Hymns: Beneath the Cross of Jesus and Alas and Did my Savior Bleed and our last hymn was one requested by Robert and Mary Smith-- One Day at a Time Scriptures: Acts 7:54-60, 8:1-3 and Acts 9:1-10
Hymns: In the Cross of Christ I Glory and Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross and our final hymn in memory of Billy Graham Just As I Am
Scriptures: Luke 1:26-38 and John 2: 1-5
Hymns: Rock of Ages and I've got Peace Like a River Scripture: Mark 1:29-39 and Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
MARCH/APRIL MESSENGER Holy Week Schedule: 7:00 p.m. service Good Friday (this will be similar to our traditional Maundy Thursday Service) 9:00 a.m. service Easter Sunday Breakfast served prior to that by the Council Lent Message We are know in the season of Lent. A time when we recognize that Christ died on the cross for each one of us. Christ showed his love for us, how can we return that love or/and show that love to others. . . ? How is up to each one of us individually and collectively. When starts when you read this to as long as God gives you breath. Where can be from Ecuador to 1202 Westmore Avenue. Who is your neighbor regardless who they are or where they live. Why is John 3:16. Peace, Pastor Ken
Spring itself is Resurrection! Bough and bud combine to prove That death is a temporal imperfection Through which all of life must move. From the husks new green arises, From the kernel roots appear, And tho’ our hopes wear dark disguises Faith can find its white robes here --Ralph W Seager
From Pastor Ken As most of you know, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip this past February 7-16 to Ecuador. There were twelve of us from this conference. Our ages went from 17 to the 70's. We had 9 women and 3 men or 4 pastors and 8 lay people. It was the first person-to-person mission trip for all of us. I start with this to show that you are qualified to go on a mission trip in the future. I am going to skip a lot of the details in hope that you will come to each church service or a special service that I am planning for an evening or weekend afternoon where I can tell you more of this mission. It was challenging, faith enriching, enjoyable, educational and so much more. The work projects included working with the local people to build a community building connected to their church. This meant grouting tiles and painting walls and ceilings. In a nearby town we taught first aid over three days, while at another site we taught a Bible school for the same amount of time. The numbers increased each day at the first aid and at the Bible school. Those who went are already thinking of having a mission trip next year to Ecuador or to another place of interest. If this interests, you ask me for more details or how to sign up. I would like to thank all those and both churches for making this financially feasible. Also thanks to both churches for buying first aid kits that were distributed to Ecuadorian people. They greatly appreciated them and all that was done with them and for them. Please ask me for more details. I look forward to sharing with you. Peace, Pastor Ken Do all the good you can, to all the people you can, in all the ways that you can, for as long as you can. --Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Two Daily Devotionals from the UCC website-- Jesus is Coming, Look Busy! "Surely I am coming soon." - Revelation 22:21 This verse, one of the very last in the Bible, makes me think of two bumper stickers: "Jesus is Coming. Look Busy!" and my favorite: "God is coming …and she's pissed!" It's silly to think of God as a nitpicking boss, watching and waiting for us to slack off, check our Facebook page, click over to solitaire, or take a power nap in the youth lounge as a pretext for kicking us to the curb. It's also cartoonish to make God into an angry parent yelling, "Don't make me come down there!" to kids-gone-wild in the basement playroom. On the other hand, scripture repeatedly forecasts a day when God will come to earth and "clean house," end injustice, cast out evil and make things right. That good news is the theme of Revelation. I don't know if God will be "pissed" when it happens but I suspect it won't help to "look busy." In fact, I think we're are supposed to "get busy" right now. Because maybe God's renovation project is already underway. Maybe, when the writer of Revelation said it would happen "soon," he meant "now." If that's true, all baptized disciples are called to roll up their sleeves and join Jesus in cleaning house. Even as new messes pile up, we can whistle as we work because we know how the story ends. Prayer Lord, I will have countless opportunities to right some wrongs today. Help me see, and do, at least one. Amen. --Matt Laney, Senior Pastor, Virginia Highland Church UCC, Atlanta, Georgia
Some of it is Your Fault "While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long . . . my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and you forgave the guilt of my sin." - Psalm 32:3-5 There is so much wrong with the world, and some of it is your fault. The earth is collapsing under the weight of so many of us using up everything we want as fast as we want, and you just drank a cup of coffee from a disposable cup. People are really actually starving right in your town and you continue to buy groceries for your own family as if this were not happening. Governments are overtaken by thugs and you are too busy or cynical to vote. There is so much wrong, and some of it really is your fault. The curse of being human is knowing this. The blessing of being human is having a choice about how to respond to this knowledge. You can pull the covers over your head, groan softly and gradually waste away from the helpless, enervating guilt of it all. Or you can start here. Roll out of your bed and kneel beside it. Open your mouth not to groan, for once, but to speak out loud. Tell your fault to the Holy One so that it no longer weighs you down, no longer weakens your body and soul, no longer keeps you trapped in the prison of your own making. Remember that while some of it is your fault, not all of it is. Then stand up. There is so much wrong with the world, and you have work to do. Prayer Oh Most High, Help me speak and then to move from confession to action. Amen. Jennifer Brownell, Pastor, First Congregational Church Vancouver, Washington,
Church Expenses ---- Did you know . . . . Waste Management has our contract for garbage pickup. They provide us with the dumpster and will pick up 2 cubic yards of waste every two weeks. Cost: $155 a month with an additional $85 a month for overage. The overage is determined if everything is not inside the container and the cover does not close. If that is the case, the Waste Management driver takes a picture of the dumpster in case of customer complaints and then notes it to the billing department. Our latest bill from Waste Management had an added $85 for overage in our container, making the bill $240 for one month. They sent us a picture for verification; it shows garbage piled high. You are being alerted to this so that when putting material in the dumpster, compact it as much as you can. Paper plates, coffee cups, napkins, etc., can often be pressed together so they do not take as much room. Card board boxes, cans, milk cartons, etc., should be broken down if possible, and put in the recycling container. Another “Bob Moment”—he used to break down cardboard boxes and take them directly to Waste Management.
If you would like to help decorate the church sanctuary for Easter by sharing an Easter lily, please bring it to church prior to 9 a.m. Easter Sunday worship. If you wish, Penny Helgeson will buy one for you—call her at 642-6128. If you would like the plant to be in memory of someone, please tell Penny or leave a note in the office.
One Great Hour of Sharing OCWM is a special offering taken during March. Its purpose is to help grow churches here and around the world. Its funds are also used to help improve the lives of countless people worldwide. Disaster relief in the United States is also an important function of OCWM. They have been active in helping the recovery efforts from damage done by Hurricane Harvey and the recent flooding in Texas. Please give generously. There’s a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board that you may not have noticed. It lists several housekeeping jobs within the church that could easily be done by a volunteer—maybe you. Check it out—and sign up for something you’d like to do to help maintain our church building.
Have you thought of celebrating Pi day (3/14) with a pie? There are still some apple pies available.
In spring time; a would-be gardener's fancy turns to.... “It's March already! What will I plant this year?” I have come up with an idea for a change in the garden this year. Shh. Don't tell Ken. He doesn't read my articles so what he doesn't know won't hurt him. I am thinking of container gardening my peppers and tomatoes and putting just pumpkins in my garden spot. I always like pumpkins in the fall for decoration and we don't devote our limited space to planting them. New attitude. Why not? One year I wanted to plant all flowers in our little garden space and Ken was not on board. This time I may just plant my choices while he is working and tell him not to worry, it's all done. He doesn't weed anyway so he won't notice until late June what I have done. Excellent plan, don't you think? I know what everyone reading this is thinking. Plan all you want. God laughs at that. Even so, a plan makes you feel more organized. When Pastor Jo was here, she said she is working on her Godliness more than tidiness. I am not so good at tidiness either so maybe I can work on Godliness since lots of folks think you're closer to God in a garden. Worth a try. --by Darlene Stanford-Adams
Plant Happiness First plant five rows of peas: Prayer, Purity, Politeness, Perseverance, Promptness Next plant three rows of squash: squash gossip; squash doubt; squash indifference Then five rows of lettuce: Let us be faithful to duty, let us be unselfish, let us be gentle, let us follow wisdom, let us love life. No garden is complete without turnips: Turn up for church, turn up with a smile, turn up with new ideas, turn up with determination to make everything count for something good and worthwhile.
Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?
Seven things you don't need to know about Daylight Saving Time: 1. “Spring forward and fall back” is an easy way to remember how to set the clock when daylight saving times begins and ends. You set your clock forward one hour at 2 a.m. on March 11. You’ll set it back one hour at 2 a.m. on Nov. 4. 2. In the United States, daylight saving time began on March 21, 1918. U.S. government officials reasoned that fuel could be saved by reducing the need for lighting in the home. 3. Ancient agrarian civilizations used a form of daylight saving time, adjusting their timekeeping depending on the sun’s activity. 4. Many people call it daylight savings time. The official name is daylight saving time. No ‘s’ on ‘saving.’ 5. Benjamin Franklin came up with an idea to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy. 6. A standardized system of beginning and ending daylight saving time came in 1966 when the Uniform Time Act became law. While it was a federal act, states were granted the power to decide if they wanted to remain on standard time year-round. 7. Arizona (except for the Navajo, who do observe daylight saving time on tribal lands), Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands do not observe daylight saving time.
When I was but a little girl I had an aunt named Kate, And I knew she was middle-aged When she turned twenty-eight. For middle-age to me, you see, Was anybody old. And old was what Aunt Kate must be Despite what I was told. But when I reached twenty-eight I laughed at childhood’s view. For now I knew that middle-age Began at forty-two! At forty-two I realized That I’d been quite naïve, Cause middle-age was years away; At fifty-six I’d grieve. Well fifty-six has come and gone But old is not my line; So I’ll admit to middle=age When I am ninety-nine. --F. H. Heiler
Take a Break! Research has shown that you’re more likely to have a creative epiphany when you’re doing something monotonous like fishing, exercising, or showering.
Amazon sells a book titled “Everything Men Know About Women” for $8.99. It has over 100 blank pages.
Donations to the local food pantry are doubled all of March--pound for pound, dollar for dollar.
Call to Annual Meeting January 21, 2018 Following the Sunday morning worship service Items on the agenda: Review of minutes of previous meetings Review of the annual report Presentation of the budget for 2018 Anything else? There will be no need to elect officers as after the adoption of the present Council structure, each member of the Council will serve in that capacity for one more year. Next year two positions will need to be filled. A potluck lunch will follow the meeting.
Will you please check your listing in the directory of last year’s annual report. If there have been changes, please let someone in the office know—in writing. If you don’t have access to the directory, there is a copy in the office.
January 6 is Epiphany, the celebration of the visit of the Magi to the Christ child and thus the revelation to the Gentiles of the divine nature of Christ . The Future “The worst is yet to come:” So wail the doubters glum, But here’s the better view; “My best I’ve yet to do.” The worst some always fear; Tomorrow holds no cheer, Yet farther on life’s lane Are joys you shall attain. Go forward bravely, then, And play your part as men, For this is ever true: “Our best we’ve yet to do.” – Edgar Guest
From Pastor Ken Thoughts around New Years Since our last Messenger we have had two funerals. Those were for Tammy Emmons and Phyllis Emory. Our sympathies are with the families. I would like to thank all the church members who helped at either funeral. Your faith shines through your work. Church activities are a chance to support others, show God's love and participate in fellowship. To those who have not heard I am going on a mission trip to Ecuador February 6 to February 17. Twelve individuals from our conference are going to work on a building project, teach first aid and help with a Sunday school program. On Sunday, February 11, I have lined up Rev. Jo Cassiday-Maloney to fill in the pulpit. Financing for the trip is progressing. The women's fellowship has purchased some first aid kits and other individuals are helping in sponsoring me. So far I have purchased the flight and flight insurance. I am writing this on New Year's Day. If you have not thought of a good new year's resolution may I recommend one of these: Attend one more church service per year. Give to one more special offering this year. Be aware of our conference needs and help more financially. Participate at conference or be more active in your local church. Find a non-profit organization in our twin towns that you can help. (Salvation Army, Food Pantry, Ruby's Pantry are just a few examples) Visit a shut-in or someone in a hospital. Do you have a special talent? I think our church can find a spot for you and that talent. These are just a few examples. May you find a new way to show God's love in the coming year Peace, Pastor Ken **** The surest cure for loneliness, the quickest way to happiness, is found in this, a simple creed: Go serve someone in greater need.” ― William Arthur Ward
A Daily Devotional from the UCC website-- How's the Weather? "Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!" - Psalm 148 It's the day after Christmas, and I have no idea what the weather is wherever you are reading this. Perhaps there is snow and frost all around you, and you're getting ready to do some shoveling. Perhaps you are somewhere warm where sea monsters frolic in the salty deep, and you get to work on your tan. Maybe there's a storm coming your way, or a fire raging in a forest nearby. All this reminds us, it's God's world and we just live in it. Where I live, the lovely snowy scenes can get old pretty fast. We shovel and shovel and still slip on the ice. And then when the snow melts, you don't want to see what my yard looks like as it thaws, and we see all that two dogs produced over the winter. It's no Christmas card, let me tell you. Weather is humbling, and reminds us of all we don't control. Yet when the power goes out after a storm, neighbors check on each other. A brush fire brings out heroes and rescuers. A tornado in one place brings healing rain to another. Weather intrudes, reminding us that we are not in charge, nor should we strive to be. So when the snow cancels your plans, or the frost causes you to stay home from a game, or the rain changes the course of a party, listen for God in the natural interruptions. Perhaps God wants to spend some time with you, through the snow, the rain, the sun and the wind. Prayer For all the people whose lives depend upon the weather, I pray today: for the farmers, the construction workers, the wedding planners and the snow shovelers. Be with the parade planners, the beachcombers, the skiers, and the forest fire fighters. Be with all of us whose lives are affected by weather, and let us see your power in this remarkable world you have created. Amen. --Lillian Daniel, Senior Pastor, 1st Congregational Church of Dubuque, Iowa Do New Year’s Resolutions Actually Help Anyone? Growing up, my siblings and I made many New Year's resolutions at the closing of each year. Some of them I was fairly successful at keeping. Others I did not. Many I frankly do not recall. I picked up this habit again in recent years, only to realize that the change I was trying to make, or the character trait I was seeking to address, kept presenting to me over… and over... and over again with little-to-no progress. UGH!! How frustrating. The thing I desired was to develop more patience. I saw this as a way of becoming more purposeful; a spiritual practice and discipline in order to be more centered and calm. I had hoped that I might also lower my blood pressure in the process. NOPE. I have found myself with multiple opportunities to put my commitment to patience into practice – often several times each. Oy! But in the end, I wasn't less calm as a result of my attempts, I was even more frustrated. I now had awareness about my feelings of annoyance within a given scenario, but I was not achieving the zen I had hoped for. In the end, it did not work out well for me. Why not, I wondered, was I failing at my task? A quick Google search revealed that, "only eight percent of people actually keep their New Year's resolutions." Additionally, there are many reasons people can't stick to their resolutions, "from setting too many of them to getting derailed by small failures." Lastly, the Internet reminded me that, "regardless of what resolution you commit to, the goal is to improve life in the coming year." I concur. So now is the moment of truth - how can I make this work for me? What will be my path moving forward? If simple goals are easiest, then a simple goal it will be! Therefore in 2018 I resolve to live my life with more hope than fear. I commit to this despite the attacks by some elected officials on my (and other marginalized groups) civil rights. Despite the challenges of the moment we're in, I believe the scales of justice will find balance once again. As my paternal grandmother would often remind me, "baby, this too will pass." Experience has taught me, she was right. So as I step out of one year into the next, I will hold her words as a salve on my tender soul. I invite you to do likewise. Wishing you and those you love, the happiest, healthiest New Year. --Bentley de Bardelaben, UCC Executive for Administration and Communications for the United Church of Christ.
A Summary of UCC's” What we believe” is on the UCC.org website. Reading it refreshes our minds of the individualism and, at the same time, the unity feel of United Church of Christ. One line states: “We believe that each person is unique and valuable. It is the will of God that every person belong to a family of faith where they have a strong sense of being valued and loved. We believe that each person is on a spiritual journey and that each of us is at a different stage of that journey.”
I remember reading about this belief when Ken and I were looking for a church family to belong to, together. This part of what-we-believe especially appealed to me. I appreciate traditions of religions, but to not be told exactly what to believe and how to worship appeals to me more.
Another line says: “We believe the UCC is called to be a united and uniting church."In essentials–unity, in nonessentials–diversity, in all things–charity. The UCC has no rigid method or attachment to creeds or structures. Our diversity is one of our greatest assets.” We are united as a church family and come from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds. We all gravitate toward the same goal when we come together as a unified group. Another is: “We are a people of possibility. In the UCC, members, congregations and structures have the breathing room to explore and to hear ... for after all, God is still speaking, . I like that, don't you? --by Darlene Stanford-Adams
Women’s Fellowship at the December meeting voted to give $2,000 to support Pastor Ken’s missionary trip to Ecuador $2,000 to the general fund of the church $100 to the Charles Hall Home in Bismarck. There was also a discussion about the church’s vacuum cleaners and a vote to purchase a new one. After some minor fixing, it was determined that the present vacuum cleaners work so buying a new one may not be necessary.
There is still a good supply of apple pies available. To make a purchase, contact Karen or Pat
Website visitor count in December: 717 That’s down a bit from previous months.
From an article on the UCC website . . . . He juggles a lot of responsibilities as the pastor of one of Philadelphia's oldest churches [a church which, by the way, predates the signing of the Declaration of Independence], but wrangling a huge cow on a city street in the early hours of the morning during a snowstorm is not something the Rev. Michael Caine ever thought he would be called to do. It happened shortly after 6:00 am on Thursday, Dec. 14, after Stormy, a 7-year-old brown and white Hereford, wandered away from the creche at Old First Reformed United Church of Christ not once, but twice, ending up first on the freeway, and later in a parking garage. "I got the call about 3:30 am and came down on my bike in a snowstorm," said Caine. "I was here for the second escape." Caine pastors Old First, the Old City area church which is known for the live animal nativity scene that has been a familiar part of the Christmas tradition in Philadelphia, Penn., since 1973. The minister was captured on videotape by a local news crew trying to corral Stormy following that second escape, and get her back into the enclosed area outside the church. When unsuccessful, he accompanied the 1,500 pound cow on her stroll through city streets. Editor’s Note: Now there’s a pastor who, like Pastor Ken, knows what “other duties as assigned” means.
Pastor Ken is one of a group of 12 from our Conference going on a mission trip to Ecuador February 6-17. If you would like to help with finances, make your contribution to the church and mark it “mission trip” in the memo line.
Beginning Experience Fergus Falls Support Group Coping with Life Alone January 8, registration at 6:30 pm Zion Church More Information 218-998-4300
Centerpiece Circle is the only circle of what was once five separate groups of women of the church that is still meeting. The following is a report of the December meeting Centerpiece Circle met for our December meeting by having a Christmas potluck. Each month we send a special card to each shut-in and members of our church in the hospital. Everyone writes a few lines in the card to make it personal for them. Christmas poinsettias were delivered to our shut-ins. We pay dues to cover our stamps and plants. Submitted by Janice Manning