This just in from the Bradford Food Shelf: right now they’re in great need of pasta, canned fruit, and canned stew. Anything you can donate will be GREATLY appreciated.
Lent is a season of change. This second Sunday the scriptures talk about the need for change and the power of God to transform us and transform the world. (Psalm 27, Philippians 3:17-4:1 and Luke 13:31-35) Psalm 27 puts it beautifully: “I believe that I shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living.” Lent is a wilderness journey, and that journey can be a struggle. It can also be full of hope. The Promised Land and Easter dawn wait at the end.
Last Sunday Mary Sanborn reminded us that it was President Lincoln’s birthday last week. She asked why we never hear about him in church. She said we hear about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which she approves, but we should hear about Abe Lincoln, too. This Sunday we will feature them both! Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes, February 21, 2016
We have a choice of how we view Lent. We can take the view that it is all about dreaded deprivation and punishing self-discipline, a long mud season that is all about the mud, or we can see it as a time of spiritual deepening and exploration and growth, a mud season that is all about the seeds and bulbs beneath the ground that are starting to send up their shoots toward the coming spring.
I use the word lugubrious half-jokingly about Lent–only half joking because February and mud-season can be a little dismal, and sometimes seriously dismal, and yet I love the moments when we first notice how strong the sun is feeling on our face, or how happy the streams are sounding, or we hear the first redwing blackbirds sing.
The somber Lenten music and scriptures that confront us with our shadowy false selves lead us to discover the light that shines in the darkness that the darkness does not overcome. That is the joy of Lent. A butterfly needs to struggle out of the cocoon in order to strengthen its wings to fly. We need to pass through the wilderness of spiritual struggle to prepare ourselves for the flight from the tomb at Easter dawn.
This First Sunday in Lent we will read the beautiful promise of Psalm 91 of the protection, salvation and blessings that will come to those who love and make God their refuge. We will see a model of this in the story of the children of Israel reaching the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 26:1-9) and Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-14). We will reflect on our own lives and our church and the potential for transformation our own wildernesses offer us. We will sing Be Still My Soul and the great Lenten hymn, Forty Days and Forty Nights. Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes, February 14, 2016, First Sunday in Lent
Please click here to visit the new page on this website for information about the first three workshops in this series!
We have begun the process of searching for a new settled pastor. The search committee will soon be reaching out to the congregation for input on this important and exciting process! Your search committee is (L-R): Marcia Tomlinson, Bridget Peters, Sue Eastman, Charlotte Welch, Kathy Munson, and Rob Taylor.
Transfiguration Sunday is one of the great bursts of light of the church year. It is always full of wonder and joy. We read the story of the miraculous vision that the disciples had on the mountaintop where they saw Jesus as a being of light and we sing some of our favorite hymns. We will have all that usual delight this Sunday–we will sing Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise and In the Bulb There Is a Flower, and Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee, and we will read one of the most beautiful Psalms, #139, that affirms that even the darkness is as light with God, and we will hear the Transfiguration Story in Luke (9:28-43a).
What makes this year even more joyous is the transfiguration that is taking place in our church. Take a few minutes next time you are in the vestry to look closely at the changes taking place. Start in the corner just to the right inside the door, and see the “Growing in Love!” bulletin boards with photographs of our church family and the beloved words of our Covenant, Identity and Aspiration Statement and Communication Guidelines. Then step in a little farther and see the new Board of Mission and Social Action bulletin boards about helping Syrian refugees (and sign up to help!). Then walk across to the children’s corner to see the changes that have transfigured it and transformed our children’s experience of it. Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes, February 7, 2016, Transfiguration!
What do we experience within our church that makes it different from everywhere else? What do we do differently as members of the church that shows we are followers of Christ? If the church is the Body of Christ, then what would people know about Christ if all they had to go on was observing our congregation?
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did many earth-shaking things in his short life. One of them was to challenge the church to live up to its calling. We honor his life by asking questions like those above and by considering how he and the Christians he led answered them in word and deed.
This Sunday we will hear some of King’s stirring words (“We as Christians have a mandate to be nonconformists”), and also the words of the prophet Isaiah (“I will give you as a light to the nations”) and Jesus in the book of Luke (“The Spirit of God is upon me”). We will sing Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes, January 17, 2016, Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday
This First Sunday after Epiphany and Baptism of Christ Sunday will also include a service of Dedication of the Pastoral Search Committee. Associate Conference Minister Pam Lucas will be with us and the Search Committee will meet for the first time after worship.
The Epiphany Season is full of light and hope and excitement. Epiphany directs us to look for the manifestation of God present in Jesus Christ, in our lives and in the world. The launching of this Search Committee comes after a long journey like the Magi following the star to Bethlehem. A year ago the congregation was nowhere near ready to do this. We still have a long journey ahead, but we have much to celebrate in reaching this moment of light, hope and excitement that sometimes felt as if it might never arrive.
We will celebrate with a special litany written by Rev. Pam Lucas and read by five members of the church, and with one of the most affirming and uplifting messages from God through the prophet Isaiah, and with the story of the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. It was the beginning of his ministry, just as this is the beginning of the Search Committee’s. For Jesus it began with gifts from God of love and the Spirit, and we will pray and reflect and do all we can to give the Search Committee those same gifts.
Music is one of the most powerful ways to convey the feeling of love or the power of the Spirit’s presence, and the hymns and choral and organ pieces are designed to do that. Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes, January 10, 2016, Search Committee Dedication