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

Annual Meeting of the Congregation of 
The Union Church in Waban, June 7th after worship 
 
The agenda for this congregational meeting will include:
 
1. Members of the congregation will vote on a provisional fiscal 2021 budget; 
2. Unveiling of our new church logo-presentation by the communications team;
3. Opportunity to ask questions about the various ministry areas of the church based on submitted             annual reports (these reports will be available in next Friday’s eblast); and 
4. Presentation of nominating committee slate and election.
 
In this time of COVID-19 as we are not gathering in person, this meeting will take place via Zoom.  We will ask that all members “sign-in” in the chat room.  Voting will take place by polling this roster of members.  
 
If you have any questions please be in touch with Co-Moderators Diane Tillotson and Alison McCarty.  
Dear Beloved Church, 
 
For the last many weeks we have been in the season of Eastertide.  Like those first disciples, we have witnessed the ways the Risen Christ is moving among us still.  We have acknowledged the sadness, despair and grief that has marked this time of COVID-19 while also looking for the presence and power of Love that assures us that we will not be left alone.  We have heard that it is in God that we live and move and have our being and there is nothing that can ever separate us from that love.  
 
We reach the end of Eastertide this Sunday, and next Sunday will celebrate Pentecost. Pentecost celebrates the birth of the early church.  At Pentecost we remember the time when people across all sorts of boundaries that divided them nonetheless felt the power of the Spirit on the move creating something new in and through them. 
 
It is with the same assurance and trusting in the same Spirit that we turn to the months ahead.  
 
First I want to assure you that the well-being and spiritual sustenance of this beloved church is our utmost priority. 
 
Second, I am pleased to let you know that our Sunday morning services will not come to an end at the end of our program year.  Instead, we will be offering Sunday morning services at 10:00 throughout the Summer.  These services will continue to be online through our Zoom platform.  As is our custom, our July and August services will offer opportunities for enhanced lay participation.  If you may be interested in preaching, offering some music or engaging in other ways with the service, please be in touch with Pastor Stacy, if you would.  
 
Finally, we are forming a UCW – Phase Forward Team that will be charged with articulating a plan for what will be needed to ensure safe and responsible use of the building and also a timeline for doing so.   
 
If you have any concerns or questions, please be in touch with Moderators Diane Tillotson and Alison McCarty or with me.  
 
With much grace, peace and hope, 

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!


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

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:

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.