Join us for worship this Sunday!

Join us in person or online every week at 10 a.m. Services are in our sanctuary at 1242 Whittemore Road, Middlebury; please use the main entrances on the street side.

We serve Communion on the first Sunday of each month.

Online worship is presented live on our YouTube channel, where you can also see an archive of previous services, sermons, and musical highlights.

Sunday, September 26, 2021
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Readings: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22, Hebrews 11:1-3
Sermon Title: Behind the Scenes

Midweek Update: 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Dear friends in Christ,

I hope you’re all doing alright so far this week. I have some upcoming things to highlight:

Upcoming Memorial Services/Calling Hours

Saturday 9/25 @11am on the Green: Memorial Service for Bill Crutcher. Please bring a chair. Reception to follow in the church Social Hall

Sunday 9/26 from 2-4: Calling hours for Lori Giannini at Munson-Lovetere Funeral Home in Southbury. Obituary is here: https://www.munsonloveterefuneralhome.com/obituary/Lori-Giannini

Saturday 10/2 @ 12pm in the Sanctuary: Memorial Service for Annamae Hardwick

Sunday 10/17 @2pm in the Sanctuary: Memorial Service for Lori Giannini

For those who weren’t able to attend the service for Skip Northrop this past Saturday, the service can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/UPEA8gRizM4

Services in the Sanctuary will be live-streamed. Service on the Green will be recorded and posted later.

Book and Bake Sale 10/16

On 10/16 we’re going to have a book and bake sale fundraiser. We’re going to need baked goods and volunteers to help make everything a success. You can sign up to volunteer or bake here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0548A4A82DABF58-book

The link to the Facebook event is here: https://fb.me/e/WkKPuJYH

Also, we need books to sell! We’re accepting donations of books (no encyclopedias), puzzles, CDs, and DVDs. You can bring things to the church when the church office is open M-F 9am-3pm. We’re already getting a good number of donations!

General Comments

This week, as we come to grips with the unexpected death of Lori in the middle of a season where we’re finally able to gather together to have services for our members who died at the height of the pandemic, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my favorite funeral prayers:

“O lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in your mercy grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and a peace at the last. Amen.”

I say the prayer at the graveside, which is where the United Church of Christ Book of Worship puts it, but some denominations, like the Church of England, have it as one of the last prayers said in the church before heading to the cemetery. I find it really beautiful and appreciate the images of safe lodging and peace.

I was doing some research, and I found out the prayer is a relatively recent addition to English speaking worship. It’s actually the prayer from the end of a sermon by John Henry Newman, who led a 19th century movement in the Church of England called the Oxford Movement that broadly tried to make the Church of England more resemble the Roman Catholic Church. Eventually, he converted to Catholicism and was made a cardinal. His writings both when he was Anglican and when he was Catholic were very influential, and  the prayer by Newman was put in the 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer for the Episcopal Church.

Interestingly, the prayer was placed in  family prayers section of the prayer book, and it was originally used as a nighttime/before bed prayer. I find it rather touching that a prayer families would say together before bed now serves as the prayer we use when we gather at someone’s final resting place; as the family of God, we gather together at the grave and say one last good night.

Peace,

Pastor Katrina

Midweek Update: 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Dear friends in Christ,

I hope everyone is doing well this week! There are a few things going on to highlight:

Upcoming Memorial Services

Saturday 9/18 @11am in the sanctuary: Skip Northrop

Saturday 9/25 @ 11am on the Green (rain location in the sanctuary): Bill Crutcher

Saturday 10/2 @12pm in the sanctuary: Annamae Hardwick

Book and Bake Sale: 10/16 10am-2pm

On 10/16 we’re going to have a book and bake sale fundraiser. We’re going to need baked goods and volunteers to help make everything a success. You can sign up to volunteer or bake here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0548A4A82DABF58-book

The link to the Facebook event is here: https://fb.me/e/WkKPuJYH

Also, we need books to sell! We’re accepting donations of  books (no encyclopedias), puzzles, CDs, and DVDs. You can bring things to the church when the church office is open M-F 9am-3pm.

Church Renovation Update

If you’ve driven by the church this week, you’ll see that the lift we’ve rented to continue work on restoring the front of the church has arrived (see picture.) I’m looking forward to seeing the progress in the coming weeks now that Bob W and Bill M can more easily access all parts of the front of the meetinghouse.

General Comments

I was wonderful to be able to see many of you this past Homecoming Sunday! We had beautiful weather for a picnic. I’ve attached a couple pictures from the day. I want to thank Ellen A. for coordinating our kitchen volunteers so we could have a wonderful meal. Thank you to the Zolds for letting us borrow their tent for some much needed shade. And thank you to our face painters and all our other volunteers who helped make sure we were fed, entertained, and started out this fall on the right foot. Sunday was also a good way to acknowledge our 225th anniversary after our 224th year as a church turned out to be a much harder time than any of us had expected. On Homecoming, one of the prayers I used was this one, which is a slightly modified version of a prayer in the Book of Common Worship, and it seems fitting for the rest of this week as we look ahead to what comes next this year:

“As we begin a new program year together, receive our gratitude, Holy God, for the 225 years through which you have led us here, and open us to the future you promise. In the years that lie ahead, grant us your encouragement in the work of ministry, your consolation in our defeats, and your challenge to our complacency. Give us such trust in your abiding Holy Spirit, that we may find joy and peace in our common life, strength and courage to live in the world for your reign, and hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Peace,

Pastor Katrina

Midweek Update: Homecoming

Dear friends in Christ,
I hope you’re all getting the chance to enjoy some of the beautiful weather we’ve been having. There are a number of things going on in the church to highlight:


Homecoming Sunday: 9/12

This Sunday, 9/12, we’ll celebrate Homecoming Sunday and also recognize the 225th anniversary of MCC! We’ll have music, face painting, corn chowder, lobster salad rolls, and plenty more. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Sunday school also resumes on Homecoming.

Supplies for Refugees: Due Thursday 9/9

Members of our church have been in contact with some officers stationed abroad at a base currently housing Afghan refugees, and the base is poorly equipped for the needs of the women and children now there. The following supplies are needed:
-Feminine hygiene products
– Infant formula
-Baby food
-Diapers
-Coloring books
-Crayons
-Playdough
-Individually packages snacks (food that won’t melt)
-Flip flops in various sizes

All supplies dropped off by/on Thursday 9/9 will be packed up and shipped

Upcoming Memorial Services

9/18 @11am in the sanctuary: Skip Northrop
9/25@11am on the Green: Bill Crutcher

Book and Bake Sale: 10/16 10am-2pm

On 10/16 we’re going to have a book and bake sale fundraiser. We’re going to need baked goods and volunteers to help make everything a success. You can sign up to volunteer or bake here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0548A4A82DABF58-book
The link to the Facebook event is here: https://fb.me/e/WkKPuJYH
Also, we need books to sell! We’re accepting donations of books (no encyclopedias), puzzles, CDs, and DVDs. You can bring things to the church when the church office is open M-F 9am-3pm.

20th Anniversary of 9/11

General Comments

Twenty years ago on September 11th, 2001, I was in elementary school. That morning, my mom picked me up from school early to go to the dentist, and in the car, the radio station was reporting on the events unfolding in NYC. One of the things I remember most clearly about that day is I learned new word. As, we were listening to the radio, it sounded to me like the reporters were saying “tourists” had crashed into the World Trade Center, so I asked my mom why people on vacation would do something like that. That’s when I learned the word “terrorist.”

Twenty years later, for over two thirds of my life, our nation has been fighting the War on Terror, and this year marks the end of the war in Afghanistan. Seeing how our withdrawal from Afghanistan went, I have struggled, like many, to understand what these past twenty years have meant or achieved. I think as a nation we’ll be reflecting on that for some time.
The awful events of 9/11 brought out the best and worst of our nation. Countless people came together to help one another, and many made the ultimate sacrifice in service of others. But, at the same time, our nation understandably was angry and wanted revenge; we went to war, and islamophobic hate crimes and murders rose in the U.S.

As we remember 9/11 this year, I pray that as a nation we can work to be our best more often and find in ourselves the will to help each other and the people whose countries, communities, and lives we’ve forever changed in the War on Terror. Looking to the future, this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer seems appropriate:

“ Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. “
Peace,
Pastor Katrina

Midweek Update: 15th Sunday After Pentecost

Dear friends in Christ,

I hope you’re all staying dry this rainy day, and I hope these first couple days of the school year have gone well. There are a few things going on in the life of the church that I’d like to highlight:

Homecoming Sunday: 9/12

On September 12th, we’ll celebrate Homecoming Sunday and also recognize the 225th anniversary of MCC! We’ll have music, face painting, corn chowder, lobster salad rolls, and plenty more. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Sunday school also resumes on Homecoming.

Mission Opportunities

Natural Disaster Relief: Many of you have likely seen the news regarding the severe damage done by Hurricane Ida in the South and also the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti. The United Church of Christ National Office has issued appeals asking for financial assistance to help with both of these disasters. Our church Mission Board has voted to make donations, but if you’d like to make a donation directly here is where you can.

Hurricane Ida: https://www.ucc.org/appeal-severe-storms-2021/

Haiti : https://www.ucc.org/ucc-haiti-appeal/

United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries focuses on mid to long term recovery, so that’s what donations to those two appeals will go towards.

Refugees: The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan along with the Taliban takeover has precipitated refugees to arrive in the U.S. on an accelerated timetable. Those who are arriving now are people who have helped the U.S. There is an organization in New Haven, IRIS, that resettles refugees in our state. I know they’re looking for leads on housing for families as many people arrived with short notice. They also can always use funds. Our Mission Board has made a donation. Here is a link to IRIS’s website if you’d like to make a donation or get involved in the work they’re doing: https://irisct.org/

Also, thank you to everyone who donated backpacks and school supplies for Wellmore. I’ve attached a picture of everything before it was picked up last week.

Book and Bake Sale: 10/16 10am-2pm

On 10/16 we’re going to have a book and bake sale fundraiser. I’ve attached the lovely flyer made by Katie P. We’re going to need baked goods and volunteers to help make everything a success. You can sign up to volunteer or bake here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0548A4A82DABF58-book

The link to the Facebook event is here: https://fb.me/e/WkKPuJYH

Also, we need books to sell! We’re accepting donations of  books (no encyclopedias), puzzles, CDs, and DVDs. You can bring things to the church when the church office is open M-F 9am-3pm.

General Comments

As we begin a new church program year and a new school year, there’s still much more uncertainty than any of us would like about how things are going to go and what’s going to happen. This prayer from Illustrated Ministries captures some of the hope and uncertainty of this season of new beginnings:

“Loving God, Coat the year before us with miracles of your mercy and strength, and help us appreciate most of all the bedrock miracle of your presence with us in every single ordinary, sacred moment. May the changes in ourselves and our world through the pandemic bring layers of goodness we’d have never had otherwise. Lead us this school year into life-giving rhythms of grace and light, where our regular routines become the framework for worship and blessing. Amen.”

Peace,

Pastor Katrina

Midweek Update: 14th Sunday After Pentecost

Dear friends in Christ,

I hope you’re all doing well and managing to stay cool this week. I’m glad to be back home from vacation and back with all of you this week. I have a few things to highlight:

Confirmation Class

We’re having a confirmation class starting this fall for 8th graders and high schoolers. If your child would like to participate and you’ve not already been in contact with me, please get in touch ASAP so your child can be part of the class. I’m also going to need volunteers to be the second adult in the room during classes so we can be following good safe church procedures. (You’ll also probably learn a few things too!) If you’re interested in helping out, please let me know.

COVID

As I’m sure you all know, the Delta variant has caused cases in our state and town to rise. I just want to encourage all of you to get vaccinated if you haven’t already and also to be careful. Our church leadership is continuing to monitor the situation, but for now we’re going to stay the course with our current precautions for in person activities. So, we’ll continue to require masks for everyone for indoor worship. If you want to join us at home, we will also continue to livestream worship to our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/middleburycongregationalchurch  

General Comments

I had a lovely time off, and I want to thank our volunteers and staff who kept everything going while I was out. I preached at my friend’s installation in upstate NY and spent some time with him and his family. (I’ve attached a picture of the church.) I was also able to visit my college friend and her spouse in Georgia where she’s an Old Testament PhD student at Emory University. (I’ve attached a picture of the Candler School of Theology at Emory.)

I returned to the office on Tuesday. I received a lot of emails in the past few weeks, and I’m working my way through all of them as best I can. Please be  in contact with me about any pastoral concerns that have come up while I’ve been away.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on Sunday!

Peace,

Pastor Katrina

Welcome to our new web page!

You may have noticed a new look to our www.middleburyucc.org website. Our new platform and software will feature photos and videos that show and tell more about Middlebury Congregational Church, our people, and what we do as a faith community.

Our home page offers the latest news and updates in a blog format, along with a calendar of events and other information you’ll want and need, whether you’ve been a member all your life or are just learning about us. Please feel free to poke around, learn more about us, and stop by sometime for worship and fellowship!

The site is still under development as we learn more about the tools and how to use them. One of the new features that is coming is the Members Login link. This fall, we are introducing the Breeze church software system. Breeze will allow our members to use a current online directory, control their own contact information, text and email one another, and more. We’ll invite members and friends to sign up when when Breeze is fully online.

Meanwhile, thanks for checking us out. Please feel free to share your questions and comments using the “Leave a Reply” link for comments at the bottom of this post.

Thanks!

Howard Fielding
MCC Board of Trustees

Stay home, stay safe, during the storm

Dear friends in Christ, 

With the expectation that    Hurricane Henri will make landfall in New England by Sunday morning service and possibly bring damaging winds, rain and possible power outages, church leadership has decided to cancel Sunday services so that everyone can remain safe and at home.

Should we not lose power, you are always welcome to revisit past sermons and musical offerings on our you-tube channel which can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/c/middleburycongregationalchurch. 

When this is over please let us know how you are doing or if you need any assistance.

Please stay safe everyone.

Michele Finn, Chair of Diaconate
Ellen Aronheim, Chair of Church Council
Sal Sena, Chair of Trustees