Sermon- By this Authority.

14045939_10208859512578630_2180424516011809531_nBy Bill Wylie-Kellermann, January 25, 2020
This was the closing sermon to the United Methodist Global Water Summit at Cass United Methodist Church in Detroit. His opening sermon was posted on February 12.

Romans 6:1-18

In the summer of 2013 as the Water shut-offs spiked under Emergency Management, St Peter’s Episcopal became the first water distribution station of We the People of Detroit. The first contribution was a truckload borne across the Ambassador Bridge by the Council of Canadians. It didn’t have all the necessary paperwork, so the Border Feds had to decide whether to halt it and cause an international press incident or just allow I through irregularly. The latter wisdom prevailed. We received it at St Peter’s with a small ceremony, carried  it in brigade-style and stored it along the outside isles of the sanctuary. But mostly we grouped the bulk of it around the baptismal font which is the first thing you see as you enter. At one point we had 1500 gallons of water there. We hung a banner behind the font which said St. Peter’s Water Station, making the very same connection as this summit. Continue reading

Sermon “By Water and the Spirit: A Global Water Summit”

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Bill Wylie-Kellermann at his granddaughter’s baptism. Photo credit: Tony Eggert

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, January 24, 2020

Isaiah 55:1-3

In the name of the One who breathed across the face of the waters in creation; the One who is Lord and Servant of all; and the Spirit militant that summons, fills, and holds us together as one, let all of this be.

I am a former pastor of this congregation, so I’ve preached many times from this pulpit; I was married in this sanctuary, my daughter was baptized here, and still I confess to feeling the burden of bringing a Word to this important summit. I’ve been asked to “lay a theological foundation” for these conversations. In that, I’m mindful that the charism we need in this moment is less one of speaking than of listening – especially to our guests from the African continent. Continue reading

Sermon: Saying Yes

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Fishing in the Sea of Galilee. Image from the Library of Congress.

By Kateri Boucher, Homily at Day House Catholic Worker 1/26

Matthew 4: 18-22

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

When taken at face value, this reading doesn’t seem to have much bearing on my life. I haven’t gone fishing in years. I’ve never been approached by a random man asking me to follow him and “catch other people.” And I’ve certainly never made a split-second decision to leave my daily life and family behind.

Continue reading

Sermon: St. Peter’s is Not for Sale

IMG_1878Sermon by Denise Griebler,
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, November 17, 2019

Isaiah 65:17-25
Malachi 4:1-2a
Luke 21:5-19

May we see like God sees and hope like God hopes.  And may we not be afraid to live by that sight and that love in the meantime. Amen.

These scripture passages each get us thinking about the end. Nothing like beginning with the end.  But since we are dealing with these readings so rooted in apocalypse, maybe we are on the right track.

Imagine this community, this city, this country, this world that is going to pieces in so many places – whether by poverty or war or climate reckoning – and hear the words of Isaiah again: “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the holy city as a joy and a place where I will rejoice in my people the way they take care of each other – no more inconsolable weeping, no body in distress, babies get to live and old people get to  live our their days.  People enjoy the fruits of their labor, have homes to live in, food to eat.  Predators will cease terrorizing of the vulnerable and they will eat side by side. Healing and peace will come to the whole community. Continue reading

Sermon: Let Go of the Branch

indexBy Kateri Boucher at Day House Catholic Worker August 11, 2019

Luke 12: 32-4
Hebrews 11: 1-2, 8-19
Wisdom 18: 6-9

Some of you may have heard the story about the man who was being chased by a tiger and falls off a cliff. Luckily he catches a branch and is hanging there from it, trying to figure out what to do. In desperation he cries out, “If there’s a God up there, I’ll do anything if you’ll save me!” Suddenly a voice booms down from the heavens, “This is God and I want to save you! All you have to do is let go of the branch!” There’s a long pause as the man thinks that over, then he finally turns back up and says “Is there anyone ELSE up there?”

Continue reading

Named and Claimed By God

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Photo by Chris Baker Evens

Katie Aikins is pastor of Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia. She and her wife Heather Bargeron are parents to their adopted 20-month-old son Oscar Emmanuel Aikins-Bargeron.  Katie preached this sermon on the occasion of Oscar’s baptism on July 21.

Baptism without the church, without the community of faith, would make no sense. One of the promises we make as parents is to raise our child in the community of faith.

This Heather and I know: That though we will make our promises to Oscar and to this church to raise him to follow in the way of Jesus Christ, to show love and justice, to resist oppression and evil, we also know that alone, we as parents will not be enough for Oscar to live into his full calling and identity as a child of God. The community of faith —the place where we are practicing resisting evil together, where we are growing together in our practices of justice and love – this is the context in which baptism unfolds in its meaning and fruitfulness.  Continue reading

Pentecost: Bellies in the Mud

20190608_144453By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
Reflection offered at Day House Catholic Worker in Detroit on June 9, 2019

Psalm 104
Acts 2:1-11
John 20: 19-2

I admit that I come to these readings today carrying my own fear and anxiety. The kind of fear that can force you to lock yourself in a room. I’ve been scrolling through too many headlines these past few weeks that make it hard to breath. Continue reading