A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Fifth Sunday of Easter 10:30 am
“Give us the audacity and strength to withstand what is undesirable so we can hear and embrace your life-giving promises on the other side. Amen.” —Phiwa Langeni
From There to Here: We Gather
¨ The Call ad. from Psalm 148
One: Praise the Lord, Kings and Queens, people of earth
All: Praise the Lord, princes, judges, and simple folk.
One: All young men, all young women
All: Elders, children, and friends.
One: Let them praise the name of the Lord, the excellent name.
All: Glory above, glory below, earth and heaven and water.
One: God exalts us, praises our deeds, loves the world and its people.
All: Praise the Lord!
¨ Hymn What Love Demands Mark Hayes
Dedicated to the public health workers, medical personnel, chaplains, and front-line essential workers who answered love’s demands in a time of national pandemic. Dedicated to them by the people of Union Church, Berea, KY, in memory of Mr. Tom Warth, Dr. Richard and Ms. Judy Drake, and Ms. Mary Lou and Dr. Lester Pross.
1. What does it mean to love my neighbor? How can I live in harmony? Are you my brother or are you just another? When I look in your eyes, who do I see? I see you’re made in the image of God, uniquely gifted with the right to be loved. Neighbor or stranger, how may I serve you? What does love demand?
Chorus: Love is listening with heartfelt compassion, holding the lonely, wiping a tear. Love demands that I live in the moment to live in the question when the answer’s unclear. Love demands I seek what unites us releasing fear and whatever divides us. With God as my strength I will be the change I want to see. For that’s what love, that’s what love demands.
2. What can we do to stand for justice? What can we do so all are free? What can we do to end oppression, so all have the same opportunity? We will be God’s hands and welcoming arms. We’ll keep you safe from danger and harm. Homeless or helpless, how may we serve you? What does love demand? Love demands we do what we can. Take a stand. Lend a hand.
Chorus: Love is listening with heartfelt compassion, holding the lonely, wiping a tear. Love demands that we live in the moment, to live in the question when the answer’s unclear. Love demands we seek what unites us, releasing fear and whatever divides us. With God as our strength we will be the change we want to see. For that’s what love, that’s what love demands.
¨ Passing the Peace
Building the Community: News that Connects Us
Lighting the Justice Candle
The year 1994 was proclaimed as the International Year of Families by the United Nations. This was a response to changing social and economic structures which have affected, and still affect, the structure and stability of family units in many regions of the globe. The International Day of Families, on May 15, is an occasion to reflect on the work started during 1994 and to celebrate the importance of families, people, societies and cultures around the world. It has been held every year since 1995. Today we celebrate our Union Church Family and give thanks for its long history and its ongoing ministry in our Berea community.
Word And Worship
Music There Is Gonna Come a Day
Reading from Acts of the Apostles Acts 11:1-18, p. 1334
Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me.
As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.
At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’
And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”
Children’s Moment Please join in singing as we bless children everywhere:
May God’s blessing 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.
Gospel Reading John 13:31-35, p. 1303
When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’
Sermon The Case Against Tolerance Rev. Kent Gilbert
Call to Prayer and Offering
Ringing of the Peace Bell
The Union Church Peace Bell was created by Jeff Enge in honor of Union Church member Carl Eschbach (1904-1998). A twin bell hangs in Berea’s sister province in Japan and is also rung in the hope of peace for all nations.
Offering Music God, You Spin the Whirling Planets Haydn, arr. J. Purifoy
Union Church Handbell Ensemble
God, You spin the whirling planets, fill the seas and spread the plain,
Mold the mountains, fashion blossoms, call forth sunshine, wind, and rain.
We, created in Your image, would a true reflection be
Of Your justice, grace, and mercy, and the truth that makes us free.
You have called us to be faithful in our life and ministry.
We respond in grateful worship, joined in one community.
When we blur your gracious image, focus us and make us whole.
Healed and strengthened as your people, we move onward toward Your goal.
—Jane Parker Huber
A Chance for Generosity: www.easytithe.com/union 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 portion of our contributions flows out to aid those in need via many external agencies.
Many friends give online, and you can use your smart phone or computer and go to www.easytithe.com/union. You don’t have to register to make a contribution, but if you do, it can make future generosity that much easier.
You can even give by text! Text to 859-448-3403 (Example: Text “$50.00 Offering”)
You can also use US mail! Mail to: 200 Prospect St., Berea, KY 40403
Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!
How can we deny you anything, Lord? You have seen through us TO us, and know the heart of our hearts. Open us fully to embrace all that you call good. Open to us the doors of your healing. Reconcile us to the work that must be done to heal the broken relationships we have made; grant us strength for the work that we might love one another and love WELL, for your sake and in the name of the one who taught us to reach to you as…
Our Lord’s Prayer
Our Maker, Our Mother and Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
From Here to There
At Union we all agree to abide by these principles:
“Union Church welcomes all followers of Christ and works with all who work with him, working by love, respecting each one’s conscience, and endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit within the bond of peace.” (1853)
If this is the time and if this is the way forward for you, then let us join company to boldly and creatively embody the life and ministry of Jesus together. You are welcome to come forward during the Closing Hymn. Thanks be to God for these ministers among us.
¨ Hymn #388 Black Help Us Accept Each Other Aurelia
1 Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us; teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace. Be present, Lord, among us and bring us to believe we are ourselves accepted, and meant to love and live.
2 Teach us, O Lord, your lessons, as in our daily life we struggle to be human and search for hope and faith. Teach us to care for people, for all, not just for some, to love them as we find them, or as they may become.
3 Let your acceptance change us, so that we may be moved in living situations to do the truth in love, to practice your acceptance until we know by heart the table of forgiveness, and laughter’s healing art.
4 Lord, for today’s encounters with all who are in need, who hunger for acceptance, for righteousness and bread, we need new eyes for seeing, new hands for holding on; renew us with your Spirit, Lord, free us, make us one!
Questions of the Congregation and New Members
¨ Covenant of Welcome
And we, the members of this church, renewing our own covenant to God and to each other, do now heartily welcome you to our fellowship, promising to watch over you in love, and praying that you, and we, may be true witnesses for Christ, a light in the world, and continue to increase in usefulness and joy in his service.
Postlude (you are welcome to be seated and enjoy the Postlude)
Cover Art: “Spirit Alive” by Frere Sylvain, (c) Ateliers et Presses de Taize. Used by Permission
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 of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal; and our brothers & sisters at Gethsemane Baptist Church in our hearts, and pray for them. Please hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week.
¨ Those affected by the Covid-19 virus, their families and friends living with fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation, may God bring peace to all who love them; and our wider community as we cope with the new realities of living, including the now over 15,700 Kentucky residents, and 280 Madison County residents, who have died to date from Covid-19.
¨ Prayers for all the people of Ukraine for their safety and sovereignty, and especially those in the city of Nikolaev where the family of former Berea International student daughter of Kevin and Carla, Yulia live. Prayers also that the government of Russia will turn to reason & respect for their own peoples’ lives as well as for Ukrainian families.
¨ Ukrainian Refugees and Afghani Refugees
¨ All those feeling the oppression of depression and isolation. May God strengthen us all and build bridges to grace.
¨ All those seeking a new and just society and those fearful that they will be supplanted, may God open their hearts and include them in grace.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes or who are homebound: Alva Peloquin, Loyal Jones, Lois Morgan, Jan Hamilton, Laura Robie, Dorie Hubbard, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ Families and Friends in Crises…may God be present to every need and heal every rift and wound and those who care for them.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Children in detention centers, that they may be reunited with their families soon.
¨ Sharona Nelson, facing a long recovery after surgery to repair a broken shoulder.
¨ Charlie Hoffman’s uncle, Richard Merrill, just diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
¨ Hazel Morris, recently diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) but doing well so far on treatment.
¨ John and Cheryl Payne, missing each other and under the weather.
¨ Raymond Binkley, Betty Wray’s brother, aged 94, and in ill health.
¨ Alice White, recovering from hip replacement surgery at home.
¨ Melissa & Susan Doring Zook’s Aunt Pat, now in TX for cancer treatment.
¨ Prayers of thanksgiving for the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Uwe Gerstenkorn, pastor of the Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Wattenscheid, in Wesphalia, Germany. Pfarrer Gerstenkorn is a Thomas Merton scholar studying the relationship between “Action” and “Contemplation,” and is visiting faith communities in Kentucky as part of his inquiries. We are so glad to welcome him and to ask blessings on his work.
¨ Dorie Hubbard and all the family, at the death of her little great-niece, Marie Haithcox, of childhood cancer.
¨ Important dates—if we haven’t got yours, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!
Birthdays: Today – Betty Hibler; 16 – Doug Hindman; 21 – John Wernegreen, Steve Gowler; 22 – Ann Rhodes
Anniversaries: May 18 – David & Sarah Vaughn; 21 – Dan Kotlow & Sharona Nelson; 22 – Paul & Patti Smithson
Children are welcome in the service,
or you can stay with them in the nursery
· There will be a nursery assistant available in the nursery space to provide support for families who are supervising their own children there,
· The nursery and playground will be open for families to use if you supervise your own children,
· There will be a device for listening/watching the service in the nursery,
· We anticipate adding full nursery services once under 5s can be vaccinated,
· The children’s Worship Center in the back of the sanctuary will have activities for our youngest members!
Lemonade on the Porch today!
The Community Life and Growth Board is looking for volunteers to assist in our weekly Lemonade on the Porch after our morning worship, beginning today, May 15, and running through the summer. If you can help on a particular Sunday this summer, please go to our News page at union-church.org/news and click on the form labeled Volunteers for Lemonade on the Porch. We need folks to help with set up and take down as well as people to donate snack items like cookies or other kinds of snacks.
View the Lunar Eclipse May 15-16
During the night of May 15-16 the moon will slip into the shadow of the earth. The lunar eclipse will be at its deepest at 12:12 am EDT. For more information, check out the May installment of The Skies Above the Pinnacles which is linked to the Forestry Outreach Center’s online newsletter.https://forestryoutreach.berea.edu/