Many of us have missed our joyful singing of hymns together on Sunday morning, so we're having a real hymn-sing, outside, on Friday evening, October 1st. We have reserved Longs Park Shelter from 5:30-7:30 pm, so we'll have time for a fellowship potluck together, followed by singing as many of our favorite hymns together as we can before it gets too dark to see, or before we wear ourselves out with the songful efforts. Bring your own table service, plus food you'd like to share, plus a lawn chair if you'd like. Please DO bring a mask, since we will need those for the singing portion of the evening. Keyboard and hymnals will be provided. Come and join us for food, fellowship, and song together!
Choir safety update
We had sincerely hoped to bring the choir back to our Sunday morning worship, beginning in September, but the resurgence of the COVID pandemic, and the particular virulence of the Delta strain, has put a hold on that activity. While we seem to be doing okay with quiet congregational singing in the pews (one hymn a Sunday, alas!), the prospect of rehearsing and performing as a choral ensemble in an inside space is not yet a safe one. Our church’s COVID Task Force will re-evaluate the situation in October, and we’ll see if we can reassemble later this fall.
If we can’t sing, we can play handbells! We have a beautiful 3-octave set of Malmark Handbells that have been under-utilized for the past fifteen years or so, and now seems to be a great time to try to start a handbell choir. If you are middle-school aged or older, can read music reasonably well, and know your right hand from your left, this could be the musical opportunity you have been waiting for!! Please let Gretchen Lewis know if you’re interested, or if you think you could be interested, in learning to ring handbells. It’s lots of fun, and it’s a great opportunity for fellowship and music making. See Gretchen at church or email. Tentatively, I’m planning an organizational meeting and introductory rehearsal on September 12, after church at 12:15 up in the Conference Room.
How about percussion?
In early July, I attended the biennial Conference of UCC Musicians, which was held virtually from Hartford, Connecticut. The event began with a music reading session on Thursday evening July 8, and ended with a concert on Saturday afternoon. The first workshop I attended featured the amazing 80-something year-old Miriam Therese Winter, poet, song-writer, and member of the Medical Mission Sisters, who shared some of her songs with us. Other workshops I found stimulating included some huge puppets by Sue Aziz, an exploration of global hymnody in North American worship led by Patrick Evans, and my personal favorite, a presentation on the use of percussion ensembles in worship, led by Michelle Horsley. She offered very practical advice on starting a basic inter-generation percussion ensemble in the local church, and I’m mulling over the possibilities of beginning one here at First Congregational later in the fall. If you’re interested, talk to me, either at church or by email.
Gretchen Lewis, music coordinator
More about the book from the publisher:
Valarie Kaur — renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer — has ignited the hearts of millions around the globe, making “Breathe and Push!” a mantra in movements for social change. Now in her stunning debut, Kaur declares revolutionary love is the call of our times, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead look at others and say: You are a part of me I do not yet know.
Drawing from the wisdom of sages, scientists, and activists—and her own riveting journey as a brown girl growing up in California farmland; as a young adult galvanized by the murders of Sikhs after 9/11; as a law student fighting injustices in American prisons and on Guantánamo Bay; as an activist working with communities recovering from xenophobic attacks; and as a woman trying to heal from her own experiences with sexual assault and police violence – Kaur discovers practices of revolutionary love to bring us longevity, resilience, and joy.
See No Stranger is a practical guide to changing the world, a synthesis of wisdom, a chronicle of personal and communal history—all joined together by a story of awakening. Revolutionary love is medicine for our times. It just might be our best chance for our collective future. (Source)
Once upon a time, Jesus’s friends asked him, “How should we pray?” For once, he answered the question instead of just posing more questions, and followers of Jesus have been praying that prayer in many languages and versions ever since. Join us worship online or in-person from August 8 through September 5th as we explore The Prayer of Jesus. We’ll be unpacking it bit by bit and we hope that this series will give you a sense of freedom as you explore your own prayer life as summer comes to a close.
Wright, N.T. The Lord and His Prayer.
Crossan, John Dominic. The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of The Lord's Prayer.
Do you have other resources to share with us? Use the "click to share with us" button and let us know!
Compiled versions of the Lord's Prayer from Rev. Angela Menke Ballou
Compiled versions of the Lord's Prayer from Rev. Phiwa Langeni (with a couple additions by Pastor Caela)
Whether you choose to continue to worship with us online or join us in the sanctuary, we can't wait to SEE YOU SOON! This Sunday, June 27th, is the first time our sanctuary will be open to all - hallelujah!
Here are some quick tips for those of you who will be coming to the sanctuary for worship:
1. Please remember to bring your mask, but we'll have a few on hand if you forget.
2. You'll notice new hand sanitizer stations throughout the building and we've also upgraded our HVAC system for a healthier building.
3. You have OPTIONS for your worship bulletin and sign in. We will have paper bulletins on hand, but you can also continue to access the bulletin from your own device if you'd like. We will not be using the pew pads but you can fill our a Connect Card online to sign in OR you can use a paper sign in sheet at the door.
4. Once you're in the sanctuary, please look for the blue tape on the pew backs to indicate spaces that are open for seating.
5. After worship, we ask that you leave the building in a timely fashion, to minimize our time spent together indoors. You are encouraged to bring a lawn chair (and your own snacks, if you'd like!) to enjoy fellowship on the lawn.
We know it's going to take us all some time to get used to being together in person again. Pastor Caela recently said she can't remember AT ALL when we usually sit and stand throughout the service! Lucky for us, God has a great sense of humor and we will all just roll with it together in this time of holy experimentation. What a gift to be together again AND to be able to continue our vibrant online ministry. We can't wait to SEE YOU SOON!
Other helpful information:
Join us on Sunday, June 6th after worship for our annual blessing of the animals. We will gather at 12:15 p.m. at Long’s Park (17th and Yuma). Please bring along your mask and a lawn chair. Pets of all kinds are welcome and kids can also bring stuffed animals for a blessing.
We will bless the animals together, share a brief communion prayer, and then you can stay to play and visit as long as you’d like. You are also encouraged to “fill the breadbasket” for the Second Helping. Please remember to show your care for our wider community by reviewing (and following!) our current COVID policies for church events at uccmanhattan.org/covid.
Beginning May 2, we will begin using Zoom every week for worship. Pastor Caela will be joined in the sanctuary by other worship leaders and a tech crew....and, eventually, by all of us once we regather in our building. How exciting! You can read updates about our regathering plans on our website here.
After May 2, our worship services will NOT be on Facebook or YouTube. We will continue to use the same link each week for worship and you'll find that at uccmanhattan.org/online. If you are unable to access Zoom, please contact the church office so we can help make alternative arrangements. It’s important to us that we find a way for you to attend worship.
HOW CAN I HELP DURING THIS TIME OF TRANSITION?
Thanks for asking! There are several things you can do:
WHY HAVE WE CHOSEN ZOOM FOR WORSHIP?
We've made the decision to use Zoom as our platform moving forward because we believe it provides the best opportunity for us to help those worshiping at home feel more like a part of our worship service each week. Those who worship at a distance will be able to see other faces, interact with people in the chat, and stay for Fellowship Hour. Eventually, we hope to have the technology that will make it possible for people at home to read scripture, share their prayers aloud, and more.
Being together on Zoom also means greater ease in our weekly worship creation workflow as we won't be pre-recording elements of the service and paying a video editor to piece it all together for us. We want to say a HUGE thank you to Companion Projects Media, who have been working with us for almost a year now and have been indispensable partners for our staff and volunteers. Worshiping together "in real time" also means we can ensure our service meets the moment, rather than being recorded earlier in the week.
WHY AREN'T WE USING FACEBOOK OR YOUTUBE ANY MORE?
You may be wondering why the service isn't simultaneously live-streamed to other platforms like YouTube or Facebook. While it's true this can be done, we've decided not to do so for two primary reasons: 1) copyright differences with streaming vs Zoom, and 2) privacy. When we worship on Zoom we are not streaming the service and, therefore, have more options for using music/words in our service without worrying about copyright concerns that come up when broadcasting our service. When we lift our prayers or invite the children forward for the Word for Children, we can do so in our Zoom room much like we did in the Sanctuary. It's still a public place, of course, but it's not live-streamed to the internet, which gives us a better balance of privacy and outreach.
WHY IS THE ZOOM SERVICE BEING RECORDED?
We currently have a couple of folks who have difficulty accessing Zoom and are preparing DVDs for them. In the future, we may make recordings available to those who were unable to attend worship. The recordings show the"speaker view," not the “gallery view.” Each week's sermon will continue to be uploaded to our YouTube and Facebook pages for those who would like to view or share them.
We are still very much in a "liminal space" of experimentation and we anticipate that our online worship will continue to evolve and shift over the coming months. The staff and Deacons welcome your input on how things are going and what new things we might try as we learn and grow together.
Pastor Caela will be on study leave from April 12-18. On April 18th we will be worshiping via Zoom and our guest preacher is Lynaya Morris.
Originally from Pocomoke on Maryland's Eastern Shore Lynaya holds a Master's degree in Higher Education Administration from George Washington University, and a bachelors in biology from Syracuse University. This semester she is wrapping up her Master of Divinity degree at Wesley Theological Seminary. Lynaya served and lived among students as part of GWU for the past 8 years, as an Area Coordinator, Residence Director, and later a Career Coach. Lynaya currently works at Catholic University as an Academic & Career Advisor. Lynaya enjoys not just the science disciplines and theology, but also creative endeavors such as baking, painting, knitting, and listening to music. Lynaya is excited to meet and worship with you!
We will open the Zoom room at 10:40 so you can get settled in and enjoy some pre-service music. Please note we are ONLY on Zoom - NOT Facebook Live or YouTube. You'll find the
link at http://www.uccmanhattan.org/online
The bulletin for the worship service is available here http://bit.ly/bulletinapr18
Fellowship Hour will begin immediately after the postlude in the SAME ZOOM ROOM (not the regular Fellowship room). So just hang tight after worship to stay for Fellowship Hour.
Join us for Living Room Worship Online! LRW is an informal experience for those who desire to connect more with each other and with God through small group discussion, prayer, and singing. While we can't yet be together in person, we hope you'll join us virtually via your own living room! For more information, you can contact Kerry Priest (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sunday, February 28
Click to Zoom
Or call 1-669-900-6833 and enter
Meeting ID: 931 8438 5398
(Note: long-distance charges may apply when using the call-in option.)
While Pastor Caela is on vacation, the Deacons would like to invite you to join them for a “road trip” to Colonial UCC in Prairie Village on Sunday, Feb. 14th. While many churches in the KO Conference are continuing to worship online for safety reasons, it’s a great opportunity to connect with other congregations in our conference and see the diversity in worship throughout Kansas and Oklahoma.
How to worship on Feb. 14th:
We hope you’ll worship with Colonial UCC in real time at 8:30 or 10:15 a.m. You’ll find their livestream at https://colonialucc.online.church/. You can also worship on demand via Colonial’s YouTube channel at https://bit.ly/CCYouTubeVid. Links to both of these options are available at www.colonialucc.org.
How to fellowship on Feb. 14th:
We will still gather for our regular Zoom Fellowship Hour at 11:30 a.m.. We hope you can join us for a time of conversation and connection! You’ll find that Zoom link at uccmanhattan.org/online
Even with all of the challenges of 2020 it can be uplifting to take advantage of some of the things we can do now that we couldn't before. Worshiping with another congregation in the KO Conference is a gift!