores a wonderful conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus. Here are the resources for this morning’s worship.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

May God bless,
Roger Nelson

May 23, 2021

Pentecost Sunday 🔥

It seemed like a good idea when we drew it up. We would gather in the parking lot for Pentecost, revisit the joy of worship last summer, and get a taste of everyone being together. The Spirit would gently blow, worship would be robust, people would be encouraged, and God would be honored. We still hold those hopes…

But then the CDC issued new guidelines, we pivoted to new practices, and I was reminded again of how difficult this last year has been.

At each turn – whether podcasting, live streaming, meeting masked, finding shade under the parking lot tree, or spreading out around the sanctuary – we have tried to develop worship practices that included and welcomed all. We’ve prayed for the Spirit’s leading. We’ve listened to all manner of voices and opinions. We’ve made mistakes. But our singular goal has been to be faithful in worship and witness to the gospel of God in Christ.

I’m profoundly grateful for the work of the elders, the worship leaders, the panel of doctors and scientists, the deacons, the office and building staff, Schuyler, and your willingness to roll with each change. It has been quite a journey.

We’re outside this week. We’ll be back inside with two services (9:00 and 10:15 AM / live streamed) next week and for the next month or so. I hope and pray that we’ll be fully gathered for one service a Sunday at some point this summer.

Here are the worship resources for Pentecost Sunday. We go live at 10:00 AM.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

May God bless you,
Roger Nelson

May 15, 2021

Update ⚡️

You might be having a little whiplash from Thursday’s CDC announcement. Seems like a dramatic swing in a short time span. The elders and Hope’s “Blue Ribbon” panel of doctors and administrators are trying to process the change and the implications for Hope. What we read is that there is substantial evidence that the vaccine mitigates catching, transmission, and the severity of COVID. Even limited anecdotal evidence of post-vaccination contraction shows that hospitalization or substantial illness is dramatically reduced and virtually negligible. This is great news!

So, what does all of this mean for Hope?

We’ve tried to follow the science and the guidance of the CDC up to this point; it seems fitting that we continue to follow the science and the guidance of the CDC. As we’ve relied on the directives of public health leaders and epidemiologists in the past, we’ll rely on them in the present. Therefore, when you come to Hope, if you’re vaccinated you don’t need to wear a mask, if you aren’t vaccinated then you do need to wear a mask. If you’re vaccinated you don’t need to worry about keeping physical distance; if you aren’t then you do. These changes will go into effect this weekend.

We’ll have two worship services on Sunday, May 16 (9:00 and 10:15 AM, with no live stream, and Children in Worship at 10:15 AM). We’ll be outside for one service on May 23 (10:00 AM). During the next two weeks, we’ll look for more guidance from local health officials and directives from the CDC, and the elders will make a decision about the number of services and any protocol changes beginning on May 30.

This has been a long season of unsettledness and uncertainty. We’ve known trauma and fear and all manner of interpretations about best practices. Those realities won’t subside quickly. We’ll need to continue being patient and gracious with one another. We’ll need to encourage and support one another.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

May 9, 2021

⚡ Still No Power – 10:15 AM Canceled

ComEd has pushed back their estimation about restoring power to 10:30 AM. At this point we don’t see any clear path to insuring that we can gather at 10:15 AM. So, we’re going to cancel the 10:15 AM service. We are really sorry about this turn events. We wish we had other options.

Enjoy the day.
Stay warm and dry.
Happy Mother’s Day?

Peace,
Roger Nelson

May 9, 2021

⚡ No Power – 9:00 AM Canceled

With a big bang the power at Hope went out at 8:14 AM. ComEd reports that we might have power by 10:15 AM. We are canceling the 9:00 AM service. We will make a determination at 9:30 AM about the 10:15 AM service. Please check your email at 9:30 AM. If you know someone who was planning on coming to one of these services you might want to give them a call.

So 2021…
Thanks.

Peace,
Roger Nelson

May 2, 2021

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men are overwhelmed by life. This is one of those weeks. The best we can offer this morning is the liturgy and a link to the live stream.

The elders will be meeting this week; part of their agenda is looking at worship plans for the summer – including some Sundays in the parking lot. We are assessing ways to open up Children in Worship, Vacation Bible School, and other children’s ministries. Please remember their discernment and this process in prayer.

This morning Erin Pacheco picks up our sermon series in I John. We’re blessed by her gifts as a musician and a preacher. And we offer a word of blessing to a couple dear Hope members who are moving to west Michigan in the next few weeks. We hope and pray that you find this service to be meaningful, encouraging, and a faithful expression of our little part of the Body of Christ gathered in Oak Forest.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

April 25, 2021

Fourth Sunday of Easter

There’s a great deal being written right now about navigating the uneven terrain of life and relationships in this long-slog pandemic. When our circles of interaction have been whittled down, we have opportunity to assess what we reconstruct. When we’ve pulled back, we have opportunity to assess how far we want to dive back in. When much has been lost, we have opportunity to assess what we’ve found.

As Kate Murphey writes:

“The past year has forced a mass meditation on the nature and strength of our social ties. While our culture has encouraged us to accumulate friends, both on- and off-line, like points, the pandemic has laid bare the distinction between quantity and quality of connections. There are those we’ve longed to see and those it’s been a relief not to see. The full reckoning will become apparent only when we can once again safely gather and invitations are — or are not — extended. Our social lives and social selves may never be the same.”

In that process there is a great deal of worry about the church. What’s left? Who’s coming back? How do we disengage on-line and re-engage in person? What does the post-pandemic church look like?

I know that we’re all doing the best we can to navigate this new terrain and there are all sorts of dynamics at work, but when you’re ready, I hope you’ll make your way back to Hope. You’re loved and missed and we’re not fully ourselves without you.

Here are the resources for online worship this morning. May you be blessed and encouraged.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace,
Roger Nelson

April 18, 2021

Third Sunday of Easter

I read this earlier this week,

“Christian mission begins with friendship—not utilitarian friendship, the religious version of network marketing—but genuine friendship, friendship that translates love for neighbors in general into knowing, appreciating, liking, and enjoying this or that neighbor in particular…”
— Brian McLaren

We often end worship services with the familiar charge to “go now, to love God and love neighbor, to serve God and to serve neighbor.” Friendship seems an essential part of that charge. And, while friendship is easy in the abstract, substantive friendships involve investment, history, vulnerability, and delight in “this or that neighbor in particular.”

Tending after friendships is part of what’s lost with live-stream worship. It is hard to tend after one another when we’re separated by screens and masks and distance. We’re trying to do the best we can right now, but we long for the day when we can be gathered face to face and friend to friend.

Part of our essential calling, part of our mission, is friendship. Seeking to love God and love one another. May we never lose that call, that longing, that gift.

Here are the resources for this morning’s worship.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace to you, dear friends,
Roger Nelson

April 11, 2021

Second Sunday of Easter

There’s a great deal of speculation about the post-pandemic church. I’ve seen advertisements for books, workshops, conferences, blog-spots, and discussion groups about what will come next. There’s ecclesiastical chatter about what will change, what will be lost, and what will survive. There are those who see the virtual-livestream-zoom-church as a wonderful addition that will extend the mission of the church, and those who worry about what’s lost when it’s easy to tune in from home.

Peter Marty frames it this way:

A church’s ministry will need to be spirited and compelling, of course, especially if it’s to compete with the convenience of worship at home in pajamas. But as social gathering places (at least ones where people can meet without paying) get put on the endangered species list and remote work opportunities cocoon more and more people, as anchoring institutions of society move their activities online and plenty of us shift our purchasing, learning, and even medical care to the internet, the gathered church becomes an ever more precious entity.

I don’t know what the post-pandemic church will look like or how long it will take us to get there. I do know that I miss seeing many of you – some of you for more than a year now. I do know that the gathered church feels like a precious entity.

There are all sorts of valid reasons that keep us away from Hope right now. But I also want you to know that you are dearly missed. There’s something essential missing.

Here are resources for this morning’s service. We begin a new sermon series in I John.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

April 4, 2021

Easter Sunday 🌄

In a recent interview, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said, “The resurrection is not the overturning of the cross, as though crucifixion were defeat and resurrection a contradiction of that defeat. The cross and the resurrection were part of one act of love and mission and redemption. The resurrection does not annihilate the old creation, it reconfigures it.”

This Easter morning we celebrate the stunning-unimaginable-miracle, the joyful mystery, the good news of the resurrection. And we consider the implications of that creation altering act of God. How is creation reconfigured? How does the light of resurrection morning illuminate the living of these days?

We’re glad you’re gathering with us in Hope’s sanctuary or joining us via live stream. However you engage in this worship service, our deep prayer is that you’ll encounter the resurrected Christ in a meaningful and encouraging way.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

He is risen!
He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Peace,
Roger Nelson

April 2, 2021

Good Friday

During Lent we’ve been asking the question: “What song shall we sing?” As a way into this year’s Lenten lectionary psalms, and as a way to get at the themes and practices of Lent it’s been a helpful question. We’ve sung with the choir – that great cloud of witnesses, even those yet to be born. We’ve sung with the symphony – joining all creation in praising God. We’ve sung with the empty-handed and with those waving palm branches. We’ve sung with the psalmist, and this evening we consider what song Jesus sang.

The psalm we reflect on is not a typical text for Good Friday, but it seems a fitting close to this sermon series and it offers a window into the passion story. Our hope is that the music, meditation, and experience of communion (even virtually) will serve to turn us toward the cross and prepare us to celebrate the mystery and joy of the resurrection.

It’s been our tradition on Good Friday to be led in worship by Hope’s choir. They’re dearly missed as we gather masked, socially distant, and via YouTube. A year later, we’re mindful of what we’ve lost. However, we hope that by September the choir will be back in their central position supporting congregational singing and lifting us up off the ground with beautiful choral music. May that day come soon and very soon.

It is our deep prayer that you will encounter Jesus – crucified and resurrected – through the worshipping community of Hope on this holy night and on Easter morning.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

May God bless you,
Roger Nelson

P.S. We removed some duplicates and there are still some openings for Easter morning in-person worship, particularly at the 9:00 AM service.

Easter Sunday Signup

Please contact us if you’d like to receive these updates via email with included coloring sheet and additional resources.

March 28, 2021

Palm Sunday 🌿

What song shall we sing?
As we enter Holy Week, what song shall we sing?

This morning Erin Pacheco invites us to sing an old song for a new day. On Good Friday we will consider what Jesus sang. And on Easter morning we join in singing “Alleluia!” It promises to be a week rich with reflection, mystery, and joyful-faithful-hope as we take up the songs of entry into Jerusalem, crucifixion and resurrection.

While trying to be vigilant about vaccines, keeping an eye on virus variants, and doing our part to mitigate transmission, we are opening up worship to 70 people per service. We think we can add 20 more people per service and safely keep distance by sitting in alternating ends of alternating rows. We continue to be blessed by post-service fellowship outside of the sanctuary entrance.

We hope you’ll sign up and join us in person or watch online at 7:00 PM on Good Friday. Easter morning will feature in-person worship at 9:00 and 10:15 AM, with the second service online. All of these services will include communion using individually sealed containers of wine and wafer.

Here are sign-up links for this week’s services and worship resources for this morning.

In-Person Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

We are so grateful that we don’t sing alone. We are joined in that great company who greet the Messiah riding on a donkey…
Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!

Roger Nelson

Please contact us if you’d like to receive these updates via email with included coloring sheet and additional resources.

March 21, 2021

Fifth Sunday in Lent

What song shall we sing?

This morning we join David in singing Psalm 51. Next week, Erin Pacheco will lead us in singing a psalm of Palm Sunday. And suddenly Holy Week is upon us. So, here’s the plan for this year…

We will gather at 7:00 PM on April 2 for a Good Friday worship service that includes liturgy, songs/hymns, a brief meditation, and communion. You’ll need to sign up online to join us in person; we’ll also live stream that service. You’ll get a link at 6:00 PM. Communion will be celebrated using small individual containers of wine and wafer.

Easter Sunday will also include communion – again with the individual servings. We’ll gather at 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM and live stream the second service. Elders are weighing options for how to include all who want to join us. We don’t want to turn any away. We want to be mindful of best practices for safety and mitigating virus transmission. Watch News & Notes for sign-up details for both services.

Here are resources for this morning’s service. Thank you for joining us in whatever fashion you’re able.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

What song shall we sing?

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:10

Peace,
Roger Nelson

Please contact us if you’d like to receive these updates via email with included coloring sheet and additional resources.

March 14, 2021

Fourth Sunday in Lent

I received two pictures last Sunday.

One was of a Hope elder watching the worship service online. He was stretched out on the couch, liturgy in hand, watching Hope on the big screen in HD. His dog sat upright at his side as if also watching the service.

The second was from a woman in Washington, D.C. who’s been watching the online services. She sent a picture of her husband and their two boys. She wrote that one of the boys watched a recent sermon on Psalm 22 and wanted to thank me for helping him think about why bad things happen….

Those two pictures capture the tension of online worship. It’s been a good gift for the last year. It helped sustain our life together and it reached a far broader community of people than we ever imagined. But it is also offers a kind of comfort. Worship can fit into a walk, becomes background while making dinner, and is part of a relaxing afternoon on the couch. What’s lost is the joy of congregational singing, the beauty and burden of being together, and the habits of coming to Hope.

My guess is that online worship will be part of our life together for a good bit of 2021. There are good gifts. I also long for and look forward to all of us together – present, uncomfortable, and upright in wobbly old interlocking chairs from the mid-seventies.

This morning our service is built around Psalm 107. As the psalm invites, we share in testimony of the faithfulness of God. We trust that the songs and voices of Hope will be a blessing and encouragement.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Children in Worship Video

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

Please contact us if you’d like to receive these updates via email with included coloring sheet and additional resources.

March 7, 2021

Third Sunday in Lent

Next Sunday marks a year of reconfiguring our worship life in response to the pandemic. Because of state directives, CDC guidelines, and an abundance of caution it has been a year since we were last gathered in mass, without masks, belting out hymns with glee. It’s been a challenging “unprecedented” year. We’ve worshipped by podcast, via live stream, and in the parking lot. We’ve gained worshippers from all over the country, and we haven’t seen dear brothers and sisters of our Hope family. I think it will take a long time to sort out what we’ve learned and what we’ve lost. I don’t think anyone really knows what post-pandemic church will look like…

Next week we “sing” Psalm 107 – a psalm that invites testimony of God’s faithfulness. Therefore, we’re developing a service of liturgy, song, and testimony. We’re marking a year with words of lament and testimony to God’s provision. And, that’s where you come in! We need 4 (or 8) people who can each offer a 3-minute testimony of what they’ve learned, lost, or come to know of God through this last year. Three minutes is basically one page. Everyone has a testimony, we need 4 (or 8) of you to share yours. You will bless and encourage others, even as you’re blessed and encouraged. If you’re willing, please contact me (Roger Nelson) as soon as possible. If I don’t get volunteers, I’ll be forced to recruit…

This morning our worship is shaped by Psalm 19. Worship resources are offered below, and Marjie Coleman will lead us in a new song she wrote based on Psalm 19.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Join us this morning and help us next week.
Peace to you,
Roger Nelson
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Please contact us if you’d like to receive these updates via email with included coloring sheet and additional resources.

February 28, 2021

Second Sunday in Lent

What song shall we sing?

When life is disrupted, while grieving a death, during a pregnancy, while waiting for a vaccine, in times of anxiety, in moments of great joy and gratitude what song shall we sing? During Lent, during Zoom, during retirement, during a pandemic what song shall we sing?

That’s our theme for Lent this year. We’re going to sing psalms during Lent as a way to explore a biblical spirituality. As we journey toward the cross and the empty tomb, we’ll mark out steps with the psalms. Each week a psalm will be the preaching text and serve some function in our liturgy. There are coloring sheets to aid in mediation and reflection. I know some of you who are creating your own art in response. I know others are reading the psalm each day or memorizing a few lines. We hope many will join in those practices.

This week we are open for in-person worship. We’ll gather for services at 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM. We’re slowly trying to find our way back to the blessings of full intergenerational life at Hope. We will be careful and listen for the best counsel and suggestions. Our prayer is that all will return with joy and confidence. We want all to be welcomed. In that spirit, the 10:15 AM service will still be live streamed and available on YouTube into perpetuity. Here are the worship resources for this Second Sunday in Lent.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace,
Roger Nelson

Please contact us if you’d like to receive these updates via email with included coloring sheet and additional resources.

February 21, 2021

First Sunday in Lent

A young woman who grew up at Hope reached out this week. She’s out of state and has been watching worship online. She emailed to ask about fasting during Lent. I responded that rather than taking something away, we were going to add something this year. She was free to skip Chipotle, but what if she added something instead?

If the idea of Lent is to turn toward God, if the goal is faithfulness and renewal, then we’re going to focus each week on a line or two from a psalm. This year we’re asking the question, “What Shall We Sing?” And each week you’ll be invited to keep a psalm in heart, mind, and song for the coming week.

Rather than giving up chocolate, you’ll be invited to add a psalm. Rather than giving up social media, you’ll be invited to give up social media and add a psalm. Together we’ll read the week’s psalm each day, post a line somewhere you’ll see again and again, sit with it in silence, end each prayer you offer with the psalm, memorize it, or color it. Yup! Color it. We’ve added an “adult” coloring page to help you sit with the psalm of the week.

From now until Easter we will be singing (and coloring) a psalm each week.
I hope you’ll join us.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace,
Roger Nelson

Please contact us if you’d like to receive these updates via email with included coloring sheet and additional resources.

February 14, 2021

Transfiguration Sunday

Most runners hit “the wall” when running a marathon. This occurs somewhere around the 20-mile mark when a runner’s glycogen (stored energy) within the muscles is depleted. Hitting the wall is both physically and mentally exhausting – you have 6 more miles to the finish line but your mind and body are telling you to slow down, walk, rest, stop, quit.

Many of us have hit the COVID wall. We’re physically and mentally exhausted. We can’t even quite explain the mix of anxiety, boredom, frustration, longing, anger, and numbness we feel. Many of us know a sense of loss, loneliness, and uncertainty. We trust there’s a finish line, but we don’t know how much gas we have left in the tank.

Isaiah writes that those who wait on the Lord, “will run and not grow weary, will walk and not faint.” Isaiah didn’t live in a pandemic in the Midwest in February…

When the things that give us energy are depleted (singing, congregational fellowship, children, connection and community) it is hard to keep going.

I hope you’ll keep going. Don’t quit on Hope. We’re just a few weeks away from opening up for in-person worship. There are little hints of renewed life, like GEMS starting to meet again. There are babies to baptize and new members to welcome. Someday soon winter’s icy grip will loosen and before you know it there will be signs of spring.

COVID fatigue is a real thing. It has been almost a year since we were gathered in worship in the sanctuary. That is a substantial loss. And right now, it feels like a wall. I pray that the Spirit will sustain us and that soon and very soon we’ll know renewal and the joy of a race well run…

May these worship resources sustain us for the miles that we’re called to run this week. (Okay, enough with the marathon metaphors…)

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

May God bless,
Roger Nelson

February 7, 2021

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

A couple announcements before we turn our attention to worship…

On Wednesday, February 17 at 7:00 PM we’re offering a live stream Ash Wednesday worship service. As we begin our Lenten journey toward the cross and empty tomb, this service seems an essential beginning place. We think this is a good year to consider the tradition and practice of the ashes – even virtually. We hope you’ll join us for this beautiful service of music, liturgy, song, short sermon, and symbol.

With unanimous but cautious approval, the elders approved a plan to open in-person worship on February 21, the first Sunday of Lent. We will offer two 45 minute services (9:00 AM and 10:15 AM). We will limit capacity to 50 people at each service. We will remain masked and keep physical distance. We will live stream the second service. So, very similar to what we did in the parking lot – only in the sanctuary. We need to complete the installation of exhaust fans and this cold snap may derail those plans, but we are hoping to gather for worship on February 21. Watch News & Notes for more details.

And with those announcements, we turn our attention toward worship.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

January 31, 2021

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

During the past year, it’s often felt like the pandemic has come for all but the closest of my close ties.

That line jumped off the page at me. Part of a larger essay about the loss of “casual friendships,” it gets at some of what’s lost in online worship. I regularly see my wife and daughter/grandson, and a few people in the church building, but outside of that the pandemic has decimated contact with more casual friendships.

Many church friendships fall into that category. “Casual” is not the best word for it, but church community is suffering during the pandemic. There are many of you that I haven’t seen for almost a year. I’m grieved by that. I miss the contact and connection that church life affords. We are healthier and happier and more of who we’re called to be when we’re together. Many of us are hunkered down and holding on, and we’ve got the closest of our close ties, but we miss the fullness of the friendships that a church community can offer.

I don’t know when we’ll open again for in-person worship, but there is light on the horizon. We’re putting in a simple but effective ventilation system. Many of you are getting vaccinated. We’re watching the metrics that we have access to and trying to follow the lead of the authorities. The elders meet again this week to make decisions for the next month. Pray with us for wisdom and clarity and that the horizon’s light will continue to rise.

This morning we welcome Rod and Jean Korthals into membership at Hope. We do so through online worship. Even this joy is a reminder of what’s lost and what we long for. May we find ways to welcome and enfold Rod and Jean. May they find at Hope the human touch of friendship and family that is essential to being the Body of Christ.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

January 24, 2021

Third Sunday after Epiphany

In Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in the Everyday Life Tish Harrison Warren asks this question:

How should we respond when we find the Word perplexing or dry or boring or unappealing?

And I confess that I have the same worry about sermons. Every week I find myself fighting the demons that say this is dry, or boring, or unappealing, or stale, or repetitive, or finally just a bunch of God-talk that doesn’t touch the real world.

But I take comfort or courage in Tish’s answer:

How should we respond when we find the Word perplexing or dry or boring or unappealing?

We keep eating. We receive nourishment. We keep listening and learning and taking our daily bread. We wait on God to give us what we need to sustain us one more day. We acknowledge that there is far more wonder in this life of worship than we yet have eyes to see or stomachs to digest. We receive what has been set before us today as a gift.

I’m grateful for the reminder that worship, music, sermons, and scripture are not about me or our longing for the new and novel. But they are set before us as a gift with the power to sustain us one more day. Even in this season of social distance and online worship, even as we’re frustrated and tired, may we keep eating and find nourishment. May we wait on God to give us what we need.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

January 17, 2021

Second Sunday after Epiphany

Some watch this live stream worship service on their computer screen while others boot it up on big screens in HD. Some listen while puttering in the kitchen while others are working out, showering, or walking the dog. Some watch with family on Sunday mornings and some watch in solitude in the middle of the week. Some sing along and participate in the liturgy and some skip ahead to the sermon. We know folks tune-in in Michigan, Colorado, California, Iowa, Canada, New York, and the south suburbs. We’re grateful for all who watch or listen – however and wherever you do it.

We’ve been doing some form of podcast or live stream for ten months. We’ve made a lot mistakes and we’ve a learned a little along the way. When the Governor issued the first lockdown order, we never imagined that almost a year later we’d still be navigating issues related to gathering for worship during a pandemic. We’re grateful that you’ve stuck with us through steamy mornings in the parking lot and high holy days from an empty sanctuary.

Our hope is that in the next weeks or months we can begin to gather safely. We’re installing an airflow exhaust system, many in our community are getting vaccinated, and we believe that the strain on the healthcare system will begin to recede. We hope that we can gradually and safely open the in-person-worship-faucet…

Until then, we’re grateful that we can be joined together online.
However you do it…

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Thank you!
Grace and Peace,
Roger Nelson

January 10, 2021

First Sunday after Epiphany

In Time Magazine in 1966 Karl Barth is quoted,

“Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.”

That line usually gets told that the preacher should have the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. And that preaching should take into account or reflect on the events of the week. So, for example, I heard from preacher friends who were rewriting their sermons based on what happened in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

I struggle each week with how much newspaper to include. The temptation is to use the pulpit as a soapbox. The trouble is how to determine what events warrant specific attention. There is always a crisis that invites comment.

I try to let the lectionary text set the lead. You can get political commentary in a lot of places. My calling is to proclaim the gospel of God in Christ. Sometimes interpretation of the week’s events are warranted and other times there is a deeper story, a more essential truth, a text that gets under the crisis of the moment. It is a difficult, delicate balance. I don’t always get it right.

This morning we read Mark’s version of the baptism of Jesus. I don’t take up the events of the week. I hope that this essential story bless you and helps interpret the times…

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

May God bless,
Roger Nelson

January 3, 2021

Second Sunday after Christmas

“On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me ten lords a leaping…”

If I’m counting right, this is the tenth day of Christmas. You may have taken down your tree, finished off the fruitcake, and put away your nativity scene, but we are still in Christmastide. We’re still singing carols and telling the story of the incarnation. We’re still joining the choirs of angels and sitting with the shepherds. I have no idea what to do with leaping lords or maids a milking, but I know that the mystery of the incarnation calls for time to ponder in our hearts. So, while you might be eager to turn the page to a new year, this morning we sit with the ancient and most profound mystery of the Christian faith: What does it mean that God was born among us?

Here are the worship resources for this morning’s service. As any of this is helpful or encouraging, we hope you will share it with family and friend.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

“For the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us and we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Amen.
Roger Nelson

December 27, 2020

First Sunday after Christmas

Worship attendance typically dips on the Sunday after Christmas or Easter. We need a break; we’re churched out. We’re traveling. We like the idea of a quiet Sunday brunch and a leisurely read of the newspaper. The Senior Pastor usually takes that Sunday off to catch his/her breath, take a vacation, or travel to see family. Preaching gets shuffled to an Associate Pastor or a seminary student. The Sunday after Christmas or Easter is usually a low key, sparsely attended affair.

Well, not this year! We’re coming out blazing with Christmas carols, beautiful duets, the organ, two violins, and a sermon on a text that this pastor hasn’t looked at in over ten years! We hope you’ll tune in. We believe that God will be honored and you’ll be encouraged and glad that you invested the 45 minutes. You’ll find the worship resources for this Christmas season service below.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Grace and Peace,
Roger Nelson

December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve

Hope’s Christmas Eve tradition is to tell the unfolding story of creation’s redemption with scripture, song, silence, and symbol. With the leading of the choir, the stillness of the night, and the gathering of friend and family, Hope’s version of “Lessons and Carols” is a beautiful service.

Hope’s Children’s Pageant is a “do-it-yourself” creative adventure. Every year it’s different. The sustaining thread is the voices of children sharing the nativity story. It is cute, and earnest, and no less beautiful than “Lessons and Carols.”

This is sort of a homespun mashup of those two services – done in a way that makes space for us, especially on this holy night, to see each other and retell God’s story together. It is funny, human, quirky, intergenerational, and wonderfully full of Hope. You’re encouraged to print up the order of worship and the hymnal song sheets. Join us in song and prayer and genuine delight.

We’re profoundly grateful for so many who chipped in with picture and song. We count ourselves particularly blessed to work with so many gifted and willing friends of all ages. Our deepest prayer is that, even in this, you will encounter Jesus in a way that inspires love and hope and great joy. May we know Immanuel – God with us.

Christmas Eve Worship
Order of Worship

Merry Christmas,
Erin Pacheco
Schuyler Roozeboom
Roger Nelson

December 20, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Most weeks in sermon writing, I stumble across something that hooks me and, I hope, in turn hooks you. There is usually some line, word, or angle that makes me tilt my head and provides the opening to wrestle, write, and proclaim the Good News of God in Christ. It doesn’t happen every week, but most weeks there is something that feels fresh to me and I hope to you.

That way of approaching scripture and sermon writing gets harder with familiar texts. When everyone knows the story, how does one find a fresh hook? When we’ve heard the story since we were toddlers, how do we engage in a way that calls for our attention, our openness, our hearts….

My calling is to enter into the text with you. To unfold, explore, sit with and listen to the text – that in doing so, we might hear God’s voice. And, that calling is true whether the text is familiar or obscure. I’m grateful that you join me in that process.

This morning we consider the angel’s visitation to Mary, and I stumbled on a turn of phrase that surprised me and made me tilt my head. I hope the same happens to you.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

May you be blessed, encouraged, and called forth in faith through the music, liturgy, prayer, and preaching of a familiar text.

Peace on Earth,
Roger Nelson

December 13, 2020

Third Sunday of Advent

I’ve been thinking about this line from Hebrews:

“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up on meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:24-25

Congregational worship is a habit. The weekly rhythm of gathering to sing and pray and listen for the voice of God gives shape to our lives. At its best it encourages, blesses, and helps us see ourselves, our neighbors, and God’s creation rightly. At its best it serves to spur us on toward love and good deeds. At its best it inspires us and honors God in Christ.

The habit of congregational worship has clearly been disrupted by the pandemic and our efforts to mitigate the transmission of the virus. No one is happy about this state of affairs. I miss the gathering of family and friend in worship. Live streaming and podcasting are poor substitutes. The habit of congregational worship has given shape to life for as long as I can remember. I feel out of shape, out of sorts, out of rhythm….

It is my prayer that the breaking of this habit be temporary even as it reminds us of its importance. And when we have the counsel and the resources to be joined together again, may we return with great joy and gratitude – rebuilding the habit that we’re missing.

Today we are blessed by Erin Pacheco’s preaching and Dave and Bev Baar leading in music. Join me in thanking God for these good and gifted leaders. And, let us be spurred on toward love and good deeds as we see the Day approaching.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace on Earth,
Roger Nelson

December 6, 2020

Second Sunday of Advent

We’re delighted to be worshipping this morning with our friends from Roseland Christian Ministries. During the service, David Walker is going to lead us in singing a simple gospel chorus, “I don’t mind waiting, I don’t mind waiting on you, Lord.”

A few years ago, after we sang that line in worship, a friend told me that he found the song offensive because we should long for Jesus to return, not be flippant or indifferent. I responded that he was reading a certain inflection into the song, and that I heard the song as rooted in the confidence of God’s return. We don’t mind waiting because of faith in God’s promises. My friend was not persuaded.

I’ve since heard the lead up to the song by a contemporary gospel singer. She says,

“You know, sometimes in life situations are going to occur where you may look to the left or the right and you can’t find any answers, and you can’t find anybody to help you. But I’m reminded of the Word that says they that wait upon the Lord…
He shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint…
Come on, you’ve got to learn how to wait.
I don’t mind waiting…”

This Advent season we’re considering, “How then do we wait?” In scripture and song, in sacrament and symbol, we’re learning how to wait. This morning we’re blessed to be waiting with some of the gifts and traditions of our brothers and sisters from Roseland Christian Ministries. Together may our strength be renewed.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace on Earth,
Roger Nelson

November 29, 2020

First Sunday of Advent

How then do we wait?
In a pandemic, while we’re raising kids, in a time of economic disruption and uncertainty, when we’re retired, when we’re exhausted juggling the demands of job and family and life online, in the midst of political polarization and transition, how then do we wait?

How then do we wait?
During Advent we’re going to consider that question. Erin Pacheco and I have charted a preaching path that measures the contours of waiting for the coming of God. We won’t have all the answers, and we probably won’t be practical enough, but we’ll listen for a spirituality of waiting as voiced in the prophets and the gospels. Our prayer is that you’ll be blessed and equipped to wait on the Lord.

Each week we’ll post an update with a link for the live streamed service that starts at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings. That update will also include the worship liturgy and the Children in Worship story. After the fact, the service will be available on our YouTube Channel – using the same link – and here on our website at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

We long to be together. We miss the choir, the joy of children, the greeting of friends, the mystery of God among his gathered people. We wait – with hopeful anticipation – for that day when we’re gathered again. But, for today, may these worship resources encourage you.

Even so, come Lord Jesus,
Roger Nelson

November 22, 2020

Reign of Christ Sunday

A few days ago, a dear friend said that he missed the “shared work of worship.” That’s an odd way to phrase missing church, but he’s on to something.

“Liturgy” is derived from a Greek word that literally means, “work for the people” or “public service.” It had to do with the sacrifice the wealthy made in service to the state. Eventually the early church used the term to describe their worship services as a kind of sacrifice to God. We now use “liturgy” to represent our communal ordered engagement with God.

When we think about worship as how meaningful or entertaining it is for us, when we think about what we get out of it, we’re missing part of the fullness of worship. We gather to do our “shared work.” Together we bring a “sacrifice of praise.” Together we join in song, prayer, and opening scripture. Together we share in the sacraments. And this work is one of the ways we encounter God in Christ.

This morning our worship podcast picks up our “shared work of worship” with a couple great traditional hymns, a thoughtful prayer, lovely harmony with voice and flute, a modest little sermon, and grand organ playing. There is some work involved. But we hope in that work you hear the voice of God and find ways to offer confession, thanksgiving, and intercession.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Next Sunday morning, the first Sunday of Advent, we will be live streaming at 10:00 AM. There will be sound and video. We’ll do the best we can to capture some of the beauty and tradition of Advent. You’ll get an email with a link to the service, and it will be available on YouTube. We hope you’ll join us for our “shared work in worship.”

May God bless,
Roger Nelson

November 18, 2020

Update on Worship Plans

At the end of Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica he writes,

“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:15-18

When the elders met to chart a course for worship through Advent and Christmas, they did so with rejoicing, prayer, and thanksgiving. We are loved and accepted by God in Christ; we are praying for wisdom and courage and strength for the living of these days; and we have much for which to be thankful. That grounding helped shape our discussion about how to do what is “good for each other and for everyone else.”

We’re not going to open the sanctuary for worship until the COVID-19 numbers are trending in a different direction and settle in at a 5%–7% testing positivity rate. We want to be part of helping stem the tide of the spread. Our panel of doctors and administrators unanimously endorsed this course of action.

Therefore, on November 29, the first Sunday in Advent, we will begin to live stream (and post on YouTube) our worship services. They’ll be available at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings. We will try to live into the rich beauty and longing of the Advent season via video. And, we’re making plans for both a Service of Lament and something that will be released on Christmas Eve.

In the meantime, we have good ideas about how to gather safely and even improve ventilation in the sanctuary. Therefore, once things turn around, we’ll be able to open the sanctuary without further delay.

The elders (and Hope’s pastor) grieve the idea of “cancelling Christmas.” We take up our mutual calling because worship, fellowship, service, and seeking the mind of Christ are essential to us. We pray continually for that day when we can gather again. But, for today, we believe that faithfulness means being the church still scattered and worshipping remotely. For today, please join us as we share in Paul’s charge to the early church in Thessalonica.

Peace on Earth,
Roger Nelson
on behalf of Hope’s Elders

November 15, 2020

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

We live in a noisy time. For many of us there is the constant drone of politicians and political commentary, some new series on Netflix, ubiquitous social media, the chatter of sports radio, the clatter of advertising, Zooming for days, and an endless variety of ways to access music and movies. There is always something to read, or listen to, or watch, or get caught up on. There is always someone barking at us. The noise can be overwhelming.

For some, silence is overwhelming. Many of us don’t feel safe going out, family is kept at a distance, social events are cancelled, and the days can feel long and lonely. We wait for phone calls and keep busy with hobbies and habits, but we miss the noise of our church family – even the racket of a crowded Fellowship Hall.

It is my prayer that these podcasts provide both respite from the noise and the familiar voices of liturgy, prayer, song, and scripture. I hope they’re not just one more thing vying for your attention. I hope that you hear here an alternative voice to the drone and demand of the immediate. In scripture, meditation, and hymns sung by friends, I hope you find a quiet center for the living of these days. I hope you hear even a hint of a whisper of the voice of God in Christ.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

If these worship podcasts are helpful – if they make their way through the noise – be encouraged to forward them to friend and family.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

November 8, 2020

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost

We’re blessed to have a long partnership with Roseland Christian Ministries. We count them as friends. They do the same with us. We have worshipped, worked, played, and prayed together. This morning, we’re joined together again in worship – via podcast. David Walker and Erin Pacheco lead music. Tracey Johnson and Joe Huizenga answer the call for preaching and Prayers of the People.

Roseland Christian Ministries is a small congregation that continues to make a big impact. Even in this pandemic, they have navigated ways to stay open to offer hot meals, safe shelter, and programming for children. The pantry has supplemented the weekly groceries of 125 families with fruits and veggies and other food staples. The weekly ministry of baptizing, blessing, and burying has continued unabated. Thanks be to God.

As you are blessed by this podcast, please remember our brothers and sisters in Roseland in prayer and encouragement. Even now, they’re planning for ways to love and serve their neighbors as the weather changes and the pandemic continues. The challenge of faithful impactful ministry is daunting. It’s easy to make a splash; it’s hard to hold a long-haul partnership. We’re committed to that long journey together.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

This has been a tumultuous and troubling week for our nation. May this worship help us remember, rest in, reframe, and renew our primary allegiance to the Kingdom of God in Christ.

Peace,
Roger Nelson

November 1, 2020

All Saints Sunday

This morning we join the church around the world in recognizing All Saints Sunday. The texts, images, and hymns all serve as a reminder of the great cloud of witnesses that has crossed over into glory. We pray that the liturgy, music, preaching, and prayer is engaging, encouraging, timely, and hopeful.

We’re back to podcasts for a few weeks, in part to give our worship leadership team a little breather and an opportunity to do some planning and tech development for Advent and the Christmas season. Please keep the elders in prayer as they reach a decision about how best to keep us safe, connected, and faithful in worship.

The following links will get you to a participatory liturgy, a sermon manuscript (if you like that sort of thing), this week’s Children in Worship video, and the podcast for All Saints Sunday. Huge Hope thanks to Erin Pacheco, Marjie Coleman, and Schuyler Roozeboom for helping pull all of this together. Couldn’t do it without them.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

If you know folks that like this format, be encouraged to pass this along. Thanks!

Grace to you, mercy and peace…
Roger Nelson

October 25, 2020

Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Recent worship videos are also available on our website. You can find them at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive, and the entire worship video catalog is available on our YouTube Channel.

Next week, we will return to worship via podcast.

October 23, 2020

Outdoor Worship for October 25

I skipped the class in seminary where they taught “weather forecasting for parking lot worship.” So, your guess is as good as mine. Right now, it looks cold and dry. We can bundle up, see one another, and close out this season of worship with the joy of a baptism.

November 1 through 22, we’ll be emailing out a podcast on Sunday mornings. The Thanksgiving service will be a video of testimonies and music that we send out that morning. On November 29, we will live stream the first Sunday in Advent from the sanctuary. Elders will be meeting on November 10 to reach a decision about in-person participation during the Advent services. We welcome wisdom, input, recommendations, and prayer.

But, join us this Sunday. Put on your long johns, grab a blanket, get out your gloves and a knit cap, bring a hot drink, and be “strangely warmed” by the Spirit and the gathering of God’s family at Hope.

And you know the drill: In case of inclement weather, we will post a cancellation by 7:00 AM and live stream at 10:15 AM. But, let’s be hopeful and be encouraged by being together. Some day you can tell your grandchildren about how you battled the elements to worship with your church family.

Here are the resources for worship. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Children in Worship Video

Grace to you, mercy and peace…
Roger Nelson

October 18, 2020

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Recent worship videos are also available on our website. You can find them at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive, and the entire worship video catalog is available on our YouTube Channel.

October 18, 2020

Outdoor Worship Canceled ⚡️

The forecast for our little corner in Oak Forest calls for a 75% chance of rain at 10:00 AM and 100% at 11:00 AM. We don’t want you, or our rented sound equipment, to get wet. Therefore, we’re canceling this morning’s parking lot worship service. We will live stream a service at 10:15 AM from the sanctuary.

It is our prayer that God will be honored and that you’ll be encouraged by the online service today. May you be strengthened for the living of these days and may you in turn reach toward others in love and service. We hope you will join us by live stream at 10:15 AM.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Children in Worship Video

Grace to you, mercy and peace,
Roger Nelson
on behalf of Hope’s Elders

P.S. The worship leaders for 9:00 AM this morning are off the hook; we need the 10:15 AM team at church by 9:30 AM.

October 16, 2020

Outdoor Worship for October 18

The spread of the coronavirus seems to be a function of proximity, density, and time. How close are you to someone who might be infected? How many people are in a particular space? And, how long are they in that space?

Over the last 8 months we’ve made decisions about Hope life with those functions in mind. As the weather cools, outdoor worship becomes less viable, and Covid cases rise, we’re again mindful of those realities. Therefore, in an effort to love one another, serve the greater good, and be united in worship – we’re going to return to audio podcasts in November.

There are two primary reasons for our hesitancy to open-up worship in the sanctuary. First, there is no HVAC system in the sanctuary. Outside of fans in the windows there is no way to move fresh air through the sanctuary. And second, as the Elders are representative of the Hope community, only about 1/4 of them would be comfortable coming to worship. Many of the things we cherish (congregational singing, communion, conversation over coffee, children underfoot, childcare for young families, encouragement for the elderly…) would be remarkably difficult to do well given those restrictions.

So, we’re going to return to podcasts on November 1. Those services will be taped on Fridays and released on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM.

The symbols, images, and liturgical practices of Advent call for more than just voice and imagination. On the First Sunday on Advent (November 29), we will begin to video/live stream those services. In mid-November we will determine whether or not those services will be open to in-person participation. There may be a new infection trajectory, better ways to mitigate transmission, or more effective tools to create a safer sanctuary space. But, either way, the services of Advent and Christmas will be video/live streamed.

If you have questions, concerns, or want to voice your ideas and opinions, please contact Roger Nelson or one of the elders.

Here are the resources for worship on October 18. Weather permitting, we will be in the parking lot at 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM. The live stream will be available at 10:15 AM. In case of inclement weather, we will post word of cancelation by 7:00 AM on Sunday morning and live stream at 10:15 AM. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Children in Worship Video

Grace to you, mercy and peace…
Roger Nelson

October 11, 2020

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Recent worship videos are also available on our website. You can find them at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive, and the entire worship video catalog is available on our YouTube Channel.

October 9, 2020

Outdoor Worship for October 11

We’ve missed being gathered together at the Lord’s Table.
We’ve missed the symbol, mystery, and sustenance of the sacrament.
We last celebrated communion on the first Sunday of Lent, which was the first Sunday of March….

We’re going to celebrate communion this coming Sunday in the parking lot with individually sealed containers of bread and wine (a wafer and grape juice). They’re the size of coffee creamers. They’re the safest way that we can be joined in the sacrament. As you arrive on Sunday, you’ll be encouraged to pick up a container from a table. At the beginning of the service there will be instructions about how to open the containers. This is far from the intimacy, humanity, and tactile experience of intinction. Truth is they’re a little tacky, but under these circumstances they’re our best option. The liturgy and spiritual reality will be the same; the delivery system will be different. We’ll do the best we can; we hope you’ll join us.

These links will get you to a variety of resources for age appropriate worship and education. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Children in Worship Video

Next week we’ll post an update with plans for worship for the next few months. But for this Sunday, we hope you’ll join us (in the parking lot or online) for the Word spoken and broken, for the gospel proclaimed in scripture and sacrament.

May God bless,
Roger Nelson

October 4, 2020

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Recent worship videos are also available on our website. You can find them at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive, and the entire worship video catalog is available on our YouTube Channel.

October 3, 2020

Outdoor Worship Canceled ⚡️

For a whole bunch of reasons, we’re canceling outdoor worship for Sunday, October 4. We will offer a live stream service at 10:15 AM and that service will then be available on our YouTube channel. We hope that you’re sustained and encouraged by that expression of worship.

Why cancel the outdoor service? Well…
It’s supposed to rain all night and be in the low 40s at 9:00 AM.
All of the sound and video equipment is set up in the sanctuary.
There’s only so much pulp in our orange.

The weather is supposed to improve next week, and we’re holding out hope that we will gather a few more times for worship in the parking lot. But, for tomorrow, join us with a cup of coffee in your comfortable pants.

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Children in Worship Video

May God bless you and keep you,
Roger Nelson

October 2, 2020

Outdoor Worship for October 4

I’ve noted before that we shape the worship service using the Revised Common Lectionary. There is a psalm, an epistle, an Old Testament lesson, and gospel reading for each Sunday. Right now, the gospel readings are from Matthew. This week there is a “terrible parable.” This week there’s a text that I’d rather not wrestle with or try to wrench out a sermon from. But, that’s the gift (curse) of the lectionary. You don’t get to deal with easy passages or favorite themes. You’re forced to deal with the many voices and themes and visions of scripture. You’re forced to deal with the full council of scripture. Thanks be to God….

Listed below are links for the 10:15 AM live stream, the worship service liturgy and music, the Children in Worship video, and the home-school-Sunday-school resources (via our email list – contact us for a copy to use with your kids) that are rooted in the Matthew text. We hope you’ll use both the family discussion sheet and the activity sheets. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Children in Worship Video

At this point, the weather on Sunday morning does not look promising: rain, temperatures in the mid-forties, and a difficult parable? Fuggedaboutit…. We will be live streaming the memorial service for Ellyn Lubbers on Saturday from the sanctuary. If the forecast remains the same, and all the equipment is in the sanctuary…. Watch for word about where to go and what to do on Sunday morning.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

September 27, 2020

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Recent worship videos are also available on our website. You can find them at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive, and the entire worship video catalog is available on our YouTube Channel.

September 25, 2020

Outdoor Worship for September 27

Sometimes I think we’re just treading water until we can gather again safely. If we can just stay afloat until we push open the doors for worship, choir, Sunday school, potlucks, a full loud Fellowship Hall, kids underfoot, congregational singing…

It is easy to fall into that mindset. In a liminal moment we often just hold our breath and wait for what comes next.

But, I’ve been mindful lately that discipleship – the life of following Jesus – is lived out in times of crisis and times of comfort, in sunshine and in rain, in normal life and when everything feels different, on hold, or waiting for what comes next…

Discipleship involves habits like prayer, congregational worship, being joined in the sacraments, studying scripture, loving neighbor, etc… Those practices are crucial and it’s probably not wise to suspend them just to tread water.

In that spirit, we’re offering resources for home-school-Sunday-school via our email list – contact us for a copy to use with your kids. They include a family discussion page and activity sheets for pre-k through 6th grade kids. The lessons match up with Sunday’s sermon text. So, theoretically, you could listen to the sermon and then do the age appropriate responses. We hope you’ll print up the materials and gather your kids and do home-school-Sunday-school. Or, maybe the Sunday school materials are best used by the kids while you “enjoy” the sermon. Either way, we hope you’ll find these tools helpful for discipleship and faith-formation. Beats treading water… * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

September 20, 2020

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Recent worship videos are also available on our website. You can find them at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive, and the entire worship video catalog is available on our YouTube Channel.

September 18, 2020

Outdoor Worship for September 20

This is, without exception, my favorite time of the year. The skies are blue, the humidity is low, and there’s a brisk breeze out of the north. It’s crisp in the morning and cool in the evening. Makes you glad to be alive. Seems like a fine time to gather for worship in Hope’s parking lot.

A few weeks ago, a family joined us for worship – they’d been mostly watching the live stream. The idea of the parking lot seemed barren, lifeless, and unforgiving. However, they were surprised by the beauty of the actual experience. It is still a church parking lot in the south suburbs, but they commented on the colors of the morning sky, the greenery and flowers, the clarity of the sound, and the simple joy of worship outdoors.

So, as the weather cools, and the leaves begin to turn color, and sitting outside for 45 minutes calls for a sweater or light jacket, we hope you’ll join us. You can dress for 50 degrees better than you can undress for 85, sunny, and humid….

This Sunday, Hope member and chaplain, Rev. Dr. Liz Hulford will be preaching; Dora Diephouse and a host of musicians will be leading our singing. It promises to be an encouraging experience of worship and proclamation of the gospel. You’ll be blessed. These resources and links will support that experience. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship

“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – he remains faithful forever.”
Psalm 146:5-6

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

September 13, 2020

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Recent worship videos are also available on our website. You can find them at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive, and the entire worship video catalog is available on our YouTube Channel.

September 11, 2020

Outdoor Worship for September 13

I read recently that we’re in a “liminal” place. Liminal comes from the Latin word for “threshold” and it refers to a “crossing over” space. You have left something behind, yet you are not yet fully in something else. You’re in transition. You’re betwixt and between. It is often a time of disorientation and ambiguity. It can feel unsettling and uncertain. Normal is in the rearview window, but you can’t yet see what’s coming through the front window.

Our experience in this pandemic is liminal. We’ve left behind something familiar; we don’t quite know what to expect next. We long for what we’ve lost; we don’t know what we’ll find. Whoever would have guessed that we’d be gathering for worship in our parking lot and trying to navigate what comes next when the weather cools? (You could be in prayer for the Elders as they weigh some of those decisions…)

But, we’re also celebrating a baptism this Sunday and finding our grounding in the covenant promises of God. We may be in a liminal space but we still listen for the voice of God in scripture and sacrament. We may be on a threshold to something new but we belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

Part of our life together, even in transition, is reminding ourselves of the unshakable, unchanging, love of God in Christ. We are held by God’s covenant promises – come what may.

I hope you’ll join us for worship on Sunday at 9:00 AM or 10:15 AM. If you can’t be here in person, we’ll be live streaming at 10:15 AM and posting the service with the sermon manuscript a little later in the day. Here are those links. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

September 6, 2020

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s worship service (indoors due to weather) is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Recent worship videos are also available on our website. You can find them at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive, and the entire worship video catalog is available on our YouTube Channel.

September 6, 2020

Outdoor Worship Canceled ⚡️

Ladies and gentlemen, they’re calling for the grounds crew to roll out the tarps. We’ve got a rain delay!

Parking lot worship for 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM is canceled this morning, September 6. The worship leadership team that was scheduled for 10:15 AM will gather at Hope, and we hope to live stream the service from the sanctuary. The link below will get you to that service. This could be a little rough around the edges but it will be better than sitting in the rain

Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship
Children in Worship Video

May the Lord bless and keep you,
Roger Nelson

September 4, 2020

Outdoor Worship for September 6

We’re gathering in the parking lot on Sunday morning at 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM. The 10:15 AM service will be live streamed. The links below will get you to the morning’s music and liturgy. While signing up isn’t required, it does help us plan. See the link below. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship

Today and tomorrow look glorious, but the current forecast for Sunday morning is storms and gale force winds. If that proves to be true, we will post a cancelation at 7:00 AM and later in the day post a service or podcast.

As these lines have encouraged me, may they do the same for you.
“I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings who cannot save. When their spirit departs they return to the ground; and that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”
Psalm 146:2-5

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

August 30, 2020

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Recent worship videos are now available on our website. You can find them at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive, and the entire worship video catalog is available on our YouTube Channel.

August 28, 2020

Outdoor Worship for August 30

Erin and Moises Pacheco have been gathering a little community in East Garfield Park this summer. They’ve been meeting in their backyard/alley to share life in song, scripture, prayer and a meal. It’s a couple couples and their children; it’s a little ember, a tiny mustard seed, a place to begin. Who knows what will grow, or where it will go? We’re thankful for these relationships and hope and pray that God will continue to add to their company and raise up a church.

In support of that work, we are ordaining Moises as a “Commissioned Pastor.” If you’re old-school CRC, you might remember the office of “Evangelist.” That’s pretty much what a Commissioned Pastor is in today’s parlance. Moises has completed the denominational and classical requirements, and we will ordain him as part of the 10:15 AM service this Sunday, August 30. We hope you’ll join us in worship and encouragement for this young family and their vision/work in raising up a new church.

Here are the resources for worship this Sunday. The links below will get you to liturgy, music, and a link for the live stream. We continue to learn and improve the online experience. We love it when you’re here under the shade; we’re thankful that you can join us through our media ministry. 😉
* If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship

We harbor hope that the weather will break, the heat and humidity will dissipate, and we’ll be gathered in joyful-socially-distant-masked-congregational worship on Sunday morning.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

August 23, 2020

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Recent worship videos are now available on our website. You can find them at Worship > Recent Sermons or at the Sermon Archive, and the entire worship video catalog is available on our YouTube Channel.

August 21, 2020

Outdoor Worship for August 23

M. Craig Barnes writes,

“God seems to prefer the ordinary and the routine. Most of creation was designed to be held together by repetition, the same things happening again and again, whether it’s little things like electrons spinning in circles, or huge things like planets slowly revolving around the sun every year. Winter, spring, summer, fall. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

The apostle Paul says, ‘Finally, beloved whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable…keep on doing those things.’ Apparently, he learned that God is mostly impressed by routine acts of faithfulness.”

There is little that feels routine right now. When we should be planning a kick-off BBQ, when we should be starting Sunday school, when we should be welcoming the choir back from their summer respite, we’re singing into masks in the parking lot. Half a year into a pandemic and things still feel “unprecedented.”

Therefore, may we lean into the practices, that while different and not ideal, are still somehow ordinary. Congregational worship, praying for another, listening for the voice of God, being hospitable, welcoming the stranger, loving mercy, walking humbly…. Those routine acts of faithfulness somehow still seem essential.

I hope you’ll join us for worship – in person or online.
I hope you’ll rest in the faithfulness of God – even in these anxious and disrupted days.

We gather, masked and socially distant, on Sunday at 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM.
We live stream at 10:15 AM.
Here are the links and liturgy.
* If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Worship Live Stream
Order of Worship

Peace to you and yours,
Roger Nelson

August 16, 2020

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Access to these videos directly on our website will be available later this week. Hopefully we minimized the effects of the wind a bit better this week.

August 14, 2020

Outdoor Worship for August 16

We lost a tree and the yard and parking lot were littered with branches and derecho detritus, but we are cleaned up and ready for worship on Sunday morning. The mornings have been lovely this week, we hope that holds through the weekend. We hope you’ll join us for worship at 9:00 AM or 10:15 AM. Please sign up for a service below, it helps us plan. But, even if you don’t, still join us on Sunday. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup

If you can’t join us, the service will be live streamed on our YouTube channel at 10:15 AM and then available after that. You can access the live stream with the link below.

Worship Live Stream

And finally, this link to the liturgy and music for this Sunday’s service. Print them up and bring them along on Sunday or join us from home.

Order of Worship

From our liturgy for Sunday…
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, they meditate on your wonderful works. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”
Psalm 145:2-7 adapted

All of that is to say, we’re better when we’re together. We look forward to seeing you.

Peace,
Roger Nelson

August 9, 2020

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is available at the link below. We’ve included links for the order of worship and sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Just an FYI… we actually live streamed the 10:15 AM service. We plan on continuing to live stream in the coming weeks. We’re also working to make these videos available on our website. Oh, and there was a bit of a stiff breeze… which you might notice in the video.

August 7, 2020

Outdoor Worship for August 9

It looks like a steamy weekend, but we hope you’ll join us for worship on Sunday morning at 9:00 AM or 10:15 AM. With your coffee or a cold drink, maybe bring something for shade. We are still working out the kinks for live streaming, so if you can’t join us, watch for the videoed service to be posted in the afternoon.

Please sign up. It helps us with planning. See the link below. We’ve included the liturgy for Sunday. You can print a copy at home or pick one up when you arrive. Again, see the link below. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup
Order of Worship
Worship Video
* Available Sunday

We’re masked and muffled, we can only see the smiles of one another’s eyes, and we’re joined in worship by cicadas, dragonflies, finches, helicopters, and distant lawn mowers, but it is good to be together. It is good to be joined in song and prayer. It is good to be joined with creation in praising the Creator.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

Praise the Lord.
Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

July 31, 2020

Outdoor Worship for August 2

I confessed to Council that I skipped the seminary class on preparation for worship in the parking lot. So, we’re still scrambling with details and hoping for cloud cover and low humidity on Sunday morning.

We will worship at 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM. You can park on the east and west sides of the building, on the street, or in the school parking lot. Elders and Deacons will greet you with seating instructions. There will be 12 feet between you and other worshippers. Signing up helps, but we’ll take you any way that feels right to you. See the link below. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup

Orders of worship will be available, or you can download and print those materials from the links below. There’s also a sermon manuscript. It’s Friday so, not done, but close.

Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

A video of the service will be available at 2:00 PM on Sunday afternoon. Click on the link below. We hope in the weeks to come that we can provide a live feed, but for this first Sunday, check the link any time after 2:00 PM.

Worship Video
* Available Sunday

We look forward to seeing you.
If you can’t join us – you’ll be in our hearts.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

August 2, 2020

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Video of this morning’s outdoor worship service is now available at the link below. We’ve included links to the order of worship and a finalized version of the sermon manuscript. You’ll also find a link to this week’s Children in Worship video.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

This was our first go at outdoor worship in the parking lot, and we’re learning as we go. Good to see familiar (masked) faces.

July 31, 2020

Outdoor Worship for August 2

I confessed to Council that I skipped the seminary class on preparation for worship in the parking lot. So, we’re still scrambling with details and hoping for cloud cover and low humidity on Sunday morning.

We will worship at 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM. You can park on the east and west sides of the building, on the street, or in the school parking lot. Elders and Deacons will greet you with seating instructions. There will be 12 feet between you and other worshippers. Signing up helps, but we’ll take you any way that feels right to you. See the link below. * If you’ve already signed up for this week’s services, you don’t need to do so again.

Outdoor Worship Signup

Orders of worship will be available, or you can download and print those materials from the links below. There’s also a sermon manuscript. It’s Friday so, not done, but close.

Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript

A video of the service will be available at 2:00 PM on Sunday afternoon. Click on the link below. We hope in the weeks to come that we can provide a live feed, but for this first Sunday, check the link any time after 2:00 PM.

Worship Video
* Available Sunday

We look forward to seeing you.
If you can’t join us – you’ll be in our hearts.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

July 29, 2020

Outdoor Worship Details

We’re going to gather for worship outdoors at Hope on Sunday, August 2.
Here are some details…

There will be two services: 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM. Parking is available on the sides of the building, the side streets, and at Hille Middle School. The south parking lot will be a grid – with 12 feet between seating spaces. Please wear a mask, bring your own chairs, coffee, and umbrellas for sun. If you don’t have, or can’t carry a chair – don’t worry, we’ll have chairs available. The order of worship will be available as you arrive. It will also be emailed on Friday to print at home or bring on a phone/tablet.

The service will be about 45 minutes; there will be singing and responsive liturgy. We hope you will make a muffled noise unto the Lord. An offering will be received as you leave, and Elders and Deacons will be available to provide directions and answer questions. We will be videotaping one of the services and emailing it out in the early afternoon. We want to welcome all and include all. If the weather is inclement, we will send out an email and post a cancellation notice on the website at 7:00 AM.

This will have a steep learning curve. We welcome all feedback.

It’s helpful for our planning to have a rough estimate of attendance. Please sign up for which service you hope to attend. If you get up on Sunday and the Spirit moves you to join us – don’t let not signing up get in the way. If you’ve signed up and that morning it seems prudent to stay home. No worries. Stay home.

Outdoor Worship Signup

Our desire is to be reunited in worship, but to do so with every precaution and the needs of the community in mind and heart. As gathering in worship is helpful for you – we hope you’ll join us. If it feels like more than you can muster – you have our blessing and love. I’ve been reminded of this passage recently.

“As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Colossians 3:12-14

Amen…
Roger Nelson

July 26, 2020

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

In mid-March, as we scrambled to put together a podcast worship service, I never imagined that in late July we’d still be doing the same. But, here we are…

I’m grateful for the way in which these little expressions of worship and proclamation have settled into Hope’s life. I know they’re not easy or snazzy, but I’m grateful for the space you made for them and the encouragement you’ve offered. And, while I know that we lost some of you along the way, we also picked up new listeners from all over the country. I’m grateful for that extension of Hope’s life and witness. (This morning we’re joined by the congregation from Hessel Park CRC – their pastor is on vacation. Welcome, and may God bless you.)

Next week we’re going to try worshipping in Hope’s parking lot – two services, masked, socially distant, and videotaped for those who can’t attend. Again, something I never imagined. Our hope is that, even with the rigmarole and restrictions, you will encounter the Living God among his people and you’ll be encouraged for the living of these days. These outdoor services in August and September will be similar to the podcast in form, content, and feel. And just like the podcasts, we hope that we learn as go. Who knows where we’ll be in a few months?

This morning we’re led by some of Hope’s high school kids and Erin Pacheco, Hope’s Worship Arts Coordinator, is our preacher. This is a delightful service, and Erin is as fine a preacher as she is a musician. (And that’s saying something…)

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

As life has felt unsettled and uncertain, I’ve been reminded that we have life-giving gifts. The practices of liturgy, singing, listening for God’s voice in scripture and sermon, and communal prayer seem essential. The format was forced to change, and podcasts are a cheap substitute for gathered intergenerational worship, but those foundational practices are still sustaining. In podcast and parking lot may those simple practices root you and those you love in the faithful love and boundless mercy of God in Christ.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

July 22, 2020

Outdoor Worship

Hope Church didn’t close, but not being able to gather for worship was a substantial loss. Corporate worship is the heartbeat of our shared commitment to Christ and his church. Worship is part of how we hold the center of our intergenerational community. While we’ve been the church scattered, we’ve missed being the church gathered.

On Sunday, August 2, we’re going to gather for worship, outdoors, in Hope’s parking lot…

We will offer two services at 9:00 AM and 10:15 AM.
We are eager to be together.
We rest in the promise that when we gather in his name, Jesus is present.

There are churches that are gathering indoors. As we understand it, many are meeting at less than 1/3 of capacity, maintaining masking and physical distance, and offering a shorter service. You may be asking, “Why can’t we do the same? Why outdoors?”

Recent research has demonstrated that coronavirus transmission is 19 times less likely outdoors than indoors, and the guidelines of the state and the CDC encourage remote, drive-up, or outdoor gatherings as preferential to anything indoors. Therefore, Hope’s pastor and Elders, in keeping with the guidance of public health officials and the recommendations from Hope’s team of doctors, administrators, and scientists, voted to gather for worship outdoors. It seems to respect the concerns of the broader community while taking appropriate precautions for the health of friend and neighbor.

So, next week we will send out a sign-up link. This is important to help us manage details and provide a record for contact tracing if anyone later tests positive for the coronavirus. Parking will be available on the east and west sides of the building, at Hille Middle School, and on the side streets. We will gather in the middle of the south parking lot, and there will be some manner of marking to help maintain social distance. We ask that all wear masks.

Greeter/ushers will offer directions, answer questions, and receive offerings after the service. Bathrooms will be available through the sanctuary entrance. We’ll have folding chairs available, but would encourage you to bring your own. Please bring drinks or umbrellas (for shade) or anything else that will help you be comfortable.

There will be no child care available, but we encourage all children to attend. We’ve missed their joy, energy, and all manner of noises. We’ll do the best we can to make the experience accessible for worshippers of all ages. The service will be familiar in format, content, and spirit but shorter and outdoors…

Worshipping outdoors will present new challenges. If the weather is inclement, we will make the decision to cancel by 7:00 AM. That decision will be emailed out and posted on the website. And on those occasions, the preacher and musicians will still gather in the sanctuary to record a podcast for distribution.

We know that this format may be too challenging or simply too weird. We think that the 9:00 AM service will be cooler and more accessible for the elderly. But, we’ll also be videotaping these services that they might be sent out and seen later that day. We want to be inclusive and welcoming to all.

We hope you’ll join us. We hope you’ll bear with us. We’ll learn as we go. If we get any traction in August, we’ll try baptisms and communion in September. If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the pastor or the Elders.

See you in worship in August!

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson
on behalf of Hope’s Elders

July 19, 2020

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Some sermons explore the text – verse by verse. They seek to explain the meaning or mysteries; they try to open up a new window of insight. Some sermons are springboards. They use the text as a jumping off point to explore implications and applications. Some sermons dive deeper into the text and some dive further out. Both start with the text; both are reliant on the Spirit.

The creative process for each sermon is the same. Both require the same reading, reflection, ruminating and writing. I’m never sure which sermon I’m working on until I’m writing. I’m not sure either is a “better” sermon. I’m not sure that either is more “biblical.” So much of it depends on the text, the direction of the wind, and the spirit the preacher brings to the process.

Just in case you’re wondering, this morning’s sermon is more of springboard. I take a phrase and invite your consideration of its implications and applications. I hope it’s helpful. I know that the music and praying in this service were encouraging to this preacher.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Next week, Erin Pacheco is preaching, and some of Hope’s high schoolers are helping lead. It promises to be a wonderful service. The following week, the first Sunday of August, we hope to be gathered for worship outdoors. We are working at ways to do this safely and meaningfully. Our plan is to video those services and make them available later the same day. We’ll send directions and whatnot next week. We’ll see how it goes…

May God bless,
Roger Nelson

July 12, 2020

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

For years we’ve shared in worship and fellowship on Pentecost Sunday with our brothers and sisters from Roseland Christian Ministries. They would load up in buses and vans and come our way. We didn’t go their way. Even on Pentecost this year, they recorded on our podcast platform.

Well, this morning we’re going to Roseland. We’re sharing in their virtual worship experience. Erin Pacheco is Hope’s representative, but we’re their guests. Given all the expressions of the Church of Christ in this world, I’m grateful for our little shared corner this morning. Thanks be to God.

There is a delightful spirit to this service and a fine, fine sermon proclaiming the extravagant grace of God in Christ. You will be blessed and encouraged. The link below will get you to this videoed service. Some of the prayer and liturgy is hard to hear; turn it up and don’t miss a word.

Worship Video

Next week we’ll be back with podcast preaching, music, and liturgy. Next week we’ll have a Children in Worship story. But for today, may we be one in the Spirit with our brothers and sisters in Roseland.

May God bless,
Roger Nelson

July 5, 2020

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis is thick with memorable characters, colorful stories, and the good news of a creating and covenant making God. The gifts and struggles of being human are illumined, the central questions of existence are raised, and the love and grace of God is proclaimed. While Jesus Christ is not named, you can see the seeds and trace the lines that lead to his life, teaching, and redemptive work. Genesis has it all…

This morning we consider another story in Genesis. The text is long and the sermon is longer, but it is such a delightful story and it raises important issues and questions. I pray that the “words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts will be acceptable and pleasing” to God and helpful for you.

I was again struck by the over-abundance of gifts we share at Hope. The voices and cello and honest prayers were quite moving to me as we recorded in an empty sanctuary. Whether you listen by yourself or are gathered together with family, whether you are in your living room or riding a bike, I hope you are moved of spirit and shaped in the mind of Christ as well.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Next week, we are joining our friends and partners at Roseland Christian Ministries for worship. We are going to record with them and use their platform. There won’t be a typical podcast but we’ll share a link to their YouTube channel. We look forward to being united with our brothers and sisters in worship.

Grace to you and peace,
Roger Nelson

June 28, 2020

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

I’ve been listening to an old black gospel chorus. The lyrics are: “I shall wear a crown. When it’s all over. I’m going to put on my robe, tell the story, how I made it over. Soon as I get home.” Second verse: “I shall see his face….” There are lots of repeating lines and beautiful harmonies. It made me long for congregational singing. It made me long for the ways in which music offers language for shared testimony. It made me long for that day when (metaphorically) we will put on our robes and tell the story of how we made it over.

Congregational singing is one of the great gifts of Hope Church. We try to sing the richness of the Christian tradition – different voices, styles, instrumentation, eras, etc. We try to sing in praise, confession, lament, gratitude, testimony, adoration, hope, etc. We sing to tell the story. And, we need all of our voices. We don’t count on song leaders or praise bands to carry the load. We need each and every voice. We need your voice. I miss hearing the young girl singing behind me. I miss seeing how music causes tears to well up in an elderly woman’s eyes. I miss those moments when the sanctuary is full of song.

This morning, Dora Diephouse is at the organ and piano, and we sing a variety of hymns. Dan Diephouse reads a poem as part of the liturgy, and David Larsen leads us in a beautiful prayer. I hope these gifts help you raise your voice in song. May God be honored and you be encouraged.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

June 21, 2020

Third Sunday after Pentecost

We expect Illinois will go to Phase 4 of coronavirus protocol next week. You will begin to hear of churches that are open and opening. I was part of a Zoom meeting this week in which pastors detailed plans for physical distancing, masks, making reservations to get a seat, less music, shorter services, no fellowship time, etc, etc.

I understand the impulse. We long to be together in worship and fellowship. There’s lots that’s lost; I’m not sure what’s gained in some of the reopening plans.

We’re going to err on the side of caution and learning from others. We have worship podcasts planned through July. We are exploring options for worshipping outside in August and September. If we get outside, we would continue to offer a podcast version of the service.

We had a successful abbreviated Vacation Bible School – outside, more or less with physical distancing, etc. The music was good, the Bible story time was good, and the fellowship was a delight. It didn’t discourage us from exploring opportunities to worship outside this summer.

Look for opportunities for small group fellowship in July and be assured that we’re doing our best to gather again in ways that are safe, meaningful, and inclusive.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

I thought this service was wonderful. I hope you experience the same. A brother and sister on saxophone, a beautiful prayer by a young girl, a colorful and troubling text for the sermon. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help make these worship podcasts more meaningful.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

June 14, 2020

Second Sunday after Pentecost

I asked a young man how he was doing. He responded, “It feels like the world is falling apart.” While the perspective of history might have been helpful, that wasn’t going to address his feelings. He was worried about the future. He was worried about financial wellbeing, political stability, living in a multi-racial world, and navigating the pandemic. He said he felt “anxious.”

My heart would like to speak directly into his feelings with answers about money, politics, race, and healthcare. My calling is to speak out of scripture. I’m called to open an ancient text that we might listen for the voice of God. That seems a far cry from the urgency of the moment.

But, I believe that sitting with scripture, listening to the Psalms and the old stories, the prophetic voices and the good news of God in Christ, does in fact give us resources for the living of these days. Over time we can be transformed by Spirit and find in faith some manner of hope and encouragement. I’m not suggesting that it will be easy; there will still be hard days, anxiety, troughs of depression, and lament. But, in the shared conversation of scripture, Spirit, and community there is hope when the world is falling apart.

May you find something in this worship service that speaks to your heart.
May you hear the voice of God in the Word of God.
May you be encouraged by the liturgy, prayer, singing, and the beating of the drum.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

Peace,
Roger Nelson

June 7, 2020

Trinity Sunday

Our worship is shaped by the Revised Common Lectionary – a collection of biblical texts making provision for the liturgical calendar that are meant to be used in worship. It follows a three-year-cycle and for each Sunday there is an Old Testament passage, a Psalm, a reading from an Epistle, and a Gospel lesson. Churches of all stripes, all over the world, use the RCL. We try to use most of the passages each week. I preach on one of the texts, and we use the others for the liturgy.

Part of the genius of the RCL is that it considers the whole council of scripture. It forces preachers and worship planners to deal with texts that they might rather avoid. While there are passages or biblical books that the RCL doesn’t regularly include, it does seek to tell the grand narrative, the full sweep, of scripture.

I have little to say. I am grateful for a text to wrestle with and speak out of each week. And, in that spirit, this week we are beginning a summer sermon series in Genesis. The RCL Old Testament readings for June, July, and into August work their way through Genesis. We’re going to follow that path for a while. We begin our journey this morning.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children in Worship Video

We learned a few weeks ago that we have Canadian listeners. It’s just Erin’s family in Toronto, but we like to say that we have an “international podcast ministry.” We hope you are encouraged by these worship podcasts and, if so, that you forward them to friend and family. There is a lot of noise in the world, our prayer is that these help you find peace and hear the voice of God. Again, print up the order of worship and follow along.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

May 31, 2020

Pentecost Sunday 🔥

Hope was founded in 1961, Roseland Christian Ministries in 1976. We’ve been friends and partners ever since. In the ’90s, Hope and RCM joined together on a rehab project that helped Sabrina Beecham purchase a house in Roseland. She raised a couple nurses and an EMT in that home and she’s currently recovering there from COVID-19. Please remember that dear friend in prayer.

About 12 years ago, we began looking for ways to strengthen our partnership. We developed new opportunities to be joined together in service, worship, and fellowship. Those initiatives have meant consistent help with food ministries, helping staff summer camp, having Hope folks on the RCM board, making quilts for the women and children’s shelter, friendships being deepened, and gathering each year for worship and a potluck on Pentecost.

Those Pentecost Sundays are a gift to both congregations. Invariably, someone says to me that “we should do this every Sunday!” There’s a good deal of love and laughter and delight in our shared history. Our partnership is imperfect and incomplete, and we’ll miss being together this year, but I’m grateful that we’re still connected and committed in service, worship, and fellowship. Thanks be to God. You will hear hints of our shared Pentecost service in this week’s podcast.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

After my brief fling as a televangelist, we’re back to podcasting. Turns out I have a face for radio. We’re encouraged by all who find these podcasts helpful and a living link to Hope. Just a reminder: if you click on “Order of Worship” listed above, you will find liturgy and lyrics for the whole service. We hope you will print that up and join us in worship.

May God bless,
Roger Nelson

May 24, 2020

Seventh Sunday of Easter

President Trump announced on Friday that our work at Hope was “essential” and I couldn’t agree more…

Part of what these last couple months have demonstrated is that we’re made to be together in worship and fellowship. We’re encouraged by seeing one another and singing together. The intergenerational life of Hope is a gift to all ages. Preaching is the ongoing conversation of scripture and Spirit and community, and that’s best done live. Welcoming new friends, baptizing babies, praying as a body, breaking bread and sharing wine are all essential practices of faith. Podcast smodcast – the essential part of church is being together.

President Trump made that announcement while I was preaching to a camera and we were singing in an empty sanctuary. While we hope this YouTube worship service is a good gift, this is not the full rich life of the church.

In the next two weeks, new Elders and Deacons will join Hope’s Council and we’ll weigh a variety of ways to continue the essential work of Hope. Look for a forthcoming statement about how we might be Hope – in worship, education, fellowship, and service – for the summer months. But, for today, despite President Trump’s decree that we “open right now for the weekend,” here are the familiar links to online worship.

Worship Video
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

At the close of the worship service there’s a “congregational meeting.” Thanks to Elders Patty DeJong and Arlo Compaan for their leadership. They draw names for 5 new Elders and 4 new Deacons. We hope you’ll stick around to watch.

Peace to you.
You’re essential.

Roger Nelson

May 17, 2020

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Praise the Lord… with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and the lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with strings and pipe…
Psalm 150:1-4 adapted

Last week we rolled out the pipe organ; this week we got out the guitars. Diversity of instrumentation is a hallmark of worship at Hope. We take Psalm 150 literally. We try to include the musical gifts of the whole community. We try to involve children who are just learning and professionals who have honed their craft for a lifetime. We don’t do it for the sake of novelty. We are trying to be faithful with the wide range of songs and voices and instruments we’ve been given. This morning Roger Nelson plays the three songs he knows on guitar, and Erin Pacheco preaches. One of them can preach and sing; the other should probably just stick to preaching…

Erin Pacheco came to Hope as a college intern. We’ve tried to keep her in some fashion ever since. She’s now a wife, mother of three, seminary grad, worship arts director at Trinity Christian College, and budding church planter. We’ve been blessed to watch her grow as a musician and a preacher. This morning she continues this short series of sermons from the last long conversation and prayer of Jesus as recorded in John. This is a beautiful and powerful sermon.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

Next week, the worship service will be available as a video. The spirit and style will be the same, and you’ll be emailed a link on Sunday morning, but you’ll be able to see our empty sanctuary. After the worship service there will be a brief “congregational meeting” during which names will be drawn from our slate of new Elders and Deacons. We want this to be done under the bright lights of video tape and not in some dark corner. You’ll see us; we wish we could see you.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

May 10, 2020

Fifth Sunday of Easter

In the early 1970s Dora Diephouse and Lynn Hollender began attending Hope Church. They each offered leadership in worship by playing the piano, organ, and, in Lynn’s case, the flute. In the early 2020s they’re still at it. Thanks be to God.

That longevity is remarkable. They’re both closing in on 50 years of helping lead God’s people gathered in Hope. Stack ‘em end to end and it’s almost 100 years. They’ve helped hold central commitments to the best in Christian hymnody while enfolding expressions of contemporary and world music. They’ve welcomed new musicians of all ages and worked with all sorts of pastors. And when the waters were choppy they helped offer a consistent steady beat. Hope’s vitality is in part due to Lynn and Dora’s gifted, faithful, and consistent leadership. Thanks be to God.

This morning Dora plays organ and piano, and Lynn plays flute. The service has a traditional feel and is altogether lovely. Aron Reppmann and Helen Van Wyck offer leadership in song, liturgy, and prayer. It is our hope that you will be engaged by the gospel, encouraged by the worship, and even encounter God in new and meaningful ways.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

We’ve heard that some of you listen to these worship podcasts while walking, working out, showering, riding bike, cleaning the house, or gathering with family around the breakfast table. We’re grateful that you’re listening – in whatever way works for you. We try to clock these in at 30 minutes. This morning is about 40 minutes. The preacher must have gotten long-winded…

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

May 3, 2020

Good Shepherd Sunday 🐑

We were scheduled to celebrate communion this morning. Since the shelter-in-place order was given, we’ve missed 3 baptisms and 4 Lord’s Suppers. Those are essential life-giving practices for our community. Worship and preaching are shortchanged without the sacraments. They give bodily expression to the good news of God in Christ. There are some churches offering communion through Facebook Live services, and I watched a socially distant baptism online, but at least at this point Hope’s Elders have decided not to try the sacraments by podcast.

However, let us continue to acknowledge that we miss both the experience and the symbol of being gathered around the table. We miss the intergenerational sign and seal of the Good Shepherd making provision for all of his sheep. We miss seeing one another and breaking bread together.

In that spirit, we have collected your “selfies” and offer this video montage as a reminder, as a glimpse, of God’s people joined together in the promise of the great feast of the Lamb. Our hope is that you’ll print up the order of worship, join in the worship podcast, and at the close watch the video to see Hope around the table. That’s how we drew it up. I’m sure that some of you won’t be able to help yourselves and you’ll click on the video link right away. Completely understandable; it is pretty cool…

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Hope Around the Table
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

I’m again grateful for the collaborative nature of this podcast project. This week a young woman home from college plays the saxophone, a mother and her young daughter sing and pray and lead liturgy, while Erin Pacheco and Schuyler Roozeboom make it all happen effortlessly. Huge Hope thanks to Mark Friesen for putting together the video. You took the selfies but he made the montage magic happen.

May God bless and keep you,
Roger Nelson

April 26, 2020

Third Sunday of Easter

I’m a creature of habit. Orange juice and a banana start each day followed by iced tea from Panera. I run and ride the same routes and go to the same gym. I do yard work on Mondays, like the neighborhood bar on Fridays, and go to church on Sundays. Those habits give my life some order.

I’ve been in a church on most Sunday mornings since I was born and that habit has helped give my life order. One argument for the habit of gathering in worship is that we are challenged, changed, and comforted by a voice other than our own. We hear the alien voice of God in Christ through scripture, sacrament, and community and are shaped to be more fully who we are created and redeemed to be.

The need for social distancing has disrupted many of our habits. And, at least for me, none more unsettling than the loss of gathering in worship. I miss seeing friends, the sound of congregational singing, the splash of water on an infant’s head, breaking bread and sharing wine, and the joy of intergenerational life. Let’s continue to acknowledge what we miss…

These worship podcasts are only a short-term substitute but we hope that, even in these, we will be challenged, changed, and comforted by a voice other than our own. Even in these, we hope to find a habit that helps give life some order.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

April 19, 2020

Second Sunday of Easter

On the short list of what I miss about worshipping together at Hope: the leadership of children. We are typically gathered by a child who calls us to worship and lights the Christ Candle. We pass the peace with a joyful gaggle of children before they exit the sanctuary to their worship programs. And we regularly have children lead as liturgists, singers, and musicians. In all of that we are richly blessed. Thanks be to God.

With each of these podcasts, we have tried to give a taste of Hope. We have included a variety of voices in song, instrument, and prayer. (We seem stuck with the same preacher…) Today, we are led by the voice of a third grader, her mother helps lead us in song and prayer, and a retired professor and grandfather offers a poem. I thought it all lovely, and it made me long for the gathering of our intergenerational worshipping community.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

We saw data this week demonstrating that these podcasts are being accessed by a large collection of people. We know anecdotally that they are being listened to in California and New York and lots of places in between. I guess we’re encouraged by that, but we’d sure rather be together in person – with children.

May God bless and keep you,
Roger Nelson

April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday 🌄

We typically celebrate Easter with blaring brass and fancy dresses. We mark the joy of Jesus defeating death with lilies, crowded churches, family feasts, communion, big hats, bow ties, bunnies, painted eggs, breathtaking choir anthems, ham topped with rum raisin sauce, and if we’re lucky the sun breaking through winter’s long gloom.

We’ll miss a good deal of that fanfare this year. Sanctuaries will be empty, family gatherings will be smaller, and choirs will sing via Zoom. This Easter will feature the stark contrast between the intergenerational joy of a congregation belting out “Alleluia!” and listening to hymns through tinny tiny laptop speakers. This Easter you can catch some of the finest preachers in world, but they’re on Facebook live in empty cathedrals or offering meditations from the comfort of their studies.

But, I’m also reminded that resurrection morning bears little resemblance to our Easter practices. The gospel accounts tell of confusion and fear and intimate conversations. There were tears and uncertainty and lots of running back and forth. There was a seismic shift in creation (death was no longer the last word), but the moments of resurrection revelation are quiet and muted.

And as one writer puts it:
“Perhaps this is a good time to let the Gospels present their understated Easter accounts. Perhaps this is also a moment when we are being forced to be quiet enough to receive this witness properly. We can’t gussy this up as we usually do. And maybe that’s a good thing in its own subtle way.”

We offer this worship podcast in that spirit. You will again find here song, scripture, sermon, prayer, and blessing – led by a few voices of the Hope family. We hope you’ll use the order of worship, join in the singing, watch the Children in Worship video, and be encouraged by the proclamation of the gospel.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

There will come a day when we will return to the great joy of congregational singing and the gathering of friend and family, but for today, even in this format, we pray that you will join with Mary in announcing, “I have seen the Lord!”

Happy Easter,
Roger Nelson

April 10, 2020

Good Friday

It has been Hope’s tradition to gather for communion on Good Friday. For the last 15 years, that service has been led by our choir doing a major choral work. With the best we have to offer in music, symbol, and sacrament, we would remember, worship, and long for a glimpse of Christ – broken and poured out. We have been richly blessed in those services with breathtaking moments of beauty and mystery.

We offer this podcast service of scripture, song, silence, and prayer as a way to remember, worship, and long for Christ (and his church). It is decidedly different than the services of the past, but I’d encourage you to find a quiet space, print out the order of worship, light a candle, and listen for the voice of God. The service ends with the Hope choir singing “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” taken from a CD they recorded in 2006. It is a big ending to a quiet service. I hope you’ll listen all the way through and then sit with it for a while…

Worship Audio
Order of Worship

I was reminded this week that “Good Friday is about ‘the solidarity of the Crucified with all the human dead.’ It’s about Jesus joining humanity in the void, in nothingness, in all places of death.”

As we gather, even through podcast, may you catch a glimpse of

“Christ Jesus… who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage; rather he made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross.”

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday 🌿

This morning we miss the joyful tradition of being encouraged to wave palm branches with vigor. This morning we miss the gift of intergenerational worship…

And yet, while these worship podcasts may be a “weak substitute,” there are encouraging reports of families gathering, lighting a candle, listening together, doing the children’s worship sheets, and singing along with Miss Marjie. We’ve heard of friends calling at 9:55 AM on Sunday morning because that’s when they would typically greet one another. There are videos of the children of Deacons passing collection plates while parents listen to the podcast. We know that some folks listen while they walk, some gather promptly at 10:00 AM with a cup of coffee, and some sing along. There is no right way to use these resources; we pray they build resistance and nurture hope.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

It is hard (impossible…) to capture the joy of being together in worship. We hammered out these little podcasts over the last few weeks with a team of three (Erin, Schuyler, and me). The Elders will meet this week by Zoom. This will be the first chance for formal evaluation and direction. Please reach out with ideas, critique, creative spin, and anything else that would be helpful for you and those you love.

Thanks for listening. Pass these links along if you’re encouraged by them. And one fine day we will gather again in such joy that we won’t need instructions about how to wave palms.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

March 29, 2020

Fifth Sunday in Lent

When my friend Dr. Sandie Kinsinger passed away last summer, she was leading a research project entitled “Walking in Two Worlds: Exploring Resilience and Hope in High Risk Native American Mothers through Lakato Talking Circles.” It was a continuation of her life’s work: How do we help build resilience and nurture hope in one another?

Build resilience and nurture hope. I love that line. It is our deep prayer that these worship podcasts will help build resilience and nurture hope. Through music, scripture, sermon, prayer, and blessing we are trying to offer resources to navigate these difficult days – days that call for resilient spirits and a hope rooted in God’s love expressed in Jesus Christ.

To that end, this week we’ve included the voices of two young women of Hope. Mia Starkenburg, an 8th grader, joins Erin Pacheco for a duet, and Frances Boerman-Cornell, a 10th grader, adds violin. The gifts they offer are lovely and encouraging.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

If these podcasts are helpful, we hope you’ll forward this letter and links to others. There are all sorts of ways that churches are trying to navigate this new reality. We had the technology to do podcasts that seem to fit Hope’s particular and peculiar culture, but we want them passed along if they’re helpful and can serve a broader community.

Thanks for your support of this podcast project. We miss being with you. We hope you will continue to find ways to help build resilience and nurture hope in others.

Peace,
Roger Nelson

March 22, 2020

Fourth Sunday in Lent

We’re trying to find our footing with podcast worship, flattening the curve, social distancing, and sheltering in place – while still being Hope. We didn’t even know some of those phrases a few weeks ago. So, you will find links below to a podcast worship service, an order of worship, a sermon manuscript (if you like that sort of thing), a printable children’s worship packet, and a YouTube link for Marjie Coleman telling a “Children in Worship” story. Our deepest prayer is that you will be encouraged, and the gospel will be proclaimed through these resources.

Worship Audio
Order of Worship
Sermon Manuscript
Children’s Worship Packet
Children in Worship Video

We’re learning as we go. Your feedback helped us shape what we’re offering today. I hope you will continue to let us know what would be helpful for you and your people. I am again profoundly grateful for Erin Pacheco, Schuyler Roozeboom, and Marjie Coleman sharing their gifts in service to Christ and his church.

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson

March 17, 2020

Update ⚡️

I heard it said that this is not a coronavirus snow-day but a coronavirus winter. This won’t pass in a day or two, or a week or two, but we need to think about it as a season. That’s a helpful, albeit sobering, analogy. And in these last few days it seems fitting. As we get new information and new instructions, it seems like we’re in for a long haul with some substantive changes.

Therefore, until further notice, worship and all meetings and ministries that gather at Hope are suspended. I don’t know if we’re supposed to limit meetings to groups of under 50 or under 10, but it seems prudent to step back, hunker down, develop our home-schooling gifts, and wait for clarity to emerge. We’re holding out hope for Easter…

In the meantime, we’ll try to provide meaningful worship via podcast. Our plan this week is to record on Saturday and have it posted on Sunday morning. We hope you’ll make use of that resource.

It should also be noted that Hope and other ministries that we support have ongoing needs. The office is open to receive checks by mail, and if you want to get out for a drive and drop off a check, we’d be happy to see you. We’ll keep appropriate social distance. Even as we try to expedite access to online giving, it is worth noting that most banks will help you setup a one-time or recurring payment through their online checking system. Quite a few of you make use of this service.

I’ve been particularly grateful for the wisdom, encouragement, and good cheer of Hope’s Elders and Deacons. As we’ve tried to navigate how best to proceed, they’ve been thoughtful and prayerful and wonderful. We’ve got good hands on the plow. Thanks be to God.

Stay home. Stay healthy. Stay safe.
We’ll keep you updated about all things full of Hope.

Peace,
Roger Nelson

March 15, 2020

Update ⚡️

While we’re not able to gather in worship, we will try to provide virtual worship. Some of the Hope Church staff gathered in the sanctuary this morning (Sunday, March 15) to record a worship podcast. The link below will get you to music, scripture, meditation, and prayer. It is our prayer that you will be encouraged, God will be honored, and good news will be shared even in this format.

Worship Audio

We don’t know how long before we’ll be able to gather again. We hatched this podcast idea over the last couple days. Your feedback would be welcome. We want to offer something that is authentic and provides as much connection as possible through the inter‑webs. Send your ideas to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Early this week, we’ll send out a “News & Notes” email with updates on what’s cancelled and what’s rescheduled. Our hope is that you will continue to reach toward one another with calls and notes and expressions of kindness. You can make a difference for someone else today. The church office will be open as usual this week….

I want to thank Erin Pacheco and Schuyler Roozeboom for their help and leadership in this little podcast project. I couldn’t be more grateful for their friendship and partnership.

Peace,
Roger Nelson

March 13, 2020

Important Update ⚡️

After continued consultation with Hope’s Council and Hope’s doctors, after considering the guidelines offered by the state and the CDC, and after prayer and reflection we’re going to suspend gathering for worship at Hope for the next two weeks, March 15 and 22. While an inadequate substitute for being together, we will post something online for those Sundays, and we will explore other ways to care for and encourage one another. We will continue to send email updates and provide updates on this page as the situation progresses.

I was reminded this morning of a passage in Jeremiah, “…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you…” Spoken to God’s people while in exile, they were called to pray for and pursue the common good. It seems fitting and faithful that in these anxious days we do the same. We need to do our part to help stop the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID‑19). We need to be mindful of the most vulnerable among us.

I don’t know how this will shake out over the coming weeks, but may we find, even in this, ways to love God and love neighbor, to serve God and serve neighbor. As Erick Erickson puts it:

“Now is the time to show your community what loving your neighbors is all about. It is about more than an hour on Saturday or Sunday. It is about seeking the welfare of your neighbors — the saved and the lost, the believer and the unbeliever. Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time to serve. Run toward the ill, not away from them. You may not be able to meet on Sunday, but you can drop off meals and check on people, if only at the other side of the doors through which you talk. Seek the welfare of the cities in which you are in exile. Pray for your cities. Because there you will find your welfare.”

Peace to you,
Roger Nelson
on behalf of Hope CRC Council

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