Posted in Serving Others

Praying with our Neighbors

  • November 6, 2018

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.

Let’s Play Ball: Youth @ Miracle League of Massachusetts

  • October 22, 2018

What a great day for a ballgame!  The youth traveled to Nara Park in Acton on Saturday to serve as buddies to the baseball players in the Miracle League of Massachusetts.  Fun was had by all as these pictures can attest…

 

 

Let’s Play Ball!

  • June 2, 2018

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….

 

 

 

 

Minute Man March 2018

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.

Saturday Night Live: Pizza Party with a Purpose

  • April 30, 2018

The youth gathered on Saturday night for a pizza and game party and also to decorate and fill duffle bags for foster care children.  Check out this amazing organization:  https://www.togetherwerise.org

 

“Telestrations” has become a youth group (and little siblings) favorite!

 

Kindness Rocks at WCUC!

  • October 26, 2017

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

Youth Get to Work: Baking, Packing, and Painting…Oh My!

  • May 17, 2017

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!

 

Serving and Socializing on Spring Break

  • April 19, 2017

 

The youth got busy this week helping out some neighbors in need and tackling a couple of church clean up projects.  Several of our teenagers met at Polly and Keith Jenkins Man home to help wth some packing and other preparations for their upcoming move.  Others joined Candy Carr at the church to clean out the deacon’s kitchen and do some yard work in the Welcome Garden.  In celebration of their efforts. we joyfully ended the evening in town with pizza and ice cream and then returned to church for a few rounds of the hide and seek game called Sardines which has become our youth group favorite.  A fun night with some of the most thoughtful and playful teens I know!

*A note of thanks from Polly and Keith:

We are very grateful to all the youth who helped us out on Tuesday.  It was a pleasure to get to know them and, as two of the more senior members of WCUC, we thank them for their generous gift of young muscles and energy.

‘Tis the Season to Love and Bake

  • December 12, 2016

 

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The youth at WCUC love kicking off the holiday season with their annual pie baking with Mrs. Schummers. This year was no different.  Together they baked 18 apple pies and wrote cards for people in our congregation who could use some extra cheer at Thanksgiving this year.   Their baking efforts continue into December when they come together to bake up some treats for youth group graduates, in their first year at college, who are getting ready for exams. This year, Emily Barkovic was the lucky recipient!

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