Category: Thursday Thoughts

May 27 Thursday Thoughts

May 27 Thursday Thoughts

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May 27, 2021

Dear Congregation:

The Tuesday morning Bible Study group has been studying the theme of community as expressed in the Book of Hebrews.  This week we discussed the theme of Sabbath Rest.   The scripture passages we looked at spoke to the ways in which God invites us into rest and we do not listen.  We do not listen to the life-giving power and restoration that comes when we enter into Sabbath Rest with God.

Much of our time focused on the theme of rest being a pause.  A pause from our usual activities.  A pause from work.  A time when we stop, pause, and do something else that will connect our spirits with the Spirit of the Living God such as meditating, listening to music, sitting by running water.  We reflected on how the pandemic was a long pause from our usual activities and perhaps we have learned during this pause that we can let go of some things that were not serving us well.

We also spoke about the importance of the pause in music, as a time of anticipation for what is yet to be.   “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11: 1)

As I begin vacation, taking my own pause, I am excited not only by the chance to rest and reconnect with family and friends, but I am also hopeful about what I may learn and experience during this pause.

I wish you all the best as you take your own pauses in these days ahead.

 

Worship:        Trinity Sunday

This week’s scriptures seek to reckon with the mystery and power of the God whom we worship and who calls us into new life and service.           Psalm 29 uses an abundance of images from creation to describe God’s power and majesty. In Romans 8:12–17, Paul draws on this paradoxical nature of our relationship with God who is powerful enough to defeat sin, but also intimate enough that we can refer to him as a parent. John 3:1–17 presents us with the story of Nicodemus coming to Jesus, seeking to understand this new rabbi’s power.

The Rev. John Shillingburg will be preaching and leading worship this Sunday.

 

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

 

May 20, 2021 Thursday Thoughts

May 20, 2021 Thursday Thoughts

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May 20, 2021

Dear Congregation:

ERUCC continues to be a blessing and support for our younger adults as they explore their faith through a variety of ways – worship, Sunday School, youth group activities, community service, and travel.  In 2020, we were unable to travel to the UCC National Youth Event or welcome our German partners.   We hoped and prayed that 2021 would provide the opportunity to engage in travel once again.

As I write this, we have Plan A and Plan B for a trip July 22-31.  Plan A is to visit our partners from Klein Schwechten in Germany.   We will be traveling to Ravensbrueck and staying at a youth hostel that is close to the concentration camp that housed, mostly women.  During our week together, we will join in outdoor activities, visit Potsdam, and hold conversations about our lives under the pandemic.

As of this writing, Germany is not open to US visitors which may lead us to Plan B which is spending a week in Memphis, TN at First Congregational UCC.    This program will involve an immersion in the civil rights movement, particularly related to labor.  We would be visiting the Civil Rights museum and engaged in their food ministry, bike repair ministry, and other mission projects.

Whether we do Plan A or Plan B, our youth will be immersed again in a transformative experience.

Due to COVID, we have been unable to do our usual food raisers.  While each family provides financial support for their son or daughter to participate, we count on our fund raising efforts to make these trips as affordable as possible.

I am asking you to consider making a gift towards our summer activities.  I am asking you to continue to invest in our youth by contributing online and marking your gift “youth” or write a check to ERUCC and put “youth” in the memo line.

Thank you.

Pastor Daniel

 

Worship          Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2:1–21 “I will pour out my Spirit….”

Pentecost, as described in the classic text in Acts 2:1-21, is a high holy day of the life of the church. Pentecost is the day we celebrate the founding of the Christian church.  More than that, on Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit into the life of the church and into our own lives.  The power of the Holy Spirit is reinforced in the gospel for this day, John 15:26-27 and 16:4b-15, when Jesus explains what the Holy Spirit will do for the faithful.  Romans 8: 22-27 implies creation itself has been in a period of birth, bringing something new into the world.

You are invited to wear red, to symbolize the fire of the Holy Spirit,  as you come to worship in the building or worship at home

 

Food for Thought:   

Come Holy Spirit, come. Renew your church. Ignite our hearts. Open us to new understanding. Propel us to greater ministry. Breathe on us.  Come, Holy Spirit. Come!

 

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: May 13, 2021

THURSDAY THOUGHTS: May 13, 2021

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May 13, 2021

Dear Congregation:

Activity in our buildings is starting to pick up and we are excited to again welcome our twelve steps groups, the Religious Coalition, and some smaller weddings and dinners.

One of the ways in which our space stands out from some other spaces, besides being clean and classic with a phenomenal kitchen and sound and video, is the radical hospitality we extend to those renting and using the space.  Prior to occupying the new space, we held conversations on building use policies.  In those conversations, we made a commitment to extend hospitality to those coming into our “home.”  The warm welcome that people received from Amy and our church members and friends was an extra bonus for renters.  It left a positive lasting impression.

Amy and I are looking for some volunteers who would be willing to be on a welcome team as people come in to use our space.  For some of these events, we do need to pay for an events person to be present to coordinate the activities and provide support.  We also have some events that do not require the same degree of attention and these are great ways for you to offer ERUCC hospitality.  Then there are some of the larger events that will require extra hands.

Email Amy (aaguilar@erucc.org) if you are willing to help for events.   Thanks, in advance, for considering this request.

 

Worship        

Love Leads the Way

In his prayer in John 17: 6-19, Jesus is sure of one thing: everything comes from God.

 

Food for Thought:  

 

Thursday Thoughts: May 6, 2021

Thursday Thoughts: May 6, 2021

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May 6, 2021

Dear Congregation:

I am continually grateful for the gifts our members and friends bring to our congregation’s life and in the community.  Last week during the 10:30 service we gave thanks for members who have served in leadership roles, some for many, many years.  They have given considerable time and energy, sweat and tears, to the mission and ministry of ERUCC.

Those of you who were able to participate in the congregational meeting following the service, know how blessed we are to have Jeff Schaeberle, who has given countless hours to our sound system in the sanctuary as well as in the Community Room.  We ask Jeff to make something happen and he does.

You know there are some congregations who have not held annual meetings during COVID because they just could not figure out how to do a large Zoom meeting and or a hybrid meeting.  Sunday was the third congregational meeting we have had.  Each time, Jeff has figured out how we can see and hear better and how we can maximize participation.  Thank you, Jeff.    Jeff was ably assisted by Owen York who prepared a slide deck of visuals to keep us on track.  Then we had the leadership of Peter Brehm, Allen Flora, and Phil Selby to present large portions of the meeting.   Thank you all.

We officially voted to become a Creation Justice Church with the great leadership of Linda Coyle, Chair, and members of the Green Committee.  We heard a report about the 275th anniversary events that will be happening this fall.  A schedule of those events will be included in the worship packets you will be receiving next week.

On Sunday, we also proceeded to move forward with conceptual work on a columbarium behind the main sanctuary building.  Information about that project will also be included in the worship packets.

Lots of exciting news for ERUCC.

 

Worship        

John 15:9–17 “…love one another.”

These are the words of Jesus to his followers. So simple, and yet not always so easy. Jesus’ commandment to love one another in John, chapter 15, verse 12, is one of the strongest themes of Jesus’ teaching.  Not only does Jesus “command” us “to love one another,” he shows us how:  To love each other “as I have loved you.”  Jesus then “pushes the envelope” in verse 13: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:9-17).

Today, we will ordain and install the newly elected elders, deacons, and committee chairs and honor those who have been serving as deacons and greeters during the past year.

 

Food for Thought:   

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tired into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”    (Martin Luther King Jr.)

 

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 April 29, 2021

Thursday Thoughts April 29, 2021

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April 29, 2021

Dear Congregation:

I hope you have enjoyed reading through the 2020 Annual Report of ERUCC.  It was rather incredible to see how active we were, even amid a very unusual year.  We figured out how to be the Church, to worship and even expand participation in services, engage in Christian education and nurture, continue our advocacy work, and engage in mission in the community and around the world.  We found creative ways to be in community as we cared for one another.

The 2020 Annual Report was included in your worship packets that were delivered or being delivered before Sunday.  Please review and comment.

I invite you to participate in this Sunday’s annual congregational meeting.  We will have the link to the meeting live at 11:45 so that you can see and chat with one another online and see those who are attending in person.  I am thanking Jeff Schaeberle and Jeff Baker for the work they have been doing to make sure everyone can see and hear.  Many thanks to Peter Brehm, President of the Consistory for his leadership and to Allen Flora and Phil Selby who will be presenting the financial reports. Allen and Phil have spent hours and hours of time providing information and direction in the stewardship of resources.  We will also have an opportunity to thank those who have been serving in leadership on our behalf.

Here is the link for the meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82129963921?pwd=Y25uYlpxV2RtdVJKN3R0Q0xpamo2QT09

Meeting ID: 821 2996 3921

Passcode: 498766

Hope to see you on Sunday – in-person or online.

 

Worship                           Abides

John 15:1–8 “Every branch that bears fruit God prunes to make it bear more fruit.”

Jesus explains that God is like an expert gardener – an image well understood by the people who lived in Jesus’ agrarian times. Today we can still identify with this imagery’s meaning in our lives. We might already know that if we do not stay connected to the source of life we will not flourish. We will not bear fruit. The connection, to the source of life and community, is vital to our Christian faith. When we forget, how do we become reconnected?                                                                                I John 4: 7-21 tells how important it is to abide in God.  God is love, and when we love one another; God lives in us.  Love is the fruit that we, the vine, produce.  We are called to love our brothers and sisters, as God has loved us.

This Sunday we will be sharing communion, please prepare your worship centers with bread or a cracker, a cup of water or juice or wine.  Following worship, we will have our annual congregational meeting to review church finances and activities for 2020.                                        

Food for Thought:   

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.”   (Brené Brown)

 

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 April 22, 2021

Thursday Thoughts April 22, 2021

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April 22, 2021

Dear Congregation:

Tuesday afternoon, Derek Chauvin was found guilty for the murder of George Floyd.  While celebrations erupted about the country, for me, it was a sobering moment to acknowledge just how difficult and hard and steep is the climb for justice.  As one of my friends said, “I don’t think the verdict ought to be celebrated.  It is sad for all…. The fact that we even have to be talking about this as an issue is the saddest part for me.”

This verdict is one necessary step on the journey as we honor those in law enforcement who work so hard to serve our community with respect and for all citizens.  The verdict is one step on the journey to ensure that all our citizens, of every color and background, can live in safety.  There is still much more work in law enforcement as well as in our society to erase racial profiling and excessive force against persons of color.  There is still much work to be done in overcoming the effects of white privilege in discriminating persons of color in employment, housing, and medical care.

President Biden said the decision could be “a moment of significant change.”  It can be, if we continue to devote ourselves to this needed and necessary work of justice.  Donna Murch, an associate professor of history at Rutgers University, said, “The real victory here is not the incarceration of Derek Chauvin.  Putting another person in a cage is not how we change the world. But stopping the killings of Black people with complete impunity, saying that Black lives matter — this sends that signal.”

 

Worship Notes                                     Love in Truth and Action

John 10:11–18 “I know my own and my own know me.”

Jesus identifies himself in terms that people of his day and culture could understand – “I am the good shepherd.” Being a good shepherd is linked to knowing the sheep and laying down one’s life for the sheep.

In Acts 4: 5-12, we find Peter and John in prison.  Power to speak, power to act, power to be bold, power to follow, power to love: all are connected to a belief in the saving power of the name of God and the name of Jesus Christ.

Food for Thought:   

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”   (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

 

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 April 15, 2021

Thursday Thoughts April 15, 2021

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April 15, 2021

Dear Congregation:

In last Sunday’s sermon, I reflected on how Jesus shows up, appears in person, walks through the locked doors of our hearts and minds and breathes new life and peace on us.  I reflected that Jesus appears every time words of hope, prayer, praise is shared by the followers of Jesus.  Jesus appears in person every time bread is broken, and people are fed.

Today, I give thaks for the ways in which our congregation and other congregations, are showing up for our community.  One of the many strengths of Frederick is the many ways in which businesses, non-profits, and government turn to the faith communities as partners in creating a healthier, safer, and more equitable Frederick.  In the past year, I have participated in discussions with members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Frederick Partnership on equity and inclusion in our community.  The faith community has continued to be a voice for justice and care for our homeless population and the Hayward Road Emergency Family Shelter is a great example of partnership between churches, foundations, businesses, individuals, and government.  Most recently, I have participated in numerous discussions about equity and accessibility in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

The faith community brings a needed and necessary voice to these discussions and I am grateful that we are being included in the conversation.

Last week, 135 of our neighbors showed up at ERUCC to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  ERUCC embodied the love and care of Jesus as we offered our usual hospitality.  People felt safe entering our building and their experience continued to be positive.  As we talked about prior to opening the new space, one of our core values was to offer radical hospitality for everyone who came through our doors, that we would see each person as a beloved child of God, and we would embody the love and care of Jesus.

Thanks, ERUCC, for the many ways you show up.

Worship Notes:          Love Means Showing Up

            Luke 24:36b–48 “Peace be with you.”

Here it is again – another story like last week from John’s gospel (John 20:19–31) when Jesus encounters the disciples after the Resurrection and greets them with a word of peace. This encounter, however, doesn’t seem to calm the disciples but stirs them up. When does being a Christ-like peace bearer stir things up?

Acts 3:12–19 recounts Peter’s sermon following his and John’s healing encounter with a person who has been lame since birth (v. 2).

Food for Thought:   

When there is shattered glass in my heart,

when the road is long and dull,

when the past has bent, the future vanished,

when I seem to walk from darkness toward darkness—

I pray not that the story be changed

but that my eyes be open

to you,

here beside us,

opening our eyes.

(Steve Garnaas-Holmes)

 

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