WORSHIP this SUNDAY
We continue to worship on Facebook live at 10:30 Sunday mornings. We also have worship on our website and by CD’s. If you need help connecting, let the office know. This Sunday we will be using our new camera and the microphones on the pulpit and lectern to improve the quality of service.
This Sunday is Pentecost – the birthday of the church. It is a day that we traditionally wear red – so consider getting dressed for worship this Sunday and wear something red. You can share a photo on our church face book page if you would like.
In May we continue a service called Heart of the Matter. There are some ways you can prepare at home for this celebration. The following are items we will be using in May. A heart or worry stone. A candle to light and something to eat. We invite you to participate in worship this way.
This Sunday Madi Nelson will be sharing how the church has been important to her growing up. Madi recently graduated from Michigan State and will be heading west to work on a Master’s Degree. Camborley Gleason will offer a youth announcement about a June event they are doing.
We will recognize our high school graduates this Sunday, Sierra Garber, Elin Shar, and Mara Dugar, although they will not be with us in person. We know this has not been the type of graduation experiences they were hoping for, but we will recognize them. We will also recognize Mara, an exchange student from Mongolia, who has been with the Gleason family this year. She will be leaving South Haven this summer.
This Sunday the scripture reading is the story of Pentecost found in Acts chapter 2. We will have three languages reading the passage – stay tuned for that!!) Special music will be provided by Chip and Dolly Harris. We look forward to this celebration.
Tuesday Prayer Group
The Tuesday Prayer Group will meet on line this Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. You can join the meeting by going to Zoom.us and go to JOIN A MEETING. There you will enter the phone number 269-214-8924.
If you have prayer requests, please let us know. These will be added to the Tuesday and Sunday lists .
Please hold the following in your prayers this week:
Elsie Hoffman—3 yr. old great-granddaughter of Ann Gruber is home
Marie Beauchamp—daughter of Donna Beauchamp
Janet Danczyk, hospital
We hold in prayer this week the family of Margaret Lockwood who died this past week. Margaret is the mother of Lynn Gabel.
All affected by the Coronavirus. (CoVid 19)
All those affected by the severe flooding in the Midland Michigan area. Scott Raue is there with Red Cross.
We pray for our brothers and sisters at First Congregational (ONA) in Battle Creek.
The church is handing out cloth masks. If you make these and would like to donate some for the church, that would be most helpful. We are most thankful for the ones that have been donated so far.
The Church Council met on Tuesday night. There was much discussion about when the church will reopen for worship and other events. No date was chosen. You will be receiving a phone call asking how likely you are to return to worship once we do open up. The council is reviewing information on opening the building. They will meet again on Wednesday, June 10th to further discuss and plan for this reopening of the building.
One decision they did make was that until the sanctuary is reopened for in person worship, the rest of the building will remain closed to groups and meetings. The pantry will remain open.
Open and Affirming Process
This is the fourth in a series of posts from the Open and Affirming Team. This article is written by Nancy Nelson.
What Opening and Affirming Means to Me:
When I go to the First Congregational Church UCC-South Haven website, the first thing I see, in bold letters, is “All are Welcome!”. That “all are welcome” is a key reason our family chose to join this church. We have been blessed over the last 15+ years with a wonderful pastor, a church offering a fulfilling Christian journey, meaningful fellowship and friendships, and a welcoming congregation that does good work! Being designated an Opening and Affirming (ONA) church, would make it known that we are a welcoming and safe place for all, including LGBTQ and questioning youth. It would also help others who find the ONA designation important, when selecting a church to attend.
With Jesus’ love and sacrifice at the heart of Christianity, I think a church should be a place where anyone can feel welcome. I find it hard to imagine what it must feel like to enter a sacred place and be told you don’t belong because of who you are or who you love. It’s 2020, and we still live in a world where discrimination rears it’s ugly head. A survey on LGBTQ youth mental health (The Trevor Project, 2019) found that 71% of the 34,000 respondents reported discrimination due to either their sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s no longer enough to know and do what’s right for ourselves; we need to do more to encourage and stand with those who face injustice. The Opening and Affirming designation would be one such act, to acknowledge and support the LBGTQ community.
For those searching for a place of worship, walking into a church might be a scary thing, not knowing how they will be received and treated. “All are Welcome!” does convey a positive reception, but “Opening and Affirming” takes it further, as an affirmation to those who might not otherwise feel safe to attend.
Our Stewardship Committee is busy learning, learning, learning…and we’ll be sharing some of the information we’re learning about with our church family and friends. One thing we’re discovering is that it’s time to update the way we think about stewardship within our church. Because stewardship is involved in every aspect of our church life, our Generosity Team is working toward placing emphasis on stewardship all year long…every year. Even the “lingo” is changing….you’ll be hearing new terms such as “Generosity” and “Narrative Budget” in the coming months. This year’s theme will be “Our Story” and we’ll be emphasizing the ministries we share with members, friends and the community in which we live. It’s an amazing story and you won’t want to miss a bit of it!
Over the years, it has become evident that our congregation places a large amount of emphasis on the importance of out-reach ministries that help both members of our church family and of the community. Sharing the love of Christ with others is a foundation of our faith and beliefs. “Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5.16 & 17. Being Christ’s hands on earth helps each of us grow spiritually and is a true blessing to us and everyone!
Your “Generosity Team”
Doug Gruber, Susan Murphey & Linda Olsen