On Line Worship Service, March 14, 2021

Welcome to this service for the Fourth Sunday in Lent.  Each Lenten Sunday has a theme and a ritual just as each Advent Sunday does.  This is the Sunday of Struggle. 

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 March 14th. 

We will hear two beautiful hymns of struggle: the spiritual “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me,” and the gospel great, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”  Becky Bailey will sing the first as a solo accompanied by Annemieke McLane, and they will both lead us in our (muted) singing of “Precious Lord.”  Annemieke will play two piano pieces by Edvard Grieg.  We will reflect on this anniversary of our first online gathering on March 15, 2020, when we thought we might be out of the sanctuary as long as a month…  We will also reflect on struggle as a mysterious fact of life and as a miraculous gift of grace, and on the struggles that the Spirit is calling us to go through now.

You will also see below some portions of our worship together that were not included in the live service, including the haiku (or tanka) 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 poem by Mel Goertz is in the Japanese tanka form of 31 syllables in five lines: 


I caught the feeling
     of being part of something bigger
as I swept early morning snow
     off the step.
Chickadees were singing.


Let us worship together.      



The scripture readings for this Sunday are Romans 7:15, 21-24; Galatians 2:19-20; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28; and, Mark 11:15-18.  You can read them or download them by clicking here: 3-14-21 Service Readings  


The Live Zoom Service Recording Order of Worship (the video is below):

  1. Call to Worship by Pastor Tom Kinder
  2. Prelude by Annemieke McLane, “Solitary Traveler” by Edvard Grieg, Lyric Pieces Book III, Opus 43, No.2, 
  3. Readings (see above), read powerfully by the Rev. Deadra Ashton
  4. Anthem “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me,” African American Spiritual, sung by Becky Bailey, accompanied by Annemieke McLane
  5. Reflection “Celebrate the Struggle” by the Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder, Pastor
  6. Hymn “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”
  7. Closing Lenten Ritual and Unison Prayer
  8. Postlude by Church Musician, Annemieke McLane, Edvard Grieg, Lyric Pieces Book IV, Opus 47, No.3

Here is the video:  



You can read the text and find a pdf of the Call to Worship and Reflection 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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