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Worship Connection for May 15th

May 13, 2022

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Matt’s Musing

May 13, 2022

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Dear St. Paul’s Friends and Family,

“What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” (Acts 11:9b)

We cannot underestimate the historical significance of the Apostle Peter’s vision in the eleventh chapter of the book of Acts.  Peter is deep in prayer when he sees a sheet with all sorts of animals on it being lowered from heaven.  A voice commands him to get up, kill and eat.  Peter, an observant Jew, initially refuses, because to kill and eat without regard to the type of animal would make it unclean to eat according to Jewish law.  Peter’s protests regarding clean and unclean are met with the admonishment that God does not create anything that is profane.

This vision is not only about observing religious dietary restrictions, but the broadening of God’s family to include non-Jews.  Up until this point, the followers of Jesus were all Jews who observed traditional Jewish religious laws and norms.  The church as we know it was not yet formed and synagogues remained the central place of worship for Jesus’ followers.  Peter is transformed by this vision and begins to welcome Gentiles (non-Jews) into Jesus’ fold.  This move was hugely controversial because welcoming Gentiles into Jewish religious life and community was seen by many in the newly forming church as profane.  Yet, had it not been for this vision and for Peter’s courage, many of us modern-day Christians would not be included in the church.  Peter’s vision at Joppa vastly expanded the reach and scope of God’s saving work.  

I’ve always found it both interesting and disappointing how the church with its various traditions throughout history have excluded people from their communities.  The dietary restrictions and religious exclusivism of Peter’s day have played out numerous times over the millennia up to the present moment.  The characters and debated topics change, but the ways in which we exclude people because of who they are impediments to Christ’s life-giving work.  Furthermore, in excluding others who are not like us, we limit the depth, vision, and reach of the church, the Body of Christ.  May we be generous and courageous like Peter as we seek to include and affirm the personhood of others within our wider community.  In doing so, we will extend the same healing and life-saving benefits that were extended to us by Peter’s vision.  Let us affirm the blessedness that is in all God’s children no matter who they are or where they are on life’s journey.

Blessings,

Pastor Matt

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St. Paul’s Continuing Care Community is May’s Mission Offering

April 30, 2022

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St. Paul’s Continuing Care Community is May’s Mission Offering

https://www.stpauls1867.org/img/logo.pngSt. Paul’s is a nonprofit, faith-based continuing care community. More than 500 residents call St. Paul’s home with an additional 200 seniors served through home and community-based services. Located in Greenville, Pa., St. Paul’s is a convenient hour drive from Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Erie.

St. Paul’s is a fee-for-service organization, which means each individual level of care has assigned fees. So, residents only have to pay for what they truly need. The greater the independence of the resident, the less required amount of care and less required fees.

Mission

The mission of St. Paul’s formed and sustained by the Judeo-Christian faith, and historically related to the United Church of Christ, is to provide meaning, richness of life, health care, and other support services, while maintaining and enhancing the dignity of human life.

Vision

To create a sense of belonging and purpose by providing a nurturing environment in a place that can be called home.

Person-Centered

Rather than attempting to fit residents within preexisting services, we strive to be a place where the resident is at the center of decision making. We focus on each person’s gifts, skills and capabilities and enable these to be expressed.

Compassion

St. Paul’s values showing special kindness to those who suffer by recognizing their suffering and wanting to help. 

Please consider supporting this important mission partner.

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Aid for Ukraine

March 24, 2022

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Good Friday Prayer Vigil

April 10, 2020

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Please join us for our prayer vigil that begins on Good Friday evening and continues through Easter Day. Although we are distanced physically, let us draw to one another spiritually as we unite to pray for our church, community, country and world. The vigil can be accessed through clicking the link below.

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A New Way To Give

March 27, 2020

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The current COVID-19/Corona Virus pandemic has forced many individuals, businesses, and organizations to rethink how to accomplish day-to-day functions.  The church is no different.  

St. Paul’s continues to do vital ministry:

  • Reaching out to the homebound & lonely
  • Caring for the sick
  • Comforting the dying & their families
  • Working with the Somerset Area School District, Meals on Wheels, Somerset Area Ministries, and other agencies to ensure our most vulnerable community members are fed everyday
  • Online children’s programming
  • Online fellowship events
  • Live-streaming and videos of worship services on Facebook & YouTube
  • Launching a COVID-19 community mission fund to assist those in need because of social distancing, job loss, and illness
  • Honoring our monthly mission partners

A number of our members and friends have asked for an online way to give, so we are pleased to offer this service through tithe.ly.  You can make a gift by accessing our website (see the “Give” button on the homepage or the button below), www.stpaulsuccsomerset.org.  You may also download the free tithe.ly app to your smartphone or tablet and customize it to meet your needs.  Although the service is free to the church, credit card and transaction fees are assessed to each gift, so when making an online contribution through tithe.ly, please consider using the bank funds transfer feature, which has the lowest fee of one percent per transaction.  For your convenience, you may also select the reoccurring gift option if you would like to make regular gifts to the church.  If you have any questions or need assistance using this service, please do not hesitate to contact Cindy, our financial secretary.  And as always, we still accept and appreciate your mail-in contributions!

We value your continued thoughts and prayers during these challenging times.  On behalf of the staff, and lay leadership of our church, we wish you good health and strength as we encounter each day together.  Relying on God and one another, we will get through this!

Blessings,

Pastor Matt

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Sermons from St. Paul’s

February 21, 2020

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“An Ethic of Love”
February 16, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
“The Third Way”
February 9, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
“When Things Break Down”
February 2, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
“Following Jesus”
January 19, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
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Mardi Gras Worship!

February 19, 2020

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Sunday, February 23, 2020, during & after worship

Mardi Gras in the Christian tradition is a festive time of laughter and celebration right before the contemplative six weeks of Lent.  We will be celebrating our own Mardi Gras with some special surprises during worship.  Johnstown Brass Works will be with us providing some Dixieland style music.  Our Chancel Choir and the Children and Youth Choirs are preparing a couple of selections that will get us into the spirit.  We’ll follow worship with a special potluck brunch in Fellowship Hall, complete with King’s Cake cupcakes and a few special surprises!  You won’t want to miss the fun, so be sure to bring your favorite dish to share, a friend (if you’d like), wear colorful clothing, and be prepared for some enjoyable fellowship.

Please join us!

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Taste of the World

February 15, 2020

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Sink Your Teeth into a New Experience at the Taste of the World Ethnic Food Festival!

We invite those who love food and adventure to join us for this FREE family-friendly event. Community members from countries such as Brazil, Egypt, India, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Thailand will be present to offer samples of their traditional native foods and share interesting information about their homeland. The Somerset Exchange Students will also be preparing and serving some of their traditional foods from France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

Inspired by Fred Rogers, who stated, “We want to raise our children so that they can take a sense of pleasure in both their own heritage and the diversity of others,” the Taste of the World event will provide specific opportunities for children to explore the commonalities and celebrate the differences embedded in our community’s diverse cultures. Children and youth can explore the entertainment space offering games (take a swing at our pinata or try your hand at Mexican Bingo) and crafts from the representative countries. They can also visit the story corner and explore multi-ethnic and bi-lingual books.

St. Paul’s UCC, alongside of Love for the World, a group of church & local community members, is committed to empowering our community to love and care for our neighbors both near and far. It is our hope that through offering small bites of new cultural experiences, the Taste of the World event will carry forward the mission of building strong caring relationships with all those in our community.

Taste your way around the world by reserving your FREE ticket online at www.TasteoftheWorldFoodFestival.Eventbrite.com. FREE tickets will also be available at the door.

Add Taste of the World to your calendar. You won’t want to miss it!

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The February Cornerstone Newsletter

February 15, 2020

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