On Line Worship Service, July 12, 2020

Welcome to this service.  This week’s service features three teachings entitled “We Have the Seeds We Need: How Can We Create the Garden We Need?” You will find three different approaches to that question in the Call to Worship, Children’s Time and Sermon.  The image is taken from one of the scripture passages for today,  the famous parable Jesus told of “The Sower and the Seeds.”

You will find an “Orientation to this Service and Announcements” after the first few videos. You can watch the entire service in under an hour or spread it out watching in two to twelve minute segments.  You can also find links here to read some of the service instead of watching the videos.  Please feel free to respond to the service using the comment feature of this website or you can email us at unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com.

We begin with two beautiful and very different pieces of music.  The Introit sets the theme of the service perfectly.

Prelude   French Suite IV – Allemande, J. S. Bach, BWV 815, Annemieke McLane, piano


Introit “My Heart Is Ready”  words and music by Cindy Kallet – arr. Peter Amidon

Sung by members of the United Church of Strafford Choir.


Teaching One: We Have the Seeds We Need: How Can We Create the Garden We Need?—Call to Worship and Mel Goertz’s Haiku

You can find the text of the Call to Worship and Haiku by clicking here.  (And if you want to go directly to the video about William Ransom, you can click here.)


Orientation to this Service and Announcements

Welcome to this online worship service of the United Church of Strafford, Vermont for July 12th, 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;
  • This orientation;
  • Time with Children (and Adults);
  • Alternate Lord’s Prayer read by six members of our congregation;
  • Scripture passages, Romans 8:5-6; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
  • Sermon by the Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder;
  • Anthem (“Stand Up” From the motion picture Harriet, song written by Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo, performed by Cynthia Erivo);
  • Offering;
  • Benediction Anthem (“God’s Radar,”  by the Dixie Hummingbirds)
  • Postlude by Annemieke McLane.

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!


Teaching Two: We Have the Seeds We Need: How Can We Create the Garden We Need?  Time with Children (and Adults) 


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.


Scripture Passages: Romans 8:5-6

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.  Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.  And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil.  But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”

“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.  As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”


Teaching Three: We Have the Seeds We Need: How Can We Create the Garden We Need?  Sermon  

Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder

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


Anthem   “Stand Up” From the motion picture Harriet, song written by Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo, performed by Cynthia Erivo



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 “God’s Radar,”  by the Dixie Hummingbirds

Thanks to David Webb for calling this to our attention.  It is a beautiful and hopeful benediction!


Postlude French Suite IV – Sarabande, J. S. Bach, BWV 815, Annemieke McLane, piano


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