Join us for Sunday Community Worship

January 11, 2019

We invite you to join us this Sunday at 9:30 am for Sunday worship and prayers. Kayti Dean will be leading us. Coffee and snacks always shared and available.

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Coffee, Conversations and More- Discussion Book Group

January 2, 2019

Beginning January 28th at 7:00 pm.  The first meeting will take place at 32 S. Main Street, Newark Valley UCC chapel meeting room.  This is discussion and/ or book group for progressively spiritual seekers, skeptics, doubters, dreamers, or the spiritually curious or homeless.
This group is intended to be a safe welcoming space to discuss faith, ideas, theology, science and justice from more of a “Progressive Christian” point of view.  Our first book discussion will be centered on “Searching for Sunday” by Rachel Held Evans, a New York Times best seller.   Additional suggestions are welcome. We plan to meet at  the Newark Valley UCC chapel meting room and may move to a different location if all agree.  Please email newarkvalleyucc@gmail.com for more info.


Seeking Guest Musicians for the New Year

January 1, 2019

Our church is seeking to connect with people in new ways through the arts and music. Are there any aspiring young musicians and artists that are looking for any avenue to share their craft?  Our church, Newark Valley United Church of Christ, is seeking musicians,  young or not so young, of any genre, modern, gospel, contemporary, bluegrass, meditative, country, etc. for guest performances, or for our regular Sunday service.   Music would be coordinated with the message being shared with the community that day.  Commitment can be monthly, quarterly, or the occasional Sunday.  We are seeking to expand our musical offering and program and are interested in hearing from any budding musicians that may want the chance to be heard or gain some experience playing in front of a small audience.  Please email newarkvalleyucc@gmail.com or PM for more info.


When Rulers Fear Children

December 30, 2018

Some forensic scientists have put together a model of a head of a typical Palestinian Jewish man. This is what they found.jesus picture according to science

Prayer for Illumination: Holy One, be in our ears and eyes, in our hearts and our imaginations as we hear Scriptures and seek Your living word in our hearts and our community.  Scripture in two parts read by two people.

Read Matthew 2:1-12 and Matthew 2:13-23

The times into which Jesus was born were not peaceful. The Roman army had conquered Palestine and the Jews were living under Roman occupation. Herod the Great in Jerusalem was a puppet king over the Jewish people. He had to keep the tribute money flowing from the people of Palestine to Rome and keep the population from raising a revolt. Staying on the good side of Rome meant he could remain King. He killed many, including members of his own family to keep his throne. The temple in Jerusalem was the Jewish religious center of Palestine. The hereditary high priests ran the Temple and collected the Temple taxes, a major source of money for the city of Jerusalem. In Rome Caesar was the ruler of the Roman Empire. Roman coins bore his image and inscriptions such as: Son of God and Savior of the World. This is Jesus’ world and the world of first century Jews.

Herod, himself a Jew, Roman’s puppet ruler of Jewish Palestine. With his mixed identity, Jewish ruler and Roman subject, he felt his claim of ruler had insecure underpinnings. The main threat was a revolt of the Jewish people. When Herod heard that men who could read the stars and predict the future were seeking to pay homage to a Jewish child born in Bethlehem who would be king of the Jews he felt so threatened that he sought to kill that child.

He was a ruler who feared a child.

Based on the comments of some members of the federal government and the public there is a fear of the majority of US population becoming non-white.

Our federal policy of separating and detaining children of brown skinned people from central and south Americans who were seeking asylum at our border with Mexico is the policy that fears both the immigrants and their children who, as adults, will beget more like themselves. It is fueled by people’s fear of white people becoming the minority in the US.

Our government has tried several bans on Muslim immigrants, people whose skin tone is browner that European immigrants and whose religion is different from most US citizens.

And our country’s troubled history with African American citizens still haunts our treatment of these citizens. Interactions with police officials are more likely to be come fatal to African Americans that for white people. Treaties with Native Americans are still being broken when the powerful see a way of being more wealthy and powerful. The Keystone XL pipe line and the Standing Stone encampment are but one example. The new policy of opening Native American land to mineral leasing is another.

Imagining Jesus, a child of middle eastern parents, being brought back to the US across the Mexican border as a child by his parents who were clearly not “white” people. Imagine his parents and Jesus returning to the US soil with our current immigration policies. Jesus would be separated from his parents and detained along with more that 14,000 other non citizen children.

We live in troubled times too. God’s response through the life, ministry and resurrection of Jesus can offer hope.

Together we will read Scripture that offers hope. Let us read responsively the material in your bulletins.[Dec. 30, 2018 responsive readings during the sermon.] I’ll read the plain text and we’ll all read the bold text.

Luke 2:8-14 8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them,“Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors! 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’” 

The multitude of the heavenly host, in this Luke passage,  was literally the army of heaven. 

Matthew 11:27-30 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 2 8“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The message of Jesus’ ministry is the vision that people live in peace and share equitably the abundance of God’s creation.

Amen


Join us for a Sunday Service

December 28, 2018

Please join us December 30th with John Schwartz leading us in our  9:30 am Sunday Service, with Coffee and Snacks to share.


Seeking Guest Musicians and Artists

December 27, 2018

Are there any aspiring young musicians that are looking for any avenue to practice?  Our church, Newark Valley United Church of Christ, is seeking musicians,  young or not so young, of any genre, gospel, contemporary, bluegrass, meditative, country, etc. for guest performances, or for our regular Sunday service.   Music would be coordinated with the message being shared with the community that day.  Commitment can be monthly, quarterly, or the occasional Sunday.  We are seeking to expand our musical offering and program and are interested in hearing from any budding musicians that may want the chance to be heard or gain some experience playing in front of a small audience.  Please email newarkvalleyucc@gmail.com or PM for more info.


4:00 pm Christmas Eve Service

December 19, 2018

Looking for a place to gather with others to celebrate the birth of a revolutionary- Jesus? All are invited, especially those who may be Skeptics, Doubters, Dreamers, or those who may be Spiritual but not Religious. Believe the story or not, that sweet, poor, homeless Jewish boy–whose parents found asylum in Egypt to save his life–that baby changed the history of the world. For better or worse,  much is grounded in the narrative of this one child.