Welcome!

JOIN US for the September 20th Global Climate Strike

It is easy to feel that the climate crisis is so huge and the fossil fuel industry so powerful that there is nothing we can do as individuals to make a difference.  Voting is one crucial thing we can do, but now there is an opportunity to make an even greater difference.  This needs to be and could be a turning point in human history, but it depends on us all, on you, making this one small but significant sacrifice.

Members of our Climate Church, Climate World discussion group are helping to organize Strafford’s involvement in the events from September 20th to 27th, 2019, starting with a Global Climate Strike on Friday the 20th in solidarity with the children who have been following Greta Thunberg’s lead.  You can find out more about the global activities at https://350.org/support-climate-strikes/ and https://globalclimatestrike.net/#join.

You can read about what we in Strafford are doing so far and how you can be involved by clicking here.

Please read what is on that page and support our children’s future and your own by participating in some way.

Thank you!

Register Now for Healthy Communication Workshops, September 21st and 28th

These crucial workshops can help you resolve conflicts in your family, workplace, organization or town, bridging differences, healing divisions and building closer and stronger relationships.  If it sounds almost miraculous, that’s because it truly is—the tools, skills and systems you will learn have transformed communities in the Upper Valley and across the country.  To find out more and register click here.

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.

OUR CHURCH

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:

Email: unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com

Church Office: 802-765-4585

PO Box 124, Strafford, VT 05072

OUR HISTORY

 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.

OUR PASTOR

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.

At a Poor People’s Campaign rally in Montpelier

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.