On Line Worship Service, May 10, 2020

Welcome to this service.  You will find an “Orientation to this Service and Announcements” after the first few videos.

Prelude Sarabande, English Suite No. 2 in A minor, J. S. Bach,  Annemieke McLane, piano:

Introit “Bring Your Best to Their Worst” by John L. Bell, sung by the United Church of Strafford Choir, in the video below the words:

Bring your best to their worst,
Bring your peace to their pain,
God of love, heal your people.

That none who cry aloud may cry in vain…
That those who fear may never walk alone…
That those near death may see the light of day…
That guilty folk may find themselves forgiven…
That those who doubt may find a deeper faith…
That broken folk may know they will be whole…

Call to Worship and Mel Goertz’s Haiku

You can read the text of this Call to Worship video by clicking here.

Hymn  Please join our choir singing the hymn, “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling,” based on Psalm 84 and set to the tune of “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.”

Orientation to this Service and Announcements

Welcome to this online worship service of the United Church of Strafford, Vermont for May 10, 2020, the Fifth Sunday of Easter.

You can respond with thoughts about the service or with anything you would like to say by using the comment feature at the end of the post or by emailing us.  You can also bring others into this experience by sharing the link to this service by email or social media.

Today we have a series of videos including:

  • the Prelude, Introit, Call to Worship and Hymn above;
  • Children’s Time for all ages;
  • the New Lord’s Prayer;
  • Scripture Reading and a Sermon;
  • a moving Pete Seeger song based on John 14;
  • the Benediction, an Irish Blessing;
  • the original, uplifting “We Are the World” video;
  • a Postlude (Annemieke McLane, piano, and Jeremiah McLane, accordion)

Please note that we are gathering as a congregation by Zoom at 10:30 AM on Sunday mornings to say hello to one another and share our Joys and Concerns and Prayer requests and offer our compassion and support and company for this journey.

Our Heartfulness Contemplative Training Circle is also meeting by Zoom on Thursdays at 6:00 PM.  This is for anyone who is interested in practicing mindfulness or meditation, or heartfulness and centering prayer.  It is a time for talking about those practices and also more generally about our spiritual life.

You can find links to instructions on how to be part of those Zoom gatherings on the Welcome Page of our website.

If you are not on our weekly email list and would like to be, please email us at unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com and we will make sure you receive all our church news.

It is extremely important that we stay connected now.  Please reach out by phone or email to neighbors and other members of the congregation, especially those who live by themselves or are struggling or vulnerable.  Our Deacons, Becky Bailey, Kim Welsh and Maggie Hooker, are coordinating our Deacons Fund and our outreach to people in need of support, and Danette Harris, Chair of our Mission Committee, is leading our work with the Food Shelf.  Becky, Danette and Joey Hawkins are on the town committee that is coordinating outreach as well.  If you would like to donate or help please email us or use the comment feature on this page.

You can listen to this service in one sitting in under an hour or you may spread it out over the course of the day or week. Thank you!

Time with Children and Youth (and all ages…)

Alternative Lord’s Prayer

I invited children, parents and other adults to record themselves saying the prayer.  My original idea was to splice together lines from each, which I still may do, but they are each so beautiful in entirety that I plan to share a different one each week.  Please keep sending these in—it would be wonderful to have every member of the congregation lead the prayer!

Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer,
Way, Truth and Life,
Force of Love and Light
flowing within and all around us,
may your realm of compassion,
justice and peace rule our world.
Thank you for nurturing and guiding us,
forgiving us and helping us forgive,
and leading us away from harmful desires.
Please save us from all forms of evil,
for you are our source, our home, our power,
all goodness and beauty forever. Amen.

Scripture and Sermon

You can read the text of the Sermon below by clicking here.

Anthem  “My Father’s Mansion’s Many Rooms”

Please listen to this beautiful anthem written and performed by Pete Seeger.  It is based on the sermon scripture passage, John 14:1-14.  You may want to skip ahead to the end of the first 20 seconds of solid applause for Pete.  Here are some of its words:

The choice is ours to share this earth
With all its many joys abound
Or to continue as we have
And burn God’s mansion down

My Father’s mansion’s many rooms
Have room for all of His children
As long as we do share His love
And see that all are free


Every time we lay down our life for another we release some of God’s love and light into the world and help the world find its way through the worst.  A minister once brought clothing his church had collected to a country devastated by war.  The people said that what meant even more than the needed clothes was the thought that someone half way around the world knew about them and cared enough to help.  That act of love from complete strangers gave them the hope they needed to survive the violence of hate and fear.  Let us make our offering, praying that what we give may help others feel that kind of love and hope, especially now in a time when so many need the light that shines in the darkness that the darkness does not overcome.  This is the way through the worst.

To make your offering on line, please click here.  (This is a new service we are providing through an extremely well established church on-line donation company recommended by the national United Church of Christ and used by thousands of churches like ours.  To read more about our decision to allow on line donations, click here.)

The Benediction

Benediction Response “We Are the World” original recording—it never fails to uplift and inspire, and we need its message and energy to help us find our way through this time…

Postlude Annemieke McLane, piano, and Jeremiah McLane, accordion, play a duet of Trio Sonata No. 1  BWV 525 by J. S. Bach that they arranged.

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