Worship This Sunday at 9:45am: “Second Helping”

Last Sunday, Rev. Dr. Bill McKinney helped us realize that the crumbs of faith are meant for all people. As we celebrated Holy Communion, our traditional feast of nourishment from Jesus Christ, we thought about how to extend the grace of God’s love to our neighbors.

This Sunday, July 12 at 9:45am, we will think more about spiritual nourishment from God. Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy, the president of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, will preach a sermon titled “Second Helping” based on the story of Elijah in the desert. Ginny Henderson will play the organ, including selections from Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Kendra Henderson will provide special music.

Whether you have been coming to the Tabernacle for years or have visited just a few times, we hope that you find it to be a community of nourishment for your own journey of faith.

Prepare for This Week’s Service

One way to make your participation in worship more fulfilling and meaningful is to prayerfully prepare ahead of time. Pray with the readings and the hymns and look forward to praying with the community on Sunday.

This week’s reading:

This week’s hymns (United Methodist Hymnal):

Preparing for this week: This Sunday, we celebrate Holy Communion, a practice that unites us with the hundreds of generations of Christians who came before us. Christians have different ways of understanding this common meal, but our practice of it represents our unity in Christ.

Before one of your meals this week, pause and give thanks for the blessings of nourishment, loved ones, and tradition.

Worship This Sunday at 9:45am: “Jesus Gets Taught a Lesson”

This Sunday, July 5 at 9:45am, our summer journey continues. Craigville resident Rev. Dr. Bill McKinney will preach a sermon titled “Jesus Gets Taught a Lesson,” based on the challenging story of Jesus and the Syrophoenician Woman. Ginny Henderson will play the organ, including some selections to celebrate Independence Day. Folk singer Kathy Phipps will make her Craigville debut with two special music pieces.

Together, we will celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion, a practice that unites us with hundreds of generations of Christians who came before us. We will also bless the Craigville Painters mural, which represents the heritage and community of our village.

We continue to work to make the Tabernacle a place where people of all generations are welcome. This week, we will introduce a more comfortable children’s area in the worship space, as well as an arrangement in the side room for young people who need a break during the service. In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus learns that he is called to serve all people. So too, we strive to make our worship community welcoming to everybody.

Preparing for This Week’s Service

At the end of last summer, several people suggested that we post the readings and hymns for Sunday services ahead of time to make it easier to prepare. I thought this was a great idea—reflecting upon the readings and hymns for the week ahead can help make worship more prayerful and meaningful.

This week’s readings:

  • 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. Paul urges us to practice generosity and seek equality in community.
  • Mark 5:21-43. Jesus restores a young girl to life, and a woman who touches the edge of his cloak is healed.

This week’s hymns (United Methodist Hymnal):

Preparing for this week: We often experience God through the important people in our lives.

This week, think about a family member to lift up in prayer to God. Perhaps you want to celebrate the blessings of a special person in your life, ask God for healing or guidance for somebody struggling with sickness or hard times, or remember a loved one who has died. Commit to pray for this person in a special way during our Homecoming Sunday.

Worship This Sunday at 9:45am: Homecoming Sunday

On Sunday morning, the bells of the Tabernacle will announce the opening of our summer of worship, just as they have done for over a hundred years. As the Craigville community has done since 1887, we will raise our voices together in praise and song to seek grace, give thanks, and lift up our joys and sorrows to God.

This Sunday, June 28 at 9:45am, we will celebrate Homecoming Sunday. Rev. Dr. Herb Davis will preach a sermon titled “Touched by Jesus from Generation to Generation.” Rev. Davis has helped us open our worship season for many years. A longtime Senior Pastor at Eliot Church in Newton and a former Tabernacle Chaplain and CCMA Administer, he now resides in Pennsylvania. Ginny Henderson will return to accompany our service on the organ, and Kendra Henderson will provide special music. Jim and Valerie Lane will greet and usher, and Roger Hansen will proclaim the Word of God.

All people of faith and seekers of truth are welcome in the Tabernacle. Whether you have been joining us for many years or are new to our community, we hope that you find the Tabernacle to be a welcoming place where you can continue your journey of faith.

We have an exciting season of worship and faith planned. Consider taking this summer as an opportunity to step back, rest in God’s presence, and renew your heart, mind, and spirit.

Announcing Our Preaching Lineup

We’re pleased to announce our preaching schedule for the summer. This year, we’ll hear from a wide range of voices, familiar and new, from a variety of different congregations and types of ministry.

Our preaching schedule this summer includes:

  • June 28 (Homecoming Sunday): Rev. Dr. Herb Davis
  • July 5: Rev. Dr. Bill McKinney
  • July 12: Rev. Dr. David Vasquez-Levy
  • July 19 (Lay Preaching Sunday): Lay preachers, celebrant TBA
  • July 26: Rev. Ken Read-Brown
  • August 2: Rev. Anthony Livolsi
  • August 9: Rev. Carol Bolstad
  • August 16: Rev. Dayan Johnson
  • August 23 (Celtic Spirituality Sunday): Rev. Connie Bickford
  • August 30: Rev. Dr. Bruce Epperly

Learn More About Your Faith at the Craigville Colloquy (July 13-17)

Through faith, God refreshes not only our hearts and spirits, but also our minds. Learning more about our traditions and our world is an important aspect of growing in relationship with God. Each summer, we’re blessed by the opportunity to explore our faith intellectually by the presence of the Craigville Colloquy in our midst. This year, the Colloquy takes place from Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 17.

The Craigville Theological Colloquy combines the elements of a theological conference and a spiritual retreat. This year, the Colloquy will explore the theme “Christianity and Judaism: New Texts, New Contexts, and New Perspectives.” Featured speakers include the Rev. Peter Pettit, Ph.D. (Muhlenberg College), Dr. Karla Suomala (Luther College), Rabbi Or Rose (Hebrew College), and Andy Lang (Executive Director, Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ). Through lectures, small group discussions, and common worship, attendees will rethink and reframe their understanding of the relationship between these two dynamic faiths.

I encourage you to consider attending the Colloquy this year. It’s a great opportunity to both deepen your understanding and step back for personal reflection and renewal. Registration is now open, and general and specific scholarships are available (including scholarships for laypeople). For additional information and registration instructions, visit http://craigvillecolloquy.com.

Our Summer Theme Announced!

In conjunction with the Religious Activities and Tabernacle Committee (RATC), I’m pleased to announce our worship theme this summer: God of Every Generation. We will be reflecting on many aspects of the idea of generations. We will reflect upon the rich history of Craigville, with events centered around sharing stories and celebrating the village’s heritage, while more broadly touching on themes of intergenerational sharing, wisdom, and healing. We will also continue our efforts to make the Tabernacle a welcoming place for people of all ages.

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to start digging in to the work of planning our worship and special events. Please feel welcome to contact me with any ideas or suggestions.

God bless you and keep you safe during this snowy winter.

Thinking Ahead to the Summer

Next summer might seem far away, but we are already starting to think about another season of vibrant worship. Do you have an idea for a worship theme or activity? Do you know of a great preacher we should invite? Have you recently felt inspired by a new style of worship? Feel free to send ideas and feedback of any kind to Edward (worshipleader@craigvilletabernacle.org).

Celebrations of Light in a Season of Darkness

[The following reflection, written by our Theologian in Residence Edward Dunar, appears in the autumn issue of the Craigville Chronicle]

As the days shorten and the nights lengthen, we approach a season that is sacred in many cultures and faiths. As Christians, we celebrate the arrival of Jesus into human history during this time. Scripture is not specific about when the birth of Jesus actually took place, and there isn’t much historical evidence to support the conventional wisdom that the Church placed the celebration of Christmas in December to compete with observances of the winter solstice. It’s more likely that early Christians were simply following the same poetic instinct as other cultures with winter celebrations. By observing the birth of our Savior in the darkest season, we remind ourselves that Jesus brought a brilliant light into a world that can be dark, cold, and scary. We continue to symbolize this understanding today by enlivening our long New England winter nights with strings of multi-colored lights. We think of this season, with holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, as a time of great joy. We associate it with an appreciation for blessings and family.

Even so, for many people it can feel like the loneliest time of the year. A season that is supposed to bring warmth might remind us how much we miss the people who have left us, or it might resurface old regrets. Sometimes the festivities of this season, which radiate such bliss, don’t seem to match the loneliness we feel inside. When we hear the carols that promise God’s coming, sometimes we feel only God’s absence.

Everyone goes through some holiday seasons that feel more empty than joyful. In these times, we can find hope in God’s promise of comfort and redemption. For those of us who feel the warmth and spirit of the holidays, we must be mindful of those friends, family members, and neighbors who feel caught in the darkness. God calls us to let our joy overflow so that we might be signs of God’s light to those who are suffering.

I suspect most of us fall somewhere in between. Sometimes, we feel the warmth and excitement of the coming of Christ. Other times, our sense of loneliness or imperfection seems overwhelming. In community, we can find the light that sooths the darkness in our own lives and opportunities to be that light for other people. As Christian social activist and mystic Dorothy Day wrote, “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”

May you see God’s light during the holidays to come, and may you be a reflection of that light to the people you love. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!