Palm Sunday worship on Zoom

Join us for worship online tomorrow morning at 10:30, with a time for fellowship to follow the service. We will observe communion together, so please prepare in advance and have some bread and juice ready before the service begins! See you there!

EDIT: Please check your email or the member Facebook page for the password protected link.

Time: Apr 5, 2020 10:20 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/534827956

or Dial in: +1 929 205 6099

Meeting ID: 534 827 956

COVID-19 Planning

Dear Church Family,

We are all aware of the news reports of the growing global spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. While there is a lot that we still don’t know, we do know that this virus seems to have originated in Eastern Asia and has been circulating within the continental United States for, at minimum, 6 to 8 weeks. Until recently, reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States have been rare, as testing was restricted to those who had either been in Eastern Asia, specifically China, or in direct contact with someone who had been. However, as testing becomes more widespread, we are beginning to see an increased number of patients diagnosed with the virus across the United States.

At the time of writing this letter, there are a total of 41 presumptive positive cases of the virus in Massachusetts, and that number is likely to rise as testing becomes more widely available and more people report symptoms to their physicians.
We are aware that we are living in the midst of a great deal of uncertainty. We do not yet fully know what this virus is doing, how far spread it already is, or even how fatal it truly is (early data from China showed an alarming 3% mortality rate, but recent global numbers show that trending sharply downwards to <1%). Complicating all of this is the fact that we are currently facing a higher than normal activity influenza season with both Influenza A and B hitting our community.

What does this mean for us as a church community?

At this time, worship and programming will continue as normal at Burlington Presbyterian Church. An emergency response team is preparing a plan for how we will care for our members, stay in communication, and respond to needs in the surrounding community should a wider outbreak be declared in our area. We will pay close attention to the public health guidelines of the Town of Burlington, Middlesex County, and the Massachusetts Dept of Public Health (MDPH). The risk to the general public in Massachusetts at this time remains low, according to the MDPH website.

It is a good reminder to follow health and safety precautions, as we would during any cold and flu season. Should you be feeling unwell, especially with signs of a respiratory infection, we encourage you to stay home, and contact your doctor. If you have responsibilities at church that day, please contact Pastor Trina and leave a message on the church voice mail so that we can find a substitute for you. It is recommended that people in vulnerable populations, such as those over the age of 75 or who have other health conditions that may compromise your immune system, also remain home to protect
themselves. Please keep the church office informed, too, so that we can pray for and care for you. If you are feeling well, as you come to worship, you will find hand sanitizer in the narthex, and in the fellowship hall and classrooms. Best practice is to wash your hands, as hand sanitizer is not 100% effective against viruses, but sanitizing your hands can help reduce the risk of spreading germs to others.

We encourage alternative forms of greeting one another, in place of handshakes or hugs for the time being. Some of these ideas include a friendly wave, or “elbow bumps”, and using gestures such as peace signs, a bow or nod with hands over your heart.
As time goes on, we may introduce new practices for other elements of worship like communion and collection of the offering to reduce transmission risks. We will also begin to post sermons to our website starting with this Sunday’s sermon. If you have knowledge about livestreaming and podcasts, please contact the church and let us know! Should it become necessary to cancel services or programming based on the recommendation of our local health officials, we will notify you via email, on the church website, and by posting to our social media accounts.

In addition, we continue to encourage best flu-season practices to protect your health and that of others. Wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds with soap and water), cough and sneeze into your elbow, avoid touching your face, mouth, eyes, and nose, take your vitamins, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and if you have not yet gotten a flu shot, please do so at this time. Stay informed with accurate information about what is going on, such as from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019- covid-19 Updates are posted daily.

Above all else

Let us remember to approach this season with caution, but without fear. Let us remember to be gracious and loving, caring for our siblings and our neighbors. Let us remember to be gentle with ourselves and with each other. Let us not give in to terror or panic, but instead let us live, love, and serve as Christ has called us.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Trina

Services cancelled Sunday January 20, 2019

Dear Church family,

Like many of you, I have been watching the weather reports for the pending winter storm that is forecast to hit our area on Saturday night. In consultation with the session and trustees, we have decided not to hold service on Sunday morning, January 20th. Due to the mixed weather conditions in the forecast, and the timing of the storm hitting mostly overnight and into the morning hours of Sunday, it seems that road conditions will be unsafe for much of the area. Many of us, myself included, travel a significant distance to get to church, and we don’t want to put anyone’s safety at risk.

We are making the call early, ahead of the storm, so that there is time to notify everyone of the decision. If conditions change significantly, we will still not be holding church service on Sunday morning. I will be sending out a morning prayer/reflection that you can use for your own time of worship on Sunday, or anytime over the weekend. “Sabbath was created for humans, and not humans for the Sabbath,” to paraphrase Jesus. Let this weekend be a time of rest and renewal of your spirits, and stay warm and safe at home!

Grace and peace,
Pastor Trina

Crossroads December 2018

Christmas Eve Service
A Family Tradition with Crèche, Carols and Candlelight
Monday, December 24 − 7:00 p.m.

There will be nativity tableaux vivants (or living scenes) featuring young folks in the roles of Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds and wise men. Choir and congregation will join in many carols. The service will end with a spreading of candlelight throughout the sanctuary. Pastor Trina will give a brief message. The Christmas Joy Offering will be received. This service is a wonderful way to introduce friends and neighbors to the church – and maybe to make a difference in their lives.

Every generous act of giving …is from above.
In the lead up to Christmas, many of us spend time in search of the perfect gift — the gift that communicates to friends and family how much we know and love them. We search our memories for indications of what gift might cause the faces of our loved ones to light up. We scour the stores and shops, hoping to come across the thing that will communicate a depth of love that our words cannot. As important as gifts to loved ones are, we have an opportunity to give gifts that help many people we do not know through the Christmas Joy Offering. These gifts in particular draw us back to the manger and God’s perfect gift to us — Jesus Christ.
Jesus came to live among us, bringing light into darkness, and reconciliation to God and to one another. A perfect gift from a gracious God.

During this Christmas and Advent Season, we celebrate leadership; past, present and future through support of the Christmas Joy Offering. We do so because church leaders greatly impact our lives of faith, walking with us down the path to be more like Jesus. We want those church leaders and their families who find themselves grappling with a critical financial need to have the resources they need which are provided through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions. We also support the offering to help our future leaders in the church and world, like those educated at our Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. Supporting these students helps the whole church develop leaders who reflect the wideness of God’s intended diversity.

For those supported through the Christmas Joy Offering, this help is truly a gift from above. May our gifts, and the leaders who receive them, point us always to the truth of the one whose birth we celebrate, Jesus Christ — the truly perfect gift. Please give generously.

The Season of Waiting
There are many plans and opportunities for worship during Advent, including particular ways in which many of you are invited to participate.

The Hanging of the Greens and bows will be on December 1 at 10am-12pm in anticipation of all that Advent and Christmas holds for us. Again we have an Advent Wreath at the front of the Chancel and each Sunday different members and families of our congregation will have a turn to light a new candle on the wreath.

Wednesday, December 19 at 7:00 p.m. is the time for our “Longest Night” service.
Similar to Advent services we have offered in the past couple of years, this evening will provide a different perspective and meaningful space during the holiday season, for reflection, prayer, introspection and quiet.

Brenda Flynn is again planning and directing our annual Christmas Eve Tableaux. Letters have gone out to families to recruit participants in the tableaux. Brenda has also put out the call for help with costumes, and for adults to help ‘shepherd’ (aka wrangle) the participants before and during the Tableaux. Rehearsal is scheduled for Sunday, December 23.

Also on December 23, immediately following worship, before tableaux rehearsal, the Trustees will be setting up the stable in the sanctuary for Christmas Eve. They will need and appreciate additional help with this.

The Christmas Eve Service with Tableaux and candle lighting happens on Monday evening, December 24, and is a beloved tradition at BPC.

To round out the month, Mark Vogel will be leading worship on December 30 and be leading us in a service of lessons and carols/hymns.

Fair Trade Holiday Sale

Save the date and get your Christmas gift list ready! On Saturday, December 8th from 10 – 3. You’ll have the opportunity to do your holiday shopping for a good cause. The Mission Group has invited nine not-for-profit vendors to bring their products for sale here at the church. Possible vendors include Equal Exchange, SERRV, Partners in Just Trade, Fair Trade Winds, and Mayan Hands and a range of products will be available including candles, jewelry, scarves, woodwork, embroidery, coffee, tea, and chocolate.

Proceeds will go to mission programs of the church, in addition to supporting the fair trade vendors and artisans who make the products.

Invite your friends and family, and spread the word! We’d love to see a good turnout for this event and will be looking for volunteers to help during the sale on Saturday. If you would like to help with the Holiday Sale, please contact Jane McIninch, (781) 864-9367.

Longest Night Service

“Comfort, comfort my people, says God”

There are many moments in our lives when we need comfort. There are tough times when we yearn for consolation. The suffering people who looked for the long-awaited Messiah were given a hope-filled image of God in the writings of Isaiah. It expresses the belief that no matter what happens to us, God will be there to comfort and support us.

Advent and Christmas can be a painful time for many in need of that reassurance and comfort. The constant refrain on the radio and television, in shopping malls and churches, about the happiness of the season, about getting together with family and friends, reminds many people of what they have lost or have never had. The death of a loved one, whether recent or long ago, the anguish of broken relationships, the insecurity of unemployment, the weariness of ill health, the pain of isolation – all these can make us feel very alone in the midst of the celebrating and spending. We need the space and time to acknowledge our sadness and concern; we need to know that we are not alone.
We need comfort and encouragement to live the days ahead of us.

For these reasons, we are offering a special meditative Longest Night Service, Wednesday evening December 19, at 7:00 p.m. at the church.

Come out, and join with us in sharing and hearing prayers, scripture, and music that acknowledge that God’s presence is for those who mourn, for those who struggle – and that God’s Word comes to shine light into our darkness. Everyone is welcome.

Clean Water Collection
We have counted the “Clean Water” collection and deposited about $182! Our congregation has a generous heart. During our Sunday school classes we will decide how many jerry cans and water filters we will buy through Presbyterian Giving.

Trustees Report
The fall cleanup finally occurred on November 3rd. We had a reasonable turnout, despite a little rain and wind, and a lot was done to prepare the church and grounds for winter. The fall commuter collection took place on November 13th and 14th. Thanks to Tom Hennings and Ken Dewar for braving the rain and cold respectively. We collected over $3,500 in donations with hopefully more coming in by mail.
The carpets in the Narthex and the double classroom were cleaned and the hallways and Fellowship Hall were cleaned and waxed in September. Try to keep the Narthex carpet clean by wiping your feet on the runner as you enter the church.

All the work on the restrooms are now complete with just a little paint touchup needed in the women’s room. Try to remember to turn off the lights if you are the last to leave the restrooms.

A reminder to all to close and lock any window you open and check that all doors are locked before you leave the church. A special request for parents to lock the playground door when you retrieve your children.

Women’s Bible Study

Women’s Bible Study has started a new study with the Horizons study called “For Everything, A Season: A Study of the Liturgical Calendar”. On December 13, we will be having our Holiday Brunch or Cookie Swap. All women of the church are invited to join us. We meet on Thursday mornings at 9:30. See Marylou Lynn if you have any questions.

Food Pantry Needs
We receive donations for the Food Pantry on the 1st Sunday of each month. The Food Pantry needs donations on a continuing basis. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. Your help is appreciated. Thank you!

Hanging of the Greens
Saturday, December 1
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Get in the holiday spirit with us! Join the Deacons on the first Saturday of December for the Hanging of the Greens! We will decorate the church for Advent and Christmas. Advent begins on Sunday, December 2!
Coffee & donuts will be provided.

Poinsettias
Last day to order Poinsettias will be Dec 2.
Please give your order form and money to Kathleen Stegall by December 2.
Thank you.

Mitten Drive
We are once again participating in the PJs, Sweatshirt, Mittens and Books Christmas Drive for People Helping People. This is part of the wishes for Christmas. If you would like to participate, see Anne Denier to obtain a card. PJs, Sweatshirts, Mittens and Books are to be dropped off at the church by Dec 9. Do not wrap, just attach the card to the gift. Thank you again for your continued generosity!

Songs for Cameroon
On November 17th, about 80 people from the Presbytery of Boston and from the Eliot Presbyterian Church in Lowell (Presbytery of Northern New England) gathered at the Korean Church of Boston for an afternoon of song and learning about the humanitarian crisis in Southern Cameroons. Seven church groups sang a wide range of music, and we heard an inspiring message from Elder Ruphous Takang of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Easton. We also watched a video about the deadly and devastating conflict which is ongoing in Southern Cameroons, and the oppression of the people by the government and paramilitary forces there.

We received a special offering at the event, which raised almost $3,750! A combined total of $4,296 was raised from the concert and the offering from the November 12 Presbytery Meeting, held at First Presbyterian Quincy. The offering will go to the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon (PCC) to support ministry and relief efforts for internally displaced persons and refugees from the conflict through a designated mission fund of the Presbyterian Mission Association. If you would like to make a contribution, you may do so directly through PCUSA, by going to https://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/e864103/ and clicking on the Give button.

To give by phone, call 800-872-3283. To send a check, please designate E864103 PCC in the “note” portion of the check and mail to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
Many thanks to Korean Church of Boston for hosting, and to the groups and musicians who sang at the concert:
First United Church in Cambridge
Christian Women’s Fellowship Choir of Eliot Presbyterian Church
African Fellowship Choir of Eliot Presbyterian Church
Clinton Presbyterian Church
Young Adult Praise Team of Korean Church of Boston
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
Fourth Presbyterian Church
Stephanie and David Rodriguez, Clinton Presbyterian Church
Virine Morris, Hyde Park Presbyterian Church