On Line Worship Service, January 17, 2021

Welcome to this service for the Second Sunday of Epiphany and Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday.  The worship format this Sunday is a little different from what we did up until November 22, 2020.  The music, readings and sermon are all included as part of one video of our recorded zoom live worship on Sunday morning at 10:00 AM on January 17th.  You will see the video below.  

You will also see below some portions of our worship together that were not included in the live service, including the haiku of the day, announcements and the offering.  Please be sure to listen to Becky Bailey singing Precious Lord, accompanied by Annemieke McLane, at the bottom of this page.  It was one of the Rev. Dr. King’s favorite hymns, and this is a gorgeous version of it.

Thank you for being part of our church community! If you would like to join us on our Sunday morning zoom click here or on our Thursday Heartfulness Contemplative Training Circle zoom click here.

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        

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

This week’s haiku by Mel Goertz:

Cardinal in the Lilac bush
feeding on winter seeds
from the blossoms.

Let us worship together.             


The Gospel passage is Luke 4:14-30.  You can read it online in various versions at http://bible.oremus.org/

Here is a reading collected from the writings of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:

This hour of history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists.  Our planet teeters on the brink of annihilation. We as Christians have a mandate to be nonconformists.

I do not minimize the complexity of the problems that need to be faced…. But I am convinced that we shall not have the will, the courage and the insight to deal with such matters unless…we are prepared to undergo a mental and spiritual reevaluation, a change of focus.

Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter—but beautiful—struggle for a new world.  This is the calling of the children of God.

The Live Zoom Service Recording

Order of Worship

  1. Gathering Music by Annemieke McLane
  2. Welcome by Pastor Tom Kinder
  3. Prelude by Annemieke McLane, piano
  4. Readings (see above), read by Linda Williams
  5. Hymn, “God of Grace and God of Glory”
  6. Reflection by Rev. John Dorhauer, General Minister of the United Church of Christ
  7. Anthem, “We Shall Overcome,” sung by members of the United Church of Strafford choir
  8. Closing Unison Prayer

Here is the video.  Please note that we had a technical glitch, so 20 seconds are filled in with subtitles in the middle of the Rev. Dorhauer’s reflection.

Additional Reflection 

You can click here to read a reflection by Pastor Tom Kinder posted on January 14, 2021, in response to the involvement of white supremacist evangelical Christian nationalists in the insurrection in Washington DC on January 6th.


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.)      


To read additional announcements please see our weekly churchwide emails by clicking here.  You can be added to our email list by requesting so at unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com.

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. 

If you would like to donate or help please email us or use the comment feature on this page.        


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