Service Recording: October 18, 2020
After the service, we will have Fellowship Time in a Zoom video conference. Details for joining will be shared via email and at the end of the live stream.
The Building is Closed and the Church is Open
While we have restricted access to the building, Peace Church is very much open to ministry—working to respond to our own congregation, as well as the needs of our neighbors and community. Please consider giving either to Peace Church general fund or the Gabriel Fund – which is used to meet the needs in the community.
We recognize that in this time, people’s financial situations may have changed. We ask you to prayerfully consider what you can give. If you use electronic giving, we thank you for your constancy of support. If you would like to give through our online form, we would be grateful. For all the contributions from our members and friends—whether financial, time, or prayer—we ask God’s blessings on those gifts that Peace Church may be healing balm in this time when we are living in our own Gilead.
October 18, 2020 ⁂ 10:30 am
The People of Peace Church
Maggie Fink, ASL Interpreter
John Pokrzywinski, Lay Leader
Jim Pospisil, Music Director
Nathan Holst, Faith Formation Minister
Rev. Kathryn Nelson
Prelude “Feeling Alright” by Joe Cocker Leon Rohrbaugh, Ian Connell, John Erickson, Maddie Carpenter
Announcements and Ringing of the Peace Bells
God is Revealed as We Gather
Responsive Call to Worship
Come, let us worship together.
For the moment, we set aside fear and worry.
Come, be part of this community of hope.
In all our uncertainty, we know this:
No matter what happens,
God is with us. God’s blessings surround us.
And in the face of all uncertainty, we are learning about hope.
Opening Hymn “Come, O Fount of Every Blessing” (#459)
Unison Prayer of Confession ~ Rev. Charlotte Frantz
We come to you, O God, with anxious hearts during this time of pandemic. We long to gather in community to sing your praise, lift up our prayers, and rejoice in your call to us to be your people. Our isolation is difficult, and we confess our sadness to you. There are times we ignore simple signs of hope. Sometimes we forget to reach out to others in ways still possible. There are moments we give in to despair. Comfort us, O God. Heal our hearts and give us strength. Remind us now, that even though we are distanced from each other, we are all held in your care. Let us look forward to that time when we can gather together in person to share our joy and bask in your love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Assurance of God’s Love
Story for All Ages
God is Revealed in the Word
Responsive Reading from Psalm 42, adapted by Charlotte Frantz
As a deer longs for flowing streams, so I long for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
My tears have been my food day and night.
These things I remember: how I went with the congregation and gathered with them at church, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving; we were a multitude keeping festival.
Now I ask myself, why am I depressed and anxious? I tell myself not to give up.
I remember God even when I am not in the sanctuary at church.
Chaos often seems to reign and sometimes takes over my heart.
By day I know that God’s love is real, and at night God’s song is within me.
The day will come when we gather to praise God together.
God’s Word in the Epistles: Romans 5: 1–5
God’s Word in the Gospel: Luke 11: 33–35
Special Music “With My Own Two Hands” by Ben Harper
“Hope in a Time of Pandemic” ~ A Peace-Sourced Poem Created by Pamela Mittlefehldt; Adapted by Charlotte Frantz
Read by John Pokrzywinski, Gudrun Witrak, Sara Olson Dean, Geof Witrak, and Gary Boelhower
Homily: Hope in the Time of a Pandemic - a choral reading
Hope in a Time of Pandemic
A Peace-sourced Poem created by Pamela Mittlefehldt
Adapted by Charlotte Frantz
Read by John Pokrzywinski, Gudrun Witrak, Sara Olson Dean, Geof Witrak, and Gary Boelhower
Introductory statement (read by Charlotte)
“Hope in a Time of Pandemic” is a community-sourced poem.
The people of Peace church were asked to respond to the phrase: “What I am learning about hope in a time of pandemic.” Over forty people shared their thoughts. It was such an outpouring of courage, longing, grit, sadness, faith, humor, vulnerability, gratitude, and yes, hope. Reading each response was truly a blessing and a gift. It was an honor to weave the images, words, and reflections that were shared into the following tapestry.
Voice 1, John Pokrzywinski
Voice 2, Gudrun Witrak
Voice 3, Sara Olson Dean
Voice 4, Geof Witrak
Voice 5, Gary Boelhower
Voice 1: What I have learned about hope in this time of pandemic is this:
Voice 2: I am a carrier.
Voice 3: I am a carrier
Voice 4: I am a carrier.
Voice 5: I am a carrier, too. Hope is infectious.
Voice 1: I have always known I was a prisoner of hope.
Voice 5: Now I am a prisoner with hope—
Voice 3: I am open to the lessons I still need to learn.
Voice 2: Hope is a spectrum, a kaleidoscope, an enormous game of Hide and Seek,
taking you from room to room, looking for anything to
help ease the pain of isolation and loneliness.
Voice 4: Hope can be fleeting,
but when it appears,
your spirit regains its footing,
if only for minutes at a time.
Voice 1: Hope is learning to live with
the certainty of uncertainty.
Voice 2: The certainty
Voice 3: of Uncertainty.
Voice 4: Hope doesn’t leave us when we are confused, unsure, or restricted.
Voice 5: As we venture into the Unknown, Unprecedented, Uncertain—hope holds our hand. Hope journeys with us.
Voice 2: Sometimes at night, when you feel all the weight of the world upon you,
you just know the soon-to-rise morning sun will lift it from you.
Voice 4: Sunset: Hope for the new day coming.
Voice 3: Sunrise: Faith, for the new day arriving.
Voice 5: Hope is the soul factor that gets you to the next day.
Voice 1: All we really have is hope.
Voice 3: “A person can live days without food, hours without water, minutes without air, but cannot live at all without hope.” (Larry Long)
Voice 2: Hope is like spring—when the buds appear, when flowers start to give us their beauty, when the birds return to begin their new life, reminding us that we are in a precious life cycle.
Voice 4: We see hope in the red buds of the creaky maple trees in our backyard and the dandelions that call our front yard home.
Voice 1: Hope is in the planting of a tree.
Voice 2: Hope is knowing that broken off succulent leaves can sprout roots in water.
Voice 3: Hope is planting old seeds from our life in Vermont.
Some come up, some don’t, but we keep planting, waiting, hoping.
Voice 4: Hope is in compost, yesterday’s meals providing nutrients for today’s plants.
Voice 5: Hope is in the forest, in forest bathing: to breathe and be present with the moment of peace.
Voice 3: As I write, our windows are open, the birds are singing, the Black cap Chickadee, sparrows, and a Robin red breast.
Voice 4: The goldfinch on the birdfeeder,
Voice 2: the wren that flies into its reflection in the window and falls, stunned, to the ground.
The release of joy as it opens its eyes and shudders into flight.
Voice 1: “ ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul— and sings the tunes— without the words—and never stops—at all.” (Emily Dickinson)
Voice 5: Today when I visited that thing that perches in my soul, her feathers were molting, in disarray.
Currently hope is too elusive for me. I fill that space with awe and beauty, I still believe in the magic of mystery whom some name “God”.
Voice 4: I hear hope when I hear all the frogs calling,
Voice 3: I hear hope in love songs from balconies,
Voice 2: hymns from virtual churches,
Voice 1: honor songs from the heart,
Voice 5: and in the clapping of healers’ hands as the newly recovered patient traverses their tunnel of love each a celebration, a ceremony, a prayer.
Voice 1: I hear hope in the voices of St. Anne’s residents and how secure they feel in their belief that the precautions are taken to keep them safe, in their expectation the time will come for “normal” to find them.
Voice 2: Hope swings wildly throughout days, hours and even minutes.
Voice 3: I am thrown headlong into hopelessness
about ever again holding my sister, who lives in a memory care facility—
and then I am carried back joyfully, tearfully
as my strong and beautiful granddaughter
joins the class of 2020, ready to impact the future.
Voice: 4 Hope is in the myriad ways people are celebrating
our graduating seniors.
So much love and hope shining through images of
parades, balloons, virtual ceremonies, speeches, choirs and songs.
Voice 2: Hope is in virtual classrooms set up by creative teachers
Transforming traditions and ways of learning,
Voice 3: Out of sorrow and disappointment come unexpected recognition and joy.
Voice 5: Signs of love and hope are everywhere–
What a blessing.
Voice 1: I am learning that hope is in dailiness,
Voice 3: It comes in small but meaningful steps,
in the little things,
learning what is most important.
Voice 2: This pandemic leads us to greater simplicity—
Voice 4: We learn to do less, slow down, and do without things we usually take for granted.
Voice 2: Sometimes it’s as simple
as telling yourself and your husband,
after the pandemic haircut you gave him,
“It will grow back.”
Voice 3: Hope is singing “Happy Birthday” over and over,
with no cake or candles in sight—
Voice 2: Finding yeast, baking bread.
Voice 4: Hope is the call from a sister,
that she is about to have a new grandchild to hold,
as soon as we are done sheltering in place.
Voice 1: Hope appears through our daughter
as she creates beautiful art on a sunny deck.
Voice 3: It comes in the nice gestures of my five-year-old, who is learning to be kind,
Voice 5: The easy smiles of children bring a rush of hope to my soul.
Voice 3: Hope is in that six-foot distance
as we walk and talk with friends.
Distance isn’t measured by feet,
but in words.
Voice 1: Hope is conversations, virtual coffee hours, the many hands raised in greeting on a Zoom screen.
Voice 2: Hope is in sharing encouragement:
Voice 3: Hope motivates me and makes me strong.
Voice 4: Staying positive will help you become a lot happier and hopeful.
Voice 1: What I am learning about hope is that hope is a kind of feeling.
Voice 2: What I am learning about hope is that it is everywhere.
Voice 3: Having hope can make you feel better
even if its just a little bit of it.
Voice 1: Hope is finding courage and healing in the words of others:
in proverbs and platitudes, quotations and songs:
Voice 2: “Never a failure—always a lesson.”
Voice 4: “This may be our finest hour.”
Voice 3: Hope is offering up three words each day:
Just for now,
Voice 5: Things might be different when we get to the other side of this,
and they even might be better.
Voice 2: Hope is found in the stories of others, stories of inspiration like
The Diary of Anne Frank.
Voice 4: When I witness the creative accomplishments of people and their ability to
“think outside the box” , I am given hope.
Voice 1: The New York Times can be holy—a source of hope and prayer.
A story of reciprocity in the news—
money sent from Ireland to
the Choctaw Nation for their struggle with the coronavirus,
a repayment of money received during the potato famine.
Voice 4: Hope is in the wisdom of science,
in images of vials of trial vaccines scrolling across the screen.
Voice 3: Hope is our most sacred energy source.
Hope is the expression of our God gene,
our inherent power to
sacrifice, serve, share.
Voice 5: Hope is a responsibility.
Being an elder of the community,
and one who has experienced much,
it is my responsibility to share encouragement and hope
with my children and grandchildren.
It challenges us to tap into our wisdom, to offer reassurance:
“This, too, shall pass.”
Voice 2: Hope is in relationships.
Now more than ever is the time to reach out to each other and support each other,
to reach out to our neighbors more and build more community.
This is a time of a deeper sense of interdependence, a time to be more
connected, trusting and sharing what we learn with each other.
Voice 1: The pandemic is bringing the world together
for a common purpose,
Voice 3: a common search for healing,
Voice 5: a collective search for a cure.
Voice 2: Hope is in the discipline of ritual.
Voice 4: Hope is a practice:
Find something positive about each day.
Challenge ourselves daily to do something to help others.
Grow and spread love.
Steer clear of despair.
Voice 1: While navigating sadness and loss
I have learned to steer clear of despair
because despair crowds out hope.
Voice 4: To crowd out despair,
I reach outside myself and focus on kindness and care.
Voice 3: To live into hope, I need to stretch outside my comfort zone,
find the courage to be candid, to trust, and to forgive.
Voice 2: Hope is a gift, the opportunity to grow personally,
building coping skills, making the best of really hard situations.
Transformation occurs during times of struggle and difficulty.
Voice 5: Faith growth happens during times of struggle and unrest.
Voice 1: “Hope is the possibility of change.” (Michelle Obama)
Voice 3: Hope comes in change.
Voice 5: Change is the movement of God.
Voice 4: Hope, the light of Jesus,
is always leading us forward even
when we feel like we are in a dark tunnel.
Voice 2: Each day we are one day closer
to the end of this difficult time.
Voice 5: God is bigger than a pandemic
and allows us to hope that all will be
Voice 1: Hope comes in an instant
with a sense of joy.
Voice 2: Yesterday the spray from Lady Lake shot
thirty feet over my head
and a rainbow arched from earth high into the sky—
a blessing of wind and water and sun.
Voice 3: What I am learning about hope
is that you have to sit for a long while on a beautiful Friday afternoon,
surrounded by anger and loneliness.
Silently you just sit.
Until at last someone says,
“Hope is the beating of our hearts.”
Voice 4: Someone else adds,
“Hope is our next breath.”
Voice 2: A third says,
“Hope is this breath.”
Voice 5: And then we all agree, at times, hope is all we have.
Song “Won’t You Let Me Be Your Servant?” (#539)
Stewardship Mission Moment ~ Kevin Skwira-Brown
We Respond to God’s Presence
Sharing Our Prayer Concerns, Silent Prayer, Pastoral Prayer, the Lord’s Prayer and Choral Amen
Sharing Our Offerings
Offertory “Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson
The Thanksgiving “Take My Gifts” (#562, 1 vs)
Prayer of Dedication
*Closing Hymn “How Can I Keep from Singing” (#476)