Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message 11/25/16

Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message
“Be up and awake to what God is doing.”
Romans 13:12, The Message
I write these words on the day after Thanksgiving, still in the warm glow of a leisurely dinner with friends and family (and still full of pumpkin cheesecake). It was a much-needed respite in everyone’s busy lives! But I know things will grow busy again as we turn toward Christmas. Over the next four weeks, our lives will be even more full than usual: holiday decorating, holiday baking, holiday parties, holiday concerts, holiday shopping, holiday travel … In the press of it all, it’s easy to forget that the root of “holiday” is “Holy Day.”
“Make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God,” Paul writes in Romans 11. (Ouch! Has Paul been looking at my calendar?) “Be up and awake to what God is doing.”
I need that reminder the wake up to what God is about, right here and now, right in the middle of all my plans and activities. I think we all need that reminder, especially in this season. And so on Sunday I’ll be talking about Advent, the four weeks of preparation for Jesus’s birth that marks the beginning on the Christian year. In particular, I want to explore the ways that Advent can open us up and allow us down, right metre and now, right in the middle of all our plans and activities.
It’s easy, even tempting, to put our heads down and plow fiercely through all that is before us in the next weeks.  Instead, Advent makes it possible for us to be wide-awake Holy Day people – right in the midst of the holiday season – people whose hearts and lives are tuned to God’s good news of life and light and grace.
In the words of Steve Garnaas-Holmes:
God, awaken me to your coming.
Even in the night around me
open the eyes of my heart
to the rising light of your presence.

Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message 11/18/16

Grace and peace to you all!

This Sunday, November 20, is the last Sunday of the Christian year.  Traditionally, it’s celebrated as Christ the King Sunday.  And I’ll be honest: most years, “Christ the King Sunday” seems like an afterthought.  After all, it usually falls on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so it often gets lost between the cornucopias and anthems and turkey recipes.  Not to mention the Christmas Bazaar!

But this year, I’m celebrating Christ the King Sunday.  Because I need to be reminded who has ultimate power.  It’s not not presidents or presidents-elect.  It’s not those who breathe violence against people they see as different or threatening.  It’s not the protests.  It’s not even our fear of the future.  It’s God.  It’s Love.  It’s Christ who has the victory.

I’ll be speaking more about about all this on Sunday.  Until then, I offer again wise words from my colleague, Steve Garnaas-Holmes:

The darkness is real.
But we are rescued from its power.
Light shines in us, shining in that dark,
shining from the Beloved within us,
forgiving our darkness by filling us with light.

We are not to generate the light
but to receive it.
We are not to vanquish the darkness,
but to shine in it.

We pray that we may lead lives
worthy of our light.

 

Kids4Peace Sleepover

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The Kids4Peace over-night retreat held in the Fellowship Hall last weekend had 18 kids and adults writing encouragement messages for children who will be receiving Color Our World art supply kits to help them endure traumatic situations such as hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.

On the next day of the retreat, they painted the ‘Magic Suitcases’ which will hold the kits that they filled with supplies. Other weekend activities included Skyping with friends in Seattle whom they had met at last summer’s National Camp and discussing how last week’s election affected them and will affect the future mission of Kids4Peace. (p.s. Thanks to WFC for leaving the delicious treats for us!)

Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message 11/11

Grace and peace to you.
This has been a tumultuous week, a week of many words and many emotions.  In the midst of it all, I found this wonderful prayer  from Steve Garnaas-Holmes:

God of peace,
give us the courage of warriors,
the strength of saints,
the love of new mothers,
the resilience of gravity,
the patience of breath,
the freedom of children.
May we befriend gentleness
and seek out hope;
may we marry justice
and give our souls to compassion.

God of mercy,
give us your mercy.
God of peace,
give us your peace.

These words express what I long for, that I might be able to show up for all the people God sends my way as I believe Jesus would:  with grace and conviction, with compassion and joy, with justice and love.

May each of us know, deep down, God’s abiding love, Jesus’ steady presence, and the Spirit’s unending hope.  May each of us be, as best we can, the people of Christ who never forget that Love is the Way.

Ecumenical Community Thanksgiving Service

Ecumenical Community Thanksgiving Service 

November 20, at 4:00pm

This year’s Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service will be held at Richmond Congregational Church, UCC – 20 Church Street, Richmond, Vt. 05477 ~  (802) 434-2053

Clergy, singers, and members of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Richmond Congregational Church and Williston Federated Church will all gather for this time of worship. Fr. Daniel Jordan will be preaching.

Following the service we will serve a light meal of soup and bread. Please let the Richmond church office  know if you can  bring a crock pot of soup or a loaf of bread there number is 434-2053.

The offering will be divided between the Richmond and Williston Food Shelves. Please join us as we come together and give thanks.

Williston Federated Church

Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church (Williston)

Richmond Congregational Church, UCC

Holy Rosary Catholic Church (Richmond)

 

2016 Chicken Pie Supper

Thank you to everyone

who helped and supported our chicken pie supper this year.  As in years gone by it was a GREAT success.  Our chicken pie supper  has been a tradition since 1925 “when there was no running water and the ladies brought their own dishes for serving the meal“.

Our Church,  as well as the community,  look forward to this wonderful experience each year.  The chicken pie supper helps to support not only our Church, but also aids the Women of the Church Missions.

Thank you to everyone who helped with this year’s dinner.   Go to our Photo Gallery and get a glimpse of a few of the workers that helped make this year another success.

Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message 11/4/2016

Grace and peace to you all!
Like everyone else, I’ve been caught up by the intensity of this presidential election. And lately, I’ve been asking myself, what about November 9? This election has revealed deep schisms that will not be instantly healed by one election day. What does it mean to be people of God who live in the midst of those schisms, once the election is over?

People came to Jesus again and again and asked him, “How shall we live?” And his answers were consistent: Love God with all you are. Love your neighbor as yourself. Care for those in need. Treat others as you’d have them treat you. Love one another.

If Jesus were here now and we asked him, “How shall we live on Nov 9?” I believe his answer would be: Love God with all you are. Love your neighbor as yourself. Care for those in need. Treat others as you’d have them treat you. Love one another.

I’m sure these commandments aren’t news. All the same, I have a deep sense that we need to remind ourselves of them. The temptation to demonize those who don’t agree with us is so strong – and has so often been encouraged, in the past months. But that is not how Jesus-people live. We live to love, to be God’s loving presence in the world. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.

Thank God we have Jesus’ example – and thank God we have each other to sustain and support us as we seek to be God’s people in the world!
Pastor Barb