On Line Worship Service, September 27, 2020

Welcome to this service.  We have new worship formats and spiritual offerings as of September, 2020.  You can read about them by clicking here.  The main difference in these online services will be that they are shorter and simpler to fit with our covid culture’s screen fatigue and shortened attention span.

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.

Whoever you are, wherever you are on your journey, you are welcome here and in our church community.

Pastor Tom Kinder


Today’s Order of Worship

Prelude by Annemieke McLane
Call to Worship: A Haiku by Mel Goertz
Benediction & Postlude, “These Things Shall Be,” sung by members of the United Church of Strafford Choir, Annemieke McLane, organ


Prelude   from “Songs Without Words,” Op. 30 No. 3 in E Major, Felix Mendelssohn, performed by our church musician, Annemieke McLane, piano.  This is the tune adapted for a beloved hymn, “Still, Still with Thee.”


Call to Worship  “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46  

This week’s haiku by Mel Goertz:

Wind rushes through the pines.

Below on russet needles

a grouse steps slowly.

Let us worship together.


Scripture Passages

Ezekiel 18:30-32

I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord GOD. Turn, then, and live.

Philippians 2:1-13

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross.  Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Matthew 15:10-11, 17-20

Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles….” Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”


Sermon   Get Yourselves a New Heart and Mind,  Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder

You can find the text of the Sermon by clicking here.  It begins with a series of five linked haiku read by a stream.



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.)



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. 

We are now streaming live readings and music from our sanctuary on that same Zoom link at 10:15 AM, so just sign on fifteen minutes earlier. 

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.


Benediction  These Things Shall Be, revised and with new verses

These things shall be: a wiser age

Than e’er the world hath known shall rise;

The Golden Rule shall guide all lands,

All people equal in all eyes.


All shall be gentle, brave and strong

To spill no drop of blood but dare

To lay life down to plant love’s realm

On earth and fire and sea and air.


Nation with nation, race with race,

Unarmed shall live in harmony;

In every heart and brain shall throb

The pulse of one world family.


New wisdom grows to care for earth,

To save and guard our one life source.

The prophet voice of warning cries

And humans hear and change their course.


These things shall be, for so God wills,

The Spirit’s flow that we can trust.

We will create God’s realm of love

For all on earth.  We will.  We must.


© Thomas Cary Kinder 2019 rev. vv 1-3 and new vv 4-5

Original by John Symonds circa 1880


Postlude “These Things Shall Be,” (original words) Sung by members of the United Church of Strafford Choir, accompanied by Annemieke McLane, organ.

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