This Week – October 19, 2017


We open ourselves to God’s Spirit in worship, prayer and study, holding each other
in community and encouraging one another to grow in the Spirit.
We reach out in generosity and compassion to the people around us.

Sunday, October 22, 2017
9:15 a.m. Choir
10:15 a.m. Worship

Scripture: Psalm 6, I Corinthians 15: 12-22
Sermon: Reformation 2 – Fear, Death, and Money: Buying Indulgences

Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Tom Okonek
Greeters: Barb & Tom Okonek

House of Charity – Saturday, November 4th
We are grateful to the following volunteers who will be representing Chapel Hills on Saturday, November 4th at the House of Charity.

  • Doug & Meredith Allen
  • Jon & Lynn Pearson
  • Bob Lucas & Heidi Schellhas
  • Jamie McReynolds
  • Jean Dunn

All Saints’ Day – Sunday, November 5th
We will remember friends and family who have died this past year. Please let Alan know the names of friends or relatives you wish to have remembered in prayer. If you have a picture of them, please send it electronically to ( or bring it in so that we may scan it.

potluckHarvest Festival Potluck
Sunday, November 12th
Join us, following worship on Sunday, November 12th, as we celebrate the bounty of the harvest season. Sign up in the Narthex to bring either a main dish (turkey or chicken), a vegetable side dish or salad. Dessert and beverages will be provided by the Board of Deacons.

Below is a Letter from Patty Schulz
Regarding New Initiatives and a Program Change at VEAP

Dear Pastors and Mission Partner Representatives,

VEAP is excited to announce we have recently completed a year-long, robust strategic planning process and are now launching Hope for the Future – VEAP’s Strategic Framework 2018-2022. Some of you were able to attend the meetings we had throughout September and early October, but in the event you were not able to attend, following is a brief recap of Hope for the Future.

Through the strategic planning process we evaluated programs, conducted research and reviewed trends. But, most importantly, we talked one-on-one and held focus groups with our clients. Their most frequently stated emergent needs were access to healthy foods, affordable housing and social connections. With this knowledge, VEAP is refocusing our efforts to better meet the needs of individuals and families with limited income and whose basic needs are unmet. Our focused program areas are: access to healthy foods; housing stability and supportive services; and support systems through connectivity.

Attached to this email is a document that outlines the five goals of Hope for the Future along with the new mission and vision statements. Within the next week or so, we will have a more detailed document that outlines the plan. We will mail that out to you and post on our website.

We are particularly excited about some new initiatives in the Food Program. In January, VEAP will launch We Move Food, a mobile food pantry, in partnership with Thermo King and Western National Insurance Group. We will also be expanding our rides home from the food pantry program and will be working to increase the frequency of food pantry visits to those most in need.

There will be some programs that are changing as well. Through the strategic planning process, we learned that the Holiday Toy distribution significantly disrupts VEAP’s capacity to meet the basic food and housing needs of our clients at a time when those needs are highest. Therefore, effective immediately, VEAP is discontinuing the Holiday Toy program and refocusing our efforts and capacity to meet our clients’ stated needs. This means VEAP is no longer requesting donations of toys and gift cards. VEAP staff is actively referring clients to other toy program resources in the community. Even though this program is ending, please know we appreciate the support you have provided over the years.
To meet the needs of the community, VEAP needs you now more than ever. Will you consider a major food and fund drive over the months of November and December? Our goal is to provide more frequent access to the food pantry over the holiday period. When parents are able to save their food budget dollars, they can use those dollars where they need them most. Imagine how a parent feels when they are able to purchase a toy they know their child wants.

We ask that you continue to invest in VEAP’s mission and programs. Here’s how:

Give Food – Organize a food and fund drive. Did you know VEAP can feed a person for one week for under $1.50 in food costs? It’s easy. Just visit and register your drive. You’ll find everything you need to get started!

Give Funds – Donate to VEAP. Did you know for every $1 donated, VEAP is able to purchase $10 worth of food? It’s easy to give, visit and click on Give Today!

Come Volunteer – Organize people from work, church, friends or family and come volunteer as a group. Did you know VEAP has a group volunteer mission experience called Donate & Do? It’s easy, fun and rewarding! Go to to register your group!

I hope that this email provides you with the information you need to share the highlights of Hope for the Future with your parishioners. I encourage you to call or email me with any questions you might have. If you think your congregation would benefit from having a presentation to discuss the new strategic plan in more detail, please let me know. I can be reached at 952.955.8310 or

Thank you all for the many ways you support VEAP. We deeply appreciate it.

Patty Schulz
Advancement Director
VEAP – Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People

“Living Messages”
Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Paul puts a lot of pressure on those Thessalonians. He begins his letter with a whole list of all the wondrous ways they are doing ministry. Of course, high on that list, is the fact that they are imitating Paul in their willingness to be persecuted and offer themselves as living examples to that end. Most clergy, these days, are probably glad that the prevailing world empire no longer has coliseums for throwing Christians, or anybody, into lions’ dens. If we did, it would probably further depress the rates of young people entering seminaries. But even without the lions, clergy have a difficult task.

Yes, Paul faced lots of issues around the care and feeding of congregations, but even he might be astounded at the expectations of today’s pastor. A 21st century reverend has got to be team leader, CEO, administrator, public relations expert, spiritual counselor, social worker, mediator and brilliant speaker, storyteller and an all–around great communicator. They should also be adept with children, babies and older members, and be both young and funny and experienced and wise! Sometimes pastor’s families feel the stress of being “on display,” and pastors are often expected to be always available.

The good news is that support and resources are a phone call away. Our UCC Conferences have developed programs providing opportunities for clergy to continue to grow and flourish in ministry. This is good for churches. This is good for all of us.

Back in 2000, the power of having “Communities of Practice” nurtured in corporate culture was extolled in the pages of the Harvard Business Review. Such communities provided places for creative employees to gather around topics of joint interest and learn from one another in an organized yet informal small group. It would be a place where ideas could be shared, people could risk in a safe and confidential setting, and interdepartmental cooperation could be fostered.  This idea is currently at play in many of our UCC Conferences. Communities of Practice, a part of the Pastoral Excellence Program, are organized around kinds of ministry, and interests of pastors. Meetings are scheduled by the Conferences. More than simply support groups, these practice communities work at creating an attitude of discipline and ongoing education around the skills and knowledge needed to be an affective pastor in the 21st century.

For Paul’s world, there was risk to ministry. That risk was a risk of persecution. At least for today, our risk is that our clergy will get complacent and burn out from lack of challenge and constant availability. Communities of Practice are a way to support our ministry together.

Why don’t you ask your pastor if there is a Community of Practice in your Conference for them?

Looking Ahead
October 24 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Church Council Meeting – 7:00 p.m.
October 25 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
October 31 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
November 1 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
November 4 House of Charity
November 5 All Saints’ Day
November 7 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
November 8 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
November 12 Harvest Festival Potluck – Following Worship

Worship this Sunday:
Scripture: Psalm 6I Corinthians 15: 12-22
Sermon: Reformation 2 – Fear, Death, and Money: Buying Indulgences

The 95 Theses Martin Luther posted on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church carefully set out (in LONG form, there were 95 of them) a criticism of the practice of selling indulgences. The “posting” is regarded as the start of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther was not the first critic of the practice of indulgences. Jan Hus voiced some of the same criticisms 100 years earlier. This Sunday is a compare and contrast between these 2 reformers.

May the strength of God guide us, the Power of God preserve us, the wisdom of God instruct us, the Spirit of God be within us, this day and evermore. Amen.

This Week – September 28, 2017


We open ourselves to God’s Spirit in worship, prayer and study, holding each other
in community and encouraging one another to grow in the Spirit.
We reach out in generosity and compassion to the people around us.

Sunday, October 1, 2017
9:15 a.m. Adult Choir Rehearsal
10:15 a.m. Worship/Communion
VEAP Food Shelf Sunday

Scripture: Exodus 20: 1-20, Psalm 19
Sermon: “Don’t Do It”
Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Chris Solso
Greeters: The Kerr Family

petsBlessing of the Animals

Join us on Sunday, October 8th for our Annual Blessing of the Animals.

• keep all small pets in safe travel containers
• keep all dogs/cats on leashes
• make sure all animals are fully vaccinated
• bring treats for your own pet (we’ll provide water)
• pets who prefer to be away from other animals should be left at home

Sign-up in the narthex if you’d like to contribute treats for the humans following worship.

boilerChimney and Boiler Replacement
We passed the hazardous materials test and do not need to remove any dangerous materials (asbestos) from the old boiler.

The masonry firm has been here and removed and replaced the chimney. The new boiler has been ordered and the estimate is 3-4 weeks before it arrives and installation can begin. So far, so outstandingly good!

House of Charity
We are grateful to those who continually volunteer their time at the House of Charity. Thank you to Mark & Susan Brauer, Bob Lucas & Heidi Schellhas, and Peggy Loving who will be representing Chapel Hills on Saturday, October 7th.

Neighbors in Need Offering
We will receive the Neighbors in Need offering on Sunday, October 15th. One-third of this offering supports the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM) and two-thirds is administered by Justice and Witness Ministries to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. Make checks payable to Chapel Hills and note “Neighbors in Need” on the memo line.

Please consider signing-up to greet on a Sunday morning. Our fellowship time after worship is an important part of our ministry. Please call or email the church office if you are interested in taking a turn.

natureNature: A Walking Play – Friday through Sunday, October 6-8
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum presents Nature: A Walking Play, the mythic telling of Emerson and Thoreau’s mutual love affair with the natural world.

Laura Feierabend is in the community chorus, for the second year, which is basically a singing usher. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Tickets are available online at or by calling 952-443-1400.

“Wisdom for the Way
Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Just like the Constitution of the United States, lots of people swear by the Ten Commandments but few have read and studied it or them deeply or paid them much mindful attention. And just because they were written on a stone doesn’t mean they should feel like a stone around your neck. Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for us and we were not created for the Sabbath. This tablet, this list of “do nots” is a gift so we might be better humans and treat each other with compassion.

Instead, they often get treated as if they were written as hand, feet and heart cuffs intended to restrict and adjure. Perhaps they are more about a way for us to love together and not a rule book to use as a hammer.

The idea that things are made for us and not we for them is a way to think of our buildings.  Today is Access Sunday.  Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.”  That’s an interesting notion—the idea that buildings create us. If they are not welcoming then we inhabit that inhospitality and bring its philosophy into our own beings.  Our interactions do get shaped by the flow and levels and decoration of our buildings, and our buildings learn from us what our needs are.  Buildings may become their best when we are willing to refine them and teach them what we have learned.

Our church buildings are gifts from the past and they are often made of stone, which makes them difficult to adapt. But they were made for us and intended to be tools for mission, as the church was built for mission. The United Church of Christ Church Building and Loan Fund (CB&LF) is an affiliated ministry of our denomination, and it is the oldest church building and loan fund in the U.S., going back to 1853. It is their mission to lend financial and advisory support for how we interact with our buildings.  Through their loan programs, congregations can get low-cost loans to make their buildings accessible. CB&LF is also available to help churches think through a vision for how to use and adapt their property.

Rev. Jamesetta Ferguson, pastor at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, in Louisville, Kentucky, reached out to the Building and Loan Fund for help. Her church needed extensive rehabilitation and it sat across from a 760-unit public housing complex.  In conversation with the Fund, the congregation discerned a larger plan, a greater vision for its ministry and missional use for its property.  In addition to rehabilitating their building, St. Peter’s built a two-story retail and office building. This property will provide the church with rental income and space to offer ministries and social services to the community. 70% of this 7,000,000 dollar project was funded by the CB&LF. Our property and buildings are gifts to us. We are not owned by them.  Our buildings can learn from us.

Book Club – Mark Your Calendar
Our next Book Club will be on Sunday, October 15th – following worship. We selected A Study Guide for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group (Alan purchased copies with memorial money received in his mother’s memory… just ask him for a copy).

Looking ahead, we’ll be reading:
November: Canoeing with the Cree by Eric Sevareid
December: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

Looking Ahead
September 28 Londonderry Townhomes Association Annual Meeting
September 30 Cooks of Chapel Hills (Root Vegetables) – 6:00 p.m.
October 2 Board of Deacon’s Meeting – 5:30 p.m.
October 3 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
October 4 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
NO Adult Choir Rehearsal
October 7 House of Charity
October 8 Blessing of the Animals
Choir – Off
October 10 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
October 11 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
October 15 Neighbors in Need Offering
Book Club – Following Worship
October 17 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
October 18 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
October 24 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
October 25 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.

Worship This Sunday
Scripture: Exodus 20: 1-20Psalm 19
Sermon: “Don’t Do It”

May the strength of God guide us, the Power of God preserve us, the wisdom of God instruct us, the Spirit of God be within us, this day and evermore. Amen.

This Week – August 14, 2017


We open ourselves to God’s Spirit in worship, prayer and study, holding each other
in community and encouraging one another to grow in the Spirit.
We reach out in generosity and compassion to the people around us.

peanutsSunday, September 3, 2017
10:15 a.m. Worship/Communion
VEAP Food Shelf Sunday

Scripture: Exodus 3: 1-15
Psalm 105 — selections
Sermon: “Knowing and Not Knowing”
Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Jack Gillespie
Greeters: Stephanie Tesch & Ron Molony

September Book Club Has Been Rescheduled
The Book Club will meet following worship on Sunday, September 17th due to the Congregational Meeting on September 10th. We will be discussing… The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Everyone is welcome to join the conversation!


Little Free Library… Coming SOON!
The Little Free Library has been built, books have been donated, and now… we’re trying to figure out the placement/installation. We are running into underground cables/lines that are hampering the process. Thank goodness for Gopher-One-Call! Who knew that we had so many buried treasures within our midst??

Memorial Service for Helen Henderson
Helen’s memorial service will be held on Monday, September 18th – 11:00 a.m. at Johanna Shores.

gardenCooks of Chapel Hills
The next Cooks of Chapel Hills will be on Saturday, September 30th. The theme is root vegetables. Please try to use a root vegetable in each entree. Think about how you can incorporate carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, etc. It will be a fun challenge!

Sign-up in the Narthex. We will arrange transportation for those who need it.

House of Charity
We are looking for volunteers to help at the House of Charity on Saturday, September 16th. We arrive around 10:00 a.m. and help with getting the food service set up… no cooking is required of the volunteers!  We serve from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. and stay to help with clean up until about 12:00 noon.

The House of Charity is located at 510 South 8th Street in Minneapolis (easy parking at meters in front of House of Charity or use the HCMC ramp across the street). Please sign-up in the Narthex if you are able to help.

UCC Disaster Ministries is already gearing up for our long-term recovery work in the region and your contributions for Harvey survivors means providing community support for holistic recovery, repairing house and home for families and children and restoring dignity for the most vulnerable who have lost everything in the wake of this catastrophic event.

GIVE generously to support Harvey relief and recovery efforts by clicking on the link to make a secure online donation. Gifts may also be made at your local UCC congregation marked for “Hurricane Harvey” with the request they be sent through your Conference office or to Wider Church Ministries. Donations may also be sent directly to Wider Church Ministries, Financial Services – 6th Floor, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.

You will be meeting the unique needs of vulnerable individuals and families by filling gaps in services through the following provisions:
–        Spiritual care
–        Community organizing
–        Repair and reconstruction of homes
–        Tools
–        Building materials
–        Volunteer coordination

VOLUNTEER Sign up to have your name included for future volunteer opportunities. Right now, prospective volunteers from outside the affected area actually are being asked to stay away. Meanwhile, why not send a work team to Volusia County, Fla., to help families recover from the tremendous wind and water damage Hurricane Matthew caused in 2016?

ASSEMBLE CLEANUP BUCKETS. UCC Disaster Ministries is offering $250 matching grants to congregations assembling CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets.  In an emergency like Harvey with widespread, severe flooding, the demand for buckets will be high – but CWS has only 1,500 buckets currently in stock!

HOLD A YARD SALE, BARBEQUE OR BAKE SALE and contribute the money raised to Harvey recovery. We know of no need for in-kind donations, especially clothes.

Certainly if there are specific in-kind needs that we come across we will post them here.

If anyone wishes to help organize Clean Up buckets or other responses, step up. We will assist you.

Open & Affirming
During our New Beginnings meetings and discussions many folks wanted to begin the Open and Affirming Process. The advice we were given was to wait a bit and get our other projects underway before beginning or we might decide the Open and Affirming ‘was’ the New Beginnings process and we would not establish our identity and begin to live into our New
Vision. The time has arrived when we can begin that conversation. To be Open and Affirming is to announce publicly that we are welcoming of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people. To make that statement takes study and conversation and prayer and preparation – TIME.

The United Church of Christ and the MN Conference of the UCC have resources and people to assist us. We plan to begin the conversation and the work this fall. The time it takes to complete the work is open ended: it will take the time it takes.

What motivates us to do so? The shared love of Christ calls us to welcome and inclusion. So does a pressing need:

‘All Are Welcome’ Isn’t Enough
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of faith often experience emotional and spiritual injury in churches that condemn their capacity to love and seek love. Because they’ve learned that “All Are Welcome” usually doesn’t apply to them, they can’t assume that any church will be safe for them and their families.

A public welcome by an Open and Affirming (ONA) church sends a clear message to LGBT seekers that they have a home in the United Church of Christ.

A congregation’s affirmation and support through an ONA covenant can be a life-changing and life-saving experience—especially for LGBT youth.
(from a statement at

  •  Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7)
  •  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
  • For Christ, having received, not one or two of us, but all together, has thus connected us, so that we ought to cherish one another.” (John Calvin)

“Spirit-Led Living”
Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

It seems like such an easy thing, doesn’t it? Love good and hate evil. Who wouldn’t go along with that as a life motto? There’s an opportunity here for coffee mugs and t-shirts. The “Loving Good, Hating Evil” line of products. The front of the t-shirts – “LOVE GOOD.” The back – “HATE EVIL.”  And truly, if you don’t have some evil in this world to hate then you probably aren’t paying attention. However, there is a danger here, says Paul the Apostle. Paul’s letter to the Romans cautions that that we could be overcome by evil. Don’t become the evil you hate, says Paul.

Hate visited two UCC congregations earlier this year. It came in the form of spray-painted racist slogans and swastikas. It came to downtown Medford, Oregon, where posters appeared that said, “Imagine a Muslim-Free America.” It came to Annandale, Virginia, when anti-Semitic slurs were painted on a Jewish Community Center. In both cities, UCC houses of worship were also defaced—attacked for their radical inclusion and extravagant welcome to all people.  In Oregon, the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ, and, in Virginia, The Little River United Church of Christ both had their buildings defaced with graffiti.

It seems that opening one’s doors to all people, while expressing the good news to some, is a reason for fear and loathing to others. The question for Christians is not simply that we stand up to evil but how we do it. “When we go through something traumatic like this it’s important to be witnesses, that we see it, to understand what happened, to recognize the hatred that was here and move through that, and through these wounds we can begin to move forward,” says the Rev. David Lindsey, pastor of Little River United Church of Christ. Little River found companions in their community who came to wash the red paint from their walls and gathered together with them in a prayer vigil.

In Medford, the congregants, along with townspeople, handed out posters that read “Hate has no Business Here.” The signs were all over town, at businesses on people’s lawns and in front of the church, flooding the community with expressions of love and welcome. The congregation also decided it was time to get serious about discussing white privilege among themselves and in the community. Our congregations know how to fight evil without becoming hateful.

Looking Ahead
September 5 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
September 6 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
September 10 Congregational Meeting – Following Worship
September 11 Board of Deacons Meeting – 5:30 p.m.
September 12 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Church Council Meeting – 7:00 p.m.
September 13 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
September 16 House of Charity – Volunteers Needed
September 17 Book Club – Following Worship
September 18 Memorial Service for Helen Henderson
September 19 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
September 20 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
September 26 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
September 27 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
September 30 Cooks of Chapel Hills (Root Vegetables) – 6:00 p.m.

Worship This Sunday
Scripture: Exodus 3: 1-15 , Psalm 105 — selections
Sermon: “Knowing and Not Knowing”

Do you take your shoes off when you enter your home? Moses takes his off because God commands it. The ground is holy. Is holiness related to cleanliness?

Moses turns aside to see the bush. What makes you turn aside? Have you regretted missed opportunities to stop and look and pay attention?

May the strength of God guide us, the Power of God preserve us, the wisdom of God instruct us, the Spirit of God be within us, this day and evermore. Amen.