An overview of our project appears below. To donate please send a check to the WFC Steeple Fund, c/o Williston Federated Church, 44 N. Williston Rd, Williston, Vermont 05495. Contact the office 878-5792 (Tues-Fri. 9:30 am to 2:30 pm).
Pastor Barb’s Weekly Message
Grace and peace to you all!
Like all of you I come to the end of this week with a heavy spirit, after last Sunday’s terrible car crash that claimed the lives of five teens from Harwood High School and Kimball Union Academy. There are so many emotions: grief, shock, bewilderment, anger, and more grief.
All this week, these lyrics from the musical “Hamilton” have been echoing in my heart. In the song “It’s Quiet Uptown,” Alexander and Eliza Hamilton are grieving the dueling death of their 19-year old son:
There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is suffering too terrible to name…
The Hamiltons…are going through the unimaginable.
In the midst of this unimaginable tragedy, there is nothing we can offer to make it go away. We can only go through this together.
Ruth Magill sent out an invitation this week to walk the labyrinth in prayer for the victim’s families. That’s a powerful way to offer ourselves to this great grief – praying with our hearts and our bodies, walking an ancient pattern to the labyrinth’s center.
As we pray – whether in the labyrinth or elsewhere – I believe that God’s Spirit prays with us and weeps with us. As we pray, I believe that we open a spiritual space where somehow God’s slow work of healing can begin, in our own broken hearts and in the broken hearts of others.
And so we pray. Individually and together. We pray. With God and each other, we somehow find a way to live with the unimaginable.
Last Sunday’s accident came on the heels of another tragedy: Hurricane Matthew, which caused devastation in Haiti and elsewhere. In this case, we can do more than pray; we can offer assistance to those whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. On Sunday we’ll take up a special offering that will be sent to the UCC and UMC disaster relief ministries which are already hard at work.
Thank you for the opportunity to journey together as we seek to embody God’s love in and for the world.
Today (Friday) my husband and I are planning to hike up Mt Abraham. We’ve not done that trail before, but we know that it’s well marked and I suspect there will be plenty of hikers who will be out there to point the way. And the foliage should be lovely! Twenty years ago, when we lived in the Adirondacks, we often would hike mountains that were much less well-traveled, and often the trails were sparsely marked, if at all. Part of the excitement was finding the way to the top without getting lost (or at least, not very lost). We had a topo map and a compass, and we knew how to use both to orient ourselves and find the best way forward. We have to cross unfamiliar territory in all kinds of ways, in our physical and our spiritual lives.
How do we keep our souls centered when events begin to spin beyond our control and there’s no clear path ahead? This Sunday I’ll be speaking about finding our Inner Compass, that solid, faithful core where we meet the Holy and where we can find guidance, healing, challenge and wisdom. It’s the beginning of a series of sermons focused on prayer and connection with the God who loves us and calls us to be more than we ever thought possible.”
Pastor Barb’s Weekly Reflections
Grace and peace to you all!
This week I am sharing wise words from my colleague, Steve Garnaas-Holmes, on the gospel reading for Sunday. I’ve been inspired by his words, I hope they inspire you, too
The apostles said, “Increase our faith!” The Teacher replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from Continue reading Pastor Barb’s Weekly Reflections→
Earlier this year, the Pastor -Staff Relations Committee was charged with finding a Bridge Pastor to work ¾ -full time to cover our pulpit while the Search Committee worked with an Interim Consultant, the Reverend Barbara Lemmel, to find a Settled Pastor. Along with this, we have enjoyed the help of the Reverend Paul Hoffman who has worked very hard at filling our pastoral care needs. After some consideration, Barbara found herself called to offer her services to our congregation as Part-Time Interim Pastor until such a time as we can fill the position of Settled Pastor. We joyfully accepted her offer, and we are pleased to announce to you that she will begin working half-time, in conjunction with her long-time colleague and friend, the Reverend Paul Hoffman, who has agreed to continue with our church in his pastoral care function.
Barbara has preached for us a number of times this past year, and is very excited to share more of her experiences with us on a more regular basis. She has a rich history in ministry including a Master’s of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology. She is a reconciling pastor within the United Methodist Church, and has been at the forefront of the Open and Affirming Movement in the UMC since the early 90’s. Barb was a settled pastor at the North Ferrisburg Methodist Church where she job-shared with Kim Hornung-Marcy while they raised their children. She also served as pastor to several UMC communities in both New York and Vermont. Currently, as her children are growing into young adulthood, she serves as a Parish Consultant for the New England UMC, and continues this. She also is the director of “Tending the Fire”, a program of formation for Clergy and Lay Leadership. Please join us in welcoming Barbara Lemmel to our church community. She will begin her time with us by leading worship on the 25th of September.