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Sermon, September 24, 2017

“How the Kingdom Comes – Part I”
Rev. Michael Caldwell
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Isaiah 49:1-6
Matthew 5:13-16
September 24, 2017

I felt so inspired last time I was here with you on Sept 3 – by our focus together – children and congregation – on the Lord’s Prayer – and how the kingdom comes – that I’m continuing it!

This kingdom of God for which Jesus taught us to pray… how does it come? How does it really come? In practical ways?

Praying the prayer implies acting in specific ways Continue reading Sermon, September 24, 2017

Sermon, September 17, 2017

“Help for the Helper”
Rev. David Pruitt
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Mark 14: 32-42
September 17, 2017

We like to consider Jesus as perfectly resourceful, without our human vulnerabilities, above the strife of life. But within this mornings scripture we read that distress and anguish came over him so that he confided to his disciples, “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch.” He had brought Peter, James and John with him into the Garden of Gethsemane. He did not go alone, he needed them to watch and pray with him in his hour of extreme need. He did not pretend that God’s presence alone was enough. Christ’s genuine humanity left him vulnerable to grief and sorrow and he felt the need for human companionship and human understanding. Continue reading Sermon, September 17, 2017

Upcoming Service Notes, Sept. 24, 2017

Both this coming Sunday the 24th and World Communion Sunday on Oct. 1st, Rev. Michael Caldwell will be in our pulpit.

Building on inspiration from his last time among us on Sept 3rd and using the Lord’s Prayer as a base,  Rev. Michael will focus on “How the Kingdom Comes” in two sermons Sept 24 and World Communion Sunday Oct 1. We can be very practical about how to live out Jesus’ prayer for God’s kingdom to come on earth as in heaven.

At Rev.  Michael’s request the opening hymn will be O Master Let Me Walk With Thee which in this arrangement of piano/organ duet carries in it the musical sense of walking together in harmony. Set to the tune of Maryton by H. Percy smith, the words of Congregational minister  Washington Gladden were not without controversy when he published his poem “Walking With God” and the stanza dealing with social justice was omitted in hymnals.

Here’s why: Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes, Sept. 24, 2017

Upcoming Service Notes, Sept. 17, 2017

This coming Sunday we welcome back into our pulpit Rev. David Pruitt. David says:  “This weeks text is Mark 14:32-42.  We will focus on the genuine humanity of Christ as revealed to us through his struggles in the garden of Gethsemane.  His need for human support during times of great testing and stress can encourage us to humbly find saving comfort for ourselves during our own times of trial.  Further inspiration will be drawn from the great vulnerability of President Abraham Lincoln during his ordeals.  We will also find “heart help” from the way a young woman was ministered to during her stay in England from an unlikely source.”

John Atwood’s organ prelude this week will be J. S. Bach’s intricate  Prelude and Fugue in E minor, with the left hand and right hand rhythmically speaking to each other, and the pedals adding their weight to the conversation at intervals. Fascinating! Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes, Sept. 17, 2017

Sermon, September 10, 2017

“Rules for the Church to Live By”
Rev. Jeff Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Matthew 18:18
September 10, 2017

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Pretty heavy stuff – loosed on earth, loosed in heaven. Do we even believe it? Let’s be honest. Most of the time the church seems a marginalized institution. There was a time when what the religious order proclaimed mattered. Now it is science that claims truth as its purview. And do you know of any church without its problems? I don’t. I have been at this for nearly forty years and served four churches. None of them was without sin. Do you know why?
Because the people were not without sin and although I am loath to admit it, neither was I!

I mention this because it is the first lesson I take from this passage in Matthew 18. Jesus talks about troubles among the faithful because there was trouble among the faithful. You don’t outline how to handle conflict if you never have any. Jesus knew of the need to speak of this  from the very beginning of His ministry. Remember how often the disciples seemed clueless? Continue reading Sermon, September 10, 2017

Upcoming Service Notes, Sept. 10, 2017

This Sunday we welcome the Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton to our pulpit. From the Lectionary Gospel reading he will be leading us to think about what Jesus said and how we can apply His words as rules for a church to live by, always keeping in mind His assurance that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

The choir returns from its summer break to sing “Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether”  which is listed as this week’s theme hymn in the Lectionary list found in the September Epistle. Composed by Harold Friedell, this is a melodic and lovely reminder that “when humbly gathered in Thy name, two or three are met together, Thou art in the midst of them …”

The hymns we will all sing are familiar and meaningful to this message: The Church’s One Foundation, Love Divine All Loves Excelling (sung to the tune Hyfrydol), and Rise Up Oh (Men) of God (substituting Church for the word Men).

John Atwood’s pieces on the organ will be Pachelbel’s Toccata and Fugue in B flat Major and his Toccata in E minor as well as Muzète by Dandrieu.

 We hope you can join us!

Invitation for Singers

Please share with singer friends.

Sunday, September 17, 2017 3:00 p.m.

First Congregational Church
10 South Park Street in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
Hal Sheeler, Conductor Henry Danaher, Pianist

Soloists: Chiho Kaneko, Betsy Alexander, Brian Clancy, Ken Munsey


All welcome to come to sing or to listen. Scores will be available.
Free. Donation requested for pianist. If you think you will sing, please let Hal Sheeler know your voice part.

You may, of course, just show up at the door.

Upper Valley Open Sings – Hal Sheeler, Music Director, Henry Danaher, Pianist. Offering Upper Valley New Hampshire and Vermont singers the opportunity to gather together and sing/read through major…

Sermon, September 3, 2017

“The Lord’s Prayer for God’s Revolution”
Rev. Dr. Michael Caldwell
Bradford Congregational Church

Isaiah 63:7-9,16
Matthew 6:7-15
September 3, 2017

The Lord be with you…

Friends, when I thought about what to share with you in brief Communion sermon, it occurred to me to build on my reflections on the Lord’s Prayer with your children.

Here’s the nugget: The Lord’s Prayer is more than we think it is. I’m not exaggerating to say that it is Jesus’ prayer for God’s revolution. Continue reading Sermon, September 3, 2017