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Sermons from St. Paul’s

December 5, 2017

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December 3, 2017:  “Like Clay”

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A Message from Pastor Matt

December 5, 2017

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Dear St. Paul’s Family,

Christmas Eve was always a special time for me when I was a teenager.  Christmas vacation had started and there’d be no more school for almost two weeks.  I’d get off the bus knowing the dual sweetness of early dismissal and the Snickers bar that my bus driver always gave me and my classmates for a Christmas present.  It wouldn’t take me long to change out of my school duds and into my work clothes.  There were still a few hours of work to be done before my family and I would go to church.

Once at church, the real fun began.  My brother and I would acolyte, lighting in perfect unison the twin candelabra.  We would then join mom and dad in the choir loft and help sing three or four anthems.  One of my favorite anthems was one that we did year after year.  When I got old enough, I had the honor of doing the solo that started off the piece.  I was so nervous the first time I did it that I spent most of the afternoon practicing it before a rather disinterested audience of barn cats and polite, cud-chewing heifers.

I was really excited about the solo, not so much because I got to sing it, but because of what it said:

No golden carriage,

No bright toy,

No snowy bunting for one small boy,

No crimson roses, no marble chair,

Only the starlight on shining hair.

Now looking back, some 20 years now, I have to admit that “No Golden Carriage” was a sentimental little Christmas anthem.  My affection for it goes beyond the misty memory of late-night Christmas Eves spent among cows and mangers.  Despite the excitement of helping dad deliver a calf after our candlelight service, the underlying message of the anthem cuts deep beneath my agrarian sensibilities.  The simply stated fact of the Christmas story is that Jesus was born in a very simple and even disarming way.  His birth was anything but usual.  Mary didn’t hear the soft murmuring voice of her mother or a Hebrew midwife encouraging her.  “Breathe dear, you’re doing fine…you’re doing fine, you’ll be done soon.”  Jesus would not have the benefit of his parents’ careful preparations for his coming, no lovingly crafted cradle by his carpenter father, no familiar surroundings that spoke of home, let alone, golden carriages and bright toys.

Jesus’ birth was risky even by first century standards.  Imagine a newborn being laid in a crude, but very useful feed trough.  When we read the Christmas story, we should be tipped off about the kind of man Jesus would become and the kind of Savior whom we worship.  In our culture where our success is often measured by our economic success, it’s no surprise that a happy holiday is contingent upon the success of Walmart and Macy’s, rather than embracing the fact that the Son of Man had no place to lay his head.  The strength of the dollar and the daily mood swings of the financial markets really do affect us, that has been made abundantly clear over the past few years.   The simple notion of Jesus, whom we are to celebrate each day, living from day-to-day on the provision of God and others seems strange, and almost unreasonable to us modern-day, 401k watching believers.

I have to admit that I struggle with how to make sense of the life I’m living in contrast to Jesus’ life.  I don’t advocate choosing poverty over possessions; no I’m not doing that.  Rather, I’m pondering my own faith and how I can live more simply.  God has blessed me, and many of you, with many wonderful things.  The bottom line is, how can we use those blessings to create more blessings, rather than be owned by the stuff that we seek to possess?  I have been praying on this question for quite some time and I don’t have clear answers, except to believe that my life would be simpler if I’d let go of some of my stuff and focus on what I really need to be happy.  Christmas presents won’t get it done.

The details of Jesus’ birth and life challenge me to look at my own life differently.  As Christmas closes in on us, it’s easy to get caught up in the festive busyness, the planning, buying, and fretting over the details of our holiday plans.  Jesus did not know these things on that very first Christmas.  No, the miracle of his birth was found in the simplicity of life itself.  Living life is what God calls us to do.  My Christmas wish for you is that you may live your life in simple abundance, knowing that the same God that breathed life into Jesus’ lungs breathes life into you.

May God bless you in your breathing and in simply being.

Merry Christmas!

­Pastor Matt

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Christmas Musical: December 16 & 17

November 27, 2017

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The Children’s & Youth Choirs will be presenting their annual Christmas Musical on Saturday, December 16th at 7:30pm and Sunday, December 17th at 9:30am in Fellowship Hall.

This year’s production is “All About That Baby.”  Please join us as this group of over 30 talented youth help us to celebrate the birth of Jesus!

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December News From St. Paul’s

November 26, 2017

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

Sunday, December 3rd:  Annual Congregational Meeting, following worship, Sanctuary

Monday, December 4th:  Family Fellowship Meal, Covered Dish Dinner, 6:00pm Fellowship Hall

Thursday, December 7th:  Care Team, 1:00pm, CE Room

Tuesday, December 12th:  Church Council, 7:00pm in the CE Room.  Newly elected Church Council members should plan to attend.

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 will meet on Saturday, November 18th at 8:00am at King’s Restaurant.  All men of the church are invited to attend!

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

A Thank You From the Salvation Army.  On behalf of the Salvation Army, I would like to thank everyone who helped to make our annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner a success.  Thanks to your help and support, we were able to serve over 260 meals.  –Pastor Matt

Humans and Angels

Those interested in being a 2018 Secret Angel should pick up and fill out a Secret Angel form from the table at the rear of the sanctuary.  The Secret Angel program is designed to give participants the opportunity to remember another member of the congregation throughout the year.  Secret Angels pray for each other, send cards, and generally keep each other in mind during the year.  After you have filled out the form, please put it in the Secret Angel box next to the forms in the back of the sanctuary.  The deadline is Sunday, January 14th.  

Christmas cookie sign up:  A sign-up sheet is on the table in the back of the Sanctuary for our annual Christmas Musical reception.  Please put your name on the sheet if you are able to provide some cookies!

 

Greeters & Ushers for December

December 3:  Communion By Intinction: Sue Willison–Chair, Helen Brown–Elder, Sienna Ash, Audrey Hay

December 10:  Barb Stutzman–Chair, Mike Stutzman, Suzy Housley, Luke Housley

December 17–Musical: Peg Roy—Chair, Craig Weaver, Denise Weaver, Isabel Shumaker

December 24—Sunday Morning: Jonathan Hillegas—Chair, Brody Hillegas, John Harris, Diane Harris

December 24–Christmas Eve, 4pm Service: TBD

December 24–Christmas Eve, 11pm Service: John Geary–Chair, Gary Cameron, Roger Rayman, Harold Weaver

December 31: Sally McClintock–Chair, Phyllis Moore, Kenny Shaffer, Donna Phillippi

Annual Congregational Meeting:  Members of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ will meet following worship on Sunday, December 3rd for their annual Congregational Meeting.  Agenda items include approval of the 2018 budget and the election of new council members.

St. Paul’s Chrismon Tree

A beautiful Chrismon tree adorns our sanctuary again this year, continuing a tradition started in 1978.  The tree is decorated with Chrismons, proclaiming our Lord Jesus Christ through the use of symbols, called Chrismons.  Each Chrismon presents a unique message; some are simple copies of Christian symbols used since the earliest days, and others are more recent presentations of God’s presence in our world.

All Chrismons are made in white and gold.  White is the liturgical color for Christmas and symbolizes Jesus’ purity and perfection; the gold color symbolizes the His majesty and glory.  The concept of Christ as the light of the world is evidenced by the tiny white lights on an evergreen tree; the tree evokes the eternal life which our Savior has secured for us.

As we continue the St. Paul’s Chrismon tree tradition, remember Ruth Shaffer who was one of three wonderful women who spent thousands of hours crafting these beautiful ornaments.  She has now joined Lorraine Gerhardt and Mildred Berkey, both who were instrumental in this project, in the church triumphant.

May you each be blessed with the love and joy and true meaning of Christmas, and may these symbols continually remind you of God’s greatest gift to us all, Jesus Christ.

Christmas Eve Worship Services

Two New Services for Christmas Eve, 2017  

We find ourselves in a somewhat unique situation in that Christmas Eve falls on Sunday this year.  The last time this happened was 2006.  That means that we will have three worship services on Christmas Eve.  Rather than cancelling the regular Sunday morning service, we will be offering a different kind of Christmas Eve service.  Instead of the usual pomp and pageantry of Christmas Eve (don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get that at the 4:00pm or 11:00pm services), we will be offering a contemplative service for those who experience the holiday season to be a trying time.  Commonly referred to as a “Blue Christmas Service,” this service will still focus on celebrating the birth of Christ, but doing so in the midst of challenging life situations such as grief, anxiety, unrealized hopes, economic hardships, and strained relationships.  Highlights of the service will include guided meditation, the Service of Healing and Anointing, and candlelight prayers.

“A Little Child Shall Lead Them” is the theme of this year’s 4:00pm Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols.  The service will be undergoing a major facelift this year as we make it more child and family friendly.  We will journey through scripture, learning about God’s saving work, while we sing carols and other songs to celebrate Jesus’ birth.  Children and youth will assist in leading the final two lessons as we mark the arrival of the Light of the World with a unique twist on the ancient tradition of lighting candles in celebration of the Light.  Kid-friendly lights will be shared with worshippers as we leave the sanctuary to spread the warm glow of Christ’s love in the world.

The Traditional Candlelight Service begins at 11:00pm.  Worshipers will experience the holy watching and waiting for the Light of the World to break forth as we celebrate Holy Communion and sing the great carols of the season.

Somerset Area Ministry Community Advent Service

The churches of our local ministerium will hold their annual weekly Advent service beginning on Wednesday, December 6th.  The services are held each Wednesday at 12:05pm at First United Methodist Church in Somerset.  A light lunch will follow each service at 12:30pm.

Christmas Family Fellowship Meal

Our annual Christmas Family Fellowship Potluck will be on Monday, December 4th at 6:00pm in Fellowship Hall.  Please bring your favorite covered dish, family, and friends!  The evening’s entertainment will be a local bell choir.

Visitation Program Announcement

One of the greatest gifts that you can give another person is the gift of your time.  Over the past year, a number of you have gone out and visited our homebound members.  These visits have become meaningful to both the visitor and the person being visited.

As the holiday season nears, the Spiritual Life and Evangelism Team invites you to become part of our visitation program.  Please speak with Amy Marteeny if you’d like visit one of our homebound members.  You will be paired up with another visitor and assigned a person to visit.  You will also be given a helpful hints to visitation sheet prior to doing your visit.  You may contact Amy by calling, 233-8781.

Here is a list of our homebound members:

Ray Baker, Roy Benson, Peg Case, Ruth Casleton, Beth Ann Glessner, George Male, Margaret Menser, Bernie Saylor, Hazel Sechler, Joan Snyder, Lou Sredy, and Mary Jane Stutzman

A Note from the Christian Education Committee… 

There will be no Church School on the following weekends:  November 25th & 26th (Thanksgiving), December 16th & 17th (Christmas Play Musical weekend), December 23rd & 24th (Christmas), and December 30th & 31st (New Year’s). All the classes will meet in the CE room on Sunday, December the 10th after Pause for Persons to package items for the St. Joseph’s Indian School. There will be no Saturday Church School that week. We will resume our regular Christian Education schedule on Saturday January  6th and Sunday January 7th, 2018.

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December’s Mission Offering is the Christmas Fund

November 26, 2017

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For 116 years, the Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund has been a tangible expression of God’s love. One of the four Special Mission Offerings of the United Church of Christ, the Christmas Fund provides UCC congregations and members an opportunity to reach out in loving compassion, providing assistance to those who have so faithfully served our Church and who now and themselves facing unexpected financial needs.

In 2016, UCC congregations and members generously contributed $1,562,260 to

the Offering. This enabled the Pension Boards’ Ministerial Assistance program to provide, on behalf of the whole Church, Pension Supplementation, Health Premium Supplementation, Emergency Grants, and Christmas “Thank You” Gift Checks to individuals and families in need.

The theme of the 2017 Christmas Fund Offering is Shepherding the Light, and our goal is to raise $1.7 million to help support these ministries of love and care. In the spirit of love, we invite and encourage you to prayerfully consider and support this year’s appeal, and to spread the word so that others will also join in this vital ministry.

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Winter at St. Paul’s!

November 22, 2017

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We have a long tradition of being open all the time!  Whether it is sheltering the homeless or for those who just need a place for some solitude, the church is always open.

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.

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Youth Group News!

October 12, 2017

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Here is an update on some of the upcoming youth activities that we discussed at our kickoff picnic last month.  More events may develop over the next month.

An important reminder:  Next Saturday, October 21 we will be going to Huston’s Haunted Hollow and return to the church for a lock-in.  We plan to carpool from the church, leaving at 6:30pm.  We’ll meet in the parking lot.  Feel free to bring your sleeping gear and any lock-in items and drop them off in Fellowship Hall before we leave for Huston’s.  The youth group will pick up half of your admission to Huston’s, so please bring $8 to give to Pastor Matt and spending money for the concession stand.  There is also a mission component to our lock-in, as we will be bagging pet food for the mobile food pantry.  So, if you are in need of community service hours for school, this would be a great opportunity to help yourself as you help others!

After the lock-in, we will go to church together and host Pause for Persons.  Friends are welcome to attend!

We also need some parents to help with the carpool to Huston’s and to help chaperon the lock-in.  Perhaps we could schedule shifts so that folks don’t have to stay all night.  Please let me know if you’re willing to help.

Please mark your calendars!

November’s events:  

Tuesday, November 21st:  Salvation Army Thanksgiving Dinner Prep:  1:30pm in the church kitchen.

Saturday, November 25th:  Salvation Army Kettle Bell Ringing at Walmart.  A sign-up sheet will be available shortly!

We need to come up with a date & place for a breakfast in November. Dates that work for me are November 9, 14, 15, 16.  Please let Pastor Matt know your preferences.

December’s events:

Sunday, December 3rd:  Christmas shopping for children in need (the Salvation Army Angel Tree program), following worship.  We will depart from the Edgewood Ave. Narthex.

Summer of 2018:  July 19-22 is the Regional Youth Event, California University of PA.  The estimated cost of the event is $375 per person and is open to youth in grades 7-12.  More details to come!  We’ll need to start fundraising for RYE this fall.

Unresolved Issue: Candy Making.  The youth group candy sale is one of our biggest fundraisers each year.  Over the years a number of parents and youth have helped to make it a big success.  This year we are in need of a family or families to coordinate the event.  While the results of the fundraiser are sweet, it also take a lot of hard work to make it a success, so even if we do get a coordinator, ALL of us will have to pitch in to make it happen!  Please contact Pastor Matt if you’d like to be the coordinator.  The candy is typically sold starting in late November and throughout December in time for Christmas.

Many thanks goes out to the Waggle, Hainzer, and Harris families for organizing past candy making fundraisers over the past decade.

 

 

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St. Paul’s Prayer Vigil Resources

April 13, 2017

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Thank you for joining our prayer vigil!  We hope that God will bless and guide you during your time a prayer and discernment.  You will find below resources to help you on the journey.  There are 8 gates to guide you on your way.  May God Bless and Keep You!

GATE 1- PRAISE & WORSHIP- HOLY GOD

Praise God for:

Revealing the Divine to us in Worship.

Revealing the Divine to us through God’s Spirit.

(You may pray a song from St. Paul’s hymnal or a Psalm 22, 23, 24, 139, 37)

Acknowledge God’s greatness and incomparable power.

(Deut. 4:39; Psalm 8:1; 83:18)

Worship God for his constancy.

(1Tim. 1:17; Rev. 1:5; Deut. 7:7-9; 1 Cor. 1:9)

Thank God for inviting us to pray and for God’s goodness and mercy.

(Rom.9: 14-18; Ps. 106; 1 Thess. 5:1)

Offer yourself to God.  Ask God to be with you during your prayer time.

“ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

Matt.11:28

“Lord, teach us to pray.”

Luke 11:1

Come be with me, Lord Jesus. 

 

GATE 2 – BLESSING ST. PAUL’S UCC

Ask God to reveal Christ’s will for St. Paul’s  (Gal.2:2;  Matt 16: 17-19) (See Prayer suggestion sheet-attached).

Ask God to bless the work of Christians so that they might give freely to those in need (Psalm 24:3-5)

Pray for wisdom, direction, blessing and protection for St. Paul’s UCC Teams  and Leaders:

St. Paul’s Church Council

President: Barb Stutzman

Vice President: Patrick Ferko

Secretary: Sally McClintock

Treasurer: Sue Willison

Trustees: Roger Rayman, Jonathan Hillegas, Craig Schenck

 Spiritual Life & Evangelism: Gary Cameron

Music and Worship: John Geary & Steve Addleman

Pastoral Relations: Patrick Ferko

Christian Education: Peg Roy

Stewardship: Sue Willison

Pray we understand God’s vision for  St. Paul’s Ministries:

St. Paul’s Youth

Women’s Fellowship

Men’s Brotherhood

Homeless

Confirmation

Visitation for homebound & sick

Capital Campaign     

Prayer Circle / Prayer List

Pause for Persons

HospitalityTeam

Members

Bible Brew

Pre-school & Nursery

Cornerstone–St. Paul’s newsletter  

CD Ministry

GATE 3 – WORSHIP / PASTOR

Eph. 1: 11-20  Jn.4:23  Ps. 95:6  Ps. 66:4

Give thanks for the opportunity and privilege to worship God.  Pray for your pastor and other pastors as they lead people in worship.  May they be a blessing to others and be protected.

 

Please pray for those who are engaged in our worship life as a church.

Pastor Matt and Amanda Deal

David Neimiller–Director of Music and Organist

Marcy Shellenberger–Children’s & Youth Choir Director

Eyvonne Shaffer–Accompanist for the Children’s & Youth Choir

Cindy Lambert–Administrative Assistant & Financial Secretary

Amy & Mark Marteeny–Custodians

Bill Deal–lay worship leaders and preachers

Westley Conn–Seminarian at Boston University School of Theology

The Chancel Choir

The Children’s & Youth Choir

GATE 4 – HEALING

Psalm 147:1-5,  Luke 9:1-6,  Isaiah 53:4-6

Pray that others may know Christ as their healer as well as their Savior. Pray for healing of relationships, physical healing, inner/emotional healing, and special needs (jobs, financial hardship) and deliverance from addictions.  Pray for those struggling to overcome sins that damage relationships.

Claim the promises of complete health and wholeness for any who are sick and suffering.  (Please feel free to refer to the April Prayer Concern List.  The list is updated monthly.)

Pray for recent families who grieve the loss of loved ones

Pray for our shut-ins

Pray for St. Paul’s members’ prayer requests

Pray for extended church family

Pray for St. Paul’s Visitation ministry to the Homebound & sick

Thank God for Lynn Shellenberger & Carole Wilson for coordinating our Care Team ministry and Prayer Circle/Prayer Concerns for the church.  We give thanks for Andra Snyder’s outreach ministry through weekly e-updates.  May God bless members of our Care Team:  Lyn and Carole, Marge Ankney, Nancy Thomas, and Hazel Sechler; and our Prayer Circle:  Lyn, Carole, Marge, Hazel, Martha Walker, and Helen Brown

 

GATE 5 – PERSONAL PRAYER GUIDE

Philippians 4: 4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always….Rejoice! Phil 4:4

 

Consider God’s goodness: Ps. 34:8, 37:3, 119:68.

Ponder God’s nurturing ways:  Jn. 5:17, 8:28, 10:30, 14:6, 14:9,

Sing praises to God:  Psalms 148, 150, 113:3, 117, 145:21.

Praise the name of the Lord.  Ps. 52:9

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil. 4:6.

Cast your cares on God. 1 Pet. 5:7, Phil. 4:19

Give thanks to the Lord.  Ps. 100.

Pray, petitioning the Lord accordingly

Count your blessings and answer to prayer. Matt.7:11

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Receive God’s peace.  Jn. 14:27

Consider God’s works. Ps. 8:3, 1 Sam. 12:24

Rebuke fear in Jesus’ name.  1 Jn. 4:18

Whatever is true, right, pure, lovely, and admirable-think about such things.  Phil. 4:8

 Receive God’s word. Ps. 119

Claim God’s wisdom. (one chapter of Proverbs per day).

Declare God’s power  (one chapter of Acts per day).

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Phil 4:23   

GATE  6 – FAMILY THANKSGIVING & BLESSING

Some things you may want to remember as you pray

  • Thank the Lord for working in your family
  • Pray for forgiveness and healing over past hurts
  • Pray for your children and their needs
  • Pray on behalf of your extended family. (Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents)
  • Pray for protection and blessings for families

Sunday School- Praise God for our Sunday School teachers & learners

Family Fellowship Dinners (June & December)- Thank God for the Women’s Fellowship for organizing these dinners.

Church Family Picnic- (August)- Pray for those organizing this family event.  Pray all who will attend–our church family, friends, & children

Mother-Daughter Tea-  Thank God for the volunteers who are organizing this event. Pray for the spiritual food & fellowship @ this celebration.

Quilters & Knotters Praise God for this women’s ministry @ St. Paul’s UCC.  Many people felt the warmth of the quilts & lap covers and many have been healed by the prayers of these women.

Card Ministries- Pray for Ruth Shaffer, Marge Ankney ‘s faithfulness in doing this important hospitality ministry.

Tuesday Morning Bible Study- Thank God for Pastor Matt’s teachings on the Scriptures.

St. Paul’s Community Garden- May God bless those who are planning this year’s garden and those who will take care of it.  Ask that God may use the fruits of our labors to bless the hungry in community.

St. Paul’s Youth Group- Ask God to bless the youth of our community and the members of our youth group.  May God expand our ministry to the youth in our community and help us to grow in faith.

Natural Church Development & Church Health Team-Pray that God may bless our congregation as we embark of the Natural Church Development process.  May God guide our church health team.

GATE 7 – WISDOM 

(CHRISTIAN EDUCATION & SCHOOLS)

COL. 2:3, JAMES 1:5, PROV. 24:3 

Pray that God may be with all educators.  Lift up by name the schools in our area. Pray that God may bless the staff, teachers, students, and administrators  the principals, teachers and administrators. (Tim. 1:8)

Pray for St. Paul’s Christian Education Team, Community Vacation Bible School, (See Prayer Requests). Pray for our Sunday School Teachers & Programs.

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION MINISTRIES/ YOUTH MINISTRIES

REACHING OUT: Community Vacation Bible School, Crop Walk, Heifer Project, Souper Bowl of Caring, Ronald McDonald House

BUILDING UP: Preschool and Nursery, Sunday School, Confirmation Class, Youth Group, Easter Sunrise Service, Church Library

SENDING FORTH: Camp Living Waters, Mid-Atlantic Regional Youth Event, Children & Youth Choirs

FUTURE MINISTRIES: Mission Trips & Teams, Children’s Ministries, Community Outreach

GATE 8 – MISSIONS / COMMUNITY / WORLD

Thank God for Stewardship Team: Chair, Evelyn Walters and members Peg Roy, Karen Gibson, and Lyn Shellenberger.  We give thanks for their organizing and coordinating local, regional, and global missions.  We pray for continued wisdom as they seek ways in which we may use our time, talents, and treasures to do God’s work in the world.

Please pray on behalf of our Missionaries and Global Ministries

  • Rev. Jeffrey Mensendiek and his family serving in Japan
  • Rev. Martha Mensendiek and her family serving in Japan
  • Our board of Global Ministries and the over 40 missionaries serving around the world

Our Mission Partners

The SAM Van

Church World Service Blankets

One Great Hour of Sharing

Hoffman Homes for Youth

St. Paul Homes

Living Waters

Our Church’s Wider Mission

The United Church of Christ

The Salvation Army

Habitat for Humanity

Lancaster Theological Seminary

The Next Step Center

Somerset Area Food Pantry

The Mobile Food Pantry

Somerset Area Ministry

Penn West Conference

Offer a prayer of confession for the sins that hurt our neighbor and grieve God.

“We confess to you, O God, the indifference that inflicts our society.  Forgive us for turning a blind eye toward the hungry, sick, and inflicted.  Help us to establish a more just society as we work to make educational opportunities available to all your children and incorporate the prisoner back into the fold of your people.  Forgive our greed and self-serving actions.  Help us to be generous as Christ our Savior is generous, so that others may have life through our life.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

We pray for our world:

    • The victims of terror attacks: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Paris, London, Africa, Yemen, and Egypt.
    • Pray for victims of violence and exploitation.
    • Sendai, Japan- Tsunami  families as they rebuild their lives.
    • The conflict between Ukraine and Russia.  May peace and justice prevail
    • Conflicts and war throughout the world.  May the Prince of Peace be known among Israelis and Palestinians, Afghans and Pakistanis, Syrians and the people of the Middle East.  May God be known in our community and homes.
    • Pray for peace and understanding between the United States and Russia
    • Pray for the millions of refugees who are fleeing war and famine.  May they find hospitality and a safe home away from home.
  • Conflicts and war throughout the world.  May the Prince of Peace be known among Israelis and Palestinians, Afghans and Pakistanis, Syrians and the people of the Middle East.  May God be known in our community and homes.
  • Pray for the un-churched and those hurt by churches.  Pray that St. Paul’s UCC would seek opportunities to minister with them.
  • Pray for those who have addictions and for those agencies treating them. Pray for police and law enforcement.  May their work help to free our community of drugs.
  • Pray that God may give wisdom to our civic leaders, especially, Local, State and Federal Government officials.
  • Pray for President Trump and Vice-President Pence, members of congress, and public servants.
  • Thank God for those in authority who honor God.
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Holy Week Services

April 7, 2017

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Holy Week (April 9-16) is a sacred time in the life of the church.  During the week we will come together for special worship opportunities.  I hope that you will join us during this holy time for worship, prayer, repentance, and praise of our risen Lord.

Maundy Thursday:  April 13, the service will begin at 7:00pm. We will commemorate the Lord’s Supper and celebrate with the children who will partake of their first Holy Communion.

Good Friday:  April 14, will be the traditional Tenebrae Service (Service of Darkness).  The Adult Sunday School Class will lead us in worship. Service begins at 7:00pm.

The Easter Sunrise Service:  Sunday, April 16, will be held in the Union Cemetery with a procession leaving the church at 6:30am. (weather permitting).  We will meet in the Edgewood Avenue Narthex.  The service will be followed by a breakfast served in the fellowship hall.  The service will be led by our Youth Group and Confirmation Class.

Easter Breakfast:  You are invited to join us for our annual Easter breakfast!  The breakfast will be in Fellowship Hall following the Easter Sunrise Service (around 7:30am).  Many thanks to the Men’s Brotherhood for sponsoring this wonderful event!

Easter Worship:  Begins at 9:30a.m. and will include the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

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Prayer Guide for St. Paul’s Prayer Vigil

April 7, 2017

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St. Paul’s United Church of Christ

24 Hour Prayer Vigil

Friday, April 14, 2017, 8:00PM – Saturday, April 15, 2017, 7:00 PM

PRAYER GUIDE

Take time to quiet yourself in God’s presence.

Take a few deep breaths and relax.  You may read some scripture verses to quiet your spirit or be silent.  Sometimes we cannot stop our thoughts.  Just let your thoughts go by or each time a thought comes lift it up in prayer.

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

Declare your desire to rely on God by asking God to be with you during this prayer time.

  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28 

“Teach me to pray.” Luke 11:1

or say the phrase:  “Come be with me Lord Jesus.”

 

Tell God your desires and needs and lift up specific prayer requests.

A. Pray for our Church

B. Pray for our Pastor and members of our church family.

C. Pray for your friends and your family.

D. Pray for yourself

E. Pray for our community

F.  Pray for the world.

Pray scripture as a Prayer of Adoration, Thanksgiving and Petition

Psalm 22, 23, 24,  Psalm 139,  Psalm 37,  Psalm 42,

Isaiah 53 (Good for this Easter Season), Jeremiah 14: (17-21), Psalm 63

Morning Prayers

Psalm 11, Psalm 15, Psalm 36, Psalm 57, Jeremiah 31:10-14,  Psalm100, Psalm 42, Psalm 43

Evening Prayers

Psalm 20, Psalm 4, Psalm 31, Psalm 134, Psalm 27 (1-6),

Colossians 1:12-20

Psalm 30,  Psalm 110,  I Peter 2: 21-24 (For Lent)

You may pray songs as Prayer of Praise, Petition, or Confession

“Have Thine Own Way Lord” #588,    “ Abide with Me” #636

“Amazing Grace” #546,   “The Old Rugged Cross”

Closing Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

Prayer of Gratitude to have this Time in Prayer

Remember there is no right or wrong way to pray. Praying is personal and communal.  We join with others to offer our prayers for the church, the community, and the world.    Some of us will come to God with burdens and requests, others will come with many praises, others will come in gratitude, and yet others will come with a repenting spirit.

Come as you are and pray for yourself and family, St. Paul’s UCC’s mission & ministry, Pastor Matt, and church family and friends, our community, the Church and the World.

 

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