Hancock UCC Weekly Messenger for April 9, 2023
Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior, Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord! Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o’er His foes, He arose. He arose a Victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever, With His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Upcoming meetings, events, and opportunities
Choir practices Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m. All are welcome.
Maundy Thursday service Thursday, April 6th at 12:00 noon
Easter Sunrise service at 6:00 am at Riverside Cemetery
Easter Breakfast in the Fellowship Hall following the Sunrise service
Easter Worship service at 10:00 in the Sanctuary and on Zoom
Join us in our Sanctuary at 10:00 a.m. or on our Sunday Worship Zoom link at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88327467219?pwd=Mis3ME4waGE1RmRBN zFXK3VUaDJXdz09
Meeting ID: 883 2746 7219 Passcode: 131738
(Posted later for viewing on Facebook and YouTube)
The Town of Hancock is accepting applications for Citizen of the Year.
Please see attached flyer for nomination guidelines.
Our meetings are open to all. If you would like to attend a meeting, please let Vicky know and she will provide the Zoom link, or you are welcome to attend in person.
Outreach will meet Thursday, April 20th at 4:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall
Council will meet Friday, April 21st at 12:00 noon in the Fellowship Hall and also on Zoom
Pastor TJ will be on Study Week April 24th - 30th.
On April 30th, Pastor Jeff Jeude will be our guest preacher while Pastor TJ is away.
117 books and counting!! You gave us 117 books to give out to the families we see in Hancock
County! Thank you all so much for your generosity. We are all so excited to look through these titles and give them to children who will benefit. This book drive was wildly successful and all of us at Maine Families want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU. ~Savanna
I hope this note finds all of you well. If all goes according to plan, I will arrive in Maine in late May. My understanding is that my guest room is full of contents for Comfort Cases. My hope is that upon arrival, I will hit the ground running sorting contents and then packing and distributing Comfort Cases. It's been a long cold winter in Maine, and I suspect that there are many children who would love having a Case. So in your travels, please keep an eye out for great contents for children ages 0-18. Toiletries are best if they are travel sizes as they fit easily into a backpack. Also, as of right now, I have no backpacks. Idea sizes are 15", 17" or 19". We are also in need of stuffed animals but they have to be 10" or smaller to fit. I'm including a link that details what goes into our Comfort Cases.
You all have been so good to me and children experiencing foster care in Maine in the past. I could never do this project without you.
Please feel free to share this message with anyone who might want to help!
Thank you and Happy Spring!
Lesley Robinson, Volunteer
April Birthdays and Anniversaries:
09: *Jane* Bradley
14: *Dennis* & *Linda* King
16: Jack & Delores Candy (Easter Sunday)
19: *Linda* King
19: *Keith* Bowie
21: *Mary Beth* DiMarco
21: *Peggy* Emigh
22 *Betty* Johnston
26: *John* & Chris Wells
30: *Ruth* Butters
Please keep the following people in your prayers this week:
Prayers for the family and friends of Kendall F. Stratton III of Fort Fairfield who died Friday, March 31st as the result of a recent illness; Gary & Jeanne’s grandson William recovering from a skiing accident; John Sabonosh in ICU after a fall; Gary Edwards recovering from surgery; Amy Nickerson; Kate Winters; Trudy Clark; Debbie R.; Samantha and her family; Mike and Cindy Merritt; Nick’s sister Susan; Denny Doucette; Vicky’s Aunt Eleanor; Myrna’s cousin Donna; Sandy Phippen; Renata’s sister-in-law Joanne; Steve Crabtree; Judith Crowley; Cheryl and her husband Jeff; Andrew and Tamara; Austin’s cousin Danny; Bruce’s sister Lynn; Debbie Maddocks and her Aunt Linda Reed; Kathy’s sister Patti; Liz & Jim; Renata and the women she cares for; Tom & Judy’s son Andrew and his family; Coulter; Roberta Scott; Betty Johnston; Betty’s step-daughter Mollie; Nancy; Cynthia; Margaret B; healing prayers for a family seeking solutions to significant mental health issues; Eleanor’s step-daughter Holly; all those living with depression and other mental health issues; all individuals and families experiencing addictions; all caregivers; all affected by memory loss; for all victims and loved ones of violence; those impacted by laws limiting reproductive justice; those experiencing food and housing insecurity; the people of Syria and Turkey; the people of Ukraine and Russia; President Jimmy Carter and his family; all in your heart…
Contact Us at Union Congregational Church of Hancock:
TJ can be reached by cell phone at 207-323-6743 or by email at email@example.com
Vicky can be reached at 207-422-3100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen can be reached by email at email@example.com
News from the Maine Conference
A Call to Action to Maine's Faith Communities Seeking Gun Safety Laws in Maine from the Maine Conference SocialAction Committee
All of us want the people of Maine, young and old, to be safe from gun violence. Yet, there is steady growth in death by guns in Maine. Most alarming, suicide by guns in Maine grew by 45% from 2012 to 2021. This is not what we want for ourselves, our veterans, our children, or our grandchildren.
Today in Maine, anyone can buy any gun, including semi-automatic weapons and large capacity magazines, in a private sale, without a permit, without safe gun use training, without a background check.
Maine is a source state for criminals who come here to buy guns that they can't buy in their own states that have universal background checks. The shooter last year in Canada who killed 22 people bought his guns in Maine. And there is little in the way of safeguards to protect Mainers from becoming the targets of such violence.
As people of faith, we affirm that life is sacred. We are called to love and protect one another, and to be peacemakers – shalom makers: wholeness of life and joy of wellbeing in heart, mind, body, and soul.
We are encouraged and hopeful that the Maine legislature is considering gun safety measures in the spring of 2023.
As people of faith, let us call for the 131st Maine State Legislature to pass these three common sense gun safety laws:
1. A bill to require criminal background checks of buyers of firearms for private sales, transfers or exchanges at gun shows or private sales, transfers or exchanges resulting from advertising or marketing subject to certain exceptions; (L.D. 168)
2. A 72 hour waiting period before a gun is delivered from a seller to a buyer; (L.D. 60)
3. A "red-flag" law so family or friends of a person threatening gun violence to themselves or others can get a gun-confiscation court order; (no L.D. yet assigned)
Delegates to the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Maine Conference UCC passed a resolution entitled An Urgent Call for the Prevention of Gun Violence. It resolved to “require universal background checks and safety courses for all sales of guns, including sales at gun shows and between private individuals.” The Social Action Committee of the Maine Conference endorses these proposed laws, asking and praying that our churches and members will support these measures to keep our neighbors, ourselves, and our families safe.
Stephen L. Hastings & Kathy Woodside
Co-Charis, Social Action Committee
On behalf of the Maine Conference of the UCC
16Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20:16-18) The Liminal Space in which we now live…. The word liminal comes from the Latin word ‘limen’, meaning threshold – any point or place of entering or beginning. A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, a season of waiting, and not knowing. (liminalspace.org) Author and Franciscan friar Richard Rohr describes this space as: “where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible…This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. If we don’t encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy.” The encounter between Mary and Jesus in the tomb is an exquisite example of liminal space: not holding on, coming to in a new way…that betwixt and between time of uncertainty and not knowing what’s next… Friends, I’ve been thinking a lot about the liminality of our time, particularly in the church. When we were in the midst of the pandemic we indeed were in a “liminal space”: grieving what was and wondering what will be next, not knowing what our future holds; wishing we can just go back to “normal”—what was and has been that gave us a sense of comfort and familiarity. We certainly could identify with Mary holding on to Jesus so that he stayed the same: and hearing Jesus say “do not hold on to me.” And I must wonder: is it just in the past three years since COVID raised its head that we have been in this time of unknowing, transition, liminality--wishing for what was, fearing for what will be? Or has the pandemic crystallized an experience of the church that has been long coming? For the past 40 years, with an intensity during the last 20 years, the church has been drifting into a liminality that we have only been vaguely aware. Church membership and attendance have decreased, as 75% of churches in the United States have less than 200 members. Small churches are increasingly becoming the norm, with the need for pastors who are willing to serve less than full time and laity who are willing to take on more salient leadership roles. In general, folks in the U.S. have been decreasingly confident in their institutions across the board, including the institution of organized religion. More people than ever describe themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious.” I would like to gently suggest that the pandemic, as devastating as it has been, is not the cause of decline of church attendance in the UCC or any other mainline denomination in the United States. The pandemic perhaps has intensified our awareness of what already is happening to the point of no longer being able to ignore. I would like to invite you to consider deeply the experience of Mary and Jesus at the tomb. Mary believes that resurrection means all will be as it was. Jesus will be the same and their relationship will continue in all its physicality. And he abruptly stops her. “Do not hold onto me.” You will not have me in the same way. That’s not resurrection power. But you will have me. You just don’t know how yet. Go and tell your brothers and sisters that I am coming to them. Sit in the liminal space of dark and light; contemplate the past but let go of it; look to a future you do not yet know. And look to that future with all the hope of resurrection life! The liminality of Mary and Jesus in that space of light and dark, what was and what will be, grieving the past and being absolutely terrified for the future, speaks to me about the liminal period we are in: light and dark, grieving and longing for what was, being terrified of what we do not yet know—and so wishing we could go back to the way things were and hold on to Jesus so he keeps things the way they were. But perhaps Jesus is speaking to us just as he spoke to Mary: “Do not hold onto me.” You will have me, but in a new and different way. And believe with all the hope of resurrection life! The incredible new way that Jesus spoke was his coming to the disciples afresh and anew in Pentecost power, so they began the church of Jesus Christ in the 1st century; a church that grew and spread. Can we believe that Jesus will come to us, is coming to us, afresh and anew with Pentecost power--to rebirth the church of Jesus Christ for the 21st century that will grow and spread? How? We may ask. Perhaps that’s where our faith in an unknown future, God’s future, lies. In my work with churches in the Conference thus far, I have been asked if the church, particularly churches in the UCC, will eventually dwindle to a nominal influence. My heart and spirit are deeply moved by this question. My friends, I will say here what I say to those dear folks, what I believe deep within my heart: God isn’t done with us. The Church of Jesus Christ is alive and well in the United Church of Christ. Let us heed Jesus’ words not to hold onto what was, but to venture from our liminal space with hope-filled confidence, expecting a newness we perhaps cannot imagine—as we read in Romans 8:28: “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” On God we can rest our faith, our hope, our trust for the future, embracing what Jeremiah said to the devastated exiles millennia ago: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) During this most Holy Week, as we approach early Sunday morning, may we meet Jesus in that liminal space, heed his words not to hold on to what was, but to look for resurrection life! I am with you in prayer, for deep and blessed assurance, Marisa