On Line Worship Service, February 21, 2021

Welcome to this service for the First Sunday in Lent.  We will hear a heart-filled Psalm in addition to the traditional story of Jesus in the wilderness where he fasted for forty days, faced temptations and trials and finally emerged full of the Holy Spirit.  We will reflect on the gifts that a spiritual wilderness can bring—gifts that we need and the world needs right now.  We will hear beautiful music played by pianist Annemieke McLane and sung by the choir she directs and we will sing a hymn about the Lenten wilderness journey set to a beloved Advent tune.

The main part of the service is included below in one video of our live zoom worship on Sunday morning at 10:00 AM on February 21st.  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, a few announcements and the offering. 

Thank you for being part of our church community! If you would like to join us on our Sunday morning zooms click here or on our Thursday Heartfulness Contemplative Training Circle zooms click here.  If you would like to be added to our weekly newsletter list please let us know at unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com

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 webpage 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:   

A broken branch

of pussy willows

grew into a willow tree.

Let us worship together.    



We had a recording problem so that Annemieke McLane’s Prelude for the live zoom service did not come through, which was Partita No. 2, Allemande, by J. S. Bach, but here is a past recording Annemieke made of his Partita No. 6, Allemande.



The scripture readings for this Sunday are from Psalm 25 and the story of Jesus in the wilderness in Luke 4:1-14.  You can read them or download them by clicking here: 2-21-21 Service Readings


The Live Zoom Service Recording

Order of Worship (the video is below, and again we apologize that we have not included the Prelude or Hymn because of recording problems):

  1. Call to Worship by Pastor Tom Kinder
  2. Readings (see above), read by Annemieke McLane
  3. Anthem, “In This Holy Silence,” sung by members of the United Church of Strafford Choir, directed by Annemieke McLane, video produced by Becky Bailey
  4. Reflection, “The Gifts of the Wilderness We Need” by the Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder, Pastor
  5. Closing Lenten Ritual and Unison Prayer

Here is the video:



You can read the text and find a pdf of the Call to Worship and Sermon and Sermon Hymn 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.)        



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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