Posted in Serving Others
The youth were busy on Sunday! After worship, some helped to host a card making table for Concord Prison Outreach’s holiday bags while others learned a new song that they will sing in worship on December 16th. Later in the afternoon, many returned to church to join with Sunday Fellowship in marking the beginning of Advent with songs, scripture, prayers, craft activities, and labyrinth walking. Finally, we ended the day with a well deserved pizza party/game night in North Hall. Feeling grateful for the many ways we can serve, sing, and celebrate during this holy season!
The youth group celebrated Thanks-Giving this year by making promises to support WCUC and by baking pies for people in our congregation who could use some extra cheer.
After brainstorming in class the many ways that people can “give back” to this church and offer thanks to a community that nourishes us, the youth made their own pledges of commitment for the year ahead. Their “tokens” of appreciation showed a wide array of promises including: Sunday Fellowship participation, Youth Group and school service activities, more consistent attendance at worship and at youth group classes, spreading love and peace, being more kind, worship leadership, inviting friends, and making a monthly monetary donation. We are beyond blessed to have these thoughtful and generous young people in our church community!
Putting their faith and giving spirit into action, many of the youth came to church early on Sunday morning to be welcomed by Ann Schummers, and adult volunteers Amanda and Debbie, for our annual pie baking adventure. Fifteen small pies and hand written cards were prepared for delivery and the youth got to enjoy a “sample pie” to be sure they were good enough to serve to others. A huge thanks to Mrs. Schummers for keeping this tradition alive. It has become a Youth Group favorite. Happy Thanksgiving!
This past Friday night, folks from WCUC gathered along with members of many local faith communities and other friends to light the way into Shabbat services for our Jewish neighbors at Kerem Shalom. Some folks provided candles to share; others, including Jim, helped lead us in music. We held signs and witnessed to the light of hope together. The Kerem Shalom community graciously welcomed us in to participate in the Shabbat service. This beautiful worship experience included songs and prayers in Hebrew and English, a special remembrance of those who died in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and words from Rabbi Darby Leigh. Rabbi Darby invited us to consider last week’s tragedy in the wider context of intolerance and violence, and encouraged us to continue to build local connections that will nurture love and understanding in our communities. The folks at Kerem Shalom provided a wonderful reception and warm fellowship for all who were there. It was truly a blessing to be there!
Please read below for Pastor Hannah’s brief remarks during the service:
I give thanks to Rabbi Darby and this congregation for your hospitality in welcoming those of us who are your neighbors, to share this tender time with you.
This Sunday, many Christians will be studying a text from the book of Ruth, a text that is holy in both Jewish and Christian traditions. In this story, we meet a woman named Naomi who is grieving the loss of her husband and both of her sons. Naomi tries to send her daughters-in-law away from her, back to their parents. She has nothing to give them; no way to protect them. But her daughter-in-law, Ruth, says: “Where you go, I will go; where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God…Not even death will part me from you.” So Naomi and Ruth journey on together, and together they make a new life.
As we witness hateful speech and action around us, we must condemn the wrong that is done. As a Christian pastor, I especially grieve that violent anti-Semitism has been justified by Christians and by Christian scriptures. Jesus himself was a faithful Jew; and Judaism is both an honored ancestor and a beloved sibling to the Christian faith. We share sacred texts and holy values. We both follow a call to love God with all that we are, to honor one another, to care for the most vulnerable among us.
I pray that all of us, from many traditions, religious or not, will respond to the tragedies around us today not only by grieving, but also by growing in our practice of the kind of love that Ruth models. Let us go with one another; let us stay with one another; let us understand ourselves to be one people, bound together. May it be so.
The youth group had a great afternoon volunteering as “buddies” for athletes who participate in the Miracle League Baseball program.
From the website: http://www.miracleleagueofma.com …
“The Miracle League of Massachusetts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral disabilities to develop and achieve their full potential: mentally, socially and physically. We accomplish this through America’s favorite pastime – baseball – providing an opportunity for children with disabilities to play baseball as part of a team in an organized, non-competitive league.
But it’s really so much more…
The benefits of participating in the Miracle League extend beyond the baseball field and impact everyone involved – players, parents, sponsors, buddies, volunteers and fans.”
Sometimes pictures are better than words….
Thanks to everyone who donated and walked to support our mission partners Minute Man March this past weekend! We were thrilled to have 40+ walkers in our WCUC group.
If you see some brightly colored rocks in the Welcome Garden next to West Concord Union Church, you’ve just discovered WCUC Sunday School’s “Kindness Rocks Project.” This simple yet powerful way of sharing messages of hope originated in the mind and heart of Megan Murphy, a mother of three from the Cape going through a life transition.
Each day she would walk on the beach looking for signs that closing her business and going back to school was the right decision. One day in 2013, she was inspired to decorate five ordinary beach rocks with messages of encouragement and return them to the beach. The next night, knowing nothing about their origin, one of Murphy’s close friends texted her a photograph of a rock she’d found on the beach with the message, “You’ve Got This!” It was just the sign Murphy needed to continue on her path. Just four years later, there are kindness rocks being made all over the world from the Cape to New Zealand!
The WCUC Sunday School decided to adopt this Kindness Rocks Project as a way of resisting hate and spreading hope within our community. Come on by the Welcome Garden and check out the messages our children have created. Feel free to take a rock with you or add one of your own. But you might want to come over soon! Kindness rocks have a way of finding new homes quickly! For more information about the Kindness Rocks Project and how to make your own rocks go to: http://thekindessrocksproject.com
It was a very busy day on Sunday for the WCUC Youth! In just a little over two hours, they packed up for kitchen in preparation for the renovation, painted gratitude prayer flags which will become part of a larger church-wide project happening next Sunday, and hosted a bake sale that raised $276.00 for Greater Lowell’s Habitat for Humanity. Many hands do indeed make work lighter and we are so grateful to have such a helpful and committed group of young people at our church!