WE ANTICIPATE SUNDAY, August 2,
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
A weekly e-mail from
Plymouth Congregational Church
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
232 E. Onondaga Street, Syracuse NY | 13202 | 315 474 4836
Welcoming All, Growing in Faith, Working for Justice and Peace
Preparing for Sunday Worship
We will mark Hiroshima Remembrance Sunday. The service begins in lament, reflecting the fear and despair many feel in these violent days, moves through the Christian practice of confession so that we can clear the way to hear God’s call to a new way, proceeds through calls and prayers for peace from many faith traditions, and ends at the table of peace and reconciliation that is ours as people of Easter faith.
Communion will be served in the pews. The communion music is played on the parlor organ loaned to Plymouth last year by the Allen family. Jack Allen died on Tuesday, and we play his family’s beloved organ in his honor.
We will commission our missionaries who will be serving at H.O.M.E. in Orland, Maine, August 4-9.
After worship, we welcome Dr. Ednita Wright of Onondaga Community College and Ursula Rozum of the Syracuse Peace Council, speaking on the truths and impacts of nuclear weapons, as well as the role that racism played in the decision to use the atomic bomb in 1945.
Sunday’s music: We welcome bass Andrew Richardson as our soloist. Andrew is pursuing doctoral studies in music at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and is the son of Plymouth members Christine and Mac Richardson.
Focus Scripture John 6:24-35
So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”
Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
- How does “bread” represent God’s love for humankind, both spiritually and physically?
- What questions would you have asked, if you had been in the crowd around Jesus that day?
- How do you respond to Benjamin Sparks’ commentary on the mission of the church?
- What does it mean to walk in the footsteps of Jesus?
- Do you need to see a miracle in order to believe? Why or why not?
Reflection by Kate Matthews
Which kind of bread?
Is there a tension here, between the two different meanings of the word “bread”? Is the spiritual meaning really somehow deeper and more to the point, more significant, more valuable than the physical meaning? Is there, in the life of Christian faith (commitment to Jesus, no matter what), such a far distance or sharp divide between the two kinds of bread, the two kinds of hunger? If we read the story of the loaves and fishes as a sign, pointing to the profound reality of the gift of God in Jesus, we most likely do so on a full stomach. “Yet,” John Pilch observes, “it is difficult to think lofty thoughts when one’s stomach growls from hunger.”
Benjamin Sparks makes an intriguing comment on this text when he compares the crowds to “those who see faith and church membership instrumentally, as something they can choose for themselves to use for their own needs or to pursue their own interests.” Certainly it’s possible (and perhaps too common) for us to shop like consumers for the church that meets our own needs best, and it’s no wonder that this also affects our stewardship. However, Sparks goes on to suggest the following as “all the wrong reasons” to invite people to church: “for the ‘right’ kind of worship; for political engagement on behalf of the poor and downtrodden; for the sake of a Christian America; for a strong youth and family ministry,” or for mission work nearby or abroad. Several of those seem to me to be very good reasons to invite someone to become part of the life of the church. However, Sparks claims that we offer something much greater than all of these, “‘soul food,'” which is more lasting and more unchanging, the kind of food that will nourish us even after our physical hunger is satisfied and the world is as it should be. He even calls the gospel preached by North American Christians “a broken, truncated gospel.” His words could inspire some lively conversation among church folks.
– The Reverend Kathryn Matthews serves as Dean of the Amistad Chapel at the national offices of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio. To read her entire reflection, go to http://www.ucc.org/weekly_seeds_bread_of_life
In Our Church Community
Bold Vision Bold Witness Capital Campaign
We continue to receive commitments that signify participation in our Bold Vision Bold Witness capital campaign. You may mail your card to the church office or place it in Sunday’s offering plate. If you need a commitment, please see George Bain. Won’t you prayerfully consider your three-year commitment to this campaign to support Plymouth’s vision of a renovated Sanctuary, a building with three floors accessible by elevator and lift, other building improvements, a new web site, and a mission giving project to serve our Syracuse community? And join the 91 households that have made their commitments totaling nearly $597,000 to the campaign.
Bible Study on Holiday
Sunday Bible Study is on hiatus through the month of August. We will begin again in September.
Why Aren’t We Using the Organ?
This past winter we had problems with several keys sticking on the organ. Our reliable organ technicians, Kerner and Merchant, discovered that there was a small design flaw in these keyboards that were installed new when the console was re-done in 2012. The keyboards were sent back to the manufacturer in July, and we hoped to have them back for this Sunday. Unfortunately, the flaw was more extensive than originally believed, and the keyboards won’t be back until the middle or end of August. Fortunately, all of this work is covered under the warranty, so there has been no additional cost to Plymouth. We’re thankful to Kerner and Merchant for the excellent work they do in maintaining our historic instrument.
Where Are Those Two Windows?
The two small stained-glass windows to the left of the Good Shepherd window in the rear of the Sanctuary were removed for cleaning and restoration last week. They have been temporarily replaced by clear Lexan. We expect that they will be out for six to eight weeks.
Want to Sing with Choir for Just One Sunday?
Come at 9 a.m. on Sunday, August 9 and learn an easy anthem to be shared in the 10 a.m. worship service. Alice Hatt directs.
Make a Difference
We are in need of volunteers for Summer Learning Community. If you are interested in providing an activity for the children on one or more Sundays, please speak with Nancy Gwin. Materials are available and there will always be two people in the classroom. Background checks (without charge) are needed.
Bikers Invading Plymouth
This summer, a team of volunteer cyclists of varying ages and backgrounds are riding from California to Maine to raise money and awareness for the Fuller Center for Housing’s mission to end poverty housing worldwide. About 40 cyclists will be staying at Plymouth from August 8-10. Besides offering shelter, there are a number of other ways we can support their work:
Help prepare a welcome dinner on Saturday and join them for the meal
Attend their presentation after church on Sunday, August 9
Buy road food for them to take when they leave and put it in the basket in the back of the Sanctuary:
Granola bars, protein bars, packets of energy gel
Dried fruit or jerky
Honey, jelly (but not peanut butter; a supply was donated already!)
Fruit (do not bring before August 9)
Bread, bagels, pretzels, crackers (do not bring before August 9)
Bring Your Own Flowers
Throughout August, we invite you to bring your own garden flowers from home to place on the Communion table for the glory of God. From a single stem in a bud vase to a complex arrangement, all contributions are welcome.
Office Volunteers Needed
Can you spare an hour or two on a regular basis to come help out in the church office? Church Administrator Doris Dorkof could use some help managing the phones and door, to free her up to concentrate on other tasks from time to time. Please call the church office if you’re willing to help.
Use Your Nametag
Wearing a nametag during worship is a sign of your hospitality here at Plymouth. Seeing your nametag helps newcomers know who you are – and will help you put a name to some of the other faces you regularly see on Sunday but aren’t quite sure of. The Board of Deacons urges everyone to reach for their nametag when they enter the Sanctuary and wear it proudly, thus ensuring the warmest possible hospitality at Plymouth. If you need a nametag, please ask an usher.
Quinn’s Non-Office Office Hours
Quinn loves his office, but he’s sick of sitting in it. So, you’ll be able to find him at Recess Coffee (110 Harvard Place) from 4 to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Café Kubal on South Salina Street from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursdays. Come join him; no appointment is necessary.
Ushers, Greeters, Liturgists and Community Time
Consider signing up! We’ll give you all the training you need, and great partners as well. To sign up as a greeter, email Craig Greczyn at firstname.lastname@example.org. To be an usher, email Jared Titus at email@example.com. To proclaim the word and share your voice as a Liturgist, call Jackie Manier at 760-3177 and leave a message. To host Community Time, email Carole Brzozowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plymouth on YouTube
Did you know that Plymouth Church has a YouTube channel? You can find recordings of sermons given at Plymouth on it, along with some of the choir’s anthems. Our YouTube channel is one way that Plymouth is reaching out to folks who missed a Sunday or who want to listen again to a sermon or anthem, and letting the wider community and world know about us. You can search YouTube for Plymouth Church Syracuse or use this link: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4UIrL4OR_uGDy8EkopF_A.
You can also listen to any sermon since November 28, 2012, on Plymouth’s website at http://plymouthuccsyracuse.org/sermons-from-plymouth/.
Plymouth Is on Facebook
If you are on Facebook and you haven’t “liked” the church yet, please do! http://www.facebook.com/#1/groups/109573419061867
Help Plymouth When You Shop
Want to help Plymouth when you’re shopping? Here are two ways.
Staples office supply store has a Rewards Program that allows Plymouth to benefit. When you purchase anything at Staples, tell the checkout person the church’s phone number (474-4836) to activate a reward and Staples will direct 5 percent of that sale to Plymouth. Joan Fogarty has copies of the church’s Rewards card if you would like to present that at Staples. Ask her for one.
And you can raise money by shopping with GoodShop and GoodSearch:
You can use Goodswipe, a credit card rewards program. By linking your card with one signup, you can earn donations to Plymouth for every in-store purchase at 50,000 stores. To learn more about Goodswipe, go to http://www.goodsearch.com/
When shopping online, you can use GoodShop.com and benefit Plymouth. For more information on that, go to www.goodshop.com, enter Plymouth Congregational UCC in the box labeled “Who do you GoodShop for.”
The Rev. Quinn Caldwell is available to respond to emergencies, to visit those with special needs, or for conversation and prayer about whatever’s on your mind or heart. You can reach him at 315-474-4836 or email@example.com. In an emergency, you can reach him at 617-851-0158.
Food Pantry Offerings
The Food Pantry requests your participation is its “toiletries of the month” collection. Contributions of soap are being gathered in July. Put your donations in the box in the back of the Sanctuary.
In the Wider Community
Jazz Cabaret Show
Joe Vanable and other Nottingham students will be performing in a Broadway cabaret Saturday, August 1, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., at Jazz Central (441 E. Washington Street). Tickets are $10. The students are raising funds to be able to perform at Scotland’s Fringe Festival next August.
Hiroshima Day Peace Procession
On the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima, activists from across Syracuse and beyond will process through downtown to proclaim, “Never again”. On Thursday, August 6, meet at Plymouth at 11:15 a.m. to walk to the stepping-off point in Clinton Square, or just find the Plymouth contingent at Clinton Square at 11:30 a.m. The walk will be about an hour long.
Catholic Charities Seeks Household Items
Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement is accepting donations of household goods such as kitchen tables and chairs, couches (no sofa beds) living room chairs, beds, dressers, lamps, dishes, blankets, linens or other usable items. It cannot accept knick-knacks or decorative items. Pickups are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please call 474-7428 ext. 31 to arrange a pickup. Plymouth’s Kelly Tooley works in the Refugee Resettlement program.
Boy Scouts Drop Ban on Adult Gay Leaders
But local religious units can continue their exclusion. http://www.religionnews.com/2015/07/27/lawsuits-ahead-church-based-boy-scout-troops/
Massachusetts Ministry Gives Sleeping Bags to Homeless
Creations by the Golden Bees in Webster. http://www.telegram.com/article/20150724/NEWS/150729702
What Religion Can Teach Climate Scientists
Bill McKibben’s viewpoint.
How to take care of your spirit the six days of each week you don’t go to worship? The UCC has launched a new area of its web site designed to support people in their individual spiritual journeys: Feed Your Spirit. Daily prayers, a biblical personality test, advice column from God-lovers, and magic 8-ball await. Check it out at www.ucc.org/feed-your-spirit.
God in Your Inbox
The Stillspeaking Daily Devotional is written by UCC pastors and leaders, including Quinn Caldwell. Subscribers are sent a daily email containing a Scripture passage, short reflection, and a prayer. Sign up at http://www.ucc.org/feed-your-spirit/daily-devotional/.
Joys and Concerns
In the week ahead, you are invited to pray for
The repose of Jack Allen’s soul and for all who loved him, including Gary, Mary Ann, Spencer and Elizabeth. Jack died Tuesday after a short illness. His memorial service will be at Plymouth at 2 p.m. Monday, August 3, followed by a reception. Cards may be sent to Gary at 100 Litchfield Drive, Syracuse NY 13224
Jayden, Hannah Radcliffe-Hoy and Aaron Hoy’s nephew after a surgery with a long recovery time
Joan Fogarty and Michelle Bell
Bill and Ginger Andrews
Polly Cadwell, now a resident of the Nottingham
Rachelle Greczyn, recovering from surgery
Janet Bucher, recovering from surgery
Shelia and Al, and Aaron, friends of Andrea Stoeckel
Paul Sweet, living with a new diagnosis of multiple myeloma
Betsy and Don
Dorothy, a dear friend of Joan Fogarty
Cath and Barbara
Lee Dreamer, continuing with cancer care