March 19, 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

Jesus Mafa, Vanderbilt Art in the Christian Tradition

Worship This Sunday

Scripture Reading

John 9:1-38

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

"Eyes Wide Shut"

A Message from Rev. Barb Lemmel

This being the season of Lent, I’ve been pondering repentance.

The Hebrew word for repentance, teshuva, literally means “to turn around.” In Hebrew thought, repentance is a recognition that we’re on the wrong path, and are making a choice to turn around and choose a new path, a more faithful path, a path that leads to love and justice. In this understanding, repentance isn’t about feeling bad about what we’ve done — or not done. That remorse often accompanies the recognition that we’ve gotten lost, but it’s the beginning point, not the end of the journey. In fact, feelings of guilt can be a strong motivator to make a change; guilt can be beneficial, if we channel it into living better lives.

Turning around from what limits life, and choosing instead a life-giving path, is what repentance is all about. But sometimes there has been harm done, and simply changing our direction isn’t sufficient. Sometimes that harm that needs to be remedied to engage a truly new life. With confession and by God’s grace, we can make amends that open new possibilities out of old pain.

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous recognizes this journey of repentance. Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our lives.” Steps 8 and 9: "Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” The Twelve Steps bear witness that a truly healed, truly free life isn’t possible without also making amends whenever possible.

On Sunday, March 26, we will host Professor Cornell Williams Brooks as speaker at this year's Ed Mark Lecture. Professor Brooks’ topic will be "Exonerating History: Mrs. Callie G House and the Biblical Empirical Case for Reparations.” It feels like a perfect topic for the last Sunday of Lent. Our nation’s original sin, it seems to me, is the slavery that has existed in this land since the first Africans were brought here in 1619. Preserving slavery and the economic system it made possible was the driving factor of the only civil war in our nation’s history, resulting in a million deaths. And even though slavery was officially abolished at the end of the Civil War, the repercussions of that system of inequality continues to cut short the lives of the descendents of those enslaved people, through political & economic systems of oppression that persist to this day. All of us are affected. How do we find a way to wholeness for all?

I believe that for us to seek teshuva, to turn around toward a more just society, we must wrestle with this question of reparations, difficult as it is. There are no easy answers. Yet to ignore the question, or to abandon the effort simply because it is difficult, will continue to leave us mired in our past. For us to live into a new future, full of hope and equity for all, it’s imperative that we channel the energy of our remorse into finding solutions. As people of faith, we join with each other and with God to discern new ways forward.

I strongly encourage you to attend the Ed Mark Lecture on March 26 at 7:00 pm to hear Cornell Brooks’ perspective on this issues, either in person or via the live-stream (it will be on our YouTube channel as well). He has recommended several articles, which are listed below, to give you background on this topic. I also recommend this excellent piece written by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic in 2014.

May we as individuals and we as a nation find ways to repent of our past wrongs, and may this Lent be another step toward God's resurrection life of justice and love, for everyone.

In peace and in hope,

Pastor Barb

Professor Brooks recommends these readings to prepare for the lecture: 

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UMCOR Sunday: This Sunday, March 19!


On Sunday, March 19, Harvard-Epworth will join UMC’s around the world in taking up a collection to support the work of UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (see below for a video on their work!). This UMCOR Sunday offering underwrites UMCOR’s administrative costs, so that UMCOR is able to use 100% of all funds given to humanitarian response and recovery efforts directly to communities in need. These gifts ensure UMCOR can respond swiftly to disasters around the world and as a source of hope and healing for those left most vulnerable.

Please bring an offering to worship on Sunday March 19, or make a contribution online to “UMC Special Offering."

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, March 17. Please join us! Your thoughtful presence is welcomed.

Please visit 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, March 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 [email protected].

Lenten Opportunities

The weeks of Lent, which extends through March until Palm Sunday on April 2, will have special programming at Adult Forum and on Wednesday evenings, along with daily opportunities for Young Adults and others online:


Here (right) are daily prayer cards from A Sanctified Art, each on the theme “Seeking: Honest Questions for a Deeper Faith”. They are available in hard copy at church, or here in pdf form.


Lenten Book Study on Wednesday evenings, March 1 - April 5.  We’ll read and discuss  Dancing in the Darkness: Spiritual Lessons for Thriving in Turbulent Times by Rev. Otis Moss III, Senior Pastor at Chicago’s Trinity UCC. 

From the book’s descriptions: "Rev. Moss shares wisdom and challenge to uplift our spirits as we work for justice in these politically turbulent times, drawing on his own background as a spiritual and civil rights leader. This book is a life-affirming guide to the practical, political, and spiritual challenges of our day, drawing on the teachings of Dr. King, Howard Thurman, sacred scripture, southern wisdom, global spiritual traditions, Black culture, and Moss' own personal experiences. This collection helps us tap the spiritual reserves we all possess but too often overlook, so we can slay our personal demon, confront our civic challenges, and reach our highest goals.”

The study will be hybrid at 7:00 pm, meeting in person in the pastor’s office and streaming on Zoom at

We can order the book at a reduced rate of $17 through the BU bookstore; free copies will be available as needed. 


The Young Adults will be engaging in a daily devotional prayer time at 10:00 p.m. for 10 minutes starting the first day of Lent (February 22). We will read a poem from the book, Queering Lent (this is also available through the church office) and pray during the season.


Maundy Thursday Service of Healing and Communion, April 6, 7:00 pm

Good Friday Service of Tenebrae, April 7, 8:00 pm

Both services will be in person and live-streamed.

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, March 19, we will explore “Living the Peacemaking Tradition in the Real World” with Katelyn Robbins.

Below is our schedule for the weeks ahead:

  • March 26: “The Biblical Empirical Case for Reparations: Today’s Ed Mark Lecture” led by Graham Kelder.
  • April 2: “Braver Angels: Communicating Effectively in a Polarized World” by Frederick Golder, local Braver Angels representative.
  • April 9: Easter Breakfast and Egg Hunt! No Adult Forum

Women’s Potluck 

On Thursday, March 23, all vaccinated women are invited to a potluck at Beth Rosenquist’s home at 7 Davenport Street in Cambridge, near Porter Square Station on the Red Line. Davenport is right off Mass Ave. There are parking meters on Mass Ave, which Davenport is perpendicular to, and Beth will have temporary parking passes. If you need further instruction please email Beth [email protected]

Bring what you'd like to share (if you can) and know that you are guaranteed to feel welcomed and enjoy great food and company!

Ed Mark Lecturer Cornell Williams Brooks

Links Churches, Reparations

Our Ed Mark Lecture (on Sunday, March 26) will feature Rev. Cornell William Brooks, a Kennedy School professor and former president of the NAACP. His address will be: Exonerating History: Mrs. Callie G House and the Biblical Empirical Case for Reparations.The event, at 7:00pm, is free to attend and will also be livestreamed on our YouTube channel. Click here for a shareable poster with all the details!

This recent article at Religious News Service explores Rev. Brooks' work with the National Council of Churches and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to create a blue-print for reparations to African-Americans, supported by faith-based communities. 

Professor Brooks recommends these readings to prepare for the lecture: 

"Bringing Healing to the Homeless”

March 28, First Parish Unitarian Church

The Cambridge Forum and the Harvard Square Business Association are presenting "Bringing Healing to the Homeless" on Tuesday, March 28. This event will feature Pulitzer Prize winner “Rough Sleepers” author Tracy Kidder and Dr. Jim O’Connell, renowned physician, humanitarian and President of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program. More information can be found here or click here for a larger version of the invitation pictured to the left.

Thanks to Paige Manning and Lane Lambert, who led an Adult Forum on this book and topic on March 12.

Sunday School and "Godly Play”

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:

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: !

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 [email protected] or watch for sign up opportunities. Please reach out with any questions or information that you would like to share.

UMCOR Lends Support to Relief Efforts in Turkey and Syria

Southern Turkey and Northwest Syria are working to recover from the devastating effects of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey last week. The earthquake was the most powerful one recorded since 1939. The subsequent 78 reported aftershocks, second earthquake of 7.5 magnitude, and extreme winter weather has led to a still-climbing loss of tens of thousands of lives.

We join with UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, in prayer for the many people affected by these devastating earthquakes, including the rescue crews seeking survivors and those caring for the injured and displaced. See below to view a new video message from UMCOR on this crisis and the response.

UMCOR has a longstanding relationship with fellow humanitarian organization, International Blue Crescent (IBC), which is established with multiple offices and project sites in Turkey. UMCOR released an initial solidarity grant to IBC to help provide tents, heaters, blankets, warm clothes, ready to eat meals and first aid kits to those who have been displaced. With the devastating damage to roads, transport and infrastructure, IBC has received hundreds of families in its Kilis Community Center for shelter, warm items, and hot meals since the first hours Monday morning. Kilis is serving as a major hub for coordination and relief efforts, including for cross-border response into Syria. Click here for a longer article from UMCOR on the response to the earthquake crisis.

Support relief and recovery efforts by donating to UMCOR's designated International Disaster Response and Recovery fund here.

Americans Who Tell the Truth

Our neighbors at First Church in Cambridge are partnering with portrait artist Robert Shetterly and his organization Americans Who Tell The Truth to host 11 of Robert’s remarkable works depicting courageous truth-tellers, both historic and contemporary. Some were chosen for their local connections to our city and region. Others have directly inspired thecongregation’s antiracist journey and wider social justice work. Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) is an organization dedicated to the belief that a profound understanding of citizenship is the only safeguard of democracy and the best defense of social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. Working with portraits and narratives of courageous citizens to craft collaborative educational and community experiences, AWTT uses the power of art to illuminate the ongoing struggle to realize America’s democratic ideals and model the commitment to work for the common good.

The 11 portraits chosen for First Church’s AWTT exhibit include: Ida B. Wells, Bob Moses, Denise Altvater, Maulian Dana, Betty Burkes, Bryan Stevenson, Frederick Douglas, Gladys Vega, Bill McKibben, Amara Ifeji, and Harriet Jacobs. The portrait of the writer and abolitionist Harriet Jacobs is Robert’s latest work; it will be unveiled on February 26, and celebrated amongst recent local interest in preserving Jacobs’ legacy. For more details on the exhibit and associated events, see their website here.

Bishop Johnson Requests Your Attendance at

District Anti-Racism Training:

Rescheduled to April due to Weather!

The Conference Commission on Religion and Race (CCORR) will offer its quadrennial anti-racism training on the theme “Intersectionality” in the Commonwealth East District on Saturday, April 1 (please note the new date--this will no longer take place this weekend). All clergy are required to attend, and laity are strongly encouraged to attend as well. This in-person training will be at Fisk Memorial UMC in Natick, 9:00-3:00. If you wish to attend, please let Pastors Barb or Mitch know! 

Participants are asked to watch these two videos in advance of the training session:

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 ( or contact Sarah Bailey ([email protected] 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.

“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 ([email protected]).

You may make a pledge online at, 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 [email protected].

(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 [email protected], 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 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 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 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 [email protected]  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
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...

  • Thursday, March 16: Third Thursdays Dave Bryant Concert
  • Friday, March 17: Friday Cafe
  • Saturday, March 18: Outdoor Church Sandwich Ministry
  • Sunday, March 19, 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 Online Devotional
  • Wednesday, March 22:
  • Lenten Book Study
  • Prayer call
  • Thursday, March 23: Women's Potluck
  • Sunday, March 26: Ed Mark Lecture
  • Tuesday, March 28: "Bringing Healing to the Homeless" Harvard Square Business Assn event
  • Thursday, April 6: Maundy Thursday Service of Healing and Communion
  • Friday, April 7: Good Friday Service of Tenebrae
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