A prayer for Memorial Day

A prayer for Memorial Day from my seminary classmate Thomas Burke, who is a Marine Corps combat veteran and the Associate Pastor at the Norfield Congregational Church in Weston.
-Pastor Katrina

Memorial Day Prayer:

At this time I invite you all to take a deep and spirit filled breath. To find the ground beneath your feet and to join your hearts with mine in prayer.

Creator, we come to you this day in deep gratitude for the men and women who have served this great nation.

From the sands of Fallujah, to the canals of the Helmand Province, to the shores of Tripoli, we have fought for honor, courage, and commitment, and for our beloved country since the beginning of this great land.

Lord we ask for your swift hand of mercy to those of us still suffering from the invisible wounds of war. Wipe away all guilt and fill us with your grace so that we know our sins are forgiven and our sacrifice was not in vain.

We ask that you provide comfort to those who lost everything. We await the day where we can stand on the battlefield with our enemies and sing songs of reconciliation, but until that day we ask that your hand guide our strong swift sword towards justice and humility.

Let us be a beacon of freedom to those struggling for peace rather than a strong rod that punishes those who yearn to be free. Allow us a discerning wisdom so that we can not only prevail on the battlefield, but also in every other place where injustice is experienced.

God above all nations, we come to you in remembrance of those who throughout history have sacrificed their lives in service to this country. We remember in solemn gratitude those who put themselves in places of risk and danger in service to something greater than themselves. We ask that you perfect in us your ways of peace and justice, that the ways of war will end and that all people may live in harmony as you intend. We ask for your forgiveness for the times our country has been led into war for reasons other than your vision of justice.

This year we celebrate the end of US involvement in combat in Afghanistan, we pray that next year we see an end to all US involvement in combat.

We ask this in the light of the triumphant human spirit you created.

Amen

Thomas Burke Jr.

Sunday, May 30, 2021 Bulletin and Crier

Hello everyone,

Yay!  We’re coming back to indoor worship.  What a milestone.  It’s been a very long road but we are at the intersection and headed to our destination of normalcy..

The weather is not supposed to be great on Sunday, but the sun will be shining for us in the sanctuary.  We still have to register to attend so don’t forget.  Please, if you are going to register online do so before Saturday around 5:00 so that I can print the list. 

Right now we have 33 people pre-registered and we are only allowed 70 with social distancing.  We will still be live-streaming the service if you can’t be with us in person.  All I can say is . . . Phew!

I hope to see you all there on Sunday.

Take care and stay safe,
Jeanine

Midweek Update: Indoor Worship Back This Sunday 5/30

Dear friends in Christ,

I hope you’re all doing well and staying cool this lovely day. Here are some updates with things going on in the life of the church:

Indoor Worship Resumes This Sunday 5/30

As cases have fallen in our town for the past two weeks, we are set to resume indoor worship this Sunday 5/30! (There is no outdoor service this Sunday.) We’re going to be giving some of our Sunday school students their Bibles this week.

For now, Church Council has decided to retain everyone wearing masks and social distancing. Children are currently unvaccinated, and we didn’t want to get into the business of asking people to disclose vaccination status. Plus, what people are comfortable with is all over the map, so for now we’re keeping masks and social distancing. (I also encourage everyone to get vaccinated if you’re able!)

As we’ve been doing with outdoor services, we’re asking people to sign up ahead of time if possible. With social distancing, there is a capacity limit of about 70 people, and having sign ups ahead of time will make things go smoother on Sunday morning. You can sign up here or by contacting the church office. You will also be able to sign up at the door. Please arrive some minutes early to allow time to check in with the ushers.

Some things for worship will be a bit different from when we were last inside. I’ve attached a bullet list document of some of the differences. For now, we’re holding off on congregational singing, choir, and passing the plate. if you’ve been to an outdoor service or watched the livestream, worship on Sunday is essentially going to look like that except indoors with people.

Church Council is going to review our COVID precautions on a monthly basis to give us some consistency but also regular opportunity to make updates. I expect as things improve and more people are vaccinated, we’ll phase out precautions and phase back in aspects of worship, like singing. I ask for grace and patience from everyone as we figure things out and navigate through this transition time.

Sunday School and Nursery Care

Sunday school is going to remain outdoors these last few Sundays of the program year (weather permitting.) Children will start out in worship with their parents. In case of rain, Sunday school will be canceled. Things will be reevaluated for the fall.
Nursery care will also be outdoors at the preschool playground, but in case of poor weather will move indoors to the nursery. 

Looking Back on These Past 14 Months

As we look forward to moving back inside on Sunday, I made a video looking back at some of our journey during these past 14 months with pictures of many of the things we’ve done to worship, learn, and stay connected. It also looks forward to us returning home on Sunday:


Strawberry Festival (to go!) 6/13

One of the traditions of our church is our Strawberry Festival. Last year we had to cancel due to COVID, but this year we’re back! We’re going to have Strawberry Shortcake to go on Sunday 6/13 from 5-7:30. I’ve attached a flyer. Come and get your shortcake to take home or to enjoy outside on the green!

General Comments

I’ve attached some photos from our last outdoor service this past Sunday with scenes from confirmation and Sunday school. Thank you to all our volunteers and staff who have made these outdoor services happen these past couple months. And additional thanks to everyone who has been sprucing up the building for us to return indoors!

This past Sunday the Old Testament lesson from the prophet Ezekiel was the Lord showing Ezekiel a valley of dry bones and asking “can these dry bones live.” It’s a rhetorical question from God, and during the course of the lesson, all the bones are resurrected into living human beings again.

The point of God doing this was to give Ezekiel hope in the promise that the exiled Israelites would be able to go home and their nation would be restored. 

I don’t know what our future will be like, but I do know that if God can make those dry bones live, then there is certainly hope for us. Our God makes the impossible, possible, and I don’t think we’re facing anything impossible at the moment. Our bones aren’t all dried up.

Over the past 14 months, we’ve been on our own exile of sorts. I’ve heard a lot of worry and anxiety about the future of our church and what things are going to look like. Now, the truth is none of us knows what the future will hold, but it is important to recognize how well we have held together in this trying time. Many people have continued to pledge, upped their pledge, made a contribution for the first time, and so many people have consistently given their time to the church throughout this period. We have bee able to retain and pay all of our staff and renovate a lot of our building. All of these things are good news for us now, and I believe good signs for the future. 

I don’t know what our future will be like, but I do know that if God can make those dry bones live, then there is certainly hope for us. Our God makes the impossible, possible, and I don’t think we’re facing anything impossible at the moment. Our bones aren’t all dried up. (Perhaps they might be a little tired! But, that’s not the same thing.)

Our God has been with us during all of these past months and is with us still as we take these next steps into the future. As the apostle Paul writes: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”- Romans 15:13

Peace,
Katrina