From the Backcountry

 Michaelmas Daisy

Michaelmas Daisy

From the Backcountry …


“I pray that your love may abound… with knowledge and discernment.” Philippians 1:9


Every day, delicate situations arise that call for decisions as to whether we do something, or not.  Such matters of right and wrong have long been the province of theologians, philosophers and ethicistsYet, today, even scientists are getting into the act.  In his book, “Moral Minds”, Harvard biologist Marc Houser argues that as a species of social “primates” we develop a moral grammar in order to reward cooperation and curb excessive selfishness.  In fact, he contends that our survival as a species requires a moral code of conduct.

Whatever “grammar” we use to explain this phenomenon, the fact remains. Today, each of us will make a decision as to whether or not we do something.  May our “love abound …with knowledge and discernment.”

Sunday,  October 1    World Communion Sunday

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 25, Matthew 21:23-32

Text:  “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you!”  Matthew2 21:31

Sermon:   “Casting Call”

Synopsis:  This week’s Parable is a drama that calls for two actors.  The first role is a young adult who flatly refuses to work in his dad’s vineyard, but has a change of heart and returns to help.  The second role calls for a sibling who promises to help, but then skips out when no one is looking.  The characters describe two personality types within the faith community.  As we read the script, each of us will be invited to reflect on personal experience and determine for which role we’re best suited to audition.  The Kingdom of God is an equal opportunity employer!

2017 Henry Green Scholarship Recipient

Fourth in a series of fourtharticles introducing this year’s scholarship recipients.


Emily Junker

Emily is pursuing a dual Masters of Science in Urban Planning and Historic Preservation at Columbia University this Fall. After receiving her BFA in photography, Emily worked for several years in the Planning and Architecture industry. In 2016 she traveled throughout Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore which ignited her desire to do personal projects related to urban issues. Emily returned to Cambodia for 5 months this past year where she was based in Phnom Penh. She spent her time photographically documenting the current state of modern Cambodian architecture, studying Khmer language, and learning the cultural history of the country. She plans to continue her engagement in Cambodia and contribute to the field of architectural research and documentation related to the country’s modernist movement. Most importantly, Emily has become invested in various local organizations related to the arts. She learned firsthand about art and architecture in Cambodia and how to look at the current urban environment within the local context.

Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation is an enormous opportunity for Emily. Their global multidisciplinary approach, established leadership and abundant resources will prepare her to address urban questions through historical, theoretical, and practical understanding. She regrets that many of her Cambodian friends do not have access to the wealth, higher education, and international mobility to pursue her same path.  Emily therefore hopes to use her time at Columbia to acquire transferable knowledge that will assist in their future planning and preservation initiatives. She is committed to reconciling historic architectural districts with issues of residential growth and sustainability. Whether in Cambodia, elsewhere, or at her home in NYC, she believes that having expert knowledge will advance the quality change needed to promote social justice, as well as preserve architectural and cultural heritage.

See you Sunday,