September 2015 Crossroads

Delicious Food and Delightful Fellowship
Save the date for our annual Fall Luncheon – Sunday, September 20th – and start thinking about what delicious dish you want to share with everyone, because this will be an International Potluck Luncheon!

Christian Education

Rally Day is coming on September 13! This is our kick-off day for our Christian Education program. All classes will begin, from our preschoolers through our adult class. The adult class will meet at its regular 9:15 time. There will be a special program for our preschoolers-Middle School kids during the worship time. High school kids will meet at that time to decide what they want to do this year.

Adult Sunday School Resumes!

We will kick off our year September 13 at 9:15 with a study on The Power of Forgiveness led by Pastor Mike. We will be reading Forgive and Forget by Lewis Smedes and watching clips from a video series, The Power of Forgiveness. Please come join us!

Attention High School Students

High school students will be meeting after the Word for Children with Ann McGrath to decide what they want the program to look like during this year. Please make an effort to be there so you can be part of the planning.

Come Sing With Us!
Nancy Timmerman

All voices are welcome to sing in the BPC Chancel Choir. Regular rehearsal times are 7:30 to 9 pm on Thursdays and 10 to 10:20 am on Sunday mornings during the school year. The choir season will start with rehearsal on Thursday, September 10 and Sunday morning, September 13, 2015, the same time as the services return to 10:30 am. Regular choir members who are going to miss practice or Sunday morning need to notify the director ahead of time.

The ability to read music is not required. However, for skilled singers who need to miss practice, arrangements can be made to provide the music for individual study. We are a friendly group who sing a variety of musical styles. It should also be noted that, since the choir sings the offertory on communion Sundays and the anthem (before the Word for Children), students in the upper grades can participate, and Sunday School teachers can sometimes participate.

In addition, instrumentalists or not regular members of the choir are encouraged to provide special music (usually during the offertory), as they were during the summer months. This also needs to be coordinated.

Women’s Bible Study

Women’s Bible Study will begin on Thursday September 17 at 9:30 am with a welcome brunch. All women of the church are welcome! Our study is titled Encouraging One Another. Please join us! We will be meeting in the large classroom.

PEACE AND GLOBAL WITNESS OFFERING

This offering, formerly known as the Peacemaking Offering, will be received on October 4, World Communion Sunday. In 2014, the 221st General Assembly approved the change to engage with our global partners in new initiatives of reconciliation in addition to the rich tradition of our denomination’s long commitment to peacemaking.

Throughout September, articles on Domestic Violence, Gun Violence, Human Trafficking and Structural Racism will be included in the bulletins. We hope you will take time to read these articles.

Twenty-five percent of the offering will stay in our congregation. In the past, some of the church’s share of the offering has helped to provided scholarships for graduating seniors who have been involved in peacemaking activities. Our congregation may wish to support other causes this year. Please share your thoughts with the Stewardship Co-Chairs: Sue Hadsell and Beth Denier.

Deacon’s Corner
We are thrilled to report that our Sister Deacons, Kathleen and Caitlin are continuing to heal nicely from their surgery sharing a liver…Praise God! In their absence, Barbara Karanja has graciously volunteered to cover Caitlin’s role as Deacon Coordinator. If you have prayer concerns, please contact Rev. Mike.

New Beginnings

Dear BPC members and friends,

Our new church program year will be starting up on September 13, and the month of September will bring with it new opportunities for study, fellowship, and sharing.

Rally Day, September 13 will bring with it the start of a new Church School Year, as well as a new opportunity for study and sharing in the Adult Class. Starting September 13, I’m going to lead the Adult Class in a study on “The Power of Forgiveness”. We’ll be using a couple of different resources; one of them is a Public Broadcasting Service documentary entitled “The Power of Forgiveness”, which looks at the understanding of forgiveness from a number of religious traditions. Along with the video, we’ll also be using a book by Lewis Smedes, “Forgive and Forget”, a very pastoral look at the dynamics of forgiveness and its importance for our well being. Copies of Smedes’ book will be available for purchase beginning August 30.

Sunday, September 20 brings with it the annual Fall Luncheon, which will take a different form this year as it will be an International Pot-Luck Fall Luncheon, and it will include the kick-off for the church’s participation in the New Beginnings Mission Study process. Our consultant from New Beginnings will lead us in a time of sharing where we can identify what’s most important to us about our life together at BPC. Our preacher that day will be Boston Presbytery Resource Presbyter Cindy Kohlmann who has a very engaging preaching style which I know you will enjoy.

The New Beginnings process will ultimately result later in the fall with a series of “cottage meetings” which may take place at members’ homes and/or at the church. Those meetings will be designed to encourage our hopes and dreams for what the future of our church will look like, with each meeting group coming up with ideas for what our ministry can be in the future.

Brenda Flynn is chairing the church’s Mission Study Team, which will use the results of the New Beginnings process to put together a Mission Study document which will guide the church Pastoral Nominating Committee in its search for the next installed pastor of the congregation.

This fall will be an important time for the church to pull together, pray together, share together, dream together and work together as we discern God’s will for the congregation.

Worshipping together will be an especially important part of this journey as we pray for direction and guidance from above. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

The Peace of the Lord be with you, Mike

Will Wrestle for Food

The sermon title for Sunday is “Will Wrestle for Food”, a reference to both our Hebrew Scripture lesson from Genesis concerning Jacob and his wrestling match with God and our Gospel lesson in which Jesus speaks about the meaning of the feeding of the 5,000 people, Jacob’s descendants, if  you will, and their wrestling with the concept of what the bread of heaven is all about.
Add to that a modern day story of wrestling with faith, as author Sarah Miles, raised in a secular household and never having had a connection with a church, describes finding herself in worship one day and receiving communion.  Here’s how she describes it:  “I still can’t explain my first communion. It made no sense. I was in tears and physically unbalanced; I felt as if I had just stepped off a curb or been knocked over, painlessly, from behind. The disconnect between what I thought was happening–I was eating a piece of bread; what I heard someone else say was the ‘body’ of ‘Christ’, a patently untrue or at best metaphorical statement; and what I knew was happening–God, named “Christ” or “Jesus” was real, and in my mouth–utterly short-circuited my ability to do anything but cry.”  Sarah’s experience led me to wonder about how many of us have ever had a similar experience receiving communion in the midst of our own struggles and wrestling?
        So began a long wrestling match as Sarah lived into a new understanding of Jesus and what he requires of us, and her understanding of “bread” and “communion” led her to establish a Food Pantry at her church in San Francisco, open to all, without condition.  The success of that Food Pantry led her to be instrumental in helping several other food pantries open up. Out of Sarah’s wrestling match came a fulfillment of Isaiah’s proclamation:  “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come buy and eat! Why do you spend your money for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food”.  Sarah Miles found that rich food in her communion encounter with Jesus.

The Gospel in Community

“Some say I am DNA. Some say I am a product of my society. Some say I am merely a smart animal, a mass of brainwaves, or a calculating will to power. The evolutionary biologist, the psychologist, the environmentalist, the biochemist, the sociologist, the economist, the Ivy League ethicist, they all call me something. But you in the church, who do you say that I am?”
– The Rev. Peter Speckard, quoted in Scott McKnight, Embracing Grace.

Dear BPC members and friends,

The quote above is part of a sermon delivered at the national meeting of the Lutheran Church a number of years ago. In his book Embracing Grace, Professor Scott McKnight answers the question: “Peter, you are an ‘Eikon’, you are the image of God.” McKnight goes on to say that C.S. Lewis’ words express this better than anything he has ever seen: “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” What he is saying is that your neighbor in the pew is an ‘eikon’, the image of God, and you yourself are an ‘eikon’ to your neighbor in the pew. McKnight uses the Greek word ‘eikon’, meaning image, and spelled e-i-k-o-n deliberately, so we don’t think of “computer icons” or think of “cultural icons” like we see on the cover of People magazine.

On Sunday our Gospel lesson is Mark 2: 1-12, the story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man who is carried into Jesus’ presence by the man’s friends, lowering him through the roof of the house in order to access Jesus. The friends clearly saw their friend as being made in the image of God, and they wanted healing and wholeness for him. I Corinthians 13 captures the motivation of the friends: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” The word Paul uses in Greek for love is agape, a selfless, unconditional love that wants the best for the other person, and is willing to make a sacrifice that will make the other person’s life better. It means seeing the other person as made in the image of God, an eikon, and so deserving of our best efforts to help that person live fully in God’s love.

The title of my sermon is “The Gospel in Community”, about how it is that we in the church are not just individuals pursuing our own faith journey; we are each one of us bound together in a community of faith that shows forth God’s unconditional love to the world.

Summer 2015 Crossroads

Don’t Forget!
Sunday July 5th we’ll be worshipping with our UCC Brethren in their sanctuary at 9:30 am. That kicks off our summer hours – we’ll worship at 9:30 am through September 6th. After that we return to our 10:30 am services.

Summer Picnic after worship service

Spring Brook Park has decided not to open on weekends this year. In order to have our Church Picnic, we had to find a new venue. The Morrisons have very graciously offer to open up their home and yard to us.
They will provide the meat. Please bring a side dish, a salad, or a dessert to share. Please sign up on the list in Fellowship Hall and indicate what you plan to bring. They have enough chairs for 40 people. If you are #41 signing up, please bring your own chair! There will be games for the children. If you have a favorite yard game, please consider bringing it along. Our aim is to have a good time. If you have any questions, see Sally or Brad. Come! Join us!

A big thank you to…all who helped with Duncan’s service. It was a graceful way for us to express our love for Duncan. As the hymn says, “They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love”.

Thank you
…goes out to our dedicated Christian Education staff for their good, nurturing work during 2014-2015. A recognition service took place, followed by the annual CE cookout, on June14.

…and likewise to all the folks who gave so much so that we might have a successful Yard Sale on June 20, especially co-coordinators Judy Brunner and Sally Morrison (an unbeatable team!). Many came on a hot Saturday to shop.

Food Pantry Needs
We will be at UCC the first Sunday of July. Our next regular collection will be August 2. Remember, we are committed to providing 20 oz. bottles of dish detergent and individually wrapped bars of soap. Other non-food item, which need to be purchased by the pantry, are also welcome.

We need you
…to drive George to church
…to be a Worship Assistant
…to be a Greeter
Training available for Worship Assistants and Greeters
Please sign up today!

Yard Sale
We had our annual yard sale on June 20. It was a beautiful day and we sold a lot of “stuff”. Thank you, thank you to all who contributed. We earned a net of $1,234.24.

We worked hours in preparation and clean-up. Thank you to those who sorted and priced items and those who packed up the leftovers and hauled them to the thrift shop. Our sore muscles and feet are beginning to feel better. Thank you to all who baked cookies, pies, cakes and breads for our first attempt at a bake sale along with a yard sale, all looked delicious. Thanks to all who set up the tables.

Judy and Sally

Food Pantry Updates
by Amanda Moak

This past month has been a good one at the pantry. We are establishing normalcy and “regulars” with our cooking and nutrition classes, and we are finally getting fresh produce from the farm and soon the community garden.

What I like about the cooking classes is the variety of foods Nancy exposes us too. The only place I’ve ever had barley before was in a soup, and two weeks ago we made a barley summer salad. We also shop for most of the ingredients for the class in the pantry to show the clients just how doable fun recipes are.

Now that the CSA has started for the summer season, we are also able to incorporate fresh vegetables into the mix. This is especially exciting because a lot of clients (and also me) are not sure how to use all of the vegetables donated by the farm. Nancy has been giving us the confidence to branch out and do more cooking on our own. On several occasions clients have told me that after leaving the cooking class they went home and cooked the same food that Nancy made and it tasted just as good.

The nutrition classes are also fun because the clients who attend are sincerely interested in what Harriet has to say. They are active participants, asking questions and adding their thoughts. I always learn something new, and Harriet is an extremely knowledgeable teacher. She is great at listening to the attendees and answering their questions. I hope these classes are able to continue after I am gone because they have been a great service for our clients, and I think Nancy and Harriet love to teach them just as much as we love attending.

These past few weeks have been very exciting on the vegetable front as well. The CSA has officially started for the summer season, which means we’ve been seeing a large amount of fresh produce. We have also been planting in the Burlington Community Victory Garden. The plants are still to young to harvest, but soon we are hoping to see kale, broccoli, beans, eggplant, squash, and many other summer and fall vegetables. The garden is special to us because it is completely run by volunteers and all of the produce is donated to the pantry. I can’t wait to start using the Burlington-grown food in our cooking classes. It will be a fun day when we can say everything we cooked was grown and prepared right here in Burlington. If you would like to work in the garden (and trust me, you will always be welcome), please feel free to reach out by calling (339)-234-9221, or sending a quick email to phpvictorygarden@gmail.com

Stewardship
Sue Hadsell

Hello Everyone
Kudos to everyone who helped make the total contribution to Pentecost a total of $877 $40% will go to our congregation which will help us with our YAV program. Thank you.

Secondly we have received a total of $2891 for our per capita, which is more than received last year (thank you) but is shy of what we need to contribute to Presbytery for this year. If there is anything you can contribute to per capita this year it is more than appreciated.

Each year the Presbytery of Boston requires member churches to pay a “Per Capita Apportionment” to support the mission and ministry of the Presbytery, Synod and the General Assembly. “Per Capita” means a certain amount to be given for each adult confirmed member of the church (children who are below confirmation age are not included.) This year’s Per Capita is $51.07. Two adult members in a household would each contribute $51.07; a family with two adult members, one confirmed youth and two younger siblings would be asked to contribute for only the three household residents who are church members. The Session invites you to use the Per Capita envelope in your envelope sets (if you use envelopes) or to use the Per Capita envelopes that can be found in the narthex. Please make checks out to the Presbyterian Church in Burlington. Every Per Capita payment received will free up money for use elsewhere in a very tight 2015 budget

Christian Education

Summer Celebrations is the summer Sunday School program for Pre-K to grade 2 (children entering Grade 2 in the Fall). It starts on June 21 to September 6. So that our fabulous teachers can take a much deserved break, we are asking for volunteers to teach and assist a summer class (or two). Just grab a prepared lesson folder, which includes materials for craft activities. The theme for this summer is the Parables of Jesus. Come and pick your favorite ones. Please contact Kim Oey-Rosenthal or Mary Lou Lynn.

Fourth of July

Once again, the parade organizers are using our parking lot to kick off the annual parade. If you live in Burlington (even if you don’t), come down to help show our hospitality and make them feel welcome.