United Church of Strafford, Vermont

2/5/23 Event: Understanding Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation

Understanding Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation

Sunday, February 5  ~  3:30-5:30 pm

United Church of Strafford Sanctuary, on the Common, Strafford, Vermont

In Person and Streamed on Zoom

Please email unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com to receive a zoom link.

In this interactive workshop, we will use our shared knowledge, curiosity
and empathy to better understand the meanings of terms relating to gender
and sexual orientation.  We will explore current data and issues facing
young people.  Attendees will have access to online or paper resources to
take home. No prior knowledge is necessary; this is an introduction to
these ideas and all that is required is  an open mind and willingness to

Why? In September, members of the United Church of Strafford voted
unanimously to host  a series of educational and explorative discussion
sessions about issues relating to sexual orientation, gender identity and
gender expression in the context of our society, the Christian church and
our circles of family and friends.

Facilitator: Christa Wurm (she/her)  has been an educator for over 24
years.  Her workshops emphasize learning through building connections and
exploring our assumptions.   With a  background in Outdoor Education,
leading wilderness and international expeditions with young people, Christa
became part of the faculty of the Sharon Academy in 2002. She has taught
Spanish language and culture, Sex Education, Life Skills, Leadership, and
Outdoor Skills, among others. Christa  is committed to increasing
educational access to students from marginalized populations.  Her
professional learning has focused on gender inclusion, sexuality education,
antiracism, bias awareness, suicide prevention, workplace inclusion, and
dignity.  She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work while
raising two young Jedi Warriors with her amazing wife at the edge of the

Martha Manheim Service Zoom Invitation

Martha Manheim Memorial Service and Reception

A service to celebrate the life of Martha Manheim will take place in our sanctuary on Saturday, January 14th, 2023,  at 11:00 AM, with a reception afterwards at Barrett Hall.  The service will be in person (masks required) as well as live-streamed on Zoom.

Here is the full Zoom Invitation:

Topic: Martha Manheim Memorial Service
Time: Jan 14, 2023 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 896 1508 4926
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Story Sundays

Question: who doesn’t love a good story?

Answer: We ALL love good stories!

From the time we are tiny and through all the rest of our lives, stories keep us going. A good story can make us laugh, it can make us cry, it can make us think, and it can connect us with our fellow human beings.

 In this spirit, the United Church of Strafford is excited to offer monthly Story Sundays!  Using stories, song, and poetry (and maybe cookies!) we will spend the second Sunday morning service of each month exploring some of the great questions that our fellow humanfolk have wondered about through the ages – and still wonder about.

Story Sundays are for everyone. The children will be invited to remain in the sanctuary for the entire service, and it will be structured to work for them as well as the adults. We had a preview of what these services will be like with Pageant Sunday this year.

Themes of upcoming Story Sundays could include questions like, Who is God?  How do we find God?  How do we pray?

The next Story Sundays will be January 8, February 12 and March 12, 2023.


Christmas Eve Service 5:30 PM 2022

Dear neighbors,

This service will be IN PERSON and Zoom only as of 4:30 PM on Christmas Eve.  The full Zoom information is at the bottom of this letter, but the simple link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84071749891

I know how much this town loves its Christmas Eve service, and I am glad because I love it, too.  One person in town talks with glistening eyes about coming out of the late night service into the stillness of the Upper Village with a gentle snow falling and feeling a peace like no other time or place.
Our Christmas Eve service is as close as we can get to pure beauty and pure joy–the children, the candlelight, the familiar carols and the gorgeous choral and instrumental music, this year featuring Sarah Cantor and the Cantornote Church Musicians with recorders and guitar, as well as our choir.
The words are beautiful, too, although they need some explaining.  The United Church of Strafford was one of the first in the Upper Valley to adopt a standard of inclusive-language.  It is a mostly female-led congregation that aspires to be a force working for peace, justice and the care of the earth.
And yet on Christmas Eve you will hear the Shakespeare-era King James Version of the Bible and the pre-inclusive language versions of the traditional hymns.
You can blame me for this.  I use them partly because of their beauty, but more because the music of those words can work an emotional magic for people who attended Christmas Eve services when they were young.  If you are missing your parents or grandparents or the world of your childhood, hearing the same diction and cadence can bring back a comforting echo, a sense of being present there again, as nothing else can.
The service is not solely traditional lessons and carols.  We have an informal time with the children at the start of the service and a brief candle-lit story that comes just before we all light our candles and sing Silent Night.  We hope for laughter as well as wonder.
All are welcome: all neighbors and guests; all races and religions; all gender identities and sexual orientations; all ages and walks of life.  We hope you will feel how blessed we are by one another’s presence and by the opportunity to bring our diversity together in one loving community.
We ask that you be masked for this service so that we can sit close together and sing and feel protected from all the viruses going around, including the latest covid strain.
Thank you,
Pastor Tom Kinder

Topic: Christmas Eve 5:30 PM 2022
Time: Dec 24, 2022 05:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 840 7174 9891
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,84071749891# US (New York)
+13017158592,,84071749891# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 305 224 1968 US
+1 309 205 3325 US
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 931 3860 US
+1 360 209 5623 US
+1 386 347 5053 US
+1 507 473 4847 US
+1 564 217 2000 US
+1 669 444 9171 US
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 689 278 1000 US
+1 719 359 4580 US
+1 253 205 0468 US
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
Meeting ID: 840 7174 9891
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kTui9DF2m


Nativity Puppet Show Pageant, December 11, 2022

Nativity Puppet Show This Sunday at 10:00 AM!

This service is both in person AND live streamed on Zoom.  For Zoom instructions and the link, click here.
This year we will once again have the amazing Nativity Puppet Show.  Inspired by puppetry of the Waldorf tradition and the wonder-based storytelling of Godly Play, Rachel Guaraldi, a chaplain, minister, mother, and Strafford neighbor, will tell the story of the Holy Family as they traveled to Bethlehem, celebrated the birth of Jesus, and were visited by shepherds, angels and wise men.  We will sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” at key moments in the story.

Children are invited to dress up or dress as one of their favorite characters or creatures from the nativity story.  We are all invited to bring donations to the Sharon Food Shelf which is open to residents of all towns. (Strafford is also served by the Food Shelf at Coburn’s.) We are asking that you kindly bring cans of soup or any non-perishable food items.  At a certain point in the puppet pageant, children will be invited to bring those items to the manger as the congregation sings two verses of “We Three Kings.”  The children are invited to go to the Parish Hall with Danette Harris and Rachel Guaraldi after the pageant for more stories, activities and snacks while the adults end with a brief service returning from the outburst of Christmas back to Advent.

Zoom link for FOV 12/6/22


Links for FOV 11/15/22




Password:  4Meadowpink

Special Holiday Services and Events 2022

Upcoming Special Services & Events Calendar

Sun. Nov. 20  Thanksgiving Sunday 10:00 AM

in worship with cherished hymns and music provided by Emerson Gale.

Thurs. Nov. 24  Strafford Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Thanksgiving Morning at 10:00 AM in our sanctuary again this year. Bring a poem, story or song and abundant gratitude to share.

Sun. Nov. 27  First Sunday of Advent

Advent begins with the beautiful rituals of bringing in the greens and lighting the Advent candle of Hope, plus beloved Advent hymns and other music provided by The Cantornote Church Musicians.

Fri. Dec. 2   ”Noël” Concert  7:00 PM

with Julie Ness, Timothy Cummings, Jeremiah McLane and Annemieke McLane

Sun. Dec. 4  Second Sunday of Advent The candle of Peace.

Fri. Dec. 9  7:00 PM Thetford Chamber Singers concert in our sanctuary

Sun. Dec. 11  Third Sunday of Advent and Pageant Sunday (First Story Sunday)

During the 10:00 AM service Rachel Guaraldi will present a puppet pageant with an opportunity for children to participate and for the congregation to sing carols.  Afterward, Tom will lead a brief Advent service and we will light the candle of Joy.

Sun. Dec. 18  Fourth Sunday of Advent, Mary Sunday

Lighting the candle of Love and celebrating Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the model she serves for our spiritual lives.

Tues. Dec. 24  Christmas Eve Service 5:30 PM 

Picture excited and awe-filled children, a sanctuary lit entirely by candles, beloved lessons and carols and gorgeous instrumental music provided by The Cantornote Church Musicians, in a service timed to allow you to have all your other Christmas Eve traditions as well.

Sun. Dec. 25   Christmas Day, 10:00 AM Zoom-only gathering

On Christmas morning we will gather by Zoom on the usual link to read aloud a beloved Christmas story for all ages and to say Merry Christmas to one another.

Sun. Jan. 1  Epiphany Sunday Zoom-only Worship Service  The Magi follow the star…

Sun. Jan. 8  Baptism of Christ Sunday and Story Sunday (click here for information on Story Sundays)

Sun. Jan. 15  Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday   Vermont UCC Open & Affirming consultant Jeffrey Tuper-Giles leads worship

links for 11/1/22




Seeking a New Church Musician!

The United Church of Strafford (VT) seeks a keyboard musician to play for Sunday worship services and on Christmas Eve, starting immediately. The musician should have sufficient proficiency to play piano (or piano and organ) for worship services, including solo keyboard works, congregational hymns, and choral accompaniment. Pay is based on the number of services the musician plays for. We will gladly consider applicants who are not available for all Sundays each month.

The United Church of Strafford is affiliated with both the United Church of Christ and American Baptist Convention and is located at 230 Justin Morrill Highway, Strafford, Vermont.

Skills and knowledge – required

  • Proficiency on piano or piano and organ – ability to
    • Sightread hymns
    • Perform longer pieces from classical or classical and other (pop, jazz, gospel) repertoire
    • Accompany choir

Skills and knowledge – nice to have

  • Knowledge of choral repertoire
  • Knowledge of vocal technique and warm ups
  • Ability to rehearse and conduct a choir

Time commitment

  • Work for mutually agreed-upon number of Sunday services per month plus Christmas Eve, including an hour of choir rehearsal before worship services (total of 2.5 hours per Sunday)
  • Coordinate music selections with the pastor

Pay Structure: Musician will be paid a set fee per worship service, including coordination with pastor and rehearsal with choir

Please email a letter of interest and your resume to: unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com. Please put “Church Musician” in the subject line.