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VBS! July 12-16, 2021 Register Here!

June 23, 2021

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We are thrilled that our annual daily Community VBS is back this year! Children 3 years of age through those who have just finished sixth grade are invited to join us for Discovery on Adventure Island VBS. We’ll explore Adventure Island each day from 9:00am until noon on our quest for God’s great Light! Please click on the link below to register online. We also welcome adults and teens who are interested in volunteering! Our Community VBS is being held at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ and is co-sponsored by St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church, Somerset Church of the Brethren, and St. Paul’s. VBS is free and open to all children! Please join us!

https://somersetcommunityvbs.mycokesburyvbs.com

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Worship Connection for June 20th

June 19, 2021

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The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, June 20, 2021

Father’s Day

Call to Worship & Welcoming Children Rev. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi One: It’s awesome when all of the people live together in unity!

All: When waters are rough, we hold each other tightly. When the sea begins to swallow us, we hold each other tightly and call on God.
One: But we also need God and each other when there are no looming waves.
All: We can splash and play in the shallow end and venture into deeper waters with trusted friends.

Delighting in refreshing currents of community and savoring each burst of laughter, let’s invite others to join in the fun!

*Opening Hymn “God of Grace and God of Glory” #464

*The Greeting
Call to Confession Rev. J. M. Deal
One: Let us as the children of God offer up our confession for the wrongs that we have done and the good we have left undone. Let us pray.

The Prayer of Confession Rev. J. M. Deal

Holy God, we admit that we often like to do things our own way. Some of us want to fit in with the crowd, and adhere to the demands of culture, while others pursue happiness without thinking of others. Forgive us when we forget to search for your will for our lives. Help us to experience the Body of Christ in such a way that we discover new brothers and sisters. Open us to their wisdom, so that your church may flourish and others may come to know the saving power of your fellowship. In Christ we pray. Amen.

a time for personal reflection and confession

Kyrie

Words of Assurance Rev. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi
One: God’s grace washes upon the turbulent shores of our lives; and we are forgiven to begin again to live at peace with ourselves and others, with Christ and creation, allowing justice and love to flow freely through our lives.

The Gloria Patri

The Passing of the Peace
L: May the Peace of Christ be with you.

All: And also with you.

Scriptures Mark 4:35-41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”page3image23370304page3image23376256page3image23366656page3image23378560

The Sermon “Just As He Was”

The Pastoral Prayer
Prayer Response

Invitation to the Offering *The Doxology

*The Prayer of Dedication Rev. J. M. Deal
We dedicate to you, Most Holy God, our tithes and offerings. Consecrate our gifts so that they may continue Christ’s saving work. Challenge us through the Holy Spirit’s council to open our whole lives up to you, so that all that we have and all that we are may serve Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.

The Prayer of Our Savior

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Father’s Day Blessing

All: Holy God, may your blessing be upon all families this day. Whether our family is large or small, biological or chosen, may your Holy Spirit embrace the relationships we hold dear. On this Father’s Day, may you guide and protect parents and children. Grant them wisdom and patience as they live and grow together as your children. May your love inspire us to care for all of your children. Amen.

Closing Hymn: “How Firm a Foundation” #618

*The Benediction

“Go forth into the world to serve God with gladness; be of good courage; hold fast to that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honor all people; love and serve God, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

And may the blessing of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit remain with you forever. Amen.

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Matt’s Musing

June 19, 2021

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Dear St. Paul’s Friends & Family,

The sinking feeling of “going it alone” can quickly set in when life isn’t going well, or things aren’t going as we’ve planned.  Feelings of loneliness or abandonment often leads us down the dark path where we are welcomed by anxiety, anger, despair, and other life-consuming emotional beasts that can lurk in the inner shadows of our being.  As one faithful church member has reminded me on more than one occasion, “We’ve never been promised a rose garden!”  Adversity happens as life’s storms arise on the horizon.  But one thing that we never are, is alone.

God has created us for community.  We are surrounded by relationships: family, friends, acquaintances, the church, and even strangers who are with us on life’s journey.  Their presence can be like manna in the desert during those times of adversity, nourishing us in spirit and in action and never leaving us alone.  The disciples in today’s reading were not alone in that storm tossed boat.  They were together and most importantly, Jesus was right there with them.  He was sleeping like a baby being rocked in the cradle as his boat churned in the angry sea.  In terror and in need of a miracle, the disciples awaken him.  Jesus calmed the storm even as he seemed more annoyed at being awakened than relieved that they were saved.  

Faith is not so much about belief as it is the knowledge that we can trust someone and depend upon them.  Once Jesus calmed the storm, he wondered why the disciples were afraid.  He doesn’t wait for their reply, but wonders aloud, “Have you still no faith?”  Despite Jesus being beside them in the boat with them, his traveling companions still doubted that he would save them.

We could be excused for having a similar slip of faith, after all, Jesus isn’t physically right beside us. We could be justified in feeling fearful and alone.  However, God’s story doesn’t end with Jesus and the disciples in a boat.  Christ promised us life-long companionship with the Holy Spirit. In other words, we are never alone because God is always with us.  As the storms of life buffet our personal boats of predictability and stability, have faith that you can call upon God and that God is by your side.  Just as surely as you can trust in God, God also has faith in you!  May this interplay of faith draw you closer to God and to your fellow sojourners in faith.

Peace, 

Pastor Matt

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Worshipping at St. Paul’s: Updated Guidelines

May 15, 2021

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Church Council Updates Masking Guidelines for Gathered Worship

Our congregation is composed of diverse groups of people: young children and elders, those who have robust health and those who are vulnerable, and the vaccinated and
unvaccinated. Church Council considered the new CDC masking guidelines, advice from local physicians, and feedback from members as they adopted new guidelines for our congregation. In keeping with the CDC’s advice, those who are vaccinated are not asked to mask while attending services and events at the church. Per CDC guidance, those who are not vaccinated are advised to wear a mask when indoors. Masks will be required for all unvaccinated children who choose to attend Children’s Church and play group. All worshippers are invited to discern how they feel led to care for themselves and each other as they attend events, meetings, and services at the church. Disposable masks will continue to be available at the entry doors to the sanctuary for those who are not vaccinated or for those who desire a mask.

Children will begin worship with their families in the Sanctuary and will be invited to join Children’s Church in Fellowship Hall following the Call to Worship. They can be picked up in Fellowship Hall following worship.

Here are our worship opportunities for the week ahead:

Gathered Worship in the Sanctuary at 9:30am.   

Online Worship at 9:30am on Facebook and YouTube.

Telephone Worship at 11:00am.For telephone worshippers: the toll-free conference call number is 1-844-855-4444.  The automated service will then ask for your access code or PIN.  Please enter: 512013#.

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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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