Sunday June 14, 2020
Third Sunday of Pentecost
Commemoration of Juneteenth
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 email@example.com Ok, let us begin!
Welcome – Rev. Greg Briggs
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth, June 19, is the oldest known African-American celebration. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas, received word of their emancipation two months after the Civil War had ended, and two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect on January 1, 1863. One year later, despite threats and acts of violence and oppression, the first June Nineteenth celebration, later compacted into Juneteenth, happened as a church-centered community gathering. These early celebrations combined cook outs and banquets, prayer services, acts of celebration, and a focus on education and self improvement.. In later years, as the celebrations were banned from public space, private spaces were purchased for the annual celebrations.
UCC Juneteenth 2020 . . . And Still We Rise
Join the United Church of Christ Commemorate Juneteenth 2020
Live Webinar Event Friday, June 19, 2020 12 pm – 1:30 PM EST
Introit “Ride On, King Jesus”
Recorded in 2015 as part of the Bay View Music Series, “the American Negro Spiritual Intensive,” in the church sanctuary
Call To Worship – UMC Discipleship Ministries
Please read aloud. If you are worshiping with someone else, alternate readings.
The Lord is worthy of our praise.
Come; let us remember the great things God has done for us.
Let us not neglect to teach our children the greatness of God.
Let us not forget our past and those who have gone before us.
We remember our ancestors, our history, our Africa; and we name our future.
Let us lift up our voices in song, lift our arms in praise,
and open our hearts in gratitude.
Let us greet God with our hymn of praise.
Opening Hymn – “There Is a Balm In Gilead”
Prayer of the Day – UMC Discipleship Ministries
Almighty God, we come to worship you today with open hearts and open minds.
We want to hear and receive what you have to say to us in this service.
Speak to us today as you spoke to those who went before us.
Tell us the stories of your wonders and greatness. We are ready to hear them.
Remind us once again of your grace and love.
Help us teach your goodness to our children and the next generation. Amen.
Anthem – “I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me”
The scripture is included in the video sermon
Sermon “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” by Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III
Sermon Note: The United Church of Christ also invites you to re-watch Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III’s sermon and listen to a panel of four respected thought leaders, racial justice advocates and UCC pastors discussing the impact of historical and present-day acts of racism and violence towards African Americans. The panelists also discuss how the Christian Church can be actively involved in dismantling racism. The full presentation is an hour and 42 minutes. You can find the video here.
Hymn – “Lord, I Want to Be a Christian”
Click on the link above for a singable version of the hymn with accompaniment. The link will open in a new window. Push the play button on the bottom of the screen when you are ready.
Combined Offerings and Prayers
Children of God,
So often we conflate the offering of our gits to God with just making a financial donation. Today, you are being additionally asked to give a few minutes of your time in listening and self reflection. Please watch the video below that talks about the assumptions that members of a congregation bring to the calling of a new pastor, a pastor of color. This is not a foreshadowing for the pastoral candidate that you will meet next Sunday, but a chance to reflect on our internal assumptions, both about racism in the church and the expectations that can be placed on a new pastor.
Take a moment and answer the questions posed in the video. What assumptions do you carry about race and the starting of a new pastor?
As it said in the video, “The congregation didn’t know where they were on matters of race and racism, so they burdened their minister with their work.” Thinking about race and the many other issues in the church, you are invited to offer to God the ways that you are expecting the arrival of new spiritual leadership to answer questions or establish positions on issues that should rightly be the work of the entire church. Please bring some of these reflections to our zoom coffee hour and discussion.
As always we welcome your gifts of time, prayer, and monetary donations.
You can mail your donations into the church, and you can also give online by clicking here: Donate to the church
Prayer for today by Rev. Greg Briggs
God who creates all things, sustains all things, and in the fullness of time redeems all things,
Be with this congregation of yours, the First Congregational Church of Charlevoix Mi.
They, like many other communities of faith have undergone so much change and transition in the last few months, including adapting to the spread of a deadly COVID 19 pandemic, and then seeing the ripples of that adaptation create or exacerbate other spiritual and societal pandemics; including economic crises and bringing light to the deficiencies in our country in how we care and fail to care for all of our peoples. Our love for neighbor is for all our neighbors, yet we are called to specifically name those in greater need, including those who need access to quality healthcare, suffer from longstanding racial and economic divides, and in so many expressions of anger and fear seek to divide the body of Christ.
In addition to these times shared with people around the country and the globe, this congregation has also been traveling through a time of pastoral transition, self-reflection, and dreaming for the future. Now, as they draw close to considering the candidate presented after the culmination of months and years of work by the Transition Team, Search Committee, Church leadership, and discernment for the entire congregation, send them an extra dose of your spirit. In this Pentecost season, give them a double helping of all the divine gifts you share with your people, including wisdom, vision, discernment, grace, hope, courage, all embodies in a simple word called LOVE. Help them keep the same guiding questions in their hearts, minds, and souls – “who are they?, who is their neighbor?, and what is God calling them to be & do?”
With this gift of Pentecost spirit, ground them in the historic faith of their ancestors as they seek new expressions of that faith in this generation. Help them discern where your will is guiding them, and not confuse it with their own desires or comforts.
Help us seal this prayer for guidance and grace in all our hearts as we 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.
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.
Closing Hymn – “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
Also known as the Black National Anthem, it was written in 1921 by poet James Weldon Johnson, the first African American to pass the bar examination in the state of Florida. The tune was composed by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. You can read about the song’s enduring legacy here.
Go forth, knowing God has always loved you, loves you now, and will always love you.
No matter what.
Thank you for joining us this Sunday.
Join us every Sunday at 11 am on Zoom to have a virtual coffee hour and share our joys and concerns.
We also host via zoom:
our weekly Bible study on Tuesday at 10 am
and Pastor Greg’s Check In Time on Wednesdays from 10-11 am and 8:30-9:30 pm.
Check your email for instructions for zoom, or email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.