Category Archives: guest preachers

Lenten Letter from Bishop

April 1, 2014

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

As we continue to journey in the Lenten season, particularly as we enter the Holy Week, I am sure that all of us reflect on many aspects of Jesus’s ministry and mission! Of course, each one of them is very important and vital.

One of the images I am reflecting on is Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that in my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, someone presented me with a beautiful olive wood carving of Jesus washing the feet of a disciple. As I ponder on this image, one of the things that crosses my mind is Peter’s statement to Jesus, “You will never wash my feet” (John 13:6).

We may never know what prompted Peter to react in this way, or what was going on in his mind as Jesus approached to wash his feet. Perhaps this was a shock to Peter because in that culture washing one’s feet was not a task of a leader but of a subordinate.

Perhaps Peter was not able to understand and accept the symbolism of someone washing his feet.

Perhaps Peter was uncomfortable with someone touching his feet.

Perhaps Peter was not ready to be humbled by someone washing his feet.

But as one reflects upon this holy act on the part of Jesus, as one reflects upon the dialogue between Jesus and Peter around this issue, it becomes very clear that Christ is offering a model to all of his followers of His ministry and mission. Jesus makes it abundantly clear by saying, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord-and you are right, for that is what I am. So, if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:13-15).

May I prayerfully suggest you ponder this thought as we continue our journey as disciples of Jesus Christ? Where is God calling us to wash someone’s feet at this hour in our homes, neighborhoods, nation and world?

Today, the opportunity may not be there to necessarily physically touch someone’s feet and wash them … but what about spiritually, emotionally, and financially?

More importantly, how do we react or respond to this dialogue between Jesus and Peter, as we journey as disciples of Jesus in the twenty-first century? Perhaps one of the reasons Peter was reluctant to accept Christ’s offer was he believed doing so might be seen as a weakness or lack of leadership. A few years ago, a wise mentor reminded me that accepting someone’s help in our journey is not a weakness, but a strength indeed! Many a time we fail in our ministry because we are too confident of ourselves and we refuse to take someone else’s help.

As we journey as disciples of Jesus Christ, the context of our ministry is much different from years ago! As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are constantly pushed into the margins of our society, where the ministry of a towel and basin is a blessing! It is not a ministry where we have all the answers as individuals, but a ministry where we constantly need to hear one another, learn from one another, and understand one another. In that context our mentors and teachers might be fellow pilgrims who are younger or older than us, pilgrims who may have a different accent or different lifestyle, BUT they too are the children of God who have the same quest as ours.

May God grant you and me the wisdom, courage, peace, and direction filled with the love of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that we may resemble our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our guru, who taught us the importance of the ministry of the towel and basin.

May the power and courage of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be our strength in the forthcoming Holy Week and always!

In Christ’s love,

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar

January 19, 2014

Chilmark Community Church
January 19, 2014 2nd  Sunday after Epiphany
Prelude: Prelude #9 from the Well Tempered Clavier, J.S.Bach
Gathering and Announcements

Introit  “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord” 352

Call to Worship  : Psalm 40:1-11   p.774

*Hymn  “ Here I Am Lord”  p.593

Prayer of Reconciliation    by Martin Luther King (unison)
O God, we thank you for the fact that you have inspired men and women in all nations and in all cultures. We call you different names: some call you Allah; some call you Elohim; some call you Jehovah; some call you Brahma; some call you the Unmoved Mover. But we know that these are all names for one and the same God. Grant that we will follow you and become so committed to your way and your kingdom that we will be able to establish in our lives and in this world a brother and sisterhood, that we will be able to establish here a kingdom of understanding, where men and women will live together as brothers and sisters and respect the dignity and worth of every human being. In the name and spirit of Jesus. Amen.
Silent prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

Children’s Moment

Lectionary Discussion    Marilyn Hollinshead
Isaiah 49:1-7
John 1:29-42

*Hymn  “Let the Lower Lights be Burning” words printed on bulletin.

Concerns and Celebrations

Leader: To God who welcomes all in love, let us pray for the good of the church and the concerns of those in need.

(Silent Prayer)

God of every land and nation, you have created all people
and you dwell among us in Jesus Christ. Listen to the cries of those who pray to you, and grant that, as we proclaim the greatness of your name, all people will know the power of love at work in the world. Amen.

Offering
*Hymn 95 “Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow”

Prayer of Dedication (unison)
Perfect Light of revelation, as you shone in the life of Jesus,
whose epiphany we celebrate, so shine in us and through us and these gifts, that we may become beacons of truth and compassion, enlightening all creation with deeds of justice and mercy. Amen.

*Hymn   “Let There Be Peace on Earth” p.431

Benediction  (unison)
O God, you spoke your word  and revealed your good news in Jesus, the Christ. Fill all creation with that word again, so that by proclaiming your joyful promises to all nations and singing of your glorious hope to all peoples, we may become one living body, your incarnate presence on the earth. Amen.

Postlude : Andante by Maurice Greene
_PLEASE COME FOR COFFEE IN FELLOWSHIP HALL ____
Worship Leader: Emily Broderick
Organist:  Carol Loud
Pastor: Seongmoon  Ahn
Next Week’s Lessons:  Isaiah 9:1-4;1 Corinthians:1:10-18; Matt. 4:12-23
*Stand if you are able

Dwight L. Moody LET THE LOWER LIGHTS BE BURNING

A few years ago, at the mouth of Cleveland harbor, there were two lights, one at each side of the bay, called the upper and lower lights; and to enter the harbor safely by night, vessels must sight both of the lights.
These western lakes are more dangerous sometimes than the great ocean. One wild, stormy night, a steamer was trying to make her way into the harbor. The captain and pilot were anxiously watching for the lights.
By-and-by the pilot was heard to say, “Do you see the lower light?” “No,” was the reply; “I fear we have passed them.” “Ah, there are the lights,” said the pilot; “and they must be, from the bluff on which they stand, the upper lights. We have passed the lower lights, and have lost our chance of getting into the harbor.” What was to be done? They looked back, and saw the dim outline of the lower lighthouse against the sky. The lights had gone out. “Can’t you turn your head around?” “No; the night is too wild for that. She won’t answer to her helm.” The storm was so fearful that they could do nothing.
They tried again to make for the harbor, but they went crash against the rocks, and sank to the bottom. Very few escaped; the great majority found a watery grave. Why? Simply because the lower lights had gone out. Now, with us the upper lights are all right. Christ Himself is the upper light, and we are the lower lights, and the cry to us is, keep the lower lights burning; that is what we have to do. He will lead us safe to the sunlit shore of Canaan, where there is no more night.

Chilmark Community Church
Seongmoon Ahn, Pastor
Chilmarkchurch.org

Chilmark Community Church

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From His lighthouse ever more,
But to us He give the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
CHO.-
Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud and angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore. – CHO.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor seaman tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness MAY BE LOST. – CHO.

Lyrics to Helen Stratford song sung 10/7/13

In Yonder Meadows

In these fields I’ve wandered, I’ve pondered,  I have grown

And my heart grows fonder, with each pasture I have known

And in yonder woods, I have followed the mossy banks

Of a trickling brook where I’ve knelt down to give thanks

 

These fields taught me compassion They taught me to forgive

And with mercy unrationed They taught me how to live

As a soul that’s fallen I’ve pounded my fists and wept

God must have heard me calling – For something in my spirit leapt

 

There’s a fog rolls in Each evening from the coast

It creeps across the landscapes like a phantom or ghost

It rolls across the meadow, the sorrells and the dales

Continues to drift even as dawn lifts Like a burka or veil

 

Through the mist I’m running  Heart pounding against my chest

To the spirit that is coming In whose presence I feel blessed

Yes Each moment hastens toward me  Impatient to impart

All that my soul craves  All that saves the wounded heart

 

With their verdant splendor

These fields taught me to believe

And persuaded me to surrender

In order that I might receive

No matter how far I wander

Or the qualities I lack

Or the years I have squandered

These fields, they always take me back

 

Helen Stratford

Michael Gilman, singer song writer

Mike Gilman from Aquinnah Baptist Church was our guest of honor as we celebrated Labor Day weekend at Chilmark  Community Church.

Mike sang his original songs “Why Did Jesus walk on Water?”  and “I’m having supper at the Lord’s Feast tonight”.  His father, George Gilman, is a summer member of our congregation.

We’re hoping Mike will return this winter for those of you who missed him.

Summer is winding down. We thanked Ann Deitrich for her labor running the Flea Market which ended yesterday.  We had 10 kids in Sunday School with summer friends lingering and back to school kids returning.

We said goodbye to all the kids from Shirley, MA.

And goodbye to Noah, visiting his grand parents, Connie and Preston:

 

We had a lot to celebrate this morning with Ted Mayhew back with us. We’re keeping him in our prayers.  Just 2 or 3 Lobster Roll Tuesdays to go.

 

90th Birthday Celebrated

Bob Conway started his week long birthday celebrations with a surprise visit from his sister, daughter and grand daughter who accompanied him to church.

When Phil Dietterich’s music blew over at the near conclusion of a Bach fugue, Bob jumped in to help.

 

Cake and candles after church.

 

Nurturing Passionate Sprirituality

Rolling Ridge Retreat & Conference Ctr. 

NURTURING PASSIONATE SPIRITUALITY

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2013

Nurturing Passionate Spirituality
register by 2/27/13 and receive a $10 discount. After 2/27/13: registration fee is $60 per person
Rolling Ridge Retreat & Conference Ctr.
660 Great Pond Road
North Andover, Massachusetts 01845
978-682-8815

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Mary Jane O’Connor Ropp leads retreat.

CLAIMING YOUR BELOVEDNESS
on Thursday, February 28, 2013 from 9:30am-3:30pm
Join Retreat Leader, Mary Jane O’Connor Ropp for this special day apart retreat.

 

“May God keep you safe until the wod of your life can be fully spoken”. These words from Margaret Fuller, a 19th century Transcendentalist and early feminist, invite us to ponder who or what is the “word of our life” and who speaks it? From childhood on, people and circumstances shape our lives for good or ill. Words such as “you’ll never amount to anything” or “why can’t you be as good as your brother?” can cause lasting soul wounds. Read more. Register here.

 

Letter from Bishop Suda Devadhar

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Originally I had posted the following message on my facebook page. However, a few people suggested that I share this message with all of you as well.
This past weekend was an interesting and exciting one.  It culminated the first hundred days of my episcopacy in the New England area.  These were meaningful, hopeful, and joyful days centered around the prayer that God will help all of us – clergy, laity, Prema, and me – to continue our journey in the same spirit and joy.
The weekend events started on Saturday with clergy and laity from the Connecticut Western Massachusetts District of the New England Annual Conference sharing many touching, joyful, and reflective moments.  One among them was a powerful devotion led by a clergy member who shared the following story:
“Daoud Hari, a native of the Darfur region writes about the Sahara but he might also be talking about leading a church when he says:
‘The Sahara is an impossible place. All the trails are erased with each wind…You are modern and think your compass and your GPS will keep you from trouble.  But the batteries will give out in your GPS, or the sand will ruin it.  Your compass may break or become lost as you try to put away your bedding one morning in a hard sandstorm.  So you will want to know the ways that have worked for thousands of years.  If you are good, like my father and brothers, you will put a line of sticks in the sand at night, using the stars to mark your next morning’s direction of travel.’” – from The Translator by Daoud Hari
As we continued to reflect on this powerful story, Prema and I spent a joyful evening with a colleague and her spouse at their house.  Afterward, they were kind enough to lead us to the main road, so we would not lose our way.  Can you see?  They were our stars in the journey!
Early Sunday morning, Prema and I were watching parts of a live stream of the 150th Anniversary of the Church of South India (CSI) Shanthi Cathedral in Mangalore, India where I went to church occasionally, preached on a few occasions, and where I preached my trial sermon for my ordination process in 1977.  One of the many highlights of the celebrations which we watched through the live stream was a welcome dance by one of my great nieces, a fifteen-year old, in the classical Indian tradition of Bharata Natya. I have seen her performances many times, and this was one of her best!  Her dance was in a Christian setting and in Indian tradition, but the way in which she communicated allowed us to feel her soul, mind, and body – all synchronized to welcome the gathering. (If you have time, kindly watch the video.)
From that powerful experience, Prema and I worshipped with the saints of the Open Table of Christ in Providence, RI.  The Church of the Open Table is made up of people from all walks of life, from different cultures and orientations, where people from different regions of the world are invited to stand with the pastor and children as the advent candle is lit.  We heard transformational stories from people of the Christian faith tradition, other faith traditions, and people from no faith traditions at all.  A radically welcoming congregation indeed!
On my journey back, as I reflected upon all the things I heard and saw over the weekend, I wondered what it means to be “John the Baptists” in our own settings…where our cries may sound like a cry in the wilderness – cries like that of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and others, no matter from which faith background we come.  However, in this advent season, may we, the children of God, join together with one another and “strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33)
In order to achieve this, we need to listen to the wisdom of the brother in the Darfur region and other places in the world where the political, selfish greed generated by human beings continuously tries to block us and confuse us as we call for a transformation of the world as people of God.
What may we borrow from the traditions of other faiths and adopt into our journey of faith as Christians being faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? What may we use from those rich heritages and traditions for the glory of God?  May we be as powerful a witness as a fifteen-year old girl who articulated it through her gift of dance?
No matter where we live, we can still come together as people of God where our tables are truly open to those who do not talk or act like us, to those who are radically different from us.  May we live the words of one of the hymns of the season when we sing, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
Yes, it is possible, if we stretch our tents…and truly demonstrate, not just through slogans but with our actions and deeds, that we are indeed a Church with “open hearts, open minds, and open doors.”
May our prayers be in the words of Walter Brueggemann, “Come be present even here and there, and there and there.  Move us from our sandy certitudes to your grace-filled risk.  Move us to become more rock-like in compassion and abidingness and justice.  Move us to be more like you in our neighborliness and in our self-regard.  Yes, yes, yes – move us that we may finally, stand on the solid rock, no more sinking sand.” (Ed. Edwin Searcy: “Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann,” Fortress Press, Minneapolis: 2003, p.17).
May God continue to bless you in this holy Advent season.
In Christ’s love,
Bishop Suda Devadhar

October 12 Order of Worship

Chilmark Community Church

December 9,2012

Prelude: Invention 8 Bach

Gathering and Announcements

Introit: #210  O Come, O Come Emanuel vs.1,2
Call to Worship   Warren and Marilyn HollinsheadLeader:

As we light the second Advent candle let us remember the words of Isaiah:”The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low,

and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth;

 

.'” *Hymn  2236  “Gather Us In” vs1,2,4

Prayer of Reconciliation  (unison

)SO Holy One of Israel, Remember now your ancient promise: make straight the paths of our hearts that lead to you,  and smooth the rough ways of our minds,  that today we might draw close to you and, knowing your compassion,  clear our hearts to love all humanity.

Silent prayer

Amen

Children’s Moment
Proclamation and Praise  Ann Deitrich

Malachi 3:1-4     Luke 1:68-79

Special Music

Luke 3:1-6

Sermon:  “Prepare the Way of the Lord”


*Hymn  # 207 “ Prepare the Way of the lord”
Concerns and Celebrations

Unison Prayer:God of hope, As we joyfully await the glorious coming of Christ, we pray to you for the needs of the church and the world. silent prayerHear our humble prayer that we may serve you in holiness and faith and give voice to your presence among us until the day of the coming of Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Offering*Hymn 95 “Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow”

Prayer of Dedication

Great God of the mountains and the valleys, we make this journey of Advent, confident of the coming of the Messiah; and in that confidence, we often have ignored the call to repentance. We have rushed to the stable and manger scene and have turned our backs on the real work of change in our lives and transformation in our world, making mountains low and valleys high, and making the love made flesh in Jesus accessible to all and not just to a few. As we give our gifts this morning, may they do the work of kingdom construction. May the work of renovation begin in our hearts, that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”  Amen.
*Hymn  #384 “Love Divine,  All Loves Excelling”
Benediction
Postlude: The Kingdom of God by AustinLovelace

Organist:  Carol Loud

Pastors:  Rev. Arlene Bodge

Reader: Ann Deitrich

Please join us for coffee in the Community Room after the service.

 

Letter from the Bishop

November 20, 2012

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I greet you in and through the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

First and foremost, let me express my sincere thanks and appreciation for the significant response and the generous contributions you have made in response to the devastating effects of Super Storm “Sandy.”  In fact a team from the New England Annual Conference is already in ministry in Crisfield, Maryland.  Once again, the connection of our Church is a wonderful gift in the midst of tragedy and loss. Your contributions are truly appreciated.

On behalf of the Northeastern College of Bishops, I am writing to provide you with an update and to make an additional appeal for your consideration.  Our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has done their initial assessment of the situation and has determined that the recovery from this disaster will take approximately 3-4 years to complete.  This means that our response will be ongoing as we provide a helping hand to those in need.

At a recent meeting of the Northeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops, we determined that the focus of our efforts will be centered on the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.  The devastation there is significant and, after nearly a month, is still being assessed.  We know already that there are critical needs that must be addressed.

For that reason, we are initiating a special offering for the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference from their sister Annual Conferences in the Northeastern Jurisdiction.  This offering will be put together into one gift from the Annual Conferences of the Northeastern Jurisdiction and presented directly to the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.  When a disaster of this magnitude strikes, UMCOR suggests that an Annual Conference set up their own special fund in addition to gifts provided to the ADVANCE.  This offering will be sent from the NEJ Annual Conferences to that fund.

May I request you consider taking a special offering on either December 2 or 9, earmarked for “Greater New Jersey Hurricane Relief.”  These offerings are to be sent directly to the New England Annual Conference Office.

Thank you once again for your spirit and your willingness to respond to our sisters and brothers in need.  My prayer is that we will come together to provide a truly significant offering as a demonstration of our support.

I look forward to partnering with you in the months ahead to provide a significant and compassionate response.

With Great Appreciation for Your Ministry and In Christ’s Love,

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar

He added, in another email, the following:

Some may question why, if we just collected offerings for the victims of Sandy, we are sending a second offering, specifically for the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.  Personally, as your Episcopal leader, it is a sensitive issue for me since I just came to serve among you and with you, the Saints of the New England Annual Conference, after serving among and with the Saints of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference for eight years.  While it is true that we are giving through UMCOR, we also need to realize that there are restrictions on the use of UMCOR funds.  Only limited UMCOR funds can be used for repairs of the church buildings, parsonages and replacement of clergy personal belongings and many of the churches do not have flood insurance coverage.