Archive for April, 2011

May Newsletter



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29 April, 2011 18:46


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Open and Affirming process update

April 21, 2011

In March, the members of the Open and Affirming Leadership Team at Zion came to you, the members and friends of Zion United Church of Christ, with a few words about the journey upon which we were about to embark. Since that day, our exploration of what “Open and Affirming” means, and could mean to our church, has been conducted in earnest.

We have taken input from church members, both directly and with notes and letters; provided resources about ONA and issues pertaining to being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered and a Christian; discussed the issue during Adult Sunday School; and hosted two well-attended screenings of the film, “For the Bible Tells Me So.”

The committee this month also visited Edwards United Church of Christ Congregational, in Davenport, to learn from its pastor and members how it became open and affirming, and what that has meant for the church.

Those experiences, taken all together, have led the committee to the heartfelt realization this is a decision best left to the consistory. A proposed declaration of being open and affirming will be presented to the consistory this summer for its consideration and action.

As much as your previous input and feedback has been appreciated, more is always welcome. Please direct questions or observations to Pastor Jane Willan or any of the ONA leadership team members: Chris Cowles; Dr. Bill Daws, chair; Deb or Rich Goble; Kaye Hanna; Craig Neises; Laurine Paule; Deb Ruble; or Scott Wood. You also may put a question or comment in the “ONA question box” at the church.

The ONA Leadership Team will continue its efforts to educate members of our church family about Open and Affirming. Any additional ONA-related events will be announced in the monthly newsletter, weekly bulletins and online at www.zionuccburlington.org and at www.facebook.com/zionuccburlington.

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Holy Week at Zion

Holy Week at Zion

Maundy Thursday

I believe that one cannot experience the joy of Christ’s resurrection without the journey through His darkness. The evening service on Maundy Thursday is our preparation for Easter morning. Zion’s service starts at 7:30 in the sanctuary (preceded by a light supper at 6:30). This service is not a typical church service with a sermon and liturgy; rather, it is a candle light service demonstrating the flight of the disciples and the approach of Jesus’ enemies.

Good Friday

Good Friday is the day we commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. This worship service brings us closer to the sacrifices and suffering in Jesus’ life. The crucifixion was the culmination of the events in Holy Week: the triumphal return of Jesus to Jerusalem; the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus; and the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. Zion will remember this important day with a brief service of prayer, music, and liturgy.The Good Friday Service begins at 12 noon.

Holy Saturday

The church sanctuary will be open from 10AM-2PM for prayer and reflection.

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What’s Happening at Zion this Sunday?

We’ll begin our morning together with breakfast in the Fellowship hall. This Sunday’s menu features doughnuts, fresh fruit, coffee, and juice. You can join us for breakfast anytime between 8:45 and 9:45. But you may not want to miss Adult Sunday School which begins at 9:00AM. Adult Sunday School will discuss The Shakers. Even if you missed the documentary, come for breakfast and discussion. We will distribute the May reading material on April 25.

What about worship? Our journey through Lent has ended and we now enter Holy Week with a celebration of Palm Sunday—Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Flute, hand bells, and percussion will accompany The Zion Choir; Janice has planned hymns that will include both ancient and contemporary themes. By the way, this is the first Sunday that we will be using our new sound system. You can’t do better than All Glory, Laud, and Honor blasting out of new speakers.

Jane’s sermon, When the Cheering Stopped, asks the question, “why did the individuals who once supported Jesus, turn against him”. She then will challenge us to consider our response to times in our lives when “the cheering stops”. Are we committed to doing what’s right even if it means facing conflict and disapproval? But don’t think the entire sermon is overly heavy; there may be a very funny joke or two……

What about kids? Our kids are taking the lead in mission work this week. During church school, they will finalize their Mission Market and then present their project in the narthex following worship. Parents, this is a wonderful opportunity for your kids to look at the world around them and respond with compassion and generosity. Deb Ritter, this Sunday’s teacher, is bringing a special “Japanese” treat for the children—thanks Deb! By the way, the children will be asking for a donation to their Tsunami Relief effort. Let’s think of it as an opportunity to demonstrate a spirit of generosity to our church children.

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When Janice Gibson, Zion’s infallible Christian Education Director, asked me to run some errands for her and buy a few things, I was glad to do it; but when she gave me her list of the things she needed, I began to wonder. Her list had three items on it: a table, a fire pit, and duct tape. Should I be worried?

Actually it was just Janice making last minute preparations for “Journey Through Jerusalem” our not-every-year-but-often-enough super cool event where everyone journeys back in time to 1st century Jerusalem. As participants “visit” Jerusalem they will encounter Pontius Pilate, Mary Magdalene, a donkey (petting zoo material), centurions, and many, many others. The journey will conclude at the “marketplace” where everyone can eat, play games, and make bible-time crafts (including some pretty serious grape-stomping). The fun starts at 6:30, this Wednesday. See you there!

I’m still not sure about the duct tape…..

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