Join us for worship on Sunday, June 28 at 10:30 a.m. at https://boxcast.tv/view/sunday-1030-service-654874Â
Genesis 22:1â€“14, one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible, when read carefully, seems to have the message of trust in a God of goodness. Many find this story harsh: Abraham hears a command to sacrifice his own son Isaac, Abraham prepares to do so and is stopped in the last second.Â Matthew 10:40â€“42, Jesusâ€™ words provide a simple but difficult charge to those who wish to be disciples: to recognize Jesus and other prophetic voices in the most marginalized people in society, and to choose generosity.
The Rev. Carolyn Roberts will be preaching
This week we welcome guest writer, Kim Sexton.
This weekâ€™s scripture finds Jesus continuing to walk with and teach the disciples. Â He is reminding them that when people welcome them, they are,Â in turn, welcoming him. Â At ERUCC we know how to provide an extravagant welcome from greeters at the welcome table, then fellowship and finally a follow up letter or call. Â In March,Â that all got turned upside down with stay at home orders, no school or activities,Â and no in person worship. Â What we thought might be like a few snow days soon became clear it would be a lot longer. If you think it was hard for an adult to figure out, Â imagine being a child. Â Suddenly all sense of a routine are gone. Â What would welcome look like now?
In the coming weeks we would learn welcome would look like streamed worship services, zoom meetings, packets with worship materials including childrenâ€™s bulletins, actual snail mail and pen pals as well as Godâ€™s Kids Club supply kits.
For me, extravagant welcome means knowing my church family is there for me in uncertain times. Â I knew if I needed this,Â the kids would need it even more. Â I set up a schedule of meeting with Godâ€™s Kids Club three times a week atÂ 4 p.m.Â At firstÂ I thought , this is great! I can really teach something with some content.Â Early on It became pretty clear that what the kids needed was community and to be kids. Â So we changed up content and nowÂ on Mondays we play games: guess who I am, scavenger hunts and of course bingo or we sing. Â On Wednesdays we do crafts or science. Â On Fridays we do the upcoming SundayÂ Sunday school lesson. Â They wanted to cook,Â so we have decorated cupcakes and made pizza.Â I also looked to them for suggestions of topics so we have learned aboutÂ arachnids, Disney, Pokemon, ERUCC history and mythical creatures to name a few. We have even had guest readers and speakers.
We have 9 families who attend regularly with children ranging in age from 2 years to 6th grade. We extended the welcome to friends of ERUCC and have had three families take us up on the welcome. The kids have welcomed our friends just as they would in person. Â I wish you could have heard the excitement in bothÂ two year oldâ€™s voices when they saw each other over Zoom or how important itâ€™s been for us to celebrate birthdays, mile stones (graduating from preschool or 5th grade, lost teeth or learning to ride a bike without training wheels) and even the last day of school. Â Itâ€™s been equally important to allow them to talk about their fears and what they are grieving. Â We end each session just as we end the thought for the day,Â with a topic for which they are thankful for or worried about and then go into the Lordâ€™s Prayer.
Zoom Godâ€™s Kids Club has allowed us to deepen our faith and connect in a new way.
Join us for worship on Sunday, June 21 at 10:30 a.m. at https://boxcast.tv/view/sunday-1030-service-654874Â
In our Gospel lesson for this Sunday, Matthew 10: 24-39, Jesus teaches about the demands of discipleship, including the ways in which it places disciples under great stress in their families.
The Rev. Michelle Beadle will be preaching.Â Her sermon title is, â€œThe Blessing of Forced Choice.â€
This week we welcome guest writer, Matt Davis.
Social media is a mixed blessing at best as is Facebookâ€™s so-called â€œsnooze button.â€ For those that donâ€™t know, this feature allows you to remain friends with someone, but not see anything they post for the next 30 days. I admit it. Iâ€™ve used it and those of you that havenâ€™t are probably doing a Google search for it right now.
Between the COVID-19 pandemic and most recently, the outbreak of protests and demonstrations against racism and police brutality, things are pretty intense right now. I was recently surprised to see my house and a number of others in my quiet, rural neighborhood targeted with hate literature from the KKK. Like any decent human being, I was outraged, ripped it up and lined my cat litter box with it.
As I continued to think about it in the context of our current events, how certain people in our society are treated fundamentally different than others, I came to a realization. Even here, I have the option to just rip it up and ignore it and go on with my life. After all, they want to â€œrecruitâ€ me and I will gladly tell them to get lost. If I were a member of one of the many groups that are the target of their ire, however, I would have feared what would be coming next. If I were a person of color, however, I could not have so easily ignored it and moved on.
I had a similar realization after Frederickâ€™s March for Justice. It was a wonderful, inspiring, and peaceful march and we were moved by the grief of our fellow citizens for the lives that were lost. We were on our way home after the speakers concluded when we received a text message from the city indicating that some protesters had shut down I-70 in both directions. I said to myself, â€œWhy did they have to ruin a perfectly good march by going out to stop traffic on the highway?â€ I thought about that in the hours to come and it finally came to me. When they shut down the flow of traffic, the unlucky souls in the traffic jam no longer had the luxury of ignoring the pain those protesters were feeling. They were forced to stop their vehicles to not hit them and saw their pain and anger over injustice firsthand and I think it frightened and angered them. They were forced out of their routines and no longer had the option to look away and ignore these things that have been going on for a long time. Although I still do not think anyone should walk out in traffic on a highway at twilight on a rainy night, for the first time I got why they did it. To do that speaks to a level of desperation that white America does not yet feel. And I wondered why I didnâ€™t see that before.
So my thought for this Thursday is this: our faith calls on us to be faithful witnesses. That requires us to be willing to look. Avoid hitting that snooze button in an effort to avoid discomfort. If youâ€™re confused about why people are upset but want to be part of the solution, a good first step is to not allow yourself the luxury of looking away.
Isaiah 1:15-17 â€“ When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
Week 2 of ERUCC at the Frederick Food Security Network Garden. What a beautiful day!
Thanks to Colleen for forming the mission team. This week that included Colleen, Aidan, plus two of Colleen’s friends, Barbara and Kim, and Linda Coyle.
Next Friday is the youth group team led by Tricia! If you’d like to join a team, contact Linda Coyle.
Join us for worship on Sunday, June 14 at 10:30 a.m. at https://boxcast.tv/view/sunday-1030-service-654874Â
Matthew 9:35-10:8 describes the ministry of Jesus and his disciples. There are many in need of Jesusâ€™ healing ministry. Jesus acknowledges that he cannot do this work alone and calls disciples to join him. However, the authority to cast out unclean spirits and cure disease requires that the disciples sacrifice their former lives and any hopes of wealth or prestige.
CLICK HERE to read the June 11 Thursday Thoughts
Since the beginning of March, life at and with ERUCC and our community has been a constant barrage of new experiences.Â Whether itâ€™s been how to worship or how to conduct the churchâ€™s business or how to have fellowship and educational programs, every day brings new challenges in meeting the needs of the congregation and the community.
In this new environment, I have participated in at least 3 webinars or calls every week about COVID, technology, cleaning, mental health in these days, and meeting spiritual needs when we cannot gather or engage in our usual rituals.Â I must admit that these resources have been very helpful but so much new information all at the same time is taxing on my brain.
Then we had the murder of George Floyd and the unleashing of anger, frustration, and energy to say, â€œEnough is enough.â€Â The past few weeks have engaged our congregation in even deeper work on anti-racism.Â Â This, too, is taxing on the heart as we open ourselves to identifying and dismantling our behaviors as individuals and as a community that contribute to institutional racism.
All this is to say that I recognize the challenges of dealing with COVID will be with us for months.Â Our work in dismantling institutional racism will be before us for years.Â These challenges are not a sprint, but a long-distance run, and we all need to pace ourselves for this meaningful and hard work.
I am grateful that Ken and I will be able to take some time off to rest, renew, and refresh. I will be leaving for vacation tomorrow, June 12thÂ and returning on July 1st.Â Please contact Amy Aguilar at the church office with any questions or concerns. (email@example.com)
This Sunday, June 14th, if the technology works, you will hear a sermon that I recorded.Â Rev. Michelle Beadle will be preaching on June 21stÂ and Rev. Carolyn Roberts on June 28th.
I look forward to seeing you upon my return â€“ in person in worship on July 5thÂ or virtually in worship and on zoom calls.Â Take care and peace.
Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701
This morning David Howard, Susan Kulp,(pictured) the Logees and the Barrs worked in the gardens of the Frederick Food Sustainability Network. We are one of four teams from ERUCC who are volunteering for this cause. Hopefully our efforts will pay off with healthy foods for families in need. One of our teams will be there every Friday morning throughout the growing season.