Mark your calendar. Ash Wednesday's worship will be March 5 at 7:30 PM. Maundy Thursday's soup and bread supper will be April 17 at 6:30 PM.
10 Main Street. PO Box 615. Tiffin, Ohio. 44883. Sunday Worship: 10:30 AM.
What It's About Rev Pam Easterday
The word love appears in my Bible 586 times. Steadfast love runs through it. In spite of the fact that Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, God stayed with him and loved him steadfastly. God even used Joseph, in slavery, to feed people through a famine, redeeming his brothers' crime, using it for good.
The ancient prophets were God's messengers, telling the people in poetic and powerful ways that starving the poor to accumulate wealth is a sin. Indulging themselves while harming others is a crime, because God cares about justice, mercy and peace. The Holy One loved them. God loved us enough to risk coming to live among us. Yet even after we killed him, Jesus walked among us, granting us peace, telling us not to be afraid, revealing God's love.
You see, the word love appears 586 times because that is what this book of books is about. The word science does not show up at all. And where we think we read biology, geography, astronomy, history, geology or anatomy, those are just part of a love story. In fact, in Matthew 22, Jesus says that the two greatest commandments are love God and love neighbor. ?On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.? Loving God and loving neighbor are the guiding principles by which we must judge all other rules and advice. Is it loving? If it does not show love, it is not godly.
Remember all the times when God, or angels, or Jesus told people, ?Do not be afraid.? Science helped us live longer when it discovered bacteria in our water. That all our neighbors might have plenty, that safer, abundant energy might be developed, that disease and disability might be defeated, all of us need to support scientific research, and our best thinking. We must use our God-given brains to love our neighbors. Our children must separate theory from proof. Our teachers must be encouraged to teach science. Because we serve a God who loves us all. Listen to Evolution Sunday worship message.
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THE CORE IDENTITY OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST. by Rev. John H. Thomas, past General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. June 20, 2004. Scripture: Galatians 3:23-29. From the time of our founding, the United Church of Christ has struggled to articulate its identity. The names of predecessor denominations identify important elements: Evangelical suggests a piety shaped by personal encounter with the Gospel. Congregational reminds us of the centrality of the local church for discipleship and mission. Reformed teaches us that church and society are subject to sin and must therefore be reshaped by the prophetic word. Christian connects us to those who cherish the simplicity of a commitment to Jesus who invites all to the Table.
Since 1957 other phrases have helped us articulate our distinctive vocation: We are a United and Uniting church seeking renewal through the vision of Christ's prayer That They May All Be One That The World Might Believe. We are a Just Peace church committed to overcoming violence and oppression. We are a Multi-Racial, Multi-Cultural Church yearning for the day when our congregations more fully reflect the vision of Pentecost. We are an Open And Affirming church where no one's baptismal identity can be denied because of his or her sexual identity. We are an Accessible church cherishing the gifts of all regardless of physical or mental abilities. More recently we have been thinking about what it means to call ourselves the church of the Still Speaking God, a church that believes God has yet more light and truth to break forth from the Word.
Each of these phrases captures an important dimension of our life together. But Paul also tells that our core identity transcends human categories. In Christ we are all children of God through faith, heirs according to God's promise. In the end Identity is About Belonging, and it is to Christ that we belong before any party or agenda. Let us give thanks for those distinctive gifts that mark our unique contribution to the Christian witness in the world. But even more, we give thanks that through this church we have received our inheritance with all others who are one in Jesus Christ.
16 Ways Progressive Christians Interpret the Bible. January 21, 2014. By Roger Wolsey. biblical-interpretation. I’ve long stated that Atheists and fundamentalists each tend to read the Bible in the same wooden, overly literalistic manner. The difference is that atheists reject what they read in that manner, while fundamentalists believe it. There’s a lot of truth to that – enough that it tends to piss off members of both of those groups off when they come across what I said. However, I’ve also said that All Christians pick and choose which portions of the Bible literally, progressive Christians simply admit this and share how we discern. That observation has resonated with many people – including many fundamentalists who are honest with themselves and who rightly contend that they don’t read “all of the Bible literally.” Some of these more self-reflective fundamentalists have asked me, “So, how do you progressives “discern” and interpret the Bible? Seems like you just read into it what you want it to say; twist it; and don’t take it seriously.” I generally respond by reminding them that – that which we criticize most in others, is often that which we struggle with most ourselves. While no doubt true, and I fully stand by holding that mirror up to them, they deserve an actual response. I can’t speak for all progressive Christians, but here’s how many progressive Christians approach, discern, and interpret the Bible:
1. We embrace the many variations of the view expressed by many great Christian thinkers that “We take the Bible too seriously, to read it all literally.”
2. We don’t think that God wrote the Bible. We think it was written by fallible human beings who were inspired by (not dictated to by) the Holy Spirit. Hence, we don’t consider it to be infallible or inerrant.
3. While we’re aware of the many inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible; and while we’re abhorred by, and reject, the various instances of horrible theology that appear here and there within the texts (e.g., passages that posit God as wrathful, vindictive, and condoning of slavery, and even “ordering” rape and genocide, etc.), they don’t cause us to reject the Bible, rather, they endear us to the Bible. Not because we agree with those passages, but because we recognize that they are fully human - they’re authentic, they’re down to earth, and they flat out convey the desperate and very real frustration, lament, and anger that are part of the human condition. The fact that such passages were allowed to be written into our holy scriptures are evidence of a mature people who realize that it’s best not to hide our dirty laundry or to deny our very real human feelings and passions. If the Bible were all about PR propaganda, they would have edited out those passages. We view those passages as exceptions to the over-arching message of the Bible of promoting unconditional love and the full inclusion and acceptance of all of God’s children. Indeed, while we wish those passages weren’t there, they actually help us to grant authority to the Bible in that we can see that was written by fellow humans who are struggling with real life and death matters of injustice, oppression. And since they make space for our need to vent and rage – we honor the Bible all the more for it honors our shadow sides – and that honoring is what allows for the possibility of our shadows being transformed and integrated in healthy ways.
4. We read the Bible prayerfully. We agree with our conservative brothers and sisters that the Holy Spirit helps us to interpret what we need to read as we read.
5. We seek to apply full attention to Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience (and that includes the insights of contemporary science).
6. We realize that there is no “objective, one, right way” to interpret a passage – and we recognize that there is no reading of any text – including the Bible – that doesn’t involve interpretation. We also realize that each person interprets the text via their own personal experiences, education, upbringing, socio-political context, and more.
7. We do our best to read the biblical texts in their original languages (Hebrew and koine Greek) – and consult scholars and others to assist us. We also tend to look at several English translations – and by no means limiting ourselves to the King James version – which, while the best English version in conveying the beautiful poetry of the original languages, is based upon inferior manuscripts.
8. We consider the best available Biblical scholarship from those who study it academically and professionally (and they’re generally fellow Christians and/or Jews). context
9. We seek to read passages in context – within their chapter, within their book, within their genre, and within the over-arching thrust of the Bible.
10. We seek to read the passages with consideration of the historical socio-political contexts, frequently of oppression, which they were written in. hermeneutics_Banner
11. We employ a hermeneutic of compassion, love, and justice. (Which Jesus utilized). A hermeneutic is “an interpretive lens” and intentional filter. The hermeneutic of love seeks to see the forest for the trees and that allows the spirit of the law to trump the letter of the law (which Jesus modeled).
12. We also tend to employ a “canon within the canon” lens whereby we give greater weight and priority to certain texts over others. A canon is an officially established collection of books that are revered by a given community – for Protestants, that refers to the 66 books of the Bible. In my case, I give greatest weight to Mark, Luke, Matthew, John (in that order), certain letters that Paul actually wrote (as opposed to the Pastoral Epistles which he didn’t), the Prophets, and the Psalms. I interpret the other books of the Bible according to how they jibe and are in sync with these primary texts. Many progressive Christians refer to themselves as “Matthew 25 Christians” (referring to the test for who Jesus says is in or isn’t in the Kingdom by what they do or don’t do), “Sermon on the Mount Christians” (stressing their seeking to prioritize those teachings as central); or as “Red Letter Christians” (indicating that they give greatest weight to the words attributed to Jesus). bible_interpretation
13. We also seek to allow “scripture to interpret scripture.” Here’s an example regarding how to interpret “the sin of Sodom”: The Bible interprets itself regarding the story of Sodom in Ezekiel 16:49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. And Jesus himself supports the view that the sin of Sodom was their lack of hospitality and hesed (loving-kindness) in Matthew 10:9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
14. We follow Jesus’ example in being willing to reject certain passages & theologies in the Bible and to affirm other ones. (He did it a lot)
15. We do as much of the above as we can with fellow Christians in community with others. We avoid doing it solely as a solo endeavor. (We also tend to be open to doing this in community with Jews and Muslims, as fellow “people of the Book” whose insights are often invaluable) studygroup 4b. We pray about it some more.
16. We repeat these steps frequently as new information and scholarship comes in. Knowing that we will always find something that we hadn’t noticed before each time that we do this. So, to our fundamentalist friends, does this seem like we “don’t take the Bible seriously?”
Rev. Roger Wolsey is an ordained United Methodist pastor who directs the Wesley Foundation at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is author of Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity
Written as a Doxology
We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ and our God, and to your deeds we testify:
You call the worlds into being, create persons in your own image,and set before each one the ways of life and death.
You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.
You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles.
In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Savior, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself.
You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.
You call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be your servants in the service of others, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil,to share in Christ's baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.
You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end.
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you.
About this testimony
The original (traditional) version of the United Church of Christ Statement of Faith was adopted in 1959 by General Synod and is widely regarded as one of the most significant Christian faith testimonies of the 20th century. The Statement of Faith in the Form of a Doxology was authorized by Executive Council in 1981.
A Vision Statement of the United Church of Christ>
Rev. Pam Easterday. June 26, 2011 Sunday Message. Baptism. God's Love Made Visible.
Pastor Pam. Sunday Worship/Communion. Listen to Latest Sunday Message.
Tweaking or Transformation? by Tony Robinson
"Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God." (emphasis added) - Colossians 3:3
When we're looking for words to describe the life of faith a favorite is "growth." We speak often of "growing in faith" or "growing in Christ," "growing in understanding," or "growing in giving," etc. "Growth" is good, right?
A case could be made that the truest images and metaphors of change in Scripture aren't about growth. They are about something wilder, more dramatic, wondrous and hard.
They are about death, death and life. As in this verse from Colossians, where Paul just so starkly lays it out, "you have died."
Is he nuts? What does that mean? And is this something we're supposed to want? Gimme growth any day - gradual, continual, steady, slow, "day by day, in every way," a project I can do.
Or not? Maybe there's a place for the drastic? For transformation not tweaking? A place and a time for, "you have died." For hearing that the life you knew, the you that you have been, that world you so fitfully inhabited - that's done now. You have died to that. You are a new creation. In Christ.
Growth makes sense. Everyone is for it. Death and new life make no sense. No one wants it. No one but everyone. This we want most of all. "You have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God."
Help me, dear God, not to settle for tweaking when transformation is the business you're in. Amen.
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SEPTEMBER THROUGH MAY. Each Sunday, St. John's United Church of Christ holds the K-5 Kids Sunday School following the Children's message in worship.
An interesting article. What reaches children. Curriculum and Sunday School.
Rotation 1. January 5, 12. Theme: John The Baptist.
Rotation 2. January 19. Theme: Godspell, the music.
January 26. Worship cancelled due to weather.
Rotation 3. February 2. Heidelberg Concert Choir in worship.
Rotation 4. February 9. Theme: Godspell, the movie.
Rotation 5. February 16. Winter catch up and crafts.
Rotation 6. February 23, March 2. Theme: Veggie Tales, Larry Boy and the Bad Apple. Resisting the urge to do that which is not right. Resisting temptation.
Rotation 7. March 9, 16, 23. Theme: Veggie Tales, Twas the Night Before Easter. Quick Overview. It's Easter time in Crisper County and cable news reporter Marlee Meade (Petunia Rhubarb) is hunting for a way to help others. On a tip that the old town theater will be shut down, Marlee cooks up a plan to save the stage and make a difference through the power of musical theater! With a cast of costume-clad townies, massive props and a 20-foot robot rabbit -- "Up With Bunnies" is hatched! There's only one thing missing -- the star of the show! When news spreads that singing sensation Cassie Cassava is arriving to perform in her hometown church's Easter service, Marlee gets worried. Concerned about the competition, she schemes to steal the starlet for her own pageant! But when things go haywire, will it be curtains for Marlee's dreams -- or will she discover the true meaning of Easter and what helping others is really all about? Watch the Trailer.
Rotation 8. March 30, April 6, 13. Bellsand song with Ms. Wanda. Learning will be presented in the Easter Sunday worship service.
Rotation 9. April 20. Easter. Theme:TBA.
Rotation 10. April 27, May 4. Theme: Veggie Tales, Madam Blueberry. When is having enough, enough?> Rotation 11. May 11. Mother's Day. Rotation 12. May 18, 25.Theme: No Friend Like Jesus.
St. John's participates, funds and contributes time and talent to both local mission and worldwide mission opportunities and needs. We contribute to the local food and hunger pantries. We participate in the Tiffin Church World Service CROP Hunger Walk held the first Sunday in November. Other opportunities have included Heifer Project, Bread for the World, Blanket Sunday, Disaster Kits through the Ohio Conference and Northwest Ohio Association, Health Kits and much more.
In mission giving to the wider United Church of Christ, we are a five for five congregation. A 5-for-5 congregation is one that gives to OCWM while also providing parishioners the opportunity to participate in each of OCWM's four special mission offerings received during the year—One Great Hour of Sharing, Neighbors in Need, Strengthen the Church and the Christmas Fund.
The St. John's Chancel Choir sings each Sunday in worship. It is open to adults and high school age youth. The choir has rehearsal on Thursday at 6:30 PM. The Bells of Hope has it's practice on Thursday at 7:30 PM and is also open to adults and youth of high school age. All invited to participate.
Our congregational and choir singing is accompanied by a pipe organ, piano and percussion instruments where appropriate. Keyboards are filled by a rotation of three talented individuals and we are so honored to have their gifts in worship.
In the summer, the voice and bell choirs rest. We offer Special Music of many varieties. This clip? Recorders during summer 2013 worship.
St. John's United Church of Christ is located at the corner of Main and Jefferson streets in Tiffin. There are entrances to the church on both Main Street and Jefferson Street. For reference, we are one block east of Washington Street which run north and south. Our parking lot is located next to the church on Main Street.
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Main Street Entrance Walk-Through.
St. John's Lawn Chair Drill Team#CMSimple hide#
St. John's United Church of Christ. 10 Main Street. PO Box 615. Tiffin, Ohio. 44883. Sunday Worship - 10:30 AM. The Church with Heart. God is Still Speaking. All are Welcome in God's House. Latest Sunday Worship (edited) contains the message and other items that vary week to week. Link below opens in new window.
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St. John's UCC Lawn Chair Drill Team
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Jesus said, "You ought always to pray and not to faint." Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger women and men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, but for power equal to your tasks. Then, the doing of your work will be no miracle - YOU will be the miracle, and every day you will wonder at yourself and the richness of life that has come to you by the grace of God. Amen. (from The New Century Hymnal)#CMSimple hide#
God is Good
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God is Good
All the Time