Vision Sunday

On 5/19 we took a good part of the morning to have a conversation about our vision – breaking into groups, debriefing each other, and collectively identifying what it could look like if we worked together to see our vision become a reality. Because of the unique nature of the morning, we do not have an audio recording; however, the entire morning can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

CREATE ’24 is here!

Join us June 25-27 from 6:30-8:30 pm for 3 nights of creativity and fun! Thursday night will end with an Open House for parents and friends to see what the kids have been up to all week, as well as an opportunity to join in the creative fun!

CREATE is an art camp for kids entering K-8th grade. Each child chooses one age-appropriate class to attend for those 3 evenings. They spend their time creating, getting to know one another and having fun. We love coming alongside kids as they tap into their own unique creativity – even when they don’t even know that creativity exists! Scroll down for the list of classes.

For the latest updates, be sure to like our facebook page (facebook.com/CreateGR).

Registration is now open. CLICK HERE!

 

Class Options for Grades K-1:

GARDEN ART: We’ll use  found objects and art supplies to create projects inspired by gardens and the beauty of outdoors. 

S.W.A.T. (Squiggles.Wiggles.And.Twirls): Join our S.W.A.T. team. You can learn how to use squiggles, wiggles and twirls to create your own doodle art.

 

Class Options for Grades 2-4:

NAILED IT!: Love baking? Horrible at baking? Awesome! Baking can be tough. Let’s celebrate fun and failure!

WILD CREATIONS: Have fun with us using nature to make art using leaves, flowers, sticks and more. This nature based class will be wild!

MURAL PAINTING: Join us to create a one of a kind wall mural in the building that will represent inclusion, love and welcome when you enter the space. 

COMBO-BRACELETS/CLAY/PUNCH NEEDLE: Can’t decide? Try something new each day! Have fun each night with a new medium. Make bracelets like a Swiftie, create with clay and learn the satisfaction of the high texture embroidery of punch needle.

 

Class Options for Grades 5-8:

LEARN HOW TO PLAY CHESS: Learn the fundamentals of the game or level up your skill and strategy on your way to becoming a Grandmaster.

CHARACTER DRAWING: Character art is used in media like gaming, animation and manga. But it doesn’t stop there. Learn tips and techniques to bring your characters to life.

FELTING: Felting is a creative craft that involves sculpting shapes and figures using wool. Discover techniques that will allow you to create amazing creations with just a few supplies.

Easter Weekend

Good Friday

We’re doing something different this year. Instead of a Good Friday gathering, we’ve set up stations of the cross in the sanctuary and are inviting people to come anytime between 5 and 7pm. You’ll walk through the stations at your own pace with a guide that provides Scripture, questions for reflection and a prayer for each station.

 

Easter Tailgate

We kick off Easter with food and joy. Join us at 9am (the forecast leads us to assume we’ll be downstairs in the community hall) for Easter Brunch! We’ll be providing place settings and a few basic foods. Feel free to bring something to share (homemade or store bought – it’s not a picky crew 🙂

 

Easter Gathering

Our worship gathering will take place at our normal time of 10:00am

A Conversation on Israel and Palestine

Sunday, March 24, 5:00-6:30pm

Please invite anyone who might be interested.

Please register by clicking here.

After spending over a week in Palestine and Israel as part of a twenty three member, multi-denominational delegation, Chris and Josh Vis will share stories and reflections from their time in Palestine and Israel.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine — which has now been going on over 70 years — has reached an unprecedented moment. We have are living through a pivotal, historic event and while it may feel like there is little we can do, the truth is that as Americans we have more potential influence than anyone else in the world.

Learning about the facts on the ground will not only inform but inspire us to do what we can to move toward justice and peace.

You can either join us in person or on Zoom.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85066828752
Meeting ID: 850 6682 8752

If your are coming in person, parking is available on Madison, south of Burton.

The Seventh Story – Lent

Stories help us make sense of the world and our place in it. Some stories are adopted by entire cultures (i.e. the story of the rugged American individual), while some even transcend time and place. This Lent, we look at seven stories common throughout humanity and ask: where do they show up in our lives, how do these stories shape us and what story do we choose to live by?

RESOURCES

  • Listen to the Learning How to See podcasts (season 5) from Brian McClaren and Gareth Higgins.
  • Catch up on The Branch’s sermons from the series. Click here
  • Buy the ebook written by Brian and Gareth. Click here
  • Buy the children’s book. Click here

 

SERIES

February 18 – The story of Domination
February 25 – The story of Revolution
March 3 – The story of Purification
March 10 – The story of Isolation
March 17 – The story of Victimization
March 24 – The story of Accumulation
March 31 – The Seventh Story (Easter)

Ash Wednesday

On Ash Wednesday we are marked on our foreheads with a reminder of our mortality. The same palms we raise up and wave on Palm Sunday each year are made to know the sting of death – we burn them. And the following year, in an ever-curious act, we pick up the ashes and we mark ourselves with them.
What does it mean that we don’t just talk about the ashes, or even reverently observe them, but that we physically smear them across our faces? Perhaps, in the marking, we approach solidarity. We remember that the same fate that haunts you, haunts me. The same beauty that birthed you, lives in me. And that this comes as a mark on the body, I think, reminds us that the Lenten journey of self-examination is deeply entwined with the physical world.

from Black Liturgies; Prayers, Poems, and Meditations for Staying Human

Join us Wednesday, 2/14, at 7pm as we begin the journey of Lent together. Our hour long gathering will be a time of reflection on both the challenges of our world and our lives as well as our hopes for the future.

Sundays in January

Who do you want to be?
Who will you choose to be?

These questions are related, but they are not identical.
We may want to be many things, but without intention and action our desires remain just that.

As we begin a new year — who will we choose to be?
Who will I choose to be? Who will you choose to be?

How we answer that question matters. It matters is our lives, in the lives of those we love, and it even matters to the larger world. We consider three choices before us this year: will we choose to become people of humility and people who foster belonging and people who practice boldness.

Brunch! New Year’s Eve

On New Year’s Eve, we’ll spend our time together enjoying a brunch, singing a few Christmas carols (it is technically the first Sunday after Christmas according to the church calendar), and reflecting on the year. Bring something to pass if you’re able — it can be as simple as a box of cereal and a gallon of milk. There will not be separate programming for children or students.

Two things I’m wrestling with as I watch the war in Israel and Gaza

The attacks by Hamas, as well as Israel’s response, have created so much pain and destruction. Our hearts are heavy with the weight of this war and the decades long conflict that has preceded it.

What are we to do in the face of such violence and loss? What can we do, if anything?

Chris shares some of his wrestlings from the last few weeks and invites us to wrestle too — not just with this war on the other side of the world, but with the way vengeance and demonization can easily took root in our own lives.

After our gathering, we had 30 minutes of Q&A, which can be found here

Retreat

Join us Sunday, October 15, at Camp Scottie for a day long retreat.

We’re stepping away from our normal routine to intentionally slow down, connect with each other and consider our own personal values. We’ll be back at the building on 10/22 (see the blog post on Group Sundays)

If you didn’t sign up for the retreat, but would like to come, reach out to Teresa (teresa@thebranchonline.org) or Chris (chris@thebranchonline.org).

Winter GROUP Sundays

Sign up for a Group here.

Last fall, we felt that it was time to try something different. Not for the sake of being different, but because we wondered if the way in which we gathered needed to shift given all that has happened in the world and in our lives the last few years.

The result was an every other week rotation between ‘normal’ Sundays and ‘group’ Sundays.

Normal Sundays were, well, normal in the sense that our gathering on those weeks looked a lot like it had previously.

Our ‘group’ Sundays began with all of us together for a quick time of connection and then we would head to the group of our choice. Each group centered around a wide range of topics and activities (we tried a bunch of things: Ultimate Frisbee, a reflective walking group, a group that made an art installation for Advent, a group that practiced silence as a spiritual discipline, and many more). What we found is that Group Sundays gave people more opportunity to connect relationally, try out a new skill or idea and look for God’s presence in what might seem like everyday, ‘non-spiritual’ activities.

We learned some things and we made a few adjustments as we offered this new rhythm  this past Spring and again in the Fall. Below is a list of Groups that will be offered as well as the schedule for the weeks leading up to Lent.

Faith & Contemporary Issues: Nate and Micah DeWard are hosting a discussion group where faith and current events will be discussed during Group Sundays. This Father-Son duo has a history of independent thought and encouraging people to explore the perspectives of others. Through respectful listening, we hope to encourage thoughtful and wholehearted conversations that lead us into a deeper understanding of each other, of God, and of our world. *Note that this will be the only option for those joining online.*

Cooking: This is a group for both avid home-chefs as well as the novice cook! Some of us will learn new skills and some of us will get to pass on our kitchen knowledge to others! Each week, we will create a freezer meal together – some to take home and some to donate to AYA Youth Collective. All ages are welcome in this group. We will sprinkle in some fun “Nailed-It” type challenges along the way to keep things fun and interesting for the younger kids!

Games: Each week, we’ll gather to play games or do a puzzle together. Learn a new game or play an old favorite. Make new friends or connect with an old one. Have some fun, laugh, and delight in the gift of play. We will have both video games and board games available each week.

Silence: In a very noisy world, it’s hard to find time and space to be quiet. But that quiet space is so important as we try to live more fully as the truest version of ourselves. This group isn’t really a group. This will simply be a time and space to be still. There will be some gentle music playing in the background, but there will be no discussion or agenda…simply time to be.

Sign up for a Group here.

  • January 14: Group Sunday
  • January 21: Worship Gathering
  • January 28: Group Sunday
  • February 4: Worship Gathering
  • February 11: Group Sunday
  • February 18: Worship Gathering (beginning of Lent)

Core Values – Week 3: Relational Grace

Listen here for Week 3 in our Core Values Series. This week, we talk about Relational Grace.

Fall Series – Core Values

We all have values. That’s true as individuals, households and communities. We elevate and hold up certain ideas over others, and if we are lucky, find others who can help us live them out.

After receiving input from The Branch community earlier this year, we’ve given new language to the building blocks of our life together. In many ways, the heart and soul hasn’t changed, but we felt that the words we use to communicate our values needed to be updated to reflect our changing world.

Each week we’ll look at one value — all of which fall under our vision of becoming a community united with Christ in the renewal of all things.

September 10 – Partnership

We cannot do it alone.
The problems of the world and our lives require the support of others.
We choose to live interconnected lives.

September 17 – Inclusiveness

Everyone belongs.
God is ever inclusive.
All are invited to fully participate in our life together.

September 24 – Purposeful Presence

God’s promise is to be with us.
We offer that same gift to each other and the world,
honing in on specific ways we can be a presence of love.

October 1 -Relational Grace

We will disagree.
When we do, our posture will be that of Christ’s: one of humility and grace.
We can hold our convictions and still be curious and kind.

October 8 – Courageous Creativity

The world is dramatically changing.
The way forward is unknown.
But in trusting God, we choose to take risks and try new things.

SEPTEMBER 3 – Worship in the Park!

As summer draws to a close, join us at Garfield Park on Sunday, September 3, from 10-11a (we’ll be meeting in the parking lot off of Madison Ave. by the gym and splash pad).

We’ll be walking through the park, stopping along the way to reflect on the Scriptures, our lives and the world. We’ll use the beauty and complexity of the created world to help us remember what is true and call us back to our best selves.

You can also join us online on YouTube through the link at the top of our homepage.

We will not have a separate experience for children; instead, we’ll structure the morning in a way that all can participate.

CHANGE OF PLANS – JULY 2

Change of plans! The forecast is calling for rain so we will be gathering at the building on Sunday, 7/2.

CREATE 2023!!!

Join us June 20-22 from 6:30-8:30 pm for 3 nights of creativity and fun! Thursday night will end with an Open House for parents and friends to see what the kids have been up to all week, as well as an opportunity to join in the creative fun!

CREATE is an art camp for kids entering K-8th grade. Each child chooses one age-appropriate class to attend for those 3 evenings. They spend their time creating, getting to know one another and having fun. We love coming alongside kids as they tap into their own unique creativity – even when they don’t even know that creativity exists! Scroll down for the list of classes.

For the latest updates, be sure to like our facebook page (facebook.com/CreateGR).

Registration is now open. CLICK HERE!

 

Class Options for Grades K-1:

EXPLORING TREES: Calling all tree-huggers!! Exploring Trees is a class focused on creating art that resembles trees, uses elements from trees to make new things, and playfully recreates the birds who love trees! We will use yarn, sticks, and cardboard for this tree-loving fun.

NAILED IT! (Baking Challenge): As seen on TV!!! We might not have Nicole or Jacques, but we’ll have just as much fun creating our own unique baking creations. Learn some baking tips. Experiment with new ways to decorate. Learn to build structures with Rice Krispie treats. You’ll go home with an edible masterpiece to show off and enjoy with those you love!

 

Class Options for Grades 2-4:

CREATE WITH COLOR: Make Art that celebrates your unique self. We’ll use markers, paint, colored paper and more to make crafts that show who you are and what you love.

HYDRO DIPPING: Join us as we take thrift store finds with unique character and  plain, boring items and bring them to life in a whole new way! We will transform them using spray paint and water to make unique pieces fit to your personal aesthetic. Come be part of the fun! As seen on TikTok.

YARN & BRACELETS: In this class we will learn how to make yarn with drop spindles and then make bracelets with our yarn.

 

Class Options for Grades 5-8:

LEARN TO SOLVE A RUBIX CUBE: We will teach you the four fundamental parts of cubing and we will supply you with your own cube to practice and learn on!

EMBROIDERY: Embroidery is a relaxing way to use fabric and thread to create images of just about anything. Join us for a class where you will learn basic embroidery stitches and create a simple embroidered piece of art. You can build upon these basic skills to create more detailed pieces with practice.

ZINE-MAKING: Zines are self-published, often handmade, magazines! Learn to create fun little booklets to express yourself and share your stories, poetry, art, or fandom!

PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY  If you love portrait photography, learn multiple ways to light a portrait image to create a dramatic effect. Gear needed: Digital camera with removable media (SD Card, Compact Flash, etc).  DSLR preferred.

Easter Weekend

This weekend brings wonder and meaning.

Though we may have heard the stories surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus many times before, each retelling allows us the opportunity to integrate deep truths into our lives again: death does not have the final word; sacrifice is the gateway to life; hope endures.

Our time together on Good Friday (7:00-8:00pm) will create spaces for us to encounter God amid the sorrow and lament. We’ll retrace Christ’s steps and ask ourselves what his story means for our own today.

Easter tailgating is a tradition we look forward to each year. If it’s warm enough we’ll be outside – if not, we’ll move the party indoors. This year we are planning a cereal bar – so bring your favorite box or just come! We’ll have a number of boxes, lots of  milk (of all kinds – cow, almond, oat) and bowls and spoons.

Our gathering begins at 10. Joy. Music. Laughter. Learning. Hope. We look forward to embracing all these things together.

Current Series: Seeking, Honest Questions For Deeper Faith

This Lent, may you engage in the spiritual practice of seeking—by asking questions, and by staying curious, open, and nimble.
We hope you will soften your assumptions and expand your perspectives. We pray that these questions will create a safe space to explore—to be drawn more deeply into the fullness of life, into the heart of God.

March 5 – Who Will You Listen To?

March 12 – Group Sunday

March 19 – How Do We Begin Again?

March 26 – Group Sunday

April 2 – Palm Sunday::Where Are You Headed?

April 9 – Easter::Who Are You Looking For?

April 16 – Group Sunday

April 23 – Can These Bones Live?

April 30 – Agape Feast

May  7 – Who Sinned?

May 14 – Group Sunday

May 21 – Will You Give Me A Drink?

Group Sundays (Feb-May 2023)

Sign up for a Group here.

Last fall, we felt that it was time to try something different. Not for the sake of being different, but because we wondered if the way in which we gathered didn’t need to shift given all that has happened in the world and in our lives the last two years.

The result was an every other week rotation between ‘normal’ Sundays and ‘group’ Sundays.

Normal Sundays were, well, normal in the sense that our gathering on those weeks looked a lot like it had previously.

Our ‘group’ Sundays began with all of us together for a quick time of connection and then we would head to the group of our choice. Each group centered around a wide range of topics and activities (we tried a bunch of things: Ultimate Frisbee, a reflective walking group, a group that made an art installation for Advent, a group that practiced silence as a spiritual discipline, and many more). What we found is that Group Sundays gave people more opportunity to connect relationally, try out a new skill or idea and look for God’s presence in what might seem like everyday, ‘non-spiritual’ activities.

We’re excited to be trying this again in the coming months.

Below is the schedule as well as videos describing the opportunities for the weeks leading up to Easter.

Sign up for a Group here.

  • February 26: Group Sunday
  • March 5: Worship Gathering
  • March 12: Group Sunday
  • March 19: Worship Gathering
  • March 26: Group Sunday
  • April 2: Worship Gathering (Palm Sunday)
  • April 9: Worship Gathering (Easter)
  • April 16: Group Sunday
  • April 30: 5th Sunday Agape Feast
  • May 7: Worship Gathering
  • May 14: Group Sunday
  • May 21: Worship Gathering

 

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday – February 22 – 7:00pm

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday – an evening of reflection, prayer and Scripture where we set our intention for the 40 days leading to Easter.

With the potential for inclement weather on Wednesday, we may choose to move our gathering to Zoom. We will keep everyone updated on our Facebook page and through email.