First Congregational Church
(United Church of Christ)
Greg Briggs,
Interim Pastor

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Digital Worship Bulletin – May 3, 2020

Sunday May 3, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Communion Sunday 

Jesus the Shepherd 

Welcome to First Congregational, United Church of Christ in Charlevoix’s online worship experience. Though we are separated physically for one another’s physical health, we still join together to worship God, be inspired, and care for our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

You are invited to find a comfortable place in your house and set aside a time for worship and prayer. This could be your usual Sunday morning time, or at sunset. Light a candle if you wish, or get a cup of tea.

Take your time as you read, listen, watch, sing, pray, and share in this worship of God.  Whether you worshiping on Sunday morning or whenever you have time, we are glad you are a part of our community.

As always, we want your feedback on how we can worship better with you in this time of physical distancing.  Feel free to give feedback and suggestions to  Ok, let us begin!


Welcome – Rev. Greg Briggs



Introit “My Jesus, I Love Thee” 

Call To Worship – Mindi Welton-Mitchell

Please read aloud. If you are worshiping with someone else, alternate readings.

We are the church.
We join our hearts together.
We listen for the word of God through scripture.
We feel each other’s joy and sorrow as we share in prayer together.
Today, we will break bread together, and remember we are one,
Though we cannot be physically together; we are the church,
And we gather across time and space to worship God now.

Opening Hymn – “Be Not Afraid”


Prayer of the Day  – Thom Shuman

Buoyed by your living waters,
we are at peace in seas of stress and success,
as we are tossed to and from by waves of quarantine;

detoured onto those walkways leading to your joy,
we find our way out of mazes crafted by Zoom fatigue.

nourished at your picnic
provided by those who deliver it to that garden of grace,
our shredded souls are anointed by your healing;

you slow us down just enough,
as we try to escape the very isolation which we need to honor and live,
so goodness and mercy can catch up with us and carry everyone around us into your heart. Amen.

Anthem “The Lord’s Prayer”




Psalm 23 – A Modern Interpretation

This video may not be able to be embedded,but you can click to watch on Facebook 


First Reading – Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd.
    I lack nothing.
He lets me rest in grassy meadows;
    he leads me to restful waters;
3  he keeps me alive.
He guides me in proper paths
    for the sake of his good name.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—
    they protect me.

You set a table for me
    right in front of my enemies.
You bathe my head in oil;
    my cup is so full it spills over!
Yes, goodness and faithful love
    will pursue me all the days of my life,
    and I will live in the Lord’s house
    as long as I live.

Second Reading – Acts 2:42-47

42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44 All the believers were united and shared everything. 45 They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46 Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.

Gospel Reading – John 10:1-13

I assure you that whoever doesn’t enter into the sheep pen through the gate but climbs over the wall is a thief and an outlaw. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The guard at the gate opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. Whenever he has gathered all of his sheep, he goes before them and they follow him, because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger but will run away because they don’t know the stranger’s voice.” Those who heard Jesus use this analogy didn’t understand what he was saying.

So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.

All scripture is taken from the Common English Bible translation



Hymn – “How Can I Keep From Singing – Amazing Grace”



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.

You can mail your donations into the church, and you can also give online by clicking here: Donate to the church

Offertory “A Place at the Table” 

performed by Shelley Fisher, music in public domain


Jesus, God has made you both Sovereign and Christ.
Therefore we pray your blessing upon these gifts, upon us, and those whose lives will benefit from them.
May your victory over death empower all whom you call to trust in God.
In faith and hope we pray. Amen.


Beatitudes for a Covid-19 world by Mindi Welton-Mitchell

Blessed are the maskwearers,
who help prevent passing on of illness.
Blessed are the maskmakers,
who are blessing us with their craft.
Blessed are the ones on the front lines,
who are doing their part to slow the spread, care for the sick, and provide emergency support.
Blessed are the grocery laborers, the sanitation workers, the hospital janitors—
essential workers who make our lives possible.
Blessed are all who stay home.
Blessed are the stressed out, the tired, the anxious, the lonely—
for we are alone together.
Blessed are you when you lose it—
because you are human.You are loved, and God will see us through.


All are welcome to join us via zoom for our prayer time and communion at 11 am EST on Sunday, May 3, 2020. Please provide your own bread and wine. Take a picture of your communion setting and email it to

If you are not able to join us for communion, Please accept this Blessing and Postlude. 

Otherwise, continue on with our worship below.



Go forth on this Easter Sunday, knowing God has always loved you, loves you now, and will always love you.

No matter what.


Invitation to the Table

Nothing can separate us from the Love of God. Not even this time of self quarantine. 

Hymn of Communion “One Bread, One Body”


Prayer of Confession and Words of Assurance by Mindi Welton-Mitchell

Almighty God, we confess our frustration and our anger. We confess at times we should have held our tongue and didn’t. We confess at times we are distracted by things that will not matter tomorrow, and they consume our time today. We confess that in our uncertainty, instead of trusting in You, we turn to the voices of fear. Forgive us. Call us into accountability, to remind us that at times we say things online we would not say in person. Call us to repent, to turn to empathy and understanding, and to seek Your wisdom. In this world that has turned upside down, we remember that You are our Rock and our Salvation. You are what grounds us, keeps us steady, and will see us through. Remind us that You have commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, even the ones who irritate us, for You loved us first, with all our faults and shortcomings. May we turn our hearts to You, and be filled with love for one another. Amen.

Peace be in your heart.

Peace be on your tongue, and know you are forgiven; seek to speak in love.
Peace be in your gut, to calm the rage that you feel; channel your anger into positive work for justice.
Peace be in your hands, to help those in need, rather than to harm those who’ve hurt you.
Peace be in your soul, knowing that you are not alone. God is with you, in the friends who share their love with you.
Peace be in your heart.
Peace be with you.

Now, let us pray the words Jesus taught us:

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Words of Institution

Sharing the Bread and Cup

Prayer of Thanksgiving by Thom Shuman 

You lead us to this Table where we want for nothing,
for your Spirit transforms everyday foods into a sacred feast.
Your bread and cup comfort us,
nourishing us so we might be together in everything with our sisters and brothers.

The broken bread strengthens us
     to provide clean, still waters to all;
     to build shelter for those who sleep rough;
     to feed those who are hungry.
Your grace overflows into us so we may offer
     companionship to those who wander shadowed valleys;
     an open gate to those longing for a community;
     voices of compassion and hope to the oppressed.

When we follow goodness and mercy to the end of time, we will find you coming out of the kitchen,
setting dish upon dish of peace and hope on that great table prepared for all your children,
and we will join our hearts and hands as we sing praise and wonder to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.


We will also have our weekly Bible study on Tuesday at 10, via zoom, and Pastor Greg’s Open Office Hours on Wednesdays from 4-5 pm.

Check your email for instructions for zoom, or email if you’d like to join our discussions. They are truly open to everyone, but we are not posting the link publicly to discourage zoom bombers. Yes, that is now a thing.