Category Archives: Church News

How we journey through the season of Lent

Over the years our church has hosted pancake suppers on the day before Lent starts (Mardi Gras), hiding the Allelujahs, dispensing ashes on Ash Wednesday, Lenten Bible study series, ritual feet washing on Maundy Thursday, a seder, a Passover, Tenebrae, Good Friday prayer vigils, and Good Friday evening services. And for many decades we have hosted the start of the Interchurch Council series of Lenten evening services culminating in our presentation of the annual Choir Festival. Continue reading How we journey through the season of Lent

Sermon Feb 4, 2018

“The Power of Staying Focused”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Mark 1: 29-38
February 4, 2018

He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do. ”     Mark 1:38i

We all know how important it is to stay focused. Need proof? Try to text and drive. You’ll end up meeting people you never knew before because you will have crashed into them. Focus. You shouldn’t drive when your focus is lost. Continue reading Sermon Feb 4, 2018

Sermon Jan. 28, 2018

“The Arrogance of Jesus”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Mark 1: 21-28
January 28, 2018

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. ”         Mark 1:25i

There is power here. There is a promise. In these few verses from Mark is embedded the truth of God. But truth is not always tripped over. Sometimes truth requires digging to unearth its beauty and promise. Continue reading Sermon Jan. 28, 2018

Year B (2018) Lenten scripture readings

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February 14 – Ash Wednesday

  • Joel 2: 1-2, 12-17 (turn back with all your heart)
  • 2 Corinthians 5: 20b – 6:10 (accept God’s offered reconciliation)
  • Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21 (you devote energy to what you truly value)
  • Psalm 51: 1-17 (create in me a clean heart)

February 18 – 1st Sunday of Lent

  • Genesis 9: 8-17 (God’s unilateral covenant with Noah)
  • 1 Peter 3:18-22 (Christ seeks the salvation of all people)
  • Mark 1: 9-15 (a new age arrived in the person of Jesus)
  • Psalm 25: 1-10 (God guides and delivers)

February 25 – 2nd Sunday of Lent

  • Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16 (God calls Abraham)
  • Romans 4: 13-25 (Abraham trusts God’s promise)
  • Mark 8: 31-38 (you want to follow him? Then take up your cross)
  • Psalm 22: 23-31 (ALL will worship Him)

March 4 – 3rd Sunday of Lent

  • Exodus 20: 1-17 (the Mosaic/Moses Covenant)
  • 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25 (we are called to show God’s love)
  • John 2: 13-22 (Jesus drove out entrenched evil)
  • Psalm 19 (the Law of the Lord is perfect)

March 11 – 4th Sunday of Lent

  • Numbers 21: 4-9 (the role of judgment in redemption)
  • Ephesians 2: 1-10 (God is love … and we are NOT self-made)
  • John 3: 14-21 (we can’t conceal our deeds)
  • Psalm 107: 1-3, 17-22 (In God is the healing and the salvation)

March 18 – 5th Sunday of Lent

  • Jeremiah 31: 31-34 (God WILL forgive)
  • Hebrews 5: 5-10 (Jesus was human and DID feel as we do)
  • John 12: 20-33 (want to serve Jesus? Be where He is)
  • Psalm 51: 1-12 (prayer for cleansing and pardon)

March 25 – Palm Sunday

  • Liturgy of the Palms: Mark 11: 1-11 (Hosanna is called out)
  • Liturgy of the Passion: Isaiah 50: 4-9a (trust in God’s help)
  • Philippians 2: 5-11 (God voluntarily assumed obedience to death)
  • Mark 14:1 – 15:47 (the Passion story according to Mark)


Sermon Jan 21, 2018

“The Immediacy of the Moment”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Mark 1:14-20
January 21, 2018

And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”  Mark 1:18i

Immediately. There must have been something about Jesus. Simon and Andrew, James and John – to a man they left all they had ever known, the people they loved the most – immediately. Had they nothing to lose? Continue reading Sermon Jan 21, 2018

Saint Andrew’s hymn

Our commissioning hymn this Sunday is nick-named Saint Andrew’s hymn due to its second verse: “As of old, Saint Andrew heard it, by the Galilean lake, turned from home and toil and kindred, leaving all for His dear sake.” Here is its back-story.

Bradford Congregational Church is only a few miles south of Vermont’s Caledonia County, so the old hymns of the Scots-Irish are a big part of our tradition. Continue reading Saint Andrew’s hymn

Sermon Jan 14, 2018

“God Is Still Speaking”
Rev. Michael Caldwell
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
I Samuel 3.1-20, John 1.43-51
January 14, 2018

Friends, one of the greatest disciples of our Lord of all time was alive during many of our lifetimes – Martin Luther King, Jr. His faithfulness to our God and to Christ was unfailing. His attentiveness and responsiveness to the Spirit’s moving among us were creative, prophetic, and ground-breaking. His life and faith and ministry and martyrdom changed hearts, changed lives, and changed society in a way that was and is revolutionary. Continue reading Sermon Jan 14, 2018

We Shall Overcome

On Sunday, January 14, 2018 our commissioning hymn is the well-known “We Shall Overcome,” which is now most often associated with the Rev. Martin Luther King march on Washington. This song’s history is deeply entrenched in the very fields of injustice it spoke to. Voices from cotton fields, tobacco houses, labor unions, and then civil rights. Weaving it’s way through houses of worship as God’s guiding hand was praised and implored. Continue reading We Shall Overcome

Sermon Jan. 7, 2018

“God, Creation and the Twenty-First Century”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Genesis 1:1-5
January 7, 2018

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…”
— Genesis 1:1i

The purpose of this sermon is to help people believe. But here’s my problem. Twenty-first century men and women, for the most part, cannot reconcile the truth known through science with a creation story that is painfully out of step with our time. That’s my problem, but I don’t think I am alone. Continue reading Sermon Jan. 7, 2018