woman raising hands beneath sunlit sky

Being, Doing: Finding Balance

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 13, 2022

Okay so I admit, I’ve been so oriented to doing and achieving all my life that the core of my existence – my being – has felt threatened time and again as I’ve hurried through my daily personal To Do lists. But it’s the being side of living that gives meaning, joy, and a potential…

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One-Liners for Your General Budget

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 5, 2022

If you’re part of a congregation, no doubt people are starting to talk about program plans for the year ahead. But whatever you initiate, people will need to keep supporting it to keep it going. That requires personal investment in the idea, awareness of the purpose, commitment from volunteers, and enough money for staff time…

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How Can a Narrative Budget Help Us?

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | August 31, 2022

Rewritten from a website piece for the California-Nevada Conference of The United Methodist Church Budgets aren’t sexy, but they’re necessary. If you’re a church leader, you’re probably thinking about it these days, as you start putting together your programs for the year ahead. A line item budget is a financial form that reports income and…

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Worship’s Deep Water

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | August 17, 2022

On a scorching day, it’s amazing how refreshing a simple glass of cold water can be. I have felt this in the summer after a long walk, a hike, or a workout, when the heat seems to suck the life out of my parched mouth. That’s how it tasted this past Saturday when I co-taught…

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By Betsy Schwarzentraub | August 5, 2022

There are times when doing flows into being. Like when a toddler carefully puts the final block on a toy tower he has built. It can happen when an instrumental musician masters an intricate musical passage. Or when a runner completes her most memorable race, her leg muscles burning and lungs nearly exploding, in what…

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Feed the Hungry, Feed Faith

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | July 25, 2022

Granted, Heifer Project has been a long-time “go-to” for children’s ministries and Vacation Bible School. But have you looked at it lately? Now called Heifer International, it’s a whole lot more than putting coins in a World Ark1 or buying a dozen baby chicks for a family overseas. Founded back in 1944, the movement to…

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Practicing God’s Presence

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | July 15, 2022

In the busi-ness of your responsibilities and the busy-ness of life, how do you stay in touch with God? Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” But how do we open up to such stillness within? I recognize this stillness in certain moments, when the illusion of “ordinary” days is drawn…

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Sunday: Why Weekly Worship?

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 23, 2022

Why do people worship together as a community? Granted, many people have a personal life of devotion, but what is it about communal worship that can help steer our days through life’s uncertainties, traumas, and storms? Whether shared in person or through live streaming, Sunday worship has given me a framework for time lived during…

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Day-by-Day Mysteries

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 15, 2022

Think of us in this way: as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. (1 Corinthians 4:1) Paul was in trouble – again. This time it was with some members of the congregations he helped because of that pack of holier-than-thou “super-apostles.” They were going around stirring up doubts about his leadership, saying that…

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Epiphany: The Light of Christ

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | May 24, 2022

The worship season of Epiphany begins on January 6, just after the twelve days of Christmas. In the Western world, these are the darkest days of the year, a natural time to celebrate light. The name “Epiphany” comes from the Greek verb “to bring to light” or “to cause to appear.” Light is the main…

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