Saturday, December 9, 2017

WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY

Mark’s sermon theme this Sunday is God’s Word of Advent Hope to a Broken Nation. The Chancel Choir will offer music, and Holy Communion will be served.

GINGERBREAD HOUSES

There will be a time for decorating gingerbread houses this Sunday, beginning at 1 PM. Cindy Remus is organizing the event, and she will be able to answer any questions you may have.

CAROLING

Join us for a time of Christmas caroling Sunday. Meet at the church at 4 PM and try to leave promptly so we can make all the stops on our list. We will only have about an hour availableto us for singing and driving. After our round of singing, please plan to be our guests for supper at Pizza Ranch. If possible, bring a dozen cookies with you, for we divide them into plates be left as gifts to the people to whom we go a-caroling.

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP

The men’s group will meet Thursday, December 14, at 6:30 PM. This month’s meeting is at the home of Kevin Booth. For directions to Kevin’s house, please contact the church office.

CHRISTMAS PROGRAM: December 17

“A Contemporary Christmas,” our 2017 Christmas program, featuring the children of the Sunday School and music from some of our choirs, will be held at 3 PM on Sunday, December 17. This annual program is one of the highlights of our year, and you will not want to miss it.

SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING

There will be a special congregational meeting after worship on Sunday, December 17. The purpose of the meeting will be to decide on a proposed renovation project for our church kitchen. See the plan on display on an easel in fellowship hall. Members of the kitchen committee can field any questions you may have. The members are Gary Aebly, Cara Bahr, Judy Hansen, Steve Sundby, Paul and Rosemarie Wieland, Karen Williams, Sherrol Yurs, and Gladean Zurbuchen. Doug Smith, who is currently away in New Zealand, also served on the committee.

DIAPERS AND WIPES

The Mission Committee is collecting diapers and wipes this Advent season. You can place your gifts in the manger by the altar in the chancel. Our humble gifts will be donated to the Badger Prairie Needs Network in honor of the newborn King, who brings hope, joy, love, and peace. Larger sized diapers are especially needed.

PANCAKE BREAKFAST

The Crossing is asking for volunteers to help on Thursday, December 14, with its annual pancake breakfast for students preparing for finals. Some folks from Salem are signed up to help, but a few more are needed. The hours are between 9 and noon. There are shifts as short as an hour or as long as three, and volunteers are free to sign up for the length they prefer. Contact Laura Kolden by email at lkolden@salemchurchverona.org if you have interest.

WELCOMERS and FELLOWSHIP HOUR HOSTS

Please look for the calendar on the kiosk in the fellowship hall to sign up to serve either as a welcomer some Sunday morning or a fellowship hour host. Welcomers are part of a team of four. The greet people at the door, distribute worship bulletins, collect the offering, and are available to answer questions worshipers may have. Fellowship hour hosts provide light refreshments following worship. Both these services are important pieces of our church’s ministry of hospitality and help us reach out to all with the love of God. 

A GLIMPSE OF GOD


One of our members shares this “Glimpse of God.” She reports she had a problem she had not shared with anyone. But the solution to her problem came to her as a result of a chance meeting with someone. The chance meeting occurred because all kinds of improbable intersections happened, bringing together what had no likelihood of coming together. Was this a chance meeting, or was it a glimpse of God?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent. Mark will be preaching on the subject “The Other Advent in Our Faith,” which is the Second Coming of Christ. The Children’s Choir and the Handbell Choir will both offer selections.

DECEMBER USHERS

See the kiosk at the church to sign up to be an usher in December. All the Sundays are currently open and in need of people to serve as Sunday morning welcomers. Tasks are those of hospitality: greeting people at the door, handing out worship bulletins, offering directions that may be helpful to people unfamiliar with our building, and being attentive to anyone who may need help during the service. Ushers also receive the morning offering, passing the collection plates through the pews and bringing the offering forward during the offertory hymn. This is a job that joyously captured the attention of a psalmist (see Psalm 84:10). Does it attract yours?

DECEMBER FELLOWSHIP HOUR HOSTS

See the kiosk in fellowship hall to sign up to be a fellowship hour host in December. All the Sundays are currently open and in need of people to serve in this way. Fellowship hour hosts offer the hospitality of food and drink to accompany the conversation that takes place after worship. The fare that is offered need not be extravagant. Simple things to nibble are just as good. Interested but inexperienced in this piece of our congregational life? Let us know by way of a phone call or email, and we can help connect you with someone who will be glad to guide you.

POINSETTIA CARE

Let the pastor know – by way of telephone or email – if you are willing to water the church’s poinsettias during this Advent season. A once-a-week watering should be sufficient, and it can be done at a time that is most convenient for you.

PANCAKE BREAKFAST

The Crossing is asking for volunteers to help on Thursday, December 14, with its annual pancake breakfast for students preparing for finals. Some folks from are signed up to help, but a few more are needed. The hours are between 9 and noon. There are shifts as short as an hour or as long as three, and volunteers are free to sign up for the length they prefer. This is a wonderful way to engage with the people and place of this campus ministry which Salem has supported since its inception. Contact Laura Kolden by email at lkolden@salemchurchverona.org if you have interest.

DIAPERS AND WIPES

The Mission Committee will be collecting diapers and wipes this Advent season. Beginning December 3, place your gifts in the manger by the altar in the chancel. Our humble gifts will be donated to the Badger Prairie Needs Network in honor of the newborn King, who brings us hope, joy, love, and peace. Larger sized diapers are especially needed.

CAROLING

Join us for a time of Christmas caroling on Sunday, December 10. Meet at the church at 4 PM. After our round of singing, please plan to be our guests for supper at Pizza Ranch here in Verona. If possible, bring a dozen cookies with you, for we divide them into plates to be left as gifts to the people to whom we go a-caroling. We will try to reach as many folks as we reasonably can in about an hour of singing and driving.

GINGERBREAD HOUSES

There will be a time for decorating gingerbread houses on Sunday, December 10, beginning at 1 PM. Sign up on the board in fellowship hall so there will be plenty of supplies. Cindy Remus is organizing this event, and she will be able to answer any questions you may have.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

TOTENFEST SUNDAY

Totenfest is the liturgical ceremony that remembers before God those who have died since this time last year. This ceremony is observed on the Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent, which is to say it happens on the last Sunday of the church’s liturgical year. Along with naming those from the church who have died, the ceremony allows people the opportunity to call out the name of anyone whom they choose to remember. Along the way, candles are lit and a bell is tolled. Our 2017 Totenfest Roll Call includes: Verna Baumgartner, Yvonne Herfel, Nancy Homb, Clara Lingard, Vance Nelson, Shirley Riley, Ginny Schwartz, Millie Whiting, and Donald Wuthrich.

TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

Monday, November 20, was Transgender Day of Remembrance. Observed on the 20th of November every year, Transgender Day of Remembrance solemnly honors, often with a candlelight vigil, the transgender persons who have been murdered over the previous twelve months. This year there were 325 names on the list. Can we please remember to hold in prayer these souls, those who love them, and those who live now in fear. May God lead us to the end of bigotry and hatred.

SANCTUARY DECORATIONS

Sanctuary decorations will go up on our church after worship on November 26. But they will not go up on their own. Your help is requested. If at all possible, please reserve some space on your calendar that day to help ready our building for the Advent and Christmas seasons. Thanks!

HOLIDAY BAZAAR

The Women’s Guild is hosting its annual Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, December 2. The hours are 11 to 1, with a drawing for raffle prizes beginning at noon. Raffle tickets are available and can be purchased after worship on Sunday.

A GLIMPSE OF JESUS

One of our Sunday School teachers reports she had a glimpse of Jesus Sunday morning. It lifted her spirits and helped her to know that what she does is not done in vain. What happened? After she ended her class with a closing prayer, a little girl exclaimed, “I love this church! I want to go here for the rest of my life!”

BELIEVING IS SEEING

Our annual observance of Totenfest, a service in remembrance of the dead, calls to mind our faith in the reality of the spiritual realm. The Christian faith holds that life as we know it takes place on the border between the material world and the spiritual world. The two realms touch and interact. But if we let our focus rest only on the material, then we miss the spiritual. If we miss the spiritual, we think we have only the material, which is temporary, ruled by the fleeting moment, and all we can do is pursue that which is immediate and passing. It is no wonder people feel as though they are running on empty, for that which they pursue is always ending. Regular worship cultivates the ability to see the spiritual and to draw upon the eternal, rescuing us from the tyranny of the present.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CHRISTMAS WREATHS AND POINSETTIAS

The worship bulletins on Sundays contain a form to use for ordering a wreath or poinsettia for the church for the Seasons of Advent and Christmas. Wreaths are $33 and poinsettias are $10.

SANCTUARY DECORATIONS

Sanctuary decorations will go up on our church after worship on November 26. But they will not go up on their own. Your help is requested. If at all possible, please reserve some space on your calendar that day to help ready our building for the Advent and Christmas seasons. Thanks!

A GLIMPSE OF JESUS

We are asking folks to share – either by way of a return email or a note in the collection plate – an anecdote or vignette of an occasion they felt the presence of God. We are calling these “Glimpses of Jesus.”
Here is one that came in last week in response to our first appeal for stories. One of our members suffers from periodic bouts with atrial fibrillation. The bouts manifest themselves with a pounding heartbeat and general feelings of nervousness, both of which are uncomfortable. A bout came upon her the other night in the early evening before she readied for bed; it continued for a couple of hours. She went to bed, hoping the a-fib would stop; but it didn’t. She said a prayer, and immediately the sensations stopped, she felt relaxed, and she could sleep peacefully. This was the first time relief was immediate. We can be grateful for a God who hears and answers prayer.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

FRIDAY PRAYER CIRLCES

This week’s weekly mailing is coming a day early for the sake of this announcement. Mark will be leading short prayer services on Fridays, starting tomorrow at 11:30. These will be opportunities to connect with God for ourselves, our families and friends, our church, our nation, and our world. We will meet in the Conference Room and follow a simple order of service drawing upon scripture and a variety of prayer forms.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

The phrase “thoughts and prayers” is increasingly becoming battered and bruised. It has been criticized especially after the shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX. The criticism is taking many forms. Some call it a pious platitude that evades the kind of action really needed to end gun violence. Others call it a powerless and pointless gesture because prayers are foolish and meaningless exercises in the first place and can accomplish nothing. We can agree with the critics if thoughts go unthought and prayers go unsaid after the phrase is spoken, for then indeed it is an empty platitude. But thoughts thought and prayers prayed are powerful if they have action and life behind them and real devotion to God in them.

SUNDAY MORNING

            9:00 – Sunday School for all ages
            10:15 – Worship in the sanctuary

ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING

We shall gather for our annual Congregational Meeting this Sunday, November 12, at 6 PM. A potluck supper will precede the meeting and begin at 5 PM. 

THANKSGIVING BAGS

This Sunday is your last opportunity to contribute a Thanksgiving bag through the church to the Badger Prairie Needs Network.  The bags we have collected will be taken to the pantry after worship. As of this writing, there are 63 bags at the base of the altar. They are hoping for 17 companions so our goal of collecting 80 will be achieved.

CHRISTMAS WREATHS AND POINSETTIAS

The worship bulletins on Sundays contain a form to use for ordering a wreath or poinsettia for the church for the Seasons of Advent and Christmas. Wreaths are $33 and poinsettias are $10.

RESOURCES FOR THE ROAD

Life with its pressures, whether from daily schedules and routines or sudden and unforeseen challenges, can leave souls feeling fatigued, pulled in several directions, and completely without strength. The weariness of it all can tempt people to clip the church from their schedules because it is the one thing that can be clipped. But it is the church that nurtures the faith that in God you have resources for the road, strength for today and hope for tomorrow. Regular worship can help souls see that God is standing with them with the same strength that brought Creation into being and Christ from the grave.

COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE

Salem UCC, St. James Lutheran, St. Andrew’s Church in the  St. Christopher Parish, and Sugar River UMC will gather for a Community Thanksgiving Service on Monday, November 20. This year the service will be held at the Catholic Church on the corner of North Main and Harriet Streets. The prelude, featuring music from the various church choirs, will start at 6:30 PM and the service will begin at 7. The ecumenical spirit of this service is such that we draw upon the worship tradition of the host church. Mark Yurs is designated to be the preacher this year. Salem almost always has the best attendance at this service; let’s see if we can repeat that in 2017!

GLIMPSES OF JESUS

The two disciples who enjoyed a quick vision of Jesus in their home after their walk to Emmaus are not unique, because Jesus is the same, yesterday, and tomorrow. The Lord Jesus appears to you – it may be in fleeting glimpses – along the way of your days and nights. When the Emmaus disciples reconnected with the rest of the disciples and told them of their strangely wonderful experience, it energized the whole church. We’d love to hear about your glimpses of God’s action in your life, even if you think it something small and mundane. Drop a note about it, signed or unsigned, in the collection plate. They can be included (simply) in these weekly mailings and/or read aloud during worship. An exercise in faith such as this can help energize us with the thought that God is indeed on the move in our midst.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

FIVE REASONS TO WORSHIP AT SALEM UCC

1.      Worship services are easy to follow and traditional without being stuffy.
2.      Sermons connect the Bible to life along subject lines of importance to people today.
3.      Quality music speaks to the heart and helps convey a sense of the presence and power of God today.
4.      A spirit of welcome extended to all whether first-timer or long-timer.
5.      A community of people who wish to represent a positive Christianity that is faithful, relevant, open, and striving to improve.

SUNDAY MORNING

9:00 AM – Sunday School for all ages
10:15 AM – Worship, with music by the Handbell Choir and the Children’s Choir

URGENT NEED FOR NURSERY VOLUNTEERS

No one on our nursery staff is available for this Sunday. Please contact Sarah Pundt at spundt@salemchurchverona.org if you are willing to volunteer. Without two volunteers we shall not be able to offer childcare this Sunday morning.

SUNDAY MORNING ADULT CLASS: Thinking Theologically

What does it mean to think theologically? What is the character of your God? What is the content of your faith? What is the function of your church? What is the purpose of your worship? If any of these questions intrigue you, please join the Adult Sunday School class as we begin a new 3-week study Sunday. We will examine these questions and many others to gain a better understanding of our ever growing faith.

SUNDAY EVENING YOUTH FELLOWSHIP MEETING

5:00 – 7:30 PM – worship, meal, fun, and reaching out to kids in the PALS program at LaPuente. This is a pen pal project.

THANKSGIVING MEALS THROUGH BADGER PRAIRIE NEEDS NETWORK

We are sharing the love of God this Thanksgiving through food donations. Thanksgiving bags, to be donated to the Badger Prairie Needs Network for distribution, are accumulating rapidly at the base of our altar in the church chancel. We are aiming for 80. Will you be able to donate one or more? November 12 is the last day for this year’s collection. Here is the grocery list: One 13.8 oz can chicken or turkey gravy; two 15 oz cans of whole kernel corn; two 15 oz cans of green beans; two 15 oz cans of mandarin oranges; one 20 oz can of pineapple chunks; one 32 oz can of vegetable oil; one 15 oz canned pumpkin; one 12 oz evaporated milk, plus $15 for the purchase of a turkey and fresh produce (make checks payable to Salem United Church of Christ).

NOVEMBER 15 IS THANKSGIVING BAG DISTRIBUTION DAY: Volunteers Needed

The Badger Prairie Needs Network is appealing to our church for volunteers to staff two-hour shifts helping with Thanksgiving Bag Distribution Day. Distribution happens at the Badger Prairie Needs Network building on the east edge of Verona. There will be a schedule available at the church this Sunday listing tasks and open shifts. Distribution day is Wednesday, November 15.

AN EVENING WITH BOB LINDMEIER (November 9)

Hurricanes, Wildfires & Climate Change is the title of an event to be held Thursday, November 9 at Sugar River United Methodist Church. The people of Sugar River have invited WKOW-TV meteorologist Bob Lindmeier to speak and lead a discussion on global warming. There will be light refreshments following the program, and child care will be available. The event is set for November 9 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING

Our church will gather for its Annual Congregational Meeting on Sunday, November 12. The meeting will be preceded by a potluck supper beginning at 5; the meeting itself will begin around 6. We will elect officers for the coming year, set our 2018 budget, and hear reports concerning planned activities and ministries. Child care will be provided. All members of the church, including youth who have been confirmed, are eligible to vote. This is an important night in our life together. Please do not miss it.

COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE

Please remember the Community Thanksgiving Service to be held on Monday, November 20, at the Catholic Church here in Verona. Prelude music by the various church choirs in the community will begin at 6:30 PM, and the service will start at 7:00. Much of the service will follow a Roman Catholic pattern, which will be new and interesting for us. Mark is the preacher for the evening, and he is going to be guided by this focus text from 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3: “We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, especially remembering before our God and Father your of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

A READER FOR THE COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE

Salem is asked to supply a scripture reader for this year’s Community Thanksgiving Service. Is there a volunteer who would like to do this? Fr. John Sasse at St. Andrews has selected this reading: Galatians 4:4-5. Please let Mark know as soon as possible if this is something you would like to do.

CATCHING A GLIMPSE OF JESUS

Two disciples, beleaguered and bewildered by life, and trying to find their way forward once caught a glimpse of the Risen Jesus (see Luke 24:13-35). It was only a glimpse, something that occurred in just a fleeting moment. But it was enough to reinvigorate them with new strength and fill them with joy. We believe these glimpses are available to us today, often through an ordinary worship service on a Sunday morning. Come to worship this Sunday morning. Christ will be present, and waiting to speak with you, if only through a momentary and powerful glimpse. It can be strengthening for your way ahead.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

SUNDAY MORNING

Ancient Corinth was a city enthralled with sports. Corinth hosted the Isthmian Games once every two years. These games featured races of all kinds and other track and field events. It is no wonder then that Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, put our faith in the terms of a race (9:24-27). This will be the theme for Mark’s sermon this Sunday. Worship is at 10:15; Sunday School begins at 9. We long to see you.

500th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION

Martin Luther tacked 95 topics for discussion on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517. By long-standing tradition, church historians have marked this occasion as the start of the Protestant Reformation. Our call to worship and printed prayers this Sunday morning will mark the 500th anniversary of this landmark event in Christian history. 

CARRIE COENEN

Carrie Coenen supplies us with every indication she is a gift from God. Who is Carrie Coenen? She is part of Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison, where she is part of the handbell ministry. She was with that handbell choir when Vance Nelson directed it some years ago. One week ago Monday, she sent us an email at Salem, offering to lead our bell group, at least temporarily, so its music can continue in Vance’s absence. And how grateful we are! Carrie has already rehearsed with our handbell choir, and we look forward with gratitude and excitement.

AN EVENING WITH BOB LINDMEIER

Hurricanes, Wildfires & Climate Change is the title of an event to be held Thursday, November 9 at Sugar River United Methodist Church. The people of Sugar River have invited WKOW-TV meteorologist Bob Lindmeier to speak and lead a discussion on global warming. There will be light refreshments following the program, and child care will be available. The event is set for November 9 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

THANKSGIVING BAGS

We have started along the path of collecting 80 Thanksgiving bags for the Badger Prairie Needs Network. We hope you will be able to prepare one, or even more. When you have filled your grocery bag, please place it in the chancel at the front of the church. Gradually we will have a beautiful collection of 80 or more. The last day for collection is Sunday, November 12.
The shopping list differs this year from previous years. Here is what to include: One 13.8 oz can chicken or turkey gravy; two 15 oz cans of whole kernel corn; two 15 oz cans of green beans; two 15 oz cans of mandarin oranges; one 20 oz can of pineapple chunks; one 32 oz can of vegetable oil; one 15 oz canned pumpkin; one 12 oz evaporated milk, plus$15 for the purchase of a turkey and fresh produce (make checks payable to Salem United Church of Christ).

COME SING WITH US!

The BRC and Chancel Choir welcome all voices to join us as we prepare for the Advent and Christmas Seasons. The Barry Robinson Chorus rehearses on Wednesdays from 6 – 7 PM, and sings in worship on the third Sunday of each month; the Chancel Choir rehearses from 7 – 8 PM on Wednesdays, and sings in worship on the second and fourth Sunday.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

VANCE NELSON

Yesterday brought the very sad news that Vance Nelson, our Handbell Choir Director, died in his sleep sometime during the morning hours. As of this writing (Friday morning) we are awaiting the details concerning funeral arrangements. Should you like to send a card to Ann, Vance’s wife, the address to use is 3231 County P, Mt. Horeb 53572. Please keep our bell choir as well as Vance’s family in your prayers.

SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP

Gather to praise God in the sanctuary this Sunday. Have in you the spirit of the psalmist who said, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” (Ps. 122:1) The BRC will sing the wonderful hymn “It Is Well with My Soul.” Mark’s sermon will say it is well with the body, too. The current culture of body-shaming and bullying adds to the already too prevalent dissatisfaction people have about their appearance. That is the issue “Looking at Your Body in Christianity’s Mirror” will address.

YOUTH FELLOWSHIP

Salem’s youth will gather Sunday evening from 5 to 7:30 PM. It would be wonderful to have a couple of  parents - - or perhaps nonparents! - - who could lend a hand with the meal. If you can help, please be in touch with Laura Kolden.

COME SING WITH US!

The BRC and Chancel Choir welcome all voices to join us as we prepare for the Advent and Christmas Seasons. The Barry Robinson Chorus rehearses on Wednesdays from 6 – 7 PM, and sings in worship on the third Sunday of each month; the Chancel Choir rehearses from 7 – 8 PM on Wednesdays, and sings in worship on the second and fourth Sunday.

THANKSGIVING BAGS

Salem will again participate in the popular and important Thanksgiving Bag program supporting Badger Prairie Needs Network. Grocery bags together with a grocery list will be available as early as this Sunday. We will collect completed bags through November 12. The food pantry is following a slightly different plan this year, so the grocery list is different from the one supplied in previous years. Our goal is to gather 80 bags. Help us reach this goal. Help us reach out with the love of God.

NOMINATIONS

Salem’s Nominating Committee is under way with its work. Contact Doug Smith or Harlan Hall to express your interest in serving the church in some way. The Church Council not your thing? Serving on a committee not your cup of tea? Tell us what it is you feel as though God is calling you to do. It may be something we need around here but have not thought of, and God is using you to make it happen

Friday, October 6, 2017

CHURCH WORK DAY

There is a church work day set for tomorrow, October 7, at 9 AM. There is a list of chores to do and cleaning supplies on hand. If you could lend some time, that would be wonderful.

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 8

We will worship at 10:15. The Chancel Choir will sing and Mark will continue the course of sermons based on 1 Corinthians by helping us think about “Practicing the Art of Apostolic Imitation.” Text: 1 Cor. 4:16.

ALEXANDRA KATHERINE FLOOD

Alexandra Katherine Flood will be baptized during worship this Sunday morning. Alexandra is the daughter of Peter and Julie Flood, and the granddaughter of Charles and Diane Flood.

VERONA WARM WINTERS

Our church has been asked to be a collection site for Verona Warm Winters. This is a project coordinated by Kiwanis of Verona, the Verona Area School District, and the Badger Prairie Needs Network. You are asked to bring to the church between now and October 11 new or gently used and clean coats, snow pants, hats, gloves, scarves, and boots (infant through adult sizes). The items collected will be distributed to families in need in the Verona Area School District. A collection bin is in the fellowship hall, near the kiosk.

NEIGHBORS IN NEED (NIN)

Materials concerning the annual Neighbors in Need (NIN) offering will be available at the church on Sunday. NIN is one of five church-wide offerings in our denomination. Two-thirds of what is collected through NIN supports the UCC’s Justice and Witnesses Ministries division and one-third supports the Council of American Indian Ministries (CAIM) in our church. NIN is one way we work on behalf of justice in our nation for people and conditions in need. Won’t you help? NIN offering envelopes will be available Sunday. We will receive the NIN offering officially on October 22, but contributions can be made at any time.

ANNUAL MEETING – November 12

Salem’s Annual Meeting to elect officers and adopt a budget is set for Sunday, November 12. Save the date! If you have a report for the annual report booklet, please email it or drop it off at the church office.

NOMINATIONS

Salem’s Nominating Committee is under way with its work. Contact Doug Smith or Harlan Hall to express your interest in serving the church in some way. The Church Council not your thing? Serving on a committee not your cup of tea? Tell us what it is you feel as though God is calling you to do. It may be something we need around here but have not thought of, and God is using you to make it happen.

Monday, September 25, 2017

UPDATE on the FLAGPOLE and SIGN

The Church Council decided at its September meeting to proceed with a project to upgrade our sign and flagpole at the corner of Mark Drive and Barbara Street. The project is still in the design stage, but it will (a) retain the current stone structure which matches the building, (b) illuminate the flagpole, and (c) replace the current bulletin-board-style sign. That last bit is needed because the wiring inside the current sign is dangerous if not done for. The Council has asked a designer to explore possibilities for the new sign.

NEIGHBORS IN NEED (NIN)

Watch for Neighbors in Need (NIN) offering materials to begin showing up at the church in early October. Our officially designated Sunday for receiving NIN is October 22, but gifts can be made at any time. NIN is one of 5 offerings received by the United Church of Christ each year. Two-thirds of the contributions support the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries and one-third supports the Council on American Indian Ministries (CAIM). Your generosity will be appreciated.

FALL WORK DAY

Saturday, October 7, has been designated as a Fall work day at the church. Current plans are to make available before that a list of what needs doing, allowing people to chip away, perhaps, on something prior to the 7th if they are available. Otherwise, work will begin on the 7th at 9 A.M.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

SEPTEMBER 17

We begin the new week with the start of Sunday School classes and with worship. Sunday School classes with commence at 9 o’clock, and worship will be at 10:15. The Barry Robinson Chorus will provide music during the worship service, and Mark will lead us in thinking about “The Message the Church Brings to Town.” The key verse will be Paul’s word to the Corinthians in which he summarized his strategy with them: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). 
A special part of Sunday’s worship service will be a hymn gathering up our continuing prayers for hurricane victims. The hymn, to the tune of “Amazing Grace,” is “O God, We’ve Prayed in Wind and Rain.” Singing this together should be a moving experience.

WOMEN OF THE REFORMATION

The Women of the Reformation class, led by Laura Kolden, begins Sunday morning at 9 o’clock. The session will take place in the conference room in the office wing of the church.

YOUTH FELLOWSHIP GATHERING

Youth and parents are invited to a gathering this Sunday. The event will take place from 5:00 until 7:30, and will include a free, no fuss meal and an opportunity to envision what our youth ministry will entail in the year ahead. Please be in touch with Laura Kolden by way of lkolden@salemchurchverona.org to let us know how many in your family will be present. This will ensure we have plenty of food available.

SEARCHLIGHT ON CHURCH AND STATE

Our study of the uneasy tension between Church and State will continue at 7 PM on Monday, September 18. The focus of the last session was on the sovereignty of God. Monday’s session will begin to examine civil government in biblical perspective. What does God think about kings? What is the purpose of government?

CONFIRMATION CLASSES

Confirmation classes for 2017-2018 are set to begin Wednesday, September 20. This session will be an orientation session for parents and confirmands. It will begin at 7 o’clock and run for about thirty minutes. Confirmation classes themselves will start the following Wednesday at 6:30. Those sessions will run forty-five minutes. Our topics this year are Key Stories from the Old Testament and the Life of Jesus. 

RECEPTION OF MEMBERS SEPTEMBER 24

New members will be received into our church on Sunday, September 24, during our morning worship service. If you are interested in becoming a member of Salem, please contact Mark Yurs by way of myurs@salemchurchverona.org or 845-7315. If you know of someone who may be interested in joining this church, please share this information with them.

RIDES TO CHURCH

A small number of folks have responded to the request to be on our list of people willing to offer rides to church. We are grateful to them, and we hope the list can grow. If you are willing to offer someone a ride to church, please let Mark Yurs know and he will add your name to the list. We do not know if our how many times anyone will be called upon, but it is good to know in advance who might be willing to be called.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

HURRICANE RELIEF EFFORT

Those who wish to make a contribution to aid in the relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey may do so through the church. Contributions can be made directly through Salem; simply mark on your envelope (or otherwise indicate) “Hurricane Relief” and we will see that your contribution is sent off. Another avenue is to contribute directly through the Disaster Relief Ministries of the United Church of Christ. To do so, go to this address, http://wwwucc.org/disaster_hurricane_harvey where you will find a means toward making an online contribution, plus material on the UCC’s participation in the response to Harvey.

SUNDAY MORNING

This Sunday will be our last morning for 9 o’clock worship. Drawing upon verses from Mark 6, which tell of Jesus’ sending of the twelve and their return to him, Laura Kolden will speak on “Why We’re Here.” Dawn Lingard will be supplying special music for the service.

CHURCH SCHOOL begins SEPTEMBER 10

Sunday School will begin on September 10. That morning we will open our Church School year with a potluck breakfast at 9 AM. Bring a breakfast dish to pass, learn about our intended program for 2017-2018, meet this year’s teachers, and have an opportunity to register for Sunday School. We have classes for three-year-olds through adults. In these shaky times, few things, if any, are more important than the solid foundation of a good Christian education. Our church hopes to provide just that and in meaningful ways faithful to God, relevant to today, open to all, and striving to improve.

SEARCHLIGHT ON CHURCH AND STATE: OUR UNEASY TENSION

We in the United States speak of a separation between church and state. The phrase about separation is often heard in conversations at the church. But the phrase comes from the language of civics, not the realm of Christian theology, and that poses a danger for the church. If we keep to the language of civics in our thoughts and plans at the church we risk missing what God desires the church to be and to do. Using scripture and other resources, this six-week study led by the Pastor reflects on the proper relationship between church and state when viewed in biblical and theological perspective. The topics and dates are as follows, with each class beginning at 7 PM:
Sept 11:           The Sovereignty of God
                        Sept 18:           Secular Government in Biblical Perspective
                        Sept 25:           The Prophetic Role of Religion in Society
                        Oct 2:               The Phenomenon of American Civil Religion
                        Oct 9:               The Difference between Patriotism and Nationalism
                        Oct 16:             The American Flag as a Symbol at the Church


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL TO BE HELD JULY 16-20!
Children ages 3 through grade 5 are welcome. There will be an adult class to lead by Laura Kolden.  Dinner (which is optional) will be at 5:15 p.m. and program will be from 6-8 p.m. Child care will be provided. A registration form is located on the Christian Education page (found under Programs).

YOUTH ON MISSION TRIP AT  LA PUENTE IN COLORADO


These are pictures that have been received from Laura during their journey on the mission trip.  Check back as more pictures will be posted as they are received every day from Laura.  They are also posted on our Facebook pages.

Saturday: What an amazing journey we have had and what an incredible group of young people! They are hardworking, persevering, always positive, and compassionate. Salem, you can be incredibly proud of these young people, and the way they grown, opened their hearts to one another and the Alamosa community and lived out their faith. Today we begin the long journey home with full and thankful hearts, tired but still smiling!




Friday: Our last day at La Puente! We spent it hiking with PALS at Big Meadow Reservoir in the beautiful Rio Grande National Forest to the west of Alamosa. Beautiful scenery and a big hike for our buddies! The day ended with our last dinner at La Puente. It was very hard to say goodbye to our PALS and all the wonderful people who are part of the La Puente community. We have been deeply privileged and richly blessed by the people who have shared their stories and warmly welcomed us into community. Tears abound as we say farewell, with prayers that God will keep us all in love and care until we meet again.































Thursday: Today was Valley Day, a free day to explore the area. Some fabulous sand boarding and hiking to the highest peaks of Great Sand Dunes National Park! We were honored by the hospitality of Geneva Duarte, a long time staff/volunteer at La Puente. Geneva opened her home and her heart to us, and prepared out-of-this world Navajo tacos for us. We shared our prayers of thanks by passing A blessing cup, and left with full hearts and new friendship.






























Wednesday was an all around great day! We kicked off the morning with our own breakfast burritos prepared by Matthew, Israel, and Avery! A hardworking productive day from 9  am - 6 pm in small groups on various projects: packing food boxes at the county food distribution center; delivering wood to people living off the grid in the remote areas of the valley, called the flats; weeding and harvesting in the community garden;  stocking and sorting at Rainbow's End thrift store; and cooking a delicious lunch and dinner (creative chefs, we have!) for the community meal at the la puente shelter. Our sore muscles found relief at the hot springs swimming pool and an evening of relaxing water fun!
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Tuesday: We spent the day having fun with our buddies at PALS - Positive Activities Lift Spirits, a day program for at-risk children run by La Puente. That evening we drove to San Luis to hike the Station of the Cross - breathtaking views of the mountains at sunset and our closing worship in the chapel on the hilltop.
**please note: Due to the lack of access to the internet where they are at, journals won't be posted until they come back .











Monday: These pictures were taken when they were helping work on some flats and assisting in a shelter kitchen.




These pictures were taken on weekend as the group made their way out to where they will be staying for the week.