Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bazaar is a Resounding Success!

The first-ever bazaar on Dec. 5 was successful on many fronts. Above all, it provided several fellowship opportunities during the ornament workshops, setting up and taking down. Thanks to a generous donation of Fair Trade gift items, plus the handicrafts made by our members, sales were brisk. Many Compton folk appeared to be doing their Christmas Shopping. There was a picture with Santa, delicious chili and hot dogs for lunch, oodles of tempting baked goods. The quilt drawing netted $175 and the quilt was won by Jane C., who bought her ticket from DebE at a weight watchers class. Some Compton neighbors came to shop, too, and a few friends from other churches. We would love to have more "traffic" if we do it again next year, and we will try to plan a date with fewer conflicts for other churches. As it is, we are grateful for every visitor and sale. Bottom line: the bazaar earned $1,362.65 for the Compton Cares debt retirement fund. Thanks to everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Bazaar is Coming!

Compton Heights will hold its first bazaar (at least in a long time) on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can shop for:
  • Handmade gifts, including scarves and accessories knitted by the Prayer Shawl ministry group.
  • Handmade holiday ornaments for the tree or decorations for the home.
  • Free trade gift items from crafts people around the world.
  • Free trade coffee, tea and chocolate from Equal Exchange
  • Unusual glass, pottery and art items, including some of Lana L's abstracts.
  • Potato baking bags and Gypsy Bags in many new designs.
  • Holiday cookies and breads, home baked.
A light lunch (hot dogs, chili, beverages) will help you ward off hunger while you shop.

The quilt shown above will be awarded to the lucky winner of a drawing to be held at 4 p.m. Tickets are available from church members and on the day of the Bazaar. The quilt, "Let Freedom Shine" is a sofa-sized 54x60 inches; the blocks pieced by members of the Flower Valley Quilting Guild and assembled and machine quilted by a Compton Heights member.

All proceeds will benefit the Compton Cares Accessibility project and be applied to reduction of the final $30,000 remaining on our construction loan. The bazaar will be held on the accessible level of the building!

For more information about the bazaar, please call the church office at 314-771-5071. See you on the 5th!

So Much More than Just a Sign

Nov. 8, 2009-- After worship, everyone trooped out to the sidewalk for a dedication of the new church sign. During our disability access construction, a resident in the Shaw neighborhood became interested in what our church was doing. Julia Krovicka is an artist, and she offered to make a sign for us that would more closely reflect the Compton Heights community and ministry.

Pastor Jacque Foster led the dedication. The frame for the sign was made by Dave B., and several members helped dig holes, pour concrete, and place the new sign at a slight angle, so it can be seen more easily from the street. While we gathered, we reminded that Compton truly is a "sanctuary in the city" as life rolled by at 35 miles and hour, including an ambulance answering a call somewhere to the south. The congregation appreciates Julia's gift of her talent so much. She attended the dedication, but demurred when asked to pose for a photo.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Off to India

Our Pastor, Jacque Foster, as well as members Jan K. and Marsha Mc., left Thursday on a People to People mission trip to visit Family Village Farm and other sites in India. They will be gone for about two weeks so we pray for their safe travels and for an inspiring and enlightening journey. Since Compton is in the process of becoming a Global Mission Congregation, the trip is quite timely. We will be hearing about India for a long time to come and we eagerly await the return of our ambassadors!

In Memory of Thelma

Long-time Compton member Thelma Elder died to this life on Wednesday, Nov. 11 and her service will be Saturday morning. Thelma was a faithful member of her Sunday school class and we have missed her in worship since she became ill. Her death follows that of her son Roger within this same year. Our Christian sympathy is extended to Thelma's remaining children: Camille, Rhonda, Jack and Janet.

Two New Members

Recently we have welcomed two new members, who united with Compton Heights through reaffirmation of faith. On Sunday, Nov. 1, we welcomed Rachel R., who is the sister of a former member, Adele C. On Sunday, Nov. 8, we welcomed Devin B., who has been a regular visitor and participant in the Book Club for quite a while! We thank God for both of these women. Blessed Be the Tie that Binds!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Save The Date!

Here are some dates of upcoming events at Compton.

  • Friday, Oct. 23, 6:45 a.m.-8 a.m.: Happy Friday!
  • Sunday, Oct. 25, 9:45 a.m. church school; 10:45 a.m. worship.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Women's Ministries meeting to hear about Bosnia missions, Union Avenue Christian Church.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m., Soul Care mini-retreat, church library.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m., Compton Cares Ministry meeting, church library.
  • Friday, Oct. 30, 6:45 a.m.-8 a.m.: Happy Friday!
  • Sunday, Nov. 1 ALL SAINTS SUNDAY 9:45 a.m. church school (Seekers class begins new lesson series led by Student Pastor Rob); 10:45 a.m. worship.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m., Stewardship & Outreach Ministry group, church library.
  • Thursday, Nov. 5, 7 p.m., Prayer Shawl Knitting group, Marty Hughes' home.
  • Friday, Nov. 6, 6:45 a.m.-8 a.m. Happy Friday!
  • Sunday, Nov. 8 Blessing for Jacque, Marsha and Jan who will leave on a Global Mission Trip to India on Thursday. Sunday school 9:45 a.m.; worship 10:45 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 10 7 p.m. Soul Care, church library.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m. Elders Circle.
  • Friday, Nov. 13, 6:45 a.m.-8 a.m. Happy Friday!
  • Saturday, Nov. 14, 1-5 p.m. Ornament making workshop for Cookies and Crafts Bazaar.
  • Sunday, Nov. 15, church school at 9:45; worship 10:45 a.m. THANKSGIVING OFFERING
  • Friday, Nov. 20, 6:45 a.m.-8 a.m. Happy Friday!
  • Saturday, Nov. 21, 10 a.m.-noon: Reading Circle at 6 North. Book: The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown.
  • Sunday, Nov. 22, church school 9:45 a.m.; worship 10:45 a.m. THANKSGIVING OFFERING.
  • Thursday, Nov. 26, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
  • Friday, Nov. 27, 6:45 a.m.-8 a.m. Happy Friday!
  • Sunday, Nov. 29 First Sunday of ADVENT church school 9:45 a.m.; worship 10:45 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m., Board of Ministry, church library.
  • Thursday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m. Prayer Shawl Knitting ministry, location TBA.
  • Friday, Dec. 4, 6:45 a.m.-8 a.m. Happy Friday!
  • Saturday, Dec. 5: Holiday Bazaar: Cookies & Crafts, lunch cafe; 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Vision, Renewed

As promised, the weekend of Oct. 2-3 found a group of Comptonites at Eden Seminary, on a retreat to explore ways of Renewing the Vision.

Our student associate pastor, Rob, volunteered to take photos of the rest of the group. One consensus that came from our work is a need to be more intentional about communication and fellowship with one another. We spend a lot of energy and time on mission and justice issues, worship and ministry with children. That is as it should be. But several newer members attended this retreat, and it was clear they are eager to hear the stories of those they are worshipping with, and to have their stories heard.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Renewing The Vision

All members and friends of Compton Heights Christian Church are invited to the Renewing The Vision retreat to be held Friday night and Saturday, Oct. 2-3, at Eden Seminary. If you aren't registered yet, call the church right away! Phone number is 314-771-5071.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Welcome Another New Member

A few weeks ago, Compton welcomed another new member, Charlsi, who transferred her membership. She has three children who are now the core of the new youth Sunday school class! Charlsi has already joined the choir.

Coins, Cans Contribute to Compton Cares

This has been a great month for contributions through the spare change coin bank and also the can collection. Dave took some 205 pounds of aluminum cans that had been accumulating for about a year and exchanged them for $96.82. A couple of weeks later, Norm took two heavy cans of coins to the sorter at the bank and returned with a check for $142.19. Together, these contributions by church members will make one month's principal and interest payment on our 3% disability access loan. As one of our newer Compton members has noted, it's possible for anyone to contribute to this effort, even if it is "only" picking up and saving cans, or saving spare change. Thanks to everyone who has donated!

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Members

Sunday, July 27-- Royce and his daughter Cory united with Compton Heights during Sunday worship, reaffirming their faith. They come from an American Baptist background and have been frequently visiting since moving to South Grand neighborhood last winter. Welcome, Royce and Cory!

Compton Goes to the History Museum

Saturday, July 25-- A group from Compton Heights went to the Missouri Historical Society museum in Forest Park to see the exhibit, Mary Lee Bendolph: Gee's Bend Quilts and Beyond, which continues through Sept. 12. The story of Gee's Bend, a community of former slaves in Alabama that was isolated culturally and economically until the era of the New Deal, is educational and inspiring. The women made very utilitarian quilts of discarded denim and other clothing, just to keep their families warm. But as they worked together, they evolved a style that caught the eye of an art historian, and eventually they were "discovered" in the world of art. The exhibit is free on Tuesdays to St. Louis City and County residents. The 45-minute video about the Gee's Bend Quilters is shown during the exhibit and provides a lesson in civil rights in a story not many of us have heard.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Compton Goes to PrideFest

June 27&28 -- Compton Heights continues its annual witness to inclusion by having a booth at PrideFest, held on this weekend at Tower Grove Park, a few blocks south of the church. This year we were part of "Spiritual Row" along with the MCC, UCC, Episcopalian, Unitarian, Methodist, and various other O&A congregations. Next to us was our sister Disciple congregation, Liberation Christian Church, which meets in the Delmar Loop of University City.

Norm can tell you that the Saturday afternoon shift from 4-6 p.m. took place on the hottest day yet recorded this year in St. Louis--98 degrees. With lots of cold water, fruit juice, wet neck bands and even a snazzy cooling vest, all of our volunteers survived. The next day, Sunday, was almost 15 degrees cooler after a storm front blew in overnight. Many good contacts were made and many healing conversations were held this year, and a record number of volunteers, many of them our newer members and friends, took part. We ran out of fans and stickers before the festival ended.

Babies and Blooms at Compton

June 21--This blogger returned from a two-week vacation to find lots of new things at Compton Heights. A new banner in the hall by Marty and Sarah focuses our attention on God's care for all creatures, from great to small.

The youngest Compton folk are growing fast. On this Sunday, three of our four babies were present. A large play mat in front of some pews was an attractive spot for Peter.

Shannon held Annabelle while mom DebE and aunt Kim took their places as deacons. Shannon and Matt are looking forward to adding Baby #5 to the Compton cradle roll in December!

Elizabeth and her daddy, Josh, surveyed the scene at coffee hour after the service. It is always such fun to see the babies studying each other and reacting to each other. They are challenging us to expand the nursery space and also to look for a regular nursery attendant for Sunday mornings, along with volunteers who will use a curriculum designed to introduce babies and parents to Sunday School.

Some changes are outside. Along the alley west of the church building, an old, rotted tie wall was removed and a new deck with benches installed by volunteers from a Webster Groves congregation. The benches provide a shady spot for clients of Isaiah 58 to sit while they wait for the food pantry to open or the produce truck to arrive.

The volunteers also landscaped the area. Now it is much more attractive, not only for Compton folk and people coming to Isaiah 58, but also for our Flora Place neighbors who walk their dogs and exercise past this point.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pentecost & Ordination for Lorrie

Pentecost is the birthday of the Christian Church, but today Pentecost was also ordination day for our most recent student pastor from Eden Seminary, Lorrie Kovell. After the service, most of the members from Compton Heights who were present or who took part posed for a photo with Lorrie.

The ordination service took place at Affton Christian Church, where Lorrie also was a student pastor earlier. The area above the communion table was filled with a mobile of white and red paper doves in recognition of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

After being presented as a candi- date, and making her vows to uphold a covenant of ministry, Lorrie knelt while pastors and elders present lay their hands upon her and the entire congregation joined in a prayer.

Another group picture, after the service ended, included all those who took part in the service. Many Christian congregations and a Reform Jewish congregation were represented.

Traditional gifts presented to Lorrie included a Bible, a communion chalice and plate, an alb, and a light. Darrell and Madeline present the chalice and plate to Lorrie during the service.

Lorrie studies how to adjust her new robe. Finally Jacque came to the rescue!

It was an eventful day, and a spirit-filled service. Our prayers go with Lorrie as she continues in the call to ministry.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gypsy Caravan 2009: Wet, But Not Dampening Our Spirits

Something about Memorial Day in St. Louis--it always rains! This year there were no severe storms and our canopy stayed up, but it was still a challenge to keep our "dry goods" well, dry. Marty has just once again moved a rack of our Gypsy Bags back under the edge of the shelter. It was a challenge to display items attractively because they had to be crowded, but we did our best.

We started with 27 Gypsy Bags created by the collective of Marty, Kathy, Shannon, Marsha, Judi, Leslie, Liz, Jacque, Jan, Madeline....some sewed, some ironed, some cut out fabric, many donated the fabrics as well.

We sold a lot of our items during the brief bouts of sun that graced us in the middle of the day. But by the third rain shower, many shoppers simply left and headed home. By the end of the day, we had 11 Gypsy Bags remaining. These, and the unsold potato baking bags (visible on table at left) will be available on Sunday, May 31 and thereafter. We will also make some special orders for you if you have a certain kind of fabric in mind! (Some of these in the picture were sold after the photo was taken.)

We had wonderful help from a great bunch of dedicated volun- teers who set up, staffed, and broke down our booth. Thanks to Roger, Devin, Brenda and Leslie for setting up on Sunday afternoon. Our great staff on Saturday included Cindy, Brenda & family, Norm, and Judi who opened up at 6:30; Madeline, Roberta, Talya, Cory, Leslie, Marty and Darrell who took shifts from 9 to 5. And gold stars to Marty, Darrell and Leslie for helping Judi and Norm take down, pack up the remainder, and haul everything home at the end of the day. Special thanks to Leslie for use of her new canopy--which survived the day intact!

Our preliminary tally from the day's sale is around $650, less than last year, but amazing given the rainy day. I'll have a better tally in a week or so, depending on "after" sales this upcoming weekend. All of these proceeds will go to reducing the Compton Cares accessibility project indebtedness.

Thanks to everyone who donated an item for us to sell. We weren't able to sell all of them, but there is always Next Year.
Will there be a Next Year? Maybe. We need to refine our focus on items to sell, and work on ways to be more immune to the damp weather. Stay tuned!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sent on a Mission

On Sunday, May 10, we said farewell and Godspeed for a month to Jan and Larry, who will spend the next month in Ethiopia. Larry will teach in a school of social work at a university there, and Jan will teach clinical practice. Last year they spent the month of June in Ethiopia and although at first the culture shock was great, they were so impressed with the dedication of the people to build a first-rate Ph.D. program in social work that they signed up to go again this year. We held a brief commissioning ceremony in worship and will pray for their safety and their good work while they are away from us. We look forward to more great pictures and tales of their travel with a purpose.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Yes, We will be at Gypsy Caravan 2009

Compton Rising Still is starting to get "hits" from around the country from people searching for information about the Gypsy Caravan outdoor flea market sale on Memorial Day in St. Louis. We participated last year and we will be back this year. Same spot, hopefully not the same rain-shattered event. We have lots of good stuff donated by members plus some really neat Gypsy Bags some of our women have been sewing. Plan to see us on the UMSL campus on May 25, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. We will be in space # C-94. All proceeds will benefit our Compton Cares Accessibility and Hospitality Ministry. Y'all come!

Baby Blessing and Baptism

Sunday, May 17, was a day to celebrate the newest additions to our church family. We also welcomed many visitors who came to help them celebrate.

We don't baptize babies, but we do have a ceremony for the parents to promise to raise the child in a Christian home, and for the congregation to promise to provide support for the family. Annabelle Christine reacts to Jacque's questions, to the delight of DebE and Dave. Later we all sang Jesus Loves Me as Jacque walked up and down the aisle with a now quiet baby to introduce her to her church family.

We do baptize older children, youth and adults who confess their faith in Christ. Recently Michelle H, who has visited us with her daughter Madalyn for almost a year, came forward during the invitation. On Sunday she was baptized by the friend who brought her to our church, our student pastor, Lorrie.

As a congregation we remain in awe and gratitude for the many new faces that have joined us on our spiritual journey over the last 18 months or so, including the 4 babies born and the two most recent members, Michelle and Roberta T. During the summer months we are going to revisit our congregational vision through a series of small group gatherings. After the Compton Rising Process several years ago committed us to remain in ministry in the city, we found a new direction. Always in prayer and openness to the Spirit, we have been called, we believe, to become Open and Affirming, and then to extend hospitality further through our disability access project. Recently new members and visitors have brought us families with children, some with special needs. And we have those babies! What direction is our ministry being called to follow today? By early fall we will hold a retreat and seek the answers to this question.

Friday, May 8, 2009

May Brings Flowers, Vision to Compton

For a couple of weeks in April, the iris bloomed along the alley, greeting staff and clients of Isaiah 58 and neighbors who use the alley as a path connecting two streets that are closed at Grand Ave. Last fall on a work day we plied this bed with mulch and it looks like the flowers liked the attention.

May 3 was the last official Sunday for our student pastor, Lorrie, although she is going to be around for some occasions this spring and summer. At the farewell reception we discovered that Lorrie and Christine's son, Coulton, has a special gift for quieting restless babies, as Annabelle fell fast asleep in this 7-year-old's lap.

Upcoming at Compton:
  • Each Friday: Happy Friday from 6:45-8 a.m.
  • Soul Care: Tuesday, May 12, 7 p.m.
  • Elders' Circle: Wednesday, May 13, 7 p.m.
  • Blessing for Annabelle and her parents: Sunday, May 17 in worship.
  • Baptism for Michelle H: Sunday, May 17 in worship.
  • Gypsy Caravan fundraiser for Compton Cares: Monday, May 25 at UMSL 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Soul Care: Tuesday, May 26, 7 p.m.
  • Ordination of student pastor Lorrie Kovell: Sunday, May 31, 2 p.m. at Affton CC.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coming Soon to a Mailbox Near You

Today was news letter mailing day. About 9 a.m. Janice, Jacque, Norm, Arlene and I gathered in the library to staple, fold, sticker and label some 208 monthly newsletters. We were through about 11:30. Many hands make the job go quickly.

Some question whether mailing a news letter is worth the cost and effort in this day of the Internet. Certainly we would like to be able to deliver it via e-mail or post it online for those who prefer that option. But there's something about that physical presence in the mailbox once a month that many folks cherish, especially Compton friends who live in Arizona, Chicago, California, etc. At $26 and some change to mail, it seems a small price to spend 2 to 3 hours a month in the company of friends communicating with the wide world of Compton Friends and Family.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sounds of Holy Laughter

It's an ancient custom, going back to the early Christian church, to celebrate the second Sunday of Easter with joy and mirth. Many church traditions observe Holy Hilarity or Holy Humor Sundays. After all, this is the God who played a real practical joke on those who thought they had snuffed out the Jesus Movement for good.

On April 19 Compton's sanctuary was decorated with balloons, rainbows, flowers, and smiling faces. We sang joyful hymns and anthems, and everyone had a bell to ring every time the word "joy" was uttered in a hymn, reading, or prayer. Norm was the liturgist who greeting everyone with a giant sunflower.

Lorrie and Brenda, who co directed the service, answer a question from Coulton before the service. Jacque looks a little nervous; she is just a regular person in the pew for today.

The sermon came from people in the congre- gation sharing memories of how laughter or a light hearted moment brought healing or a new understanding of The Word. There were excerpts from children's letters to God, and a version of "who's on first" acted by Mary and Martha. After worship, everyone was invited to a special festive coffee hour that included rainbow gummy worms and kazoos. And people were still telling jokes about church life or sharing funny stories of faith until the coffee ran out.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Let There Be Babies!

Easter is all about the Resur- rection of Jesus Christ, about new begin- nings, about trans- form- ation, about new life. Today's Easter cele- bration at Compton began with a pancake breakfast and continued through a joyous worship service. Adding to the joy was the presence of all four babies born in the past 9 months in our congregation. This is the first time all of the babies have been present on the same day. Hooray!

Above, Owin with his mom Carol at coffee hour after church.

Elizabeth cuddled with her mom Jenn after breakfast. Yes, we took a picture of Jenn and Elizabeth together, but somebody moved. Next time, Jenn.

Sarah and Peter enjoyed coffee hour, too. Peter had spent a lot of time being held by other people, including pastor Jacque. Somebody moved in that one, too. Sorry, Jacque.

Our youngest baby Annabelle had to have a drastic wardrobe change today before we could take pictures, so here's one of her with mom DebE from last week.

Yes, all of the fathers were present and on duty today, too...they just weren't holding the babies when the camera was out. But here's to Matt, Josh, Bryan and David--caring fathers who took their turns holding their children in the service, feeding and changing them as well. Having these four young families is a true blessing for Compton. Elizabeth's grandma was visiting from Ohio today, and she noted how welcome the babies are--no one gets upset when they fuss a little bit in church, they aren't kept behind a glassed in sound-proof wall, etc. Actually baby sounds are joyful music to our ears!

We wish everyone a Blessed Easter that lasts all year through. Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen, Indeed.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Palm Sunday Scenes

Evidence of the hard work by the crew on April 4 was visible when we came to church on Palm Sunday morning. In the garden, tidy beds will receive annuals to keep company with the emerging hostas.

The bulb bed is also tidy and ready to receive more bright annual flowers soon, when the threat of freezes is past. This bed greets people waiting for the bus at the stop on Grand Ave.

A special Palm Sunday treat was the first sighting most of us had seen of Compton Baby #4 for this year. DebE and Annabelle bask in the attention of everyone during coffee hour, although baby was already starting her nap.

On Palm Sunday Compton also received two new members: Michelle and Roberta. We rejoice that they have joined this church family.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Getting Ready for Palm Sunday and Easter

Saturday before Palm Sunday--Time to clean up inside and out to prepare the Sanctuary and grounds for Holy Week and Easter. A hardy group arrived at 9 a.m. to rake leaves, spread mulch, and tidy the garden area.

Update: Jacque notes in her comment that 20 adults and 2 babies were present for the cleanup project!

Madeline, Guang and Bryan said they couldn't believe how many leaves had persisted over the winter --since they had been raked twice last fall.

Jan says you have to trim and take out the old before you can plant the new, so she attacked the bulb bed.

It was a great day to air the babies while their parents worked. Jenn and Sarah take a break to watch the playpen. Marty just takes time to admire our youngest members.

Elizabeth and Peter shared the space well, even holding hands at one point. After Peter kicked Elizabeth, she let him gnaw on her fingers. A fast friendship.

Inside a smaller crew attacked the pews and floors, scrubbing and running the vacuum. Walt is cleaning pew cushions. Who knew we had so many?

Arlene and Norm scrub the pews and arrange the song books and Bibles. Every time Norm or I started to wipe down some thing, Arlene said, "I've already done that."

Cindy scrubbed the "gunk" that accumu- lates under the pews and generally kept us going. She also cooked the frozen pizzas that Jan brought for us to eat for lunch. Yes we did all eat pizza. The inside work was finished by lunch, but the grounds crew kept on working into the afternoon.

One outdoor chore remains to be done later. Marty had brought blooming annuals and ferns but they are too tender to survive the freeze predicted for Monday and Tuesday nights of next week. So they will stay in a corner of the narthex for now.