All posts by Erin Counihan

Touchy Topics Book Group 2021

Our Touchy Topics Book and Discussion Group have selected their readings for 2021. We meet on the first Wednesday of most months (not exception for Holy Week in April) at 7:30 p.m. Right now we are meeting on Zoom. Pick up a copy of one of these books from your library or local book store, and join us!

2021 Touchy Topics Reading List

DateTitle & Author
Wed, Jan. 6Go Tell It On The Mountain
by James Baldwin 
Wed, Feb. 3The Yellow House
by Sarah M. Broom 
Wed, March 3 Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Wed, April 21 The Broken Heart of America: St.Louis and the Violent History of the United States by Walter Johnson
Tues, May 11 (in conjunction with the Oak Hill Book Club)The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Wed, June 2 Caste:The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson
Wed, July 6 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Wed, Aug. 4 A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice and Freedom by Brittany K. Burnett
Wed, Sept. 1 Here For It: Or, How To Save Your Soul In America by R. Eric Thomas
Wed, Oct. 6 The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Wed, Nov. 3 What Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha

Lent at Oak Hill

Join us in observing the season of Lent at Oak Hill.

During our Sunday worship services, in this pandemic year when we cannot be in the sanctuary, when we cannot be in person together, we’ve decided not to take more away (as we usually do during Lent) and instead, we’re adding some extra blessings in. Each week, our resident artist, 13-year-old Lucie Crittenden will be creating an original painting on the scripture themes of the season. Join us for worship on Zoom, or keep checking back on this post to see Lucie’s creations.

Lucie’s Lent Week One creation, inspired by Rev. Sarah Are’s poem in the Lenten Devotional.

Our Intergenerational Sunday School Class is starting a series on prayer, using a curriculum from Illustrated Ministry. You can join us on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Please contact Pastor Erin to get the link and password for the course materials.

Our Wednesday Bible Study Class will be reading Amy-Jill Levine’s book, Entering the Passion of Jesus this Lent. Join us on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. on Zoom. Contact Pastor Erin for the Zoom link and to get a copy of the book.

We have printed copies available of this year’s Lenten devotional, Again & Again, from A Sanctified Art. If you would like a copy, please contact Pastor Erin.

We also have an activity calendar that is great for families who want to experience the season of Lent together at home. This resource, from Bless This Mess, is available for you to download and print at home. Just contact Pastor Erin for the link and password.

*** You may have noticed that contacting Pastor Erin is the way to get the inside scoop on all of this. It’s not because Pastor Erin super loves getting emails, it’s just because these materials are all copyrighted and we can’t just post them on the whole internet for free. Pastor Erin’s email address is

Ash Wednesday

We will be continuing our tradition of joining with our friends at Compton Heights Christian Church for Ash Wednesday worship. It will look a little different this year, though, as we will join together for worship on Zoom. We will have the imposition of ashes and at-home communion. Madison Peterson, the student pastor at Compton Heights Christian Church, has made the video below with some ways you can make ashes at home. Oh, and don’t forget to prepare your bread and drink for communion, too!

Then join us for worship on Wednesday 2/17 at 6:30 p.m. as we start the season of Lent with this special worship service. Please use Meeting ID 768 992 383.

A Virtual Cooking Party!

On Sunday Feb. 14th you are invited to join our friends at Isaiah 58 Ministries for an online cooking party!

Since the annual pancake supper, usually held in the Oak Hill Church basement, isn’t going to happen this year, we’re bringing the party to your house!

Join us on zoom as we cook alongside Chef Mickey Kitterman, making our own gumbo and praline bread pudding.

You provide the ingredients, we supply the recipe and the chef!

Hear live updates from the ministry, and maybe even play some games!

Can’t make it to the live event? Buy a ticket and you’ll get a recording of the lesson, which you can play at your own leisure!

Live zoom event: Sunday, February 14, 3-5pm CST

Registration: $10 per household, paid at
A zoom link will be emailed to you after registration.

All proceeds benefit Isaiah 58 Ministries.

Questions? Call 314-776-1410.

Advent Devotional – Dec. 24

Dec. 24                            Luke 1:67-80                                 Erin Counihan

When John the Baptist was born, and Zechariah got his voice back, and the people were afraid of everything that was happening right in front of them, Zechariah praised God. And he offered a vision. A vision of salvation and mercy. A vision of hope and help. A vision of faith and justice. A vision of One to come who would guide us on a journey to peace.

It sounds like the kind of vision I need right now.

There’s this moment every Christmas Eve, after all the shopping and the wrapping, after worship and Silent Night, after the bubbly punch and the party and the people and the snacks and the fun. After all of it, late at night (more accurately, early in the morning), in my jammies, in the quiet, in my home, in the dark, there is this precious Christmas Eve moment, where I allow myself, every year, to really believe. What if this hope is real? What if it is real right now? What if the promise is true? What if Christ is coming? Right here. Right now. What if all that love is being born right now, in the dark, in the quiet, in the fuzzy socks, in our hearts, in our lives, and in this world?

Zechariah says:
By the tender mercy of our God,
    the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.

May it be so. This Christmas Eve.
Right here. Right now.
Always. And again.

Advent Devotional – Dec. 23

Dec. 23                            Luke 1:57-66                                       Matt Hanify

Our main characters are Elizabeth, who is pregnant, and her husband Zechariah, who is mute. I don’t believe those items are related.

Anyway, Elizabeth gives birth to a son, and everyone is happy. So far, everything is according to plan. One day, also according to plan, “they” come to circumcise the baby, whereupon, after much crying I assume, the child will be named Zechariah, after his father.

However, throwing a bit of a wrinkle in things, Elizabeth says he is to be named John – “God is gracious.” Unfortunately, this is not according to plan, and there is apparently much hand-wringing. So, of course, because Elizabeth’s opinion seems irrelevant, everyone turns to Zechariah, mute though he may be, to find out what his opinion might be. He motions for a writing tablet, and on it, he writes, “His name is John.” I think we can all agree – an objectively smart move by Zechariah. I am not mute, much to everyone’s consternation to be sure, but if I were, I think I would work very hard to placate any and all in my immediate family. I think being mute would make things very difficult on those around me, but being mute and opinionated, obstinate and otherwise belligerent would be, I imagine, a quick way to getting abandoned on the side of the road.

Thankfully, Zechariah is nobody’s fool; he quickly agrees with Elizabeth that the boy’s name is John. I imagine the circumcision crew giving a side-eye to this turn of events, but then, in a full-blown miracle, Zechariah begins to speak. And he begins to praise God. And, possibly, later on, he suggests that they get takeout.

And so thank You, God. We give thanks for all of Your miracles, which can sometimes come from changing a child’s name late in the child-naming game or from agreeing to said name change. For, indeed, “God is gracious.”