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Vermont Conference, UCC 

E-KIT (Electronically-Keeping In Touch)

July 9, 2014 - Vol. 7, Issue 27  
In This Issue
Conference News
Association News
Items of Interest
Peacemaker's Pulpit
Help Wanted
UCC News Updates
Upcoming Events, Webinars, Online Seminars...
Calendar
Stewardship Message
Lectionary and Thoughts
Quick Links

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Conference Directory   

Conference Calendar 

Conference Newsletter Archive 

Conference Resource Center 

Covenant Hills Christian Camp 

Global Ministries 

UCC Website 

UCC Insurance Board 

UCC Pension Boards 

Vermont School of Ministry  

 


Celebrating 25 Years!

Covenant Hills
Christian Camp 

 

1989 - 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014
12 Noon to 4 PM

 

The Board of Directors of Covenant Hills Christian Camp extends a warm welcome to everyone to join with them for the 25 Year Celebration of Covenant HIlls Christian Camp.

 

Click here for a bulletin insert with all the details.

 

  

 
 
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Greetings Members & Friends,

Is not this the fast I choose:

To loose the bonds of injustice,

To undo the thong of the yoke,

To let the oppressed go free,

And to break every yoke?

(Isaiah 58:6 NRSV)

 

A couple of weeks ago I participated with other Vermont religious leaders in a press conference with Senator Sanders on income inequality and a moral economy. Some powerful words were spoken and uncomfortable truths brought to light.  My colleague, Bishop Tom Ely of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont named the forces that lead to huge income disparities as the sin of greed.

 

Greed can afflict us all. It tricks us into believing that we always need just a little more than we have. The question: how much is enough is often answered by - more. According to the 2013 Forbes 400, just six members of the Walton family (Walmart) have a combined wealth of 144.7 billion dollars.  That's more wealth than the bottom 42% of Americans combined. Meanwhile the average wage paid to a Walmart worker is just above $8.00 per hour. How do we address such income disparity?  And how do we hold ourselves accountable when greed gets the best of us?

 

I have come to believe that there is another sin at work in our economic practices: the sin of idolatry.  We have gradually, perhaps even partly unconsciously made a god of money, of economic theory and practice that allows a small percentage of people to prosper while the majority of people struggle to get by.  This god tells us that the worth of an individual is determined either by their wealth or their ability to contribute to another's wealth.

 

When we are caught up with this form of idolatry we forget that every human being has intrinsic worth by virtue of being created in God's image as a beloved child. Dazzled by the mirage that one day we, too, will strike it rich, we lose sight of God's economy based on justice, right relationship and protecting those who are the most vulnerable in our society. Safety nets that care for those who are poor, elderly, disabled are not "entitlements" but rather our sacred responsibility and privilege as fellow sojourners on this planet. For we who follow Jesus the Christ this is not and cannot be optional; it must be at the center of our discipleship.

 

It is time and beyond time for us to raise our voices and let our values be articulated and heard at least as loudly as the voices of greed and idolatry. Where we find ourselves enslaved by these things we pray to be set free.  Where we see these things at work around us we work to "loose the bonds of injustice" that all people might be freed to live in new and right relationship with God, our neighbors and ourselves.

 

 

In peace,

Lynn

Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak

Conference Minister

 

 

Conference News

Conference Ministers' Schedules

~Pam Lucas:  out of the office on vacation through July 14, except Sunday, July 13, preaching at 2nd Congregational Church, Bennington

~Jim and Lynn Thomas:  out of the office on vacation through July 21.

 

Please Hold in Your Prayers ...

... the family of Rev. Sadaichi Asai who died last week at Pilgrim Place, Health Services Center, Claremont, CA, just a few months before his 100th birthday.  He began his ministry in Vermont at the First Congregational Church of Cornwall, UCC and was ordained there on October 9, 1948, serving until 1953.  In Vermont, he also served the Jericho 1st and 2nd Congregational Churches from 1953-1958.  The "Vermont Congregational Conference" was, he remembered to a visitor, the only one to welcome him, a Japanese-American, as a ministerial candidate in the years following World War II. He recalled ever so clearly that the good people of Vermont affirmed his calling as a minister.

 

Introducing the Vermont School of Ministry

Due to the many changes in the educational landscape and the emerging needs of the local churches for part time pastors and the 'seeker' nature of many persons in our communities we introduce the Vermont School of Ministry.

 

The Northeast School of Ministry began as a conversation of the NYCUCC, CTUCC, MECUCC, MACUCC, NHCUCC and VTCUCC gathered in 2013, with guidance from the New York School of Ministry recognizing that all of our Conferences shared these needs.

 

The Vermont School of Ministry will provide an opportunity for:  1. ...individuals to enrich and deepen their journeys of faith in ways that are not easily available in our local churches thereby becoming leaven in the mission and ministry of their local church;  2. ...individuals who are exploring a call to licensed ministry to develop the personal and professional formation for ministry, the knowledge, skills and supervised experience in partnership with a Committee on Ministry and ultimately be examined and named as 'licensable pending call'.

 

For more information, read Rev. Pam Lucas' article in last week's E-KIT and visit the VSoM website for a brochure, application and course offerings.

 

Church Vitality/Center for Progressive Renewal (CPR) Event

Craft Church:  From Attraction to Integration

October 18, 2014

9:30 AM - 3:00 PM

United Church of Bethel

 

Vermont has the greatest number of craft breweries per capita. What do Beer and Church have in common? Come find out!  Presenter Rev. Michael Piazza will offer specific and practical insights into how to get people to come to your church, then get them to come back, then get them to stay and become the Body of Christ. It works best when attended by a group of 4 to 6 people from each church.  Vintage churches can grow again if they learn to craft services, programs, and systems in a way that are congruent with the local settings values, mission, and vision.

 

The cost is only $25 per person, which includes lunch. Only 120 slots are available, and this will sell out. Please don't wait to register!  Follow this link to the information and registration page.

 

Association News

 

 Upcoming Installations & Ordinations  - Click here.

   

 

Items of Interest
UCC Disaster Ministries CWS School Kit Matching Grant Project - Following domestic and international disasters the need to distribute specific material aid is often crucial to the recovery process. UCC Disaster Ministries, Conferences and congregations support these efforts by pre-assembling various types of Church World Service kits that are stored and can be shipped at a moment's notice. UCC Disaster Ministries was recently notified that stock supplies of CWS School kits were very low due in part to the ongoing situation in Syria. 

 

In an effort to support UCC congregations in restocking these essential kits, UCC Disaster Ministries is offering matching grants totaling up to $50,000 for congregations assembling CWS School Kits. Grants will be awarded at $250/congregation on a first come first serve basis. Congregations are encouraged to engage their local community, businesses, friends and coworkers and to work collaboratively with other nearby congregations in an effort to pull resources and maximize purchasing power.

 

Click here for guidelines, application and more information.

 

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Urgent request for Church World Service (CWS) School Kits! CWS School Kits give children in impoverished schools, refugee camps, or other difficult settings some of the basic tools for learning. Please follow this link to see how you and your congregation can help: http://www.cwsglobal.org/newsroom/appeals-and-updates/urgent-appeal-for-more-cws-school-kits.html.

 

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Vermont Interfaith Action (VIA) Updates - VIA Executive Director Debbie Ingram has just begun extended bereavement leave to attend to family matters in the aftermath of her mother's death in May. Debbie will be out of the office from July 1 to approximately September 15. She will be occasionally checking emails and will have limited availability by phone. Please contact Alison Johnson, new Administrative Assistant (office@viavt.org; 802-651-8889)  or Melissa Battah, our Central Vermont Organizer (melissa@viavt.org; 802-651-8889) if you need assistance over the summer. Debbie looks forward to working full-time when she returns in the fall.

 

In the afternoon of July 2nd, Sr. Margaret Brault, Sister of Mercy and long-time VIA leader, passed away due to a severe chronic respiratory illness. Sr. Margaret was with VIA from its inception and was a passionate and tireless worker on our campaigns on health care reform and affordable housing. She was strongly committed to VIA's mission and methodology. Her generous, spirited, and faithful presence will be deeply missed.  A complete obituary is available here.

 

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UCC Disabilities Ministries Seeks Nominations for Board of Directors -  The UCC Disabilities Ministries Board's Nominations Committee is seeking people who are passionate about disability ministry who would like to serve on our Board. Our Board is made up of people with disabilities, professionals who work in the disability field, and family members of people with disabilities. Our mission is to encourage our denomination to create worship and meeting places, programs and leadership, classes, and activities that are accessible to all (A2A) and welcoming and inclusive of all persons with disabilities.  Click here for more information.

 

We encourage interested candidates to visit our website at http://www.uccdm.org  to learn more about us. Located there are Board updates, our blog, and the application. We look forward to hearing from you soon! The deadline for nominations is July 31, 2014.

 

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Justice Leaders Engaging and Developing (Justice LED) Training Available - Justice Leaders Engaging and Developing (Justice LED) is a faith-based, biblically grounded curriculum and leadership training resource developed by Justice and Witness Ministries. It offers an exploration of the Biblical and socio-cultural grounding for doing justice work. Justice LED training is provided to lay leaders and clergy who wish to facilitate Justice LED in their congregation. Justice LED empowers church members to deeply reflect upon the justice dimensions of Christian discipleship and to act upon justice issues that matter to them. Visit: www.ucc.org/justice/training/ or click here for a flyer.

 

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Covenant Hills Christian Camp 25th Anniversary Celebration - Saturday, July 12, 2014, 12 Noon to 4 PM. Click here for more information/bulletin insert.

 

 

 

 

 

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Peacemaker's Pulpit

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

 

 Taking Action to Prevent Genocide

 

(Excerpted from a longer article by David Brown)

 

In April, I encountered the author Chris Bohjalian at the State House in Montpelier. I was there for the Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council's annual Legislative Day; Chris had come for a different reason. The Senate Committee on Government Operations was considering a resolution asking that President Obama and the United States Congress recognize the independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, where the population is 95% Armenian, and mostly Christian. Chris, as an Armenian-American and member of the United Church of Lincoln (VT), wanted to be sure there was no reoccurrence of the Armenian Massacre of 1915-1923.

 

Chris Bohjalian wrote in the Burlington Free Press that every April 24, Armenians around the world mourn 1.5 million ancestors who were annihilated by the Ottoman Empire in the 20th century's first genocide, which began on April 24, 1915. Three out of four Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed where they lived, or driven into the Syrian desert to die. Some of my high school friends had parents who had escaped the slaughter; the stories they told make me concerned for the prospects for peace today in Nagorno-Karabakh, in a part of the world where the Armenian minority may be at risk again.

 

Nagorno-Karabakh was formerly part of Azerbaijan, which is 95% Muslim.  Since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding talks to settle the region's disputed status.  Would-be peacemakers can join Chris Bohjalian in encouraging our President and members of Congress to recognize NKR as an independent nation, able to defend its people. We can learn more about the Armenian Massacre (search UCC.org), and the NKR, send notes of support to the Armenian Martyrs Congregational Church (UCC), 100 Edmund Avenue, Havertown, PA  19083, and remember the Armenian martyrs and their families in our prayers. We can become proactive peacemakers ourselves, like Chris Bohjalian.

 

 

--David Brown, Charlotte Congregational Church UCC

 

Click here to read the entire article.

 

 

Help Wanted

 

Help Wanted

 

Interim Director of Youth Ministry - the United Church of Dorset and East Rupert -- a thriving church community whose membership has tripled in the past sixteen years -- is seeking an interim Director of Youth Ministry. We want to strengthen our youth programming and are looking for an enthusiastic candidate to lead this important mission, encompassing nursery through high school. This is a part-time position requiring approximately 12 hours/week and with pay starting at about $20/hour, commensurate with experience and education. The position currently runs from approximately September 1, 2014 through June 1, 2015. The qualified candidate should demonstrate a love for children; strong organizational and communication skills; commitment to the church's educational mission, and compelling Christian faith and values.  Candidates should contact Jane LoBrutto, Administrator, at 802-867-2260, or at dorsetchurch@gmail.com.

 

Music Director - the First Congregational Church of Essex Junction, U.C.C. is seeking a part time Music Director. We are an open and affirming, community minded church with a vibrant music program. The new director will coordinate our music ministry, direct the adult choir, and play the organ and piano. He or she will work with the pastors to schedule our many choirs and musical groups at two services from September to June and one service throughout the summer. The church has a beautifully refurbished 1928 Estey organ and a Young Chang baby grand piano in the sanctuary. Send cover letter and resume to Patricia Seaver c/o First Congregational Church of Essex Jct., 1 Church St. Essex Jct., VT 05452, or email to mmendes@fccej.org Church office 802-878-5745. Website: www.fccej.org

 

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 Craigville Theological Colloquy - Creation as Theology & Ecology.  July 14-18, 2014.  Location: Craigville Retreat Center, Centerville, MA.  Click here for more information.

   

 

Historic Pipe Organ in Concert.  Thursday, July 24, 2014.  7:30 PM.  Location: United Church of Northfield, Northfield, VT.  Click here for more information.

Our Whole Lives (OWL) Training: Youth Adults and Adults.  August 1-3, 2014.  Location: First Church, UCC, Nashua, NH.  Limited spaces remaining.  Deadline:  July 10. Click here for more information/registration.

 

 25th Annual Mountain Day - Hike to the Top of Vermont.  Monday, August 18, 2014.  8:30 AM.  Meet at: Stowe Mountain Resort, Upper Gondola parking lot, Stowe, VT.  Contact: For information/to RSVP: Rev. David Ransom 802-644-8144

Art Exhibit:  Holiness and the Feminine Spirit: The Art of Janet McKenzie.  August 1-31, 2014 (with Artist's Talk & Reception on August 2).  Location:  Waitsfield United Church of Christ, Waitsfield, VT.  Click here for more information.  Click here for a flyer.


Star Island (NH) - UCC-Related Summer Conferences
Click here for a listing.
 

 

Boundary Awareness Trainings in New England - click here for a listing.

 

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Plan Ahead for Fall - Save the Dates!

 

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) 2014 ConferenceSaturday September 27, 2014 Location: Grace Congregational United Church of Christ.  Rutland, VT.  More details to follow. 

3rd Annual Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future ConferenceNovember 6-7, 2014. Location: Grand Summit Hotel & Conference Center, Mount Snow Resort, Dover, VT.  Sponsor: Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity.  Registration is now open Click here for more information/registration.    

  

 

Vermont Ecumenical Council (VEC) Conference on Drug Addiction.  Saturday November 15, 2014.  Location: Grace Congregational United Church of Christ, Rutland, VT.  More Information to Follow.

        

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webinarsUpcoming Webinars & Other Online Seminars

 

  • Online Course: How to Increase Worship Attendance.  August 12, 2014 - September 16, 2014. Sponsor:  Center for Progressive Renewal (CPR).  Click here for more information/registration.   

     

  • Online Course: UCC History and Polity.  September 3, 2014 - December 3, 2014. Sponsor:  Center for Progressive Renewal (CPR)  Instructor:  Rev. Dr. Timothy Downs.  Click here for more information/registration.   

     

  • Online Course:  UCC History, Polity and Theology.  September 20 - December 20, 2014.  Sponsor: UCC House of Studies at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH.   Click here for more information/registration.

 

  • For a listing of upcoming webinars/online courses from the Center for Progressive Renewal, click here.

  • For a listing of archived webinars from the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries and Faith Trust Institute, 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, July 17. [Deadline to submit events:  July 17, Noon].    

 

Don't miss these events: 

 

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


Stewardship Message for July

 

Stewards of Responsible Freedom: Saying Yes and Saying No

 

"I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  

Choose life so that you and your descendants may live." - Deuteronomy 30:19

 

We are created in God's image. As a covenant people we are given freedom, as individuals and communities, to choose life or death, blessings or curses. Shawn Copeland, in Practicing Our Faith (ed. Dorothy Bass), says, "Tough decisions and persistent effort are required of those who seek lives that are whole and holy. We must learn the practice of saying no to that which crowds God out and yes to a way of life that makes space for God." Jesus calls us from certain behaviors, but always offers an alternative: "Come, follow." A life-affirming "yes" is necessary to making an effective "no."

 

Responsible exercise of freedom requires us to participate in generating good for all. We participate in making fundamental decisions regarding our national priorities, values and commitments, and how they will be expressed in public policy. We cannot ignore economic, social, and ecological realities that have led to greater abundance for some and scarcity for many others.

 

As we celebrate our freedom on Independence Day, we give thanks for UCC churches which guide us in discerning, choosing and acting in ways that bless all God's people.

 

A message from "Stewards in the Household of God: a Resource for Holistic Year-round Stewardship" available from United Church of Christ Resources.

 

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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 13:1-9, 18-23, the Parable of the Sower.

 

Here are some thoughts for the week: 
  

The greatest mission field we face is not in some faraway land.

The strange and foreign culture most American evangelicals fear

is not across the ocean. It's barely across the street.

The culture most lost to the gospel is our own--our children and neighbors.

 

Dwight Ozard

 

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To be in Christ is to share one's faith,

for you cannot have a share in Christ

unless you share him with others.

Nothing is ours till we share it....

If you are not winning others,

Christ has not really won you.

 

E. Stanley Jones, In Christ

 

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If we are to persuade the world that Christianity is worthwhile,

the way of the early Christians is the only way. 

We have to out-live the world in service,

in charity, in purity and in joy. 

We have to out-die the world

in that we show the world

that we are still prepared to pay the price of being a Christian. 

We have to out-think the world,

not clinging to the old way and the old words,

but ever ready for the adventure of thought in whatever age we live.

 

William Barclay

 

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There is a great hunger for God in the world today. 

Everywhere there is much suffering,

but there is also great hunger for God and love for each other.

 

Mother Teresa

 

 

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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 information@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 07-09-2014