Saturday, June 1, 2013

Community: The Practice of Encountering Others

"Walk joyfully on the earth and respond to that of God in every human being" George Fox

Encountering Others Reflection for Practice:
We must love the God we did not make into our image. We must love the stranger who does not conform to our image as if she or he were our own strange, peculiar self.

Summer 2013: Spiritual Practices

This summer we are delving into the wild world of spiritual practices. Spiritual practices are common to many religions. Put simply, Buddhists meditate, Muslims pray with sacred prayer rugs, Jews light candles and fulfill the particularities of the Mosaic Law. Christians have practices as well: fasting, alms keeping, vigil, and meditating. Many of us are not adept at keeping our practices even though these practices refine our faith (they do not save us or justify us in and of themselves). Practices do not make us Christians, they teach us what it means to live as Christians. Our disciplines form us. They make us aware of God's presence in our lives and teach us to respond to God with gratitude, obedience and faith.

I invite you to journey with us this summer.
If you are up for lively discussion, you are welcome to stay for coffee hour as we delve into each week's practice.

If you would like to look at a couple of companion pieces, we are looking at:

An Alter in the World: A Geography of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor
Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a life of Spiritual Discipline by Lauren F. Winner

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In Memoriam: Jane Chalmers

We at Christian Union are saddened to announce the loss of our dear friend. Jane, who was in the hospital this past week and had been moved to the rehab unit, passed away quite suddenly on Sunday morning some time after 9am.

The church community that exists today has so many of Jane's thumbprints on it, it is difficult to even imagine a Christian Union without her. And her presence will undoubtedly continue to be felt, as we reminisce and tell stories, laugh and exchange Jane-inspired "quips," and as we continue to work and worship together, in the church whose legacy is inextricably tied to her unrelenting devotion and generosity.

There will be a viewing Wednesday Dec 18th, from 4pm to 7pm, at Christian Union.

The funeral will be the following day, Thursday Dec. 19th, at 10am, also at Christian Union. Lunch will follow in the Parish Hall.

It has been requested that in lieu of gifts or flowers, people are invited to offer donations to Christian Union Church.

May God be with Jane's family, as well as all of those mourn her loss--that in the midst of our grief we may also find joy and hope-- in the celebration of a life well-lived, and in anticipation of the Good News of the Christmas season.




Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Giving Tree


We are still gathering gifts for Loaves and Fishes and Cradles to Crayons. Our collections are:

Loaves and Fishes:
Peanut butter and Jelly

Cradles to Crayons:
Warm clothing for children: Hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters, etc.
(They request the clothing be new or gently worn)

As we bring our donations, we will place our gifts under the church's Christmas tree!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fair Trade Your Halloween!

 
Fair Trade Your Halloween Mini Kit
 
There is a tremendous problem with the chocolate industry today--> namely, that over 40% of the world's chocolate is harvested through CHILD SLAVE LABOR... kids who have been stolen from their homes and forced to work a very dangerous job, without pay, all day every day. 

The percentage, I believe, is higher for US chocolate companies, most of whom have not made any kind of REAL commitment to stopping the problem. 

One thing that we can do, however, is to commit during the big candy-selling holidays (Halloween, Valentine's, Christmas and Easter) to buying ONLY FAIRLY TRADED CHOCOLATE--- cacao harvested on small farms cooperatives that sell directly to specialized manufacturers, ensuring that farmers are fairly paid for their work. (The "Fair Trade" label is a third-party organization that ensures farms are adhering to these standards.)
 
We (Amy and Josh) will be placing our orders for our Trick-or-Treat candy next week... for anyone who wishes to do the same, LET US KNOW, and we'll order everyone's chocolate at the same time!!
 
For more information, and for something to show your friends so that they can get in on the ordering as well (or, so you/they can order chocolate for yourselves), visit

 
(**OH, and by the way... if you're thinking "sounds nice, but it'll probably be too expensive"--- it's NOT! 150 mini chocolate bars cost only $24!  And since the chocolate is organic, too, it TASTES WAY better than your typical Hersheys mini.) 



 
 


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fall and Discipleship

Welcome to Fall, everyone!

Walking through the forest
"Walking Through the Forest", 10/22/2009 by Vova Zinger, local photographer.  Link to Photoblog
Pretty soon we'll be seeing this along the roads!


We spent quite a bit of time talking about the term "discipleship" during the summer. The fact is, the word is still probably confusing to most of us.

Discipleship is about faith that LIVES... a "lived faith." A way of being and living in the world that gives hope and purpose, that orients us and keeps us grounded, while also allowing us to grow and change and develop.

Discipleship is something that we have to "live," then, in order to grasp. So this fall, our community will be unveiling TWO new opportunities to nurture discipleship in our community:
          An adult scripture study, tentatively known as a "Community of Discovery"....

          And, a new Children's Time with its own story-based curriculum, that will help engage the imaginations and hearts of our younger parishioners.


      Take a look at the announcements in the right column, and stay tuned on this site for upcoming information. We'll be using the blog to provide the "Community of Discovery" material to people and will likely begin to form our blog discussions around the things we're discussing/learning in the group... so no matter who you are or where you are, you're welcome to join us, both in person on Sunday mornings in West Groton, and online!



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summertime at West Groton!


(Apologies for not updating the blog in a few weeks!)





Hope you are enjoying your summer, wherever / whoever you may be! Here at Christian Union Church, we've been enjoying a wonderful summer, with great weather and time together with friends, old and new!

At nearby Squannacook River (original photo from Kayak the Merrimack)
On Sunday mornings we have also begun to talk about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus-- in other words, what does it look like to consider your teacher, and Lord, a carpenter from Galilee who lived two thousand years ago!??

One thing we've talked some about is, to refer to the great work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the tremendous "cost of discipleship." That is, following Jesus isn't always easy, and often gets you into trouble. Someone who knew this all too well was a man who actually immediately preceded Jesus' ministry --- John the Baptist. Check out this BIZARRE passage from Mark 6:14-29 (NRSV), and if you have a thought or question, feel free to put it in the comment box.
Traditional Greek Icon of John the Baptist

Mark 6:14-29


14...Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” 15But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 

17For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 18For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  

19And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.  

21But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 22When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” 23And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.”

25Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.