News 04/10/2020


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Click here on Sunday, April 12th, to find the Easter Worship Service at 10am

In case you missed it: 

Click here for the April 5th Palm Sunday Service  

Click here for the March 29th Worship Service 

Click here for  the March 22nd Worship Service



John 19:16B-42


So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.”  And that is what the soldiers did.


Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.


After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”


After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.




It is a core Christian conviction that one who bore the fully realized presence of God was reduced to an object of ridicule, torture, and death.


This trauma lurks at the center of the Christian faith, it invites deeply unsettling questions about the nature of discipleship, and it generates the central paradox of Christian living. God died. God died horribly. As followers, imitators, understudies of Christ—people who have volunteered to take Christ’s work on—what is our relationship to mortality and martyrdom? In the face of the structures of injustice that sought to do away with Jesus, are we supposed to die horribly, too? And what, in terms of reverence and worship, does it mean for Christ to be so thoroughly abused?


These are questions too broad to be answerable in a devotional, but the irony of the execution of the Divine and the fact of Christ’s embodiment seems especially urgent in these trying times. And so the physical Jesus’ oneness with us material creatures, the puzzlement of his weakness and perishing, deserves some reflection.


There is an important link between the healing ministry of Jesus and the redemptive moment of the cross (here I am drawing from Theodore W. Jennings Jr.’s Transforming Atonement). Jesus’ earthly ministry was one that annihilated cultic and physical boundaries between the clean and unclean, rich and poor, sick and well. Jesus violated cultural and religious directives about associating with unclean people. He worked a ministry of materiality that created better conditions for suffering people physically (not just metaphysically). He invited work with and about bodies into the history of redemption, not shaming them for their ailments or explaining them away, but working directly for their fulfillment and healing. On the cross, an instrument designed to dehumanize by reducing people to mere flesh, the glory of God manifest in Jesus takes on that suffering and, in ways so confounding that we’re still arguing about it, does not transcend the fact of his embodiment. He receives the shame of the humiliated, the violence of the oppressed, the vulnerability of the injured, and in doing so recognizes their dignity and affirms their ultimate worth. By being reduced to mere body, the Divine asserts the entitlement of bodies to reverence and care. Jesus erases taboos. Jesus finally and completely proclaims that there is a physical and material character to redemption, one exhibited by his healing and solidified by his death.


On the cross, Jesus joins in solidarity all those who have been reduced by the powerful merely to their bodies. Today, Jesus suffers and dies alongside all them anew. Jesus is present with and bears burdens alongside all those who are battling COVID-19, all those who are needlessly dying because the powerful do not think that stable and affordable healthcare is a valid priority, all those who are without proper shelter or financial resources, all those who are working overtime in high-risk positions, all those who are trapped inside with abusive partners or parents. In Christ’s subversion of glory we know that the at-risk and the vulnerable or joined by God over and against the powerful. In Christ’s destruction of boundaries we know that our working for them (even passively through recognizing truth and taking adequate health precautions) is an essential task of discipleship. In Christ’s mission of healing we know that their physical (not just spiritual) redemption is our priority.


Christ joins us in radical solidarity by taking our vulnerability onto himself and ultimately promising transformation and redemption not in spite of it but within it. Today, we are exposed to sickness and pain. The cross shows us that our physical vulnerability is not a problem but an ordained reality and a transformative possibility, that our materiality matters. We deserve care, safety, and peace, and we will continue to work for it not apart from reality but because of the reality of Christ.


If you are mourning a loved one, know that Christ mourns with you. If you are battling illness of any kind, know that Christ battles it, too. If you are doing the work of healing, know that it is of ultimate significance. And if your corporeal self is placed at risk because of the avarice or hubris of those with more comfort or power than you, know that the Christ of the cross exposes the fallacy of exploitation and promises a new world is coming.


A Prayer


Redeeming God, in Christ you make your ultimate concern for us known—not because of what we could be, but because of what we are. Fortify our hearts in this difficult time. Join us in our struggles and mourning. Enlighten us as we once again explore the troubling mystery of the cross. In the name of Jesus, our leader, savior, and brother we pray. Amen. — Rev. Wesley Snedeker


John 20:1-18

In reading from John’s Gospel for the Easter sermon, I am struck by John’s understanding of the perfect purveyor of the message.


Ladies, an interesting thought: Jesus chooses a woman, Mary Magdalene, to take the first news of the resurrection back to the other disciples.


This is a good moment to consider the fact that, in all four Gospels, Jesus entrusted such marvelous news and responsibility to a woman, of all people. This charge is both remarkable and ironic, given the lamentable status of women in communities of faith then, and frankly, ever since, despite Mary’s faithful abiding, and her witness to the rest.


And that’s not the only marvel, for Jesus talks with Mary “in the garden,” alone, as one single man, to one single woman, a quietly intimate, heartfelt conversation. If we stop to think about it for a minute, not as 21st-century readers who have experienced at least a measure of progress for women, we realize that this intimate conversation, in a very secluded place, must have shocked John’s earliest audience.


At this crucial moment in the Gospel story, in salvation history, a woman, Mary Magdalene, represents that bright thread of hope that runs through the Scriptures like a vein of indestructible gold: God’s trust of the small ones, the ones on the margins, the ones without voice, the prophets whom God lifts up to shine like the sun.


When we gather to celebrate the Resurrection this Sunday, let’s marvel at not only the story, but John’s recollection of Mary Magdalene as the perfect apostle to carry the first resurrection message.


Join me, won’t you? — Dave

Click here on Sunday, April 12th,

to watch the service on our

YouTube channel.


A SERVICE FOR Easter Sunday

April 12, 2020

Welcome and Announcements


Passing of the Peace


Call to Celebration


We come to this place, seeking Jesus in the familiar story of our faith.


Do not meet us only here, O Living Christ, but surprise us with Resurrection power in all the places of our lives!


We gather together to sing and pray the story we know by heart, a story of loving triumph and powerful grace.


This story of “Alleluia!” means great joy for the One who lives and the ones who witness to this new life in all the places of our lives!


We rejoice and thank you for the life of your son, resurrected by the power of your loving, vibrant Spirit.


Let this same Spirit fill all the places of our lives, that we may know the truth of resurrection for the rest of our lives!


We join our hearts in song and sing “Alleluia! Gracious Jesus!” for Christ is living and so are we!


Alleluia indeed!


Unison Prayer of Invocation

Good News God, your angels appeared to the faithful women of Jesus’ company, bringing them news more wonderful and awe-inspiring than they could imagine –


Christ is Risen!
Surely your angels can interrupt our lives, too,
breaking into our losses and sorrows
and offering a message of tremendous joy to change our lives!
Come this Easter morning, we pray,
and fill us with the joy of the women disciples,
the first witnesses to your resurrection,
that our lives may also be renewed in hope and glory.
Let us roll back the stone of the grave
and sing Alleluia once again!
In Christ we pray, Amen.


Gospel Scripture John 20:1-18


Message “In the Garden: then and now”


Offering Invitation

We are witnesses to the power of the Holy Spirit and the glory of God, and now we turn in thanksgiving to share the good news of forgiveness and grace to all the world. Let these our gifts be a living testimony to those who most need the healing grace of Christ this morning, cornerstones of faith and joy for the entire world.


Unison Offertory Prayer
O God, you have become our light and our salvation – let these gifts open the gates of joy to all who hunger and thirst for your holy presence on this and every day. May they bear the gifts of Alleluia which we hold so dear, and give away with great joy. We pray in the name of our Risen Savior, Jesus the Christ! Amen.


Prayers of the People


Silent Prayer


Lord’s Prayer


Benediction in Unison
Do not look for the risen Jesus here only, in the confines of our “Safer at Home” existence. We will seek the risen Jesus on the roads and in the streets, in all the pathways and byways of our lives. Do not seek comfort in the familiar, but dare to risk the unfamiliar. We know that Resurrection makes all things new! Do not cling to all the old, expected notions about God, Jesus, Spirit, but go forth and celebrate this truly new Good News. Because Christ lives, new possibilities are ever before us! Christ is Risen Indeed! Alleluia and Amen.


Greetings Church Family,

I am hoping that you are all doing the best you can while staying at home for the last several weeks.

As our former moderator stated in the newsletter last week, Florida is under the stay-at-home until April 30. In order to follow those guidelines, our Congregational Meeting has been postponed until that order has either expired or revisited before the 30th.

Much of the Church business is still being conducted through computer networking programs and emails. Be rest assured the work of your committees and boards is being done as best as possible.

The Finance Board continues to work on a new budget and will have met again via an online meeting by the time you receive this. I want to thank all of you for continuing to faithfully support our church through your offerings and donations. We have been truly blessed! Your generosity is amazing and very much appreciated.

To be honest, the next weeks and months are going to be challenging for us all. Not in my wildest dream could I ever imagine our country, or the world for that matter, would be faced with these circumstances. But, it is how we respond to these challenges that will make all the difference. Therefore, I ask for your prayers for not only me as your new moderator, but for our Pastors and all the new committee and board chairs and their members.

Yesterday I listened to a video and was moved at what was said at the closing:

“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.” – HRH, Queen Elizabeth II

My thanks and appreciation to you all,

Jeff Trout, Moderator


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 Finance 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.


Click on the card below to send your pledge information electronically to our Finance Coordinator, Laura Wunderly.


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


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


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


Depending upon which option you choose, your donation will be processed by PayPal or 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 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


Hi everyone,


I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy!


I’m just reaching out to let you know that, starting next Thursday (at our usual time of 6:00 pm), we’ll be offering youth group over zoom. While a remote session is no replacement for the real thing, it will still be nice to meet up online for fellowship, faith formation, and mutual support.


You can access the zoom meeting by clicking the link below around 6:00 pm next Thursday. Feel free to forward this email to your kids and anyone you’d like to invite. I’ll send out a reminder next week.


Wesley Snedeker is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: YOUTH GROUP 4/16

Time: Apr 16, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Click the link below to join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 903 416 253


Take care!


Rev. Wesley Snedeker — Community Minister


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!


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. 


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:


Many are out of work at this time and are having trouble meeting their financial obligations. The pastor has been busy helping those in need. Because of this, the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund is getting low. Please consider a gift to this fund. Thanks.


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.


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 239-565-4289


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 (, 218-348-3048) for more information; see Facebook posting, Click here – Witness for Peace


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.


“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.


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,, and let her know what you are interested in doing. Thanks in advance for helping make our church so great!


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.


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