Saturday, July 8, 2017

From the Pastor

I Have a Frisbee
Written by Vicki Kemper
June 27, 2017 (Reprinted from ucc.org)

Give me an undivided heart to revere your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart. - Psalm 86:11-12
     There's undivided, and then there's complete. There's whole, and then there's overflowing with radiant joy.
     Sister Helen of the Eucharist has been a nun for 67 years. That's a lot of time to revere God's name. "You were not born," she says, "and I was already a nun."
     She was nine years old when she wrote a letter to her parents saying she wanted to enter the convent; now she is 85. She loves Christ's body and blood so much that she made it part of her name.
     "I have a banquet every day," she smiles.
     She spends the better part of each day praying and singing, reading and doing a little manual labor.
     For most of us, "undivided" can sound both boring and scary. We worry about what we might miss if we gave more of our heart to God. It can be hard to imagine a life in which God alone is enough.
     Sister Helen had plenty of opportunities, but the one she constantly chose and re-chose was the path to God's heart. She believes our desire for God is more important than the path we take. She knows the joy of the chase and the wholeness that comes from perpetual praise.
     "I am extremely happy," she says.
     We don't have to leave the world to develop an undivided heart. We needn't live behind
cloistered walls to become whole. And who says life with God can't be fun?
     Sister Helen of the Eucharist, a former left-handed tennis champion, still loves to play.
     "I have a Frisbee," she says.

Prayer
    
For Frisbee-throwing nuns, I give you thanks with my whole heart. May I know such joy in following you.

 
About the Author
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.


From the Pastor

Remembering Grace
June 23, 2017
Written by Emily Heath

"I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false… But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first." 
- Revelation 2:2,4-5

Perhaps this is wrong, but I have a hard time trusting church people who never admit
imperfection.

I don't mean imperfection of the minor kind. I don't care that your kids' school lunches aren't perfectly balanced, or that you skipped yoga class three times last week. I mean real imperfection. You got addicted to something. You got fired from your job. Or you messed up big time and it was all your fault.

When people and things at a church are just a little too neat and tidy, I get a little curious about that church's spiritual life. Why? Because no one's life is neat and tidy, and Christians should be the first ones to admit that.

Christians are people who have received grace. We should be people who know at our bedrock that we once were broken badly, and that God loved us and lifted us up.

I was recently speaking at a conference and I was asked what I saw as the best indication that a congregation will die. I replied, "A church that is full of people who cannot tell you about God's grace in their own lives."

Why? Because people who know that they have received God's grace, and who don't forget it, know what church is all about. It's not about keeping up appearances. It's not about appearing morally righteous. It's not about saying the right things and getting ahead. It's about knowing that you once were lost and now are found.

Until we are a church full of people that can tell the stories of our rock bottoms without shame, we will never be a church that truly can share God's grace.

Prayer 

God, thank you for lifting me up. Please help me to remember that I did not pull myself up on my own. Amen. 


About the Author
Emily C. Heath is the Senior Pastor of the Congregational Church in Exeter, 
New Hampshire, & the author of Glorify: Reclaiming the Heart of Progressive Christianity.



THIS WEEK'S OPPORTUNITIES

Sunday          7/09     9:00am          TaizĂ© Worship – Sanctuary
                                   9:30am          Choir Practice - Sanctuary
                                   9:30am          Adult Bible Study - Bradow Room
                                 10:30am          Worship Service - Sanctuary
                                 10:45am          Children’s Church School - Sunday School Rooms
                                 10:45am          Youth Church School - Youth Room
                                 11:45am          Fellowship - P2E Social - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
                                   4:00pm          Covenant Community - Bradow Room
                                                                                                                                                               
Monday         7/10   12:15pm          Monday Lunch Group - Hoffmann Room
                                                                                                                                                                                          
Tuesday        7/11      6:30pm          Life & Faith - O’Malley’s Restaurant & Pub,
                                                                               5228 Hollyridge Rd., Raleigh, NC 27612                                                                                                                                                 
Wednesday  7/12      9:30am          Tai Chi – Vaughan Fellowship Hall
                                                                                                                                
Friday          7/14       6:30pm          Dinner & Movie - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
                                                           (Contact Lavon Page if you are interested and did
                                                            not purchase this during the Auction.)

Saturday      7/15      9:30am          Saturday Morning Book Club – Library
                                                                                                                                                                                               
Sunday         7/16      9:00am          TaizĂ© Worship – Sanctuary
                                   9:30am          Adult Sunday School - Bradow Room
                                 10:30am          Worship Service - Sanctuary
                                 10:45am          Children’s Church - Sunday School Room
                                 10:45am          Youth Church School - Youth Room
                                 11:45am          Fellowship - Vaughan Fellowship Hall

                                   4:00pm          Covenant Community - Bradow Room 

Lectionary for the Week of July 9, 2017

Lectionary for the Week of July 9, 2017 - Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Green
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Psalm 45:10-17 or Song of Solomon 2:8-13 or
Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 145:8-14; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30


It's Back! P2eeeeeee!

Our July watermelon seed spitting contest!
Who will be champion this year?

Bring your smiles, and your spitting skills, to our easy breezy fellowship time after worship on July 9.

The youth will sponsor and provide leadership for this event. If you’re not a spitter, come enjoy watermelon anyway, be a spectator and cheer on your special spitter!


Celebrating Our Elders

Celebrating Our Elders: Exploring Ageism Together 
July 12, Wednesday, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
A pizza and salad bar dinner will be provided.  All are welcome!

¨ What does your age mean to you?
¨ What makes you see someone as young or old?
¨ What's surprising about getting older?
¨ Have you ever had someone tell you that you don't look your age?

These questions are fascinating for all of us to consider!

Join us as we share experiences of ageism. Our youth will lead us in this exploration of
stereotypes with regard to age. Dinner provided.

This Church-Wide Summer Series, “Celebrating Our Elders”, will be held from 6:00pm - 7:30pm, on the 2nd Wednesday of each summer month: July 12, and August 9.


July 11 topic for Life & Faith

As always, this is a fluid group - just drop in!

Our next gathering will be
Tuesday, July 11, 6:30 PM to eat, 7PM conversation begins

O’Malley’s Pub and Restaurant
5228 Hollyridge Dr, Raleigh
Look for us at the long table in the room on the left.

July focus for our discussion:  This month's discussion is sparked by Mike's comment about time and Shabbat (see below).  I also found a one page essay on Sabbath in which Rabbi Heschel* expands on the idea of time and Shabbat.

"The meaning of Shabbat is to celebrate time rather than space.  Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things in space; on Shabbat we try to become attuned to the holiness of time.  It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of Creation to the mystery of Creation, from the world of Creation to the creation of the world." Abraham Joshua Heschel* as quoted in the Reform Siddur, Mishkan T'Filah.  Originally found in Heschel's 1951 book, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man

Here's the July question:  If you were to write a spiritual autobiography** of time/Shabbat, what events/people/places have shaped your understanding?  Have you found those to be a healthy/loving influence on your life?

*Rabbi Heschel marched alongside MLK back in the civil rights era.

**Spiritual autobiographies help us think about experiences/people/places that have shaped how we understand or tend to react to something and give us a chance to consider if our conclusions and practices are healthy or loving.  Churches encourage people to write spiritual autobiographies of race, of money, of church, of God.

The Sacred You

Please join us Tuesday, July 18th, 7:00pm, as we share with each other The Sacred You
More than a support group, The Sacred You invites Queer folk and their friends, family, and allies to experience true community within a spiritually rich safe space. Let’s celebrate who we are together!! Open to LGBTQ and their friends, families, and allies. Place: Community UCC,  Vaughan Fellowship Hall, 7:00pm. For additional questions or information, contact Pastor Jenny at 919-809-8850.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Give one weekend to make a difference in coal country

Have you been concerned about the plight of those living in coal country and wondered what you could do to make a concrete difference?  Join CUCC friends Rosemary and Bill Pate as they lead an adults-only long-weekend repairing a home in Jonesville, VA.  Rosemary and Bill are great team leaders who combine knowledge of construction with a sense of fun and deep caring for the homeowners and team members.  You will have a great experience.  They were team leaders on several of the ASP trips that CUCC youth have done with other congregations over the years.

If you are interested, contact them directly.

"Christ The King Lutheran Church is sending a group of volunteers to Jonesville, VA on October 19-22, 2017 to participate in the Appalachia Service Project. Volunteers will make homes "warmer, safer, drier" for families living in substandard housing. We will leave Cary on Thursday morning to travel to Jonesville, will work on Friday and Saturday, and drive back to Cary on Sunday.

If you would like to go on this trip, put this date on your calendar and notify us at rosemaryandbill@gmail.com or at 919-215-7426.  Rosemary and Bill Pate"

- submitted by Jane Smith

Monday, July 3, 2017

General Synod is livestreaming

While the UCC General Assembly is in session, a live stream is available via the YouTube video below, or if that's not working for your browser you can view the live stream at YouTube directly.