Saturday, October 14, 2017


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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 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 to let us know how many in your family will be present. This will ensure we have plenty of food available.


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 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. 


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 or 845-7315. If you know of someone who may be interested in joining this church, please share this information with them.


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


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, where you will find a means toward making an online contribution, plus material on the UCC’s participation in the response to Harvey.


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.


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.


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

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).


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!


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.