This Week – August 17, 2017

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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, August 20, 2017
10:15 a.m. Worship

Scripture: Genesis 45: 1-15, Psalm 133
Sermon: “God Sent Me to Preserve Life”

Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Evan Ramstad

Greeters Needed
We are in need of greeters for the next few Sundays. 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 952-935-3025 or chapelhillsucc@gmail.com).

Adult Choir Rehearsal
After a well-deserved summer break, the choir will be back at it with their Wednesday evening rehearsals. The first rehearsal is on Wednesday, September 6th at 7:30 p.m. Please talk to Andrea Erickson if you are interested in adding your musical talent to our amazing choir.

September Book Club
Please join us on Sunday, September 10th following worship for our next book club discussion.  We’ll be reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

We’ll take a few minutes following worship to get a cup of coffee/tea and then we’ll meet in the north classroom upstairs.

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 https://openandaffirming.org/ona/why/)

  • 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)

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.

TU

Dear Chapel Hills United Church of Christ,
Thank you for the generous donation of $125 you made to Cornerstone, dated 6/22/2017. We are so grateful for your commitment to our work with families and individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking.

Your support comes at a critical time for Cornerstone. As you may have heard, the Greater
Twin Cities United Way decided to end funding to all domestic violence programs as of July 1st of this year. These cuts will have a negative impact on our community and those in need of services as they seek to achieve safety and stability.

Although the cuts were unexpected, none of us at Cornerstone were surprised to see the incredible support from our donors (like you) who stepped up during this difficult time. Please know that we could not touch so many lives without your help.

The Cornerstone program affected most by the United Way cuts is School-Based Services
(SBS), which has accomplished a great deal with a team of only five staff this past school year.
Our SBS team presented to more than 20,000 students about topics like dating violence and sexual assault and provided one-on- one counseling onsite in schools with 555 students who are struggling with violence at home or in school.

Your support will help ensure that our School-Based staff are back in classrooms this fall and for many semesters to come. Again, thank you for supporting our important work at
Cornerstone.

With Gratitude,
Meg Schnabel, Executive Director

“Bold Moves”
Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost

Joseph was bound and tied, sold into slavery and abandoned to whatever fate might befall him. His brothers did that. One might imagine a fair amount of resentment could hang heavily on one’s heart as a result of such treatment.  Today’s Bible passage tells us of the meeting between Joseph and his brothers many years later. They are in Egypt, refugees from a famine in their homeland, come to ask for food. Joseph is now an advisor to the Pharaoh and his brothers do not recognize him. When he comes face to face with his brothers he cannot contain his feeling. He sends everyone from the room and he weeps. Their meeting is emotional and full of the vulnerability of those who have experienced antipathy and now, in their fragility and need, find each other.

Something like that kind of coming together in the midst of pain and a shared threat has happened around the country as a result of increased attacks on places of worship. In Chicago, Jews, Muslims and members of the black community gathered last winter to support each other. One Saturday in February, the windows of a Chicago synagogue were smashed; swastikas were drawn on the building. The next day, leaders from the Muslim community came with flowers and hope. By Wednesday the building was cleaned and windows repaired, and a thousand people attended an interfaith gathering against hate.

One of the speakers was Reverend Otis Moss III, pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ. He told how his father had marched with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel to Selma. Reverend Moss said, “Blacks and Jews are connected because we know your pain, the broken windows, the broken lives, branded by people with their eyes glazed by hatred.”

When people who have a history of disregard discover that they have a shared enemy and that enemy is racism and bigotry, then there may also rise a hunger for community and support. Sometime reconciliation comes in recognizing our need for each other and our shared vulnerability.

Looking Ahead
August 22 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
August 23 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
August 29 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
August 30 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
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 Book Club – Following Worship
September 11 Board of Deacons Meeting – 5:30 p.m.
September 12 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 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 18 Memorial Service for Helen Henderson

Worship This Sunday
Scripture: Genesis 45: 1-15Psalm 133
Sermon: “God Sent Me to Preserve Life”

Joseph and his brothers are reconciled after years of being apart. The brothers sold Joseph into slavery as a better option than their first choice: killing him. This way they got a little cash as well as getting rid of their brother. Many years later, when Joseph is running the food supply in Egypt, the brothers “fall’ into his hands. Things eventually work out. The reading is a scene of Reconciliation. Reconciliation, and Forgiveness, and when it is time for one or the other are both suddenly a “timely” topic given what happened in Charlottesville and what may be happening this weekend. The Forgiveness and Reconciliation are not the same.

Prayer
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.