Hope United Cochrane
Letters from the Pastor
January 2023
From the Pastor’s Desk

As we turn the calendar from 2022 to 2023, we are still in the Christmas Season, at least in the church. For Christians the Christmas Season begins December 25 and ends on January 6 when we celebrate Epiphany.

Since the 6th is a Friday, we will celebrate Epiphany on Sunday, January 8, 2023. At that time, I hope to start a new tradition- giving out “star words”. This is a prayer practice connected to Epiphany and the new year that has been growing in popularity in Protestant churches for over a decade now. I will write a list of intention words, or guiding words, on paper stars. I will arrange the stars with the word face down on a table, and then invite you to randomly pick a star. You can place their star word somewhere they will see it regularly throughout the year to allow consistent reflection on how God has moved through, around, or in connection to that word, as well as incorporate it in your spiritual practices.

Here are some of the theological thoughts behind this tradition:

1. The Magi followed a star, which ultimately led them to Jesus. Therefore, we too use all the resources we have available to us to move closer to Jesus.

2. We trust that God uses multiple ways to guide us and speak to us. Star words are one such lens that might provide us a way to look for God in our midst, both actively and in hindsight.

3. We trust that it is often easy to miss God in our daily midst. Having an intention word to consider both in present days, as well as to reflect on at the end of the year, allows for us to see God in ways we may not have seen God before. This is the greatest gift.

On Epiphany Sunday I will provide both more information about the “why” of this spiritual practice, along with suggestions on ways to incorporate your word in your normal routines.

If you would like a star and are unable to be with us on Sunday, January 8, 2023, please contact me. I will randomly pick a star for you and mail it or put it aside until you can pick it up.

As we end this Christmas season and move into the season of Epiphany, may God presence and activity in this world, this church, and your life be seen in ways that you may not have seen God before.

God’s grace and peace.
Pastor Deb Kunkel
Let us know if you have any questions or comments. We are happy to provide more details. Please email us 24/7 or call us to learn more.

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