E-News for the week of

July 1, 2020

A great idea to show your dedication to social justice!  The UCC is offering the above message on a yard sign and T-shirt.  Go to their website at the link below to order.  

From their site: "As followers of Jesus, we cannot remain silent in the face of injustice and are called to exercise our sacred right to speak up, stand up, and show up for justice. Wear your commitment to justice on your sleeve – literally – with this shirt and encourage others to join you in striving for a just world for all."

Yard Sign: a 1 Sided, 18" x 24" yard sign, the stake is not included.

T-shirt: 100% ring-spun cotton tee.  Machine wash cold inside out with like colors. Tumble dry low. Do not iron.

https://www.uccresources.com/collections/stand-up-for-justice 

Jane’s Fourteenth Reflection

LESSONS FROM SITA

I am extremely fortunate to have had Sita, a yellow lab service dog, by my side for 13 years.  She is somewhere between 15 and 16 years old, which is remarkable for a large dog.

     I have written a picture book and an adult devotional book on her, while she has taught me and others some wonderful lessons. She is amazing and has “served’ many people in her long life.

     The most mesmerizing part of her is her amber eyes. I locked eyes with her when she was handed over to me by the foster mother and immediately fell in love with her. When I brought her home, my late mother said, “You can tell she has a soul.”

     When we joined the Congregational United Church of Christ in 2013, the entire church became infatuated by her. Our pastor once told me that when she walks up the aisle, he feels at peace because of her sweet expression.

     There are several lessons she has taught all of us, which have helped through good and bad times.  I am just mentioning a few – I am not allowed to write an entire book here!

    ALWAYS BE AT PEACE

     Sita has a gentle soul and a calm demeanor. She never growls, or cries, or gets upset – maybe this is why she has lived so long.  Calculate the math – she would be 105 in human years!

     Her life was not always easy.  She was abandoned in the streets and ended up in a kill shelter.  She was rescued by Circle Tail, where I got her from, and trained in the prison program.  She was initially shy, but now knows she is loved and has been with me for many dog years!

 LOVE EVERYBODY –BE TOTALLY WITHOUT BIAS

     This was the scenario in church before COVID, and I am confident it will happen again. Sita stays in the foyer when people come in and is the official greeter. She approaches each person either a new or long-time member and wants to be petted. Sita knows she is not allowed to be petted when she is working and in the vest.  I was very strict about this when I first received her. Now she knows the difference when working in vest and not working when the vest is off.  In the church, she is not working, and loves her freedom!

     We always sit in the front, so I can lip read the pastor. She has walked more and more slowly over the years but still stops at every pew to greet everyone.  She greets the person sitting on the end first and then goes up each pew to be spoiled. She then sits in front of me during the service.  Sometimes, she gets up and goes over to the music director and sits with her. She watches everyone come up front to take communion and stays right there with me.

     Sita does not care how old one is, what color or race, or gender or creed. She treats everyone the same.

  BE STILL

     Sita often is treated to belly rubs after church by the young people in the congregation. One day she attended a memorial service with me. The husband of the wonderful woman whose life we were celebrating asked if she could sit with his grandson. She did not want me to leave her, so he asked me to sit with the family. Sita did not have to talk like we feel compelled to do, her gentle spirit and being there was enough. 

She consoled many of the troubled foster and adoptive children in the private practice where I was a counselor.  I particularly remember one time, when the adoptive parents of a child I had counseled for several years called me.  His foster father had died suddenly and truly the only father he ever knew, until his very recent adoption. They were bringing him in to have me break the news.  I gently told him and did not know what else to say.  I had only been partnered with Sita for a couple of months.  He went over and cried into her fur for a long time. Sita did what Sita does – she sat quietly and was just there for him.  I told his parents I was so glad that I had her and they nodded.

      Another time, I was talking to an adult, who was sobbing hysterically for good reason.  We were sitting opposite each other, and neither of us was paying any attention to Sita, who was lying quietly under my desk.  Sita got up, reached on top of my desk, and pulled out a Kleenex with her mouth. She trotted over and handed it to my client.  We stopped in amazement because I never taught her this, she had observed me do this several times when someone was crying.  The client said, “Sita, you made my day!”  

This is Sita – always wanting to comfort people and make them feel better, without saying a word.  We can do the same.

LIVE IN THE MOMENT- HAVE FAITH

Sita doesn’t worry as we do about the pandemic, or civil unrest, or anything else.  At her advanced age, every single day she goes out and rolls in the grass whether it is wet or dry, like a little puppy.  We can certainly learn from that.  Just as Sita trust humans to take care of her, we need to trust God to take care of us!

 SAVOR EVERY BITE

     She is a lab and loves to eat!  Weight is very difficult to keep off labs, but to watch her is a delight. She licks a dish of ice cream slowly, and drools over every drop. She enjoys every single morsel of food. She jumps up and down waiting to be fed. She does not need expensive gadgets, or clothing or cars. Good food is enough and she is easy to please!

 DON’T DESPAIR OVER GETTING OLD

     I mourn what I used to do with her.  She would go on the playground with another black lab and they would run by the hour. I miss those days.  She has gracefully accepted going from long runs, to long walks, to shorter walks.  All she can do now is lay in the grass by the hour outside our apartment but is perfectly content. She is stoic and accepting of her old age - actually much better than me.

 FORGIVE EASILY

     There have been times I have accidentally stepped on her. She yelps and I am all upset. She immediately comes over, wants to be petted, and forgives me.  We can do the same.

 SENSE WHEN SOMEONE IS UPSET AND JUST BE

  Sita knows when I am upset or things are not going well.  After my mother died and I was diagnosed with cancer, she began snapping at other dogs.  I was hysterical, thinking I would not be able to have her as a service dog.  A dog trainer told me if I calmed down, she would.  Sure enough, the trainer was right. She can’t talk, but puts her head under my hand and nudges me and that is all I need to be OK. We need to be sensitive to each other when someone is in pain and hurting.

     These traits are beneficial to us humans too. Love unconditionally, savor every bite (no gulping), forgive easily, seize the day, greet everyone without bias, don’t lament over getting old, don’t worry, and have faith! 

     Another important lesson is to be sensitive and there for others. Most of all is be still. The Bible reminds us in the verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

This Week….

Church Worship Services this Sunday
This Sunday’s Service is at approximately 10 am, online at

Facebook.com/CongregationalUnitedChurchofChrist

Please go to the Facebook page (if you have not yet seen it, just search for Congregational United Church of Christ) at 10 on Sunday mornings to look for our service to appear at 10 am, or soon after, once we can get underway. 

Please join us!

By Our Pastor: Dennis Coy

And Our Fabulous Music Director: Kathryn Payne

AND…. One of our Stellar Lay Readers, being brought back now with safety and care,

** Carol Youngblood **

 

Worship and Faith

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Focus Theme:

A Love that Makes Neighbors

Focus Prayer:

We give you thanks, O God of compassion, for the salvation you have revealed to the little ones through Christ Jesus, our wisdom and strength. Teach us to take up his gentle yoke and find rest from our burdens and cares. Amen.

Focus Reading:

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67

So he said, "I am Abraham's servant. The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. And Sarah my master's wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has. My master made me swear, saying, 'You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; but you shall go to my father's house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son.'

"I came today to the spring, and said, 'O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am going! I am standing here by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, "Please give me a little water from your jar to drink," and who will say to me, "Drink, and I will draw for your camels also"--let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master's son.'

"Before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah coming out with her water-jar on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, 'Please let me drink.' She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder, and said, 'Drink, and I will also water your camels.' So I drank, and she also watered the camels. Then I asked her, 'Whose daughter are you?' She said, 'The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bore to him.' So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her arms. Then I bowed my head and worshipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master's kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left."

And they called Rebekah, and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" She said, "I will." So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham's servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,

"May you, our sister, become thousands of myriads;

may your offspring gain possession

of the gates of their foes."

Then Rebekah and her maids rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb. Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, "Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?" The servant said, "It is my master." So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Reflection:

by Kate Matthews

A simple little story this week from the first book of the Bible provides some interesting challenges for reflection. At first, it just seems like an edited little tale, a "transactional story" about a family matter between Abraham and his relatives back home in Haran, where he has sent his longtime, trusted assistant, his right-hand man, so to speak, to fetch a bride for his beloved son, Isaac. Isaac was the very special, amazing gift of God to ensure that Abraham's line would go on and multiply, "as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore" (Genesis 22:17). We also remember that these descendants would both occupy the land that God had given Abraham and be a blessing to all the families of the earth as well (12:3). A sweeping promise that sounds global and even everlasting: a promise of blessing that extends to us, far away in both time and place.

We sense that God is very much at work in this scene, and we're invited to reflect on a question that many faithful folks struggle with at one time or another: God's providence, and God's will, in our everyday lives. If we don't claim to hear God's voice addressing us directly, how do we read the signs around us, and know what God wants us to do? How much of what happens is something God wills to happen, and what is our role in it all? Like people in all times, we long not only to receive blessings, but to be a blessing as well, to become "thousands of myriads" of blessings, like Abraham, yes, but also like the women--Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah, and their many daughters, who have made it possible for the "countless" descendants of Abraham to inherit and enjoy the promises of God, and to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth, just as God has said it should be.

The Rev. Kathryn Matthews (matthewsk@ucc.org) retired in 2016 after serving as the dean of Amistad Chapel at the national offices of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio

For further reflection:

Anaïs Nin, 20th century

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving."

 

Our Calendar:

https://www.cucccanton.org/calendar

 

Thursday Evenings at CUCC – 6 pm every Thursday during our beloved church’s time off from in-person services, we would like to provide a consistent meeting suggestion for all to come and bring chairs or blankets or sit in the pavilion using socially distant restraint and/or masks.  You are welcome to picnic or just come to see each other!  On some occasions, we will attempt to provide music as well.  How about this Thursday?  6 pm, join us!


Weekly Zoom coffee hour: If you lost the invite, look below for the details needed! 

Join us by clicking on the link sent by Pastor Dennis to join in at about 11:30 on Sunday mornings. 

Planned Resumption of in-person services: To Be Determined.  We will keep you informed.

 

The Tuesday Morning Study Group:  This group will not meet at the church for the time being.

 

CUCC Rummage Sale:  Scheduled to proceed!  You are welcome to bring by the church any donated items that fit the following description.  We can store them until the sale on August 21-22.

Mission and Faith

https://www.cucccanton.org/our-mission-work

Back to School Supplies:  Missions will be collecting school supplies for Middlebranch again.  We've always done such a great job and this year with people out of work because of the Covid-19 virus, we are sure that school supplies will be low on the list of things needed!!  We are aware some are still not comfortable shopping, but even if when you get groceries if you could grab a few of the items or send your donations in and we will get the supplies bought for you.  We think this year there may be more in need of backpacks and supplies than ever before.  As always Missions thank you for all you do!

ITEMS THEY ARE REQUESTING ARE: 

  • backpacks

  • lunch boxes

  • crayons

  • folders

  • children scissors

  • dry erase markers

  • regular markers

  • glue and glue sticks

  • wide-ruled spiral notebooks and paper

DONATIONS CAN BE PLACED ON THE MISSIONS TABLE IN THE FOYER. 

Greg has generously offered to assist with bringing in your donations M-F 8-4 at the church. 

 

Rainbow Shuffle!!!! The CUCC has produced a new version of the Rainbow Buddy Teams for us to reach out to each other.  The premise proposed by the church council was to merely check on each other within your team, but don’t let that rein you in should you like to contact others to spread the love.  Please notify the church office if any changes to the below list are needed.  Thank you for sharing your love and care with one another!

Purple Team

Connie B.  

Lucy and Dave D.  

Lori and John F.  

Linda R. 

Constance W. 

Susan L.  

Terrie H. and Lisa G.  

 

Blue Team

Jane B.  

Bill B. and Jerry W.  

Randy and Shannan D.  

Creola E.  

Bobbie M.  

Monica and Sean H.  

Carol Y.  

 

Green Team

Lori and Todd W.  

Sandy G.  

JoAnn L.  

Shaye G.  

Katie N.  

Dan I.  

Bob W. 

 

Yellow Team

Kathryn P.  

Terry A.  

Beth G.  

Jonathan J.  

Justin H.  

Michale V.  

Cathy M.  

Kent R.  

 

Orange Team

Elizabeth K.  

Greg M.  

Dar G.  

Gary S.  

Sue I.

Larry and Pam M.  

Connie P. (surname now Kane) 

Denny M. 

 

Red Team

Dennis C.  

Bonnie B.  

Kathy F.  

MaryLou S.  

Pat N.  

Susan H.  

Chad K.  

Kip G.  

Caring for Our Church:  Planting, weeding, and general maintenance of our grounds could be accomplished on a scheduled basis to allow needed distancing, if you desire, just call the church CUCC church office at 330-499-6471 or email us at cuccofnc@gmail.com.  Thanks to Connie and Bob for all that you have been doing while the church has been closed to in-person worship!!!  We hope that their time at the church, even if only outside, has been spiritually rewarding!

Canton Sunday Picnic/Eagle Backpacks Update – For now, we will collect monetary donations through our online giving website at https://www.cucccanton.org/online-giving-offering  Those donations can be made to either the Canton Sunday Picnic (CSP) or the Canton Calvary Mission. 

The CSP is the organization that we have worked with in the past, and hope to continue to work with once safety is more ensured, to provide warm lunch once a month on the fourth Sunday in downtown Canton.  Funds donated will buy food and needed supplies used by our friend Skylark to serve the downtown community every Sunday, when there is no other soup kitchen open.

 The Canton Cavalry Mission is an organization that is equipped and licensed to provide food for pennies on the dollar from the Akron Food Bank for the Calvary Food Bank.  For more information on Calvary Mission, please click https://www.cantoncalvarymission.net/  Our Awesome Terry volunteers at Calvary Food Bank and will assist with dispersing our donations to assist in the efforts of this Food Bank, which is needed now, more than ever, to keep our neighbors from hunger.

Thank you all so much for your past and future support for the food insecure in our area. 

CUCC Assistance Fund – This fund is available for church members, friends, and also the family of these.  Please approach our Pastor, Dennis Coy, Treasurer (Larry), or Council Moderator (Gary) with concerns that you may have about paying upcoming bills or obtaining needed food or other resources to find out more.  Any discussion with these three will be held in strict confidence.  Please also consider future donations to this fund, designed to help out those in our direct community of the CUCC family.

 

Prayer Station

Our Four Freedoms Report Card

by Richard Floyd

On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his State of the Union address, which became known as the "Four Freedoms Speech." As Europe was embroiled in WWII, and Pearl Harbor was just 11 months away, FDR put forth a summary of the democratic values that were under assault at the time.

On this Independence Day let us reflect on some of the many challenges to FDR's "Four Freedoms" in our national life today.

Freedom of Speech: Silencing unpopular views, limiting press access, stigmatizing the media, trigger warnings on campus, "fake news."

Freedom of Worship: Vandalism at houses of worship, increased Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, immigration ban based on religion.

Freedom from Want: Poverty, income inequality, limiting access to affordable health care, systemic racism, rampant addiction, unequal pay for women.

Freedom from Fear: Hate speech, rising hate crimes, racial profiling, epidemic gun violence, homophobia, mass deportations, hostility toward immigrants.

Most likely you could add many more items that I have missed, but this list tells us we have a long way to go. Even FDR fell short of his own ideals by interning Japanese- Americans during the war.

If our Fourth of July celebrations are to have moral integrity, we need to be clear-eyed about our significant failings to live up to our highest ideals. Otherwise patriotism and love of country risk becoming mere zealotry and can lead to xenophobia and jingoism.

There is a line in "America the Beautiful" that goes "America, America, God mend thine every flaw . . ." I like that. It acknowledges the truth about our imperfections and invites us to pray and work to make our nation "a more perfect union."

 

Prayer

O God of the nations, move our hearts toward your love, justice and peace. Amen.

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