Tag: Thursday Thoughts

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

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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 2 Thursday Thoughts

July 2 Thursday Thoughts

CLICK HERE to read the July 2, Thursday  Thoughts.

July 2, 2020

Dear Congregation:

It’s been twelve weeks since we last gathered as a congregation in our sanctuary.  This Sunday, some of us will share worship in the sanctuary and some of us will share worship via the livestream.  Wherever and however you choose to worship, your decision is honored as I hope you will honor the decisions of others.

As you know, reopening the buildings has not been an easy decision.  Besides researching all the science and data concerning the spread of the virus, we have been navigating the emotional toll this has taken on so many in our congregation.  For some of us, gathering at the church for worship has been not only a regular practice but critical for overcoming isolation.  Being with the church family brings meaning and purpose in ways that other group gatherings do not.  I have heard the pain and the heartbreak as week after week went by and we could not gather even as we all admitted we needed more time to consider how to gather as safely as possible.

The reopening team seriously reviewed the scientific data from the CDC and recommendations from the Frederick County Health Department.  These are reflected in how we will be worshipping.  When some of us do gather in the sanctuary this Sunday, we know that this pandemic is far from over.  We are not returning to life as usual or as we knew it prior to the beginning of March.  We will be wearing masks and sitting far apart from each other.  We will not be able to hug or shake hands.  We will not be singing as a congregation nor will we have the senior choir.   We will be surrounded by the smell of cleaning fluids and hand sanitizer.

It will be different.  We will feel the difference not only because of the masks but also, we will feel the physical absence of some of our friends.  And to  reinforce a key element of our path forward, we respect the decisions of one another who choose to come to worship in the building and those who choose to participate at home. Each person must make their own assessment as to how and when they choose to worship.

We will need to continue to be vigilant in keeping connected with one another with all the ways we have been doing that over these past twelve weeks, focusing on what we have learned as a congregation, including:

  • How people have become engaged with worship in ways they never had before.
  • How we came to appreciate the depth of care within our church family.
  • How we needed to invest in new equipment to upgrade the online experience.
  • How we continued to be the church even as we had to figure out new ways to do that.

I am sure there is other knowledge we have gained, and I welcome hearing from you about your insights.

I thank those who  served on the Worship Team throughout these twelve weeks, the AV tech crew, and the church staff.  We know that until there is a vaccine, this virus will have an impact on us, for many months ahead. Patience, flexibility, and faith must be our guides, always erring on the side of safety.

 

 

 

Worship Notes  

Jesus offers a relationship that leads to fullness of life, yet Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30 reports that many resist Jesus’ hospitality. Jesus likens them to two groups of children at play who can’t agree on a game and find fault with all that is offered. Today we will reopen the doors of the church for Sunday morning worship.  As a small group meets in the sanctuary, we know that we will continue to be gathered in many homes across Frederick and the United States as well as Germany. For your worship center, you have a little sparkly thing to add as a reminder of the joy we share as a community in Christ.

Food for Thought:   

           

 

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

 

June 4, 2020 Thursday Thoughts

June 4, 2020 Thursday Thoughts

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Dear Congregation:

We know that we are dealing with two viruses.  COVID 19 and the virus of racism.  We have been living in fear and anxiety with a virus that can lurk inside some of us without symptoms.  A virus that preys upon the most vulnerable.  A virus that keeps manifesting itself in new ways and with new symptoms.

We already knew that black and brown communities are disproportionately  affected by the virus.  We also know that  black and brown communities are disproportionately affected by police brutality.  Those communities are disproportionately represented in the prisons of our country.  We know that black and brown communities face institutional racism in education, government, business, and the faith communities.  Truth is that those communities face racism everywhere.

It has not gone unnoticed that the confluence of COVID 19 and the response to the death of George Floyd has pushed our country to a deeper conversation about racism.  I am grateful for t your willingness to go deeper into that conversation.  The response to the classes Rev. Michelle Beadle led earlier this year demonstrated a willingness to become vulnerable and examine our own prejudices.  That has broadened more in these recent weeks.

Thank you for taking this journey of faith.  We all have prejudices and it is important that we identify them.  It is important for us to examine how our white privilege has socialized us in ways that have given us advantages that our black and brown siblings do not have.  This is our work to do and I am grateful for our friends of color who have been so patient with us.

If we stay on this path of learning and understanding and dismantling what is getting in the way for all people to live in security and peace, we can be the change.  Our friends of color are tired, fed up, and asking us, “How long?”  Do you hear them?  Are we willing to take the difficult, painful journey of examining our own lives and what we may be doing that contributes to racism?  Jesus said to us, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

Change is challenging.  Change can be painful.  But imagine with me, a country where we really do live up to all that we say that we value.

Thursday Thoughts May 28, 2020

Thursday Thoughts May 28, 2020

CLICK HERE for the Full May 28, 2020 Thursday Thoughts. 

 

Dear Congregation:

I greatly appreciate the resources, prayers, and reflections my colleagues are sharing during these challenging times.  This morning, Michel Caine, Pastor of Old First Reformed UCC, Philadelphia shared this prayer with his congregation.  As he writes, “In light of all the missed or at least postponed rituals and life cycle events, I offer you a Postponement Prayer created by a Reconstructionist Rabbi, Heather Paul:”

“Holy One of Blessing,

I stand before You today

ready to embrace Your unending love

and ready to respond with love in return

 

Today is not the day I imagined

and yet I am still here, standing with You,

understanding that sometimes plans overturn

and all that we yearned for

remains undone.

 

Holy One of Blessing,

my heart breaks for what should have been

and longs for what’s yet to come

Help me find holiness

in this in-between time, waiting.

 

Bless me with savlanut (patience),

tikvah (hope), and koakh (strength).

Sit beside me in time’s waiting room

where I pray the day may soon arrive

when I can stand before You again

ready to welcome a new beginning

 

Blessed are You, Arranger of Time and Space,

Who blesses every season, and Who blesses Your people forever.”

Thursday Thoughts, May 21

Thursday Thoughts, May 21

CLICK HERE to read the full Thursday, May 21 Thursday Thoughts

 

Dear Congregation:
Today is Ascension Day. Ascension Day is the 40th day of Easter and commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven 39 days after resurrection on Easter Sunday. You will find the Biblical accounts of the Ascension in Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:6-11.

During the 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and his ascension, it is believed that Jesus preached and spent time with the apostles and his followers. Ten days after Ascension Day is Pentecost when we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus.

In the beginning of Acts, the risen Lord instructs the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. This they do for 40 days, recalling Moses on the mountain, receiving the law and experiencing the glory of the Lord. “Lord,” they ask Jesus, “is this the time that your kingdom is going to come?” “No,” Jesus says, “it is not for you to know that. . . . But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses.”

Then Jesus ascends to heaven, and two men in white robes ask the disciples, “Why are you looking up to heaven? He is going to come back!”

There was a time when the Ascension of Jesus was a big deal at Evangelical Reformed Church. In the narthex of our main sanctuary, you can see this photo of the chancel, elaborately decorated for worship in marking the Ascension of Jesus. In reading the bulletins from the ministry of Rev. Kieffer, our pastor from 1910-1946, you find announcements such as this one from 1919, “The annual Sunday School Festival will be held on Ascension Day (Thursday of this week), 7 o’clock. This is one of the most important services of the year and all members of the congregation are invited to be present.”

Thursday Thoughts – April 30, 2020

Thursday Thoughts – April 30, 2020

Dear Congregation:

We are entering a new world on Sunday with our annual congregational meeting being held online via Zoom.  Here are the details for the meeting that will begin at noon on Sunday:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/355462527?pwd=LzdBbmdraVp4V2F5c1Q4TGVvTEwyUT09 
Meeting ID: 355 462 527
Password: 360547

Download Zoom on your preferred device before the meeting.

If you’ve never used Zoom before, check out this Zoom video tutorial https://youtu.be/hIkCmbvAHQQ

Try and sign on at 11:45 so that we can help you troubleshoot any difficulties you have with sound.
A few more quick notes:

  1. Everyone will be muted upon entry into the Zoom Meeting Room
  2. You won’t be able to unmute yourself
  3. You can control whether your video is on or off – the choice is yours
Please be patient and understand that your Wi-Fi connection is big factor in how the meeting looks and any lag or delays experienced.

If you have a question, you can use the chat box feature at the bottom of your screen.  Or raise your hand.  I will be helping our Consistory leaders monitoring the chat box, questions, and flow of the meeting.

Looking forward to “seeing”” you on Sunday.

Thursday Thoughts: April 23, 2020

Thursday Thoughts: April 23, 2020

Dear Congregation:

This Sunday we will read from Luke 24: 13-35, the story we name as the Road to Emmaus, when two disciples encounter Jesus on the road.  At first Jesus is a stranger but when he breaks bread with them, their hearts are open and they “ate their food with glad and generous hearts.”

Where has your heart been opened in these “stay-at-home” weeks?  How have you been experiencing your meals differently now that you are eating more meals at home?  Are you enjoying cooking more and eating meals with your family?  Does the food taste any different?

This weekend, I invite you to make some bread and add it to your worship center as we remember the meal Jesus shared with his disciples on the road to Emmaus.  Yes, you’ll also need bread for communion on May 3rd.  But who doesn’t enjoy bread?

Share the photos of your bread projects with us on Facebook or via email.

https://mailchi.mp/5990f24989a4/stay-informed-4029693