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“What Do You See?”

Posted by on Sep 27, 2019 in Arts, By Season, Pentecost, Sermons, Slideshow | 0 comments

“What Do You See?”

What Do You See? A Sermon by Rev. Amy Pitton, delivered at Bethany Church, UCC Montpelier, VT on Sunday, August 25, 2019 Based on: Luke 13:10-17   Read: “Words of a Modern Day Prophet,” by Mary Oliver “There are things you can’t reach. But You can reach out to them, and all day long The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of god. And it can keep you busy as anything else, and happier. I look; morning to night I am never done with looking Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around As though with your arms...

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LENT 2019: Create in Me

Posted by on Feb 3, 2019 in Lent, Sermons, Slideshow | 0 comments

LENT 2019: Create in Me

Lent can be an especially good time to preach a sermon series as attendance (in my experience) is consistent and increases as Easter approaches.  This year I was inspired by the Ash Wednesday reading from Psalm 51:  “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Commentators tell us that “create” is a translation of the Hebrew bara’, and is usually used to describe God’s actions.  God is the one who creates.  The psalmist’s prayer, is an appeal for God to act by...

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Nativity: Look Again

Posted by on Dec 1, 2016 in Advent, Arts, Christmas, Epiphany, Sermons, Slideshow | 0 comments

Nativity: Look Again

Most of us have 1 or 5 or 10 of them.   You know crèches…nativity sets…little wooden houses with painted shepherds, magi, doting parents, and the baby Jesus in a manger.  They are an ancient and effective tool that the church uses to tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.  We also see them so often during Advent and Christmas that well…maybe…we don’t see really see them at all.  Here are some ways you might use nativity sets in the worshiping life of your church to reclaim them as a tool for telling the...

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Worship/Event

Posted by on Oct 2, 2016 in Joys and Concerns, Music, Offering, Prayers/Litanies, Scripture/Readings, Sermons, Slideshow, Special Sundays/Services | 0 comments

Worship/Event

Many churches have a Sunday morning or two throughout the year when the congregation hosts both a worship service and a special event.  Maybe your church hosts a Christmas fair, an Easter brunch, a breakfast fundraiser for a mission you support or something else.  In our church, the last Sunday in September is always reserved for day two of our annual Old Fashioned Harvest Market which draws thousands from all over our region. I know from experience that on this particular Sunday our congregation’s attention and energy is divided...

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Consider the Birds

Posted by on Aug 27, 2016 in Arts, By Season, Call to Worship, Easter, Prayers/Litanies, Scripture/Readings, Sermons, Slideshow, Transitions | 0 comments

Consider the Birds

In the fall of 2015, Rev. Daniel Cooperrider of Weybridge Congregational Church, UCC told our WorshipWell team about a sermon series he was leading based upon a book by author and pastor Debbie Blue, titled: Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible.  Cooperrider explained that his sermon series included presentations by bird experts in worship along with bird watch outings.  Inspired by Cooperrider and Blue, Rev. Goldenbogen of the United Church of Underhill (UCC & UMC) led a “Consider the Birds” sermon...

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Usefulness & Freedom

Posted by on Aug 27, 2016 in By Season, Pentecost, Prayers/Litanies, Sermons, Slideshow, Special Sundays/Services | 0 comments

Usefulness & Freedom

  Below is a sermon by Rev. Martha Peck which is based upon Paul’s letter to Philemon and delivered on the Sunday before Labor Day (9/4/2016).  What does it mean to be free? What does it mean to be useful? This sermon is followed also by related prayers: 1) prayer of invocation, 2) prayer of confession, and 3) assurance of pardon. They called him Onesimus, which means “useful.” And for most of his life he only had the value assigned to a slave. He was a strong back, silent compliance. He could not own property, nor choose where he...

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Connected: Web of Yarn

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Arts, Children's Message, Scripture/Readings, Sermons, Slideshow | 0 comments

Connected: Web of Yarn

Here is an exercise that uses balls of yarn to illustrate community/unity/oneness/body of Christ by physically connecting a worshiping congregation.  It could be used:  as an illustration for a children’s message as an illustration during a sermon about community as part of  reading Scripture (e.g. Romans 12:4-5, John 17:21, Psalm 133:1) Your idea here:________   Procedure: Get some balls of yarn (inexpensive/used/donated).  Hard to say how many for your setting, but you will need enough yarn to weave back and forth throughout the...

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Capturing Lent

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Call to Worship, Children's Message, Easter, Lent, Sermons, Slideshow | 0 comments

Capturing Lent

Cameras are ubiquitous and inter-generational.  Kids have ’em on their tablets and DS’s, teens and adults have ’em on their phones, grandparents and great-grandparents probably have a phone-camera too…if not…they are likely to have one lying around the house.  Why not use them for worship and faith formation? Here is an idea we used during Lent 2015 that you might adapt for your own use (could be used in any season). during Epiphany we advertised a Lenten theme of CAPTURING LENT using logo to the right: we...

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“Word-Play” Family Service

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in Children's Message, Communion and Baptism, Sermons, Slideshow, Special Sundays/Services | 0 comments

“Word-Play” Family Service

In our church, we hold “Family Services” about four times a year.  These services are held during our normal Sunday morning worship time on the first Sunday of the month when we celebrate Holy Communion.  On these days, we do not convene Sunday School but all ages worship together the whole time (nursery is still available).  This pattern has given us permission every quarter to worship in different ways and to try new things.  Some elements don’t work well.  Some do though, and these often move into rotation within our more...

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Forty Days: a Wilderness Diary (story sermon)

Posted by on Jan 26, 2016 in By Season, Lent, Scripture/Readings, Sermons, Slideshow | 0 comments

Forty Days: a Wilderness Diary (story sermon)

This reflection tries to imagine Jesus’ thoughts and struggles during his forty days alone in the wilderness.  It considers what he needs to learn, before he will be ready for his public ministry. The sermon could be done with a costume if desired, but it is not necessary. An altar arrangement with desert themed materials would help set the scene. Forty Days: A Wilderness Diary Matthew 3:13-17,4:1-11, Psalm 32  The Gospels tell us that Jesus spent forty days alone in the wilderness, before he began his ministry. Mark merely says, “He was...

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