August 5, 2020

Jane’s Reflections

JANE’S EIGHTEENTH REFLECTION

FAITH OVER FEAR

Throughout this horrible never-ending pandemic, I think every one of us has experienced a fear we never knew existed before.  It is the invisible, ever pervading, always permeating, insidious, and unpredictable terror of a virus that can attack anyone of us, anytime, anywhere. No matter our race, color, creed, age, social status, or income, we are vulnerable.  I keep saying that COVID 19 is a great equalizer, meaning it can attack anyone, thus to feel we are immune is a huge mistake. One asymptomatic person around us, one family barbecue, one store where we shop, one innocuous situation can cause the virus to attack us. It is scary because we can’t see, hear, taste, smell, or feel the virus with any of our five senses, but we know it is there.  Watching the news can make us crazy and I am personally cutting back for now.

     How do we combat this evil coronavirus, not just physically, but mentally?  How do we escape from feeling terrorized? For those of us at Congregational United Church of Christ and other faiths, we have an arrow in our arsenal – Faith.

     Think about what faith means to us.  It is there for many of us, but it is also invisible. We can’t see or hear or taste or smell it.  However, I think most of us have felt the spirituality within us that tells us faith is alive and well. Faith helps us to be calm and at peace.

     We see other signs of its beauty of every day with baby smiles, gorgeous flowers, laughter, and the unexpected kindness of others. Visible signs of the virus are unfortunately becoming ill. Visible signs of faith surround us every single day in beauty and love.

     With the uncertainty and horror going on in the world at the present, our faith is being tested every single day. Right now is such a tumultuous time, because so many of us have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and loved ones, whose parents are deciding what to do about school. We want to remain nonjudgmental about decisions made by parents, administrators, governors, and leaders; because no one knows which one is right or wrong.  We all have neighbors, relatives, and friends who have had this horrible disease or even succumbed to it. We strengthen our chances against COVID by sanitizing, wearing masks, and social distancing, but sometimes that does not even keep us safe. We have to rely on faith. We strengthen our faith by prayers, reading scripture, reaching out to others, and worshipping through social media.  Never have we needed the church more than right now.

     When we get overwhelmed, it helps to remember the Bible verse, “So do not fear, for I am with you: Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.”  Isaiah 41:10 (NIV). Some days this just has to be enough - it is all we have.

                   

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!

Our Pastor: Dennis Coy

We will also enjoy the talents of Our Fabulous Music Director: Kathryn Payne

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

** Volunteer Needed **

Thank you to all who have volunteered to participate!

Our upcoming lay reader schedule is now set as follows.  Please notify us if there are issues with your requested assistance here.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact the church office by phone or email.  THANK YOU!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date / Lay Reader

August

9 Lay Reader Needed

16 Lay Reader Needed

23 Gary Sacco

30 Bob Winther

September

6 Jane Biehl

13 Kathy Frederick

20 Pam Manella

27 Larry Manella

October

4 Chad Korach

11 Carol Youngblood

18 Linda Rothermel

25 Connie Blinn

 

Worship and Faith

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost Year A

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Proper 14)

Focus Theme:

Dreaming Big

Focus Prayer:

Through the storms of life, O God, you are with your people in the person of Jesus your Son. Calm our fears and strengthen our faith that we may never doubt his presence among us but proclaim that he is your Son, risen from the dead, living forever and ever. Amen.

Focus Reading:

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. This is the story of the family of Jacob.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.

Now his brothers went to pasture their father's flock near Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them." He answered, "Here I am." So he said to him, "Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me." So he sent him from the valley of Hebron.

He came to Shechem, and a man found him wandering in the fields; the man asked him, "What are you seeking?" "I am seeking my brothers," he said; "tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock." The man said, "They have gone away, for I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.'" So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams." But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, "Let us not take his life." Reuben said to them, "Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him"—-that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father. So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; and they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.

Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels carrying gum, balm, and resin, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers agreed. When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.

Reflection:

by Kathryn Matthews

This week's passage from the book of Genesis is quite a challenge if we like a happy ending (and who doesn't?). We're easily drawn into the story of the charismatic and cocky Joseph, the "golden child" of his father Jacob's many sons. Handsome and undoubtedly precocious, Joseph stirs up feelings of envy in his brothers so deep that they spill over into the ugly sin of violence, brother against brother, even to the point of murder. In fact, today's episode ends on a downer: we may finish reading our text by asking, "Where's the good news (gospel) in that?"

However, like mourners at a funeral, we must not skip too easily over the suffering before us, or the questions it provokes, even if we do have a sense of where the story is going, and who is at work the whole time. For now, though, we sit like Jacob, who didn't like hearing about Joseph's dreams of lording it over his parents and brothers, but was wise and patient and trusting enough, the text says, to wait for more of the story to unfold. Hadn't Jacob already seen many amazing things from the hand of God at work in his life? He may wince when he hears the dream, but Terence Fretheim says that Jacob "takes these things and ponders them in his heart (see Luke 2:19), revealing an openness to future possibilities." It is just that kind of openness that will help us as we too await the rest of the story.

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

 

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:

Weekly after our Sunday services online, we offer a virtual coffee hour.  From approximately 11:30-12:30, we chat and comfort and giggle and catch up.  We hope that you can join us either by Zoom or by calling in.

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 items that we usually take, such as furniture, yard equipment, household decor items, kitchen stuff, books, holiday, and more.  Masks will be required at the sale.  If you can volunteer to assist in the preparation for, days of the sale, and/or cleanup afterward, please contact the sale coordinator, Connie Blinn!

Although we will not place clothing in the rummage sale, please also consider bringing clothing that we will donate to the Free Store being established by our friends at Crossroads in Canton. 

We can store your donations from now until the sale on August 21-22.

 

Anniversary Alerts!

 

August 14th is the Admonius’ Wedding Anniversary!

 

Mission and Faith

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

Middlebranch School is in need of both Eagle Backpack Foods as well as Back to School Supplies:  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 AND healthy, nourishing food are both needed!!  If you are shopping for groceries, you could grab a few of the items on either list below (school supplies or Eagle Back Pack foods) or, if you are not visiting stores at this time, please consider the idea to send a donation to the church and we will get the supplies bought for you.

Please merely designate on/with your donation its intention.

 

 Eagle Back Pack Needs

SpaghettiOs

Macaroni and Cheese

Beefaroni

Cans of soup (prefer pull tabs)

Individual Fruit/Applesauce cups

Fruit snacks

Puddings

Individual Oatmeal Packets

Pop-tarts

Any Lunchtime Snacks

Individual Cracker Packets

Granola Bars of All Kinds

Nutrigrain Fruit Bars (or generic)

Jars of Peanut Butter and Jelly

 

We also accept hygiene items

Bars of Bath Soap

Toothpaste

Toothbrushes

Let’s also help set up these kids for success this school year by again providing needed school supplies

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

 

As always Missions thanks you for all you do!

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.  If the church is not open, please feel free to place your donation in the labeled brown bin just outside the entrance.

 

Free Store in the Canton area: Crossroads in Canton is planning to create, in conjunction with several other churches, a Free Store.  We have the opportunity to support this mission!  The store will be located in downtown Canton, or a surrounding neighborhood, where individuals most in need can come and shop for free.  For more information on what a free store is, please contact the church office. 

This will be an ongoing process so there will be many opportunities to help in different ways:

1. Donate items (we are gathering clothing for this cause.  They ask for clothing for all ages with only these caveats:  No used swimsuits or underwear.  Only new swimsuits and underwear are acceptable if they have tags or are in packages. Used bras and socks are acceptable as long as they are like new and not stained.

2. Assist with setting up store – painting, putting shelves together and creating attractive displays of items

3. Assist with sorting, tagging, and getting items ready for display

4. Donating café items or serving customers in café

5. Volunteering to help in the store

For more information about volunteering, please contact Renee at 330-705-2722 (call/text); ts@neo.rr.com

Or, Irene at 330-495-4559 (call/text); irenemotts@aol.com

 

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.  We have begun placing notes on the bulletin board of the church entryway that contains simple tasks needed inside the church.  The idea is that if you can accomplish any part of a task, you could merely cross that off!  Checklists can be very rewarding once things are checked off ©.  If you wish to assist and need access, please call the church office.  Thank You!

 

Canton Sunday Picnic & Calvary Mission: 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 Canton Sunday Picnic 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.

UPDATE from SKYLARK

“I appreciate CUCC members continuing to donate to the effort.

Things are going well at the Picnic. We have had to switch to a grab-and-go from the parking lot setup for our guests. We all miss the buffet line when everyone got to choose what they want to eat.

If anyone can help prep veggies between 8 am and 10:30 on any and all Sunday mornings, in the New Vision kitchen, that’s the place I need help. We are wearing masks and various ways of distancing are options.

Feel free to give them my number to call or text. It’s helpful to know a few days ahead who is coming and how long they can stay. “  (330) 354-7436 Is Skylark’s number

 

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 are 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.

 

In Our Community

Walsh University Herttna Counseling Center is a part of Walsh University’s School of Behavioral & Health Sciences.  They offer help with stress, anxiety and worry, depression, grief and loss, poor self-esteem, family and/or relationship problems, among many other mental health-related concerns to adults, adolescents, children, couples and families as individual, group, or family counseling sessions for free if you are unable to make a donation. 

What a wonderful opportunity during a time when so many are in need of such help! 

We hope that you can take this opportunity by calling/emailing their organization at 330-490-7248 or fmhcc.walsh.edu. 

They are located at 2020 East Maple St., N. Canton, OH 44720.

 

Update from the FOCUS equestrian rescue group: Our contact with the group FOCUS, whose name is Mindi, who recently held a rummage sale here at the CUCC in our church hall has responded to a request for feedback. She wrote, “Hi Elizabeth!  Nice to hear from you.  I have "recovered" from the sale; it certainly was a lot of work but in the end, it was worthwhile.  We made a good amount of money for the rescue and we certainly could not have done it without the church.  You guys were so accommodating allowing me to have access to the church before and after the sale, I really do appreciate that.  We will definitely look to you in the future in hopes of holding other events there.

Again, thank you so much for everything and I hope that you do well with your sale.

Mindi

 

*We aim to accomplish a successful fundraising event as well, and please note that Mindi herself (a police officer, young, healthy and strong) was surprised and at times exhausted by the effort, and so if there is any time which you can volunteer to our Rummage Sale, please contact Connie Blinn and allow her to delegate.  We all know that Connie, along with her Rummage Sale Assistant, Gary, has boundless energy, however, there are definitely things that each of us can accomplish to help with her masterminded plan.   Let’s knock this fundraiser out of the park!

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