Upcoming Service Notes, April 1, 2018, Easter Services

Rev. Telos Whitfield of Straffford’s Unitarian Universalist church has prepared a beautiful community Easter Sunrise Service celebrating “A Circle of Light.”  We will meet at 6:15 AM at Confluence, the former Gove Hill Retreat Center, at the top of Gove Hill Road off of Route 132 in the Rice’s Mills neighborhood of Thetford.  We will sing, hear scriptures and pray and we will savor a poem by Mel Goertz and a reflection by Rev. Whitfield.  Pastor Tom Kinder will offer an opening prayer and benediction.  Damaris Tyler, Peggy Burden, Judy Dixon and Cat Spalding will accompany and lead our music.  The sun will rise while we are there, and it will be beautiful whatever the weather is doing.

Please join us for our traditional Pancake Breakfast at 7:30 in the Parish Hall.  Let Becky Bailey know if you can help set up, cook or clean up, or email us at unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com.

Our 10:00 AM service will be full of joyous words and music.  Pianist Annemieke McLane and the choir will be joined by percussionist Steve Ferraris of Norwich.  It is exciting and literally moving to hear Steve perform and it is also an honor to host someone who is giving much of his life to the resiliency of youth who are at risk or the resurrection of those who have succumbed to drug addiction or other destructive behavior.  Steve has performed with the Thetford Chamber Singers and internationally, and is on the music faculty at the University of Vermont.  Take a look at the Home and About pages of his website: http://www.rootdrummingsystems.com/.  It will be a joy to have him with us!

A few weeks ago the children heard about Frances Hodgson Burnett’s magical and deeply spiritual book, The Secret Garden.  We will return to its beautiful imagery for healing and resurrection and new life this Sunday. 

We will also read from Psalm 118 (“God’s steadfast love endures forever!”), Jeremiah 31:2-5, 23-25 (“I will satisfy the weary, and all who are faint I will replenish.”), and the story of Christ’s resurrection in John 20:1-18.  We will sing three favorite Easter hymns, “Come Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain,” “Now the Green Blade Riseth,” and “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.”

The choir will sing “The Angel Rolled the Stone Away,” arranged by the Amidons of southern Vermont who have brought so much wonderful music into church life in recent years.  The choir will also sing an African Psalm arranged by V.C. Johnson, and a “Hallelujah” Choral Benediction with an infectious Caribbean beat that is one of the most joyful pieces of music in modern hymnals.  Jesus is going to come out of that tomb dancing!

Annemieke will play “Sequidillas”  by I. Albéniz, Sonata in C, K 159 by  D. Scarlatti, “Domine Deus” by G. Faure and a jazzy version of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” as the Postlude.

Here is a recording of the Caribbean “Hallelujah.”  Warning: you may be singing this quite a while after listening, and you might even be doing a little dancing yourself.  You can hear one of the reasons we will be so happy to have Steve Ferraris with us, too.


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