On Line Worship Service, July 26, 2020

Welcome to this service.  This week’s service features three teachings entitled “The Spirit Intercedes: If God Is For Us, Who Is Against Us?” You will find three different approaches to the theme of the Spirit’s presence and power and how we can work with it to transform our lives and our world, first in the Call to Worship, then in this week’s special Children’s Time on prayer (which is for adults as much as older children) and finally in the short Sermon.

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 along the way 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.


Prelude  Edvard Grieg Edvard Grieg, “Album Leaf,” Lyric Pieces Book I, Op. 12 No. 7, Annemieke McLane, piano


Introit “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” by Ken Medema.

Sung by members of the United Church of Strafford Choir.


Teaching One: The Spirit Intercedes: If God Is For Us, Who Is Against Us?—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 July 19th, 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 Herbert Goertz’s Haiku;
  • This orientation;
  • Time with Children (and Adults);
  • Alternate Lord’s Prayer read by six members of our congregation;
  • Anthem “O Lord, Hear My Prayer” from the Taizé Community, sung by Annemieke McLane;
  • Scriptures  Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-46
  • Sermon by the Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder;
  • “Human Rights Campaign Remembers Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Lewis”  ;
  • Offering;
  • Benediction from Romans 8;
  • Choral Benediction “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round” Eric Essix/Brenda McKenzie,  Legends Tribute to Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian;
  • Postlude by Annemieke McLane from Messe de Minuit by Marc-Antonin Charpentier.

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: Special Collection on Prayer The Spirit Intercedes: If God Is For Us, Who Is Against Us?  Time with Children (and Adults—For Everyone, Really!) 


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.


Anthem “O Lord, Hear My Prayer” from the Taizé Community

Sung by Annemieke McLane


Scripture Passages:

Romans 8:26-39
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.  And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  We know that all things work together for good for those who love God… What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?… Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?   As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ.

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-46
13:31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”  He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened. The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”


Teaching Three:  The Spirit Intercedes: If God Is For Us, Who Is Against Us?  Sermon  

Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder

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


“Human Rights Campaign Remembers Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Lewis”



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  from Romans 8


Choral Benediction “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round” Eric Essix/Brenda McKenzie;  Legends Tribute to Rep. John Lewis and Rev. CT Vivian


Postlude  from Messe de Minuit by Marc-Antonin Charpentier

Annemieke McLane, piano and voice

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