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Matt’s Musing

November 28, 2021

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Dear St. Paul’s Friends and Family,

Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to God, bless his name.   (Psalm 100:4)

Is it possible to give thanks to God amid intense personal pain and suffering?  The approaching holiday season can be a difficult time for some people.  Recent traumas like the loss of a job, a loved one, one’s health, or even a dream can make thanksgiving difficult.  I know that some of us have had to deal with these traumas over the past year.  The challenge for us as the Body of Christ (a church family) is to find ways to continue giving God thanks.  Amid the harsh realities of life are reasons for thanksgiving.  

Our task as Christians is to explore ways in which we can bring hope to one another.  I don’t mean to sound trite, but even in the most hopeless situation God is still at work, and where God is at work, there is reason for hope.  New life, resurrection, is built upon the foundation of hope.  In many cases, hope comes in the form of human contact.  I once was visiting with one of our homebound members.  While I was unable to give her a cure for the disease that ravaged her body, I was able to be a presence in her life.  She told me that the love of her church family gives her hope.  Just being there for her helped bolster her spirits and let her know she was loved.

On a personal note, I am especially thankful for all of you, my church family.  You have helped to make our ministry successful through serving those in need and being available for one another.  I hope that throughout the upcoming months and into the New Year we can continue to be sensitive to God’s persistent call.  Opportunities abound for each one of us to discover God’s call in a new and exciting way.

We, as a church family, are currently experiencing some tough times.  Some of our members have had to deal with difficult illnesses, surgeries, and prognosis.  Hopelessness can easily creep into our lives during these times.  My reason for hope is my faith in you and God.  I know that you will compassionately care for one another and seek to assist me in caring for you.  

I know that together we can discover new ways in which God will speak to our community.  May we hear God’s voice and take hold of the hope that is Jesus Christ our Lord.  

May God Bless Us,

Pastor Matt

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Worship Connection for November 28th

November 28, 2021

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November’s Mission Offering Is the Salvation Army’s Emergency Heating Fund

November 20, 2021

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November’s Mission offering is the Salvation Army Somerset Service Center’s Emergency Heating Fund.  This fund assists Somerset County residents who have emergency heating needs.

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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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February News from St. Paul’s

January 27, 2020

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February’s Worship Schedule

(Worship begins at 9:30am; Sunday School at 10:45am)

Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”  Isaiah 40:5

The Lord, our God, speaks through our worship time together.  Join us in worship in this season of Epiphany as we celebrate Christ at work in our church and world.  Come and listen to God’s word spoken through scripture, song, and word.     

I’ll see you in worship!

Pastor Matt

 

February 2:  Theme for the week:  Restoring Beauty

The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

Scripture readings for the week  

Old Testament:  Micah 6:1-8

Psalter:  Psalm 15

Gospel:  Matthew 5:1-12

New Testament:  1 Corinthians 1:18-31

February 9:  Theme for the week:  From the Heart

The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Scripture readings for the week  

Old Testament:  Isaiah 58:1-9a

Psalter:  Psalm 112:1-10

Gospel:  Matthew 5:13-20

New Testament:  1 Corinthians 2:1-16

February 16:  Theme for the week:  Expanding Boundaries

The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

Scripture readings for the week  

Old Testament:  Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Psalter:  Psalm 119:1-8

Gospel:  Matthew 5:21-37

Epistle:  1 Corinthians 3:1-9

February 23:  Theme for the week:  Dazzling Reign

Transfiguration Sunday

Scripture readings for the week  

Old Testament:  Exodus 24:12-18

Psalter: Psalm 2

Gospel:  Matthew 17:1-9

Epistle:  2 Peter 1:16-21    

Transportation Assistance:  If you, or someone you know, needs a ride to church or any church-related event, please contact the church office, 445-4534.

Emailing the church and Pastor Matt:  If you need to email the pastor or the church, please direct your email to jmdeal@gmail.com–Thanks!

The church office email is stpaulsuccoffice1@gmail.com

February’s Meetings at a Glance (available at press time)

Thursday, February 6th:  Care Team, 1:00pm, CE Room

Tuesday, February 18th:  Church Council, 7:00pm in the CE Room.

Saturday, February 22nd:  Men’s Brotherhood, 8:00am, King’s Restaurant

February’s Greeters & Ushers

February 2nd: Mike Stutzman-Chair & Elder, Barb Stutzman-Elder, Sue Willison, Gary Cameron

February 9th: Peg Roy-Chair, Amy Marteeny, Craig Schenck, Patrick Ferko

February 16th: Craig Weaver-Chair, Harold Weaver, Kim Keim, Ray Toy

February 23rd: Barb Davies-Chair, Sienna Ash, Joan Martz, Lisa Yeckley

Ash Wednesday, February 26th: Barb Roth-Chair, Tim Witt, Deb Rose, Ella Witt

St. Paul’s is on Facebook!  Be sure to “Like” us to keep up with updates and events.

Book of Remembrance forms are in the literature rack in the narthex.  If you wish to give a gift in memory of or in honor of a loved one, please use this form.  You can place it in your offering envelope along with your monetary gift or you can bring it to the office.  We save these forms for documentation until the Book of Remembrance is published in the newsletter twice a year.  Thank you for taking the time to submit the form.  

Bible Study: Bible Studies following worship themes will be held on Tuesdays at 10:00am in the Salem Chapel.  

The Men’s Brotherhood.  The Men’s Brotherhood will meet for breakfast on Saturday, February 22nd at 8:00am at King’s Restaurant.  All men of the church are invited to attend!

New Member Sunday 

We will be welcoming new members into our church family during worship on Sunday, February 16th.  Please speak to Pastor Matt if you’d like to be part of the new member group.  

 

St. Paul’s Youth “Souper Bowl of Caring”  

On Sunday, February 2, 2020 St. Paul’s Youth group will be collecting nonperishable food items to benefit the Somerset Food Pantry.  The food that we collect will be weighed and entered into the grand total for food collected at UCC churches around the country.  United Church of Christ youth and congregations raised $250,000 and over 900 hours of donated time during the Souper Bowl of Caring Service Blitz.  Bring your canned goods to worship and place them at the altar rail.  Together we can make Super Bowl Sunday truly “Souper!”

February ’s Mission Offering –The Good Samaritan Fund  

Throughout the year our church serves the needs of the poor and transients in our community through providing temporary lodging, food, eviction prevention, emergency funding for medical assistance, and heating assistance.  St. Paul’s Good Samaritan Fund helps to make this important ministry possible.  Thanks to your generosity, we’ve been able to better live out Christ’s commandment to love God and neighbor.  We’ve been able to heal, shelter, feed, and give hope to countless neighbors. 

Winter at St. Paul’s

Our inclement weather policy is that we will worship whenever two or three are gathered. However, we ask that you use your judgement when venturing out in bad weather.  We’d love for you to worship with us, but rather you’d be safe than end up in the hospital.  Regular Sunday worship begins at 9:30am, followed by Sunday school at 10:45am.

Tuesday Bible Study:  Bible Study will be cancelled anytime the Somerset Area School District is cancelled or delayed.

We will endeavor to keep our website updated with recent sermons and devotional materials so that your spirit may be warmed even during our blustery Somerset County winter.

Lent Is Just Around the Corner!  Ash Wednesday is February 26th.  This holy time reminds us of Christ’s loving acts that lead up to his suffering, death, and resurrection.  Over the next couple of months a number of events and devotionals will be offered to assist you during your Lenten faith journey.  The journey begins on Ash Wednesday, February 26th.  Worship will begin at 7:00pm and will include the imposition of ashes.

Love for the World Presents:  A Taste of the World

Last August we held our first ever Love for the World event.  Those members and friends who helped to plan the event wanted to offer an event to the community to celebrate our unity and help raise awareness of the needs of children and families near and far.  We welcomed around 30 community partners to Shellenberger Park as they staffed informational tables profiling the work of their organizations.  Roughly 200 of our neighbors attended and over 40 of you helped to volunteer to make Love for the World a big success.

Love for the World has almost organically become a mission and outreach ministry of our church.  In other words, the Holy Spirit sure has been at work, even outpacing church staff and our committees!  Just as God so loved the world that he sent Jesus into the world, we too are called to love the world.  Over the the upcoming year you will periodically be seeing “Love for the World” promoted in our church and community.  We are doing this because of the warm reception our church received in the community following the August event and because we feel that God is calling us to continue that kind of community building work.  As such, there will likely be follow up Love for the World events and mission opportunities that further bring together our congregation and the community.  

Our next Love for the World event is an ethnic food festival called “A Taste of the World.”  We are planning to have 4 to 6 stations set up around Fellowship Hall where participants can partake of food from all around the globe.  All of the food will be prepared by community members who have roots in those locales.  Children’s activities will also be available in the Salem Chapel (story-time room) and the Youth Room (games and cultural activities from around the world).  Taste of the World will take place on Saturday, March 7th from 4-7pm.  

Please don’t hesitate to talk to Jenn Boland or myself if you’d like to help with A Taste of the World.

-Pastor Matt

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Confirmation Class Schedule

Confirmands will meet in the church library at 11am on the following Sundays:

Sunday, February 8th

Sunday, February 22nd

Valentine Making Party

Plan to join the Women’s Fellowship and children for the traditional “Valentines for Shut-ins” party.  We will be gathering in the CE room on SATURDAY,  February 1st from 10-11.  We will be helping the children after they finish their choir practices.  At 11:00 there will be a light lunch for everyone!  Please plan to attend this fun event to provide an outreach to our shut-in friends and work with children.  Hope to see you there!   

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