A thought from the Organ Bench...I have been playing each weekend for St. John's in North Bennington and I am eager to play once again with 2nd Congo in Williamstown. This has been a precarious time and the need to be safe is so essential. The past couple of weeks the lectionary readings have fleshed out the Parable of the Sower. What a great time to reflect on that Parable as our gardens begin the first round of harvest. I chose a song that I hadn't played in a long time called "Parable" and played it last week and just thought I would share a good clip I found on youtube. Not only are the words of refrain familiar and beautiful but so is the music itself and the words of the verses. I hope you enjoy! I look forward to being with you soon. Matt
81 Hancock Road • Williamstown, MA 01267 • (413) 458-3467
WELCOME from Rev. Belle Fox-Martin
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.We have come to worship. We have gathered here may times before. We have come proclaiming Christ and praising our Lord. Sometimes we come with a shout of joy, or a quite prayer, or with a song in our hearts.
We gather declaring the love of God, the gift of the Son, the comfort the Spirit. We have come to worship with welcoming hearts bearing our joys and concerns, our successes and mis-steps, the sureness of our faithfulness as well as our questioning faith. In this time and in this place you are welcome for the simple reason that we are all god’s children and we share the same road.
PRAYER OF INVOCATION:
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
JOYS AND CONCERNS:
Reach into you hearts and minds and see who is there that you’d like to lift up in prayer.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
God of love and justice, we long for peace within and peace without. We long for harmony in our families, for serenity in the midst of struggle and for commitment to each other’s growth. We long for the day when our homes will be a dwelling place for your love. Yet we confess that we are often anxious; we do not trust one another and our world is full of violence. We are not willing to take the risks and make the hard choices that love requires. Look upon us with kindness and grace. Show us how to walk in your paths. Grant us your mercy. Amen
WORDS OF ASSURANCE:
One fact remains that does not change, that will never change: God has loved you, loves you now and will always love you. This is the good news that brings us new life. This is the good news. This is the good news that gives you hope beyond hope..
JOHN 2: 1-11
1) On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2) Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3) When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4) And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." 5) His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." 6) Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7) Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8) He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it. 9) When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10) and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now." 11) Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Sermon: "The First Miracle" — Rev. Belle Fox-Martin
The reading we just heard from John is about an actual wedding where, it turned out, there was a bride, a groom, family and friends but no wine to celebrate the occasion. . And it was here that Jesus preformed his very first miracle. He changed water into wine.
You would imaging that since it was a wedding that everyone would have been in high spirits - Joyous at the union of two good people. But that’s not really the way it started out. Don’t misunderstand me, the bride and groom and guests all seemed happy. It was a simple wedding. They were poor people - or at least poor enough that there was just enough food to be shared - not a great abundance but enough to go around. But then to everyone’s astonishment there was no wine to drink - No wine to celebrate the occasion. There was only water. This was not a great beginning. Jesus’ mother was present and she was not at all pleased with this predicament - No one went into a marriage without food and wine. After a discussion Jesus told a servant to go and fill jugs full of water. Then he instructed that a cup be dipped into a jug and given to one of his disciples to drink. And presto, it was wine.
Everyone was happily surprised. No one doubted that this was Jesus’s doing. It was his first miracle. Water into wine. But what was the meaning of it? Why did he bother? At first glance it seems as though this miracle was some sort of a magic trick simply to fix the wedding party. But Jesus’s motives and his message were broader than this. His miracle under scored the vital importance of community - the importance of recognizing that each of us has a gift to offer and each of us is obligated by faith to offer it. Without the participation each one of us, the body of Christ is incomplete. Just as the wedding was incomplete without the wine. In changing the water into wine Jesus was demonstrating the value of community. Not just the community brought together for a wedding but the community of family, of friends, of neighbors of country, of the community of the world. The coming together of these , the sharing of our resources in life , the lifting up of hope and faith in one another -To all of these communities we are called to bring our gift s of faithfulness.
The interesting thing about this passage is that we are invited to this wedding. We are invited to celebrate in the love shared, the gifts given, the vows exchanged. We are invited to witness the miracle of Jesus changing water into wine. Jesus offered his gift and each of us has our gift to offer. So as guests let us marvel at Jesus gift but then let us ask ourselves what we have to give - what light can we share - what touch- what comfort - what laughter - what prayer - what do we bring in our faithfulness to give to one or give to many in the name of God’s grace. What do we bring to the wedding - to our community - to our families? Every single one of us is needed to share our faithfulness - to participate in the lifting up of God’s love.
The psalmist say: “In your light we see light” and the light of God that we see is the light we must share . This is the fabric of our faith. This is the life of our faithfulness. When Jesus turned water into wine he did it for all of those present - not for just the bride and groom but for all - the entire community. It sounds so simple to go on about sharing the light of God with others - but it isn’t easy at all - to share God’s love within your community whether it be family, neighborhood, town, country without prejudice without favor is not easy at all- it is an ongoing work it’s the life blood of your living faith - it is water into wine and that wine is for everyone. It is sharing the light/ the love that we have so freely received.
We are all guests at the wedding. As a faith community we are celebrating the love of God and we are making manifest that love in our lives.
We are guests - no one better than the next, no one more beloved by God than the other but all of us bearers and givers of God’s light in the world - this is our task - the heart of our faithfulness as we lift our cups knowing that love and service are at the center of the gifts of the Spirit.
My friends, life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who make this earthly pilgrimage with us, so be swift to love, and make haste to do kindness, and the blessing of God, who comes to us as a Creative Presence, Saving Grace and Life-giving Spirit be upon you and all whom you love and pray for this day, and forever more.
A Notes from our Pastors
A Closing Note from Belle...
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
What a perfect summer day to express my blessings. I want to thank you all for welcoming me into your church this past year. It has been a blessing to worship with you, get to know you, confront the challenges of the pandemic together, and to enrich our faithfulness together. Even though the Second Congregational church is small in size it is large in love. Love for God. Love for one another. Love to work towards the mission of the church and to grow those missions. Pastors come and go but the vibrancy of faithfulness and the desire to live our faithfulness is ever-present. I wish you God's blessings on your journey. And, I pray for you the knowing that you are a beloved child of God and I hope that you will continue to take comfort, courage, strength and love in this knowledge. With gratitude & faith, Belle
An Opening Note from David:
"We can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength" Philippians 4:13.
Thank you all for calling me to be your pastor! It is an honor to serve you. In these ever-changing days of Covid 19 we are asked to cope with different rules and regulations, but the yearning to return to worshipping together is really the missing piece of our lives. I sincerely hope that in September we can do just that. If we take the necessary precautions of distancing and wearing mask, we can worship outside (weather permitting) or indoors. I hope most of you will take stock and consider what is safe for you, so that if you choose, we will be able to worship safely. In Philippians Paul wrote; while in prison, that we can do all things through Christ. The simple truth is that we of faith can come together in Christian love and be there for each other and your community at large. With God's assurance we, as a congregation can survive the changes yet to come with grace and civility. May God bless you and keep you through this hot summer. See you in September! David
EVENTS FOR AUGUST
August 2nd No Sunday morning Worship (see below)
August 9th No Sunday morning Worship (see below)
August 13th Deacons Meeting 3:30pm Outside at the church
August 16th No Sunday morning Worship (see below)
August 18th Dorcas Picnic in church parking lot (watch for email with details)
August 20th Trustees Meeting 4:30pm
August 23rd No Sunday morning Worship (see below
August 30th No Sunday morning Worship (see below)
The Pot Luck/Auction scheduled for 9/19 will not be held this year because of the pandemic.
A message from the Deacons . . . The 2nd Congo Church will be closed for the month of August. Please continue to send your offerings to Jean Richer at 124 South Hemlock Brook, Williamstown, MA 01267. We will be open for service on September 6th 9:00am with our new settled pastor David Hurst. As always 1st Sunday of the month is communion Sunday. Hopefully our service will be inside, let's pray for that. See all of you in September.
All the best, Jon George
If you are looking for the opportunity to worship during August....WilliNet broadcast services from several local churches. You only need to check their website for the listing or check into 1303 for the scrolling schedule.
Praise God! . . . The church has received a $20,000 bequest from the estate of Mary Ann Gaskill for use in the general fund. She and Bob joined the church in 1991. She sang in the choir, was active in the Dorcas and attended bible study prior to her failing health. We appreciate her forethought and generosity.
A new addition to the Sunday School . . . For the last several summers Julia and Gabriela have been taking part in the Appalachian Service Project and had been looking forward to not only go again but to bring along their younger siblings, Sophia and Micah, this summer. Sadly, the ASP was canceled this year due to Covid. Naturally the Holmgren's family plans to volunteer at a missionary hospital in Kenya were also canceled. They have transferred their assignment in Kenya to next June. The family has found a new way to serve though! They have become proud puppy parents to "Gingham", an adorable black lab from a nonprofit organization called "Guiding Eyes for the Blind". Gingham came to them at just six weeks because the entire veterinary and training facility was closed in New York due to the pandemic. You may have seen an interesting article about this in the NY Times. They will be raising Gingham for the next year before she is turned over to a professional trainer and then matched as a service dog for someone who is visually impaired. Gingham is already well-behaved. She has weekly training classes and goes wherever the family goes. If it's okay with the congregation, Gingham will be at our next service. In this manner, our congregation can grow by one already!
More new arrivals . . . Neil and Jessie (and Oliver) Landwehr will be moving into the parsonage the week of 8/9. Neil and Jessie both grew up in New Jersey and return to Williamstown after living here from 2016 to 2018. They attended the same college for a year but never knew one another. Neil graduated from Lafayette College with a BA in English, and Jessie received her BA in Art History from Hamilton College before completing her graduate studies at Harvard University. The two met while working part-time at Williams-Sonoma over the 2009 holiday season. In 2015 they were married at Ernest Hemingway's Key West house in a lovely ceremony with a few family and friends. They live with Oliver, a handsome gray tabby who walked into Jessie and Neil's life quite literally when they had a ground floor apartment in Jersey City in 2014. An indoor kitty, you might catch Oliver at the window, checking out the local Berkshire community of people and animals. Currently, Neil is in construction management and Jessie is employed at the Clark Art Institute, and Oliver is either napping, chirping at birds, or looking for treats. They enjoy cooking and reading together, being outdoors (except Oliver), and all three are big time Disney enthusiasts!
A message from Mickey . . . To all my family at Second Congregational Church: I want to Thank you all for your many cards and most important your prayers. It has been a struggle these past few months but I am feeling better and on the road to recovery. I know that your prayers have been a big part of that. I look forward to all us being together come September. Enjoy the rest of the summer. Stay safe. Thank you, Mickey Thaisz
Missy Young . . . is home recovering from surgery that took place on 7/24. If you would like to send a card or note her address is: 974 Hancock Road, Williamstown, MA 01267
Mission News . . . This month we would like to high lite The Counseling Center in the Berkshires. They have offices throughout Berkshire county including one in Williamstown. Our church has supported this group for a few years now with this year's amount being $250.00. If you are interested in learning more about this organization you can find their website at: https://ccberkshires.com
An update from the Trustees . . . We are still on hold waiting for a lead assessment before doing exterior painting on the church buildings. The final work on the side entry should be completed before services begin in September. Plans are underway to replace the metal support pillars under the Sunday School that the building inspector is concerned about with PT 6" x 6" beams. The Trustees continue to do weekly lawn mowing and have trimmed the bushes by the ramp and in front of the parsonage. If you would like to take any of the snowball stems that have fallen onto the sidewalk you are welcome to them before they are cut back and discarded mid-August to open the walk up to original size. We have noticed a pine tree along the rear that has become partially uprooted. The hope is to get it back upright but it may need to be taken down.
A refresher of Rev. David Hurst's bio . . . Thank you all for your faith in me and my service to the United Church of Christ. My mentor, Rev. Robert Kyte described me as a minister who is Orthodox with a small "o". I am dedicated to serving a small church in a friendly, but serious way. It is my calling. At age fifty after years of life and procrastinating, I felt God move me. In 1999 I begin my theological studies at Boston University School of Theology. While at B.U., I served the Tyringham Union Church. Beginning in 2004 I was called to minister Grace Union Church in Wilbraham, Ma. There I helped the church grow and thrive over a period of twelve years. During that time, I spent a winter in Haiti on sabbatical. I have many and varied experiences in life which are grist for sermons that have a personal bent. I have worked in human services; including drug and alcohol counseling, and serving the mentally compromised. I have also owned several businesses. My goal in preaching from the lectionary is to draw from my experience, so that one can better relate to the text through modern day example and story. I have lived in Lenox all my life with the exception of my term at Grace Union, so I know the Berkshire communities well. My daughter Gillian and her family are living with me now and looking for a home in the Berkshires. It is a joy for me to have my two grandchildren in the house! My son Alex is a production manager in New York City.
Rev. Belle Fox-Martin
Thank you Belle! We are so grateful for your love and care over the past year. It has been a tough time for everyone, for sure, but your calm leadership and ever hopeful sermons have kept us together and mindful of the blessings we share and the joy that the future might hold for our congregation. It has been wonderful to see you each Sunday on WilliNet, and to receive your message each week. Knowing that you were with us during our many times of need gave us confidence and peace.
You will be missed, but we will keep in touch and we thank you for being with us on our journey.
With love and gratitude,
The Congregation of the Second
Congregational Church, South
— Music Notes —
The adult choir is looking for more members! We are very happy to welcome part-time members or occasional members. Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 and Sunday mornings at 8:15. But if you can't make it to Wednesday rehearsals, feel free to just come on Sunday mornings! Or just visit once to see what it's like. Singing in our choir is lots of fun and it's good for your health, too!
Music Director /Organist
Sunday Service, July 26th, 2020
This week's service can be found on WilliNet 1303 at 9am & 4pm. Reruns on Wed 10am and Fri 7pm.
The link is:https://vimeo.com/441032490
— Parsonage is Rented! —
Effective July 1st, we have a new tenant.
Welcome Neil and Jessie (and Oliver) Landwehr!
See "More New Arrivals" article to the right, and be sure to say "hello" to the Landwehr family!
Remember in Prayer
Members of the congregation: Norm & Betsey Burdick, Sam Westcott, Maggie Guiden, Jack Haig, Cecile Love, Polly Roberts (Dalmaso), Wayne Morrison, Brian Young, Don Quimby, Mary Kirby, Eunice Lapier, Caroline Martel, Mickey Thaisz, and Missy Young
Shirley Sylvester, friend of the Congregation
Dick Diest, cousin of Wayne Morrison
Linda Cangelosi, sister-in-law of Mary Ellen Cangelosi
Charmaine Lapier, sister of Eunice Lapier
Hank Schneider, brother of Mary Ellen Cangelosi
Becky Leto and Judy Bruick, friends of Clare Morrison
Megan Jennings Dostal, friend of Chris van Luling & community
Matt Parker, friend of Chris van Luling
Jenna Fenander, friend of Bridget Spann
Asa Zammuto, friend of Bridget Spann & family
Julia Peele, sister of Bonnie Herr
Mike Kennedy, friend of Clare Morrison
Jessica & Taylor vanLuling, relatives of Bart & Chris
Paul Hamilton, friend of congregation
Michelle Nicklein, daughter-in-law of Virginia Nicklein
Fred Brill family of Mary Ellen Cangelosi
Victor Fraenckel friend of Bob & Janet Mayer
Cathy Foley, friend of Chris Bradich
Julie Weber, friend of Caroline Martel
Meg Schweitzer, Meg Dodds’ niece
Carol Clement, Mary-Ellen Cangelosi’s sister
Keith Roberts, Polly Roberts’ grandson
Matthew Broderick, Meg Dodds’ cousin’s son
Joan & Ed Cushing, Caroline Martel’s cousin
Sandra Joyce, friend of Ann Tiffany
Sue Linquist Bob and Janet Mayer’s daughter
The family of Judy Bruick on her passing on 6/28
Susan Rockefeller’s daughter’s upcoming adoption hearing for her foster children
The family of Norma Quimby on her passing 7/10
All of the First Responders who put their lives in
jeopardy to care for all of us.
For those working in grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals, nursing homes, health care facilities, food banks… who are working in spite of the danger to themselves.
Prayers for anyone who is overwhelmed by this pandemic.
Prayers for those who are feeling isolated or afraid.
Prayers that God give us the mindfulness to reach out by phone to those who we are not frequently in touch -those on the outer edges of our friendship & family.