January 31, 2021
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A Message from Rev. Herb Taylor
Hello from Herb,
           In the midst of difficult and challenging times, we search for brightness and for hope. A week ago a new president was inaugurated and in the midst of that event was brightness and hope, especially that which was shared by the National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman. Through her healing and holy words, she reminded us all that this is a journey we are on together which takes hard, hopeful work. Through her poem, “The Hill We Climb” we were invited to see ourselves as “a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished” and it is not about “ a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge a union with purpose.” Her words spoke to me, not only for our country, but for the truth it spoke to us as individuals who often feel broken and imperfect, and yet are called to strive, to climb on with hope. I pray that you will watch this powerful message for us all at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38Rn5WULjmc .
           Of course, even before President Biden was inaugurated, while standing before lights that lined the Reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial in memory of those who have died from COVID, reminded us that “healing requires us to remember.” This again, is the gospel truth for us as a national community and for us in our personal lives. In grief and in sadness over the loss of loved ones, or in suffering other losses, we must face the journey we have travelled – both the blessings and the woes. It is through finding strength from the blessings and through finding peace in accepting the woes that we find new life. This is the power of God’s grace in our lives.
           As we move through this new year, with its challenges and its joys, keep hope alive. This is the main point of President Biden’s favorite poem, “The Cure at Troy” by Seamus Heaney, which encourages us, even in the midst of suffering, to believe “justice can rise up” and that we can “hope for a great sea-change.” (Watch it read beautifully by Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Inauguration celebration here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oboEYDAc9DE ). 
So, trust every moment as you, and we, take on tomorrow that “nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:39) and that “there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.” (Amanda Gorman). 
Grace and peace,
Harvard-Epworth Stained Glass Window Project
Please Donate to Help
Harvard-Epworth invites you to be a part of ensuring our beautiful stained glass windows at Harvard-Epworth are preserved. The Church Council recently voted to move forward on a $125,000 project to restore and refurbish the stained glass windows which have not yet been restored. This project will include the large windows behind the altar, as well as 15 other windows in the sanctuary and vestry hall. This project will ensure the beauty of these windows and the structural integrity of the building for decades to come. It will also significantly enhance the energy efficiency of our building. 

The Cambridge Historic Commission has approved a grant of $50,000 for the project, and the church has funds earmarked for the project as well. But, we need your help to make this vision a reality. We are hoping to raise approximately $35,000 from individual givers making special gifts. I am glad to report that three lead givers have already given $16,000 to the project, and I am hopeful that you will help us reach our goal. Please send in a check to the church (1555 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138) or go to http://harvardepworthchurch.org/givingand click on Give Now so you can be a part of this important effort. Note on your gift that this is for the Stained Glass Window Project.(This picture is from Easter, 2017.)

Thank you in advance for helping to ensure the light of God shines bright and that these stained glass windows continue to inspire for decades to come.
We Need You for Harvard-Epworth's Smile Showcase
Friday, February 5 at 7:00pm
Send Your Submission by This Sunday, January 31!
In the midst of this long winter, lets help each other smile! If you have something artistic, fun, athletic, theatrical or just completely random you would like to share with your church family on a night of VIRTUAL fun and smiles for all ages, then we would like to invite you to fill out a submission form letting us know about your piece for the Harvard-Epworth UMC Virtual Smile Showcase to be aired on Zoom! Hosted by our own Donegan Rudd and Sarah Taylor. 
We are going to organize the evening into 3 sections:
1.   Visual Arts Slide Show - (presented as a powerpoint on the Zoom call) for members with gifts like clay/pottery works, sewing/quilting, drawings, paintings, etc.! 
2.   Pre-recorded Material - want to perform but are a bit shy? Or maybe you need to record something in a larger venue, or something that requires more props, or you aren’t able to attend live? Recordings will also be accepted and played in this section!
3.   Open Mic – for anyone who would like to perform their act live on Zoom!
If you are interested in helping people smile, and participating in our Smile Showcase, please fill out a submission form HERE or email Donegan Rudd at doneganmoore@gmail.com so we can plan the event for Friday February 5th, 2021 at 7:00PM!

Submissions must be received by Sunday January 31.
"Strength to Love" Church Book Group 
Continuing Tuesday, February 2 at 7:00pm
All are invited to take part in a Church Book group, led by Pastor Taylor, where we will read together "Strength to Love" by Martin Luther King, Jr. We will meet three times to discuss the book - join us for the next two meetings at 7:00pm on Tuesdays, February 2 and February 16. If you are interested in being a part of this book group, please email Herb at pastor.herb@harvardepworthchurch.org. Either get the book from the library or else Herb can order it for you. We look forward to reading and discussing this book as a way to focus ourselves for the year ahead on God's call for our lives.

To join the "Strength to Love" book group go to this zoom link - (https://zoom.us/j/93072599823) - or call 1-929-205-6099 and use meeting ID 930 7259 9823.
"Tiny yet Powerful"
A Poem by Bonnie Okun
We are blessed by our own Harvard-Epworth poet, Bonnie Okun, who shares a poem, that like Amanda Gorman and Seamus Heaney, calls us beautifully to the hard and continuous work of hope! Please read "Tiny yet Powerful" by clicking HERE.
Harvard-Epworth Diaper Drive
As we know, the coronavirus pandemic has worsened many of the inequalities of our society. Many have lost their jobs, causing their families to go hungry and face the possibility of being homeless. In December, the Boston Globe featured a story on another effect of the pandemic: the demand for baby diapers. They are expensive, and public assistance programs such as WIC and SNAP don’t cover their cost. 
One of the nonprofit organizations featured in the Globe article was La Colaborativa (formerly known as the Chelsea Collaborative). In addition to the more than 2,000 people who line up every day in the food line, as many as 1,750 people collect diapers and infant formula every Wednesday. “Moms with kids line up early and often wait for hours to get 10-15 diapers,” says the organization’s director. 
To help address this critical need, Harvard-Epworth’s mission-outreach committee is organizing for this February a “diaper drive.” Because of COVID, the decision has been made not to ask for the actual donation of diapers,, but for financial donations. A $15 to $20 donation provides diapers for a couple weeks ($40 for a whole month). To make a donation for the diaper drive you can either go online to www.harvardepworthchurch.org/giving or write a check to Harvard-Epworth (mail to 1555 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138) and note it is for the diaper drive.
We look forward to being able to donate to this cause, as a step in what we hope will become an ongoing connection with the community of Chelsea.

Virtual Menu for Programs and Support
Harvard-Epworth is making a commitment through this crisis we find ourselves to provide opportunities to connect each day.  Look for an email tomorrow that will outline program and support opportunities for next week. To see this week's programs and opportunities, click here.
Virtual Coffee Hour
Immediately after our livestream worship, we invite you to gather for a virtual coffee hour. People will enter the Zoom meeting, and then we will break out into random small groups and connect and get to know each other better.  Join us for coffee hour after church this week through this online 

You can also join by phone at 1 929 205 6099. The meeting ID is ID 935 3829 1213.
Adult Forum
Adult Forum meets once a week before the Sunday service. Feel free to come to all or to whatever might interest you. To join Adult Forums on Sundays at 10:00am, go to: https://zoom.us/j/96481096640 or call 1-929-205-6099 with meeting ID 964 8109 6640

This Sunday, January 31, Rev. Ann Haywood-Baxter will be leading a discussion about her experience as a Hospital Chaplain at Children's Hospital in the midst of the pandemic.

Next Sunday, February 7, Lucy Ballard, PhD student in Islamic women studies, will lead a discussion Jesus and Mary in Muslim Religious Life.
Journey Through the Bible Study
All are invited to join this Bible study on Wednesdays at 5:45pm. As we move into the new year we will be continuing with the New Testament and focusing on Paul's letters to the Corinthians.

Each of these sessions (5:45pm to 7:00pm) will be self contained, so you are welcome to join for the entire journey or to join when you can.

To connect to the Journey through the Bible Study on Zoom go to this link: https://zoom.us/j/92805225510
or call 1 929 205 6099. The meeting ID is 928 0522 5510.
In Person Contemplative Worship Service
Tuesday, February 9 at 7:00pm
RSVP by Friday, February 5
Our next contemplative in-person worship service will be Tuesday, February 9 at 7:00pm. Our focus would continue to provide a safe in-person worship experience for a small number of people. This is different from our typical Sunday morning worship service (as it does not have congregational singing, passing of the peace, sermon, unison readings, etc.), which we continue to livestream on Sunday mornings. This contemplative service, which will happen mid-week in the evening, would include prayer, scripture reading, times for reflection or silent meditation, and may also include piano or organ music during the reflection time. We would limit the size of this in-person service to below the gathering size limitations the city or state would allow. All attendees would be required to wear masks throughout the service and keep socially distanced.

Therefore, in order to register to potentially attend this in person service you must express your interest in attending by Friday, February 2. If you have not expressed interest before in this sort of contemplative in-person service, so that we can plan how to manage its operation and number of attendees, please click here to be directed to a Google Form to register your interest through providing your name and email address. If you have questions, please email pastor.herb@harvardepworthchurch.org.

You can find the YouTube recording for the January Contemplative Worship service at: https://youtu.be/hzZCxNNQzZQ (or click the image below!). We will be recording these contemplative services so they are available on our YouTube channel the following day.
First Church Homeless Ministries UnCommon virtual gala
Supports the Friday Cafe Homeless Ministry
Saturday, February 20, 7:00 pm
Please join Homeless Ministries at our virtual gala on Saturday, February 20 as we celebrate the Cambridge community’s uncommon commitment to the common good, even in the midst of pandemic. Our guest speaker will be acclaimed philosopher Michael Sandel, author of The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good? Tickets are $20 each, and include a Zoom book group session as well as a cooking demonstration by celebrity chef Tony Maws. All funds raised support the First Church Shelter and Friday Café. Tickets and info about how to purchase the book are at https://t.ly/GXPf
Events and Groups for University Students and Young Adults
All young adults are invited to the events hosted by the group, which usually range from engaging discussions to outings and meals. If you are a young adult or university student who would like to receive weekly email updates from Dom Mejia regarding programming for young adults and students, and are not yet receiving those, please email Dom at dom@harvardepworthchurch.org to be added to the list.

Friday at 7-8:30pm: Young Adult Game Night
It's time for our monthly virtual game night! All you need to join is a laptop and another internet-connected device, such as a smart phone or tablet. Email Dom to RSVP and get the Zoom link!

Sunday at 7pm: Life Groups
Our life groups at Harvard-Epworth are a weekly opportunity to connect with other young adults in community. Those who join life groups commit to engaging in prayer practices twice a day, five days a week. Participants also seek to do good, find ways to nurture their relationship with God, and avoid doing harm.
These life groups meet weekly on Sundays at 7:00pm. If you would like to join the life groups or learn more, please send me an email.

Conversation: Colonialism, White Supremacy, and Christian Nationalism in White Christianity - Thursday, February 4 at 7pm.
This presentation and discussion will trace a history of Christian imperialism, colonialism, racism, and nationalism throughout time and offer dissenting voices from across the tradition. The first portion of this offering will feature an overview of different theological and ideological moments in Christian history, followed by a discussion of how we perceive these streams of thought emerging in our present moment and how we might respond.

Join using this link: https://zoom.us/j/98924405013. There is no need to RSVP, and you are welcome to observe without participating.

  • Young Adult Check-ins: We have Young Adult Zoom check-ins only on the first Wednesday of the month at noon. 
Online Sunday School
Thanks for all the students and volunteer teachers who were involved in online Sunday School this past Sunday. It was a great experience and we had great numbers, so a wonderful start to this new initiative.

Children's Sunday School will be offered virtually for children age 3 to 4th grade from 10-10:25 am via zoom. We will have a brief Bible lesson and a craft or activity. To join, please go to https://bostonu.zoom.us/j/5397806919 at 10:00am on Sunday.

Youth Sunday School will be offered virtually for students grades 5 to12 from 10:30-10:55 am via zoom. We will provide an opportunity to check in and discuss how our faith relates to our church and wider world. To join, please go to https://bostonu.zoom.us/j/5397806919 at 10:30am on Sunday.

Volunteers are needed to help us ensure Sunday School on Zoom is a success this Fall.  Please consider volunteering in Sunday School this year. There are opportunities for people of any ability to get involved for whatever time in whatever way you can help. Please express your interest in volunteering for Sunday School go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050B4DA4AA2CA7FA7-youth to sign up.  By volunteering you will make a big difference to the children and youth of our church and a big difference to your life too!  Thank you in advance! 
Discover Harvard-Epworth Church
f you would like to take a tour of Harvard-Epworth join Rev. Taylor as he gives a brief visit to the building by going to https://youtu.be/Lp1YeyzDP84 or clicking the image below!

If you'd like to learn more about Harvard-Epworth, you can watch this video from the Harvard Square Business Association's (HSBA) "Sacred Spaces and Good Works" project by clicking on this link. 
Be a Guest/Helper at Sunday Worship
On Sunday morning for the livestream worship we usually have 5 to 7 people who are there to make it happen. We are thinking that we have room for one or two more, keeping a safe COVID protocol. So, if you would like to come in person on a Sunday, either as a guest or to actually learn to help with the livestream, please email pastor.herb@harvardepworthchurch and we can set a Sunday in the future for you to visit.
Connect with Us Electronically: New Instagram!
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 pastor.herb@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
Podcast Devotionals: On Tuesdays, Dom Mejia will release an audio devotional podcast with prayer, scripture, and a time for reflection. This is a great way to connect with our community and engage in spiritual practices without being on a computer screen!  The audio podcast devotions are on the church website or on Apple, Google, and Spotify .
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. If you were considering doing belated Father's Day shopping or buying other items on Amazon, you can also click on the image to the right to be directed to the site!
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...
  • Friday, Jan. 29: Caring Conversation with Alyssa.  Young Adult Game Night
  • Saturday, Jan. 30 : Check in/Prayer Call 
  • Sunday, Jan. 31: LIVESTREAM WORSHIP At 11:00AM. Virtual Coffee Hour at 12:10pm. Sunday School for children at 10:00am and for youth at 10:30am. Adult Forum at 10:00AM. Young Adult Life Groups at 7pm
  • Monday, Feb. 1: Caring Conversation with Dom. 
  • Tuesday, Feb. 2: Caring Conversations with Herb. Podcast Audio Devotion. "Strength to Love" Book Group
  • Wednesday, Feb. 3: Prayer Call. "Journey through the Bible" Study on 1 Corinthians
  • Friday, Feb. 5: Caring Conversation with Alyssa,  Harvard-Epworth Smile Showcase
  • Saturday, Feb. 6 : Check in/Prayer Call 
  • Sunday, Feb. 7: LIVESTREAM WORSHIP At 11:00AM. Virtual Coffee Hour at 12:10pm. Sunday School for children at 10:00am and for youth at 10:30am. Adult Forum at 10:00AM. Young Adult Life Groups at 7pm
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9: In-Person Contemplative Service
  • Tuesday, Feb. 16 :"Strength to Love" Book Group
  • Wednesday, Feb. 17: Ash Wednesday Service youtube livestream

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