Older Children’s
Bulletin for May 10

Younger Children’s Bulletin for May 10

Good morning and welcome to our online worship!

Please be in prayer for the health of our church and our neighbors, and especially those who are working to keep the rest of us healthy in so many ways.
We  ask for prayer today for:

  • Members and family of our congregation recovering from illness and surgery.
  • Healing for those in our community and around us currently fighting the COVID-19 virus.
  • Protection and strength for the medical and nursing staff in our community.
  • Those who have lost jobs during the pandemic.

We have a list of volunteers that are ready to help you by running errands (picking up groceries, medication, etc.).  Please call the church office, your deacon, or our Administrative Assistant, Anne Bowman, at home to make arrangements.

We are in the process of setting up a Mini Free Pantry (think Little Free Library) for those in our community in need of food or essential items. This will be installed in front of the church. If you would like to donate canned goods to share as we are setting up, please place them outside the East Entrance of the church or on a table in the Jubilee classroom.

The Church Board is inviting those who are able to make donations to our Community Needs Fund.  If you are receiving a Government Stimulus Check that you do not really need, this is one way to get the funds to those who do need them.  We have received a couple of inquiries for help at the church so far.  We expect this to accelerate in the coming weeks.

The Stewards are working hard looking for ways to reduce expenses during this difficult financial season. If you are able, you can submit offerings through the church website, or by by mailing a check to the church. Please note that offerings submitted through the website do incur a small processing fee. (That fee is smaller for donations from a checking account (ACH) than it is for credit card processing.) When you give your online offering, you can elect to either donate the amount required to cover the fee, or have it deducted from your offering amount. Either way, the total amount is included in your tax-deductible giving. Thank you for your continued giving to the ministries of the church.

If you have any items that you wish to submit for the June Newsletter, please have them into the church office by May 19.

Finally, please be in prayer for our church leadership as we plan for being able to resume worship at the church. We are considering the best ways to be able to continue physical distancing and protect the vulnerable members of our congregation as we worship. We do not have dates set at this time, but we hope to have solid and safe plans established soon.

May Christ be known, by everyone we meet.

God Give Us Christian Homes

by Jeremiah Padilla | Streamed with permission. CSPL121366

Happy Mother’s Day!

I would love nothing more than to be able to give all of you a flower today!  Unfortunately, that is an impossibility.  So instead, I would like to share this video with you from one of my favorite places.  Longwood Gardens is located in Rebecca’s hometown of Kennet’s Square, Pa.  They have the most amazing horticultural displays that I have ever seen.  I hope this video of spring flowers from Longwood brightens your day.

Mother’s Day is a day of celebration. But as wise observers have noted this year, we are not all in the same boat. As we move through this time of upheaval and uncertainty, people in different backgrounds and different situations are having very different experiences.

So it is worth naming, that some children are having more time with their mothers than ever.

And it is worth naming that some mothers are working long hours in jobs that are more challenging than others.

Some children are fearful that their mothers might contract Covid-19 and are working hard to protect them. Some mothers appreciate this. Others do not.

Some mothers are fearful that their children might contract Covid-19 and are working hard to protect them. Once again, some appreciate this, some do not.

Some mothers will be gathering with children today. Others will be mourning the absence of children today. Some children will not return. Some mothers will not be there when the time to return comes.

This is a reality that some mothers and some children face every day.

Mother’s Day is rooted in the memory of Anna Reeves Jarvis, a woman who worked for peace and well-being for children following the Civil War. May this Mother’s Day be an appeal for peace and well-being also. May there be peace and wellness in our families. May there be peace and wellness in our communities. May there be peace and wellness in our hospitals.

Make there to be peace and wellness, O God. Today, it is in honor of our mothers that we pray. Amen.

Kyrie (Keer-ee-ae) is an ancient refrain and prayer of the church, which translates to “Lord, have mercy.” In our contemporary language, this phrase can sound quite meek and passive. But we should keep in mind the radical power of God’s mercy in the world. In mercy, Jesus brought the dead back to life, and gave new life to those who had been made pariahs by the world. God’s mercy has the power to transform the world, and it is a mercy that we invoke when we hope to see God’s salvation. The Kyrie is not a prayer to be murmured. Instead it is a prayer to be spoken with strength and hope, calling on the power of heaven to bring change to our world.

Kyrie during Quarantine

Seeking wholeness in a broken world,
but also knowing God’s wholeness through Christ’s presence,
we pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy!

Seeking healing in suffering, illness, and pain,
but also feeling God’s peace through prayer, scripture, and those who help,
we pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy!

Seeking consolation through our distress, depression, isolation, and fear,
but also feeling God’s encouragement through the words of loved ones
and the hope we see in the world,
we pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy!

Seeking comfort through the pain of worshipping separately,
longing for our holy community to be gathering,
but also feeling reassurance through God’s presence with each of us
as we worship together distantly,
we pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy!

Help, save, comfort, and defend us, loving Lord.
We need you now, as we have needed you every day.
You are our life!
Kyrie! Lord have mercy!

-Pastor Nissa Peterson, adapted

One warm early spring day last year, I was walking around the church when I noticed something disheartening. While other trees around the church were starting to bud and bloom, the big oak tree in front of the church was not responding to the warming weather. I reached up to examine a twig and it snapped off, dry in my hand. This tree was probably at least 75 years old and over the winter it had died.

It was a great deal of work, cutting down this great oak, along with some other trees around the church that needed to be removed. Some had died, and others had become overgrown. But there was still possibility, even in the dead wood. I took a piece and shared it with Chris Bowman, son of Bob Bowman, former pastor of Pleasant Valley. A few weeks ago, he sent me a picture of what he was able to turn from that piece of wood, once it was well dried: a beautiful cup that he will deliver to us once travel becomes more open again. Also, David Weade took a piece of the wood. He stabilized his piece with resin, and turned the beautiful urn shown here. Neither of these pieces will replace the beautiful tree that we have lost, but both of them will find a place in the life and worship of our congregation, and serve as a reminder that even death is not the end in Christ.

I hope that you are finding opportunities to share and find new life as well. There is no replacement for being able to gather together as the family of the church, but I am reminded that when the apostles went out to serve, they missed their home churches too. May God open doors for us as we are apart. May Christ’s love continue to be shared. May the Holy Spirit reveal to us new ways to announce the presence of the glory of God. May God’s church continue to thrive in this day.

Thank you for the variety of ways and gifts through which you share.

Be Thou My Vision

Be thou my vision,
O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me,
save that thou art–
thou my best thought
by day or by night,
waking or sleeping,
thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom.
Be thou my true word.
I ever with thee
and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father,
thy child may I be.
Thou in me dwelling,
and I one with thee.

Riches I heed not,
nor vain empty praise.
Thou mine inheritance,
now and always.
Thou and thou only,
first in my heart,
High King of heaven,
my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven,
my treasure thou art.

Be Thou My Vision

by Donna Tutwiler, Josh Burtner | Streamed with permission. CSPL121366

For the past couple of years, the Church of the Brethren has been in the midst of a denominational visioning process.  This process has been the primary business item of the past couple of Annual Conferences, as well as many gatherings around the denomination (including one meeting that was held in our building in January of 2019).  These years of prayer have produced a vision focus that is simple on the surface, but it also full of theological nuance and depth.  I invite you to look at the full document that was produced by the compelling vision team here.

For the next several weeks, we will be drawing from this document as we explore what it means for us to live as members of the body of Christ today; living with Jesus, present in our own neighborhoods.

Proposed Church of the Brethren
Vision Statement

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.

Romans 1:1-7
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Brothers and Sisters of Mine

Brothers and sisters of mine
are the hungry,
who sigh in their sorrow
and weep in their pain.
Sisters and brothers of mine
are the homeless,
who wait without shelter
from wind and from rain.
People are they,
men and women and children,
and each has a heart
keeping time with my own.
People are they,
persons made in God’s image,
so what shall I offer them,
bread or a stone?
Lord of all living,
we make our confession:
Too long we have wasted
the wealth of our lands.
Lord of all loving,
renew our compassion,
and open our hearts
while we reach out our hands.

Brothers and Sisters of Mine

by Paul Wilson, Jeremiah Padilla, and David Tate | Copyright 1974, Church of the Brethren General Board.

Jesus Knows Human Life.

Here are ten examples of how Jesus connects with our lives:

Have you ever felt exhausted? Jesus has been there. He fell asleep in a boat (Mark 4:38). When the demands on you are great, you can come to him. He knows. When you feel you need for some space and you need to get alone, Jesus has been there. Surrounded by crowds, He needed to withdraw and to rest for a while (Mark 6:31).

Do you have loved ones who are deeply resistant to Christ? Jesus has been there. His own brothers said he was out of his mind (Mark 3:21).

Do you work in an ungodly environment? Jesus has been there. MacLeod says this: “He came into first century Nazareth …. He lived where he could see human sin, hear human swearing and blasphemy, see human diseases, and observe human mortality, poverty, and squalor.”

Do you live with the tension of disloyalty on your team? Judas was one of the twelve, but he was not with Jesus. MacLeod says: “He knew the full horror of human infidelity and treachery.”

Have you felt moved by the plight of people living without hope? Jesus has been there. He saw crowds of people who were like sheep without a shepherd, and he had compassion on them (Matthew 9:36).

Have you felt angry about injustice and abuse in this world? Jesus would say to you, “Me too.” He was filled with anger over the self-interest of temple rulers who had turned the temple, designed by God as a place where Gentiles could seek him in prayer, into a market place that made prayer almost impossible (Mark 11:15-17).

Have you grieved the loss of someone you love? Jesus has been there. One day Jesus received news that one of his closest friends had died. He went to visit, and when he saw Mary weeping, he was deeply moved to the point of breaking down in tears himself. People said, “You can see how much he loved Lazarus” (John 11).

Is your future so dark you can hardly bear to think about it? Jesus has been there. When he came to the Garden of Gethsemane, he was “overwhelmed with sorrow” (Mark 14:34).

Have you suffered unjustly at the hands of others? Jesus has been there. Read the story of Holy week (Matthew 21-28; Mark 11-16; Luke 19-24; John 12-21).

Have you ever felt without hope, without help, without comfort, without God? Jesus has been there. He was nailed to the cross. He was loaded with the guilt of the world. The land was plunged into darkness. At the moment he needed it most, all sense of the peace, presence, and blessing of God was taken from him. The love and approval of his Father that he had known and enjoyed was gone, and he cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:33-34).

MacLeod says: “Needing God as no man ever needed God, he cried and God was not there …. We never go beyond his pain. Our darkness is never more intense than his.”

Don’t ever say, “God doesn’t understand!” When you see the humanity of Jesus, it won’t be long before you find yourself saying, “This Savior has something for me after all. He knows my life. He knows me!”

from “Jesus Christ: His Human Nature”
by Colin Smith

Prayer for Mother’s Day

Almighty Lord, Heavenly Father, Mothering God,
beyond our understanding, yet from deep within our hearts
we cry out to you.
As your beloved children,
we bring before you all that we are: sorrow, pain, hope, joy.

Compassionate God:
Console those denied the chance to celebrate Mother’s Day –
the abandoned, the separated, the disappointed;
bring us all together as your family of faith.
Sustain those who mourn loved ones;
for whom today is a day of grief.
Comfort us with the wellspring of our memories.

Unifying God:
Inspire us to advocate for peace,
and guide us to see the part we can play in creating harmony in this world.
Reconcile us to each other,
that we might embody your forgiveness and live as one.

Bountiful God:
Kindle in us a celebration of the diversity of all families,
of all shapes and sizes,
of all colours and faiths.
Teach us to grow in compassion and understanding,
remembering that even with our differences we are all your children.

Nurturing God:
Encourage us to share in the joy and effort
of making healthy, peaceful communities.
Open our hearts to reach out to our neighbours
in charity and acceptance.

Mothering God,
beyond our understanding, yet from deep within our hearts,
we reach up to you:
Take us up in your arms and heal us.
Bend down to us and feed us.
Wrap us in your bands of love.

Glory be to you O Lord;
your comfort and care know no bounds.
May we rest in your abundant love,
which nurtures us from age to age, Amen.

-Gill Le Fevre

You heal.
And want us to do the same. 

You love.
And expect us to love. 

You give us authority.
And send us out. 

You tell us, “Be vulnerable, be authentic.”
And remind us it is risky.
You tell us, “Go. Do the work.”
And accept not everyone or everyplace is ready. 

Let us pray,
Give us strength and willingness,
Strengthen our resolve to love and act. 
Supply us with your wisdom,
That we know when to stay or go. 
Make your presence known,
guide our steps 
assuring our journey 
is an extension of you. Amen. 

-Tim Graves