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
Epiphany is always a season of beginnings and increasing light. This year it will be especially hopeful and exciting with the launch of our Search Committee for a settled pastor. Sunday the 10th will be the official service of dedication, and this week we will be reflecting on the journey ahead.
This Sunday is a transition day. It is the Second Sunday of Christmas when we sing our last Christmas carols. It is also Epiphany Sunday when we start this beautiful, light-filled season. The word Epiphany comes from a Greek root meaning manifestation or appearance. This Sunday we will celebrate the wise men’s recognition of God’s manifestation in the Christ child. We will read Matthew 2:1-12 (the story of the wise men) and Isaiah 60:1-6 (some of the most uplifting lines of poetry in the Bible). The sermon will explore how we can follow the guidance of the Spirit in our daily lives and in our search for a new pastor, as the Magi followed the star. To read about and listen to the music for this Sunday, Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes, January 3, 2016 and Epiphany Season
CHRISTMAS SUNDAY On Sunday, December 20th, at 10:00 AM we will have our traditional Christmas Sunday celebration, with the story of the Annunciation and Birth read by Bridget Peters, Storme Odell and Tony Brainerd. The readings will be interspersed with the beloved Christmas carols, God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen and Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming and It Came Upon the Midnight Clear. Ted and Dotti Unkles will light the four Advent candles, Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, with the children’s help, reminding us that Christmas is not here yet, even though we already have begun the celebration.
Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes: Christmas Sunday, Christmas Eve, and the Sunday after Christmas
On December 13, the children performed their annual pageant, and afterwards, lit the three Advent candles of hope, peace, and joy.
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This Third Sunday of Advent will be a mix of Advent and Christmas as we rejoice in the Children’s Christmas Pageant and light the Advent Candle of Joy. Once again this year the Pageant will be based on the Gloria and Bill Gaither song, “Come and See What’s Happenin’ in the Barn!” sung by John Atwood, Randy and Storme Odell, Bridget Peters and Marcia Tomlinson, with Randy Odell on guitar. The same performers will also sing “Light of the Stable” by Elizabeth & Steven Rhymer as the Anthem. (You can hear an Emmylou Harris recording of it here. “Light of the Stable” is the second youtube recording on that page.)
The congregation will sing O Little Town of Bethlehem, Joy to the World and Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (set to the beautiful tune, Hyfrydol). We will end again this week by singing the benediction set to the music of the oldest Advent hymn, the plainchant Conditor Alme, that has been sung daily in monasteries during Advent since the 7th Century. Continue reading Upcoming Service Notes: December 13, 2015 and Christmas Services
At the beginning of Tom’s sermon on December 6, he mentioned Ahmad Majid and his family, which includes his pregnant wife, along with a small group of refugees from Syria. This past summer Anemona Hartocollis, a journalist with the NY Times, joined this small group of desperate people as they traveled from Syria to find sanctuary. To read a full account of their story please click this link: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/22/world/europe/syrian-refugees.html?_r=1
The Missions and Social Action Committee of our church has attended a couple of informational sessions to see how the people of the Upper Valley can be of help. A group of several churches and synagogues is forming and researching ways to assists families in need. On January 31, the Missions and Social Action Committee will be providing the sermon for the morning centered on the topic of our response to this refugee crisis. Please feel free to talk to Holly Young, Lucia Button, or Tina Towle, or you can also contact Ginny Moore at 802-222-9675 or via e-mail (VirginiaMJMoore@gmail.com) if you would like more information or would like to help out.
On November 29, the first Sunday in Advent, the children brought in evergreen branches to place around the Advent candles. They also sang “Light One Candle” with the choir, then helped with an Advent reading, and finally, lit the first Advent candle of hope.
Click the arrows under the photo to scroll through the album.