Faith & Fault-lines in a Pandemic


Poverty is the Pandemic

We are not in the same boat.  We are not in the same storm.  In fact, an economic storm has been raging all along and we have left many without a boat or paddle to weather the most recent epidemic to hit Rock County, Wisconsin.  Continue reading “Faith & Fault-lines in a Pandemic”

The New Prophetic Age:A Demand for Love & A Call for Justice


Angels and Prophets

What is the difference between angels and prophets? Both have a message from God, but with one very important difference. It is a little bit like the secret every grandparent knows—one gets to give the kid back, the other has to raise the kid up. They angel brings the good news and. then leaves, the prophet must stay and walk with the community in through all their ups and downs.  We have had our ups and downs over the years, and even in this last week together.

So, which would you rather be?

An angel or a prophet?  One is loved, the other often thought of as inconvenient, and often criticized. Me too, I would rather be angel too. But since I haven’t learned how to grow wings…

Our Prophetic History

Over these past 5 years together I have spent time reading our history, studying the stained glass windows, walking the halls of every room of this church and I have listened to what the angels of this church have been telling me about you, and about the legacy that has been handed to us, here in this very place. A place where worship has been going on uninterrupted for 175 years—more than 6 generations of people have learned what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ and to love God with all their heart…in this place. And you are among that great legacy of faith.

What I have learned, is that this church has a strong prophetic tradition—a tradition that has produced great community leaders who did not accept no for an answer, who believed they could make a difference, and even if they didn’t, they knew that they should try because they believed in hope. Rev. Hiram Foote, the first called pastor after the founding was a national figure in the abolitionist movement. Willing to take a stand on freedom of all people. Fredrick Douglas, a. black freeman spoke here in support of abolition of slavery. Rev. Hiram Foote helped to establish this church’s call toward justice.

Most recently, I have learned of a remarkable woman, and member of our church, a prophet in her own right, Rhoda Lavinia Goodell. You might know that she was the first woman who accepted to the Bar of Wisconsin as a lawyer. What you may not know, is that she spoke out on many subjects, including the appropriate place of women in the church—in the pulpit. Hear her words from 1872…

“Miss Smilie, preaching in the .. pulpit, seems to have shaken ecclesiastical authority… it is amusing as well as instructive to observe upon what general principle the objection to woman preaching is based. ….The reason that woman must not preach is – not that …it is incompatible with her other duties, … not that she lacks any intellectual or spiritual qualification – simply and only that this would be coming out … and asserting equality.”

Continue reading “The New Prophetic Age:A Demand for Love & A Call for Justice”

Remembering Well, Grieving Well

A Tea Party Shows off my mom’s playful personality.

My mother died 1 year ago this month, on our daughter’s 16th birthday. As a pastor I have often counseled people through the stages of grief and know that grief can take many twists and turns along the pathways of our life. Grief may walk beside us when we loose a parent, a spouse, or a child—these are journeys people notice. Continue reading “Remembering Well, Grieving Well”

2015 in review

Pastor TanyaHappy New Year Yall!

Thanks to everyone who viewed my blog in 2015.  The biggest news is that I was able to join in Ministry with as their new minister.  My installation service is January 10th, 2016.  Wish me luck.

My hope for 2016 is to integrate the fabulous work we are doing there into posts for this blog.

In Good Faith,

Rev. Tanya

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

When Faith Walks Out the Door: Bilbo, #Baltimore & Transforming Our Faith

Just getting out the door is challenge.
Just getting out the door is challenge.

Getting Out the Door

We have a rule in our house: always wash the dishes before we leave on vacation. This may seem ordinary enough, I’m sure many of you may do the same thing. But for me, the mere act of getting out the door on time is difficult enough—you can’t imagine how tempting it is to say, “leave it, just leave it. We will be back soon enough.” But the person who leaves the house is never the person who returns to it. We become a new person because of the journey and nobody wants to come back and clean up someone else’s mess.

Continue reading “When Faith Walks Out the Door: Bilbo, #Baltimore & Transforming Our Faith”

My people come from Selma Too: Breaking the Silence After 50 Years

My parent’s wedding day April 25, 1965


Fifty years ago the world watched as one of the greatest victories of the Civil Rights movement unfolded on the stage of Selma, Alabama. March 1965 was the Super Bowl of the Civil Rights Movement. The stakes were high—the right for unencumbered voting for African American voters was on the line in this growing city.  Almost no African Americans were able to register to vote given they had to undergo literacy tests, civil tests, poll taxes, as well as having others vouch for them. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of that great victory that culminated in the march from Selma to the Statehouse in Montgomery and compelled President Johnson to issue and sign the Voter Rights Act.

My Family Connection

While the story of what happened fifty years ago in Selma is a compelling one, I care about what happened in that city for personal reasons. Continue reading “My people come from Selma Too: Breaking the Silence After 50 Years”

Learning to think on your feet: Cymbal Kid, Autism, and the Family that Makes Us

Andrew "Cymbal Kid" Pawelvzck with our Son Nishanth
Andrew “Cymbal Kid” Pawelczyk with our Son Nishanth

A Friend of the Family, Andrew the Cymbal Kid

One week ago my son’s best friend Andrew Pawelczyk (Pa-Vel-check) was thrust onto an international stage–he is the YouTube sensation “Cymbal Kid”.  A month ago during the last middle school band performance, Andrew, an accomplished drummer who usually plays the “quad” 4 drums, was asked to play the cymbals.  I was sitting dead center with my husband and daughter while our son sat in the trumpet section at first chair.   Continue reading “Learning to think on your feet: Cymbal Kid, Autism, and the Family that Makes Us”

In the Presence of Giants– Neuqua Valley High School Baccalaureate Speech

This Redwood reminds us that we must learn from the Giants who have come before us.
This Redwood reminds us that we must learn from the Giants who have come before us.

Giants of Our Time

We are a people gathered together today, in this place, in this time, to reflect, to imagine, and to step forth into a new future where we are called to a greater purpose by a God under whose Divine eyes watch over us on this day.

This same Higher Power that has watched over, guided, inspired and led the Spiritual Giants of our faith Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Rama, Buddha, and the great Gurus, on whose shoulders we stand today—this same Higher Power watches over us.  That same Spirit that hovered over the waters at the dawn of creation lives and dwells in you, our graduates. Continue reading “In the Presence of Giants– Neuqua Valley High School Baccalaureate Speech”

My Blooming Garden (Part 2): The Fragrance of God

Lean in to smell the perfumed fragrance of this red rose.

The Garden is Ablaze with Color

These days my garden is blooming with color-reds, pinks, yellows, and especially purples.  These warm days of June bring such bountiful beauty I can sit in my rose garden for hours contemplating the mystery of God’s creation around me.  The tomatoes have not yet formed.  The eggplants and peppers are hopeful flowers blossoming on young plants in delightfully cool mornings awaiting the buzz of bees to bear their fruit in fall.  The basil is reaching upwards toward the sun, not yet ready for my Friday pizzas.  It is here with the sun on my face, sitting at my garden table, with the breeze dancing among leaves of the cottonwood trees that I feel at peace, a sense of ONENESS with God and the world.  This is sacred Sabbath time. Continue reading “My Blooming Garden (Part 2): The Fragrance of God”