Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Newsletter

Good Samaritan Dinner
Easter 2011

I hope everyone got a chance to see the amazing outpouring of good foods that were on the table in the Parlor this Easter morning. There was everything from two big hams, three vegetable casseroles, vegetarian chili, green beans, a green salad plus dressings, fixings for baked potatoes, homemade rolls and moose stew to some wonderful homemade desserts including beautifully decorated chick and bunny cookies.

Rev. Mark’s blessing sent it off to the Shelter with laughter and a few tears! Another salad and four gallons of beverages were delivered directly to the shelter by their donors. The Bethany Church congregation can be proud of the feast they provided. The folks at Good Samaritan were very vocal in their appreciation of the amount and variety of the items included in the meal. Many thanks to all who contributed! The next dinner will be on May 22nd so watch for the sign-up sheet which will be available very soon.


A wonderful “side benefit” of having the dinner on the 4th Sunday of the month (which sometimes is also the last Sunday of the month) is the opportunity I have had to share the kitchen with the people from the Beth Jacob congregation as they prepare the monthly meal that they serve to all comers beginning at 4:30 in the afternoon.

They greatly appreciate being able to use our space for their outreach and the community is reminded once again that Bethany is a place where folks are welcome to come for good food and companionship. Just a reminder of some other things of which the Bethany congregation can be very proud!
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Join the Youth Group for this year's last
BETHANY CUP!
Sunday, May 15th – 8:30-9:30 am
in the Parlor!
Come for warm, homemade muffins, great coffee, yogurt parfaits,
an oatmeal bar, and artisan bread for toasting.
$5 for full breakfast -
$3 for coffee and a muffin
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SECOND SUNDAY CONCERT

May's Second Sunday Concert will feature Amy Papineau, Kathy Cowens and Theresa Lever in what promises to be a spirited and uplitfing performance. Zach Weinhert will accompany them on guitar on some of the music.

The time is 9:30 and the Chapel is the place!

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Notes and Thanks
from the Music Board

EASTER SUNDAY: What a great celebration! The music and hymns were uplifting and thanks go to the Bethany Church Bell Choir, Sean Neelan and Doug Little as well as Arthur Zorn for the wonderful music.
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Sunday School Summer Plans?
What happens with CE programs for kids at Bethany in the summer? Summer attendance has traditionally been so low that we do not hold any organized activities for children. (The nursery is always open.) Do you plan to attend Bethany in the summer? If so, do you have any ideas about activities for children over these weeks? If there were more formal programs, would you be more likely to attend? The CE Board would like to hear from both parents and kids about preferences and ideas for a summer program.
The CE Board

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C.E. SUNDAY!!
Sunday, May 8 is a very important date. Yes, it is Mother's Day. And yes, it is a Second Sunday. But May 8 is also Christian Education Sunday at Bethany, where we celebrate the many people involved in CE. The children and youth have been preparing for this day with a rotation series that celebrates God's abundance. Children and Youth should arrive at 9:30 for our final preparations -- your parents can go and enjoy the Second Sunday concert in the Chapel while you get ready for the service.

We invite all teacher, aides and other CE volunteers to be there on May 8 to Celebrate God's Abundance!
Patty Turley, for the CE Board
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Spring clean up!

Saturday may 7th 9:00am. Come help make Bethany Church look it's best for the Spring. We will be working inside and outside The Property Board will have coffee and donuts. Bring clean up tools if you if you wish.

This is a great time to meet and get to know others in the church. AND we always need the help.
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Disaster!
We sometimes forget about a disaster after only a few months. Sometimes a new one intrudes on our memory.

But if you want to know what 'we' have done and are doing, there are two quick places to find the information. The first is our Denomination's website at UCC.org. The second is the Church World Service website CWS. CWS is an interdenominational group that works on disaster relief, development, and refuge issues for the UCC. Because of their expertise and our support of the One Great Hour of Sharing, Bethany Church is often helping before we have all heard about the need. The average response time is 2.5 days.

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Stewardship:
All Ages All Year

Will our children be stewards?

Adults: Are we attending to the spiritual formation and practical instruction of our children, youth and young adults as Paul did with young Timothy? Are we respecting and encouraging their discipleship and leadership? Are we tuned in to their sincere faith?

Youth and young adults: Do you know the gift of God that is within you? Are you good stewards of your body, your friends, your money, your stuff? Do you want to change the world?
“Adolescents are looking for a soul-shaking, heart-waking, world-changing God to fall in love with; and if they do not find that God in the Christian church, they will most certainly settle for lesser gods elsewhere… So will we.”1 While we will involve children, youth, and young adults as stewards year-round, it is good to lavish special attention on our stewards in formation.”

As centers of hope and transformation, local churches will cultivate the life of the
spirit, and the spirit of generosity, of all stewards in the Household of God and
assist parents in their awesome responsibilities.

1 Kenda Creasy Dean and Ron Foster, The Godbearing Life: The Art of Soul Tending for Youth Ministry,
(Nashville: The Upper Room, 1998), 9.
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Reflecting on the the Sermon Series

From March 6 through May 1 Bethany has allowed Rev. Robyn Myers book, Saving “Jesus from the Church” to inform 9 sermons, 6 sermon Talk Backs, two ministers, and 1 Brown Bag group of radical ladies.

Reading the book, reflecting and preaching and then hearing what people have had to say has been fascinating. We were concerned that people might really object to what Rev. Meyers and we were saying. The fact that no one did, makes me wonder if we were clear about just what is being said! But from the sermon talk backs it is clear people have been reading the book and finding it “Fascinating”, “insightful”, and “so good to hear”.

Amy and I have tried to avoid any impression that one style of theology is right and one wrong. We have largely kept the sermons about a positive vision of our faith, and left out some of the rhetoric about a theology that is being declined. We really would rather lead and not fight a way forward. And people are free to disagree and interpret through the lens of their theology. After all, we are a community. We do not need to agree to be together in love, justice, and a humble faith journey.

It will be interesting to see how this openness to a new (or ancient) theological expression will influence our prayers, worship, sermons, and faith. I can tell you already, it is making hymn selection even harder and the recent Holy Days have been a challenge as we have looked for imagery and metaphor that reflects our apparent faith but also can speak to those who are not in this place on the road. But we will take on this task. Theology and worship matter. We can not separate one from the other, each should flow from the other. If one changes, the other must.

In the same way, I invite everyone to let their life flow from their theology. Who is God for you? Live it. Be bold. We do not need to denigrate other's theology to live a bold life of faith that reflects God's revelation, as we see it.

I look forward to exploring these things with you. THIS is important!
Mark


Bethany Youth Group News!

Sunday, May 1 – Meet from 7-8:30 pm in the Youth Room
Game Night – Come for the fun!
Sunday, May 8 – No youth group – be nice to your mother!
Sunday, May 15 – meet at 7:30 am in the church kitchen!
The last Bethany Cup of the year! Let's make it a great one!
Sunday, May 22 – No Youth Group
Monday , May 30 – Whitewater Rafting Day trip – more details to
follow!
Sunday, June 12 - 5 PM - meet on the Vermont College Green
This is it – the annual kickball game followed by a cookout at Amy's house. Bring chips or drinks to share – We will have burgers and Ben and
Jerry's ice cream as well! We will also be celebrating Olivia's graduation!