News 04/03/2020

 

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In case you missed it: 

Click here for the April 5th Palm Sunday Service (please see the bulletin, below) 

Click here for the March 29th Worship Service 

Click here for  the March 22nd Worship Service

WAVING FROM A DISTANCE

Jesus’ last week of earthly life starts with a protest. A crowd of the overlooked—the sick, the ostracized, the homeless, the unfashionable—marches on Jerusalem in a prophetic parody of an imperial procession. They come proclaiming something threatening, something other than oppressive hierarchy: the Kingdom of God. We as disciples, generational stragglers at the back of that crowd, celebrate their announcement and raise our voices in assent each Palm Sunday, carrying on their radical legacy.

 

But we’re inside, separate, gathering only virtually. The embodied reality of the crowd that we echo every year is not possible. What does it mean for us, as Christians, to join with the saints in calling for God’s kingdom when every activist is now an armchair activist? We’ll explore this question and celebrate Christ’s triumphal entry this Sunday via virtual worship. — Wesley 

 

If you have a prayer request you would like Rev. Wesley to include in the pastoral prayer request during worship this weekend, please send him an email at: [email protected].

COMMUNION ELEMENTS

Holy Communion will be “served“ during our online worship service this Sunday, April 5th. Each worshipping participant is asked to supply his/her own bread and wine from the bounty of their own home. Because bread comes in so many forms, the Pastors encourage you to use what you have in your cupboard or pantry — a small piece of bread, an oyster cracker, leftover toast from breakfast.

 

For the wine, your choices are broader —- grape juice, fruit juice, lemonade, and of course the real thing.

 

Whatever we use this Sunday for Holy Communion, we come together in the hope that the act of communally remembering the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ will find us strengthened as we gather in our homes. 

 

May our faith unite us as we partake of this sacramental meal.

FOLLOW THE APRIL 5th WORSHIP WITH THE BULLETIN BELOW

Click here at 10am on Sunday then click on the April 5th video to participate in the service
Christians traditionally wave palm branches on Palm Sunday to remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week. At FMCUCC we parade around the sanctuary singing “Hosannas” as we, too, wave palm branches cut from our own property. The scene this year will be more subdued as our service will be online. The palm branch to the left is presented to replicate the waving of a real palm branch.You may refer to it at the appropriate time in the service. 

PALM SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE 

Prelude
Welcome – Pastor Wesley Snedeker
Call to Worship – Pastor Wesley Snedeker
Give thanks to the LORD, for God is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever!
Open to us the gates of righteousness, that we may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.
In God, our salvation is assured.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. Amen
Invocation – Pastor Wesley Snedeker
All encompassing God, the scriptures tell us that we are never separate from your love. As we gather for worship in your presence this morning, embolden us with that conviction and aide us in discerning from that love your will in our lives. May we always remember that we are not alone on our journey of faith but rather one of many who join Jesus’s parade into Jerusalem. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Music
Children’s Sermon – Pastor Wesley Snedeker
Scriptures – Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Matthew 21:1-11
Sermon – “Waving from a Distance”
Prayer – Pastor Wesley Snedeker
Offering Invitation
Offertory
Pastoral Prayer – Pastor Wesley Snedeker (with silent prayer and Lord’s Prayer)
Holy Communion
Unison Communion Affirmations of Faith
I believe that bread comes from grain that grows in the wind and the rain with
the farmer’s help far from the eyes of city folk.
I believe that bread comes from the love of God, the love of the farmer, the
love of the baker’s hands, the love of those who bring it to me.
I believe that bread can be and should be broken and shared and given to all
persons until all have enough and then some.
I believe that Jesus loved bread and took it and broke it and blessed it and
fed his disciples and asked them to feed us forever.
I believe enough in bread to want it from Jesus, to want it to nurture me, to
want his life through it, to want to give life through it.
I believe that his body, as bread, feeds me, and as part of his body, I want to
be bread for others.
I believe the Spirit will help me as well as Jesus’ people. Amen.
Sharing of the Elements
Giving Thanks
All: Lord, you now have set your servants free to go in peace as you have promised. For these eyes of ours have seen the Savior whom you have prepared for all the world to see! Blessing and honor and glory are yours, now and forever.
One: You have seen the Savior. Go now in peace. And the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, go with you.
All: Amen
Postlude

A WORD FROM OUR OUTGOING MODERATOR

Greetings Everyone,

I hope you and your family and friends are well, and that you are weathering the stay-at-home order in as best a way as you can.

 

On Sunday, March 15, Pastor Dave and I addressed the congregation during service about our plans to shut down our building and said that we would revisit that plan the week of March 30. Well…..here we are. The new guidelines, and now directive from the Governor, are to stay home until April 30. So, we will not have our Congregational Meeting on April 19. The date for the meeting is to be determined.

 

However, your pastors, council, boards, and committees have been working hard through this time to keep our church going. (Learning Zoom has been a challenge, but we have overcome!)
I polled our Council about whether we (the Council) should vote in the new slate of officers, board, and committee members, and their answer was yes. So,………………….

 

WE HAVE A NEW MODERATOR AND VICE MODERATOR! Congratulations to Jeff Trout, our new Moderator and to Carolyn Martin, Vice Moderator. If you were nominated to be on a board or committee, congratulations to you, too.

 

We still have to tackle the new budget. The Finance Board has been working hard to form our new budget. That will be coming in the next few weeks. The most important thing I can ask you is to keep sending in your pledges either my mail or by clicking the DONATE button on our website.

 

It has been a pleasure and a challenge to be your Moderator this past year. What started off as an early surprise has ended in an even bigger surprise than I could have ever imagined. One thing is for sure…..I really know how to make an entrance and exit. 😊

 

I am in awe of what each and every one of you do for our church. No task is more important than another. It’s YOU that have made the difference for us and YOU who will continue to keep FMCUCC going. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication.

 

Thank you to all of you!

 

Marianne Dent
Not The Moderator Anymore

30 PIECES OF SILVER

Sunday, Mar. 1st, worshippers were given a small hand-sewn cloth bag. The cloth bags are used to collect coins (30 pieces of silver) to allow participants inside the mind of Judas as he contemplated his misgivings about Jesus. On Palm Sunday (4/5) and Maundy Thursday (4/9), participants can mail their bags to the church as a means of admission of our own betrayal of Jesus. Some have put nickels, dimes and/or quarters in their bags. Others have opted for a more adventurous “betrayal.” Even John F. Kennedy half dollars and Susan B. Anthony dollars and an occasional Sacagawea dollar have made their way to the chancel. Many have returned their bags and contributions by mailing them into the church. Thanks you for participating.

PLEDGE CARDS

As we continue to forge through these new obstacles, we know that some of you have not had a chance to return your pledge card. The Fiance Board is working to have a completed budge and needs to make sure your pledge has been counted.

 

If you haven’t had the chance to send it in and would like to, click here to get a new pledge card that you can print out at home and mail in.

 

Thank you to everyone who has already returned your pledge cards and for everyone faithfully helping our mission continue.

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS

Over the duration of our social (but not spiritual) distancing, I invite you to email your photos to me at [email protected] or [email protected]

 

We have received some photos and are thrilled to be able to put them up in the Sanctuary but we would love to get more. If you have not had the chance to send one in, please email one today. It doesn’t have to be a formal photo, a selfie works great!

 

Each day I will set aside time to pray for each person included in the March 20, 2020, Church Directory sent as a separate email. You are invited as well to take the new directory and pray for those you know AND those you do not.

 

A lot has been made of social separation in recent days. As we pray for each other and contact each other via phone, text, and email, may we strive to be closer spiritually as well as on social media. — Dave

SILVER LINING

Do you have an uplifting story or activity that you want to share with others. giving inspiration in this stressful time, help let others know we can still find joy even in the darkness. Send your information to Lisa, the Office Manager, at [email protected].
Stay safe and healthy!
Some examples we have gotten back include:
  • Cleaning Closets
  • Baking – some alone and some with family
  • Making things – for others to brighten their days
  • Online Video chatting
  • Celebrating birthdays online
  • Having a party on line or just visiting with others we can’t see in person.
  • Games you can play while video chatting that some of our members are playing:
  • Read my lips – One person in the chat will read a sentence from a book, meanwhile the others in they party mute their sound and write down what they think was read. Then each person takes turns reading what they wrote down. Closest to the sentence wins. This can produce some hilarious responses.
  • A scavenger hunt – Text a list to all at the party. Once everyone receives the list, everyone has 5 minutes to collect as many things as they can on the list. Prizes can be whatever you want.

NOW MORE THAN EVER, YOUR STEWARDSHIP IS IMPORTANT

Fort Myers Congregational UCC is accepting your tithes and offerings via our website. Simply go to FMCUCC.org and find the word “DONATE” prominently displayed on the main page. See the example above.

 

Your donation will be processed by PayPal or Tithe.ly as a safe and secure way to underwrite the expenses of our vital ministries. Or if you prefer, you may mail your offering in the convenient, pre-addressed envelopes you use every week. Don’t forget to mail in your pledge cards if you haven’t already.

 

Don’t have giving envelopes? Place your check in any envelope and mail it to FMCUCC. That way you’ll be participating in your church’s vital ministries during our time apart.

 

Remeber: When You Give ONLINE Through tithe.ly You Can “Cover the Cost“ of the fees and save the church about $2.50 when you donate $100.00. That’s good Stewardship!
Click on the logos below to make a donation

Or, if you prefer, please mail your donation to the church

Fort Myers Congregational
United Church of Christ
8210 College Parkway
Fort Myers, Florida 33919

SUNDAY SERVICES ARE LIVE STREAMING

You may watch our Sunday April 5th worship services on our YouTube Channel.

Click here to go to our YouTube channel. Click on the April 5th video to participate in the service.

 

We intend to have additional features in the future beyond the worship services. We will have educational classes and other information for members and friends.

AN ALTERNATIVE TO PayPal

Tithe.ly is an online giving service designed especially for churches. See “Donate” on the home page of our website.

5 REASONS TO USE TITHE.LY FOR OUR GIVING

  1. It’s good stewardship! Saves time, resources, money. With Tithe.ly givers can even cover the small service fee so our entire tithe goes to the work of the church!
  2. To make it EASY to share our abundance! Even if we miss a Sunday (or are isolating), on Tithe.ly we can set up automatic weekly or monthly offerings as an automatic deduction from our bank account OR from our credit card.
  3. To make giving an easier habit and attract younger folks to become our next generation of givers.
  4. Tithe.ly makes it simple for Visitors and Guests to participate in giving! Tithe.ly is a free app for our phones. There will be pew cards with a QR code to download it instantly, and the GPS will ID FMCUCC by location. It will fill in everything but the amount!
  5. Because when we travel or return to our summer homes, we want to continue to support the important 24/7/366 work of FMCUCC! Tithe.ly makes this SIMPLE!

Nancy Chorpenning, for the Stewardship Committee

5 WAYS TO CELEBRATE EARTH DAY

Love, care, action—it’s what the world needs right now. Even in uncertain times, each one of us seeks ways to make a difference and help others. Be a part of healing the planet. Participate in one of five ways to honor and celebrate this historic 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

 

5 Ways to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

  1. Help our denomination plant 50,000 trees! Have a tree planted for $1 in a National Park or support one of our Global Mission Partners in planting trees. Options abound in this 3 Great Loves campaign!
  2. Order your copy of Cathedral on Fire!: A Church Handbook for the Climate Crisis by Brooks Berndt, the UCC’s Minister for Environmental Justice. Stay tuned for details about an online book group!
  3. Prepare for Earth Sunday with a terrific resource entitled “The Fierce Urgency of Now.” It was written in collaboration with Creation Justice Ministries and includes resources for preaching and worship.
  4. Protect communities and children from harmful toxic pollutants. The UCC’s new report “Breath to the People”: Sacred Air and Toxic Air Pollution comes with an advocacy toolkit and an action alert for urging much needed legislation.
  5. On Earth Day, watch one of the foremost leaders of the environmental justice movement deliver an online address. The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, who coined the phrase “environmental racism,” will present in a webinar. Register now!

Join with others. Make a difference. You are needed!

Plant a Tree!

MAKING SOME MASKS

Are you looking for ways to help? You can help out by sending your pipe cleaners to one of our resident sewing experts. Carolyn Martin is in the process of making masks for our local health care workers. She has most of the supplies to make the masks but is in need of pipe cleaners to finish them. If you would like to contribute to this project, please mail them to her at: Carolyn Martin, 619 SW 39th Ter, Cape Coral, FL 33914 Thank you in advance for helping out. 

PRAYER CHAIN

Would you be willing to take a few minutes to pray for people during the week? We have a group who is praying for those who have needs, be it health/medical, a family member, a neighbor or a friend. God knows the needs of those we lift in prayer to him. Cheryl Frank will accept the information and then email the request out to those who are willing to pray. If you would like to join the group who are praying, please email her with your contact information. If you have someone who would like prayer for their situation, please email her: [email protected]

STAYING CONNECTED WITH OTHERS IN OUR CONFERENCE

Here is the link to the April/May issue of Celebrate Florida: Click here to see what other UCC Churches are doing. See if you can locate where our FMCUCC family is featured.

ANNUAL MEETING – NEW DATE: April 19th

The 2020 Fort Myers Congregational UCC Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, April 19th immediately following Sunday worship service. The purpose of this meeting is to accept the Annual Reports of the Officers, Boards, Committees and other working groups, to accept the budget for the coming year as presented to this meeting, to elect a slate of officers and Board/Committee members, and to take up any business which may be rightfully initiated from the floor. Respectfully submitted, Susan Randall, Clerk. Please note that the meeting is open to all. Members will be able to vote on all matters. 

THE COMFORT AND BLESSING OF A PRAYER SHAWL

If you know someone who would benefit from the comfort and blessing of a prayer shawl, please don’t hesitate to let me know and you can present it to a loved one yourself. If you would like to create and donate a shawl, we can provide printed instructions and yarn. Of course you can always use your own pattern and yarn if you would prefer! In God’s service, Kris Hurren [email protected] 239-565-4289

WITNESS FOR PEACE DELEGATION TO COLOMBIA, JUNE 2020

Lyn Clark Pegg will be leading a delegation to Bogota, Colombia on June 13-23, to strengthen solidarity with our partners and to learn how our continuing presence supports their efforts for a sustainable and peaceful future. Our solidarity matters!
Contact Lyn Clark Pegg ([email protected], 218-348-3048) for more information; see Facebook posting, Click here – Witness for Peace

RADICAL HOSPITALITY

Are you interested in helping serve the FMCUCC community by being a welcoming face before guests enter the sanctuary? Please consider serving at the Welcome Center desk or as a door opener once a month. See the sign-up sheets in the Fellowship Hall to indicate your desire.

BODY PARTS

“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) Paul uses the metaphor of a human body to explain how Christians are to work together to be the body (and message) of Jesus in the world. There are lots of parts needed to make a body function. So too with the church. So what part are you? Please take some time to review the ministry opportunities and see all the different parts that are needed to make the church function. Prayerfully consider stepping out in faith and/or stepping up to leadership. Maybe your part is to host a coffee hour, or volunteer to usher. Maybe even join a committee. What part are you? Think about it.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

We have many volunteer opportunities available to assist with various aspects of our Sunday worship services and around the church. Please consider signing up for one of these important jobs. Sign-up sheets can be found on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall or send an email to Lisa Riehl, [email protected], and let her know what you are interested in doing. Thanks in advance for helping make our church so great!

THE BOARD OF DEACONS NEEDS YOUR HELP

Did Joan go on the around the world cruise she’s been planning these past several months? Do you know whether Harold is recuperating at his daughter’s home in Wisconsin? And how about Marie – she’s usually back in Fort Myers for the season by now, have you heard from her? Oftentimes, the Board of Deacons and the church staff know when a church member is homebound locally, and keep tabs on him or her. However, we aren’t always informed by family members or caretakers when a member has prolonged health issues making it difficult for them to attend church functions. Here’s where the members of the congregation can help out. If you are aware of a member that is homebound, or have noticed a member’s prolonged absence but haven’t heard it announced at church, please bring it to the attention of one of the deacons or the church office. Most times we are aware of the members who are homebound locally, but we don’t want to overlook anyone.

NEED TO REACH US?

Rev. David Bucey – [email protected] – 513-535-2121
Rev. Wesley Snedeker – [email protected] – 239-297-1586
Church Office – [email protected] – 239-482-3133

    

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