2014: The Year in Review

Sunday Worship at Black Forest Community Church
Black Forest, CO
December 28, 2014
© Rev. Diane Kay Martin

                                                                   2014: The Year in Review

 Scripture Reading: Romans 14:12-13

So then, each of us will be accountable to God. Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.

Every year since 1976, the scholars at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula release their annual “List of Words and Phrases Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness.”[1] At about the same time, ironically, the Oxford Online Dictionary releases its annual list of words being added to its rolls. And, oddly, many of the same words appear on both lists.

Every year, the lists read like a lexicon of popular culture—full of the most used, misused and overused words of the year. I have compiled for you the top ten words from both lists for 2014, and here they are:

1) Selfie is, at this point, the most nominated word this year. A selfie is an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera, to be posted on social media.

2) Number two is twerk, or twerking, a suggestive dance move about which we need to say no more …

3) Number three? Twittersphere, meaning the “realm” of the social media website Twitter. For example, “The Twittersphere was all abuzz after that performance…”

4) Number four is hashtag. We used to call it the pound symbol or the number sign, and then it came to be used as a way to categorize content in social media. But now it’s seeping from the Twittersphere and being usedas an exclamation in verbal conversation and advertising, as in: “Hashtag – annoying!”

5) Mister Mom comes in a close number five. Thirty years ago, when Michael Keaton starred in the movie by the same name, the situation was an anomaly. Maybe the term has resurged because it’s no longer so unusual? If so, that’s sad, don’t you think? Not that dads are stepping up, but that moms are stepping down…

6) Next is T-boning, one car crashing into another car at right angles. Why is this suddenly notable enough to be named after a cut of beef?

7) Number seven is a phrase: on steroids. As in, “Wow! That church service was really on steroids!” Hmmm… does that make me want to go back there?

9) And the next is a suffix—actually, a pair of suffixes: -ageddon and -pocalypse. As one blogger wrote, “Every passing storm or weather event is tagged as ice-ageddon or snow-pocalypse. … When running out of cashews becomes nut-ageddon, it’s time to re-evaluate your metaphors.”

10) And number ten, from the fascinating world of politics: intellectually or morally bankrupt. It’s generally used by members of each political party when describing members of the other.

And what would we do without new words like humblebrag, subtweet, binge-watch, acquihire, air punch, adorbs, hot mess, neckbeard, tech-savvy, pharmacovigilance, listicle and clickbait? Really, what would we do?

That’s the year in review in the world of speech. But many more serious and poignant things also happened this year—things that cause us to look back, sometimes joyfully, sometimes wistfully. Summer has quickly turned to winter; the year is at its end, and we wonder if we, as a human race, have done anything more right this year than we did last year. Or is it too late for such wondering? Will we ever really get it right?

<<Sarah and David McHugh now sing The Head and The Heart’s “Winter Song”.>>

Will we ever really get it right? I invite you to sit back now, and listen to a recap of the year we have just lived—international, national, local, and congregational events—some positive, some negative; some serious, some humorous. Remember, as you relive these events, how you felt about the people involved. Pray, as you listen, for each person we mention here, regardless of how you feel about the situation described. And resolve, as you live 2015, to see people as God sees them. Resolve, as the Apostle Paul urges us, to “no longer pass judgment on one another … to never put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.”

January 1 – On the same day major provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect, Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to allow for the sale of marijuana for recreational use. Washington followed suit in July, followed by Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., and now more than half of U.S. states provide some sort of protection for marijuana use.

January 5 – Rev. Diane Martin preached her call sermon, received a 90 percent vote, and accepted the call to serve Black Forest Community Church. We don’t think there was any connection between this event and the previously mentioned one! J

January 10 – BFCC member Bruce Colby passed away.

February 7 – The 2014 Olympic Winter Games began, marking the first time the Russian Federation hosted the games. The U.S. came in second in total medal count, with 28, compared to Russia’s 33.

February 10 – Rev. Martin began her ministry at BFCC, meeting with Rev. Jim Reid for five hours of orientation.

February 16 – Rev. Martin preached her first sermon as pastor of BFCC: “Crossing the Jordan Together.”

March 7 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished off the coast of Vietnam and has not been found, leaving 239 people missing.

March 16 – Bibles were presented during worship to our 6th-grade students.

March 18 – The first confirmed death from the Ebola virus occurred in Guinea, West Africa. By mid-December, confirmed cases worldwide topped 19,000; confirmed deaths exceeded 7,500.

March 30 – Theresa Palaia was hired as our new nursery worker.

April 5 – BFCC celebrated its relationship with La Foret Camp by participating in its Fun Day, complete with hay rides driven by Frank Bowman.

April 13 – BFCC celebrated Palm Sunday with a rousing kids’ parade through the Sanctuary and a beautiful cantata presented by our choir.

April 20 – Easter Sunday! Hallelujah! Christ is risen!

April 27 – Camp Sunday at church, with lots of camp songs and camp-style food! It was also the kick-off of History Month, with bios of our long-time members and sermons telling the stories of our Sanctuary artwork and stained-glass windows.

May 3 – The youth held a record-breaking garage sale, thanks to the efforts of Cindy Halsey and other dedicated youth parents.

May 11 – BFCC received nine new members: by new membership: John Cunningham and Barbara Lehman; and by membership transfer: Michael & Linda Minyard, Clarke & Cheryl Yearous, and Rev. James Reid and his sons Curtis and Phillip.

May 18 – BFCC honored its one 2014 graduate: Sarah McHugh.

May 25 – Rev. Sue Artt, our Acting Conference Minister, joined us in worship and delivered a beautiful benediction at the end of the service.

June 15 – It was a busy Sunday with Father’s Day, the one-year commemoration of the Black Forest fire, and the baptism of Olivia Holland.

June 27 – BFCC member Ted Parker passed away.

June 30 – The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge gained momentum when television personalities broadcast a live ice-bucket dump. The challenge went viral and, all told, raised at least $42 million to help fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

July 1 – Our office administrator Kimberly Carrillo began training Theresa Palaia as her replacement.

July 5 – Our youth mission trip group left for Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi.

August 2 – Pastor Diane officiated the wedding of Dan Keating (son of Sue Garrett) and Jen Fornoff.

August 3 – BFCC held a very inspiring worship service in Taylor Chapel at La Foret Camp. And the Murrays returned from Canada!

August 9 – The African American teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Protests lasted for several weeks.

August 11 – 63-year-old actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead in his California home. The death was later ruled a suicide, possibly related to depression caused by early stage Parkinson’s Disease.

August 16 – BFCC took a big part in the Black Forest Festival, hosting a hamster ball water ride and other activities in our parking lot, a booth at the Festival grounds, and the first-prize-winning float in the parade, thanks in part to Art Navalta’s homing pigeons!

August 23 – Pastor Diane officiated the wedding of Jim Taylor (friend of Tim Black) and LaDon Pendleton.

August 24 – BFCC received five new members: by new membership: Michael Ketch, Ben Tippie,Cliff & Sharon Grady; by membership transfer: Rev. Diane Martin; and two honorary members: Xion and Brock Tippie. We also baptized Sharon Grady!

September 2 – Cliff Grady had surgery. … And the Islamic militant group ISIS executed 31-year-old American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff in the Syrian Desert. Images went viral before being mercifully swept from the internet.

September 14 – We had Rally Sunday and kicked off our new Sunday School year!

September 19 – Our youth went on their second mission trip, to La Puente Home in Alamosa.

September 21 – The People’s Climate March, the largest climate protest in history, took place when 400,000 people came together in New York City to demand climate action.

September 22 – and a month later, on October 22 – two different men climbed the White House fence; both were apprehended.

September 28 – We baptized Aurora Lynne Miller (Becky Bain’s granddaughter) during worship!

October 1 – We started our Adult Study Group, Simplify!

October 4 – Dorcas Lahnert was hospitalized and Jo Wasson suffered a stroke.

October 5 – We dedicated the altar chairs and table that were commissioned with memorial funds from Rev. Nick Natelli and Audeen Murrah.

October 7 – Same-sex marriage became legal in Colorado when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court’s decision that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. To date, marriage equality has now been achieved in at least 35 states.

October 16 – A stand-up comedian made a comment about Bill Cosby that started a flood of allegations against Cosby—16 to date, and it’s not over yet.

October 19 – Five representatives of BFCC attended the Southeastern Association Annual Meeting at Broadmoor Community Church.

October 27 – Singer/songwriter Taylor Swift “broke up” with country music and released her first pop album, titled 1989. The album sold nearly 1.3 million copies in its first week, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 and making Swift the only act to have three albums sell more than one million copies in a week.

November 1 – Our youth had an overnight lock-in and prepared a spook-tacular feast for the congregation after worship the next day.

November 4 – The midterm election was the most expensive in U.S. history. The $3.7 billion spent produced the lowest turnout since 1942 and resulted in the largest Republican majority in office in nearly a century.

November 9 – Our congregation honored our veterans and learned a little bit more than we wanted to know about Nick Kneebone’s adventures in the military!

November 30 – We baptized Caeden McGrew during worship!

December 14 – Our choir presented its beautiful Christmas cantata.

December 19 – The youth went Christmas caroling.

December 21 – We dedicated ten new hymnals to Bruce Colby’s memory, and then the children and youth presented their program “A Piece of Christmas.”

December 24 – We celebrated Christmas Eve together, with readings, carols and candlelight.

December 28 – And here we are, together again, for the last time this year.

I think you’ll agree with me that 2014 passed unbelievably quickly. As we move into 2015 and consider making meaningful New Year’s resolutions, may I suggest one from our scripture reading in Romans: “Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.”

And we step boldly, full of love for God and for one another, into 2015.

Amen? Amen!


[1] http://www.lssu.edu/banished/current.php and http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/what-s-new