February 11, 2018, Worship Bulletin, Prayer Concerns, Announcements

Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union

Transfiguration Sunday

February 11, 2018  10:30 am 


We of the Taizé community look upon the transfiguration above all as the celebration of that presence of Christ which takes charge of everything in us and transfigures even that which disturbs us about ourselves. God penetrates those hardened, incredulous, even disquieting regions within us, about which we really do not know what to do. God penetrates the with the life of the Spirit and acts upon those regions and gives them God’s own face. —Kathryn Spink

From there to Here

Welcome & Announcements

Welcome to this service of worship!  During the service, you are invited to rise in body or in spirit, standing or sitting, at points in the service marked “ ”.”

Please sign in using the pew folder, passing it back down the row so all can greet one another by name, and place the sheet in an offering plate. We’re glad you’re here!

¨  Prelude A Mountain Springs Farewell S. Tucker

  Union Church Handbell Ensemble

¨  Call to Worship

One: When God called the world into being, God declared:

All: This is my beloved. With it I am well pleased.

One: When Jesus was baptized, and again when he was transfigured on the mountaintop, God declared:

All: This is my Son, the Beloved. With him I am well pleased. Listen to him.

One: When each of us enters into the communion of God through baptism, God declares:

All: You are my beloved. With you I am well pleased.

One: Beloved, we are always and forever in covenant with the ever-loving, ever-blessing God.

All: Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

¨  Opening Hymn #184 O Wondrous Sight, O Vision Fair Deo Gracias

¨  Prayer of Approach and Confession

One: Forgive us, God, when we linger too long by the waters, and on the mountain tops, enthralled with the glory that flows from you. When we fail to listen to your voice leading and guiding us, shake us from our contentment and send us forward endowed with your power. Help us to hear and go forth to heal.   

All: Amen.

¨ Words of Assurance

One: The God of Elijah, the God of Moses and the God of Jesus desires mercy more than sacrifice and a contrite heart rather than burnt offerings. Love God and do the right thing and forgiveness shall be your friend and mercy your true companion.

All: Amen.             —based on Psalm 51:16-17

¨  Passing the Peace of Christ

All who come to this sanctuary are welcome companions on this day! You are invited to turn to those nearest you and greet them with words of peace and joy. 

The Living Word among us

Anthem Order My Steps Glenn Burleigh

Union Church Choir

Order my steps in your Word, dear Lord, lead me, guide me every day. Send your anointing, Father, I pray. Order my steps in your word, please, order my steps in your Word.

Humbly I ask thee teach me your will, while you are working, help me be still. Though Satan is busy, God is real!
I want to walk worthy, my calling to fulfill. Please order my steps Lord, and I’ll do your blessed will. The world is ever changing, but You are still the same. If you order my steps, I’ll praise your name.
Order my steps in your Word, order my tongue in your Word, guide my feet in your Word, wash my heart in your Word. Show me how to walk in your Word. Show me how to talk in your Word. When I need a brand new song to sing, show me how to let your praises ring.

Hebrew Scripture Lesson 2 Kings 2:1-12 (p. 446)

Children’s Moment                                as the children return to their seats we sing:

May God’s presence guard, protect and guide you.  God bless you, God bless you. Our savior’s loving arms be ever ’round you. God bless you, God bless you.  

Following the Children’s Moment, children kindergarten through 5th grade are invited to Children’s Church in Cowan Chapel. They are also welcome to stay in the service if they prefer. The Children’s Worship Center in the back of the sanctuary has toys, books, and drawing materials for children (or adults) who would like help staying present in the service. For children preschool age & under, care is available in the Nursery, downstairs in Room 104 off the playground.

Gospel Lesson Mark 9:2-9 (p.1205)

Sermon The Beloved Rev. Rachel Small Stokes

GIfts Given for Love to Flow

Our gifts help sustain this particular community of caring by sustaining the building, pastors and staff, and all the materials that make our ministry of healing, justice, and teaching available to all in need. In addition, a good portion of our contributions flows out to aid to those in need via many external agencies.

This can now be done online or by text to 859-448-3403 (Example: Text “$50.00 Offering” to contribute to the ongoing ministries, or add “youth,” or “missions” or designation of your choice to benefit one in particular.

Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!

Offertory        In Thee Is Gladness Dale Wood

¨  Doxology  To God all glorious heavenly light; Old Hundredth

To Christ revealed in earthly night;

To God the spirit now we raise

Our grateful hymn of thankful praise. Amen.

Service of Release and Blessing

Sending and Blessing a Minister in our Midst

An introduction is offered by the Moderator, ending with….

One: We gather now to mark the ending of the covenant between The Rev. Rachel Small Stokes and the Congregation of Union Church.

All: Holy God, be with us in our worship. As we open to Christ’s Spirit guiding each of us, help us to cherish our memories, and to move forward with your grace. Amen.

The Blessings of This Covenant

Memories and Thanksgivings are exchanged as we recall our work together.


Rev. Rachel Small Stokes came to us as an answer to the prayer that we might deepen our faith and extend God’s love with the guidance and collaboration of a creative, talented servant leader.

Words offered by the Moderator continue until…

One: We are grateful!

All: We will not forget.

Words offered by Rev. Rachel continue until…

One: I am grateful. And I will not forget.

 Presentation of Gifts for Rev. Rachel

We bless Rev. Rachel with gifts for her journey. These include a Cloth inscribed with our prayers and blessing with hand embroidery by Debbonnaire Kovacs, a Traveling Communion Set all created by local Berea artists, a Union Church mug so that Justice and Joy can go with her to every meeting; and some special tokens of the partnership with Rev. Kent.

Presentation of Gift from Rev. Rachel

Covenant of Release and Blessing

Rev. Rachel:

I thank you, friends and members of Union Church, for the love and support you have shown me while I have ministered among and with you. And let us remember that our ministry together always has and always will belong to Jesus and is always ongoing.

I am grateful for the ways my leadership has been accepted and the ways you have boldly and creatively embodied Christ’s life and ministry in this place. You have deepened my faith and shown me the face of God’s love.

As I leave this place, I ask forgiveness for the many mistakes I have made and for your blessing, that I may carry with me all that I have learned here.


We receive your thankfulness, offer you our forgiveness, and accept that you are now leaving us to minister elsewhere.

We are grateful for your time among us and for the ways you made the radical and inclusive love of God, the beloved community proclaimed by Jesus, and the continuing inspiration of the Holy Spirit visible and real to all.

We ask your forgiveness for our many mistakes and for your blessing that we may continue the ministry you have embodied with new patterns and partners in this place.

Your influence on our faith and faithfulness will not leave us with your departure. With blessing we release you from your duties of ministry here in our midst. No longer turning to you as we have when you were in ministry among us, we commend you to Christ’s service in the new places where God is calling you.

Rev. Rachel:

I receive your thankfulness, offer you my forgiveness, and accept that our covenant in this place is now fulfilled and concluded. May our time together and our parting now be pleasing and acceptable to God.

Further, I now release you from turning to me and depending on me, and promise that I will not hinder or impede what God is calling and empowering you to do in the future.

I encourage your continuing ministry here and will pray for you, for Rev. Kent, and for those whom God is preparing even now to minister next with Union Church as you unceasingly seek and serve the love of God.

Ringing of the Peace Bell  

Prayer of Release

As we pray we will have a laying on of hands. You are invited to come from your pew if you wish to gently rest a hand on Rev. Rachel (for those closest) or on the shoulder of those in front of you. Those remaining in the pew are invited to raise a hand in blessing from where you stand.

Return of  Invested Symbols

Symbols of the faith and work entrusted to pastors of the congregation are returned from Rev. Rachel to our care and so we can continue the ministry God entrusts to us: Keys to the Church, releasing her from the responsibility of work and stewardship; The Bible, that the Word of God will continue to guide us; Baptismal Shell, that the growth of the church and making of new disciples remain the work of all of us; Anointing Oil symbolizing the ministry of blessing and healing still at work here; her Stole, the symbol of her pastoral partnership and the yoke of her service.


Moderator:  Our covenant is fulfilled, and your service here is over. Well done.

All: Go lightly to love and serve the Lord!

¨  Closing Hymn#355 God the Spirit Guide and Guardian Hyfrydol

¨  Benediction

¨  Benediction Response In God’s Hand (opposite) Deborah Payne

Postlude (please be seated) Ten Pieces pour orgue, IV. Toccata Eugene Gigout

Especially in our prayers

Each week we join millions of Christians who pray for one another through the ecumenical prayer cycle and, locally, the Berea Ministerial Association’s prayer cycle.  Let us hold the people Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland and our brothers and sisters at the Church of Jess Christ of Latter Day Saints in our hearts, and pray for them.

Please hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week. Prayer requests to be printed may be sent to the office anytime before 10:00 am Fridays.

¨ Our church family members in nursing homes, or who are homebound:  Ruth Butwell, Edith Hansen, Nancy Hindman, Mary Miller, Alva Peloquin

¨ Loyal Jones, at Arcadian Cove.  His address is Apt. C11, 532 Cady Dr., Richmond, and phone number is 859-302-3548. He’d be delighted to hear from friends.

¨ Dan Rohrer, who is suffering from a severe liver disorder.

¨ Judith Singleton,  and her daughter, Stephanie.

¨ Hazel Morris’ cousin, Bill, cancer-free after successful surgery in Florida!

¨ BJ Godby, recovering from ankle surgery.

¨ Toby Todd, BJ Godby’s father, recovering from a fall in Georgia.

¨ Renee Wellinghurst’s father-in-law, Dave Wellinghurst, diagnosed with glioblastoma after surgery for a brain tumor.

¨ Gary Dillon, significant other of Betty Sarafin, critically ill with cancer.

¨ For Luke Woodie, recovering from bile duct cancer surgery at home.

¨ Carol Shaffer, awaiting shoulder replacement surgery Feb. 14.

¨ Steve Boyce, recovering at home.

¨ Gloria VanWinkle, whose health is declining.

¨ Rev. Rachel Small Stokes, Leslie and Jack as they move to Louisville.

¨ For the people of Immanuel United Church of Christ, receiving Rev. Rachel as their new pastor.

¨ For those affected by violence in every form. May God soothe their spirits and heal them of all that harms them. May we be healed, too, of our complacency, of unhelpful habits of thought, deed, or speech, and of our unawareness so we can become agents of change and grace for a more beloved community.

Today we bid farewell to our associate pastor, the Rev. Rachel Small Stokes. After many years of service, she has accepted a call to Immanuel United Church of Christ in Louisville, KY. Today, the latter part of the service will be a special ceremony of release and blessing as we end our covenant together. Church Council has formed a task force to help us do some long-range planning as a congregation, the results of which will inform our next steps in filling the vacant AP position. Details about that process will be presented at our Annual Meeting next month, March 18.

All of today’s service music is lovingly dedicated to Rev. Rachel. The Union Church music department is forever grateful for the love and support Rachel has given us for five wonderful years.

Let’s Do Lunch! Lenten Lunches start next week. Join us for 5 Sundays of lunch after church! This is a chance to get to know that new person you haven’t said hello to; it’s a chance to catch up with younger friends and surrogate grand parents. It’s a good time to reflect on the worship, the music, the sermon and what it all meant to you with others who have had the same experience! Lenten Lunches build community and are places for holy conversations. Join us each Sunday after church! Suggested donation $5, or ½ hour of help cleaning up! Bring a friend! 


  • Sunday, February 18  Worship and Nominating Boards 
  • Sunday, February 25  Administration and Nurture & Care
  • Sunday, March 4  Faith Development and Mission & Service
  • Sunday, March 11  Community Life & Growth and Properties
  • Sunday, March 18  Pastoral Relations and Finance

Sign up to Read Scripture or to Help Greet and Usher! Many hands make our worship meaningful. Worship board is actively seeking volunteers willing to read scripture, help share prayers, greet friends and guests, take up offering or serve communion. By using our electronic sign up system, http://signup.com/go/xkdVtB, you can pick a date that works for you and get reminders! You can also call the office and we’ll get you on the lists.

Spring Preachers… Think you’ve got a Gospel word in you that the congregation needs to hear? Would you like to be one of the congregational voices as we move into Lent and Easter helping us discern what God is calling and empowering Union Church to do now? We’d like to hear it! One Sunday a month through the spring Rev. Kent will help lay preachers bring the word. At this point we need 5, and all will be required to attend a practical training session, submit an outline of their ideas and work with the pastor on designing other worship elements. Contact Rev. Kent as soon as possible so we can evaluate and plan. No prior experience is necessary.

WNL needs you, you souper cook! Sign up to bring soup in February or March !

Stephen Ministry is recruiting for another training class. Stephen Ministry is a one-to-one lay caring ministry where trained and empowered lay caregivers- called Stephen Ministers- provide high-quality, confidential, accepting, compassionate care to people who are hurting. The training for new Stephen Ministers will start in mid-April and continue through the summer until late August or early September. Informational meetings about Stephen Ministry will be held after church on Sundays February 18th and 25th.  Grab your lunch and bring it to the Stephen Minister Classroom off the Community Room. There will be another informational meeting on Wednesday February 21st right after the Wednesday Night Live meal. You can pick up an application at one of the informational meetings, the church office, or contact Jeff From jeff.from@gmail.com. Interviews for applicants will be conducted in March.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration to becoming a Stephen Minister. 

Lent Begins February 14! Lent is the 46 days prior to Easter, celebrated by Christians since the 3rd century as a time of penitence, reflection, and service to others. The original 40 days of prayer and fasting representing the 40 days Christ prayed in the desert, was supplemented later with 6 Sundays that were mini-celebration days of Christ’s ministry. Lent begins this year on February 14 with a service of the church called “Ash Wednesday.” Plan to join us  this Wednesday at 7 pm in Cowan Chapel for a simple service to mark our prayer work during this holy period.

Visiting scholar in Berea College’s Religion Department to speak in Union Church sanctuary Feb. 15, 3 pm. Born in 1946, in Kakamas, Northern Cape, South Africa, Rev. Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak is a theologian, humanitarian, prolific author and tireless advocate for social justice. Free and open to all.

Our Whole Lives (OWL) comprehensive sexuality curriculum for high school ages at Union Church, open to wider community. Starting the first week in March, and finishing up in May, Carla Gilbert and Chris McKenzie will lead a class on comprehensive sexuality for High School aged youth (Grades 9-12). This class will use the “Our Whole Lives” – OWL – curriculum developed from a collaboration between the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist churches.

This comprehensive curriculum explores the science and spirituality of sexuality in its many facets, and hopes to answer questions teens have about sex in a safe and structured environment. Both Carla and Chris have received intensive training on how to deliver the curriculum and are certified to deliver the program to this age group. A parental orientation session will be required (Conference Room, Feb. 25, 1 pm, after lunch) and youth must commit to the program from the beginning in order to attend the weekly sessions. Families who are interested should contact Chris McKenzie at 205-451-7444. Cost: $60, half scholarships available.

Annual Reports due March 1. If you are the chairperson of a Board, please get your Annual Report to the office by March 1. Email is fine, no need to format it. If you’d like to see a couple of previous years’ reports to use as a guide, just email me and I’ll send to you . Thanks — Joan

The multi media ministry of Union Church is a vital function in the life of the  congregation. Besides providing sound and video support for Sunday morning services as superstar volunteers, many other special events allow the technicians to earn money by working  weddings, Berea College events, and even some of our own events.

  Do you have an interest in multi media? After a year of Marty Hensley and myself, Jack Marshall, perfecting the new system, we are ready and willing to train whoever might be interested. 

  No prior experience is necessary! We will train you in everything you need to know about all of the multi media assets that are around our beloved Church. We hope to build 4 to 6 teams consisting of two people each. This is a great thing for families to participate in together, and  can be taught to anyone between nine and 99 years old! 

  Email Jack Marshall at jack.a.marshall @gmail.com or text him at 859-200-2679 if you are interested. 

  Come hang out with the balcony crowd! It’s a lot of fun. 

Have you seen the sign-in book we use to record new members’ joining dates and attendance at meetings? It’s been missing and we need it back! Maybe someone accidentally took it home or tucked it somewhere for safe keeping? It’s black padded leather, about 8 1/2 x 11.

In the community:

Liberty Place Valentine Party Feb. 14. Dodie Murphy and Chelsea Saylor are having a Valentine’s Day party for 108 women at Liberty Place, the women’s recovery center in Richmond. To donate cakes, cookies, brownies or candy, please call Dodie at 859-868-9622. Thank you!

Berea Home Village volunteer orientation. If you would like to become a volunteer to help our Berea Home Village members remain in their beloved Berea homes, this volunteer opportunity might be for you. We are offering a volunteer orientation on Thursday, February 22nd, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Saint Joseph Berea boardroom. Lunch will be provided. Katie Heckman, Executive Director, Berea Home Village 859-985-0099.

Save the Dates! July 16-20. Berea Leadership Experience will hold its camp for kids to learn skills of conflict resolution, media literacy, mindfulness, and appreciation of nature the week of July 16th -20th, 9 am – 2 pm for kids in incoming grades 2-8. We are also seeking sponsors for scholarships and other financial donations to make this camp possible for as many people as possible. Sponsorships are $60 to cover one student. Checks can be made or online donations can be designated to Union Church, memo line “Berea Leadership Experience.” Thank you!

Read “An Other Kingdom” During Lent!

This book is a call to communities of compassion, resilience, and hope.

Union Church is engaging in an all-Church read of this during February and March. “An Other Kingdom” presents an alternative to soul-crushing systems of consumerism and patriarchy that have wounded so many. Walter Brueggeman along with 2 colleagues proposes another way drawing on the prophetic imagination of scripture and community.

Copies are available at Robie books, or online (kindle and audio versions available).

Join Rev. Kent Gilbert for a weekly Sunday reading group at 1 pm in the Conference Room, starting Feb. 25 — or read along on your own!

Last Weeks’s Prayer in Action: The Dignity of Labor and Fair Wages:

Nothing brings about community stability, family wellbeing, and combats the myriad ills of poverty than fairly compensated labor. While much is made of the great complexities of negotiating wages, the fact remains that in Kentucky, wages have not kept up with rising costs and families are under pressure from several recent developments that have weakened wage and working conditions for many employees. Here are some bills that we urge you to research and then call your representatives about.

Bills The KCC Opposes that We Feel are Contrary to Ethical Treatment of Laborers:

SB 35 – Would exempt amusement park and recreation workers from overtime protection. These are young, vulnerable workers who work for corporations that are not distressed. This Passed in the Senate 19 – 16. Awaiting Committee hearing in the House. Consider calling to oppose this bill.

HB 184 – In the Economic Development Committee – A long list of anti-employee actions are included. This is a very toxic bill that would  eliminate all protections for workers above the “federal floor” enacted in 1938,  including such protections for workers as rest breaks and restrictions on overtime. It would allow employers to charge employees for returns or damaged goods without their knowledge or consent agreements.

HB 252 – Unemployment Insurance: Cuts number of weeks workers may draw unemployment insurance by half and makes it harder for lower income workers to access the system.

HB 240 – Anti-Immigrant Bill – Forces local law enforcement to enforce all existing immigration laws. This is currently only done by Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel. This bill is opposed by the majority of law enforcement agencies because it reduces community trust, takes them away from solving violent or damaging crimes, and is not supposed to be their job.

Bills that Would Improve Conditions:

HB 182 – Paid Sick Leave Bill – Currently 37 million workers have no paid sick leave. This Bill stipulates that workers would earn sick leave for accumulated work hours.

SB 38 – Protects rights of working mothers, allowing them to continue working while pregnant and provides accommodations for nursing mothers when they return to work. (25% of women return to work two weeks after giving birth.) This is a bi-partisan supported bill, and can pass with enough support.

SB 17 – Raises the Minimum Wage (currently $7.25/hr.) incrementally to $17.00 hr. by 2022.  Currently, a full time worker is not able to work enough to be above the federal poverty line, let alone afford basic housing, food, transportation, or medical services. The new rate would return the minimum wage to it’s equivalent buying power of the 1970s.

HB 28 –  The so-called “Ban the Box” Bill, which would eliminate the “have you been convicted of a felony” box on employment forms. A felony conviction is ridiculously easy to get because theft and property damage amounts making something a felony crime have not been revised in over 40 years. This means that many young Kentuckians are disproportionally branded and unable to find work. This bill also has broad bi-partisan support.

What can you Do?

  • Pray! Remember all those who labor to provide you with basic necessities.
  • Pray in Action: Call 800-372-7181 to leave a message for your state representative, or for members of relevant committees considering the bills above. You can leave one message for a number of individuals and committees, and it will be sent to all of them. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes.

To learn more about the bills try the free Bill Tracker from KY.GOV. You need to create a free account, then you can read the actual bills, track in which committee they will be heard, see changes and amendments, etc.

Login in here: https://secure.kentucky.gov/BillWatch/

Many thanks to Betty Hibler for compiling this list.

Next Week’s Prayer Concern:  Energy and the Environment!

Join the KCC and Concerned Citizens on Tuesday, February 13, 9:30am for our prayer focus on Energy and the Environment. Rev. Kent often attends and would be glad to provide rides. If you call your legislator in advance, a meeting with him or her can be arranged to discuss what you will have learned at our prayer briefing.










Categories News, Weekly Bulletin | Tags: | Posted on February 9, 2018

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