Zion is now holding in person services in the sanctuary, but seating is limited.
Please consider joining us online for a Facebook live stream of our service.
We also have a radio station carrying our service live that you can access from our parking lot. Tune to 96.5 to hear the service as it happens.
July 12th Confirmation Sunday July 19th Confirmation Sunday July 26th Candidating Sunday
Letter from Zion Pastoral Candidate Rev. Calandra Nevenzel
Left, Husband Zach Right, Rev. Cal
Dear Congregation of Zion UCC,
This is a trying time to figure out how to be the church and best serve one another in Christ. In spite of that, I have been looking forward to meeting some of you for the first time, and seeing others of you again. We are in a unique position because I already serve your church as part of the 18 churches I serve as the Southwest Association Minister. I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of you, and preach for you once before in this capacity. I am so thankful for this, especially since the important task of social distancing makes it hard for us to spend the kind of quality time I would like us to be able to during my candidating weekend.
I want to share with you a little more about myself. I grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana where most of my family still lives. I went to Hope College in Holland, MI, where I majored in Religion and German, and studied abroad in Freiburg, Germany. My German is a little rusty today, but I still try to use it when I can, even in worship! After college, I went on to receive my M.Div at Western Theological Seminary, which is right next door to Hope. I served as a Pastoral Intern at North Holland Reformed Church all through seminary. After graduating, I got married and moved to Kalamazoo. I was ordained in the Reformed Church in America, and served Portage UCC for four years, with a focus on Children’s and Family Ministry. I recently transferred my ordination standing to the United Church of Christ since my husband and I have found a home in our denomination.
And, as I mentioned above, I have been serving as the SWA Minister for a little over a year. Some of my biggest goals in this call are building relationships with and between churches, and encouraging us all to support one another and work together toward our common mission. If I’m called to serve your church as your pastor, I will continue to do this work, which I believe will be an asset to Zion UCC and the goals of your congregation. I would look forward to serving God with you, as we care for God’s people both within your congregation and in the community of Baroda and beyond.
I currently live in Kalamazoo with my husband Zach, who is a staff attorney at the firm Warner Norcross & Judd. Zach brings his own passion for serving the church in many ways, as well as being the biggest supporter of my call to ministry. He grew up in Allegan, MI in a family that was very faithful in serving their local church. We also have a dog, Buddy the Boxer, and a cat, Ezekiel (Zeke for short).
I look forward to learning even more about your church and community, and if you discern me as the right fit to be your next pastor, I promise to serve faithfully with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as we love God and love neighbor together.
I hope this has helped you to get to know me a little better. I look forward to worshipping with you wherever you are on Sunday, July 26th. I will be hosting a “Q&A Time” later that afternoon at 2pm on Zoom for anyone in the congregation to chat with me, and ask me anything you would like to! Below is the link to join! You can also call in by phone with the phone number listed.
In Grace and Peace, Rev. Calandra Nevenzel
Q&A with Pastor Cal on Zoom, Sunday, July 26th @2pm https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83052484393?pwd=L0h1RU9xeGpnN3V0QnAxY0pRTW4xUT09
Zeke and Buddy say, "You can watch from your couch!"
Patient Attention, Valuable Discoveries For many people, the coronavirus pandemic has been a test of patience — or worse. Medically vulnerable people face an anxious time of hypervigilance. Furloughed workers wait on hold or in lines for assistance. Special events have been canceled or rescheduled.
Those not impacted directly deal with assorted frustrations and inconveniences. Many people are learning the benefit of slowing down, being present (even virtually) to others and practicing patient attention.
Interestingly, scientist Isaac Newton did some of his best work when the plague forced Cambridge University to close. At home, the inquisitive student invented calculus and developed groundbreaking theories of gravity and optics. Later Newton called 1666 his annus mirabilis (“year of wonders”) and reportedly said, “If I have made any valuable discoveries, it [owes] more to patient attention than to any other talent.”
What have you discovered during the Covid-19 crisis? What appreciations have you developed for aspects of life you may have previously taken for granted? What has social distancing taught you about the value of neighbors, church, community volunteering?
During the pandemic, what have you learned about persistence and God’s presence? What empathy do you now feel for writers of words such as “I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5, NIV)?
God Amid Pandemic
Last spring, life changed as we became familiar with terms such as social distancing, flattening the curve and self-quarantining. We could hardly believe the closed schools, businesses and especially churches — just as Holy Week and Easter drew near! The coronavirus ran rampant in the world. Where was God?
But as the spread continued, many civic leaders stepped up, calmly informing us of the facts, of actions being taken to mitigate the crisis and of how we could help. Healthcare professionals risked their lives and endured separation from families; teachers drew on astounding stores of creativity to teach online; pastors delivered sermons and lessons to empty sanctuaries as members listened and prayed while living in lockdown. Surely God was present — through them!
Then I remembered how God assures us through Isaiah, “Fear not! When you pass through the waters, the fires, yes, even the pandemics of this world, I will be with you” (43:1-2, paraphrased). And Jesus echoes, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).
Learning — and laughing — on the fly
Faced with the sudden move to livestreamed church services, many pastors and worship leaders had to learn new technology quickly during the pandemic. As they were “winging it,” bloopers and bobbles added levity to the tense time.
For instance, a fake tree fell on a drummer while a worship song was being broadcast from Georgia. After getting too close to a candle, a vicar in England had to pause to extinguish flames from his sweater. And several preachers appeared on screen with cartoon-like features after inadvertently turning on social media filters.
“This wasn’t planned,” wrote the pastor about the falling ficus, which didn’t cause injury but quickly went viral. “But God used it to bring laughter to the hearts of many. For that, we are thankful.”
In the News!
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Welcome Rev. Dr. David Moffett-Moore Transitional Pastor
Grace and peace! I am honored to accept the call to be your Transitional Minister and look forward to serving you during this transitional period. In the coming months I will have a column in The Chimes on our process and priorities, but this month I thought I would just introduce myself.
I grew up in small towns in central Indiana, one of five children in Methodist parsonages. I earned my Bachelor of Arts at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, where my parents met. I’ve been working since I was 11: mowing yards, shoveling walks, delivering newspapers, writing for the local newspaper, working in factories and farms. My first job after college was as a loan collector for a consumer finance agency.
Two years after college, I entered the ministry. I have served 8 churches in three states and two denominations: 15 years as United Methodist and 20 years as United Church of Christ. I was Spiritual Formation Program Director for a Roman Catholic retreat center and worked for Mennonite Mutual Aid. Between being UMC and UCC, I spent a decade in the financial services industry, earning Chartered Financial Consultant, Registered Investment Advisor and Registered Financial Principal designations. I’ve written seven books and have taught Psychology and Philosophy at several regional campuses. I’ve a Ph. D. in Celtic Spirituality and a D.Min. in Spirituality and Psychology.
It’s a second marriage for Becki and I; we’ve been together 23 years. Together we have four grown children in four different time zones. We have five grandsons and one granddaughter, with two more grandsons on the way. Becki has a Masters in Ceramic Art, taught at a Community College in Illinois, and was an Advanced Master Gardener in Indiana – ask about her deer proof garden! She grew up in the shadow of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
This is a little bit about me; I look forward to getting to know you in the coming months. We do have work to do, but first let’s get to know each other!
It’s human nature to sometimes slip into judgmentalism and arrogance: “I’d never do what she did!” we think or say. Or “People who [fill in the blank] shouldn’t call themselves Christians. They don’t belong in the church.” Jesus clearly said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1, ESV) and, memorably, made his point with the image of a speck in someone else’s eye and a log in one’s own.
In Love Does (Thomas Nelson), Bob Goff reflects further on what Jesus’ response would be when we put ourselves in positions of authority over others: “[Jesus] said people who followed him should think of themselves more like ushers rather than the bouncers, and it would be God who decides who gets in. We’re the ones who simply show people to their seats that someone else paid for.”
The Pastor Is In
Every Tuesday morning on New York City’s Upper East Side, Gregory Fryer sits in a Peanuts-style booth offering prayer and a listening ear to passersby. Initially the pastor wanted to draw attention to his church, but instead he ended up noticing all the “hungry hearts” in the neighborhood. Fryer has been pleasantly surprised by all the people who open up to him. “I think they like the idea of a pastor being on the sidewalk,” he says.
Although a sign on the booth reads “Spiritual advice 5¢,” the pastor keeps a plate of nickels handy if people want to put one in his jar. Some people donate much more — and some even pray for Fryer.
The pastor says he was inspired by Peanuts character Lucy van Pelt, who has the “audacity, the courage to brazenly sit there out in public and offer to deal with important matters.”
Zion United Church of Christ - 9105 Third St, PO Box 10, Baroda, MI 49101 - 269-422-1590 - e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org