Midweek Update: All Saints’ Sunday

Dear friends in Christ,

I hope you’re all doing well and getting a chance to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. As we look to Thanksgiving and Advent, we’ve got a number of things going on in the life of the church.

All Saints’ Sunday 11/6

This Sunday 11/6, we will be observing the feast of All Saints’. We will be remembering before God the names of those who have died, particularly those who have died in the past year. If you have a name you would like lifted up on 11/6 please email it to me (kmanzi@middleburyucc.org.)

November Mission Projects

  • Sandwiches for GWIM on Veterans’ Day
    • This year again, Missions will be making 200 sandwiches for GWIM to hand out on Veterans Day as they usually close this day and don’t provide a hot meal.  This way these sandwich bags can be taken-home with them.   We will be looking for donations of :Bread, Ham, Bologna, Cheese, Juice boxes/pouches, apple sauce/ fruit cups, granola bars/snack bars, or monetary donations.  These donations need to be at the church by Monday November 7th. 
      The BSA Scout Troops will again help to assemble these bags on Thursday November 10 at their meeting.  If you would like to help make the sandwiches please be at the church on November 10 at 5 pm.  On Friday November 11th we will deliver the sandwiches to GWIM around 10 am in the morning and we will also need help to deliver them as well.  Thank you again for your donations and in any way that you can assist us.  We greatly appreciate all that you do for our mission commitments to our community
  • Thanksgiving Baskets for Middlebury Families
    • We are also providing three family with Thanksgiving Baskets this year.  The sign in sheets will soon be posted downstairs for any contributions you would like  to make for those baskets. Those items will be due in the office by November 21. 

Advent Workshop: 11/13

Next Sunday, we will host an Advent craft for all ages!  After church on November 13th, we will be making advent wreaths.  Everyone is invited to join!  Some of our older Sunday School children and youth will be leading this craft.

Over the next month, we will be looking for donations of small glass jars (like you may have jam or yogurt in, or small mason jars).  We are also looking for a few handy people who are willing to slice some logs to make wood rounds, for the base of the wreath. Please see Valerie Beard (vbeard@middleburyucc.org) or a member of the Board of Faith Formation if you have any questions.

11/13 Pulpit Exchange: First Congregational Church of Washington

As part of our Open and Affirming process, we’re doing a pulpit exchange with the First Congregational Church of Washington, one of our sister churches in the Litchfield South Association that has been Open and Affirming since November 2017. On 11/13, Washington’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Robyn Gray, will be joining us here at MCC, and I will be at the Washington church. Some of you may have met Pastor Robyn this summer when she provided pastoral coverage when I was on vacation.

Middlebury Community Thanksgiving Service: Tuesday 11/22 @7pm

In the spirit of the ecumenical Thanksgiving services of years past, this year we are hosting a Community Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday 11/22 at 7pm here at MCC. The offering will go to support the Middlebury Food and Fuel Banks and nonperishable food items brought for the service will be donated to GWIM.

Here’s a link to the Facebook event to help get the word out: https://fb.me/e/2M5MkxcLs

UCC Mission Opportunities

The United Church of Christ has issued two appeals for aid in response to recent natural disasters: one for the terrible flooding in Pakistan and one for the recent hurricanes.

General Comments

Today, 11/2, is All Souls’ Day, which traditionally is the day on the Christian calendar for remembering the faithful departed. It’s the last day in three day set of feast days called Allhallowtide that takes place on 10/31, 11/1, 11/2. This part of the church calendar deals with death and resurrection, and it was thought to be a time of year where heaven and earth were close together; the barrier between them became thin, perhaps even to the point where spirits might pass into this world. October 31st is the eve of All Saints’ Day. In older English, a common word for saint or holy was “hallow”, which is why in the Lord’s Prayer  was say “hallowed be thy name.” So, October 31st became All Hallows’ Eve, which eventually gave us the word Halloween. November 1st is All Saints’ Day or All Hallows’ Day, which is a day to celebrate all the saints known and unknown, and it’s for celebrating our continued connection with those who have gone before us which not even death can end.

Post Protestant Reformation, the distinctions among these days and their celebration became unimportant for churches in our tradition. In more recent years, there has been a movement among Protestants to revive some church traditions that were ended in the Reformation, recognizing that perhaps in some cases the baby was thrown out with the bathwater in the trials and tribulations of the Reformation. Currently, in our Reformed tradition many churches celebrate the first Sunday of November as All Saints’ Sunday, and the emphasis of this festival is on the ongoing sanctification of the whole people of God.  While we give thanks for the lives of particular luminaries of ages past, we also give glory to God for the ordinary, holy lives of believers in this and every age, especially those who have died in the past year.

As it is All Souls’ Day, I’ll end with the Collect for All Souls’ from the Anglican Church of Canada:

“Father of all, we pray to you for those we love, but see no longer. Grant them you peace, let light perpetual shine upon them, and in your loving wisdom and almighty power, work in them the good purpose of your perfect will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

Peace,

Pastor Katrina

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