United Church of Strafford, Vermont

Sermon from April 11, 2021

Liberated and Sent
Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
United Church of Strafford, Vermont
April 11, 2021   Second Sunday of Easter
James 1:16-27; John 20:19-31
You can read or download the scriptures here: 4-11-21 Service Readings

You can watch a video recording of this Call to Worship and Sermon at the end of this text and you can see the entire On Line Service by clicking here.  Here is a pdf of this text: 4-11-21 sermon pdf

Call to Worship:

Welcome to the United Church of Strafford, Vermont, celebrating the Second Sunday of Easter. We will hear the rest of the Easter story in John that Deadra read last week, and today is the joyful part.

Deadra explained that the followers of Jesus were in deep grief from the public torture and execution of their beloved teacher who had been so full of compassion, kindness and unconditional love.  Their trauma only deepened at the discovery of the empty tomb, which they assumed was another act of violence against the body of Jesus.  Finally, it took the terrifying twist of becoming a ghost story when Mary Magdalene reported seeing him. 

Today we will hear how the followers of Jesus gathered that night behind locked doors, uncertain what it all meant and afraid that the authorities would arrest and crucify them as well. 

It wasn’t until Jesus came through those locked doors that Easter joy finally dawned in the darkness of their anguish, and with that joy came inner peace, spiritual power and the mission of the church.  This is John’s version of the Pentecost story, which really is the completion and fulfillment of Easter.  It is not ultimately about what happens to Jesus, it is about what happens to us and to the world through us.

The miracle of resurrection happens whenever we overcome any inner or outer obstacle and become what James calls “doers of the word.”  The word is the essential truth of what God created us to do.  The word is love.  Easter joy dawns again each time that love is freed to flow into the world through doers of the word.

Let us worship together and open ourselves to that power and joy…

the sermon begins below

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On Line Worship Service, April 11, 2021

Welcome to this service for this Second Sunday of Easter.  

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 April 11th. 

You can see the Order of Worship below with details on the music and readings included in the video.

You will also see below some portions of our worship that were not included in the live zoom 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         Read More

Weekly Churchwide Newsletter Email, April 9, 2021

You can read our weekly email newsletter published on April 9, 2021 by clicking here.

 

April 11, 2021 Children’s (and Adults’) Story Time

We will have a Children’s (and Adults’) Story Time by Zoom, this Sunday, April 11th at 9:30 AM—Please spread the word about this event.  Children can attend from anywhere and adults are welcome, too!

We will be offering story time whenever we have a volunteer to lead it.  Please let us know if you would like to share a favorite book or skit or story with the children by emailing us at unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com.

New Story Time Theme: Sowing the Seeds of Kindness
This Sunday at 9:30am, please join Joey Hawkins and Danette Harris for a new spring story series that is just in time for the sprouting of all kinds of things in our gardens: Sowing the Seeds of Kindness. We have selected a wide variety of stories to share that depict children, adults and even animals showing loving kindness towards one another.
We will start off the series with the beloved story Dogger, by Shirley Hughes. (A favorite of the Harris family!) Here is a description of the story: “Dave and Dogger, Dave’s soft, brown stuffed toy, go everywhere together, all the time. But one evening, just before bedtime, Dave discovers Dogger is lost. Can such a sad story end happily? It can- and does- with a little help from (kind!) big sister Bella.”
Children of all ages are welcome to join us for the story and a short, informal discussion afterwards when we will focus on the thoughts of the children.
We hope that you can join us!

Here is the Zoom link (note that it is the same as the Sunday morning Live Service at 10:00 and Joys and Concerns at 10:30):

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/110184919

You can find Zoom instructions on this website page by clicking here.

On Line Worship Service, April 4, 2021 Easter Sunday

Welcome to this Easter service!

The main part of the service is included below in one video of our live zoom worship on Sunday morning at 9:30 AM on April 4, 2021. 

In the video you will hear beautiful, uplifting hymns and choral and instrumental music, a fun Story Time with Danette Harris and Joey Hawkins, the resurrection story from the Gospel of John, plus an Easter reunion communion, our first sharing of the bread and cup in over a year. 

You will also see below some portions of our worship that were not included in the live zoom service, including the text of a double haiku by Mel Goertz, 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         Read More

On Line Worship Service, April 2, 2021 Good Friday

Welcome to this service for Good Friday.  

You will find the entire service below in one video of our live zoom worship on April 2, 2021 at 7:00 PM. 

The service followed a Christmas Eve “lessons and carols” format with readings of the Passion Story interspersed with some of the most beautiful and beloved music of the church year provided by Annemieke and Jeremiah McLane and Becky Bailey, as well as times of spoken or silent prayer. 

You can find the Order of Worship below the video.

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  

 

The Live Zoom Service Recording

 

Order of Worship in the Video:

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Weekly Churchwide Email, April 1, 2021

You can read our weekly email newsletter published on April 1, 2021 by clicking here.

 

On Line Worship Service, March 28, 2021 Palm Sunday

Welcome to this service for this Palm Sunday, Oneness Sunday and Sixth and last Sunday in Lent.  

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 28th. 

In the video you will hear the choir sing a popular Mexican hymn, “Mantos y Palmas,” and the congregation will sing the traditional Palm Sunday hymn “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.”  You will hear a Bach piano postlude by Annemieke McLane, a Hosanna duet with Annemieke and Becky Bailey and a recorded video performance of the Palm Sunday gospel story according to Matthew acted out by one of our talented families.  We will reflect on the joy of Oneness and the Christ-inspired journey to extend that joy to the entire world.

You will also see below some portions of our worship that were not included in the live zoom 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         Read More

Sermon from March 28, 2021

Oneness
Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
United Church of Strafford, Vermont
March 28, 2021   Sixth Sunday in Lent, Palm Sunday
Matthew 21:1-1

You can watch a video recording of this Call to Worship and Sermon at the end of this text and you can see the entire On Line Service by clicking here.  Here is a pdf of this text: 3-28-21 sermon pdf

Call to Worship: Welcome to the United Church of Strafford, Vermont, on this Palm Sunday, Oneness Sunday and Sixth and last Sunday in Lent.

We have come to the edge of the Lenten wilderness.  Moses stands on Mount Nebo looking across the Jordan to the Promised Land.  The children of Israel have learned to trust in God, they have gained a sense of identity and way to live.  They have been made one.

Jesus has survived his wilderness trials and temptations.  Angels are ministering to him.  Soon he will emerge, overflowing with the Holy Spirit. 

We see Jesus on Palm Sunday three years later in a scene of oneness with all humanity.  People love him for his humble serving, his healing touch, his solidarity with the vulnerable and struggle for justice.

But something is wrong.  The people think he is the Messiah who will crush their enemies and rule over other peoples.  The oneness they feel is forged in part by vengeful, violent hate. 

That oneness will shatter in disappointment and the crowd will turn against him five days later, but there is another oneness, deeper, humbler—the oneness of the disciple women who will stay faithful, the oneness that helps the disciple men overcome their fear and shame and come back together. 

That true oneness brings lasting joy.  If you want to find a place to stand on Palm Sunday, look for Mary Magdalene.  Stand in the light of her love and joy, then turn and follow where her path of oneness leads.

Let us worship together …

the sermon begins below

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Holy Week Schedule 2021, March 28th to April 4th

Holy Week Schedule:  Here is the schedule for this year’s Holy Week services and celebrations.  All are live Zoom services except where noted.  All will also be recorded and posted on this website for later viewing.

Note: You are invited to bring something to wave as a palm branch to the Palm Sunday service, and please have bread and juice ready for communion at the end of the Easter service.

 

Palm Sunday, March 28th, 9:30 Story Time, 10:00-10:30 AM service, 10:30-11:30 AM Sharing Joys and Concerns.  To read the details of the Story Time click here.  To find instructions for how to attend any or all three of the events by Zoom click here.

Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service for April 1st   Click here to view this service.

Good Friday, April 2nd, 7:00 PM  You can find a description of this service and the Zoom link to attend it by clicking here.

Easter Service for All Ages, April 4, 9:30 to 10:30 AM, Sharing Joys and Concerns 10:30 to 11:30 AM   Beautiful, uplifting hymns and choral and instrumental music, a Story Time with Danette Harris and Joey Hawkins, the resurrection story from the Gospel of John and communion all in this celebratory one hour service for children and adults.  Please note: have communion bread and juice ready when you join the service.  From start to finish a spirit of joy, joy, joy!  To find instructions to join by Zoom by clicking here.