Our new Open & Affirming sign is up! Thanks to Russ Priestley Designs.
On Sunday October 8, 2017, we welcomed Pastor Jeff Long-Middleton as our interim pastor, and then followed up with ice cream sundaes during fellowship time. The Board of Mission & Social Action provided items to make up Church World Service heath & school kits, so that the congregation could assemble their own. It was a fun and happy morning. You can see some photos below.
We are excited to welcome Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton, who will begin serving as our interim pastor on October 8, 2017. Pastor Jeff has recently retired to Grand Isle after a pastorate of 38 years. He was active in establishing a Habitat for Humanity chapter in New Jersey, was a member of the Board of Directors of Howard Mental Health, and Burlington (VT) Peace Fellowship, and assisted in establishing the Burlington Emergency Shelter.
Thanks to the the efforts of the Trustees, the Act ‘n Sprire fundraising committee, and the painting contractors, the church is getting a fresh new coat of paint. The north and east sides of the church have already been scraped and primed, and what an improvement!
Here’s another wonderful local event to benefit Help Kids India:
Wonderful news: “A Song for India,” a benefit concert for Help Kids India at Court Street Arts on Sunday, September 24 at 4 p.m. Two extraordinary vocalists, the legendary Betty Johnson and her
acclaimed daughter, Lydia Gray, will be joined by guitarist, Ed Eastridge, in a supremely engaging mix of classic pop and Latin classics.
And there’s more. Master fiddler, Patrick Ross! In honor of the beneficiary of this concert, Patrick has been experimenting with Indian music to bring yet another dimension to his endlessly creative performances.
Still more! Shop the Indian bazaar! We’ve joined up with a project that sells exceptionally fine Indian handicrafts made by women at risk—bags of all sorts, silk scarves, handmade journals, jewelry, irresistible items for the kids on your list… reasonable prices and HKI gets 50% return on sales.
The Court Street Arts Café will open an hour before show time at 3 p.m. with a selection of fine spirits, Indian soft drinks, and a sampling of Indian sweets: bread badam cake, carrot halwa, and gulab jamun. Tables are set for you and your friends.
This event is made possible by the extraordinary generosity of our friends at Court Street Arts and the dazzling Betty, Lydia, Ed, and Patrick.
Caleb (in the red shirt) came up with the Sunday school theme this past week: the story of Jesus’ baptism, that concludes with the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, landing on his head. Caleb created a coloring page to go with it and led the class in folding two different versions of origami birds.
“I Am with You Always, to the End of Time”
Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
The Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ,
July 2, 2017
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Transition Sunday
Psalm 121; John 14-17
Dr. Ira Byock directed palliative care at Dartmouth Hitchcock. His books tell us to be sure to say four things when we come to a final goodbye: please forgive me; I forgive you; thank you and I love you.
The end of every stage of life marks the transition to the next. To be present in such a moment is to have one foot in the past and one already stepping toward something new. It is important to make a careful ending so that we do not stumble as we make our first step toward the new life.
So it is important today that I ask your forgiveness, and that I assure you that I forgive you, and that we thank one another, and that we express our love for one another.
This is a sanctuary, meaning a safe place to feel and live our truth and know we will be accepted and affirmed as we are. You may be in one of the stages of grief, or you may feel excited for the next stage of the journey, or you may feel all mixed up. It is fine. We love you. Let your feelings be what they are. They have something important to tell you, and then they will pass and you will feel something else.
I could not possibly speak to where every person is today, but I will speak to a place where we all go sometimes, the place of needing comfort for loss and grief. The church and Jesus Christ can help us there.
Continue reading Sermon, July 2, 2017
Dear Church Family,
This is my last letter to you. That makes me sad. I have loved serving here—loved the people, the sanctuary and building, and loved the Spirit as it has moved through you in this amazing time of healing, renewal and change. I wish I could spend many more years with you, but that has never been a possibility since I signed the pledge in my initial covenant promising that I would not seek to be your settled pastor. I have stayed almost three years, which is a year longer than I thought I would, and I am so grateful for that extra time! I came to do the job of an interim, and part of that job is to leave before our hearts would have me leave.
Another part of the job is to send you off into the future along the path that we have discerned together, the path that leads to what God is calling you to be and do. I think of the scene in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit when Gandalf has led Bilbo and the Dwarves to the edge of the dark forest of Mirkwood. They are standing where the path enters that unknown future of opportunity and danger, the path they know they need to take to fulfill their purpose in life. They are distressed that Gandalf is not traveling it with them. They hear him call his final wisdom as he rides off: “Don’t leave the path!”
My most important message to you is, “Don’t leave the path!” Continue reading A Last Epistle
This Sunday will be the Rev. Tom Kinder’s last as our Interim Pastor. Worship will be followed by a potluck farewell lunch to which all are invited. We will read the King James Version of the 121st Psalm. We will sing a hymn with words written by Tom and a new tune by our organist, John Atwood, based on excerpts we will read from the farewell words of Jesus in Matthew and John, “I Am with You Forever More.” We will also sing “Be Thou My Vision,” “In the Bulb There is a Flower,” and a verse of “We Are One in the Spirit.” The choir will sing two verses of “Still, Still With Thee,” with words by Harriet Beecher Stowe and a tune from Felix Mendelssohn.
This coming Sunday, June 25th our Conference’s Associate Minister, the Rev. Pam Lucas, will be filling our pulpit. She will be preaching on our tendency to exclude while God’s heart yearns for inclusion. Her sermon, “Hagar’s Story” will turn our focus to the scripture reading of Genesis 21: 8-21 and to the hymn “I Love My God, Who Heard My Cry.” Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes, June 25, 2017