Why We Have a Black Lives Matter Sign at Our Church and What It Means
Even a cursory examination of American history, from the time Europeans first arrived in this land to the present, reveals a pattern of discriminatory treatment of various groups of people. African Americans experienced especially poor treatment as slaves. After the Civil War, they were free in name only. They were still legally and socially disadvantaged and abused by the dominant white population. Other people of color have also experienced prejudice and oppression in the United States; but, African Americans have faced special challenges that other racial and ethnic minority groups have not been required to confront. It is this unique history of ongoing mistreatment that makes it necessary to specially emphasize the worth of Black lives today.
As a nation, America has always affirmed the equality of all people; but, history shows that people have been treated unequally on the basis of race. Racism is expressed by individuals through prejudiced words or actions. It is also enacted through policies and norms and is embodied in systems and institutions that treat people differently. These include, but are not limited to, the criminal justice, education, economic, and medical systems. If we indeed believe that all lives matter, we need to change how Black lives are treated. Only after these changes are made will the evidence show that all Americans are regarded with equal dignity and respect.
Christians in general have a responsibility to love all their neighbors regardless of who they are. This is part of the Great Commandment proclaimed by Jesus the Christ. We at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ have a special responsibility in this regard because we have also pledged to be an Open and Affirming Congregation. Our covenant, adopted by vote in 2003, states in part: “The people of God at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, affirm our regard for the worth and dignity of all persons as Beloved Children of God… we commit ourselves to work diligently to end all oppression and discrimination that afflict God’s people [all people] in our society.” St. Paul’s has added the phrase Black Lives Matter to the rainbow doors displayed on our front lawn as an expression of our love for all our neighbors and in keeping with our commitment to be genuinely open and affirming. The sign’s message is a reminder of the work still ahead; and, we are praying for the courage and wisdom to live up to this ideal that we have set for ourselves.
Pilgrim Returns to Indoor Worship!
Pilgrim has prayerfully decided that being beloved community means listening and responding to what scientists and medical professionals recommend regarding our changed reality with COVID-19.
We returned to worship in our beloved sanctuary beginning September 12th, but to keep everyone safe, masks are required and seating is socially distanced. Communion will be given in person, but aside from 1st Sundays will be taken outside using sanitary communion packets.
We will continue to broadcast the service online for anyone who would prefer to worship from home.
See you in church!
Our worship webinar links will still be active at 10:30am every Sunday, along with the bulletin/hymns.
If our webinar capacity either full or pre-recorded you can access worship via this link to our YouTube channel.
We offer Sunday School and nursery outdoors.
Fellowship links are in our newsletter and worship links e-mail every week. We would love to meet you!
Check our upcoming events for details on other ways to join us, whether for a social justice book club, bible study, or our weekly Pub Theology conversations.
Whoever you are,
wherever you are on life’s journey,
you are welcome here.
If you are looking to become part of a community that nurtures hope in ourselves and for our world, come and see. We invite you to join with us as we strive to follow the teachings of Jesus, putting our faith into action. There is a place for you here to be known and loved.
We are a Christ-centered congregation, that seeks to do justice, work for peace, and build an inclusive community.
We are holy boundary pushers, reflecting Jesus’ love for all, compassion for the hurting, and advocacy for the oppressed.
We are ready to listen and willing to act.
Our Little Free Pantry is need of cans and other non-perishables! As you are able, whether on Sunday or as a drive-by visit during the week let’s replenish and keep helping out our neighbors!
Letter from Lindy Oct 10
Beloved Pilgrims, ….I will be on my way to Orlando earlier than expected as Lennox Rae Bellet decided to make an early appearance at 4:36pm on October 7…..
Letter from Lindy Oct 3
Beloved Pilgrims, At my house, we are on baby countdown. I say we because a few of my siblings are trying to coordinate coming to Durham to be with my mom and watch my brood of animals when I leave to meet my granddaughter….
Letter from Lindy Sept 26
…. Communion after worship will resume this Sunday as well. The board of deacons and I have done much praying around how to best make gathering at table, hybrid-style--feel as inclusive as possible…..
Letter from Lindy Sept 19
Hello Pilgrims, So how did Sunday feel for you? Whether you were in-person, on Zoom or YouTube, we would like your feedback!….
Letter from Lindy
Hello Pilgrims, It’s been a little weird to be back in the office this week…..
Letter from Lindy Sept 5
Hello Pilgrims, I have made my way back to Durham. 18 hours on the road in 5 days has left parts of me (unnamed parts) stiff and sore….
Letter from Lindy Aug 29
Hello Pilgrims, I greet you from not so sunny Orlando. Hot, yes. Humid, it’s August in Florida--humidity is a state of being….
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Manna On Main Street
Prayer Walking at Whites Road Park continues all year round on the 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month (weather permitting). We meet near the concession stand at 8:00 am. Ask Pastor Sue if you would like to learn more about this spiritual practice.
Our Fall Bible Study will begin on Wednesday evening, October 20th at 7:30pm in the church library. We will be using Sarah Griffith Lund’s book ‘Blessed are the Crazy’ to guide our conversation about the connection between mental health and spiritual health.
Helping HandsMinistry is seeking drivers to take members to medical appointments. If you are interested in volunteering, please call Lisa in the Church Office, 215-855-5489. Thanks!
You can sponsor a month in St. John’s 2022 calendar in honor or in memory of a loved one, to promote your business or group, or to celebrate a milestone. Please call the Church Office to select a month – the donation is $100. To feature photos of your particular group, please contact John Hendricks, who compiles & arranges the photos for our calendar. Deadline to sponsor: October 31st.Important Note for Members & Visitors: We have updated the pages of this website as best as we can with special notes to show the current schedules & events for the Fall of 2021. You will see that many pages still list our ‘regular’ or ‘normal’ information as listed before the COVID pandemic, with the hope of returning to ‘normal times’ soon when we determine we can follow those activities safely. If you have any questions about the status of any activity listed on this website, please contact the church office. Click to go to St. John’s public Facebook page
A reminder: your financial support is still needed whether you worship at church or at home with our audio services. You may bring your offering to Sunday worship, or you may leave your regular church offerings in the locked box outside the ramp door or mail them to the church – thank you! We invite you to make a donation in memory/honor of a loved one to our flower ministry or our Emergency/Good Samaritan Fund to help our neighbors in need. Call the church office at 215-855-5489 during business hours or email: [email protected]
Miss last week’s service? The service is posted on our audio page: Click here for our Audio webpage. Click here for a recent article written by our Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Susan C. Bertolette
Mental health issues related to the pandemic continue for people with depression and other mental health disorders. NAMI, The National Alliance on Mental Illness, has a 24-hour helpline: 800-950-6264. The LOCAL number for NAMI Montgomery County Lansdale is 215-361-7784.
Our St. John’s office hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm. Call 215-855-5489 during business hours. Check our publications for holiday closures.
Questions about St. John’s UCC Lansdale? Send an email to our church office: [email protected]
You are welcome here!
Whoever You ARe,
Wherever you are on life's journey,
Cindy Clark, the Executive Director of Emmaus Homes, was with us recently to celebrate our ministry with Adults with Developmental Disabilities. Our Open and Affirming/Inclusion Covenant is realized when we lift up and affirm all of God’s Children, including the differently-abled. We are thrilled to be in ministry with Emmaus Homes! For more information about Emmaus Homes, click here: EMMAUS HOMES
TURNING POINT MINISTRIES
Darrin Morton, the Director of Turning Point Ministries at Wilkes Blvd. United Methodist Church, recently spoke to our Lunch Bunch Group about the ministries that we support at Turning Point. Click on this video to see his presentation! For more information about Turning Point Ministries, click here: TURNING POINT
ALPHA HART LEWIS ELEMENTARY
Columbia United Church of Christ is a “Partnership Friend” with Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary School, here in the Columbia Area! Brian Reed is the new Principal, replacing De’Vion Moore who recently accepted the Assistant Superintendent position. We are excited to work with Mr. Reed and Alpha Hart this year! Watch this video for more about our partnership with Alpha Hart, and find out how you can be part of this awesome ministry!
I Love You Because You’re You
At CUCC we believe God has called us to be mission minded. We answer God's call to reach people in our local community
and surrounding communities, on a national level, and globally through partnering with other like minded organizations and individuals.
Of christ youtube rainbow church
Never place a period
where God has placed
– Gracie Allen, 20th century
...you're welcome here!
Worship with us on Sunday mornings, 9 a.m.
350 Wile Avenue, Souderton, PA
At Zwingli United Church of Christ, we promise to engage and nurture Christ's light in all of God's people, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, race or ethnic background, social status, soul injury, religious beliefs, age, and physical, mental, or addiction challenges.
We aspire to be a counterweight to exclusion and discrimination. We choose to purposefully welcome and include all people in every aspect of our church family including worship, fellowship, and leadership, lay and ordained, and will meet you where you are on life's journey to share God's love with you. It is our commitment that all members should feel and be safe, as we express God's universal and unconditional love in our church, community and daily lives.
We are worshipping in person in our sanctuary, Sundays at 9 am, and also live-streaming worship on Facebook at 8:45 am. We post our service on YouTube early in the week.
The Return to Church team met and decided to continue masking indoors for everyone who attends services or uses our buildings. We also ask those attending on Sunday mornings to speak and sing softly during worship services as well.
Moving back to a policy requiring masks was a very difficult decision. The rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, the more aggressive behavior of the Delta variant, and information gleaned from Montgomery County and the CDC influenced our decision. The team was especially concerned for youth and children who have not been or are not able to be vaccinated.
We will continue to monitor pertinent information as we always have and make ongoing decisions about restrictions as new information is available. We ask for your patience and hope our church community can be flexible enough to move in and out of restrictions with ease, if necessary, as we keep in mind the safety of our congregation and the community at large.
We continue to ask for your help in protecting our entire congregation by staying home if you feel sick or are experiencing any of the following:
- .Any symptoms of Covid-19: cough, fever, loss of smell and/or taste, headache, or shortness of breath.
- .Have cared for or been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with Covid-19 in the past 14 days. (Please note that this does not apply to health care professionals.)
- .Have been advised to self-quarantine.
- .Are currently infected with Covid-19 or are undergoing treatment for Covid-19.
Let us worship together.
Live-streaming on Facebook, Sundays starting 8:45 am:
Scroll to the Sunday morning post.
See it later on YouTube:
Jonathan's YouTube channel
Or check your weekly Z-News on Monday for a link!
Click here for some Adult Church School lessons during the COVID-19 closure
Sign Up Now to Help Teach Children's Sunday School
Interested in leading or helping with our Children's Sunday School? Sign up here! This year we will be following the Sparkhouse lectionary. Curriculum is provided to guide you through the lessons. Have questions or need help getting your clearances? Ask an Educator! We would be happy to help.
Prayer Bench on Wile Avenue
EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT: We are thankful for Konnor S. Pierce and Boy Scout Troop #401 for their work on our prayer and meditation bench. And thanks to all who donated toward expenses. We met our goal!
Our stained glass window panels were installed in early April, 2019! As we experience this beauty in our sanctuary, may we be reminded in new ways of God's presence with us and the beauty of God's creation all around us. Thanks to all those who made this possible, especially creative craftsman Mark Beard.
Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting. Thanks to Jonathan Widgins and Pastor Butch, our Stephen Leaders, we have a trained group of Stephen Ministers. Now it is important for all of us to understand how this ministry will best benefit our congregation and community.
To learn more about Stephen Ministries, check their website.
AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. When you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to Zwingli.
On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you are prompted to select a charitable organization from a list of eligible organizations. Type "Zwingli United Church of Christ" in the search box!
This link will take you directly to Zwingli's Amazon page.
Want to have AmazonSmile available on your mobile phone?
- Open the Amazon Shopping app on your device.
- Go into the main menu of the Amazon Shopping app and tap into 'Settings'.
- Tap 'AmazonSmile' and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
There's a bin at the back of the parking lot!
Recycle all of your newspaper, magazines, shopping catalogs, office and school papers and mail 24 hours/ 7 days a week right here in our green and yellow bin. You save water and energy by recycling .
What is that picture?
These pictures were taken by the Zwingli Youth Photography class as a way to understand that we may not always see things as they are...each picture is just a part of an item in Zwingli. Can you tell what the entire picture would be? We may only see a part of a person, item or activity around us. Stepping back and looking at a bigger picture could change our view of situations, people and experiences. At the same time, isn't it nice to see some of the detail in each item and person if you look closely?
- Z, closure on door to sanctuary (look up!)
- W, music folder in choir room
- I, window frame
- N, books on a shelf
- G, leaves on a plant
- L, space between bricks
- I, space between chairs in sanctuary
...store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- God loves us unconditionally.
- We are one family in Christ.
- We are called to follow Jesus.
- We are called not to judge, but to accept and forgive others, as we have been accepted and forgiven.
- We are called to care for, to develop, and to share cheerfully the gifts and talents God has given us.
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!"
- Butch Kuykendall, Senior Pastor
- Alan Miles, Associate Pastor
- Telephone: 215.723.1186
- Fax: 215.723.5402
- E-mail: [email protected]
- Postal address:
- 350 Wile Avenue
- Souderton, PA 18964
10:30am via YouTube Live
Hybrid online and in-person
6pm Creation Spirituality Service via Zoom
HYBRID IN-PERSON & ONLINE WORSHIP
1) Check out our Facebook Page for regular updates.
2) Check out our YouTube page for live-streaming of services at 10:30am Sunday Mornings.
3) Join a Zoom session at 6pm on Sunday evenings to have an interactive discussion and service with our Creation Spirituality Sacred Gathering. You may also call-in to the evening service; call-in numbers are here.
Sign up for Our Newsletter
Engage in Virtual Giving
Please give online.
Our church is committed to building relationships with and supporting our local community, especially in this time of hardship for so many. We follow Covid-19 protocols to protect one another and the most vulnerable people of our community. Whether online or in person, we continue to support local missions like Anne Arundel Connecting Together (ACT), Annapolis Immigration Justice Network (AIJN), The Lighthouse, and wider social justice efforts like the UCC 5 for 5, Black Lives Matter, and more.
You can set up recurring gifting securely on our website, drawing directly from your checking account or credit card.
Thank you for all your gifts, and your giving.
Caring for one another
Rev. Ellen Witko (she/her) is our pastoral care provider:
Please reach out to her for any pastoral care needs.
Please make sure we have your best phone number and email address - email Lisa Minter (she/her) at [email protected] to update your information
No-interest Support Loans. Our trustees have made $15,000 available for six-month bridge loans at no interest for church members. These are intended for those who can't get paid work because of social distancing practices. If you need one of these, contact a deacon as a first stop. Thank you for your gifts that enable us to do this.
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Meet Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Mary Kay Schueneman,
Mary Kay is a Michigan native, happy to return to the mitten after many years! She’s lived in Western Pennsylvania, Central Ohio, Northern New Jersey, and most recently, Central Vermont. She was ordained in the United Methodist Church and after serving a church in Springfield, Ohio, she and her family moved to New Jersey so she could begin Ph.D. work in US Religious History at Drew University. After teaching at Middlebury College as visiting faculty in the Religion Department, Mary Kay returned to ministry and transferred her ministerial standing to the United Church of Christ. While Mary Kay’s great-grandfather, grandfather, and uncle were all ministers in the UCC and its predecessor denominations, Mary Kay is proud to be the first woman ordained in her family! Mary Kay is also proud of her three children, Martha, Sam, and Anna, who are each working to change the world through non-profit work and teaching. She plays the piano, eats vegetarian, enjoys yoga, and works out when she can…so she can enjoy her favorite food group: cookies and ice cream!