Scripture Won’t Tell Us Who to Vote For…

September 20, 2018

Aug. 26, 2018 Sermon NVUCC

John Schwartz

Scripture passages

Luke 18: 31-42, 19:1-10

We have an election coming up. I’m paying attention to the issues that our country faces and the guidance that Scripture affords. Scripture won’t tell us who to vote for…. and neither will my sermon. Scripture will tell us what Jesus teaches that is important. That can be a guide.

There is a general theme in our country, now and for a number of years: “Gain as much money and power as you can and don’t think about who will get hurt.” Jesus praised a different point of view in Luke 19:1-10, the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus.

An important detail about the Gospels is that the stories are not necessarily in chronological order. The writers of the Gospels want to inform people about Jesus and his ministry and to convince the listener that Jesus is the bearer of God’s good news. So they’ve arranged the stories in ways that make the case to their particular audience. Maintaining an accurate chronology isn’t their goal. In fact, by the time the Gospel stories were written, decades after Jesus’ ministry, a complete chronology was likely lost.

It is often helpful in understanding the Gospel writer’s thinking, to look at what they put before, and sometimes after a particular story. In the lead-in to the Zacchaeus story, we learn that Jesus and his followers are on their way to Jerusalem for the confrontation with the religious authorities that will end in Jesus’ crucifixion. They were passing through Jericho on their way. Here’s what the author of Luke put together.

We hear of an un-named blind beggar who called to Jesus from the crowds along the way. Jesus asked the man “What do you want me to do for you?” The man said let me see again and Jesus restored his sight. The formerly blind man then followed Jesus and ‘glorified God’ to the people they met. Jesus’ question to the blind man: “What do you want me to do for you?” applies to us too. It’s worth a sermon by itself.

Then Luke introduces us to Zacchaeus.

In Jesus’ time, tax collectors, like Zacchaeus, had to raise the tax monies required by the Roman Empire directly from the people. Any money a tax collector raised beyond what was required by the Romans,  legally could be kept as their tax collector wages. It was an open invitation to abuse. Tax collectors became very wealthy. Using public office to enrich yourself isn’t a new thing.

From the story in Luke, Zacchaeus must have known about Jesus. When Zacchaeus heard Jesus would pass by, he climbed a tree to get a better view of the famous prophet. We often assume that Zachaeus was short and couldn’t see over the crowd, hence the tree climbing. However the language in Luke 19:3 is ambiguous as to who was short, Zacchaeus or Jesus.

In any case Jesus saw Zacchaeus up in the tree and called him to come down. Jesus then invited himself to dinner at Zacchaeus’ house. Zacchaeus’ response and Jesus comment are the center of the Zacchaeus story.

“Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’” This from the wealthy chief tax collector for the Roman Empire in Jericho. 

Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’”

The passages from Luke give us several things to use as guides:

A response from someone who has great material wealth:

“half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”

And the response from Jesus:

“Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

From the passage in Luke we see God’s vision of how those with great material wealth should treat those with little. And Jesus tells us of his ministry to his followers, and that includes us, “… to seek out and to save the lost..” That is for us and that is our role, with the help of the Holy Spirit, in our time and place.

Amen

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Thoughts on Science, Truth and the Bible

September 18, 2018

 

By Cathy Young

We have been bombarded with the elusive and fluid nature of what appear to be facts and the truth in news and reporting of current events . In news stories, it depends the version of the truth we hear greatly upon which source and platform we get our information from.  Did anyone see the coverage of Hurricane Florence, and the memes resulting from the reporter who was standing sturdily and mightily in the face of ferocious winds, trying to report on the catastrophe?  At least, that is how he presented himself on camera.  Eventually, as the report was in progress, two people went strolling by, casually, and effortlessly behind him.  These types of incidences, that cause us to question what truth is and what is fabrication, seem to be more frequent and in our face in this era of “fake news.”  I don’t know about you, but I find myself being rattled by the idea that what I see plainly as fact, another person sees as an “opinion” that can be questioned.

Concurrently, people are also seeking authenticity in their lives. Their journey and search for faith and meaning takes them in many different directions..  It seems that the exploration takes people to many places from yoga, to various meditation techniques, and beyond…. But rarely to church.   And I thought about that for a while.  There are a lot of motives and explanations for why that is.  Most recent studies and polls list a variety of reasons, including-“church and teachings from what I encounter seem rather shallow” , “the people are hypocritical”, and “the church is not a safe place to express doubts”, but the number one reason seems at this moment in time to be “the church seems to reject much of what science tells us about the world”, and a sizable percentage of people believe that science is in conflict with much of the Bible.
And when the subject of religion comes around and science comes up, it is no secret that there is uncomfortableness.  I grew up Catholic, and science and religion were never mutually exclusive in my house. I was wondering recently how many people find that their knowledge of science and the Bible conflict? Are there any scientists out there?  I don’t know if many of you know this about me, but my training and education is in microbiology, and more specifically, bacteriology, which is a specific subset of microbes.  I studied back in the 1980’s time frame, and at the time, The University where I went was very current in my field.  Now as I look back, I am amazed at how much of what I learned back in the 1980’s has been refined and rewritten.

Let’s look at how our understanding of the world has changed in the last few hundred years.  Remember when we thought the sun revolved around the earth? Or that the world was flat?  These ideas reflect what was once thought of as TRUTH and reflects the evolution of science.

This brings me to the Bible.  I like to compare our evolving understanding of science in the world to our evolving understanding of the Bible.  Some believe the Bible is inerrant.  Some think that to allow for any “error” in the Bible, so the inerrantists claim, you might not be able to trust any of it? The answer to this challenging question can be quite simple ….Faith and the idea that God is still speaking and his truths are continually being revealed to us.  We are all on that journey of faith, and we are all on different parts of our journey.  I want to tell any of you reading or listening to this that you are always welcome here, no matter where you are on your journey.

I believe and propose to you that There is a Beauty of God in Science and in thinking and using the brain and intelligence that you were born with.

If that is too trite and corny for you, then just realize that if or when you doubt, you are not alone.  Not everyone has an unshakable faith and understanding where everything is clearcut and they know the path.  In fact, I would offer that hardly anyone really falls into that category.  Most or many of us have doubt.  Many question.  Thank goodness for the questioning and the questioners, because that moves us all forward in our journey of understanding and faith.

Mike McHargue is a gentleman sometimes called “Science Mike”.  An evangelical-turned-atheist-turned-Christian-once-again, McHargue, better known as Science Mike, has turned reconciling science and faith into a career. He hosts two podcasts, Ask Science Mike and The Liturgists, which together have hundreds of thousands of followers. His new memoir, Finding God in the Waves, outlines how he went from devout Christianity to atheism to something you might describe as scientific faith.

McHargue turned back to science to help him understand his re-emergent faith. He explored cosmology to develop a new understanding of God. He read about how the brain processes spiritual experiences. Drawing from both his mystical experience and scientific exploration McHargue tried to create a kind of system of faith⎯ten “axioms about Christian faith” that, he has written, form “a fence” against his doubt.

One of his ten axioms states “The Bible is AT LEAST a collection of books and writings assembled by the Church that chronicle a people group’s experiences with, and understanding of, God over thousands of years. EVEN IF that is a comprehensive definition of the Bible, study of scripture is warranted to understand our culture and the way in which people come to know God.”

For many who value science over religion, the argument would be that, rather than answering questions about the natural world with “because God,” a scientist will work to find the answers. I think religion is just as much of a search as science is.. So…just as science has theories that it treats as more-or-less fact despite only being 98% sure and not 100% sure, religion prescribes certain behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs based on people’s lived experiences. Granted, there are people who take those things as unshakable fact, but I think that for most people faith is all about having faith in spite of not knowing, rather than believing one knows.

That is where I would say that Wisdom comes in.  Remember the reading from earlier from the book of Proverbs.

“Wisdom cries out in the street;
in the squares she raises her voice.

At the busiest corner she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates
she speaks:

“How long, O simple ones,
will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?

Give heed to my reproof;
I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.

Because I have called and you refused,
have stretched out my hand and no one heeded,
and because you have ignored all my counsel”…

One of the great attractions of tribalism, is that you don’t actually have to think very much. You only need “to know on any given subject… which side you’re on… A tribal leader calls the shots, and everything slips into place. After a while, your immersion in tribal loyalty makes the activities of another tribe not just alien but close to incomprehensible. It results from what he calls a “compounding combination of… differences into two coherent tribes, eerily balanced in political power, fighting not just to advance their own side but to provoke, condemn, and defeat the other.”

Andrew Sullivan wrote in New York Magazine (September 18, 2017) about a spirit of “tribalism” in America that has produced an “increasingly dangerous dysfunction,” one that also plagues people around the world.  Of course, this is not new.  The people written about in the Bible were constantly under this scourge.

We can contrast the redeeming truth of our Lord, the Good News of God, against this bad news of division we encounter so frequently in our time.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells those who would lay their trust in him: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”  What another perplexing contrast!

Giving substance to this cross of self-denial can propel us into a reality more likely to transform the Us against Them sickness of our time into something more God-like.

Through the fundamental and essential nature of our faith, we can reveal in word and action a new Us/Them reality. What this can mean is taking up our crosses – in denial and love and giving – to reach a view of Us for Them. Us for Them.

Honestly and realistically, there will not likely be a corresponding Them for Us response – at least not at first. Therefore, it falls on us to show the world the way to overcome the tribalism of Us against Them by showing we are for them and all others, regardless of whether they reciprocate or not.

“Science and religion are two sides of the same deep human impulse to understand the world, to know our place in it, and to marvel at the wonder of life and the infinite cosmos we are surrounded by.” A. Aczel

“Everything is understood by God, and we try in our human capacity to touch it as best we can. The glory and holiness of God fills the entire world.”M. Bialik

“Science gives us fact. Faith gives us meaning”

Credits for quotes to Mayim Bialik, Mike McHargue (Science Mike) and Amir Aczel

 

 

 


Art Show and Competition

September 6, 2018

Hosted by Newark Valley United Church of Christ 

32 South Main Street     Newark Valley, NY 13811

Share with us!  We would like to celebrate our commitment to our community and would like to bring people together through Art and Music!  The Newark Valley United Church of Christ is excited to announce that they will be holding a Fall Art and Spring Music Competition for residents of Tioga and Broome County.   You do not need to be a church member to participate, but must be a resident of Tioga or Broome County.  Artists and musicians have the unique opportunity to participate by creating artworks and original music that highlight experiences or reflections upon the theme we have chosen for this inaugural year, which is the of concept of: Justice.

Artwork can be in any form – painting, printing, sculpture or photography while music compositions can be from any genre – classical, blues, world, folk, jazz, contemporary, rap, electronic, etc .   Artists will be showcased at a charity events at the church: An art exhibition will be held in the fall on November 10th, 2018, and a musical concert event will be held in the early spring of 2019.

Art Competition Details/Rules:

 Submission

  • The competition will consider all entries submitted up to November 8th, 2018.  Entries may be brought to Newark Valley United Church of Christ, 32 S. Main Street, Newark Valley, NY on:
    • Sunday November 4th between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm,
    • Wednesday, November 7th between 5 pm and 7 pm or
    • Thursday November 8th, between 5 pm and 7 pm.
  • A Reception and awards announcement will take place from 4 pm – 6 pm on November 10th .
  • The Art work will be displayed from Saturday, November 11th thru Sunday November 18th.  All art work may be picked up after 12 pm on November 18th.

To submit an entry:   Art Work SPECIFICATIONS

  • All work should be clearly identified on the right front corner with name, school (if applicable), title, division, price (if applicable) and phone number (if available for purchase). Artwork will not be accepted without proper identification and hanging mechanism. Except for 3-D submissions, all pieces must have a hanging mechanism of some kind. Please use Velcro (hook side) on all matted pieces; framed pieces should have a hanging wire. All 2-dimensional work on paper should be matted.
  •  The artwork should also have an accompanying description of the artwork not to exceed 100 words.  Please state if the artwork is being submitted to Category 1: for artists aged up 12 to 15 or Category 2: artists aged 16 to 19 or Category 3, Artists Age 20 and older.
  • Artwork entries can be a photograph, drawing, painting, mixed media image, graphic design, illustration or sculpture.
  • We reserve the right exclude any inappropriate or offensive entries from the competition.

 Judging and Prizes

  • The artist winners will be announced at the event on the November 10th.
  • There are three main prizes,
    • Category 1: for artists aged 12 to 15.
    • Category 2: artists aged 16 to 19, and
    • Category 3 Artists  Age 20 and older.
  • Judging will be based on a combination of the views of the expert panel (local based artists).
  • Prizes will be announced on the day of the event.
  • A press release will be issued to celebrate the winning and shortlisted entries.

 

Use of the Artwork

  • We will exercise the utmost care in handling your work. However, NVUCC cannot be held responsible for lost or damaged work.
  • By submitting your artwork, you are giving consent for pictures of the works to be taken and possibly used for promotional materials. This includes both print and electronic promotion.
  • All copyright for any work submitted remains with the artist.
  • Artwork (with the permission of the artist) may be selected for a publication

Certificates/ prizes will be given out for the top three (3) entries and three (3) merit entries for each age category, as follows.

Prizes Age 12 to 15 Age 16-19 Open (19 yrs old and above)
Top 3 1st:  $100

2nd: $75

3rd:  $50

1st:  $250

2nd: $100

3rd:  $50

1st:  $250

2nd: $100

3rd:  $50

Merit Certificate Certificate Certificate

Submissions must be an original artwork piece, created solely by the individual artist

 

 

Note: *** Submissions must be an original artwork piece, created solely by the individual artist. and must not infringe any copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity or other intellectual rights of any person or entity.    If the Artwork contains an image of any recognizable persons, the Participant is responsible for obtaining, prior to sending the Submission, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the NVUCC as set forth in these Official Rules. If an image of a recognizable person appearing in any Artwork is under the age of majority in their state, country or province of residence, the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.                                                                                                                                                                                                 The Artwork may not have been previously published or won previous awards.                                                                                                                                                        The Artwork may not contain any material or elements that are not owned/created by Participant and/or that are subject to the rights of third parties. By submitting a Submission, the Participant agrees that the Artwork confirms to these Official Rules and that the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may disqualify the Submission for any reason at any time, including if it determines, in its sole discretion, that the fails to confirm to these Official Rules in any way or otherwise contains unacceptable content as determined by Sponsor, in its sole discretion. Also, by submitting a Submission, Participant hereby grants permission for the Artwork to be posted online by Sponsor on its website and social media networks, and otherwise used for commercial or noncommercial purposes.

ELIGIBILITY.

The Newark Valley UCC Contest (“Contest”) is open to residents of Tioga and Broome County.

 

 

REGISTRATION FORM

 

Submission deadline: November 8th, 2018

I submit herewith my entry and write up for the NVUCC Competition and agree to abide by its rules and regulations.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Mr/Mrs/Miss/Mdm* Full name in BLOCK LETTERS, underline surname

 

_____________________                        _____________________        _____________________________

Age Category                                     Date of Birth                                      Email Address

 

______________

Home /Mobile Tel.                                                                          __________________________________

Signature of participant

 

Portion to be filled in for entrants 18 years old and below:

 

_________________________          ____________________________________________________

Signature of parent/guardian*          Name of parent/guardian* and relationship to entrant

 

__________________________________                      __________________________________________

Mobile No. of parent/guardian*                                Email Address of parent/guardian*

*delete as appropriate

A little bit About Newark Valley United Church of Christ …We are a liberal/ progressive mainline Protestant denomination is one of the area’s oldest churches (founded in 1807). What do we mean when we say “No matter who you are, or where you are in your life’s journey, you are welcome here”? , Anyone can find a spiritual home in the United Church of Christ, be strengthened and nurtured in their faith and be blessed to reach out to others with their God-given gifts and talents. Parents, Singles, Scientists, Artists, Doubters and Dreamers, Faith drop-outs, LGBTQ and Bible nerds, post-evangelicals and Pentecostals—all are welcome. .

 

At a time when religion is too often portrayed as narrow-minded and exclusive, we are an alternate vision:

 

– Where God is all-loving and inclusive

– Where the United Church of Jesus Christ welcomes and accepts everyone as they are

– Where your mind and your soul can be nourished

– Where together we can grow a just and peaceful world

 

We invite you to experience Christianity as a way of life, not a set of creeds and doctrines demanding total agreement. We invite you to join us as we seek to recover the meaning of the gospel for our time, looking to scripture, with faith, and reason — interpreted by love. We believe that what Jesus teaches us about God is more important than what the church has taught us about Jesus. We believe in the liberty of conscience, the responsibility of every believer to work out his or her own salvation, and the obligation of faithful men and women to become partners with God in building the kingdom. We take the Bible seriously, not literally, and believe that in our time the church must recover, above all, its radical hospitality — welcoming all persons into her midst, without regard to race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or physical abilities.

 Music Competition Details/Rules: Official Dates Announced Soon

 Submission

  • The competition deadline will be announced but is tentatively scheduled for early Spring 2019 and we will consider all entries submitted up to   TBD
  • To submit an entry: Please email a file of the music track along with your name, contact details, and with an accompanying description of the music not to exceed 100 words to TBD
  • Music entries should be between 3 and 4 minutes long and can be any genre or style. They can include any combination of instrumental, ambient, live recording, electronic, sound recordings, audio etc.
  • We reserve the right exclude any inappropriate or offensive entries from the competition.

 Judging and Prizes    

·         The winners will be announced at the event on  TBD

·         Shortlisted entries will be notified and will be requested to perform at the event

·         Judging will be based on a combination of the views of the expert panel (local music professionals).

·         Prizes will be awarded after the performances.

·         A press release will be issued to celebrate the winning and merit entries.

Use of the Music All copyright and IP for any work submitted remains with the creator. Any submitted music (with the permission of the creator) may be used as the soundtrack for a film about the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Message Is Not Hard

August 20, 2018

The Message for August 19, 2018

Who remembers encyclopedias? When you needed to look something up, the encyclopedia was about the best source for answers.  Nowadays we have google.  My daughter calls me the queen of the search.  Best snow tires for the Honda Accord?  Google it!  Somehow, I have a knack for often knowing which words to type in the search bar that will get me an avalanche of information on the topic at hand.  I’ll get options for deep snow, extremely cold weather snow, sleet and ice, etc.   Instead of an answer, how did I get more questions?  Want to know the best way to lose weight?  When I do the search you know what happens…I can have a high carb diet, high protein diet, keto diet, low fat diet, Atkins diet, zone diet, south beach diet, Paleo, Mediterranean, hmmmm…  The problem often, is that we get too much information.

Let’s look at something different…How about How to merge Facebook accounts?  I was just trying to figure that out a few days ago with the Church account.  I got the answer but it didn’t work as expected!  The problem with that search and information was the answer wasn’t really accurate. 

My grandchildren don’t even need to type the search in.  They can ask Alexa.   Or Siri.  I find it a bit creepy that there is an all knowing, all hearing, piece of electronics sitting in the middle of the family room or bedroom.  I guess that is the price for the instant information that we think we need so urgently and seems so necessary today.  Siri will narrow down the answers for you, but after a quick search I learned that there are big concerns with the Artificial Intelligence providers. There’s Implicit bias, and gender stereotyping,…The logic goes that,  Siri and Alexa are mostly seen as helpful or passive supporters of a user’s lifestyle. And they are in a female voice. Just the behavior that a female should have in some people’s view of the world.    But there are male counterparts-did you know that? And the male-branded counterparts like IBM’s Watson or Salesforce’s Einstein are perceived as complex problem-solvers tackling global issues. So, there you go…gender bias!  And here is another problem with the information we all have so readily available.  The answers may be bias as a result of the person that is providing them.  The history of the United States and its development is going to sound a lot different from a white English male than it is from say a Native American, or an African American.  So there is another problem with searching for answers in this information age…implicit bias.

OK,  I confess, I looked this up….”Learning is the acquisition of data, information, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom”.
And what are those things?    Again, I looked this up !!!!

  • “Data consists of symbols that represent objects, events, and their properties. For example, the speedometer in a car presents data.
  • Information is data that has been made useful. Information answers who, what, where, when, and how many questions. Information is helpful in deciding what to do, not how to do it. For example, the information that you are driving at 120 mph will help you decide whether to speed up or slow down. But information won’t tell you how to do it.
  • Knowledge consists of instructions and know-how. Knowledge answers how questions. For example, your driving knowledge tells you how to control the car’s speed.
  • Understanding consists of explanations. Understanding answers why questions. For example, you understand why you are in the car in the first place: because you are driving your kids to get ice cream.
  • Wisdom is the ability to perceive outcomes and determine their value. It is useful for deciding what should be done. For example, the wise may decide that driving recklessly may lead their children to do the same in the future.”

What does all this have to do with the readings of today or with the message?  Every bit of incoming information presents a choice: whether to pay attention, whether to reply, whether to factor it into an upcoming decision. But decision science has shown that people faced with a plethora of choices are apt to make no decision at all.  They freeze.  They frequently DO nothing.  Or they just act in the easiest quickest way, without regard for the impact it might have.

When it comes to the Bible, to religion, Christianity, and to be living as a Christian, we again have an overwhelming amount of choices and interpretations and meanings offered to us, many from people or institutions that profess to have the “real” handle on God and Jesus.  Arguments abound and are numerous, from about what actions are sinful and what are not.   Just a few that have caused great rifts:

  • Can you / must you believe in Creationism or Evolution?
  • Is the Bible inerrant or God inspired?
  • Who gets to receive communion?
  • How are sins are forgiven?

Just look at the history and “industry” of the Christian church.  How many denominations have sprung up from the original teacher?  What has happened?   Where is the wisdom we need? How do we live a life of fulfillment?

In this first reading, Paul is trying to guide the Ephesians in his words to them.  Giving them explicit instructions on how to live out their lives.  And how we are to live out ours. It’s right there in the Bible.

And in the second reading, John 6: 51-58, Jesus is again instructing us on the only way to live.  “Eat me. Drink me.” This is the only way we ever have life within us. Jesus is very clear and blunt about it.  Any other way leaves us hollow, hungry, and searching. “Very truly, I tell you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you.” Those are warning words, words that challenge us to consider whether there is life within us.

Jesus is talking about more than just physical or biological life. He’s talking about that life that is beyond words, indescribable, and yet we know it when we taste it. We get a taste of it when we love so strongly that we forget about ourselves, and yet somehow we are more fully alive than ever before. Those moments when we are awestruck by God’s creation.  Sometimes everything seems to fit together perfectly and all is right with the world; not because we got our way but because we knew our self to be a part of something larger, more beautiful, and more holy than anything we could have done. We were tasting life. There are moments when time stands still and we wish the moment would never end. In that moment we are in the flow, the wonder, and the unity of life, and it tastes good.  The moments we crave.  We want more.

Most of us spend a fair amount of time, energy, and prayer trying to create and possess the life we want. In spite of our best efforts sometimes we live less than fully alive. Sometimes the outside and inside of who we are don’t match up. We ask ourselves, “What am I doing with my life?” We wonder if this is all there will ever be. Is this as good as it gets? We regret what has become of us and our life. Nothing seems to satisfy. We despair at what is and what we think will be. Despite family and friends we find no place in which we really belong.  We search for answers.

Those questions and feelings are not so much a judgement on us, but a diagnosis of us. They are symptoms that there is no life in us. We are dying from the inside out. There is, however, treatment for our condition and food for our hunger. We don’t need more information, we don’t need more things, we don’t need another human being in our life.  We need Christ..

We don’t need to make it complicated.  If you want wisdom and fulfillment in your lives, then we should take Jesus ‘ direction.:  “Love on another as I have loved you”, and eat the bread of life as Jesus said  “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you”

Sometimes we don’t need to understand everything, we just need to accept the mystery.

** The words are my own, and comprise collection of thoughts and ideas stretched across the internet.  Cathy Y.


We Are a Church and People of Extravagant Welcome

August 17, 2018

32 S. Main Street (Rt. 38), Newark Valley, NY 13811

 

Please check the Calendar and Upcoming Events tabs above for the latest information on what’s going on at NV UCC!

Council Moderator: John Schwartz

Ministers: Guest Preachers & Certified Lay Preachers as well as some members of the Congregation

Office Administrator: Cathy Kuntzleman

Worship Service & Sunday School: Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Office Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 Noon

Office Phone: 607-642-5520

Email: officenvucc@stny.twcbc.com

Facebook: Newark Valley Ucc

Jesus didn’t turn people away, even those rejected by others.  We don’t intend to either.  We are like a “company of strangers”, made family by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.  God welcomes all people. God claims all people.  God loves all people.

Characteristics

That they all may be one. Testimonies of faith rather than tests of faith. Because faith can be expressed many different ways, the UCC has no formula that is a test of faith. There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God’s Holy Word. Responsible Freedom. As individual members we are free to believe and in accordance with our perception of God’s will for our lives. But we are called to live in a loving covenantal relationship with one another-gathering in communities of faith, congregations of believers, and local churches.
The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a mainline Protestant denomination that came into being with the union of two Protestant denominations: The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches. NV UCC is one of the area’s oldest congregations (founded in 1807), which holds like-minded beliefs. Those beliefs include: the Holy Spirit guides us in loving one another and the world, that the Risen Christ invites us to join him in his ongoing work, and that we take the Bible and the lessons it has to offer seriously.
Of those lessons, these three are the foundation of how we live as a congregation: 1) Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. 3) We’re all students of Jesus. All three are works in progress. We don’t pretend to “have all of the answers,” however, we are earnest in our efforts to grow as individuals and as a community of faith. As we continue to grow, we have the sense that we are to take part in building a healthy local community. If that’s of interest to you, too, join us.
Commitments of the United Church of Christ
  1. That they all may be one. This motto reflects the spirit of unity on which the church is based and points towards future efforts to heal divisions in the body of Christ.
  2. In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, diversity, in all things, charity. The unity we seek does not require uncritical acceptance of any point of view, nor a rigid formulation of doctrine.
  3. Testimonies of faith rather than tests of faith. Because faith can be expressed many different ways, the UCC has no formula that is a test of faith.
  4. There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God’s Holy Word. This classic statement assumes the primacy of the Bible as our source for understanding the Good News and as foundational for all statements of faith. It recognizes that the Bible, though written in specific historical times and places still speaks to us in our present condition because God is a still speaking God. What does this mean??? The study of Scripture is NOT limited by past interpretations but is to be pursued for new insights and help for living TODAY.
  5. The priesthood of all believers. All members are called to minister to others and to participate as equals. Recognition is given to those among us who have received special training in pastoral, priestly, educational and administrative functions, but these persons are regarded as ministers-servants-rather than as persons in authority. Their taks is to guide, to enable all Christians to do the work of ministry.
  6. Responsible Freedom. As individual members we are free to believe and in accordance with our perception of God’s will for our lives. But we are called to live in a loving covenantal relationship with one another-gathering in communities of faith, congregations of believers, and local churches.

32 S. Main Street (Rt. 38), Newark Valley, NY 13811

March 23, 2013

Please check the Calendar and Upcoming Events tabs above for the latest information on what’s going on at NV UCC!

Council Moderator: John Schwartz

Ministers: Guest Preachers & Certified Lay Preachers as well as some members of the Congregation

Office Administrator: Cathy Kuntzleman

Worship Service & Sunday School: Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Office Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 Noon

Office Phone: 607-642-5520

Email: officenvucc@stny.twcbc.com

Facebook: Newark Valley Ucc

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An Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ

“We, the congregation of the Newark Valley United Church of Christ, declare ourselves to be open and affirming. With God’s grace, we seek to be a congregation that includes all persons, embracing differences of sexual orientation, gender, marital status, age, mental and physical ability, as well as racial, ethnic, or social-economic background. We welcome all to share in the life and leadership, ministry, and fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities and blessings of participation in our congregation.”

“No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.”

Find and “friend” us on Facebook: Newark Valley Ucc!