On Line Worship Service, June 7, 2020

Welcome to this service. Questions of responsibility and response-ability run through this service.  That theme was not planned, it was a natural and Spirit-led choice of the different people who contributed to the service’s creation, including the music Annemieke McLane chose, the guest sermon by the Rev. Deadra Ashton, the haiku by Mel Goertz and the three videos contributed by Pastor Tom Kinder.

You will find an “Orientation to this Service and Announcements” after the first few videos.  This week the service features Annemieke playing a prelude and postlude by J. S. Bach on our church organ, a magical, illustrated reading of the Creation Story by Deadra and her wonderful sermon on that text, a children’s time trying to explain the Trinity in understandable and useful terms (this is Trinity Sunday), and two beautiful pieces by our choir.  The best experience may be to set aside a block of time to experience this entire page as a worship service (under an hour) but it is designed to allow you to watch in shorter segments if that works better for you.  Thank you.

Let us open our hearts to receive whatever the Spirit would have us receive here today.

Prelude French Suite II Allemande (first half) J.S. Bach;  Annemieke McLane, piano. (Note: if you hear an extra measure of love in the Prelude and Postlude it is because Martha Manheim was sitting in the rocker at the back of the sanctuary as Annemieke played!)

Introit “The Gift of Love” by Mary Alice Amidon, sung by the United Church of Strafford Choir

Call to Worship and Mel Goertz’s Haiku

You can find the text of the Call to Worship and Haiku by clicking here.

Orientation to this Service and Announcements

Welcome to this online worship service of the United Church of Strafford, Vermont for June 7th, 2020

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.

Here is the order of worship on this page:

  • Above: Welcome, Prelude, Introit, Call to Worship and Mel Goertz’s Haiku;
  • Time with Children (and Adults);
  • Alternate Lord’s Prayer read by six members of our congregation;
  • A dramatic, illustrated reading of the Creation Story;
  • Sermon by the Rev. Deadra Ashton;
  • Anthem (“Morning Has Broken” sung by our choir);
  • A Call to Communion;
  • Anthem “Room at the Table,” by Carrie Newcomer
  • Offering;
  • Benediction Anthem (“Lean on Me” sung by tens of thousands in the streets of Washington, DC on June 3, 2020)
  • Postlude.

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…)  An attempt to explain the beauty and usefulness of the idea of the Trinity on this Trinity Sunday…

Alternative Lord’s Prayer

I invited children, parents and other adults to record themselves saying the prayer.  Here is a composite of six readers.  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.

An Illustrated Reading of the Creation Story Genesis 1:1 through 2:4a, from Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” read by the Rev. Deadra Ashton


Sermon by the Rev. Deadra Ashton, preaching on the text above.

You can find the text of the Sermon by clicking here.

Hymn “Morning Has Broken,” words: Eleanor Farjeon; tune: Traditional Gaelic Melody harmonized by David Evans; sung by the United Church of Strafford Choir

Please join in singing this with the choir.

A Call to Communion

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

Anthem “Room at the Table,” by Carrie Newcomer


In the coming week our church is organizing a planning meeting for education and action to end the systemic racism that has tainted our nation forever and is now setting off protests around the world.  This congregation is a small but meaningful part of the movement to establish God’s realm of peace, justice and care for God’s creation on earth, actively engaged in serving our community and supporting the wider worldwide movement.  One of the ways we work together and increase our strength beyond our individual abilities is by pooling our resources.  This is hard to do when we are forced apart by the pandemic, so we hope you will take just a minute to use our online donation service.

To make your offering on line, please click here.  (This is a service we are providing through an extremely well established on-line donation company specializing in churches that is 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.)

Benediction Anthem “Lean On Me,” filmed this week, on June 3rd, 2020, at a massive protest in Washington, DC.  It seems fitting as a Trinity Sunday benediction, and a deeply moving portrait of the spirit of love that is flowing in and around the streets, much more prevalent and much more powerful than any sensational images of violence we see.  The Rev. Michael Caldwell’s son, Noah, is a reporter for NPR (he spent some of his early years in Strafford).  To hear a brief story by Noah that shows another angle on the same spirit, click here.  Blessings on you and on us all as we move toward the realm of God on earth.  Look around you this week.  It is happening!

Postlude French Suite II Allemande (full) J.S. Bach;  Annemieke McLane, piano. (Note: if you hear an extra measure of love in the Prelude and Postlude it is because Martha Manheim was sitting in the rocker at the back of the sanctuary as Annemieke played!)

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