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Vermont Conference, UCC 

E-KIT (Electronically-Keeping In Touch)

January 29, 2014 - Vol. 7, Issue 4 
In This Issue
Conference News
Association News
Annual Meeting News
Items of Interest
Peacemaker's Pulpit
UCC News Updates
Upcoming Events, Webinars, Online Seminars...
Calendar
Stewardship Message
Lectionary and Thoughts
Quick Links

·Conference Website 

·Conference Directory    

·Conference Calendar  

·Conference Newsletter Archive
·Conference Resource Center
 

·Covenant Hills Christian Camp  

·Global Ministries   

·UCC Website 

·UCC Insurance Board  

·UCC Pension Boards
·VAST

 
Recalculating 
the Way
 

 

SAVE THE DATE!   

 

March 29, 2014

Lake Morey Inn, Fairlee   

 

Presented by 

the Vermont Conference UCC and  

the Episcopal Church in Vermont    


where new understandings of Vitality, Formation, Stewardship and Mission combine to create and nurture disciples in our congregations.

Designed for teams of 4-6 from each church (individuals also welcome), and a registration cost of only $10!


See this flyer for additional information - please print and share widely!  

 

Registration opens soon.

 

Contact Jim
 in the Conference office  (thomasj@vtcucc.org ) for more info.  
 
 
 

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Greetings Members & Friends,

Rooted and Grounded...

 

"...rooted and grounded in love..." 

This phrase comes from Ephesians 3:14-19. 

This passage is at the core of the planning for this year's Annual Meeting. 

This prayer is ours to pray for ourselves -

for the members of our congregations -

for our Conference -

for our United Church of Christ -

and yes - even for our world. 

What a different world it might be!

  

Last year the Annual Meeting explored the theme of Faith @ the Edges

...all the ways the church is being sidelined and ignored by a rapidly changing culture.  What does that mean for a people of faith? 

A people who live in a world where the edge is where too many people really live

- those who are homeless and hungry and those about to be

- those who at the edge of living and dying in body, mind and soul

- those who are at the edge of their strength to cope with the multitude of expectations,

              pressures and the 'too much' breaking in upon us

- those who exist at the edges of society yearning to be loved and embraced for who

             they are

-those who exist at the edge of terror for their very lives and of those they love

those who struggle at the edges of making sense of this rapidly changing culture

-those who still believe in the body of Christ - the Church - even in exile at the edge!

  

How else can we live at the edges unless we are rooted and grounded in love

-in faith

-in the God who is the ground of our being

-in the God who has promised to never leave us nor forsake us

-in those things that are of eternal significance -

  

And how can we be rooted and grounded in love

              Unless we are practicing the presence of God.

              Open to the ways in which God will form us and fashion us to live with

                            Hope and courage - peace and contentment.

                           

This image of being rooted and grounded calls forth a parable that Jesus told -

About the farmer who went out to sow -

              The farmer scattered the seeds with extravagant abandon!

But you do remember the story -

              Some seeds fell on the well-traveled road - trod underfoot - with never a chance.

Some seeds fell on the rocky road of daily life - welcomed for a moment -

but withered away when there was no ground provided for growing deep roots.

              Some seeds fell among the weeds of busyness - just one more thing to do - and were

                            buried at the bottom of the list!

But some seeds fell on good earth - and as attention was paid - as the light shone upon

 them and the waters met their thirst - the roots grew deep - and the harvest was

 abundant life!

  

Some members of the Department of Christian Education got together to consider this passage from Ephesians and to brainstorm some resources that may be helpful to you and to your congregation during this year of exploring 'Rooted and Grounded in Love'.

  

Next week in EKIT look for a link to

  

'Rooted and Grounded in Love' -

A Feast of Possibilities for Exploring a Life Practicing the Presence of God

 

 

Pam

Rev. Pam Lucas

Associate Conference Minister for  

Search and Call and Small Church Ministry  

 

Conference News

Conference Ministers' Schedules

~Lynn Bujnak will return from leave of absence beginning with the Board of Directors' meeting on Saturday, February 1.

~Pam Lucas and Jim Thomas will also attend the Board meeting on Saturday.

~O Sunday, February 2, Pam Lucas will be at the Charlotte Congregational Church for the Installation of Rev. Susan Cooke Kittredge as associate pastor.

 

Local Churches - 2014 Yearbook Reporting

It's the beginning of "Yearbook Season" in the United Church of Christ. Soon your local church's pastor and scribe will be receiving an email with information about completing the annual forms for the United Church of Christ. We are strongly encouraging each church to make its reports online at www.ucc.org/research/yearbook.html. This is the last year for paper filing. Electronic filing of reports saves everyone time and resources.

 

We are planning for 100% of our local churches to report this year. This is where we get our information for per capita numbers and helps determine church standing. It is an important sign of the covenant we share to complete these reports.

 

Please watch for an email from Lynn Thomas this week. If you have any questions regarding the annual forms, please do NOT contact the National office, please contact Lynn at the conference office (802-728-4999 or email  thomasl@vtcucc.org). 

 

--Lynn Thomas

Administrative Assistant and Placement Coordinator

 

...Please Hold in Your Prayers...

...The family of Rev. Leroy N. Hastings, Jr., who died January 27 at the age of 92.  Roy was ordained in 1951 and served many Vermont churches including East St. Johnsbury, Waterford, Concord, Orleans/Brownington, Coventry, Westfield, and Newport.  He also served churches in New Jersey and Massachusetts.  A memorial service will be observed on Saturday, February 1 at 1 p.m. at the Brownington Congregational Church in Brownington Village.  A complete obituary is available here.

 

...The family of Rev. Donald W. Morgan, who died January 27.   Don was ordained in 1953 and served the United Church of Northfield and Grace Congregational Church in Rutland (as well as summer pastorates during seminary in E. Dorset, Westfield, Lowell and Troy).  He also served churches in Connecticut and New Jersey, and was Minister Emeritus of the First Church of Christ of Wethersfield, CT.  A memorial service will be held at the First Church of Christ of Wethersfield on Sunday, February 2 at 3 PM, followed by a reception.

 

Association News

 

Champlain Association - Installation of Rev. Susan Cooke Kittredge as Associate Pastor, Charlotte Congregational Church, February 2, 10:00 AM.   

Southwest Association - Pulpit Exchange Sunday - will be February 16.  Click here for a listing.

Grafton-Orange Association - Spring Training Day - March 15, 1st Congregational Church, Lebanon, NH.  Click here for more information/registration.

Southwest Association - Mission Day - March 22, 2nd Congregational Church, Bennington.  More information to follow.

 

Annual Meeting News
 

 

Items of Interest

Mid-January Update from the Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council (VLIAC) - The 2014 Vermont Legislature opened the session on Tuesday, January 7. The Governor devoted much of his State of the State address to the growing problem of drug addiction and his proposed investment of about $2 million dollars into a number of critical areas to promote prevention, treatment and recovery.

 

Later in the first week there was a special tri-committee meeting on General Assistance and Temporary Housing to address a critical and growing emergency need this year. The Governor has called for an addition $3.2 million in the budget adjustment for this need.

 

The Vermont House passed a resolution commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the President Johnson's "War on Poverty" address to Congress. The resolution had over 120 signatures of members in the House. A number of advocates were introduced on the floor of the House and were joined by representatives from our Congressional Office in support of the resolution. Judi Joy, the Vermont Conference UCC representative to VLIAC, was present for the reading.

 

"War on Poverty" Resolution: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/resolutn/HCR177.pdf

 

And Save the Date - April 4th - VLIAC/UCC Day at the Legislature.

 

--Karen Lafayette, VLIAC Legislative Liaison

kmlafayette@aol.com 

 

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UCC General Counsel Issues a Copyright Infringement Warning - Don Clark, UCC General Counsel, sent the following information to all Conferences and has asked us to share this with our churches. This is what Don Clark shares:

"Poems, songs, hymns, speeches, and written, visual, or oral works of most any kind, are the intellectual property of their author/creator. They should not be used without express permission.

 

Despite repeated alerts from the United Church Insurance Board and the Office of the General Counsel, settings of the United Church of Christ continue to post the works of others on web sites, publish them in newsletters, and duplicate them elsewhere. This often triggers claims of copyright violation and demands for statutorily prescribed monetary damages.

 

The Office of the General Counsel encourages all Conferences to conduct in-service trainings for Conference staff, especially those responsible for editing or otherwise managing web sites, to ensure that material originating with others (even material at times attributed to "Anonymous") is not published or otherwise used without permission."

 

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News from Church World Service (CWS) - CWS New England is going green! In the past, we have sent out in early spring a printed newsletter with updates on our Blankets and Kits programs, which included a materials order form and details about our Kits Depots. We will no longer be printing the newsletter and we don't want you to miss out on this important information, so please take a moment and sign up for our e-newsletter.  Our first edition (emailed in February) will include a link to our Blankets and Tools material order form along with some great stories of what churches in New England are doing to promote these programs.

 

Sign up today: www.cwsglobal.org/newengland

 

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Covenant Hills Christian Camp News - Come Meet the Co-Directors of Covenant Hills - You are invited to a "Meet and Greet" to welcome Jeffrey & Ashley Dodson as our new directors of Covenant Hills Christian Camp on Sunday, February 9, 2014 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 137 Main Street, Montpelier, from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm.  Snacks and beverages provided.  (Jeffrey and & Ashley will lead worship at Trinity on that day. All are welcome. Service time: 10:00 am). 

 

Click here for a bulletin insert to share with your congregation.

 

Also, click here for the January 2014 newsletter.

 

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Help Wanted Music Director Position - the Charlotte Congregational Church, UCC is seeking a new Director of Music Ministry. We are an Open and Affirming congregation that values and upholds music as an integral part of worship and extended ministry. Our congregation loves to sing and is blessed with many musicians who contribute to worship. We have a refurbished Estey organ, a grand piano, and an occasional group of folk-instrument players who lead worship. Primary responsibilities would be accompanying congregational singing and rehearsing and conducting the adult choir for our Sunday morning worship services at 10am and for other occasional services like Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday. In addition we also offer a Saturday Evening Worship Service once-a-month at 4:30pm, and have a children's choir that meets on occasion. This part time position, roughly 10 hours a week, could be staffed by one or two people and would be available starting March 2, 2014.

 

Please send a cover letter and resume to: charlotteucc@gmavt.net, attention: Music Search. Or to The Charlotte Congregational Church 403 Church Hill Road, Charlotte, VT 05445.  Church office: 802-425-3176.

 

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Calling all Congregations - Take part in the National Interfaith Power and Light's National Preach-In on Climate Change - Download your free kit for the 2014 National Preach-In on Climate Change over Valentine's weekend (Feb. 14, 15, 16). From the comfort of your own congregation, you can join in spirit with thousands of religious leaders from across the country in preaching and teaching about climate change and love of Creation.

 

Click here for more information and to download your free kit.

 

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UCC Women's Week - March 2-8, 2014 - Transfiguring Spiritual Practice: Seeking the Radiance of God through Social Media - The United Church of Christ will celebrate Women's Week this year during the first week of March, March 2-8, 2014. This brings us into line with other denominational and secular observances of Women's Week (World Day of Prayer for Women is March 7; International Women's Day is March 8). The week encompasses Sunday March 2, Festival of Transfiguration, and Wednesday, March 5, Ash Wednesday.  Click here for a link to resources which will be posted on February 1.

 

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Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath - March 13, 2014  - Congregations across the nation are joining the Washington National Cathedral and Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence to remember those who have lost their lives to gunfire, pray for those whose lives have been forever changed because of the loss of a loved one, and to continue the discussion on how communities of faith can work together to help reduce gun violence. Learn more about how your congregation can get involved in the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath. Contact: Sandra Sorensen at sorenses@ucc.org.  For more Information: http://marchsabbath.org/.

 

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Peacemaker's Pulpit

 A Monthly Message from the Department of Mission's Just Peace Advocates

 

 

"Be Still and Know That God is God!"

 

 

Richard Floyd, one of our "Stillspeaking" devotional writers, had a pithy reflection back in November. He used "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) as his text. To my ears, his voice thundered: "Commentator J. C. McCann, Jr. suggests that "Be still, and know that I am God!" is not a good translation, because it sounds to us like an invitation to meditation or relaxation. He suggests that 'Stop!' or 'Throw down your weapons!' would be better."

 

There has sometimes been animated discussion between justice advocates and spiritual renewal folks in the church - as if these aren't absolutely required to walk hand-in-hand. The discussion has focused on whether Jesus' requirement that we followers do justice takes priority over the false perception that praying is "sitting on our hands while others do the heavy lifting." McCann's "Be still and know that I am God = throw down your weapons" is indeed contemporary canon because isn't this exactly it? One of the hardest tasks for spiritual growth is defenselessness - or depending on God and God alone to be our defense in the midst of the battles of life. And becoming reliant on God alone is hard - really hard. Society acts the devil in every way on this one, seducing us to rely on all manner of other-than-God for our security. IF we would be peace-makers we must engage in spiritual discipline regularly. If we only practice the spiritual disciplines without the justice action we are missing the revolutionary point of the Prince of Peace.

 

Vermont is poised to base the new, EXPENSIVE, unnecessary F-35 jets near Burlington. Our state representatives have lauded the job creation nature of this unacceptable military project. Seduction. The development of drones flies in the face of even Just War theory given that the "soldier" is behind a "joy stick" not confronting the "enemy," and proportional loss of civilian lives is a near impossibility given no "front-line battlefield" human observation. Fewer lost lives for our military sisters and brothers. Seduction. As if the lives of our enemies are not important to God. It's HARD being faithful followers of Jesus. Exactly why we must "be still and know that God is God!"

 

--The Rev. Karen Lipinczyk

Pastor, Congregational Church of Bradford

 

UCC News Updates    

~~~~~

 

Got news? Please take a minute, and let the UC News team know. Please send your news tip via email to newsteam@ucc.org.  P.S.  Let the Conference know too - vtconference@vtcucc.org!

 

Upcoming Events, Webinars, Online Seminars

 

Don't Forget the Following Events!

 

map

 

 

2014 Ecumenical Advocacy Days.  March 21 - 24, 2014.  Washington, DC.  Registration is now open.  Click here for more information/registration. 

 

UCC New England Women's Celebration IXMarch 28 - 30, 2014.  Portland, ME.  Discount Registration Deadline extended to January 31, 2014Click here for more information/registration.

 

Vermont Low Income Advocacy (VLIAC) Legislative Day.  April 4, 2014.  Statehouse, Montpelier, VT.

 

UCC Office Support Staff Network (UCCOSSN) Annual Conference.  April 24 - 26, 2014.  Charlotte, NC.  Click here for a flyer.

 

43rd Annual New England Association of United Church Educators (NEAUCE) Conference: Rooted in Faith.  May 6-8, 2014.  Centerville, MA.  Click here  for a flyer.

   

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Click here for more Upcoming Events.

   

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webinarsUpcoming Webinars & Other Online Seminars  

 

Online Course:  UCC History & Polity - January 29  - April 30, 2014.  Sponsor: Center for Progressive Renewal.  Contact:  Rev. Gregg Carlson  404-805-0934 Gregg@progressiverenewal.orgClick here for more information/registration.

 

Livestream:  Lenten Lectionary Workshop - Friday, January 31, 2014.  9:00 AM - 3:00 PM, CST.  Sponsor:  Chicago Theological Seminary Click here for more information/registration.

 

Online Course: UCC History and Theology - February 3 - May 23, 2014. Sponsor:  Pacific School of Religion.  Instructor:  Randi Walker.  Contact the instructor for more information - rwalker@psr.edu.

 

Online Course: UCC Identity Series.  An Ethos of Extravagant Welcome - February 18-25, 2014. Sponsor:  Pacific School of Religion.  Click here for more information/registration.  

 

Online Course:  Healthy Boundaries for Ministry 101 - February 24 - March 28, 2014.  8:00 PM.  Sponsor:  FaithTrust Institute/Center for Progessive Renewal.  Instructor:  Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune.  Click here for more information/registration.

 
  • For a listing of webinars from the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries and Faith Trust Institute, "Addressing Domestic and Sexual Violence: Tools for Faith Leaders" Series, click here. 

  • For a listing of upcoming webinars from the UCC Center for Progressive Renewal, click here.
  • For a list of upcoming conference calls/webinars from the UCC Pension Board, click here.
  • For a list of upcoming webinars from the UCC Insurance Board, click here.
  • For a listing of upcoming Alban Institute webinars, click here.
  • For a listing of Andover Newton Theological School's Online Seminars, click here 
Calendar
CalendarFor Calendar items, please see the online Conference Calendar or the latest biweekly issue of E-Events NewsletterTo submit an event: click here.  

  

The next E-Events Newsletter will be published on Thursday, February 6. [Deadline to submit events:  February 6, Noon].    

 

Don't miss these events: 

 

Conference EventsAssociation Events
Local Church EventsEcumenical Events
Regional EventsNational Events
Other Events of Interest


Stewardship Message for February  

 

Stewards of Godly Language

 

And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."  

Luke 3:22b English Standard Version

 

When I was coping with the sudden, severe onset of rheumatoid arthritis, a friend said, "God does everything for you that you can't do for yourself, and nothing that you can." Hmmm... I wonder. Her words were neither comforting nor reassuring given my burning question, "Who am I, now?"

 

What God did do for me was to answer that question. "You are my beloved child." God assured me, "know who you are and I am in this with you." That was all I needed to hear. I heard the echo of God's words spoken at Jesus' baptism. My pastor called this God's language of love.

 

Each one of us is God's beloved. In my year-round practice of generosity, I continually focus on how generous God has been... the beauty of creation, a circle of friends, a church community, the opportunity to serve, having enough, amazing grace, Christ. So, how generous are we called to be?

 

Generosity flows in many ways. What better way to honor God's love and affirmation than to speak God's language of love? To recall we're addressing another of God's beloved when we speak, and use Godly language? In the month of hearts and flowers (and chocolate!), may we practice God's language of love.

 

 

A message by Doris Powell, author of Stewards in the Household of God: a Resource for Holistic Year-round Stewardship.


 

~~~~~ 

 

For monthly Stewardship messages from the UCC, click here.

 

[This resource is a free service and is made possible by your gifts to Our Church's Wider Mission.]

 

 

Lectionary Gospel Lesson & Thoughts for the Week
The Gospel lesson this week is: Matthew 5:1-12, the Beatitudes.

Here are some thoughts for the week:

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Arthur Ashe was a great tennis champion -- and a great man -- and a man of deep faith.  He was unfortunate enough to require surgery in the early days of the AIDS epidemic -- at a time when no one understood the risks involved in blood transfusions -- in the days before they were testing blood for AIDS prior to transfusing it.  During his surgery, Ashe received a blood transfusion -- and he became one of the early victims of AIDS as a result. 
 
Like anyone, Ashe was tempted to aim his rage at God, but he conquered that temptation.  Speaking at the Niagara County Community College in the fall of 1992, he said: 
 
"I've always had a strong faith,
growing up in the South and black
and having the church as a focal  point of my life.
And I was reminded of something Jesus said on the cross:
'My God,  my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'
Jesus was asking the same question I was asking about myself, 'Why me?'
But then I thought, 'Why not me?
Why should I be spared what some others have been inflicted with?'"
 
"And I find I have to think of all the good of my life,
of having a great wife and  daughter, and family and friends,
and winning Wimbledon and the US Open
and playing for and  coaching the Davis Cup team,
and getting a free scholarship to U.C.L.A. -- all kinds of good things.
I can also ask about all these good things, 'Why me?'"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 
 
(Christians) pass their time upon earth, 
but they have their citizenship in heaven. 
They obey the appointed laws, 
and they surpass the laws in their own lives. 
They love all men and are persecuted by all men.... 
They are put to death and they gain life.... 
They lack all things and have all things in abundance.
      
  - Epistle to Diognetus, c. 200 A.D.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

It is not the one who has attained righteousness 
but the one who hungers for it 
whom the Beatitudes assert God blesses.

  - Bonnie Thurston
  

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Did you know...

Your OCWM (Our Church's Wider Mission) contribution to the VT Conference makes this email newsletter and the numerous programs described herein available to you and your church.
 
Have you considered remembering the Vermont Conference in your will? You could leave a lasting legacy which would support the good works of the Conference and our churches.

To submit items for E-KIT, please send them to Sybil McShane at mcshanes@vtcucc.org.  Items are due Friday for publication the following Wednesday.
 
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802-728-4999 | Vermont Conference, UCC | 36 N Main St | Randolph | VT | 05060
E-KIT 01-29-2014