Thursday, December 29, 2016

WELCOME TO SALEM UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Thank you for visiting our website. We wish you a Happy New Year and share here a little bit about what is on Salem's mind and heart as 2017 begins.
LOOKING TO CHRIST IN A DISTRACTED WORLD
Mark’s sermons during the Season of Epiphany – the Sundays between January 6 and Ash Wednesday – will be based on the “I am” sayings of Jesus, which are all found in The Gospel According to John. We are encouraging worshipers to begin reading John, and, as further background, the third chapter of the Book of Exodus, which tells of Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush, a passage which provides the foundation for the significance of the "I am" sayings.

CONGREGATIONAL MEETING – January 29, following worship
The church will be holding a specially called congregational meeting after worship on Sunday, January 29, 2017, for the purpose of considering the Open and Affirming covenant statement first circulated at the November Annual Meeting of the congregation. If the congregation votes to approve this statement, our church will be officially recognized as an Open an Affirming Congregation. Notice of this meeting and a copy of the statement will be mailed to the members of the congregation soon, either via the January newsletter or by way of a special mailing.
CONVERSATION OPPORTUNITIES
There will be two opportunities for question and conversation around the proposed Open and Affirming covenant statement to be presented at the January 29th congregational meeting. These opportunities will take place after worship, in the sanctuary, on January 15th and 22nd.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY: A January Bible Study
No one in the church wants to go against biblical teaching. We do not want ours to be a church that disregards scripture. So in this study we look to the Bible for its guidance on a matter now before us. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? This Sunday morning class, led by the pastor, will meet at the 9 o’clock hour. After addressing some preliminary aspects of the Bible in general, the focus will be on Old and New Testament texts raised in opposition to homosexuality. The class will meet over the course of four Sundays: January 8, 15, 22, and 29.
LOVE OVER FEAR
A limited number of yard signs are available for purchase at $10 each.  This project is in conjunction with a number of Madison area UCC churches as well as some ecumenical partners.

Monday, October 17, 2016

WELCOME to the SEASONS OF ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS
Salem United Church of Christ has a full schedule during the Advent and Christmas seasons. We are grateful you have visited our congregation's webpage, and we invite you to join us in any of the activities listed here or elsewhere on our calendar. Whoever you are and wherever you are on life's journey, welcome.



WOMEN'S GUILD HOLIDAY BAZAAR

The Women's Guild of Salem hosts a Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, December 3. The hours are from 11 AM until 1 PM, with a drawing for raffle prizes beginning at noon. Contact the church if you are interested in purchasing a raffle ticket. The bazaar offers a luncheon of BBQ, salads, dessert and beverage for $7.00 (the cost for ages 5-12 is $3.00; children under 5 are free). Additionally, there are many baked goods and craft items available for sale. The Guild uses proceeds from the bazaar to support  mission projects of all kinds here at the church, in the region, and around the globe.

CHILDREN'S CHRISTMAS PROGRAM
Salem's Sunday School, with the help of others, will present a play with music on Sunday, December 11, at 2 PM. The play was written and is directed by one of our members. A freewill offering will be received, but there is no charge for attending the program.

CHOIR CANTATA
Salem's Chancel Choir will present a cantata during worship on Sunday, December 18. Worship will be at 10:15 A.M. In addition to the musical selections of the cantata, there will be prayers, readings, and congregational singing.







CHRISTMAS EVE
The highlights of the Christmas season at Salem are the two Christmas Eve Candlelight and Communion Services. One is held at 7:30 P.M. and the other is at 11:00 P.M. Both services are rich with Christmas carols, prayers, and scripture readings. Both services close with the Sacrament of Holy Communion (served in the pews) and the Sharing of Light, ending with "Silent Night" in English and in German. Communion at Salem is open to all.

CHRISTMAS DAYSalem will hold worship at 10:15 on Christmas morning.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

WELCOME
Welcome to Salem United Church of Christ, and thank you for visiting our congregation's web page. Here is some indication of what is happening in our life these days.

WE HAVE A SUNDAY SCHOOL MISSION PROJECT UNDERWAY
"Homeless Bags" are the Sunday School mission project at Salem for 2016-2017. The bags are intended for people to have in their cars and give away to anyone who confesses homelessness or need and asks for money. The bags contain items such as toothpaste and brush, socks, water, bandages, tissues, and something nutritional. In addition, there is a card with information concerning numbers for agencies that can provide resources. Sunday School kids are organizing these bags and hoping the folks of the congregation will keep one or two in their car for ready distribution. This is one way our church is working to live out God's love and share the gifts of God.

WE ARE STUDYING CREATION CARE

During our Sunday morning Christian Education hour, which begins at 9 A.M., a group is gathering to think about our stewardship of the earth. The chief resource we are using is Earthwise: A Guide to Hopeful Creation Care, by Calvin B. DeWitt. These conversations are, in part, in anticipation of the 2017 Robert D. Mutton Lecture sponsored by the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ and featuring Cal DeWitt. For more on that lecture, please see the Conference website at www.wcucc.org. Our conversations around Earthwise and creation care are not at all limited to folks who want to attend the Mutton Lectures.




WE ARE THINKING ABOUT OUR FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP
Salem is not "always asking for money," but it is not shy about offering opportunities to give or calling for the faithful use of one's resources, all in gratitude to God. When churches like Salem do talk about money, they do so along two lines. The first looks to help people see what they have received from God and asks for their grateful response. The second shares the good goals the congregation hopes to reach and asks people for their generous support. In no case do we tell people what they must give. Instead, we follow the biblical principal of asking people to do as they have proposed in their heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). We are spending the second half of September and the first half of October celebrating a stewardship emphasis under the theme Sharing God's Gifts: Infinite Possibilities.


WE ARE THINKING ABOUT CURRENT EVENTS
Nightly news stories getting you down? Expand your vision and find new inspiration: join your friends at Salem for a potluck dinner and discussion on Sunday, September 25, hosted by the Love Over Fear group. We are a small group dedicated to learning more about issues such as immigration and race relations that often divide our society and make people distrust each other. We call ourselves Love Over Fear, because we believe that our faith holds the answers to these issues. As Martin Luther King, Jr. put it: "Darkness can't drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate can't drive out hate; only love can do that." If you've been wishing you could talk about what's going on in the world today in a relaxed, supportive, faith-centered environment, then this event is for you! Bring a dish to share if you like. If you don't have a dish to share, come anyway! Let's get together Sunday, September 25 at 5:00 PM (potluck dinner) and 6:00 PM (discussion). 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

WELCOME
Welcome to Salem United Church of Christ and thank you for visiting our church's page! Here is a snapshot of what is happening in our life as a congregation as we close out the summer and begin to move into the fall.

SUNDAY SCHOOL
Our Sunday School classes for 2016-2017 will begin September 11th at 9 A.M. To learn more about our Christian Education program as well as to find registration materials and a calendar for the coming year, please select the Programs tab above, and then Christian Education. We would love to welcome you into our life of learning.

WORSHIP
With the beginning of Sunday School on September 11th, our worship time will move to 10:15 A.M. that day.

CONFIRMATION CLASSES
Our Pastor leads classes for 8th and 9th graders in preparation for their Rite of Confirmation at the end of their 9th grade year. This year's class will focus on learning about the Christian life as a journey. An Orientation Session for parents and confirmands will be held at 7 P.M. on Wednesday, September 21. Thereafter classes will be held on the subsequent Wednesdays at 6:30 P.M.

Monday, August 22, 2016

WELCOME
Welcome to Salem United Church of Christ and thank you for visiting our church's page! Here is a snapshot of what is happening in our life as a congregation as we close out the summer and begin to move into the fall.

SUNDAY SCHOOL
Our Sunday School classes for 2016-2017 will begin September 11th at 9 A.M. To learn more about our Christian Education program as well as to find registration materials and a calendar for the coming year, please select the Programs tab above, and then Christian Education. We would love to welcome you into our life of learning.

WORSHIP
With the beginning of Sunday School on September 11th, our worship time will move to 10:15 A.M. that day.

CONFIRMATION CLASSES
Our Pastor leads classes for 8th and 9th graders in preparation for their Rite of Confirmation at the end of their 9th grade year. This year's class will focus on learning about the Christian faith by way of the Lord's Prayer and our ways of worship. An Orientation Session for parents and confirmands will be held at 7 P.M. on Wednesday, September 21. Thereafter classes will be held on the subsequent Wednesdays at 6:30 P.M.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

WELCOME
Welcome to Salem United Church of Christ and thank you for visiting our church's page! Here is a snapshot of what is happening this summer in our life as a congregation.

WORSHIP
Our worship services during the summer months are at 9 o'clock on Sunday mornings. We value being open to all people regardless of who they are or where they are on their journey through life.

SUMMER S.A.L.T. TRIP . . . a youth mission trip
The acronym S.A.L.T. stands for "serving and learning together." These are the mission trips groups from our congregation take from time to time, and the name acknowledges that we are receivers and learners in these endeavors. We try not to operate from a position of power that condescends to help but rather from a position of life together wherein we receive mutually one from another.

In mid-June, our Senior High Youth, together with their adult leaders, will be traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio, to help staff the summer youth program at Washington United Church of Christ. The group will also prepare and serve Washington's Tuesday night community meal, distribute gift bags to homeless persons in downtown Cincinnati Park, and, if there is need, assist with light repairs to the church building. Additionally, the group will visit the Underground Railroad Museum and enjoy the Cincinnati riverfront.

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL'
Vacation Bible School will be held at our church July 17 through 21. The theme is Wilderness Escape: Where God Guides and Provides. We will learn about Moses and the stories told in the Book of Exodus. There will be stories, songs, projects and games. VBS is open to children 3 years old through the 5th grade and adults.

There will be a Family Cookout Kickoff at the church at 4:30 on Sunday, July 17. The VBS program will be conducted Monday through Thursday, July 18 through 21 from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm. Each evening will begin with a family meal served at 5:15 pm. Please contact the church for registration information.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

WELCOME
Welcome to Salem United Church of Christ. Here are some of the highlights we are anticipating this month.

YOUTH PIE AUCTION
May 1, after worship, will be our Annual Pie Auction. This extremely fun event in the life of our congregation raises funds for our youth mission trips, which we call SALT trips. That acronym stands for Serving and Learning Together. In addition to a live and lively auction of whole pies, some made by the youth, some donated by the congregation, there is a silent auction of whole pies and a table for the sale of pie portions.

SALAD LUNCHEON
We transition from pies on Sunday to salads on Thursday. May 5 is the day for our annual Salad Luncheon hosted by the church's Women's Guild. The Guild generously contributes throughout the year to a variety of mission projects that reach around the globe as well as benefit local needs, including those of the children and youth of our church. The Salad Luncheon is one of two main fundraisers the Guild sponsors each year. The meal consists of assorted salads, beverage, dinner rolls, and dessert. The cost is $7.00 per person and is served from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM May 5 here at the church.

THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION
We will hold the Rite of Confirmation for three young people from our congregation on Sunday, May 15, which is Pentecost Sunday on the church's liturgical calendar. Pentecost remembers the day God's Spirit filled the disciples fifty days after the first Easter, and they moved out from behind their closed doors to proclaim the faith and start building the church. Confirmation is a rite of the church whereby persons who were baptized as infants claim as their own the faith that was claimed for them at the time of their baptism. Confirmation thus "seals" or completes infant baptism. A highlight in the Rite of Confirmation is when the candidates kneel and repeat this prayer: "O God, my God, known to me in Jesus Christ, I give myself to you as your own, to love and serve you faithfully all the days of my life." Salem confirms persons in the ninth grade and after a two year period of study with the pastor.

THE CLOSE OF OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL YEAR
Our round of Sunday School classes for the 2015/2016 year comes to a close on May 15. We will recognize our many Sunday School teachers on that day and end the year with a festive spirit.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

WELCOME
Welcome to Salem United Church of Christ. Here are two highlights we are anticipating this month.

IMMIGRATION IN LIGHT OF BIBLICAL FAITH
April 3, 10, 17, 24
9:00 A.M.
Immigration is one of the key topics being discussed in our society today. What does the Christian faith have to say about this important subject? How are we informed by the immigration stories of our families of origin, and how are we informed by stories of mobility in the Bible? Drawing upon a curriculum resource prepared by the Wisconsin Council of Churches, Salem will host a four-session study and discussion hour on the four Sundays of April. The class is open to all, and will take place in the church's conference room beginning at 9 o'clock each Sunday morning in April.

MUSIC SUNDAY
April 17
10:15 A.M.
Salem's annual Music Sunday will be held April 17 during the worship hour. Music Sunday features all our choirs as well as congregational singing and blends music, scripture readings, and prayers in the worship of God. This year's Music Sunday theme is "All Nature Sings," and the music will help us think of our Christian duty to appreciate the natural world and care for our environment.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

WELCOME
Welcome to Salem United Church of Christ. Here is a little bit about what we have going on at the church in March.

YOUTH SUNDAY
Salem's Youth will lead our worship service on March 13. The theme they have selected is "Faith Journey: We Can't Do It Alone." Their focus is on how we need each other in order to keep and to grow our faith.

WEDNESDAY LENTEN WORSHIP SERVICES
There are informal worship services on the first three Wednesdays in March. This Lenten series, which began on Ash Wednesday (February 10), is using the Book of Job as a starting point. The title of the series is "From the Ash Heap to the Living Redeemer." The services are held in our Fellowship Hall. Upcoming topics are "The Value of Lament" (Mar. 2), "What Others Think of Your Religion" (Mar. 9), and "The Question of Life after Death" (Mar. 16).

HOLY WEEK AT SALEM
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, March 20. We will hold a "Holy Week Pilgrimage" during the Sunday School hour (9 to 10). Various stations around the church will depict and interpret several of the events on Jesus' last week on earth. The first "station" is a walk - commemorating Palm Sunday - that begins at the U. W. Clinic and proceeds to the church. The Holy Week Pilgrimage is for all ages! Please join us.

On Maundy Thursday, March 24, we will hold a worship service at 7 o'clock in our sanctuary. In addition to a sermon by Pastor Yurs, this service will feature a good deal of music by our Chancel Choir, the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and the Office of Tenebrae. Tenebrae - the Latin word for shadows - features scripture readings and the extinguishing of candles until the sanctuary is in total darkness.

Good Friday evening, also at 7, we will have a simple service in the sanctuary, which will have been stripped of all its symbols. The mood of the service will be somber, befitting the day of our Lord's death. The Pastor's sermon for this evening is "Contending with the Absence of God."

EASTER MORNING
Join us at 6:30 A.M. March 27 for a Sunrise Service. The sanctuary will be adorned with beautiful Easter lilies and filled with glad Easter hymns. Dr. Yurs will preach on "How to See More Than a Gardener," based on John 20:15.

Enjoy an Easter Breakfast at the church following the Sunrise Service. There is no charge for this breakfast of quiche, fruit, and morning breads, but a freewill offering is welcomed.

Salem's full Easter Service, complete with trumpet and choirs, is at 10:15 A.M. Pastor Yurs's message at 10:15 will be "Capturing the Vision of Easter Morning," a sermon exploring the contemporary ramifications of Matthew 28:7.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

WELCOME
Welcome to Salem United Church of Christ. Here is a little bit about what we have going on at the church in February.

WORSHIP
We hold our weekly worship service at 10:15 on Sunday mornings. Pastor Yurs's sermons for the Sunday mornings in February will be keyed off some of the parables of Jesus. These stories were a chief teaching tool Jesus used, and we can read them today for insight into him and into the nature of Christian faith and life.

LENTEN WORSHIP SERVICES
Beginning Ash Wednesday, February 10, we will be holding midweek services for Lent. These will be held on Wednesday nights at 7 o'clock. The Ash Wednesday service will be held in our sanctuary and include the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The remainder of the Wednesday services will be informal and held in our fellowship hall. Pastor Yurs will be preaching a sermon series using the Book of Job as a starting point. The title of the series is "From the Ash Heap to the Living Redeemer."

BENEFIT CONCERT
Our church's Music Department will offer a benefit concert the afternoon of February 21. Several of our choirs will sing and play music, and a free will offering will be received. The offering will benefit the Family Assistance Fund at the Verona Area School District. The concert is slated to begin at 2 o'clock.

AN EVENING OF GLOBAL AWARENESS
On the last day of February there will be a potluck and program at the church. The program will feature a college student from our congregation who spent six weeks canoeing in the Arctic Circle last summer.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

WELCOME
Welcome to Salem United Church of Christ. Here is a little bit about what we have going on at the present time.

REST
The welcome we extend as church is based on the invitation of Jesus who said, "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" (Mt. 11:28). People are busy. They are busy with activities good and needful. There are moments we are so busy it feels as though we do not have time to live our lives. Here at Salem we are trying to find ways to convey the message that God offers rest. The rest God offers is God's own presence. We invite you to join us in learning to know and love the rest we can have in God these busy days.

WORSHIP
We hold our weekly worship service at 10:15 on Sunday mornings. Over the course of January and February, the pastor is basing his sermons on some of the parables of Jesus. These stories were a chief teaching tool Jesus used, and we can read them today for insight into him and into the nature of Christian faith and life.

OPEN AND AFFIRMING CONVERSATIONS
Salem is presently engaged in a process aimed toward discerning whether we should list our congregation as an Open and Affirming Congregation. A set of conversations is scheduled to begin on January 14 and continue through the Thursday nights of February. Each session will begin at 7 and last approximately 90 minutes. The agenda for this set of conversations is the same one that we used in our Sunday morning and Monday evening sessions in October and November. Since our aim is to encourage the widest possible participation, we are offering this Thursday opportunity. Plans for conversations following a different agenda are being organized by our congregation's Membership Growth and Development Team.

MISSION TRIP FOR ADULTS
A group of adults from this congregation will be traveling in January for a week of working and learning at Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, MS. A group of Salem's youth spent a week there in 2013, and several of our adults wanted to go, too, They will be away January 23 through January 30. We use the acronym SALT for these mission trips: Serving and Learning Together.

BENEFIT CONCERT
Our church's Music Department will offer a benefit concert the afternoon of February 21. Several of our choirs will sing and play music, and a free will offering will be received. The offering will benefit the Family Assistance Fund at the Verona Area School District. The concert is slated to begin at 2 o'clock.