Category: Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts, October 29

Thursday Thoughts, October 29

CLICK HERE to read Thursday Thoughts for October 29, 2020.

October 29,  2020

Dear Congregation:

In my sermon on October 11, I referred to a 1937 photo of shipyard workers in Hamburg offering the Nazi salute.  There was one man in the crowd who is pictured as having his arms folded, not participating with the crowd.  I encouraged us to be like that man,

Pastor Emeritus Fred Wenner sent an email connecting this story with Fran Wenner’s family.  I share it with you, with their permission:

In 2008, Fran and I, along with one of her brothers and his spouse, spent a couple weeks in Germany exploring places related to her family’s history. In the town of Thaleischweiler-Fröschen in the Palatinate we found a handwritten note from 1737 that confirmed family lore that a young blacksmith, Reinhard Alspach, had impregnated a teen-aged girl named Magdalena. They were effectively kicked out of Germany and emigrated to America, but not before they were married in the town’s Protestant Church.

            Here’s were Fran’s story and your sermon converge. When we approached that old church (1st photo), we were struck by a bronze plaque next to the church door (2nd photo). A translation of the plaque follows:

            HEINZ WILHELMY               

March 6, 1906 — May 16, 1980

From 1933 to 1953 Heinz Wilhelmy was pastor of the Protestant parish of Thaleischweiler. He was one of the few pastors in the Palatinate who courageously opposed the National Socialists (Nazis). In his sermons, he publicly denounced their godless and inhumane ideology. For him the standard was the biblical Word. Beginning in 1935 he was an active member of the Confessing Church. From 1953 until his retirement in 1969, he developed a strong program of Men’s Work for the congregations of the regional church of the Palatinate.

Imagine discovering this bit of family history — 200 years after the Alspach’s left Germany, the pastor of the church where Reinhard and Magdalena were married boldly preached the Gospel and “did not salute” the Nazi flag. In that place and in that time, he may have been the only one.

            That’s our story, brought back to life by the story you told on October 11. Thanks for triggering this bit of family history.

 

 

Thursday THoughts, October 22, 2020

Thursday THoughts, October 22, 2020

CLICK HERE to read Thursday Thoughts for October 22, 2020.

Dear Congregation:
From the Stewardship/Generosity Committee – Faces of Love
This Sunday we will bring our month’s spiritual journey to completion as we pledge our financial commitment to the mission and ministries of ERUCC for the coming year.
As we offer our pledges, we invite people also to reflect on what God is calling you to give or do this year as a renewal of your commitment to continue to grow in faith and love. What is one step that you might take?
At the 10:30 Service, Felecia Bishop will speak, after which we will offer our pledges and commitments. There will be paper, post-it hearts you can use to write down the step you have chosen and place it in the plate along with the pledge cards and offerings. Since there are no longer pencils in the pews, please bring something to write with.
To celebrate this day of appreciation and commitment, a boxed, tasty treat for each family member will await you after the 8:30 and 10:30 services and at our socially distanced “Consecration Sunday Drive-by” between noon and 2 p.m. During this time our gloved and masked team members will safely greet you with your treat and a cheery welcome! Please enter the church parking lot from West Church Street. You can then exit through the alley to West Second Street. If you are not able to pick up your treat in person, let us know and we will deliver it to your home.
If you need a gluten-free option or need it delivered to your home, email, call, or text David Howard, dehowardcello@gmail.com; 202-841-5061.
Pledges can also be dropped off on Sunday, during the 12-2 drive-by
YOU are the Faces of Love. Our bulletin covers have reflected some faces; please be sure to add your face to these images. We are all the church together.

Worship Notes
As the community of Jesus’ disciples, we are called to find ways to proclaim the love of God to our neighbors. The Gospel lesson in Matthew 22: 34-46 reminds the emerging Christian community of Jesus’ rules – unconditional love for God and neighbor. Today’s reading from the Hebrew scriptures, Deuteronomy 34: 1-12, brings to an end the life of Moses. He is given a glimpse of the promised land, but he will not cross over into it. Felecia Bishop will be speaking as part of our Faces of Love campaign. We will also be dedicating our pledges for our 2021 financial support of the mission and ministry of ERUCC. Pledges can be made in person, via the web page, via mail, or dropped off at the church office or brought to worship this Sunday to be received during the offering.
Don’t forget to come by the church between noon and 2 to pick up your tasty treat lovingly prepared by David Howard. A thank you for your ongoing prayer and support.
Food for Thought:
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” (Soren Kierkegaard)

Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701
301-662-2762
E-mail: bkdaniel@erucc.org

 

Thursday THoughts, October 15, 2020

Thursday THoughts, October 15, 2020

CLICK HERE to read Thursday Thoughts for October 15, 2020

 

Dear Congregation:

Do you have your ballot?  Do you know how to vote?  Would you be willing to join an energetic group of people trying to get as many people to the polls as possible?  Please join us on Friday evening as we celebrate our right to vote and the importance of participating in our democratic process.  This Friday, October 16th,  we will welcome musicians from the Frederick School of Rock, Pizza Llama, and Jay Mason from the FCPS Board of Education.

The ERUCC Faith and Democracy group completed 3000 postcards that were handwritten and sent to voters in Georgia, encouraging these voters to get to the polls.  We’re hoping that the record turn-out for early voting in that state can be attributed, in part, to the efforts of our work and that of others.

Many in the congregation are working with various groups such as the League of Women Voters to get out the vote.  These efforts include committing  to or encouraging at least  three friends to vote on or before Election Day. Because of the changing rules and procedures amidst the pandemic, it is more important than ever that we know our voting rights and that we have a plan vote.

I recognize that we, as individual members and friends of ERUCC, have a variety of thoughts and opinions with this election and with many other aspects of life.  What I really appreciate is our willingness to share those perspectives with one another.  It is not always easy to stay in community when we share differences of opinion but we are called to love one another as God has loved us.

Please continue to share your perspectives with me.  I sincerely want to learn what all of us value and how we can make ERUCC stronger and more welcoming as a community.  I also want us to explore how we can embody those values in the larger community of Frederick that we love.

 

Worship Notes               

In Exodus 33:12–23 , we are privy to a conversation between God and Moses. Reminiscent of last week’s struggle of the Hebrew people with an idea or presence of God vs. a tangible, physical god, Moses also asks for proof of God’s presence – to see what God looks like. Matthew 22:15–22 tells the story of discerning taxes, where the stamping of Caesar on the coinage settles the question – “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (v. 21). While this can be seen as an example of the separation of church and state it also harkens back to the wilderness experiences of discerning and following God’s guiding presence.

Food for Thought:   

           

“The thing about light is that it really isn’t yours; it’s what you gather and shine back. And it gets more power from reflectiveness; if you sit still and take it in, it fills your cup, and then you can give it off yourself.”   (Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)

 

Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor

Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ

15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701

301-662-2762

E-mail: bkdaniel@erucc.org

Thursday Thoughts October 8, 2020

Thursday Thoughts October 8, 2020

CLICK HERE to read Thursday Thoughts for October 8, 2020

October 8, 2020

Dear Congregation:

September of 2020 marked the 6th Anniversary of the Emergency Family Shelter.  Since September 2014, the Coalition has sponsored a rotating family shelter hosted by local congregations. During the day families are sheltered at the Coalition’s day shelter and receive case management support from our staff.    For the past 2,000+ nights, the program has provided a safe and compassionate environment to more than 200 families.

ERUCC is among the congregations who have hosted families over these past six years.  The families have been staying at Trinity Chapel during the weeks we are hosting.  Volunteers have come from our congregation as well as the Unitarian Uiversalist Conhregation of Frederick and Congregation Kol Ami.

During the pandemic, families have been housed at Camp West Mar (YMCA Camp), Mar-Lu-Ridge and hotels as it was not prudent or safe to move families from church to church.

The challenging aspect of the scattered church shelter model is the toll it takes on families moving from place to place and the difficulties our congregations have encountered to provide night-time housing.

I am excited that in 2019, the Coalition purchased a large and historic farmhouse at 7516 Hayward Road from the City of Frederick.  This farmhouse will serve as the new home for the Emergency Family Shelter.  With over 9,000 square feet, this property will allow a comprehensive, single-site shelter program, offering the stability that families experiencing homelessness need.  Conveniently located on a bus route, the new Emergency Family Shelter will provide temporary housing and supportive services to up to 50 of our neighbors in dire need every day of the week, around the clock.  This property will:

  • Provide a more stable day and night-time environment
  • Lessen the adverse effects of homelessness on children
  • Expand the Coalition’s capacity for care
  • Host centralized support services
  • Allow Family meal preparation in shared kitchen and dining facilities.

This is a huge project that will require support from the entire Frederick community.  Our faith communities, with our commitment to serve neighbors in need, will play a huge role in supporting the development of this facility.

Members of the ERUCC Mission and Social Advocacy Committee toured the facility in September and will be considering how ERUCC will financially support this project.

 

Daytona Beach Work Trip              November 14 – 21, 2020

We are gathering a small group, less than ten people, for a Daytona Beach mission trip, November 14th – 21st.  We will be working with the same organization as we did in 2018 and 2019.  Contact Pastor Daniel if you are interested and want more information about the safety protocols, travel plans, housing, etc.

 

Worship Notes               

In our scripture readings for this Sunday we are invited to reflect on what it means to be formed as a community of God’s people, committed to living out the ways of God.   Exodus 32: 1-14 contains what is likely one of the most confusing and dramatic stories in the Hebrew Scriptures. It has been interpreted in myriad ways, but mostly as a cautionary tale of turning toward other gods.  In Philippians 4: 1-9,  Paul uses the Greek word ekklesia — which translates “called out”  — to describe the early Christian church.  He calls the church to stand firm in the faith, to focus on what is true, honorable, and just.  And in all, pray, rejoice, and focus on all that is truly good in God’s realm.

Food for Thought:   

“God dreams for us today. Today, at this moment, God has an image and hope for what we are becoming. We should not let God dream alone.”   (Dorothy Soelle)

 

Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor

Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ

15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701

301-662-2762

E-mail: bkdaniel@erucc.org

 

Thursday Thoughts, October 1, 2020

Thursday Thoughts, October 1, 2020

CLICK HERE TO READ THURSDAY THOUGHTS for October 1, 2020

 

Dear Congregation:
The Serenity Prayer is a prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971). God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

I know that many of us are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, frightened by daily life these days and it feels like there are many things we cannot change. Today and in the weeks ahead, I am inviting us to consider things we can change in our lives, things we can do to bring some peace into these chaotic days.
I invite us to consider a holy pause each day. Imagine the power of all of us pausing at noon, every day. Take a few moments to take a deep breath. Consider something for which you are grateful. Go outside and smell the fall air. Gaze at the changing colors on the trees.
A pause can help us reframe our day and perhaps even our attitude, move us away from negative thoughts, and give our bodies a chance to renew itself.
Here are some other thoughts on practices you may consider adopting in the weeks ahead. Limit your exposure to how much mews you are subject to – including TV, social media, newspapers. It’s clear that in the current climate that we are being torn apart as individuals, a community, and nation by the tone of discussions.
Practice gratitude. Write a letter or email or text to someone, giving thanks for their presence in your life. Make a list of people and things in your life that bring you joy. Take a moment to reframe your thinking by meditating on joy.
Pray or meditate asking for peace, guidance, wisdom.
Eat healthy. Feed your body with food that is nutritious and will make you feel better.
There is an old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

 

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
May we feed ourselves with that which will bring us joy, hope, and peace.

Thursday Thoughts on September 17, 2020

Thursday Thoughts on September 17, 2020

CLICK HERE TO READ THURSDAY THOUGHTS for September 17, 2020

 

September 17, 2020

***Please note that the 9:30 Educational Classes BEGIN THIS WEEK! See below for links and information.
The 10:30 service can be viewed online at:https://boxcast.tv/channel/bzioh0xyyacgq5fmjnoi

11:30 a.m. Virtual Fellowship: https://zoom.us/j/153605864?pwd=M2VSRjZsRDdFd1Q4bms0RExzam5SUT09&status=success PW: 007681

Dear Congregation:

In addition to thinking a lot about safety protocols lately – best masks to wear and have on hand at the church, how to secure hand sanitizing stations that have been on back order since March, how to remind people – nicely – that we need to maintain physical distance from each other — I have also been doing a lot of thinking, reflecting, and praying about leadership in these days. It’s one of the reasons why I have chosen to focus on the book of Exodus on Sundays in September and into October. What can I, we, learn from Moses’ leadership and the challenges he faced. I’ve been exploring that alongside the leadership of Jesus. Then there’s what we have been learning and discovering in our Thursday evening Bible Study on the Book of Acts and leadership and life in the early church.

What do these stories say about leadership for these days with the challenges of a pandemic and a contentious political landscape on top of the usual congregational life? It’s pretty clear from the stories of Moses and the journey of the people of Israel as well as Jesus and the disciples, that leadership requires a team. Moses could relay messages from God over and over again, but nothing was going to change or happen unless some in the community took action. Jesus could take five loaves of bread and bless them and multiple them to feed five thousand people but it required the disciples to distribute the bread. Peter and Paul were great motivational speakers, painting a picture of new life in Jesus, but the Jesus movement spread because others took on leadership and tasks.

All of this leads me to reflect on how do we notice, name, and nurture leaders at ERUCC. In some areas of our congregation’s life we are stuck due to lack of persons willing to serve as committee chairs and team members in areas such as education and worship. We also need to identify new members for finance and persons willing to take on leadership as treasurer and finance chair in the 2021. These needs and opportunities have been with us long before the pandemic, but the pandemic has added burdens to the smaller number of people already serving in leadership. I know I have shared this concern before. I know also people have listened to this request from me and others. I am not sure that the critical nature of these needs has been heard.

The time to step up is now. Understanding that, like Moses, we may each feel “who am I to lead,” I ask you to look inward and discern whether you are feeling a call to serve in some committee member or leadership capacity. Additionally, is there someone you can name that would bring new energy to these areas of the church’s life?

I welcome your thoughts and ideas. You can also talk with Peter Brehm, elder and President of the Consistory ( pbrehm@comcast.net) or Marc Kline, chair of the Spiritual Council (mkline354@gmail.com).

Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701
301-662-2762
e-mail: bkdaniel@erucc.org

 

Food for Thought
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” (Desmond Tutu)

 

 

 

Thursday Thoughts – September 10, 2020

Thursday Thoughts – September 10, 2020

CLICK HERE to read your Thursday, September 10, 2020 Thursday Thoughts.

 

Dear Congregation:

I am grateful for an energetic group of ERUCC members and friends who have committed themselves to getting people to the polls this November.  The UCC encourages its members and congregations to engage in voter registration drives, candidate forums, providing information on how to vote and in this year, the process for obtaining mail-in ballots.

The Rev. Traci Blackmon,  Associate General Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries for The United Church of Christ, writes:  “For people of faith, the public arena we know as ‘politics’ represents much more than the partisan politicking we see on the news.  It is a means by which we live out the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Scripture reminds us over and over that building right relationship in human community and with God’s creation is an act inseparable from our relationship with God.  So, it is important for faith communities to engage in nonpartisan voter education and empowerment programs that help us reflect on our collective life and work to uplift the common good through the political process.”

No matter your opinion or political affiliation , your voice – your vote – matters and you deserve to be heard.

Thursday Thoughts: September 3, 2020

Thursday Thoughts: September 3, 2020

CLICK HERE to see your Thursday Thoughts for September 3, 2020

Dear Congregation:

I know I don’t need to remind us all that we are in a different world when it comes to our life as a church and everything else. As we anticipate being in this time of pandemic for months to come, we are evaluating what is most helpful for keeping in holding our community connected with one another.    We continue to assess how we can continue our ministry and mission while keeping one another safe.

In-person worship on Sundays and at 6 pm on Wednesdays, outside on the patio, and robust live-streaming provides a variety of choices for worship.  We have a number of adult educational programs and mission outreach activities being planned.  Sunday School for children and youth will resume on September 13th via Zoom calls.  The youth group and God’s Kids’ Club are meeting regularly.   I am excited about the formation of a new youth group composed of 5th – 7th graders.

One of the areas that we are continuing to evaluate is communications with the congregation.  Thursday Thoughts and the monthly newsletter continue.  We’ve added the delivery or mailing of worship packets every month and the feedback we have received is positive to continue preparing and delivering those packets.  If you wish to opt out, please let Amy know.

Early in the pandemic, we added a Monday email blast to provide updated information people to pray for as well as building and activity news.    As the bulletins are printed  so many weeks in advance, the Monday email became a way to fill in the information gap between the bulletins and the newsletter.

I kindly ask that you please let me know or Amy know what you have found helpful in terms of communication and if there are other things you would like us to communicate with you.

I would like to add that one of the challenges for me, as your pastor, is that it is a challenge to go from interacting regularly with 150 + of you each Sunday to less than 30.  I have missed those face-to-face interactions.  Phone calls and email contacts are not the same but as we say over and over these days, it is better than not having contact at all these days.

I have been meeting with those of who feel comfortable sitting outside on your porch, backyard, or in Baker Park.  I’ve enjoyed some physically distanced walking with a few of you.  Let me know if you want to meet somewhere.

Feel free to call the office or send me an email if you want to have a conversation.
Further Note

The Central Atlantic Conference of the UCC will be meeting the end of September.  Here is a link to the agenda and program for the week — September 21-26.

http://www.cacucc.org/56th-annual-meeting  

I encourage you to consider attending the meeting as it will give you a broader look at the UCC and how our conference works in our region.

The church has budgeted for our members to attend these meetings and events of the UCC.  If you are interested in attending, please let me know and I’ll register you.

 

JULY 16 Thursday Thoughts

JULY 16 Thursday Thoughts

CLICK HERE TO READY THURSDAY, JULY 16 THURSDAY THOUGHTS

 

July 16, 2020

***Please note that the 9:30 Educational Classes are suspended.
The 10:30 service can be viewed online at:https://boxcast.tv/channel/bzioh0xyyacgq5fmjnoi

If you are interested in attending in person go online to EventBrite to reserve your place: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/109158933308

11:30 a.m. Virtual Fellowship: https://zoom.us/j/153605864?pwd=M2VSRjZsRDdFd1Q4bms0RExzam5SUT09&status=success PW: 007681

Dear Congregation:

Last week, I realized that this was likely going to be the first year since 1999 that I would not be traveling to Europe to visit with church partners and friends.

Next week our youth and adults, along with our German partners, were scheduled to travel to the UCC National Youth Event at Purdue University. Due to COVID-19, this national event has been postponed to the summer of 2022.

Yesterday, I realized that this is the first year since I was 21 years old that I will not be attending a national gathering of the United Church of Christ. For over 40 years, youth events, General Synod, Faith Works, and other gatherings have been foundational in my formation as a Christian and as a clergy person. While I know in the scheme of things missing these gatherings for the health and safety of participants is critical, like other events that are being canceled or postponed there is grief. My faith and leadership was nurtured and formed through those national gatherings. The conversations, worship, Bible studies, and speakers have nurtured and challenged me personally and professionally.

The young people and adults of ERUCC have attended a national gathering of the UCC for the past 12 years. As General Synod in July of 2021 will be virtual, I am coming to terms with the fact that it will be two years before our youth have an in-person experience of the diversity of the UCC and be challenged, formed, and nurtured by these experiences of the national setting of the UCC.

I’m pondering how we will fill that void. The national setting of the UCC is working hard to provide virtual experiences for the wider church but we know that it is not the same. Just like the difference between live streaming the worship service from your home and gathering in the sanctuary in-person, it’s just different.

There are a lot of experiences these days that we can say are not the same or just different. Sunday worship in our Sanctuary, sitting with masks on and not singing. Visiting with family members and friends with masks on and sitting six feet apart. Zoom happy hours. Facebook live parties. It’s not the same and so we grieve what we once had.

Once I have named the loss and understand that it is okay to grieve and give myself the time to grieve, space opens in my heart and mind for a new way of nurturing my life and that of our young people. While I know that youth groups gel when they have experiences away from home, we will need to discover new ways of coming together here at home. While we may not hear national and international leaders speaking live in a huge convention center and experience the energy that comes with a crowd, we can listen to speakers and have a thoughtful conversation about what we have heard. We can take the time to look around us and see where we may engage our time and energy locally, participating in events and marches as safely as we can.

Perhaps, in these months ahead, these new ways of learning, meeting, and growing will prove to be more than measures to fill in a gap. I anticipate that some of these new ways may become just as meaningful and fulfilling as attending a national youth event or General Synod. It will just be “different.”

Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701
301-662-2762
e-mail: bkdaniel@erucc.org