WHEN: April 29, 2018, gather 3:15, kick-off 3:30
WHERE: Catholic Multicultural Center
1862 Beld St, Madison, 53713
WHAT: Celebrate the diversity and lift up the unity of our faith communities, as we affirm religious freedom and condemn all acts of violence and harassment against people based on race, color, beliefs, or place of origin.*
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: to make signs before the March, to set up before/clean up after at the CMC; and to be peacekeepers on the march route.
*For those who prefer not to march, please meet us at 4:15 at the Catholic Multicultural Center for food, music, words of inspiration, and good conversation!
Co-Sponsors (list in progress):
Interfaith March for Peace & Justice
Saturday, November 11
9am - 3pm at McFarland UCC
A gathering of sewing friends – new and old …
Calling all who may be interested in a day for sewing. If you are not a sewing person, and want to be, join us! We will make some simple projects (drawstring bags, origami sewn bags, and runaround bags) to share at the McFarland HS Food Pantry and the McFarland Village Food Pantry. If there is another service project you are sewing for, feel free to bring it along. If there is another resource for the bags we'll be making, you are welcome to make bags for another organization. We will have some fabric and patterns available, but you are more than welcome to bring patterns you like, and fabric that’s been waiting to be used.
After you finish a bag or two, we support you in using the sewing time for YOU. Sewists sew, because it's good for our souls – and we are often trying to finish up projects to give in our own circles of loved ones.
Bridging the Divide: An Invitation
On Sunday, January 15 in worship we blessed individuals going to Washington DC over inauguration weekend to witness to our Gospel values, where they joined others holding forth a vision of a more just and generous world for all people. Below is the online journal of several MUCC members who participated in the Listening & Witnessing trip: Kristin Gorton, Joan Jacobsen, and Maddie Loss.
Want to see more pictures and stories? Visit facebook.com/mcfarlanducc.
And if you're curious about the ministry trip as a whole, CLICK HERE to learn more
from the United Church of Christ.
The bus is packed and ready for the trip to D.C. with the Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ.
MORNING: We arrived in the Washington DC area just after midnight yesterday. Today dawns with a quiet morning of reflection and prayer. This afternoon our sisters and brothers at Emmaus UCC will be hosting us for a day of sacred conversations around issues of interfaith and inter-race engagement. An inter-religious worship service...and...of course...a community meal, will end the day.
You are invited with us in this digital sacred place to experience God's transformative love. Blessings this day, and in the months and years ahead. You are a beloved child of God.
This morning's moment of faith included a scavenger hunt for copies of We the People posters.
MID-DAY: An afternoon in community. Reflecting on the faith tools we carry as followers of Jesus... tools that can transform. Food. Community. Christ.
We have spent the day talking and listening and learning. The day ends with a shared worship with 6 different faith communities. Praying for Peace and Understanding.
"I envision all people coming together in unity...Tonight, all of us said 'yes' for understanding...for peace..." - Rev. Russell Heiland
Good Morning! Ready to MARCH in mind, body, of spirit? Come along with us digitally as we walk in the Women's March in Washington, DC. Folks will also be marching in Madison with a contingency of people from McFarland UCC. Carpool available 9:45am at the MUCC parking lot. Join us- all are welcome!
A beautiful journey in unity burst forth during the Women's March on Washington today.
Multiple moments of compassion and care were observed in the massive crowds.
"And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8
A photograph from the road. Members and friends from UCC congregations from around the state (including 3 from the McFarland UCC). On our way home from the Women's March on Washington! We took time this morning to reflect on the global solidarity and radical hospitality we experienced on the trip.
Visit facebook.com/mcfarlanducc to see more!
Text: Jeremiah 36:1-8, 21-23, 27-28 then 31:31-34
Preached by Rev. Kerri Parker, Sunday November 20, 2016
Justice-loving, Still-Speaking God: grant us the grace to hear and make sense of the challenging words presented to us by holy scripture and the work of the Spirit. May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen
What’s a preacher to do when the scripture for the day – several weeks in a row - cuts a little too close to what’s going on in the world? The same thing one does any other Sunday: preach the text. Preach the Gospel. We are people of faith. And if we shy away from our sacred stories because they bear an uncomfortable word, then we are no better than the king who fed a scroll bearing forty years’ worth of prophetic words into the flames.
This is the Word the Spirit has brought to the church this day: a perilous time, when the nation is under threat. The Prophet Jeremiah under house arrest, confined, prevented from gathering with God’s people. God’s word snatched from Baruch’s hand - and in a section we skipped over for length today - God’s prophets had to go into hiding. The scroll with these holy, subversive words taken to the palace and read in private quarters amid the king’s closest advisers, and then deliberately, section by section, consigned to the fire. Burned because the king did not like what he was hearing. Because he wanted to suppress the message being spread by the prophet.
What we have in today’s scripture is tantamount to a book burning. We’re not talking about a single speech here. We are talking about a scroll containing forty years of Jeremiah’s life’s work - his heart and soul, everything God had given him for the good of the nation of Israel, the shining days and the terrible days and everything in between. A masterwork, destroyed.
It would be easy, after such a disaster, to give up. It would be natural — particularly for Jeremiah, who was already prone to depression, and lived in difficult times — to give in to the inner voice of doom. To stand there in judgment, shaking one’s head, saying, “I told you so.” Worse: to entertain fantasies of revenge, as if salvation is to be found there.
But the prophet doesn’t give up, although it would have been so easy to do so. Instead, he stayed rooted in his call, offering us a model of faithful resistance to a world that just wants to get back to normal when it’s everything but business as usual:
First, the prophet speaks the word given by God. Over and over again, the prophet spoke the words. Sometimes it offended people. But he kept going. Then, the prophet passes the word on to others, so they are equipped to share it. When Jeremiah couldn’t go himself, Jeremiah taught Baruch. Baruch wrote it down so it could be shared. And Baruch spoke it in the temple.
And then - I love this part - when the powers of this world try to shut down the transmission of God’s word (because when does that ever work, people?) - the prophet steps up again. This is when God germinates the seeds of the Word that are planted in the weary heart of the prophet, and it cracks wide open again. You may think you have seen it all and done it all and by all that is holy you are tired, but the word of the Lord comes to you and here it comes again:
“Write down all the words that were in the first scroll that was burned.”
Write down all of the words...and more. The scroll was burned. The powerful ones shut it down. Has the message been lost? No. Just delayed. Write the revised and expanded edition, God says. They're not going to like hearing this one any better, but it’s still worth saying. Justice is justice. Write it. Speak it. Send My Word forth, instructs God — so the prophet continues to raise the uncomfortable questions before the nation as a whole, not neglecting to confront the powerful, not neglecting to speak in the public square:
Do you treat each other justly? Do you follow the Lord’s ways?
Stop taking advantage of the immigrant, orphan, or widow.
Stop shedding the blood of the innocent,…
going after other gods to your own ruin…
And are you caring for God’s creation?
“I will weep and wail for the mountains,
and lament for the grazing lands in the wilderness.
They are dried up and deserted;
no sound of the flocks is heard;
no sign of birds or animals is seen;
all have vanished.”
Are the rich and powerful growing fat and sleek,
prospering, indifferent to the plight of the orphan, the rights of the poor?
From the least to the greatest, all are eager to profit.
From prophet to priest, all trade in falsehood.
they treat the wound of my people as if were nothing:
“All is well, all is well,” they insist, when in fact nothing is well.”
Do you treat the worker with justice?
And do you allow room, in your economic life
for rest, as God commanded?
And to whom do you give supremacy?
“The Lord is the true God!
He’s the living God and the everlasting King!”
“God made the earth by his might;
he shaped the world by his wisdom,
crafted the skies by his knowledge.”
“Stop at the crossroads and look around; ask for the ancient paths.
Where is the good way? Then walk in it.”
It is words such as these the prophet carried to the nation, which had him banned from the temple, confined, his words burned, and eventually killed in exile. It is words such as these which Jesus used to confront the powers of his time, words that got him killed.
Today is Reign of Christ Sunday, when we remember who rules supreme. When we remember the kingdom - or kindom - to which we belong.
We are in the middle of a challenging time in the life of our nation, and a challenging run of texts from the Hebrew Prophets, to be followed by a challenging run of texts about the imminent arrival of Jesus, Emmanuel, God-With-Us. We may come to church looking for comfort. But the comfort in the Gospel is inseparable from its challenge, inseparable from Christ’s claim upon our lives.
Our Christian life leads from font, to table, to cross: We baptized a baby last week, and set her on the road to discipleship. Remember all the things we said about the water: water is washing, and soothing, and slaking thirst, and drowning. It is death and it is life. Remember all the things we say at the communion table: it is a meal, where we nourish our bodies, where we celebrate the great banquet where none are excluded, where there is always enough, and it is also a funeral meal, where we remember that it is a gift offered to those Christ already knows will abandon him before he dies. Even the first resurrection story is filled with challenge, more than comfort.
King Jehoiakim wants to enjoy his comfortable winter chambers by the firepit. The nation would like it very much if things could get back to normal. It’s a lovely dream; but that’s all “normal” ever was, a dream. Because “comfort” was only comfortable for some, and “peace” only “peace” for some. To abandon them for our own comfort is to abandon the Gospel.
Prophets, attend! We have been given a Word for our time. Though there may be those in our nation who say, "Hush! Your Word disturbs our peace," and urge us to quiet ourselves, we are called to proclaim it again, more boldly.
For here is the way our God works: never settling for a retread of the past, but going beyond, calling us to speak and work for the revised, expansive vision of human community, a community ruled according to kindness, justice, and righteousness.
“I am the Lord who acts with kindness,
justice, and righteousness
in the world,
and I delight in these things,
declares the Lord.”
God is writing the revised and expansive edition.
It’s gonna take a while. There’s still time to get involved. Prophets, are you in?
Preached November 13, 2016, the Sunday after the US Presidential Election
Text: Isaiah 6:1-8 (Isaiah's Call and Sending)
The holiest places we are privileged to walk are where another person entrusts to us their deep gladness or deep grief. Heaven and earth meet when we are called to attend to one another. If you listen carefully, you might hear the fluttering of wings, as the angels hasten to cover their eyes to grant a tender moment its due. Given an especially challenging situation, you may perceive the searing of a hot coal on your lips as you consider what words to speak into the sacred space. You have been granted entrance to the Holy of Holies: a tender place in the human soul.
“Woe is me,” says the prophet. “For I am a person of unclean lips, and I come from a people of unclean lips.” You consider carefully. What will be suspended in the air between you and this fellow child of God? What word could be true enough, and faithful; adequate to the gift of revelation that has been unfolded before you? For such access is not granted lightly. It comes only when there is something so great that the weight of it cannot be carried by one human soul. When it takes a second - a soul-friend - to shoulder the load - it is an honor and a privilege to be invited across the threshold.
Now and then, a tight-knit community is invited to step across. But sometimes, an entire nation or a world is unwillingly pushed across a threshold. These are not comfortable moments. Then again, prophets’ call stories seldom are.
Walk the Extra Mile...
The One Great Hour of Sharing offering this year focuses on refugees and displaced persons. There is no better biblical story to accompany this work than that of Ruth and Naomi.
Brief yet profound, in the passage of Ruth we encounter the resilience of two women who have been widowed, as well as ravaged by the natural disaster of famine. These ecological and socio-political events rendered Naomi and Ruth the most vulnerable in their society. Just like refugees today, Ruth and Naomi did not have the privilege of choosing to stay in their homes, but were forced to relocate. Yet when the system failed them, Ruth chose solidarity with Naomi over despair and accompanies her to pursue a livelihood for both of them.
"Ruth's promise to Naomi stands as a challenge for Christians today to walk with refugees
as they build new homes in strange lands."
Through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, we, as the body of Christ, have opportunity and power to help those who are living in despair as refugees. If refugees had the choice to return home, many would not have a place to return because their home most likely has been destroyed - either burned, severely damaged, or still an unsafe place to live.
This year as you consider your gift to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, for one moment, think of what it would be like to not have a place to call home, and then make your very best gift. Let us make Ruth's promise our own. Let us live out the call of solidarity with all people, especially those displaced by disaster, war and famine.
Christmas Card Project
Thank you, Christmas Card Project!
1670 Christmas Cards!
98 Winter Coats
100 stamps or stamped envelopes
122 Pairs of Gloves
200 pairs of socks
Hundreds of books
5 boxes of tissue
9 decks of cards
10 sketch pads
15 packs of colored pencils
16 pairs of reading glasses
18 sets of thermals
53 pairs of underwear
63 composition books
Special Needs Ministry Team Launched
Introducing the MUCC Special Needs Ministry Team!
- If you or someone you know is struggling with a particular parenting issue please know that you may come to us for support at any time (whether you have a child with special needs or are just having a difficult time.) If you can't catch up with us at church (or don't know us), call/email the church office and ask for our contact information.
- We are happy to announce: the inclusion of new sensory tools to our sanctuary. These will be introduced to the kids at a special Messy Church taking place on April 12.
- Also, we will be talking more about our ministry at Accessibility Sunday, May 3rd.
- Trish, Lisa, Amy & Megan
Coffee break for parents. This will be likely held once per month at MUCC with childcare available. This will offer parents a forum to share, ask questions, and learn from others. Some months we will have a speaker from the community join us to share about a particular topic of interest. Stay tuned for details. Let us know if you're interested and we'll put you on our list.
Speechless: A Parable
And each week, instead of hearing a straightforward comparison, a basic lesson in similes and metaphors, we have been unpacking a deeper story. Parables are not Aesop’s fables with a simple moral and life application that will make you a better person; parables mess with your head.
Instead of a direct comparison, they twist our thinking. They help us explore more complicated questions such as, “What are the boundaries of forgiveness?” and “What if our central organizing principle was hospitality?” Today, we receive another kingdom sketch that seems to tear both of these prior lessons to shreds.
Today’s parable comes from the 22nd chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew. In our Bible study this week, we discovered that a similar story is told in Luke and in the Gospel of Thomas. Matthew’s version gives George RR Martin a run for his money. If you’re familiar with his novels, or the HBO series Game of Thrones, the storyline might seem familiar.
God On Broadway
Sundaes On Thursday