Pastors Blog

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

Listening in is a conversation between Tom Vawter and Pastor Stacy as they take some time to explore the depths of some gorgeous poems. They offer this conversation as a way to enter in and listen in to where the beauty of the poem may be speaking and ministering to us in this profoundly challenging time we are in. May it be a blessing to you.

This week, we discuss “Just Beyond Yourself” a poem by David Whyte. 

 

God’s abundance in trees and leaves.  

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!


Poetry

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.

Praise Song for the Pandemic by Christine Valters Paintner


Photography 

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

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:

Tea Time continues through July 
Tuesday and Thursday at 3:00 p.m.
 
We’d love to see you!
Tea time is a drop in gathering for anyone in the congregation young or old to say hello and connect with each other.  Come share something you are experiencing or learning.  Come hear how others in the community are doing and what is on their heart and minds.  Grab a cup of tea and share in some conversation. If you’d like to drop in, please reach out to Pastor Stacy for the zoom link or check the Friday Eblast newsletter. 
 
Wednesday Morning Prayer
Every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m.
  
We begin with 20 minutes of meditative silence after which we speak aloud our prayers and light candles (if we have them) to help spread the light  and warm of God’s presence into the lives of those for whom we pray.  We close with two prayers of blessing.  The prayer of St. Francis and the Serenity Prayer.  Please consider joining us.  If you have any questions or would like to receive the zoom link, please reach out to  Pastor Stacy  The link is also included in the Friday Eblast newsletter. 

In this time when many of us are making changes to accommodate the challenges of working at home and schooling at home, Pastor Stacy invites us to consider created prayer spaces.  Prayer spaces are places in our homes where our body learns to quiet down and settle in so that we may be open to divine presence that is present to us.  Click through the link below to learn more about this spiritual practice. 

We kicked off our all church retreat with an opening plenary session on Saturday, October 3rd from 10:00-11:30.  Click on the video below to hear Jandi sing us in, Soo introduce our art installation and guiding scripture and Tom lead us in.  

 

 

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:

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.