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Posted by on Nov 15, 2022 | 0 comments

Hope Fund: Advent Resources 2022

Promoting the HOPE Fund During Advent 2022

As the HOPE Fund committee winds down our fundraising efforts and hands the baton to the HOPE Fund Discernment Team to award grants, we are asking congregations who have not yet contributed to the HOPE Fund to be part of this historic effort in the Vermont Conference. It would be so exciting to have 100% of our congregations participate in some way as we prepare for 2023, and the projects that the HOPE fund will support!  Perhaps you have a traditional year-end fundraiser, or usually designate a part of your Christmas offering to a cause. Perhaps one of your mission funds has an unspent balance. Perhaps you have a donor who is looking for a project outside your local church for an end of year donation. In this season of expectation, please consider including the HOPE fund of the Vermont Conference as an investment in the future of the United Church of Christ here in the Green Mountains. Based on Scripture Passages:

  • Jeremiah 33:14-16
  • Psalm 25:1-10
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
  • Luke 21:25-36

Lighting the Advent Candle from Jeremiah 33

Reader One: In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
Reader Two: We look forward with hope, O God to a time of justice and righteousness.
Reader One: The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah
Reader Two: We look forward with hope, O God, the unity of all your houses.
Reader One: The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise.
Reader Two: We look forward with hope, O God, to the fulfillment of your promise.
Together: We light the candle of HOPE, O God, trusting that these days are surely coming for us.  

Invocation from I Thessalonians

Come, O God, and fill our hearts with joy as we gather together. Give us hope when we pray for the needs of others. Give us hope when we discern your leading and guiding of our ways. Give us hope that you are able to strength our hearts in holiness. Give us hope that our efforts to do your work in the world will yield the fruit of righteousness. Come, O God, and be visible in our midst through the power of Jesus Christ in whose name we pray, AMEN.  

Reflection from Psalm 25

The Psalmist reminds us that our trust is in God, not in our own wisdom or power. As we plan for the future of our ministries as congregations, we trust that God will reveal to us the right paths. Part of that process is trying new ways of reaching out to our communities. The HOPE Fund is a means for us to help one another seek those paths. HOPE Fund grants will enable local congregations to seek a new path that is unique to their local setting. Steadfast love and faithfulness will be lived out differently in each place. God has promised us mercy and love as we try new things, learning as we go. Your contribution to the HOPE fund will help a committed group of leaders find new ways to keep our covenant with God.

© Rev. Leigh McCaffrey, 2022

Rev. Leigh McCaffrey was born in Burlington, Vermont and was confirmed and ordained in the First Congregational Church of Burlington.  After working as a Christian educator at the Groton Congregational Church in Connecticut, she received a call to ministry that led her to Andover Newton Theological School in Boston, Massachusetts, where she graduated cum laude with a specialization in Liberation Theology. She was the 1988 winner of the Koinonia Preaching Prize.  Rev. Leigh has served on many Conference committees for Church, Ministry, and new church development. She worked as a staff organizer with the Naugatuck Valley Project in Waterbury, Connecticut, and MESA Coordinator (ministerial credentialing and training) with the Florida Conference. She also worked remotely as the clerk of the New York Conference School of Ministry. Most recently, she has been a patient care secretary at VITAS hospice and pastor of First Congregational Church of Lake Helen, Florida.  She is currently pastor at Barre Congregational Church in Barre, VT.

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