On Line Services
You can see On Line Services by clicking on that category in the right hand sidebar on this page. You can find poems, videos and other resources for this time by clicking here, and you are invited to contribute what you find or what you produce for us to share.
Weekly Zoom Gatherings
We are gathering as a congregation twice a week by Zoom. You can find instructions on how to be part of our 10:30 Sunday morning sharing of Joys, Concerns, Prayer Requests and Support by clicking here. You can find out about our 6:00 Thursday evening Heartfulness Contemplative Training Circle Zoom gathering by clicking here.
Pastoral Leave of Absence
Pastor Tom Kinder is taking a leave of absence until January 14, 2021. If you have any questions or needs, please be in touch with Deacon Becky Bailey at email@example.com or 802-765-2647. You can read more about this by clicking here.
How to Find Help and Resources in this Hard Time
You can find a list of Strafford resources and instructions on how to learn more about them and get their help by clicking here.
McLane Recovery Fund
To help the family of Music Director Annemieke McLane recover from the recent loss of their home and belongings in a house fire, donations may be made online here (check the box next to “McLane Recovery Fund”) or by check made out to “McLane Recovery Fund” and sent to United Church of Strafford Deacons, PO Box 124, Strafford VT 05070. Thanks to the community for its great generosity and kindness.
Click here to read about upcoming antiracism events in Strafford.
Opportunities for Climate Action:
Click here for news of upcoming actions from Strafford Climate Action.
Click here for resources for a unified nonviolent social justice-environmental movement.
Click here to read about Strafford’s Resolution to Declare a Climate Emergency that was passed at Town Meeting on March 3, 2020.
Weekly Events (Suspended until further notice)
We have suspended all services and gatherings at the church from March 15th until further notice. You can read our announcement about this by clicking here.
Ordinarily, we gather for a service every Sunday morning at 10:00 AM with child care and children’s programs at the same time, and choir is open to all who love to sing—all you have to do is show up at 8:50 AM on Sunday. (See the On Line Services and Weekly Zoom Gatherings sections above.)
Our meditation and mindfulness support and practice group, the Heartfulness Contemplative Training Circle, also suspended, meets every Thursday evening from 5:45 to 6:45 with an option of lingering to 7:00 PM for additional conversation. You can read more about it here. (See the Weekly Zoom Gatherings section above.)
OUR FUTURE DIRECTIONS VISION:
The United Church of Strafford aspires
to be a community of open hearts and minds
embracing differences and diverse traditions,
extending faithful Christ-like love and support to all,
reaching out especially to those in need.
We intend to be a force, not merely a presence,
effecting positive social change
for peace, justice and the care of God’s creation.
We come to this sanctuary to be renewed to serve,
finding inspiration and wisdom
in traditional words and music
and in new insights and expressions.
We want to learn and grow.
We want to provide training in contemplative practice
and to experience our lives and the world as sacred.
We hope to address big questions and controversial issues
openly and humbly, respectful of varied views and feelings.
We want children to be involved in every aspect of church life.
We seek ways to serve the changing needs of each generation.
We appreciate the beauty of this building
and what takes place within it
as we celebrate and follow the way of Christ
with Spirit-filled acts
of creativity, compassion and love.
*This is the vision as a Unison Reading. To see the full version click here.
OUR CHURCH COVENANT
We gather together with freedom of conscience in a community of love and inquiry. All are welcome, without exception. We practice Christianity with faith and compassion. We covenant with one another to embody the love of Christ, to nurture contemplation and action, and to offer our gifts, talents and energies as we are able.
Worship Time: 10:00 AM
Directions: On the common in Strafford Village, 230 Justin Morrill Highway, just up from the Justin Morrill Homestead.
Our community church is nestled in the beautiful valley of Strafford, Vermont. Services are every Sunday at 10:00, with child care available. We are a diverse gathering from a variety of faith backgrounds – an extended family with official ties to the American Baptist Church and the United Church of Christ, yet with Methodist hymnals and Taize and Iona Community chant books. We have a strong and growing music program under the extraordinary leadership of Annemieke McLane–if music is important to your spiritual life, please come and sing or play or simply savor this amazing gift.
Whoever you are, wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.
Contact Us at:
Church Office: 802-765-4585
PO Box 124, Strafford, VT 05072
The United Church of Strafford began with the joining of the Free Will Baptist Church of South Strafford (organized in 1789) and the Congregational Church and Society (constituted in November 19, 1820). The reorganization of these churches began in 1948, to form one church. On December 3, 1967, the two churches dissolved themselves as individual entities in order to allow their membership to form a new, united church.
Pastor Tom Kinder began serving here in September of 2017, but his roots in the church go back much farther. Tom was a lay leader here for ten years in the 1980s and early 90s before beginning the journey into the ministry, lovingly shepherded by this congregation.
Tom served as a student minister at the Norwich Congregational Church and as the settled pastor at the West Newbury Congregational Church. He then served as pastor of the Thetford Hill Church for seventeen years. He came back to Strafford from the Bradford Congregational Church, where he served as Interim Minister for three years after leaving Thetford.
Tom was a Deacon and on a Search Committee and the Pastoral Relations Committee as a lay member here. He also served on the Town of Strafford’s Planning Commission. He was employed before entering the ministry as the executive director of nonprofits working on the environment, sustainable agriculture and rural communities, and he was the marketing director of an environmental catalog company. His undergraduate degree is from the Creative Writing Program and English Department of Princeton University and his Master of Divinity is from Harvard Divinity School. He is ordained in the United Church of Christ.
Tom is a Registered Life Planner and has additional advanced training as an Interim Minister and a presenter of Centering Prayer. He has been a teacher of Christian contemplative practices and led weekly meditation groups for over twenty years.
Tom is bi-vocational as a half-time pastor and half-time writer.
Tom has lived off of Miller Pond Road for the better part of 35 years, although his work has kept his focus and presence in neighboring towns. He is overjoyed to be back home to serve the church and community that nurtured him as he found his way into the ministry.