"Queen Vashti Deposed" by Ernest Normand

The Two Queens

Although Vashti and Esther never meet, the relationship between them is integral to understanding the events of the book of Esther.  Vashti disappears by the end of the first chapter, but she casts a long shadow over the rest of the book.

As we encounter Queen Vashti in chapter one, we learn the following about her: She is beautiful and headstrong. She throws a good party. She refuses to have her appearances before the king regulated solely by his desires. For this last offense, Vashti pays dearly, losing her crown and incurring perpetual banishment from the king’s presence.  All women in the kingdom are impacted by King Ahasuerus' reaction.

Both of these women lived lives of truthfulness that required immense courage.  Saying "no" at times,  and at other times saying "yes."

Saying no and saying yes, each was listening for the Spirit of Wisdom to guide them.

How, when, where do we listen for the Spirit to guide?

What does it look like to say yes, at times, and, sometimes, say no, trusting  - radically trusting - that our lives are held in God’s timeless arc of love?

See Vashti and Esther: A Feminist Perspective for more details.

Church Around the Table Sunday!

This Sunday worship will again take place in backyards, NOT our building on Norma street!  May you be blessed by joining with others to worship in this way.
Scriptures for Sunday:

Esther 1 - 2:17

Consider reading the entire book of Esther, only 10 chapters long, this week. It's a beautiful story of radical trust.  Although God is never mentioned by name in the Hebrew version, found in our bibles, (the Greek Septuagint is much longer and includes prayers being offered to God) the presence of the Spirit of Wisdom is woven throughout the courageous narrative of these women and others.

Summer bounty; Kate holding her first grandchild, Clara, born this week; Ben, Alethia and Anika in Toronto; Gloria, Joyce and Kate with conference minister Dave Mishler (at Laurelville).
Allegheny Mennonite Conference Update:

Allegheny Mennonite Conference (AMC) passed the financial blessings from the sale of the International Guest House (IGH, in Washington DC) to each congregation last weekend at our summer gathering. It was distributed with the hopes that each congregation will prayerfully discern how to continue blessing others in the spirit of IGH - centering the work of hospitality, peace and justice while honoring cultural diversity. 
Stay tuned for how we, as a congregation, will discern together how to continue sharing the blessings!


Ten Thousand Villages: Saturday, August 13th, TTV will hold this summer's final outdoor Village Fair on the sidewalk in front of the store from 1-5 - come enjoy local music, local vendors and good food (including Ethiopian Cuisine by our own Etayehu Zenebe!)

PSU PATHWAYS instructor Emily welcomes conversation partners with English language learners - in person or on zoom. Contact Emily HERE for more information.

Holding in prayer... Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) as they begin their annual summer training program in South Korea.  Click HERE to learn more.  Karen Spicher, sister of Bethany, writes: "We are feeling the tension between Beijing and Washington D.C. these days. Please hold the people of Taiwan in your prayers, as they are the most affected by the displays of power by these governments."  Praying for God's peace to reign!

Zoom links:

Tuesday Sharing and Prayer 
Sunday morning service 
You Tube channel

About Standing (in Kinship)

We all have the same little bones in our foot
twenty-six with funny names like navicular.
Together they build something strong—
our foot arch a pyramid holding us up.
The bones don’t get casts when they break.
We tape them—one phalange to its neighbor for support.
(Other things like sorrow work that way, too—
find healing in the leaning, the closeness.)
Our feet have one quarter of all the bones in our body.
Maybe we should give more honor to feet
and to all those tiny but blessed cogs in the world—
communities, the forgotten architecture of friendship.

-Kimberly Blaeser

Last week I mistakenly omitted naming the author, Sharon Olds, of the poem "Ode to Dirt".

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