On Line Worship Service, November 15, 2020

Welcome to this service. We asked Mark Kutolowski of Metanoia of Vermont to reflect on “Where We Go from Here” at this moment in history from a spiritual perspective.  You can see his thoughtful and practical response below.  

It is a good time for this reflection not only in national and world history but also because the church year is coming to an end.  Next Sunday is Thanksgiving and Reign of Christ Sunday when we look back with gratitude and forward with hope.  (Click here to see our church’s Lord’s Acre celebration of gratitude and hope.)  Then on November 29th we enter the season of Advent, preparing and waiting in the darkest time for the coming of the light.

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

  1. Prelude by Laila Reimanis, Flute; Annemieke McLane, piano
  2. Introit by members of the United Church of Strafford Choir 
  3. Call to Worship: A Haiku by Mel Goertz
  4. Scriptures
  5. Reflection by Mark Kutolowski
  6. Offering
  7. Announcements
  8. Benediction “Ye People Rend Your Hearts/If With All Your Hearts” from Elijah by Felix Mendelssohn

Prelude  Flute Sonata in Eb Major, BWV 1031, J.S. Bach; Laila Reimanis, Flute; Annemieke McLane, piano

(We debuted this recording on Pentecost, so it seemed fitting on this penultimate Sunday of Pentecost to remember with renewed gratitude the beauty in which we began.)


Introit   “If You Love Me,”  Adapted from Thomas Tallis by Barbara Bridge, sung by members of the United Church of Strafford Choir, accompanied and directed by our church musician, Annemieke McLane, piano


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

This week’s haiku by Mel Goertz:

All the animals and birds

have gone home for the night.

Only a misty moon.

Let us worship together.         


Scripture Passages:

From Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength,
   a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
   though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
   though its waters roar and foam,
   though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
   God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
   he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the Lord…
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
   he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
   he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God!
   I am exalted among the nations,
   I am exalted in the earth.’
The Lord of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Matthew 16:24-26

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?”


Reflection  “Where Do We Go from Here?” by  Mark Kutolowski 

You can find the text of the Sermon by clicking here



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 to the Joys and Concerns Zoom link fifteen minutes earlier.

We are also offering a Story Time for children and adults at 9:45 AM at the same Zoom link.

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 with many more announcements than we print here. You can also see more news on this website by clicking here.

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 and Postlude  “Ye People Rend Your Hearts/If With All Your Hearts” from Elijah by Felix Mendelssohn

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