July/August 2016 – Time and tide

‘Time and tide wait for no one.’ The forces of time and tide are beyond human control…

So often also, it seems, the rhythms of our coming and going. Like the rising and ebbing of the tide, like the rising and setting of the sun… So also the people whom we love come into our lives… and go forth… from our lives…

In the past month we’ve said fond farewells to Jean Parker, one of the saints of our Cataumet church, who passed to eternal life in June. We’ve said goodbyes to Dot and Fran Charest, beloved members of our Bourne church, who have served the church in so many ways, who have now moved to Connecticut. We’ve said goodbye at least for now, to Wendy Weston, our children’s nursery care coordinator in Bourne for the past two years, who starts law school in the fall…

And, following church tradition that goes back to the very earliest church, we’ve laid on hands and prayed over Ryong Jae (Isaac) Jung and his family, Eunsook (Irene) and Eveline Yewon Jung, who have been with us for the past two years, helping and blessing our church in so many ways, as we’ve sent them off with our blessings to serve the College Heights United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh Kansas…

Again following ancient church tradition, we’ve laid on hands and prayed over Rebecca Hewett, who has served our Bourne church in many a capacity over more than two decades, as she has now gone forth with our blessings to serve as lay pastor of the South Middleboro United Methodist Church…

Each departure brings a mix of sorrows and joys. We shall truly miss each of those who have gone forth from us.

Yet in our memorial service for Jean we felt powerful affirmation of the worth of our small yet vital worshiping community, as we heard many testimonies, not only to Jean’s roles in ministry in the church and community, but also to the importance of the church in Jean’s life…

We have been blessed to receive the blessings of each person’s many contributions… And we have been blessed to be a blessing to each person who has gone forth… And in all our coming and going, we’re reminded…By God’s grace we are all able to be of real and lasting help to each other in our walks of faith…

So as we remember the tide that flows out and the sun that sets… May we also remember… The sun comes up again, and the tide comes in again… And even when time and tide seem to run against us… May we remember… As believers in Jesus and as members of his church universal we are always in communion and community with one another, even beyond all boundaries of time and tide…

Please read the reflections that follow from Wendy, Rebecca, and Ryong Jae, and pray each of them will be richly blessed in their ministries…

Please keep all members and attenders of our parish in your prayers…

The grace and peace of our risen Savior be ever with you, Pastor Tim

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Reflections on Growing up in Church

The following reflections were offered by Wendy Weston, Rebecca Hewett, and Ryong Jae (Isaac) Jung on Children’s Sunday, June 24, in Bourne UMC.

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When I Was Growing Up…    by Wendy Weston

When I was growing up my family was in the Navy. Being in the Navy meant we moved four times, that I recall before I turned six. Massachusetts, Virginia, Texas and finally Rhode Island. While Rhode Island is where I remember most of growing up, some of my most vivid memories of Virginia and Texas are in particular about Vacation Bible School. While not as prevalent now, Vacation Bible School was a week (or longer in some places) in the summer. A  big group of kids would meet at church with adult leaders to have an intensive time of submersion in a Bible story theme – stories, songs, and so many crafts. Also getting to play with some different kids, since “way back” in the 1980’s most moms were home, at least in the summer – so Vacation Bible School gave access to different playmates than your neighbors.

Once in Rhode Island we were members of two churches as I recall, Pilgrim Lutheran Church and Pawtuxet Baptist Church. From Pilgrim Lutheran I remember children’s choir being quite the accomplishment and there is a picture of me in my choir robe. At Pawtuxet Baptist, as I was getting older, there were at least three age groups of Sunday School and it was a big deal to graduate to the next group. My other recollection is that much like here the “cool” area to hang out is always the nursery – where we’d try to stay out of underfoot and try to stay out of trouble after church was over.

The other thing that church provides is family when you are far from your own. One of our good family friends, Miss Eleanor, who was like an exotic aunt to my sister and I, whom we met at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, was close enough to us that when she passed away when I was just sixteen, her car became my first car.

We had a couple at Pawtuxet Baptist Church that became adopted grandparents to my sister and I. They had their own family who did not fully appreciate them, and we were thrilled to be loved and love them in return. We got our ‘grandmother’ one of her first baby dolls when Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage – and my sister and I have Cabbage Patch Kids whose birth certificates we had edited to have “Shirley and Mitchell” as name-sakes.

As our scriptures and hymns last week said — our Church is a people — and that is so true. Being surrounded by love is much more important than what building you are in.

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Church Childhood Memories   by Rebecca Hewett

You know we all have memories of this — of church. Today let me speak about my memory. As some of you know, I grew up in Texas, by the coast. My town, Baytown, had no Unitarian church. My father was raised Mennonite slash Methodist, with a Mennonite grandmother and a Methodist grandfather, and my mom was the daughter of a Baptist part-time preacher. When I was quite young, my father and mother decided to attend the Unitarian church at the YMCA. It was the closest to Mennonite and all those who attended there were Unitarian or Quaker. My Sunday school class met in the men’s locker room. Later, the church moved to Crosby, making it too big a deal on a Sunday morning to get us all out the door, or so my father said: “It is too far”. So we stopped going.

My older sister, Robbie, who is very outgoing, was invited to every Vacation Bible School in town. I traveled along as her kid sister. I remember attending a VBS at St. Marks Methodist where I learned how to finish my prayers with the closing phase, ‘In Jesus name I pray.’ I use that today for it is hard wired, for certain. Along about then, my parents decided that my sisters and I should attend some church, so the Methodist church closest to our home was chosen, St Paul’s. I had attended Methodist kindergarten at St Mark’s but St Paul’s was somewhat better. More contemporary…I was soon baptized there, went thru a confirmation and later married there. I do remember…communion — for I choked on the wafers. Singing in the children’s choir, the only song we knew was the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and candlelight Christmas Eve communion, which was holy to me. My favorite hymn was I Love to Tell the Story. I remember attending Sunday school, but learning very little, but I loved confirmation class. Learning all about our founder, John Wesley.

When I was a teenager, my popular sister got me involved in an ecumenical teen group called “The Deal”. They were even interviewed on the radio, KBUC, they were so cool. We met weekly for bible study and after a while put on a three day revival at the high school, with a traveling Evangelist. He had been in a horrible fire and his face was quite distorted but he had a wonderful singing voice. On the third day, I answered the altar call and went up on the stage behind the velvet curtain and accepted Jesus into my life, as they said it “Accept Jesus into your heart”.

So – even if you start in a men’s locker room – sometimes it turns out Okay.

When I was a child…   by Ryong Jae (Isaac) Jung

When I was a child, my image of church was filled with great fun, joy, and comfort. At the time, the church was not only a place for worship, but also my playground. I used to spend my free time at the church with my friends. We gathered in the church, played basketball and soccer in the yard, and sang songs together. For me, church was fun. It was also a place for people to meet, play, and rest as well as worship.

I was a very curious young boy. My most frequent phrase was “Why?” For example, “Dad, why is it raining from the sky?” What do you think about when answering this question? My father is a scientist. He did not explain to me that rain falls when moisture evaporates from the ground and is collected as clouds in the sky, or that the moisture then falls as rain when the mass of the cloud becomes too heavy. This may not have been an appropriate answer for me. So, he answered, “Hmm, rain is water that God pours on thirsty trees.”  I asked again, “Then, Dad, why do trees feel thirsty? And how does God’s watering come as rain? And why must trees drink water?” I asked these kinds of questions in succession. He soon ran out of explanations and told me, “Ask your Sunday school teacher!”

Teaching children is hard work. We should pray for children as well as Sunday school teachers. At the same time, we should put more energy and resources into Christian education. We should let these children and teachers know that God is working within us.

The most important thing I learned in church and Sunday School is love. So we should teach our children with our love. The heart of Christian education is to teach God’s love and to demonstrate this love in our relationships with others. How do we plant God’s love in their hearts? Someone has to show them love. How do we show it? When we love them and care for them, they will know. Our love and care will make a difference in their lives.

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Children’s Blessing

Heavenly Father, we ask your blessing on these children.  They are very special to all of us.  May they continue to grow in the glow of love from You and from their families, finding happiness and strength from that love.

We pray that they love those around them and are faithful to others You place in their lives.  Remind them that love is “doing” not just “feeling.”  Show them opportunities to love through acts of kindness then give them the courage and selflessness to follow through.

Bless them with the wisdom to choose to walk in the world with goodness and virtue, making decisions that will honor all that they have been taught by their parents, teachers and others.

Remind them that in times of confusion or doubt, You are with them.  They can talk to you when they need answers to their questions and direction in their lives.  May they learn to walk in peace with you daily and we ask that you be with them always. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

offered by Susan Goux on Children’s Sunday