Confirmation Class Coming

confirmatioclass1944 001
This is what the class of 1944 looked like.
A lot has changed since then.
A lot has remained the same.

Youth on the brink of adulthood experience many radical changes in their lives: Puberty is when parents start acting weird. Revisiting the faith you were brought up in or exploring your spirituality for the first time are great opportunities during this important period in life. Confirmation traditionally has been a youth’s approval and reaffirmation of the Baptism they received as an infant. Nowadays it can also be a preparatory journey for Baptism itself. It is both challenging and fun. This class requires a commitment to participate from September to May and includes:

• Confirmation Class from September 2015 through May 2016
• Confirmation Camp at Slumber Falls, January 2016
• Confirmation on Pentecost, May 15, 2016

Youth who are interested need a guardian’s consent and you to sign up by September 1 2015.

Please find the registration form here:
Confirmation Class Registration 2015-2016

Make Time for Bible Study

Starting August 11, the Rev. Daniel Haas will be offering a Bible Study Class and everybody is welcome to join us on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month from 6-7 pm. We will work our way through the Apostles’ Creed touching on the major Biblical issues Christians have wrestled with from the beginning. In preparation you are invited to revisit this ancient affirmation of faith and highlight words or phrases that you want to study more in-depth:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

(From the English Language Liturgical Commission, 1988.)

About this testimony
The Apostles’ Creed evolved into its present form by the seventh century, although much of the text originated the first century. It is the creed par excellence of Baptism, widely used when candidates declare their readiness for membership in the Body of Christ and recited during the Great Vigil of Easter as a reminder of our baptismal covenant. It is frequently used in Protestant churches during Sunday worship, and forms an important part of the orders for daily Morning and Evening Prayer in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Rev. David Mason to Preach on July 19

Rev. David Mason will be preaching here at St. John’s UCC on Sunday, July 19 at 10:00 a.m.  Rev. Mason is a Disciples of Christ and UCC minster who recently served at St. Peter UCC, 2007-2012.  He is also a professor of literature and philosophy and the author of four novels for young adults.  Please join us on Sunday to welcome Rev. Mason.

Touch the Screen!

Healing in American Christianity has a somewhat bitter flavor in my mind. The stereotypical TV preacher was perfectly depicted and ridiculed by Genesis in their 1991 music video “Jesus he knows me”. A sad affair where show and business mingle. That said there is room for healing services in the church. The United Church of Christ even has an Order for Healing for Congregational Use. Our next healing service will be held on August 9, 2015. Here is an introduction, taken from the Book of Worship with a local Rosenberg twist:

Services of healing have a biblical heritage appropriate for the full life of a local church. Anointing and the laying on of hands are acts closely related to the covenant of faithful love between God and Israel and between God and the church. In scripture, monarchs are anointed, prophets commissioned, the Holy Spirit conferred, the sick healed, and the dead raised in acts of faith accompanied by anointing with oil, the laying on of hands, or touch in another form. The symbolism of touch has survived almost universally among churches in the laying on of hands at confirmation and ordination. The power of touch in healing is finding renewed acceptance as is the unity of the total person.

In the New Testament, faith, forgiveness of sins, and healing are frequently inseparable but distinct aspects of one experience. Out of mercy and compassion, God works to bring about reconciliation that restores peace between God and humanity, among individuals and communities, within each person, and between humankind and the creation. Guilt, anxiety, fear, broken relationships, and the loneliness of alienation all contribute to human sickness. Healing, in the Christian sense, is the reintegration of body, mind, emotions, and spirit that permits people, in community, to live life fully in a creation honored by prudent and respectful use.

In this healing service, four themes are intertwined: God’s word, growth in faith, forgiveness of sin, human touch.
At St. John’s United Church of Christ our healing service is part of Holy Communion: Together with the confession of sin and the assurance of pardon the whole person is strengthened to approach the Lord’s table with a sense of integrity.

In scripture, God’s word reassures us of the Creator’s love and compassion. Jesus’ acts of healing, the healing ministry of the New Testament church, and contemporary experiences of healing all testify to the health and fullness God makes possible in human life.

Faith in the inclusive sense of trust and belief in God’s unmerited goodness is an integral cornerstone of the New Testament understanding of healing. Individuals and communities of believers nurture each other in their mutual growth in faith. God does not promise that we will be spared suffering, but does promise to be with us in our suffering. Trusting that promise, we are enabled to bear the unbearable and recognize God’s sustaining nearness in pain, in sickness, and in injury.

Forgiveness of sin is often closely associated with healing in the New Testament. The connection of forgiveness and healing affirms the psychosomatic unity of individuals recognized by modern health sciences. It admits the importance of openness and honesty to every relationship of love. It sets health in the context of relationships restored by confession and forgiveness.

In the New Testament, touch plays a central role in the healing ministry. The power of touch is recognized, whether in the anointing with oil, the laying on of hands, or the less formal gesture of holding someone’s hand or touching a wound. Jesus frequently touched others: blessing children, washing feet, healing injuries or disease, and raising people from death. Jesus also allowed himself to be touched, washed, embraced, anointed. To allow oneself to be touched is an act of openness. To touch another is an act of acceptance in which a person transfers something of oneself to another: love, affection, protection, strength, power, acceptance. Touch in the healing ministry embodies the embrace of God for the redeemed creation when in the mystery of last things God will make all things new.

Memorial Service

A Memorial Service for Harry Marsalis will be held on Thursday, July 9 at 1:00 P.M. here at St. John’s United Church of Christ.  A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.