Zion is now holding in person services in the sanctuary.
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.
November 9th Ladies' Fellowship Mtg November 15th Poinsettia Orders November 22nd Poinsettia Order Deadline Chimes Article Deadline November 26th Happy Thanksgiving! November 29th First Sunday of Advent
November 15th worship service will be online on our Facebook page ONLY. Rev. Tracy Heilman, who is filling in during Rev. Nevenzel’s vacation, has had a close contact test positive COVID-19 and needs to self-quarantine. Rev. Heilman has graciously agreed to make video messages to be posted on our Facebook page. These videos were filmed at her church camp with deer playing in the background. Please keep Rev. Heilman and her family in your prayers.
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 email@example.com
Growing through gratitude Thankfulness, studies show, has multiple physical, mental and emotional benefits. Psychologist Robert Emmons calls gratitude “fertilizer for the mind” because of its powerful effects.
He admits gratitude isn’t always easy — especially when life throws us curveballs (see the year 2020) — but says it can be most helpful during and after difficulties. Emmons suggests reframing challenges using thankfulness-based language. Ask, for example: Though I wasn’t grateful for the experience at the time, how can I be now? What lessons did I learn, and how did I grow as a person?
Throughout his letters, the apostle Paul reframes his extensive sufferings and urges us to do the same. “Give thanks in all circumstances,” he writes, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).
Strangers no more
Some people open their holiday meals to strangers, and one host even did so inadvertently. In 2016, Wanda Dench texted 17-year-old Jamal Hinton about Thanksgiving dinner, thinking she was contacting her grandson. When a skeptical Hinton requested a photo and received a selfie of someone with a different skin color, he chuckled — but then asked if he could still come eat! Thus began a new friendship and a new annual tradition, which Hinton documents online. “Family is more than blood,” says Dench. “It’s the people you want to be with.”
This year’s meal will be bittersweet, with an empty chair for Dench’s husband, who died of Covid-19 in April. To show support after that loss, Hinton sent his “grandma” a collection of loving video messages. Strangers worldwide expressed condolences to a woman who’d fully embraced a stranger.
At a recent anti-racism protest, Black participant Patrick Hutchinson saw a white counter-protester fall. Fearing for the injured man’s life, Hutchinson hoisted him over his shoulder and carried him through the crowd to seek help. Hutchinson was called a hero but says he just wanted to do the right thing.
According to Jesus, the right thing is to “love your enemies [and] do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27). It’s easy to love and be kind to our friends and people with similar beliefs. But when someone shows kindness to a member of an opposing group, we witness more than a hero; we see Jesus’ love in action.
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!
The simplest prayer
An eccentric blind man nicknamed Joybubbles reportedly loved Mr. Rogers so much he listened to 10 hours of the TV show daily until he’d heard them all. One night, when Joybubbles was in a kind of awake dream state, he said Mr. Rogers visited him and offered to teach him how to pray.
Joybubbles protested that he couldn’t pray because he always forgot the words. To which Mr. Rogers said not to worry; the prayer he’d teach had only three words. “What kind of prayer has only three words?” Joybubbles asked.
“Thank you, God,” Mr. Rogers replied. —adapted from The Wired Word
A Facebook acquaintance who’s in the ministry shared an interesting bit of culture from his time in Germany. By way of greeting, instead of “Guten Morgen” or “Hallo,” locals often said “Grüße Gott” — literally, “Greet God.” My friend took it to be a vestige of old, much as the English “goodbye” emerged from “God be with ye.”
Though most people probably say “Grüße Gott” without much thought, my friend pondered: How might our encounters change if we heard in our greetings an invitation to “greet God” in the other person and in our shared interactions? What if we truly believed God was present in others and in the space between us? Jesus said when we welcome another, we welcome him. If Jesus came physically to our door, how would we welcome him? Can we treat the person before us that very way? —Heidi Mann
Zion United Church of Christ - 9105 Third St, PO Box 10, Baroda, MI 49101 - 269-422-1590 - e-mail - email@example.com