M-Note 6.18.2021
by Mike DePope on June 18th, 2021
On June 19th, 1865, Union troops rolled into Galveston, TX. Even though General Lee and the Confederates had surrendered months before this, there were pockets of ongoing resistance, including in Texas. That day, General Order No. 3 was read to the people of Texas including the proclamation that, “all slaves are free”.  Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation two and half years prior ...  Read More
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M-Note 6.13.2021
by Mike DePope on June 11th, 2021
As kids, most of us played some version of hide-and-seek. Some of you were good at hiding, always trying to find a creative place where no one would think of looking. At first, it can be kind of fun when the “seeker” is looking all over the place and cannot seem to find you. But, did you ever hide so well that eventually it was no longer fun. Maybe you were in an awkward position and you would sta...  Read More
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Commit // M-Note 6.4.2021
by Mike DePope on June 4th, 2021
“Jesus didn’t have members, so why do churches?” I remember showing up to pastor my first church (in my early twenties) and someone asked me this question. A debate was going on in the church about membership. Should a church have members? It makes the church sound like a country club, where there are insiders and outsiders, those with special privileges, and those without them. One of my first jo...  Read More
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An Open Invitation // M-Note 5.28.2021
by Mike DePope on May 28th, 2021
I love to ask new people, “How did you find The Gathering?” This past week at NEXT (our monthly event for people to learn more about the church), I asked just that. One young woman who moved to St. Louis just last week was there and told me her story. She lived in Alabama and struggled to ever connect with a church that felt like home. Her mother, who also lives in a very small town in southern Mi...  Read More
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A Little Grace Goes A Long Way // M-Note 5.21.21
by Amy Sanders on May 21st, 2021
This past week has felt strange for me. With new CDC guidelines, every place I go I am wondering what I should be doing. In most settings, I have been wearing my mask, partly out of habit, and partly out of a sense of hospitality to those around me. It isn’t always clear what to do in each setting I am in. All of us are going through this right now. Trying to figure out what we should do, what we ...  Read More
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COVID Protocol Update // M-Note 5.18.21
by Amy Sanders on May 18th, 2021
Last week, the CDC released updated guidelines for fully-vaccinated people which no longer require masks or social distancing (except in certain situations). This was prompted by evolving scientific evidence that fully-vaccinated people are at minimal risk of infection or transmission of the virus. In response to this news, St. Louis City and County also dropped local mask and social distancing re...  Read More
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Kids Ministry Expands // M-Note 5.14.2021
by Mike DePope on May 14th, 2021
In 4th grade, I had a Sunday School teacher named Ms. Novak. The church in which I grew up predated the Civil War, and the small upper room that we met in looked like it. Old, a bit spooky, and not much larger than a closet – but every Sunday, Ms. Novak would make it come alive. She taught us stories of scripture but not simply by reading off a page. When we studied Moses on Mt. Sinai, she provide...  Read More
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A Day for Mothers // M-Note 5.7.2021
by Mike DePope on May 7th, 2021
Sunday is Mother’s Day, so I thought I would give you a little history on this holiday (one that started, believe it or not, in a Methodist Church!).In 1908, Anna Jarvis coordinated the first Mother’s Day celebration at a local Methodist Church in West Virginia. She originally thought of the idea as a way to honor her own mother who had died a few years earlier. Soon she decided that honoring moth...  Read More
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Come Just as You Are // M-Note 4.30.2021
by Mike DePope on April 30th, 2021
Every month, The Gathering hosts NEXT. NEXT is an evening designed to help new people connect to our church and for existing people to take a new step in their faith. It also gives me a chance to share the story of The Gathering, how it started, and most importantly why. I know this story better than anyone, and yet hearing the origin story month after month still inspires me. I need to be reminde...  Read More
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Accountability, Not Justice // M-Note 4.23.2021
by Mike DePope on April 23rd, 2021
“This is accountability, not justice” In one form or another, this quote was spoken by many politicians, leaders, and activists following the guilty verdict on Tuesday in the Derek Chauvin trial. The Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison explained by adding, “I would not call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration”. This quote captures the tension in what hap...  Read More
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Something Worth Celebrating // M-Note 4.16.2021
by Mike DePope on April 16th, 2021
April 16, 2021I am a big believer in celebrating wins in our life. We are often moving so fast that we don’t take time to stop, look around, express gratitude, and celebrate what is good. There is a lot to celebrate at The Gathering right now. On Easter, we celebrated Jesus’ victory over death and the new life that it brings. Last week, The Gathering got to experience the beginning of a new season...  Read More
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New Beginnings // M-Note 4.10.2021
by Dave Merrill on April 10th, 2021
Easter always has me thinking about beginnings and endings. You’ve heard the now cliché, “when one door closes another one opens”. It may be overused, but it is the essence of Easter. That the death of something can lead to something powerfully new. Jesus put it this way: I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears...  Read More
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Good Friday // M-Note 4.2.2021
by Amy Sanders on April 2nd, 2021
God can wring life from even the darkest tomb. It is strange to call a day when Jesus died good. But, today is Good Friday. Why? Because through Jesus’ unjust suffering and death, God began a work of forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption for all of us. Easter stands as the ultimate example of God’s power. Jesus’ resurrection declares to the creation that while death is real, it isn’t final. ...  Read More
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Day 38
by Denee Bowers on April 1st, 2021
Thursday, April1Mark 14:12-72I distinctly remember the last carefree meal I had before the heaviness of COVID hit. After an incredible week in Mozambique, our team from The Gathering took a day to process our experiences on the Island of Mozambique. Though we had seen the headlines declaring a global pandemic, the gravity of the situation and its life-changing implications hadn’t yet settled in. T...  Read More
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Day 37
by Denee Bowers on March 31st, 2021
Wednesday, March 31Mark 14:3-11We are getting closer to the cross, friends.In 1999 I preached my first sermon. I did not know the full weight nor joy of being a woman in ministry.  Today I am honored to serve in the line of women who’ve gone before me. Even, this unnamed woman who anoints Jesus. She is unnamed like too many women in scripture, however she performs a meaningful act. Blessing Jesus ...  Read More
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Day 36
by Denee Bowers on March 30th, 2021
Tuesday, March 30Luke 21, 22:1-2Have you ever gotten to the end of a long conversation and realized that you could go on for hours more but you’ve unfortunately only got 5 more minutes before you have to walk into the dentist’s office? Maybe that’s a little too specific, but you catch my drift. This happens to me all the time. I get into a good chat or a good meeting, the flow is natural, then all...  Read More
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Day 35
by Denee Bowers on March 29th, 2021
Monday, March 29Mark 11:12-19Today we meet “hangry” Jesus. It’s right there in the passage -- Jesus was hungry and got super-frustrated with a fruitless fig tree that wasn’t even in season. (poor fig tree!) Jesus’ case of the hangrys is so bad that his next move is to flip over tables in the temple. We’ve all been there, right? Tired, frustrated, and hungry to such an extent that we just lose it.I...  Read More
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The Last Sunday in Lent
by Denee Bowers on March 29th, 2021
Sunday, March 28Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Each day this week we will read a passage of scripture that describes the events of Jesus' final days before his crucifixion. Today, Jesus enters Jerusalem to the waving of palm branches and shouts of blessing. It was surely a high moment for all who were present and the days that follow are an emotional roller coaster.This week's s...  Read More
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Day 34
by Denee Bowers on March 27th, 2021
Saturday, March 27Job 42Many moments throughout the course of the past year left me feeling a bit like Job. Everything was so good in 2019. What did we possibly do to deserve COVID-19? I don’t believe that a loving God intentionally led us to experience the wilderness of a global pandemic and subsequent economic decline, the cruel murder of George Floyd or the persistent wildfires in California.Jo...  Read More
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Approaching Holy Week // M-Note 3.26.2021
by Amy Sanders on March 26th, 2021
“Jesus’ death is not the end of the story; it is the beginning” This past week, my family left town for a few days to spend some time together. It was restorative for me and a gift to be outdoors and away from our phones for awhile. But the world didn’t stop. During that time our country was rocked by two separate mass shootings, one in Atlanta, GA and the other in Boulder, CO. Each shooting had i...  Read More
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Day 33
by Denee Bowers on March 26th, 2021
Friday, March 26Job 40-41 15 “Look at Behemoth,    which I made just as I made you;    it eats grass like an ox.16 Its strength is in its loins,    and its power in the muscles of its belly.17 It makes its tail stiff like a cedar;    the sinews of its thighs are knit together.18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,    its limbs like bars of iron.1Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook,    or press d...  Read More
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Day 32
by Denee Bowers on March 25th, 2021
Thursday, March 25Job 38-39In the winter of 1999, many things were happening in my life. I was preparing for college graduation and excited for what lay before me. It was a bright time, even with the cold and snow of Ohio winter upon us. Jenn, my bride-to-be, had told me that she would marry me, and that winter glowed even brighter. Two weeks later, I found a lump on her neck. In short time, we fo...  Read More
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Day 31
by Denee Bowers on March 24th, 2021
Wednesday, March 24Job 36-37A few years ago, my wife and I went to Zion National Park. We hiked a lot but my favorite hike was the Narrows. The hike consists of hiking in water through slot canyons sometimes over a thousand feet high while the river is twenty to thirty feet wide. It’s breathtaking. I understood rationally how over the course of a thousand years water had carved out these massive c...  Read More
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Day 30
by Denee Bowers on March 23rd, 2021
Tuesday, March 23Job 32-33As long as humans live on earth (and probably when they start living on Mars) younger generations will believe themselves smarter than older generations. If you’ve ever thought, heard, or said the phrase “OK, boomer” you know what I’m talking about. There is a specific sort of arrogance that comes with youth, and naturally, we are unable to recognize it in ourselves until...  Read More
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