On Line Worship Service, August 2, 2020

Welcome to this service. 

The theme of today’s service is “Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled vs. Jesus Wept.”  The Bible and our entire tradition hold together these two seemingly contradictory approaches to loss and grief.  This service will explore where they lead us.  You will find three different approaches to the theme, first in the Call to Worship, then in this week’s Children’s Time (which is for adults as much as older children) and finally in the Sermon.

(I got talking about our beloved Bill Burden in the sermon, so it ended up being a little longer than sometimes—over twelve minutes.  You can find a link to both the Call to Worship and the Sermon’s written texts below as well.)

We have two guest contributions to this service, local chaplains and spiritual directors who have extensive experience and wisdom related to grief, the Rev. Deadra Ashton and Rachel Guaraldi.  Please be sure to hear them.

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 shorter 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  from Messe de Minuit by Marc-Antonin Charpentier

Annemieke McLane, piano and voice

Note that this week’s prelude was last week’s postlude.  Not many people heard it, and it is extraordinarily beautiful.  Its “Kyrie” tone fits today’s service perfectly.


Introit When Peace Like a River (with new verses)
tune: Ville de Havre (NCH#438) with refrain, Music by Philip Bliss
verse 1 by Horatio G. Spafford: verses 2-4 by Thomas Cary Kinder

Sung and produced by Becky Bailey of the United Church of Strafford Choir, with Annemieke McLane playing the organ.


Teaching One: Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled vs. Jesus Wept—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 Mel Goertz’s Haiku;
  • This orientation;
  • Talking with Young Children about Grief  Rachel Guaraldi;
  • Time with Children (and Adults);
  • Alternate Lord’s Prayer read by six members of our congregation;
  • Reading “Spring and Fall” Gerard Manley Hopkins, read by the Rev. Deadra Ashton;
  • Scriptures John 11:25-36; 14:1-6a, 27;
  • Sermon by the Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder;
  • Anthem  “When Jesus Wept”  William Billings
  • Offering;
  • Benediction from Romans 8;
  • Choral Benediction “Pues Si Vivimos” United Church of Strafford Choir;
  • Postlude  “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” Annemieke McLane, piano.

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!


Talking with Young Children about Grief  Rachel Guaraldi offers this beautiful teaching from her personal and professional experience.  She shares two of her favorite books to use.


Teaching Two: Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled vs. Jesus Wept

 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.


Reading “Spring and Fall” Gerard Manley Hopkins, read by the Rev. Deadra Ashton

We asked Rev. Ashton to share some reflections on grief from her perspective as the Dartmouth-Hitchcock chaplain working with older people.  She offered this beautiful, expressive reading of one of Hopkins’ most well known and well loved poems, and she also provided a reflection that I quote in the Call to Worship above, and you can read in its entirety on her website at: https://deadraashton.com/facing-grief/

Here is her reading:


Scripture Passages:

John 11:25-36; 14:1-6a, 27

John 11:25-36

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

John 14:1-6a, 27

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life…Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.


Teaching Three: Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled vs. Jesus Wept   Sermon  

Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder

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


Anthem  “When Jesus Wept” William Billings

Sung by Quire Cleveland under Artistic Director Ross W. Duffin, recorded at Historic St. Peter’s Church in downtown Cleveland, April 6, 2014. This famous and poignant round was first published in Billings’ first collection, The New England Psalm Singer.



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 “Pues si vivimos (In All Our Living)” Mexican Folk Hymn.

The words of the second English verse are by Elise S. Eslinger.

Sung by members of the United Church of Strafford Choir.


Postlude “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” African-American Spiritual

Annemieke McLane, piano

One Comment on “On Line Worship Service, August 2, 2020

  1. Pingback: Churchwide Emails about Bill Burden | United Church of Strafford, Vermont

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: