The murder of George Floyd, as yet another life lost in far too long of a line of murders of our Black siblings, is shattering. It is deplorable how, in our society, African American people are at risk and are vulnerable simply because of the color of their skin. The deep sin of racism in our land continues to decimate and terrorize. The people in their anger and in their pain are crying out and need to be heard. All of us in this nation are touched by and ensnared in the tendrils of racism that run deep and wide. We must do all we can to unmask and oppose this racism that divides the people of God from one another. We all have work to do and it is up to each of us how best to engage that work. The Advocates of Racial Justice are committed to the long journey of seeking, understanding, and proclaiming the truth about our history-specifically, about slavery and white supremacy-so that we can be properly reconciled to one another and prepare the way for true peace, which is the presence of justice. This is the work to which we are called and the work that must be done. If you want to join us in this journey, let us know. The time is now.
Pastor Stacy and the Advocates of Racial Justice
A centering meditation that I find helpful to ground me when I am lost in the swirl. Hope it will be a blessing to you! Also as an FYI – I will be posting videos every few days. Please let me know if you have a question or something you are wondering about. I’d be happy to explore it together in these videos. Grace and Peace — Pastor Stacy
April 12th – 6:07 a.m.
This year, since we are not able to gather physically, we invite you to rise with the sun and participate individually in the shared liturgy below.
Following please find recordings of poetry and music from members of the UCW community, as well as photographs, that can accompany you as you welcome Easter morning.
Please note: we have also created a public Google file of all the recordings below, in case it is easier to access and download them onto your phone or other device as you wander somewhere beautiful to watch the sunrise. You can link to that file by CLICKING HERE. You can also link to a public Google Doc with all links and words, by CLICKING HERE.
Christ the Lord is Risen Today
We invite you to sing along or just listen to a recording of this beloved Easter hymn recorded by Union Church members Lisa Crockett, and James and Laura Cooke. The photograph here is of sunrise over Hainan Island, China, taken by Frank Laski.
Please CLICK HERE for the hymn
1 “Christ the Lord is risen today!” Alleluia!
All creation, join to say: Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high; Alleluia!
Sing, O heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
2 Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won; Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise; Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise. Alleluia!
3 Lives again our glorious King; Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now your sting? Alleluia!
Jesus died, our souls to save; Alleluia!
Where your victory, O grave? Alleluia!
In times like these, we turn to the poets for words, images, truth and beauty. Union Church member Tom Vawter has shared the gift of poetry with us at many church retreats, worship services and gatherings, and offers the following poems for our Easter morning (photo here taken by Tom at Good Harbor Beach). For the words of these poems CLICK HERE. For recordings of Tom reading these poems, click on the titles below:
Praise & Prayer
As you watch the sun rise over the horizon and a new day come, listen to the birds share their praise! If you are in your home, listen for the sounds of life and the new day (the photo here was taken in Newton by Frank Laski). Perhaps close your time with this prayer of praise, shared by Union Church member Brita Gill-Austern.
Link to a Google Photo Album (and see photos below), of favorite photos Frank Laski, Liz Caronna, and Tom Vawter have taken and shared of the sunrise. You are invited to add photos to this album that you have taken of sunrises (or take this Easter Sunrise!), or of signs of New Life, Hope or Love you are seeing during this Eastertide. LINK TO THE PHOTO ALBUM HERE: https://photos.app.goo.gl/LkmwMTNGYxMgZ7fV7
Companions on the Planet:
A Celebration of Trees and Tree Planting
Creator of mountain grandeur and meteor showers,
You are ever at work in the infinite space of the universe,
and in the smallness of each ant, beetle, butterfly and bee.
We marvel at your majesty
yet are awestruck at the intricate simplicity of life:
Dew glistening on spider’s web,
bird song jubilant,
each new day a miracle dawning.
Today we give You thanks for trees:
We rest in their shade;
breathe in their oxygen;
feast on their fruit.
Trees anchor the ground beneath our feet
and purify the air around us:
their cycles are a silent, faithful witness
to your goodness and providence.
We give You thanks for all life on earth nourished by trees!
Let your presence be known among us today
as we plant trees of every variety.
Bless them with growth, and bless us with wisdom
to nurture growth throughout the world
of these life-sustaining companions on the planet.
We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our True Vine.
The Arbor Day movement was started in Nebraska in 1872. This prayer is written by Rodger Goode, pastor of a Nebraska City United Church of Christ Congregation.
Companions on the Planet, A Celebration of Trees and Tree Planting, was originally written as a prayer for Arbor Day during the UCC’s Fifty Great Days of Mission 4/1 Earth in 2013. It was written by the Rev. Rodger Goode, pastor of Bethel United Church of Christ in Nebraska City, NE.
Copyright 2013 Local Church Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.
Alert for new buds, watching
Through the fog, darkness,
Shifts in the air. Skin untouched
By caress of loved family,
Remembered embrace, searching
For smiles on the screens
Memory blossoms, comforts.
Testing the fabric of our hopes
Each fiber coming alive through
Prayer, when a butterfly opens
Over a blossom
Our beloved has died
Light leaves the sky
Suffering ends in death
But we keep alive our hope
Easter will arise in our hearts
Innocence and faith survive
April 12 – 10:00 a.m.
Words of Instruction
- We will gather on zoom. To enter into worship go HERE.
- This Worship Zoom will open at 9:45 a.m. We encourage you to come a bit before 10:00 a.m. to make sure you can log in without any problems.
- Link: https://zoom.us/j/347048640?pwd=WUlpamlnTU0reWNrSDFwenZOWXNLdz09
- Meeting ID: 347-048-640#
- Password: 818552
- Call in Number: +1 646 558 8656.
Words of Welcome
Words of Welcome -Welcome to our Easter Sunday Worship. We will celebrate all that Love has done and remember together that Love, even now, is on the move in the world bringing about redemption and new life. There will be beautiful music, children’s art, the release of the Alleluias and a sermon entitle “Your connection is unstable.” After the service we will have an online Easter egg hunt. You are invited to hide an egg (a real one, a picture of one, a sticker etc.) somewhere where it can be seen in your screen on Sunday.
A google doc of the bulletin is available here.
If joining in worship by Zoom was not an option for you, we invite you to watch and listen to the recording of our service:
As we shared in our notice to the congregation, we’ve made the difficult but faithful decision not to gather in person for the next few weeks, and instead to worship and gather together online and in other ways. While we may not see one another in person for a while, we are powerfully connected by the Spirit, and do not need to feel alone. We are walking this path together, arm-in-arm with one another and always with God.
If there is any sunny side to this street (like the old song says), it may be that we get to explore new ways of being community; staying connected and praying for one another; helping each other and our community; and deepening the spiritual practices in our families and homes. For us to be community in this new way, and make sure none of our members becomes isolated or disconnected, we’ll need everyone’s help trying out these new ways of being church!
We’ll be doing this in many ways, with our live-stream of worship, new web-pages and blog, phone calls, check-ins and more. For those of you who are on Facebook, we have also created a new group, where we can share resources, updates, prayers, and other ways to support one another. If you are a Facebook user, we hope you’ll join by clicking this link:
- UCW Connecting Across Generations Facebook Group
- WellSpring Women’s Group meets via Zoom, tomorrow, Wednesday the 18th at 6:30 p.m. Connection information HERE; Meeting ID: 104 478 188; Password: 000683
Pastoral Care and Connection in these challenging times
- Pastors Amy and Stacy and ministerial intern Jade are here for us and are ready to support us in whatever way they can. Please do not hesitate to reach out. This week Stacy also started a daily 3pm Tea Time with Stacy, and Amy started a weekly Kids Connect & Storytime on Thursdays at 11am.
- Phone Tree and Deacons – In addition, our deacons are ever mindful of the needs of our congregation and are ready to respond as needed. This week we have started a phone tree, pairing members of our congregation together for regular check-ins and to provide assistance with groceries and any other needs that arise.
- Pen-Pals and Buddies – Our kids are eager to connect across generations too! Many have stepped up this week to offer to be pen-pal buddies with others in the congregation, sending art and connecting in other ways. Whether you are 2yrs old or 92yrs old, please let Pastor Amy know if you are willing to be a buddy!
- Social Media – If you are a Facebook user, please continue to check-in on Facebook and join our new Facebook group – UCW Connecting Across Generations Facebook Group
- UCW Small-Group Ministries and Meetings on Zoom – Our small groups continue to gather, including our Bible studies, book group, Well-Spring women’s group and so many more. For a full listing of all the groups gathering each week, and their Zoom links and information, please VISIT THIS PAGE (CLICK HERE).
- Tea Time with Stacy – Stacy invites anyone who would like to drop by via Zoom at 3:00. Bring a poem you are enjoying or a reflection you have and let’s spend a bit of time together. Go Here or visit the online meeting information tab on our homepage of the website.