Days of Grace April 2017

 

Easter

APRIL 2017

The Days of Grace

             At             

Grace United Church of Christ

 

GRACE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

100 FOURTH STREET

HANOVER, PA 17331

717-632-1146

Web site: http://graceucchanover.com


 

Church Office Hours

Mon.-Thurs. 8:00 A.M – 4:00 P.M.


 

Interim Pastor: Rev. Robin S. Keating

Visitation : Rev. Dot Thormaehlen

Organist/Choir Director: Harold E. Heller  

Modern Service Worship Director:  Amy Fawks

Modern Service Music Coordinator:  Kathy Trimmer

Secretary/Bookkeeper: Linda DeMaio

Sextons:  Sandy Puterbaugh and Faye Myers

 

Modern Service 9:00 AM – 9:45 AM

Church School 9:45 AM – 10:30 AM

Traditional Worship Service 10:45 AM

 

Pastor Keating’s Cell Phone: 336-250-9554

Rev. Keating’s e-mail address:

runnrev@gmail.com   

 

Pastor Dorothy Thormaehlen Cell Phone:

443-904-3363

 

Info/Prayer/Bible Study Line

717-632-1819, access  86212#

 

Grace Church Office e-mail address:    

graceclerk@yahoo.com

 

Newsletter e-mail: (deadline is 15th of the month)

graceuccnewsletter@gmail.com

 

9:00–9:45 AM Modern Worship Service

9:45-10:30 AM Church School for All Ages

10:45-11:45 AM  Traditional Worship Service


 

Grace UCC 2017 Lenten Schedule

 

April 5:      Topic:  Prayer Using Stations of the Cross   6:30 PM

April 9:       Palm Sunday

April 13:    Maundy Thursday Service with communion  7:00 PM

April 16:    Easter Sunday

       6:30 AM Sunrise Service at Long Arm Dam

         9:00 AM Modern Service

        10:10 AM Coffee Hour

        10:45 AM Traditional Service

April 23:    Heritage Sunday


 

A Word From Pastor Robin Keating…

Eastre is the Old English adaptation of the Teutonic goddess of spring and dawn. The celebration for this pagan god occurred around the time of the vernal equinox. The Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. determined Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. Over time the pagan name Eastre was adapted by Christianity to signify the remembrance of our Lord’s resurrection and we call that day Easter. The early church knew Easter as Pascha, signifying the death and resurrection of Jesus as the new Passover of the people of God. Just as Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 5:7, “For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed”. Pascha stems from the Jewish festival of Passover or Pesach, when the Jews relive the Hebrew peoples’ exodus from Egyptian slavery. For Christians the death and resurrection of Jesus proclaims our deliverance from slavery to sin and death.

The resurrection of Jesus occurred on a Sunday, therefore we celebrate every Sunday as a “little” Easter. The earliest records indicate that Pascha or Easter began Saturday night with the vigil and ended on Sunday morning. This vigil included the crucifixion along with the resurrection. The vigil’s high point was baptizing the new converts who had been instructed in our faith and sharing the Eucharist or communion. Baptism and communion have historically been central to the celebration of Easter, just as they are central to our Christian faith.

The Lord’s Day was viewed by the early church as the eighth day of creation. The Book of Genesis says that God created everything in six days, then rested on the seventh. This seventh day was the original Sabbath, beginning at sundown Friday and ending at sundown Saturday. The earliest Christians viewed themselves as a Jewish sect, celebrating the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day. It wasn’t until 300 A.D. that the crucifixion was separated from Easter’s resurrection celebration and the observance of Good Friday began.

The early church also celebrated the Lord’s resurrection for eight Sundays. Those baptized on Easter Sunday were required to attend worship each of those days and wear white baptismal robes. The eighth Sunday came to be known as White Sunday or Whitsunday, otherwise known as Pentecost.

Easter is a liturgical or church season which lasts fifty days, ending with Pentecost. The Ascension of our Lord comes on the fortieth day of Easter, uniting the resurrection with the reign of the glorified Christ. Pentecost, as part of the Easter season, unites the resurrection with the empowerment of the Church.

The spring theme of Easter, as well as the name, is not the only things we Christians appropriated from pagan belief. We’ve taken the symbols of fertility – eggs and rabbits – and made them our own symbols of Easter celebrations. Yet, Easter and spring only go hand-in-hand for residents in the northern hemisphere, the other half of the world experiences autumn at this time. Just some thoughts to ponder as we celebrate the Easter Season.

May you have a blessed Easter and live it as a people of the Resurrection! Oh, yes, and have I told you today that I love you?

 

March 2017 Consistory Digest

There were 16 members present, including Pastor Keating and Pastor Thormaehlen.

Treasurer’s Report:   

General pledge for February 2017:  $11,502.00  (4 Sundays)

General pledge for February 2016:  $18,202.40  (4 Sundays)

    YTD 2017 income:     $32,607.29

    YTD 2017 expenses:  $39,204.12

    YTD shortage:            $  6,596.83

Checking account balances

        Deacon:           $22,161.98           

        Education:       $11,900.27

        Memorial:        $  4,302.79

        Resource:         $19,974.51

        Operating:         $  8,692.14

 

The third draft of the updated Grace UCC Memorial Fund Policy was approved to be sent to the congregation for approval.

The Fellowship Hall and Kitchen Use Policy for Nonchurch Events, and the Fund Raising Policy are currently being written.

The Trustees reported the contract for lawn mowing has been signed for this summer.  The cost is $75.00/ mow for the church and parsonage.

We received a bill from Law Security for the reset of the alarms for Christmas Eve. The cost was $111.00.

Carroll Miller reported he has taken some time to review the books and records of Grace UCC. There were several accounting procedures which needed to be changed, so he has done that. He has made any necessary adjustments to get the books to reflect our current position as it relates to endowment funds, restricted funds, and unrestricted funds. In addition to the Treasurer’s Report, he will be distributing a “Funds Change Report” which will show us what is happening with our endowments and restricted funds and a “Balance Sheet” showing our current financial position.

 

Ken Wenger reported Sharing God’s Grace Project for this year is the PAL lunch program of the Hanover Council of Churches.  This program provides a hot lunch 365 days of the year to those in need.  Last year the total number of lunches was approximately 50,000.   Our goal is to raise $5,000 and to get a commitment of 750 volunteer hours.  Committee members are: Linda Bixler, Lynn Feeser, Mary Jane Furhman, Robin Keating, Ken Wenger, and Debbie Wierman.

 

Pastor Keating reported the Hanover Area Council of Churches asked if Grace would consider hosting The World Day of Prayer Service, Friday evening, March 2, 2018.  Grace would have to have a chairperson to organize a program, the prayer, and refreshments.  Consistory approved hosting the service at Grace.

 

Pastor Keating also reported:

He would like to make changes to the Maundy Thursday Service.  The service will be held in the sanctuary this year.  The prayer vigil following the Maundy Thursday Service will be held this year.

 

An on-site retreat for Consistory will be planned for a Saturday in May.  This retreat will focus on team building, leadership, and getting to know one another better.

 

Dan Trimmer reported the recent Congregational Assessment indicated that the congregation did not always feel informed regarding consistory decisions and that they did not always trust how the decisions were being made.  Several of us have had comments made to us reflecting these feelings.  The officers met a few days ago to discuss ideas to address this perception.  We are recommending that a time be set aside at each Consistory meeting to allow for public comment.  Any congregational member who has a question or concern may come and share that with consistory. This will start in April.

 

Dan also reported that Hanover Has Talent raised $1895.00 to be donated to HACC for the Changing Lives Shelter.

 

Prepared by Craig Bixler, March 15, 2017


 

Church Policy Updates

 

As you may well know, the consistory is in the process of developing policies to cover a number of different areas in the church.  Your first question may be, “Why is this necessary?”  We just had a pastor retire after serving over 30 years.  He had established a way of doing things that were very comfortable for him and established over the years.  Very soon, we will call a new pastor who has no knowledge of how things were done in the past.  It is our responsibility to give guidance to this new person and written policies are one of the best ways of doing this.  This is the sole reason for this effort on the part of the consistory.  We are not being directed by anyone to do this and we do not have any agenda other than to prepare Grace UCC for a successful transition.

 

Your second question may be, “Why does the consistory get to decide what is in these policies?”  The answer is simple; we don’t.  The consistory will write and approve sample policies, but these policies are not final until approved by the congregation as a whole.  This is stated in the Grace UCC by laws.  

 

Currently there are three policies that have been approved to be forwarded to the congregation.  These are: a policy on marriages, one on the operation of the memorial fund, and one on the use of fellowship hall for non- church activities. Others in the works are for fund raising and membership.  

 

After Easter, there will be a meeting to hear discussion on those policies that have been completed. The policies will be distributed beforehand, giving ample time to review.  After this meeting there will be a simple yes or no vote for each policy presented.  If the results are yes, then the policy will go into effect.  If the vote is no, then the consistory will have the task of revising and rewriting the policy, taking into consideration the concerns raised.  Another vote will then be held.  

 

Not everyone will agree with every sentence of every policy presented, and the process will take time and effort.  However, it is an important step in our transition to a new minister. These policies will give our new minister clear direction in making future decisions that reflect our congregation.

 

Opportunity for Input

 

One area that was revealed in the survey was a belief by some in our congregation that how decisions are made are not always clear and may not always reflect the will of the congregation.  To try to address these feelings, the consistory invites any member of the congregation to attend our monthly meetings.   There will be time set aside at each meeting for members of the congregation to ask questions or express concerns to the consistory as a whole.  Meetings are held the second Monday of each month at 7:00 P.M. in the parlor.  If you have a question or are concerned about any aspect of the church, please consider taking this opportunity to share.

 

Grace Policies

 

The Grace Wedding Policy and Grace Memorial Fund Policy will be available to be read in April. See Sunday bulletins for more details.  

 

WORSHIP AND MUSIC COMMITTEE

 

The committee will celebrate Heritage Sunday on April 23.  A Heritage Committee was appointed to plan the event.  The theme will be “I Have Just Seen Jesus.”  PLEASE NOTE:  THE WORSHIP SERVICE WILL TAKE PLACE AT 10:00AM IN THE SANCTUARY AND WILL BE A COMBINED TRADITIONAL AND MODERN WORSHIP SERVICE.  SUNDAY SCHOOL WILL BE HELD FROM 9:00AM  TO 9:45AM.  These time changes are for April 23 only.  

We will return to the regular hours on Sunday, April 30:  Modern Service from 9:00AM to 9:45AM, Sunday School from 9:45AM to 10:30AM, and Traditional Service from 10:45 to 11:45.  Watch for more details.

 

Sponsors

To sponsor flowers or bulletins for worship services, please contact the church office

632-1146 for open dates.

 

Gettysburg Association Annual Spring Meeting

 The Gettysburg Association Annual Spring meeting will be held Sunday, April 23, 2017, 3:00 PM, at Bethel UCC, Spring Grove.  See Linda or Craig Bixler for more details.

 

Messy Church

Friday, April 7 from 6 PM – 7:30 PM

Theme: Prayer

 Learn about God through fun, fellowship, and creativity.  Experience a Bible story through storytelling, crafts, and music.  A light meal will be served.

Looking ahead:

Vacation Bible School

Sunday, July 9 – Thursday, July 13

6:15 PM -8:00 PM

Theme: Maker Fun Factory

Created By God – Built for a Purpose

 

Anyone who would like to help with VBS, please contact Linda Bixler  632-5606.

 

RESOURCE REPORT

 

Our projects are off to a running start.  The chicken corn soup profit was $505.40 and cherry pies brought in $538.74.  

We are now buried in our candy-making.  Call your orders in and make this a big success. Pick up date is April 9.

Big “thanks yous” to everyone who shows up in the kitchen with a smile and willingness to “get it going.  “Love You”

We have sold 78 reservations for the annual Spring Tea Card Party on April 19 and will be calling for desserts soon.

Forty-four folks have paid for the June 18-21 Vermont trip.  We have room for four more, if you are interested in a great holiday.  We are staying at a Four Season Resort Inn, which will provide you with upscale lodging in an attractive setting.  We have scheduled some very remarkable venues to explore.  All meals will be  

provided and then off we go to explore this beautiful area.  You can call Mary Jane Fuhrman 637-1513 for additional information.

 

The Yard Sale will be May 13.  Please keep us in mind when you are falling over “too much stuff” while Spring cleaning.  We treasure your support.  *Items may be placed in the storage shed.  Please box items if possible.  During office hours storage shed key is available in the office.*

 

Traditional Service Choral Anthems

 

Each Sunday the Chancel Choir sings a choral offertory for the meaningful enhancement of the Traditional Worship Service.  Occasionally, the Sunday School children also give of their talents to God's Glory with the gift of music.  In the  past, there have been special requests for a particular anthem to be sung.  Should any person or groups of people be interested in sponsoring an offertory anthem, they may do so by contacting the organist, Harold Heller, either before or after a service, or by calling 677-6849.  The request must be completed at least a week prior to the sponsorship.

 

The music may be sponsored in different ways, such as In Memory of, In Honor of, To the Glory of God by, etc.  Sponsoring choral offertories is a great way to honor those who mean, or have meant a great deal to a person, people, or groups of people, such as family and friends.  The sponsorship also supports the costs of the music program of Grace Church.  The cost for a sponsorship,will be $25.00 per selection.

 

LADIES OF GRACE

Ladies of Grace met on Sunday, Feb 12, for their annual Valentine Party and Secret Sister Gift Exchange.  It was decided to discontinue the Secret Sister Program for this year and re-evaluate in a year to so.  Our peanut brittle sale was a success and we thank all those who supported the sale.  A committee from the Ladies of Grace will host the Fellowship Hour following the worship service on Heritage Sunday, April 23.

 

"This Week at Grace"

Corby Myers updates the “Today at Grace” email and the church website.  If you would like publicity on the “Today at Grace” page or other church publication, please fill out the Grace Publicity Request page at http://graceucchanover.com/?page_id=2743 on the church website. You can also find a link in the “Today at Grace” email. You can either print the request form or or email it. While a form may sound a bit formal, it does help you to share the information that we need for your publicity.

 

Rev. Dot Thormaehlen records the The Bible Study and Prayer Line every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 717-632-1819 access 86212#

 

Baby Blanket Ministry

 

We have a wonderful group of ladies that have made beautiful baby blankets for parishioners who have had new babies.  We thought we could stretch our wings…since folks are so kind to make these blankets…to include new grandchildren of grandparents in our congregation. If you have a new grandchild please call Leslie Grote at .717-968-6183.   If your grandchild lives in another state either you or Leslie can mail the blanket for the new baby. We have talked about "reaching out" and this is a good way! For those who have been "on hold" for knitting/crocheting baby blankets…please stand by for new requests. Thanks!


 

YOUTH GROUP

(TWIC-TEENS WORKING IN CHRIST)

 

The Youth Group has been learning about the events of Lent and also participate in the Candles of Lent Service each Sunday morning during the traditional service.  The youth are working on their “Peep Show” presentations that will take place during the coffee hour following the traditional service on Sunday April 30.  The congregation will have an opportunity to vote on each presentation by donating 0 cents per vote.

In April the youth will meet in the youth room, Saturday, April 8 at 9AM to prepare for the Easter Egg Hunt that will take place at 10AM.  

The youth are also working on their presentation of The Many Faces of Jesus that will take place on Heritage Sunday during the worship service, beginning at 10AM.

Looking ahead:  Youth Sunday will participate on  Mother's Day, May 14, during the traditional service.  The youth will sponsor the Coffee Hour on May 28 following the traditional service.

The Youth Group meets on Sunday mornings from 9:45AM to 10:30AM.  All youth, 5th grade and older are invited to join us.

 

Board of Education

The Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Saturday, April 8 at 10AM.  Children ages toddler through and including 4th grade will meet in Fellowship Hall to be assigned to egg hunting areas.  Youth group will meet at 9AM in the youth room to prepare for the egg hunt.

Donations of wrapped Easter candy are needed by March 31.  Please place your donation in the basket in the kitchen.

Easter Sunday– Modern Service begins at 9AM. Children will report to their Sunday School classrooms ar 9:45AM and will go to Fellowship Hall at 10:10AM for refreshments and to receive a small potted plant to take home.  The Traditional Service takes place at 10:45AM.

 

 

 

Sewing Group – April 11

Calling all pinners and sewers to help with the bed pad project. Starting time is 9:00 AM and we finish at 11:00 AM. We take a short break with snacks.  If any questions you can contact Linda Sager or Leone Musselman.

 

Attention members and friends of Grace as you are doing your cleaning of drawers and closets, the bed pad ministry could use clean, threadbare  sheets and pillow cases to continue their work in service of the need for the community.

 

Community Aid Collection Box

The Community Aid box is the ongoing effort of collecting gently used clothing and other small items. The Community Aid collection box is located at the far end of our church parking lot. Donations of clean, good clothes are appreciated. The sale of these items allows Community Aid to donate proceeds to various charities in our area.

We recently received a check in the amount of $112.00 from Community Aid.  This represents their donation to us for items collected during the 4th quarter of 2016.  Please support this ongoing project by placing clean, usable clothing items in the bin found at the back of our Church Parking Lot.  Please call the Church Office with any questions or concerns.  Thank you!

 

Weis & Giant Grocery Cards

Do you shop at Weis or Giant? Weis & Giant grocery cards are an easy way to support our Deacon Fund as we earn 5% when we use these grocery cards. They are available in the church office.

 

 

What is the Deacon's Fund?

The Grace Church Deacon's Fund is used to assist those members of our congregation who may experience emergency financial need.  The need may arise from poverty, illness, accident, jog loss, fire, or other difficult situations.


 

IN LOVING MEMORY

Leona H. Baughman

 

Sharing God's Grace

 

Being a member of this committee has made me aware of so very many needs of others.  Many causes seen on TV tear at your heartstrings.  We try to raise awareness and funds for a local cause and here, again, there are many.

 

You and I travel Carlisle Street and say, “Oh, yes, that's where they serve Meals on Wheels at lunch.”  But how proud we can be knowing where this program originated—right here in Grace Church.  Yes, the Lord does work in mysterious ways.  He spoke to Jean Smith in 1983 with an idea to help those in need and so Provide A Lunch was launched.  I remember we stored the food in Rev. Folks' basement (our parsonage) at the time and the first meal was served here on April 23, 1983, for 13 folks.

 

Other churches joined in, but getting to their churches (walking) was very difficult for most.   Eventually with 21 participating churches “A Star was Born”–The Hanover Area Council of Churches.  Rev. Bruce Bouchard served as president and a need for a central location was answered when the Benford Furniture Store was put up for sale.  Again, God spoke.  A fund raising drive was started and in six months the mortgage was paid.

 

In recent weeks I took two tours of the entire operation and was amazed at all that takes place.  So many folks have given time, talents, and monies. Of course, I was happy to learn of some Eagle Scouts who made this their project for advancement. They scraped and painted walls in different rooms; put up chair rails in the dining room, hallways, and meeting rooms; and painted the new clinic.  One scout made benches. Another gentleman just built two beautiful bunk beds that were badly needed in one family bedroom.

 

There's so much to learn.  I'm glad I went.  And by the way, I learned that our 13 meals served on that first day has grown.  Last year there were 64,000 served, including “Meals on Wheels,” which are also prepared in the shelter kitchen.

 

As with our own homes, after hard use things give up and need to be repaired.  Some major equipment is breaking down.  A new dishwasher plus re-wiring and electrical work in the kitchen are needed, as well as food stuffs.

 

Sharing God's Grace has set a goal of $5,000 to be our project this year, as well as a new goal of 750 volunteer hours donated by our congregation.  More on this to come.

Collections for the project begin the last Sunday of April and continue until the end of December.  Envelopes will be in the pews for your use anytime and the last Sunday of the month an opportunity will be given to bring your financial or time commitments to the front at the beginning of the last hymn. Checks should be made to Grace UCC with PAL in the memo line.

 

Respectfully,

Mary Jane Fuhrman for the Sharing God's grace Team

 

Church Office Hours have changed to:  Monday through Thursday,from 8:00AM until 4:00 PM  If you have a concern, please handle it through the Office Monday through  Thursday, from 8:00AM until 4:00PM.  As always, if there is a concern that cannot wait, either Pastor Robin or Pastor Dot can be reached by calling them on their respective cell phones.  Their numbers are listed in the service folder each week and in the monthly newsletter.

 

HANOVER  AREA

COUNCIL OF CHURCHES

 

CLOTHING BANK

Grace United Church of Christ is scheduled to help out at the clothing bank on the first Monday of the month from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

 

April Needs

 

PAL

Coffee, Sauerkraut, Lima Beans, Tomato Sauce

 

CLOTHING BANK

Sheets (no twin)  

   

CHANGING LIVES SHELTER

Gallon-Sandwich bags, Lysol Spray (Can) Liquid, Dish Soap

 

RUTH’S HARVEST  

All single serving please!   

Single Serve Vegetables  

 

We always have a need for old towels that can be cut up and used as cleaning rags! Please mark your bag “RAGS” to avoid any confusion with your donation.

 

PAL LUNCH

Volunteers Needed

We are scheduled for PAL lunch the third Saturday each month. Help is always needed and accepted.  If you would like to volunteer to help at PAL lunch on the 3rd Sat of the month, please contact:  Craig Bixler 632-5606


 

The Clothing Bank needs your help!

 

We are looking for individuals who are available to come and sort clothing and items. Sorters are needed 8:30-11AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Cashiers are needed 9AM-12 noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and on the first Saturday of the month when the Clothing Bank is open from 9 AM to 12. If you are interested in learning more about this volunteer opportunity please contact the Council office at 717-633-6353.

 

 

SERVING IN APRIL

 

If you are unable to serve a position that you are scheduled for please find a substitute and/or inform the church secretary.

 

USHERS

 

Head ushers:  Sue Lang, Jenn Weaver          

April   2:   Joann Sites, Mike Stonesifer,

         Earl Fuhrman, Steph Stonesifer,

         Mary Jane Fuhrman, Donovan Yongue

April   9:  Joann Sites, Mike Stonesifer,

        Earl Fuhrman, Steph Stonesifer,

        Mary Jane Fuhrman, Donovan Yongue

 

April 16:   Easter – Consistory

 

April 23:  (10AM service)

       Barry Bankert, Steve Rudisill

        Donna Bankert, Zach Rudisill

        Michele Rudisill, Linda Sager

April 30: Barry Bankert, Steve Rudisill

       Donna Bankert, Zach Rudisill

       Michele Rudisill, Linda Sager

 

LECTORS

April   2  Ethan Shank & Linda Bixler

April   9  Pauline Benner

April 16  Assisting Elder Dan Trimmer

April 23  Amy Fawks (10 AM service)

April 30  Linda Heller

 

Calling All Readers:  Please Help!

We are looking for some people to help with lectoring.  If you can help please leave a message in the office or on my answering machine!  Thanks for your help.  

Faye Myers (632-6361)

 

GREETERS   

April 2 – Fay Emlet

April 9 – Kristine Benner

April 16 Easter – Consistory

April 23 – Kristine Benner (10 AM service)

April 30 – Fay Emlet

 

YOUTH CHURCH ASSISTANTS

If you are interested in helping, please contact Tina Hagarman 633-5309.

 

WORSHIP ASSISTANTS

 

        Acolyte & Reader

April   2  Vance Hagarman

April   9  Kristina Newman

April 16  Cobie Caler

April 23  Sydney Bankert

April 30  Vance Hagarman

 

NURSERY HELPERS

 

April   2  Joyce Wagner, Sue Foerster, Kris Benner

April   9  Betsy Eyler, Holly Smith, Cindy Garrett

April 16  Pam Kreitz, Sherry Lawrence, Alda Heller

April 23  (10 AM service)  Alecia & David Highlands, Ashley Rummel

April 30  Donna Bankert, Linda Sager, Nancy Bankert

 

Nursery Help Needed

 

Our Nursery staff is in search of helpers so that we may be able to continue to provide this service during our Sunday morning Worship Services.  Please contact Nancy Kuhn or the Church Office, to join in on the fun that is our Nursery Ministry!!!

 

TRADITIONAL SERVICE

COFFEE HOUR HOSTS

 

April   2  Mike and Kelly Bankert

April   9  Nancy and Len Bankert

April 16  Easter – Coffee Hour 10:10 AM  between Sunday School and Traditional Service hosted by Board of Education

April 23  Heritage Sunday hosted by the Ladies of Grace

April 30  Paul and Leslie Grote


 

MODERN SERVICE

HOSPITALITY HOSTS

 

If you are interested in providing refreshments for the modern service,  please contact

Pam Kreitz 717-476-9511.

 

 

From the UCC Still Speaking Daily Devotional February 4, 2017

The Seven Last Words of the Church


Richard L. Floyd

"Jesus said to them, "Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.' You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition." – Mark 7:6-8


Some of the scribes and Pharisees questioned Jesus as to why his disciples had not washed their hands before eating, as was "the custom of the elders." He chastised them for their slavish devotion to custom, while neglecting their relationship with God.


Our customs and traditions are important for institutional continuity and for doing things in the church "decently and in order." But customs followed for their own sake can stifle needed change and quench the flame of the Spirit.


A pastor friend of mine once told me about being in a church meeting. He said, "I knew it was time for me to move on when I heard someone say, 'We've never done it that way before,' and I realized it was me!"


Early in my ministry I was told that "We've never done it that way before" were the "seven last words of the church."


The church is gathered to hear God's life-giving promises and the Good News of God's great love for us in Jesus Christ. But sometimes we get diverted from our true focus, and become bogged down by ephemera such as the placement of the chancel furniture, the color of the hymnal covers, or the method of serving communion. God, have mercy!





Prayer


Living and loving God, never let our customs and traditions become more important to us than you. Turn us again to your love, through Jesus Christ our Savior.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

 

Christ calls us to reach out with Love and share God's Grace.