Posted in Our Stories

Sunday Fellowship In-Person on Palm Sunday

  • March 31, 2021

Over the course of three hours, more than fifty members and friends of Sunday Fellowship paraded through the sanctuary visiting prayer stations depicting the last week of Jesus’ life. For most of us, it was the first time we had physically been inside the church since 2020 and it felt good.

One station invited us to add our own figures to the crowd of people watching Jesus ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. Another offered each of us our own purple scroll with teachings Jesus might have preached about in the Temple after he chased away the moneychangers. We took home cloth with a drop of fragrant oil and tiny loaves of bread to remind us of the Last Supper. We lit prayer candles, we painted rocks and we walked a palm strewn path up to a cross. What better way to enter holy week than to finally be able to engage in worship with our whole bodies?!

Many thanks to everyone who helped prepare the space and materials for Sunday Fellowship to enjoy. Please enjoy some pictures of the day.

SF in the Light and In-person

A huge “thank you” to all of our volunteers, caregivers and staff for making Sunday Fellowship in the Light possible this year in all its many forms! It is a testament to our partnership that we were able to offer a safe event that was truly accessible to everyone. Please enjoy these photos showing outdoor visits at home with baby Jesus and in-person visits to a music-filled, candlelit Sanctuary for the first time since March. We hope everyone is enjoying their gift bag filled with holiday cookies and Sunday Fellowship’s newly minted T-shirts. Merry Christmas to all!

Bathroom Updates!

During this time you may not have given much thought to what’s happening in our church building. However, several folks have been busy improving things!

Susan Coppock has made our lower level bathrooms much more beautiful and functional. This involved changing plumbing and adding art, window treatments, and furniture. Then David Frink added new “touchless” features throughout the building to increase the safety of using the bathrooms at this time. Take a look!

Sunday Fellowship Celebrates a Year of Ups and Downs

  • June 11, 2020

Sunday Fellowship gathered virtually on June 7th to celebrate our year and to give thanks to God for all that we have shared this year. We acknowledged that it felt a little odd to be gathering for a party right now when cries of grief and pain echo all around us. And yet, in other ways, celebrating a year of Sunday Fellowship felt exactly right.

“Cant stop the feeling!”

Much like people of color, people with disabilities are at much higher risk of dying from COVID or in an interaction with law enforcement. Celebrating our inclusive and grace-fulled community is a natural outgrowth of our faith in Jesus, the Disabled God and a fulfillment of the baptismal vow to resist the powers of sin and death which Stephen Carter helped us all re-affirm at his baptism in February.

Plans are in the works for Sunday Fellowship to have its own conversations about white supremacy and racial justice this summer. A grief group is also being set-up this summer for Sunday Fellowship members who would benefit from a safe place to process past or recent losses. An information session about SF Grief Group will be held on June 21st at 4pm. 

Please enjoy our slideshow showing the ups and downs of a year that included Janice and Bryan’s testimonies, disability saint icons, Stephen’s baptism, Chrissy Pickard and John Martino’s deaths and memorials, our first therapy dog visits, not to mention games, meals, prayers, singing, dancing, pageants and fourteen weeks of on-line BINGO. Thanks be to God for Sunday Fellowship.

WCUC Youth in Action

  • May 4, 2020

In these times of physical distancing, it helps to look back at pictures and remember all of the fun times we’ve had together. Those days will come again! In the meantime, let’s enjoy the memories and stay connected as best we can. God is with us always.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1InU5Y0q5QBO2Mx0NWWDrmLXXqhj-gzHY/view?usp=sharing

We Can Do This Hard Thing

  • March 31, 2020

In these times of physical distancing, it’s more important than ever to find social connection and solidarity. Our youth group is Zooming into connection every Saturday at 4pm, for sharing what’s hard and what helps, playing games, and joining together in mindful meditation. Laughing and breathing together has been a remarkable way to bond and to find some calm in these challenging times.

It also helps to have some recent memories of being together in person. The middle schoolers spent over two hours running around at Boda Borg in Malden, solving mental and physical challenges to successfully complete several rooms. And the high schoolers managed to “escape” their 13th floor apartment room with 6 minutes to spare at Puzzlescape in Hudson. Teamwork was key in both of these outings!

We also enjoyed some outside time at our last youth class. This memory of walking the labyrinth together is one that is keeping hope alive that better days are ahead!

At our most recent Zoom Youth Group meeting, we closed with these words from Carrie Newcomer and then closed our eyes and listened to our own breathing, alone and together. With God and with each other, we can do this hard thing!

Caring Creatively in Response to COVID-19

  • March 19, 2020
Just some of the devices donated for group homes to connect with one another and with worship.

Necessity is the mother of invention? That’s what we’re all learning as we practice social distancing and adjust to so many changes in our daily lives. Here are some of the creative ways Sunday Fellowship is finding to care for one another and maintain our connections across the distance. 

WCUC Builds with Habitat!

We are overwhelmed with gratitude for all the members and friends, old and new, young and not-so-young, who all came together to raise money for affordable housing in our church’s neighborhood. We set some big goals: 60 individuals or households giving, and a $20,000 total gift. Thanks to your generosity, we exceeded both of our goals with 92 givers and $29,067.29! Here are some photos of the offering collection and dedication. Stay tuned for opportunities to build and plant in the summer and fall…

Salt and Light

Isaiah 58:1-9a, Matthew 5:13-20

In this season, we remember how Jesus is baptized and begins his ministry, and how he invites others into discipleship.  We remember how we were baptized, many of us, and how Jesus invites us into discipleship. But what does this mean, discipleship? How could we really do it? What does it mean to follow Jesus, or to live a life faithful to God?

Our scriptures offer us two lovely answers today.  Both of them are worth a longer examination, if you want to take home your bulletin and look them up.  In the book of Isaiah, we find a God frustrated by their people. People pretend to care about me, God says, and they pretend to care about my ways. But at the same time, they are oppressing each other, and fighting with one another. (This may sound a bit familiar; you may have witnessed some of this in the news recently.  Times haven’t changed so very much.)

God says, if these people who talk so much about me were really interested in my ways, they would be undoing injustice, and sharing their bounty with those who really need it, and recognizing everyone as kin. Only when they do these things will their light shine forth, and their healing spring up. Only then will they feel my presence, right there, alongside them.

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus, preaching what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, offers a similar message.  He knows that his audience has heard the law of Moses, and the wisdom of the prophets. You have probably heard at least the basics of it, too: love God, and your neighbor as yourself. But too often even those who know these guidelines do not follow them; or at least, we do not follow them with our whole hearts. Jesus tells us: you already have everything you need to follow me.  You know what you need to know, you are who God created you to be. So, be who you really are. Salt seasons all it touches.  Light brightens all it touches. You were blessed to bless others, so be salty, be bright, be yourself, and bless everyone who comes near you.

This church has taken seriously our calling to love God and neighbor, to bless others – even those we don’t know.  As part of our response, we give a portion of our budget  — recently, 11% —  to organizations we call Mission Partners.  And along with our wealth, we share other things with them, too: time, labor, prayer. 

I give thanks to all the folks who are leaders in this work of connection, several here among us today.  Two of them will now offer us a glimpse into why they do what they do…

Barbara: This church has a long history with Open Table.  Gordon Fraser was its faithful champion along with others when we first came to WCUC 16 years ago.  When Jesus says, “feed the hungry” there is not a lot of confusion or spin around what he means.  Community suppers in Maynard and Concord offer weekly healthy meals and the chance to socialize.  The food pantry, operating in what was formerly the Aubuchon Hardware building on Main Street in Maynard, serves upwards of 80-100 families on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.  Our monthly food donations are part of providing that need.  Local farms, businesses, and the Boston Food Bank fill in the rest, and the team of volunteers to pull off this feat is awesome.  There are so many pieces to a community resource like this.

We all know about housing costs in this area.   Many people who work even full time have trouble managing rent/mortgage, utilities, not to mention the possible need for child care or medical bills and paying back student loans.  Helping families with food frees up money to meet some of these other bills.  If you are like me, the emails, letters and phone calls keep coming—so many worthy causes, so many needs.  I get overwhelmed.

I have needed to find my place of radical solidarity.  I think this is what Jesus calls us to, to partner with the hungry, the homeless, the displaced, the refugees, with those who are struggling.  When I worked in community mental health that was my place of radical solidarity.  In retirement Open Table connects me again with people who are struggling, with job loss, illness, family problems, low wages—all of which impact their ability to provide basic needs for their family.  It is also a place to welcome people new to this country, working to get settled.  For my own spiritual health I have needed to get out of my bubble.

I am grateful to God for the presence of Open Table in our communities and for my opportunity to partner with Open Table.

Constance: Why I support Habitat for Humanity

  • Habitat for Humanity is international, at one point present in more than 100 countries.
  • Habitat for Humanity is a binding national network—across social, political, monetary,     and religious lines.
  • Habitat for Humanity is regional and local, sometimes at work in your own town.
  • Habitat for Humanity is cooperative—“each one, teach one” is an unspoken motto.
  • Habitat for Humanity is young people baking and selling their wares to raise money for a nearby project.
  • Habitat for Humanity is a team of women bonding over a wide variety of tasks during “Women Build” Week.
  • Habitat for Humanity is celebrating a 75th birthday in grand style, challenging friends and family to raise money at the time of the local affiliate’s annual gala.
  • Habitat for Humanity is an agnostic Jew and a proud atheist (nephew of two Lutheran pastors) bonding as they dig foundation trenches.
  • Habitat for Humanity is learning humility—being just one more team member when the team leader may be 1/3 of your age.
  • Habitat for Humanity is being amazed by Jimmy Carter’s steadfast dedication to a cause he did not found but has supported more visibly than anyone for decades.
  • Habitat for Humanity is climbing tall ladders to wash windows, getting up on a roof that turns out to be steeper (and higher) than it had seemed, wielding new tools.
  • Habitat for Humanity is humbling—patiently washing paint brushes, picking up trash, sorting screws.
  • Habitat for Humanity is moving 1000 concrete blocks across a London worksite because they had been delivered to the wrong spot and were in the way.
  • Habitat for Humanity is replacing 1000 bolts in fencing because the wrong size had been delivered but everything had to be finished by the end of the Jimmy Carter Week in Vác, Hungary—and someone had to make the switch when the correct bolts arrived.
  • Habitat for Humanity is, in the words of founder Millard Fuller: “Love in the Mortar Joints,” “A Simple, Decent Place to Live,” “The Theology of the Hammer, “More than Houses.”
  • Habitat for Humanity speaks to me because it pulls me out of the isolating intellectual writer’s world where I spend too much time into physical partnership with people in need—and because Habitat for Humanity can use time and talent as well as dimes and dollars.

All of us can be part of this. Thanks be to God.