Zion is now holding in person services in the sanctuar.
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.
October 4th Neighbors in Need Offering Communion during worship October 12th Ladies' Fellowship Mtg in the Sanctuary
Letter from Rev. Calandra Nevenzel
I am so excited to start on this new part of Zion UCC’s journey together with you all! Thank you for welcoming me in so extravagantly! Obviously, there is nothing typical about how this is starting out. I lament with you that we are not able to visit and get to know each other more, to sing together in the sanctuary, and so much more. However, I am so grateful that we are still able to be the church and I am confident that we can continue to be creative in doing so in new ways, while still loving and honoring our old traditions.
I will be inviting us to gather for some additional worship and Bible Study online via Zoom. The great thing about gathering online right now is we can see each others’ faces, sing, and take communion together safely, even though we are apart! You can also call in by phone if you do not have internet access.
To start out, you are invited to join Matt Schlutt and me on Monday, Aug. 10 @6pm for a Zoom Training Workshop. We will go over the basics of Zoom and its features. People of all ages and abilities are welcome!
While I will be mostly working remotely from Kalamazoo for a little while until my husband Zach and I move into the parsonage, I would love to get to know you, what you love about Zion UCC, and hopes and dreams you have for our church. Below is my contact info. Feel free to call or email me. If I don’t answer right away, leave me a message and I will get back with you soon, when I am able to. I look forward to getting to know all of you in one way or another.
Peace, Pastor Cal firstname.lastname@example.org
Just be — and be still Various versions of the following sentiment are posted online: “I am a human being, not a human doing. It’s okay to just be sometimes.” Many of us get anxious if we think we’re not doing enough, but peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh insists it’s not a waste of time to just be: “To be alive, to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be loving … is what the world needs most.”
During the pandemic, when people were urged to stay home to slow the virus’ spread, we had to think hard about how to continue being the church while limited in what we could go out and “do.” Yet church leaders reminded us that we were actually loving our neighbors by staying home — by being less active.
It’s sometimes okay — ideal, even — to just be. In quieting our bodies, minds and hearts, we may find ourselves more often in prayer, more aware of God’s presence and more nourished for when the time is right to again take up more active forms of ministry, peacemaking and love. “In quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15, NIV). —Heidi Mann
Learning from autumn leaves
Every fall, I marvel at the beautiful leaves, studying the intricate shapes and God’s creative, colorful displays. Despite its deterioration, the foliage reveals splendor — mere months after bursting out in spring and providing summer shade.
I often think I’m like an autumn leaf. Through many seasons, God has transformed me from a self-absorbed person to one who trusts his steadfast promises. Winter is approaching for me too. Yet the Holy Spirit keeps molding me to reflect God’s goodness and beauty. During the autumn of my life, I pray that God helps me embrace changing seasons while reflecting his love and light to all. —MaryAnn Sundby
A fixer-upper Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is he up to?
The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but he is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself. ―C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
In the News!
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The MLG, Pastor Cal, and many others of us are carefully watching and waiting as we review safety protocols in light of COVID-19. We will keep you updated, but for now we will be continuing with the current way that worship is being done. We urge you to stay home and view our livestream which you can find on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ZionUCCBaroda or join the “Parking Lot Party” outside the church building to listen to the radio broadcast. If you are unable to do so, we are allowing a small number of folks to worship inside the building as long as you follow the current protocols.
We want to highlight some of the extra safety precautions we are taking at Zion UCC, as these are important in protecting one another and folks in our community. It is also important to take extra care now so that we are able to move forward and do the things we love to do again.
Please remember that only our sanctuary and narthex are open right now in the building on Sunday mornings. Avoiding other spaces helps so that we only have to clean and disinfect a smaller area.
Masks are required for entry into the building. If you are uncomfortable wearing a mask, you can access our worship service from one of the other ways it is being offered. Please sit at least 6 feet away from other families and do your best to keep distance between you at all times. You will notice some pews taped off to help guide us. Please remember not to congregate or take off your masks right outside the front door. We want to give space for folks to exit while still socially distancing. I would encourage you to continue wearing your mask outside, especially if you are within 6 feet of other people.
During the worship service, we will not sing out loud and we will do very little responsive reading. We will not be passing offering plates, but there is a plate at the back of the sanctuary and you can also give online. If you would like give during the offering time, you could write your check or donate on your phone: https://www.zionuccbaroda.org/donate.html
We know this is not comfortable for any of us. Let us stay the course and be the church no matter what. These small precautions are just a little inconvenience for us as we protect one another and our community. Let us love God and love our neighbor!
A singular focus
When we try to focus on too many things at once, sometimes we end up doing nothing well. During a visit to their house (see Luke 10:38-42), Jesus tells Martha that only one thing is needed and that Mary has chosen rightly. Surely Jesus doesn’t mean that quiet devotion is needed while serving others is not. But when we let ourselves get “worried and distracted by many things,” we may lose sight of the one crucial thing: love.
St. Francis is credited with the following quote: “God came to my house and asked for charity. And I fell on my knees and cried, ‘Beloved, what may I give?’ ‘Just love,’ God said. ‘Just love.’”
And in Galatians 5:6 (NRSV), St. Paul writes, “For in Christ Jesus … the only thing that counts is faith working through love.” Amid all the worthy pursuits that fill your days, remember to choose rightly — by choosing love.
All workers are essential
The concept of vocation, Latin for “to call,” previously referred only to a calling to church work. But then Martin Luther emphasized the importance — and even sanctity — of all types of labors. The reformer pointed out that “God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does.”
RJ Grunewald, in a blog post titled “God Makes Pizza,” describes how this looks today: “God is busy about his work in the midst of your work whether you realize it or not. The laundry, the spreadsheets, the phone calls and the cups of coffee are all deeply spiritual because God is at work in the world. He is serving your family, your coworkers and your community through the work you do. God is at work providing ‘daily bread’ through the work that you do, no matter what that work is.”
Zion United Church of Christ - 9105 Third St, PO Box 10, Baroda, MI 49101 - 269-422-1590 - e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org