January 29, 2023

This Sunday

Christian Education

  • 10:00am: Adult Forum (in person, in church library, and livestreamed)
  • 10:00am: Sunday School, 5th grade and older (in person, in church office)
  • 10:00am: Sunday School (in person, in Sunday School classroom, and livestreamed)

Worship Services

  • 9:00am: Worship Service with Communion (in person)
  • 11:00am: Worship Service

(in person and livestreamed)


  • Following the 11:00 Worship Service: Coffee Hour
  • 7:00pm: Young Adult Life Groups

Worship This Sunday

Scripture Reading

Isaiah 58:6-10

Matthew 5:13-16

This Sunday, Rev. Barb Lemmel and Rev. Mitch Hay will be preaching at the 9:00am and 11:00am services, "The Truman Challenge"

A Message from Rev. Barb Lemmel

Last Sunday we began a five-week exploration of the Sermon on the Mount, which is chapters five through seven in the Gospel of Matthew. It’s a pithy and dense collection of Jesus’ wisdom sayings, starting with the most condensed of all, the Beatitudes. Here is the version most of us know well:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 

for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, 

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

How do the Beatitudes resonate in your own life? Certainly they are a comfort to us when we are grieving, when we feel depleted, when it seems that power and might have the final say and it’s all uphill to make progress toward justice. Certainly they place before us calling to live in ways that are merciful and kind, that make peace and seek understand, that place God’s love and God’s Kin-dom first in our priorities. They say, again and again, that in God’s realm the last shall be first; long injustices and inequities shall one day be made right. 

Here is an interpretation from Steve Garnaas Holmes, entitled “Beatitudes: for when church is hard."

God says:

I give my love to you who aren't sure what you believe;

      I believe in you. 

I give you my love when religion breaks your heart,

      for I, not religion, will be your comfort.

I give my love to you who are timid 

in the face of a domineering church,

      for you belong in my arms.

I give my love to you who are hungry for more;

      I will feed your soul.

I give my love to you who seek to be loving, not right;

      for that is all I ever wanted. 

I give my love to you who don't pretend just to fit in;

      you see clearly, don't you?

I give my love to you who work for peace:

      yes, that's my child. 

I give my love to you when people judge you

      and kick you out,

for that's pretty much what it looks like sometimes 

      to follow Jesus.

I believe the Beatitudes call us, as individuals and as the church, to live our best selves in a complicated world. Sometimes we rise to the occasion; sometimes there is more work to be done to truly embody the Good News. Surrounded by the promise of blessing, we can keep seeking, keep trying, keep loving. What a blessing to have this church community with which to continue the journey, to share the trials and the blessing of following Jesus.

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Adult Forum

All are welcome to join the Adult Forum, which meets at 10:00am on Sundays in the library and on Zoom.

This Sunday, January 29, the topic will be “Our Rule of Life” led by Beth Rosenquist, sharing a common spiritual commitment from the monks of the Society of St John the Evangelist in Cambridge. (This will also be the topic on February 12.)

Next Sunday, February 5, Katelyn Robbins, BUSTh Contextual Education Intern, will lead a session on "Mennonite Connections."

Sunday School and "Godly Play”

Sunday School has resumed meeting for the New Year!

We are blessed to have Ann Haywood-Baxter, Nancy Akbari and Warren Brown leading the children’s Sunday School class. They will bring the Godly Play circle to life, offering a creative, experiential approach to Bible stories that will enable the children to engage and understand God’s love and call in their lives. Godly Play is based in the Montessori principles, and you can learn more here: https://www.godlyplayfoundation.org/get-started

The classes will be for children from 4 years old through 4th grade, 10:00 - 10:50, in the Sunday School room (at the end of the hall, in the church basement). Children can also join this Zoom link:  https://zoom.us/j/98192451222 !

Pastors Mitch and Barb are leading a video series for youth 5th grade and older at 10:00 -10:50. We’ll meet in the classroom next to the church office upstairs.

We are looking for additional volunteers and welcome your help with Sunday School; each Sunday a volunteer will serve as “door person” and assist the primary “storyteller” with that week’s experience. This is a terrific way to assist the children in their learning; it is also a terrific way to build your own familiarity with and understanding of scripture. If you would like to volunteer, please email education@harvardepworthchurch.org or watch for sign up opportunities. Please reach out with any questions or information that you would like to share.

Wednesday Study and Spirit

Join Pastors Barb and Mitch on Wednesday evenings to exploring Spiritual Practices (1st and 3rd Wednesdays) and Bible Study (2nd and 4th Wednesdays). The classes will meet at 7:00 in person in the pastors’ office and also online at https://zoom.us/j/92617849023.

The Spiritual Practices series will follow the book Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People, edited by Dorothy Bass. The resource is also available online; links to each subject are in the schedule, below. The Bible Studies will explore biblical themes related to current events and Sunday readings. Here’s the schedule for the next weeks:

February 1: “Discernment: https://practicingourfaith.org/practices/discernment/

February 8: “The Sermon on the Mount, Continued”

February 15: “Forgiveness” https://practicingourfaith.org/practices/forgiveness/

Church Conference Redux

February 7, 7:00 pm 

Thanks to everyone who attending the January 8 Church Conference, in person and online, with our District Superintendent, We Chang. There are a few last minute details to attend to, such as approving the 2021 Church Conference minutes (here) and make a couple of minor adjustments to the budget and leadership nominations. The Church Conference will be on Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/96293201884), with Pastor Barb or Mitch presiding. Following the Church Conference, the HEUMC Council will continue with its regularly scheduled meeting.

Anyone who is interested is warmly invited to attend both the Church Conference and the Council meeting.

Join us for Coffee Hour

Please join us after worship for coffee hour refreshments and fellowship, outdoors whenever possible and in the Vestry in the case of inclement weather. We ask that masks continue to be worn except when eating/drinking, while inside (please see below for a note on mask requirements). 

We'd love your help filling the table on this date and going forward. Please sign up at this link (https://signup.com/go/vLAxKUQ) or contact Sarah Bailey (sarahbailey202@gmail.com or 917 439 1103) if you would like to contribute. 

When inside, we strongly encourage people to wear masks except when eating/drinking; we ask those attending to be fully vaccinated and boosted as allowed.

Grief Group for Harvard Undergrads and Grad Students

Harvard's Counseling and Mental Health Services is running an in-person Grieving and Coping Together support group. This is a process group to discuss coping and grieving with regard to a wide range of losses. You might also be experiencing the impact of illnesses and deaths of significant people or pets in your lives, whether recent or past. The group meets on Tuesdays at 3:30, at the Smith Campus Center. Attendees are encouraged to attend at least four meetings. See this flyer for more details.

Friday Cafe

This is our sixth year of volunteering at the Friday Cafe. It will continue to be a hybrid affair. We will serve hot food to our guests in the hall, who will then eat the food on the church lawn.

Harvard-Epworth will send a team of volunteers to the Opening Shift of the Friday Cafe on the third Friday of each month. Several positions are available during the Opening Shift. 

Our next volunteer day of Season 9 is Friday, February 17. Please join us! Your thoughtful presence is welcomed.

Please visit https://signup.com/go/VfFWmvv to sign up. If you have questions, please contact the church office.


Outdoor Church Sandwich Ministry

On the third Saturday of every month, a volunteer team from Harvard Epworth brings sandwiches to homeless neighbors in Harvard and Central Squares. Harvard-Epworth will join this ministry on Saturday, February 18.

Interested in bringing sandwiches? Thank you -- 20 is a good number. The homeless like meat (roast beef, ham and turkey), as well as chicken, egg and tuna salad. White, oat and whole wheat breads are all good. You can add a bit of mustard and lettuce for the meats. We avoid mayonnaise for safety reasons, but it's okay for the salads.

Interested in joining the sandwich distribution? We gather at the church at 2:30 on the third Saturday of the month. For more details, email Lane at jamaicaplainlane@gmail.com.

“I Love to Tell the Story” 

2023 Pledge Campaign to Support Harvard-Epworth’s Ministry

This fall’s Stewardship campaign, “I Love to Tell the Story”, explores the many ways we tell the story of Jesus and God’s love, here at Harvard-Epworth. We were blessed to hear the stories from four lay speakers — Beth Rosenquist, Diana Eck, Sarah Bailey and Hector Montesino — who shared how Harvard-Epworth has ministered to them and been part of their faith development, and they plan to be contribute to Harvard-Epworth’s story in the year to come.

On Pledge Sunday, November 13, we received approximately $204,000, about 2/3 of our goal for the year. Thanks to all who have been part of this campaign so far!

 We are seeking to add at least 13 new pledges this year, and an anonymous donor has agreed to add $250 (about $5/week) to each new pledge we receive! If you have any questions, please be in touch with Tom Akbari, chairperson of the Stewardship Committee (thomasakbari@yahoo.com).

You may make a pledge online at www.harvardepworthchurch.org/giving, or filling out a pledge card at church. or by printing out this pledge card and mailing it to HEUMC, 1555 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge 02138. If you would like us to mail you a pledge card, please contact the office at office@harvardepworthchurch.org.

(Painting below by Carol Aust)

Serve God, Have Fun, and Be Healthier... Try the Adult Choir

Everyone knows that singing is good for the soul, but did you know that singing is good for the body as well? Singing regularly improves breathing and posture, tones the abdominal and intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, and stimulates circulation. Singing releases the body's natural endorphins, helping to relieve aches and pains. Researchers at the University of Frankfurt in Germany found that singing in a choir strengthens the immune system and notably improves the singer's mood.

These are just a few reasons to give the Adult Choir a try. We meet on Sundays at 9:45 a.m. to prepare wonderful music for the worship of God. You don't have to read music or have a beautiful voice. You don't have to commit to singing every Sunday -- many of our singers participate on a part-time basis. All you need is the ability to match pitch and to come to rehearsal on the Sunday morning you wish to sing. Our Choir is a warm and welcoming group, open to all levels of musical skill. 

If this sounds intriguing, and you would like to give the Adult Choir a try, please contact Terry at terryhalco@gmail.com, or just come to the vestry at 9:45am on a Sunday morning. 

We do ask that Choir singers be fully vaccinated, and we will continue to wear masks during rehearsals and worship services.

Be a Part of Sunday Altar Flowers

If you would like to donate altar flowers for Sunday’s worship service, please click the following link and fill out the form. You may also call the church office to make the arrangements to donate flowers. Please include the text of the dedication for the bulletin.

We will contact Coady Florist, who will deliver the flowers to the church on Sunday morning. The cost is $50. You may send a check to the church, or donate online through Tithe.ly at the church website (choose “Sunday Flowers).

This is a wonderful way to share your joys and remembrances with the church community, and brighten up the sanctuary with the beauty of flowers. After the service, you may take the flowers home with you or give them to someone else.

Flowers must be ordered by Wednesday before the Sunday of your donation.

Ukraine Relief Update from the Missions Committee

As the invasion of Ukraine moves past the six-month mark, the Missions Committee continues to collect funds for Ukrainian relieve, distributed through UMCOR and the Kyiv School of Economics. Please give via checks (made out to HEUMC) brought to worship or mailed to the church, or online at www.harvardepworthchurch.org by clicking the "Give Now" button, then choosing "Ukraine Relief" in the drop-down menu. Donations will be sent to these organizations.

Connect with us Electronically

Harvard Epworth Church Member Online Directory

Remember that we have a Harvard Epworth Church Member Online Directory.  You can log in to the directory by going to directory.harvardepworthchurch.org by clicking on the link in the menu on the church website (it's next to the live stream link).

Current users can reset their password with the "Need a password" button on the directory login. If you don't have a directory account or access to it, email office@harvardepworthchurch.org  and we will be in touch with login information for you.
Sermon Podcast Update: If you would enjoy listening to the Sunday sermon during the week they can now be found on Apple, Google, and Spotify by searching for Harvard-Epworth Church podcast. You can also still find them on the front page of our church website at www.harvardepworthchurch.org
Help Harvard-Epworth While You Shop: Our Amazon Smile link shares some of the profits from any Amazon purchases with the church: If you shop via this link, a percentage of what you spend is automatically donated to the church.
Prayer Ministry: Each Wednesday morning (from 7:45am to 8am), some of the Harvard-Epworth congregation gather by phone for meditation and prayer. This gathering is a wonderful way to begin the day and to hold the concerns of our congregation in prayer. We would love to have you join us! To join in, dial +1 (605) 468-8016 and type in our access code: 658031#.
Looking Ahead...

  • Sunday, January 29, 2023:
  • 9:00am: Worship Service
  • 10:00am: Adult Forum
  • 10:00am: Sunday School
  • 11:00am: Worship Service
  • 12:30pm: Coffee Hour
  • 7:00pm: Young Adult Life Groups
  • Wednesday, February 1:
  • Prayer Call
  • Study and Spirit Group
  • Tuesday, February 7: Church Conference
Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church | office@ harvardepworthchurch.org