Our Beautiful Church Building

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Healthy Communication Workshops, Spring 2016

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Upcoming Service Notes, April 3, 2016

The Easter celebration continues this Sunday as we read the wonderful story of Easter night and the Sunday after Easter in the Gospel of John (20:19-31).  It includes Jesus coming through the locked door into the room where the frightened disciples were hiding and breathing the Spirit into them, giving them peace and sending them back out into the world to do his works.  The passage also includes the story of Doubting Thomas.  We will read responsively from Galatians 5 and 6 about Christ setting us free to love and serve as he did.  The sermon will continue the Palm/Passion and Easter series on the theme of Holding On and Letting Go.

We will sing more of the great hymns of the season: Thine Is the Glory, The Day of Resurrection, Joy Dawned Again on Easter Day, and also the joyous Jamaican tune and communion hymn, Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ.

The Anthem will be the beautiful Easter poem, Now the Green Blade Rises, set to a French Christmas carol tune.  Organist John Atwood will play “Evening Prayer”  by  E. Humperdinck, “To a Wild Rose”   by Eduard MacDowell and Fugue in A minor from Voluntary (3)8 by J. Stanley.

Sermon, March 27, 2016

Holding On and Letting Go, Part II
Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
The Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ,
Bradford, Vermont
March 27, 2016 Easter
Psalm 118; John 20:1-18

Mary Magdalene could not sleep.
She left the house when it was still dark.
She walked the hard, deserted Jerusalem streets
and went out the city gate to the garden
of tombs down in the valley.
She went to be with the one
who had changed her life, her beloved teacher,
even though she knew she could not really
be with him. He was dead, and a heavy stone
kept even his cold body from her.
She went thinking she could not feel
emptier than she did,
only to find the stone rolled away, the tomb
empty, and the one thing she had left
to hold onto taken from her.
She ran back to the house
half-crazed with fear and grief
and told the others,
and then returned to the garden.
Where else could Mary go?
He was everything to her.
It felt as if she had reached
the end of all roads, as if
there were no road she could take
that could possibly lead out of that place.
It felt like the end of her life.
All that remained was the grieving love
pouring out of the empty tomb of her heart.

Mary Magdalene stood weeping
by the rolled away stone
as the day dawned,
and Christ came to her there. Continue reading Sermon, March 27, 2016

Good Friday, Holy Saturday Music

Here are two recordings of the Alto Aria Erbarme dich from J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, followed by a recording of the entire Passion, which in turn is followed by a recording of Bach’s St. John Passion.  No words of description are needed.  Just start listening, and you will be swept up in the Passion.  The Aria in the first two recordings takes place as the cock has just crowed and Peter realizes that he has denied Jesus three times, as Jesus foretold.

 

 

 

 

 

Sermon, March 20, 2016

Holding On and Letting Go, Part I
Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
The Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ,
Bradford, Vermont
March 20, 2016 Sixth Sunday in Lent, Palm/Passion Sunday
Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 19:29-42, 21:37 – 23:56

The story we heard today
forced the people in it to choose
what to hold onto and what to let go.
It asks us to do the same.
*
The men said, “The Lord needs it,”
so we let them untie the colt
and lead it away.
The colt was unbroken,
not much invested in it,
not much risk to letting it go.
And then there was the power
of their self-assurance,
the hold they had on things,
the faith, you could say, that swayed us.
We knew somehow it would all be all right.
We held on to that feeling
and let go.
*
I will never forget the day
I dropped my basket of bread
right there in the street.
I took a palm frond someone handed me
and waved it like a sword over my head,
shouting “Hosanna” at the top of my lungs.
Imagine a married woman of my age
doing such things! Continue reading Sermon, March 20, 2016

Sermon, March 13, 2016

“I Am About To Do a New Thing: Do You Not Perceive It?”  
Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
The Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ,
Bradford, Vermont
March 13, 2016   Fifth Sunday in Lent
Psalm 126; Isaiah 43:18-21; Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12:1-8

“I am about to do a new thing,” God says through Isaiah, and in the Book of Revelation God says through John of Patmos, “Behold, I make all things new.” God says to forget the former things, leave behind what was of old, and trust and praise.

God is about to do a new thing. That is what God does. God explodes a new universe into being, God takes the particles of the big bang and spins them into spheres and galaxies, God takes old stars that have burned out and makes new stars, God takes a 500 million year old lifeless earth and breathes life into it, God takes old things that have died and been composting all winter and raises spring gardens from them, God takes people who have grown old in heart and brings new love into their lives, God takes a community that has grown weary and discouraged from struggle or conflict, like the children of Israel captive in Babylon, and restores their fortunes so that their mouth is full of laughter and their tongue with shouts of joy.

God is always about to do a new thing, we can count on that, it happens every day, every moment. “Now it springs forth,” God says, “do you not perceive it?”

That is the question. “Do you not perceive it?” That is what makes all the difference. Continue reading Sermon, March 13, 2016

Maundy Thursday Service, March 24, 2016, 7:00 PM

The Maundy Thursday service is one of the most beautiful and moving of the entire year, right up there with Christmas Eve.

It is a joint service again this year in our sanctuary with our Grace United Methodist neighbors participating.

During the service we reflect on the last hours of Christ’s life with all its drama, emotion and meaning, and we partake in the Last Supper. We sing two beloved spirituals, “Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley” and “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” The highpoint of the service is the Tenebrae, with nine readers at a table with thirteen candles representing Jesus and the twelve disciples. We hear the story read in stages as the candles are snuffed out until Jesus is alone in the darkness. The service ends with the one Christ candle relit as we pray and then depart in silence. It is a powerful way to enter the darkness and grief of Good Friday and prepare for the joy and brilliant light of Easter.