The ShoreLight - Amber Church Newsletter
Prayer, The Heart of the Christian Life
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote,
“Christianity lives and dies with prayer, for prayer is the heart of the
Christian life.” I was struck with
those words this past week although they express nothing that I haven’t heard
before or even said before. Still,
it is good to be reminded periodically of basic essentials.
So if prayer is the heart of our
faith what exactly is prayer?
Simply put it is the open heart of the individual poured out before the
open heart of God. Prayer is
conversation, the intimate, nothing-held-back kind of open communication. It is as vital to the maintenance of
our relationship with God as communication is in maintaining
proper relationships with each other.
When real talking stops then relationships weaken, distance develops,
estrangement occurs, and faith and trust die.
This being true what are we do to
when we don’t have words to pray, when we don’t know what to pray for, or when
we just don’t feel like praying?
The answer is not surprising.
The answer is to pray. But
we might need some help. Yes, so
Jesus taught his disciples how to pray.
He gave them words, the Lord’s Prayer. And knowing how fickle all of us are God inspired a book of
150 prayers to give us words. It
is the book of Psalms. No matter
what you are thinking and feeling you can find it expressed in the prayers of
But don’t the words of others
still seem somehow artificial in our mouths? Isn’t prayer my open heart to God not someone else’s open
heart? Yes, that is true, but using
another’s words can aid us in learning to use our own. I have a good friend who encourages
others to not only read and pray the Psalms but to use them to write their own
prayers and psalms.
An illustration of that kind of
writing was given to me this past month.
Someone left on my desk for possible inclusion in the church library a
copy of the book “Talking with God in Old Age: Meditations and Psalms” by Missy
Buchanan. I opened it and saw that
the first poem was entitled “Cornflakes.”
I like cornflakes and I also noted that the poem was based on Psalm
112:7, which reads in the New Living Translation:
Godly people do not fear bad news;
trust the LORD to care for them.
Well certainly there has been a
good bit of bad news of late. The
nation has mourned the seventeen killed in the Florida school shooting. And we here in Amber have grieved over
the death of Loren Torrance and been shocked at the death of Rodger
Conway. Bad news is all around
us. How do we pray about it? What should we say? How can we regain our confidence that
God is good and watches over us?
How can we return to the normal and routine of eating a bowl of
cornflakes with a heart of thanksgiving?
I read Missy Buchanan’s prayer.
And then I read the next one and the next one and the next one; poems
and prayers that flowed out of her as she pondered the words of the Psalms and
prayed them from her own heart.
After reading the entire book I
went online and ordered several more to give away. I took one with me this past week to the Brookdale Senior
Living at Summerfield. I sent one
to my sister. And of course there
are two copies now available in our church library. To give you a sample, just a “taste” of her writing, here is
the first poem “Cornflakes.”
Not so long ago, this old life
was pretty good.
A bowl of cornflakes on a familiar table.
A comfortable routine.
Then came the words that turned
my ordinary life into a
An unwanted diagnosis. A health
crisis. A hasty series of
At my age, who wants one more
doctor, one more test,
one more form
to fill out?
I’m worn out by worry and
I yearn to do simple tasks like
making coffee or opening the mail.
But in this timeworn wasteland,
my energy is spent with just a few steps.
I need a grade-A miracle. A slam-dunk kind of miracle.
O God, rescue me from bad
Though I cannot see you, I trust
that I am not alone.
You are here.
Let me feel the simple wonder of
cornflake mornings once again.
Read and pray your open heart to
God. See you in worship.
Amber Congregational Church
Church Officers (2018)
Board of Elders (3 year terms)
term expiring 2019 -
Cathy Smith, Sherry Persad, Deb O’Brien
term expiring 2020 -
Carl Barber, Mark Henderson, Sally Wilson
term expiring 2021 - James Frary
Board of Trustees (3 year terms)
term expiring 2019 - Cheryl Curtis, Jeff Southard, Terry Wheeler
term expiring 2020 - David Heath, Jack Seymour, Matt Henderson,
term expiring 2021 - Mike
Curtis, Teal Trendowski
Ministry Directors (3 year terms)
Christian Education Director (2019) - Sue Ellen Harris
Outreach Director (2020) - Cathy Smith
Worship Director (2021) - Nancy Barber
Nominating Committee (2 year terms)
term expiring 2019 - David Angelo, Mark Henderson (Chairperson)
term expiring 2020 - Deb O’Brien, Teal Trendowski, Cindy Casler
Other Officers (1 year terms expiring 2019)
Clerk - Cheryl Curtis
Treasurer - Gail Frary
Financial Secretary - Faith Stopyro
Financial Assistant – Jenn
Ministerial Relations Chairman - Mike Curtis
Samaritan Fund Committee (2 year terms)
term expiring 2019 - Jim Frary, Matt Henderson (appointed from the
Elders and Trustees)
term expiring 2020 - Faith Stopyro
(elected by congregation),
Wilson, Cheryl Curtis
(appointed from the Elders and
permanent members - Rick Chaffee, Cathy Smith (Minister and Outreach
Other 1 Year Appointed Positions (1 year
terms expiring in 2019)
Overseer of Greeters - Deb O’Brien (appointed by the Worship Director)
Overseer of Acolytes and Nursery – Nancy Barber (appointed by the
Librarian – Cheryl Curtis
(appointed by the Education Director)
Historian – Sally
Wilson (appointed by the Clerk)
Appointed Positions by the Trustees (indefinite term)
Janitor - Rich McVicar
Music Director - Lois Chaffee