November 21, 2021
A Message from
Co-Pastor Rev. Barbara Lemmel
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
   my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
   too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
   like a weaned child with its mother;
   my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
   from this time on and forevermore.

— Psalm 131

We approach Thanksgiving this week, and it’s, well, complicated. It’s our second COVID Thanksgiving - and while people are more able to be together with friends and family, our celebrations continue to require “COVID calculus” of risk assessment as we travel and gather. (Wear a mask while you travel, and get vaccinated, including your booster!) We’re also more and more aware of the history of this holiday, and how the colonialism of Europeans in North America presaged the persecution and genocide of the native inhabitants of this continent. In addition, for many of us, there have been losses of loved ones in the past year that leave an empty place at our table. Ironically, Thanksgiving can be a holiday of many griefs.

St Ignatius developed a simple spiritual practice called the Examen, in which he instructed his monks to set aside a time to reflect on the previous day (or week, or year) and ask two questions: “When did I feel closest to God?” and “When did I feel farthest from God?” Ignatius called these Consolation and Desolation, respectively. Sometimes the consolation is an easy and happy one: a beautiful sunset; a hug from someone we love; a project gone well. Ignatius also recognized what he called a “hard consolation”, which describes an event that is difficult and which still draws us closer to God. Some examples: a memorial service for a friend that is a celebration of her great life, where laughter and tears intermingle; difficult medical news that nonetheless sets us on a journey toward greater health; a challenging conversation with someone we love that somehow draws us closer to each other and God even though it’s hard at the time.

I’ve come to think of Thanksgiving as a “hard consolation”. I believe it’s vitally important to pause to give thanks on November 25, fully aware of the complications that make it a challenging holiday. I believe that thanks is deeper and more resonant as we wrestle with the difficult truths, and that to know all these griefs and still give thanks to God is a spiritual discipline. The combination of national history, pandemic and personal losses ground my thanks in humility, and put me in the mindset of Psalm 131: fully aware of our human limitations and failings, yet calmed by the truth of God’s abiding love, in and through it all.

And so, a blessed Thanksgiving to you all, in whatever way the holiday reaches you this year. May your soul be comforted and quieted into God’s presence, and may you know the support of this congregation for your life and faith journey. If you find yourself swamped by the complications of this past year, please know you may always reach out to me ( and/or Mitch ( for a listening ear, for prayer, and for support.
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Through It All: Together in Faith
We've had a great start to our Stewardship Drive for 2022 last Sunday, raising $225,000 in pledges so far. Last year’s total was $304,000; if you’ve not had a chance to pledge your support for 2022, please do so with a with this secure link: If you’d like a pledge card to mail to the church, please let us know at or by replying directly to this email. Help us exceed last year’s total as we plan for future ministry!
Help UMCOR Assemble Cleaning Kits for Disaster Relief:
This Sunday!
The United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) has made a request for ‘flood buckets’ – also called ‘cleaning kits’ - for stockpile and future distribution in times of natural disaster or flood. The Mission and Outreach Committee is organizing an event after coffee hour on Sunday, November 21, to assemble 12 of these buckets to pass along to the UMCOR holding and distribution area. You can learn more about these kits by viewing this video

To sign up to donate items, or to help on Nov 21, click here.
Friday Cafe Resumes with a Hybrid Model: Join Us Tomorrow!
The Friday Cafe, at First Church in Cambridge at 11 Garden St, provides a nutritious lunch and a welcoming community to over 100 homeless and at-risk neighbors every Friday afternoon. After 18 months of providing bag lunches, we are thrilled to resume the buffet lunch in a new, “hybrid” model.  To maintain the safety of our guests and volunteers, masks are required of everyone, and social distancing occurs. Only six guests are now allowed in the Cafe at one time. All food is then consumed outside on the church lawn.

This fall, Harvard-Epworth will provide volunteers to the Friday Cafe on the third Friday of each month, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers may work in the kitchen, buffet line, donations table, or work other positions. Our next volunteer team event will be Friday, November 19, 2021. COVID-19 vaccination is required of volunteers. You may sign up at the new Onsite Volunteer sign up link:

If you wish to volunteer on the third Friday, please contact the Harvard-Epworth office at or 617.354.0837 so that we can connect you with the team. 

For those who like to cook at home, volunteers may contribute main courses, salads, sides, soup, and desserts each week. You may sign up at the new Cooking sign up link:  More information about the Friday Café may be found at, Facebook and Instagram.
Events and Groups for University Students and Young Adults:
Brunch Bunch This Sunday!
November Book Club
The student and young adult ministries at Harvard-Epworth is hosting a book club on In the Shelter, an autobiographical memoir by Pádraig Ó Tuama. In the text, Pádraig explores his identity as Gay, Catholic, and Irish while also asking major theological questions like how do we encounter God in our daily lives and where do we find belonging. You might recognize Pádraig from the podcasts ‘On Being’ or ‘Poetry Unbound’. Sign up here to join us on Zoom every other Wednesday at 7pm for conversation and spiritual reflection! (Meeting dates will be 11/17, 12/1, 12/15, 12/29, and 1/12).

Brunch Bunch – Sunday, November 21
Next Sunday, November 21st is Brunch Bunch! This monthly event is a great time for folks to catch up and mingle as we share a meal together. After the 11am worship service at Harvard-Epworth, we’ll head to a local restaurant for brunch around 12:30pm. Whether you worship online or in person, everyone is welcome to join! If you plan to come, send me an email ( so I can reserve a table for us. 

Young Adult Thanksgiving
Erin Lee will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner on the 25th for any Harvard-Epworth students or young adults interested in spending the holiday together. If you will be in town for Thanksgiving and are looking for a group to share a meal with, email me ( so we can get a sense of how many folks to cook for!

Sundays at 7pm: Life Groups
Life groups meet weekly on Sunday nights to offer a space for young adults and students to share how they’re doing, share prayer requests, and stay accountable with one another on our commitment to live ethical and faithful lives. Life groups are open to anyone who wants to join, just send Sarah an email so she can share the Zoom link with you. By joining a life group, you’re committing to try to:
1.) Read the booklet Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living by Reuben P. Job.
2.) Engage in brief individual prayer practices twice a day, five days a week.
3.) Gather weekly to share about our spiritual well-being in light of the three simple rules (do no harm, do good, stay in love with God).

Neighborhood Text Groups: Connect with Your HEUMC Neighbors! As vaccines roll-out and weather improves, several young adults have volunteered to coordinate neighborhood group texts. Find someone to go for a masked walk, share info of interest for your neighbors, and check-in with your church family near you. If you would like to join one of these group texts, please email Sarah with your phone number and your neighborhood.
Outdoor Church Sandwich Ministry: Join Us This Saturday!
On the third Sunday of every month (next on Saturday, November 20), a volunteer team from Harvard Epworth brings sandwiches to homeless neighbors in Harvard and Central Squares.

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
Special Outdoor Church Offering
On Sunday, November 28 we will take a special Thanksgiving collection for the Outdoor Church of Cambridge. The Outdoor Church ministers to the city's homeless, and Harvard-Epworth has supported the ministry in three ways since 2009: We provide pantry space for all their activities, we make annual benevolence contributions, and a volunteer team goes out on the third Saturday every month, to give sandwiches prepared by church members to the homeless in Harvard Square and Central Square.
"Our volunteer team's abiding prayer is that, as in Matthew 25, we will see Jesus in the men and women on the street, so that they may see Jesus in us. If you would like to provide sandwiches or join us on a future handout, please contact Lane at
Thanksgiving Baskets for Needy Families
For a number of years, members of Harvard-Epworth have joined with the Cambridge Salvation Army to provide the "fixings" for a complete Thanksgiving dinner for a needy family of four to six. In addition to a 4-5 pound frozen turkey, each "basket" (an aluminum foil turkey roasting pan makes a useful container) contains other holiday food items, such as a bag of stuffing, a can of green beans, peas or another vegetable, cranberry sauce, gravy, a pie, rolls, and potatoes. Store-bought items are fine, but homemade goodies are always welcome. Some H-E members have joined together to provide the contents of a basket. 

Baskets may be brought to the Salvation Army in Central Square, 402 Massachusetts Ave, anytime on the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving (November 22 or 23), for delivery to families in Cambridge or Somerville. A basket may also be brought to the church on the Sunday morning before Thanksgiving and a volunteer will deliver it to the Salvation Army. For more information, please contact
Margie Lawson at
Harvard Alumni for Mental Health: Virtual Friendsgiving
In the coming months, the Harvard Alumni for Mental Health are offering a number of events for students, alumni and members of the general community. (Click here to see a flyer with more details!) This month, recognizing that academic training often involves moving to new places, Harvard Alumni for Mental Health is hosting a virtual Friendsgiving on Thursday, November 25 for those who are far from family, far from home, or new to the US - in the spirit of creating connections and building community. To receive information about future events, please sign up here:
Adult Forum on Sundays at 10:00am
Adult Forum has returned on Sunday mornings! This is now a hybrid experience: it will be in-person in the Vestry Hall, and also live-streamed via Zoom to those at home. 
Here is the Zoom link:

This weeks’ topic is "The Zen of John Wesley: Using the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism as a Window into Wesleyan Spiritual Formation” with Graham Kelder.

On November 28, December 5, and December 12, Adult Forum will be a series of Advent Reflections by Pastors Barb and Mitch
Harvard-Epworth Church Conference
On Saturday, December 4, we'll hold the Church Conference with Rev. We Chang from 2:00 to 3:30 via Zoom. Join us to reflect on the past year and plan for the coming year's ministries, including electing leaders for 2022. More information next week!
Help Supply Food for Coffee Hour!
Could you help us fill the Coffee Hour table with simple fare for us to share on a future Sunday? We're not asking for a major commitment -- you need only bring one item, which can be savory or sweet, store-bought or homemade, whatever you like. We will gladly reimburse you for your costs, on request. Items need to be packaged individually, and if needed, we can provide individual food bags or little cups for easy, low-contact distribution. We aim to have at least four helpers each week so there are many hands to bring this all together.  A Coffee Hour Steward will contact you to coordinate.

Join Us Online for Sunday School!
After discussion with the Christian Education Committee, we have decided to return to online Sunday School beginning this week, 10/3/21. With vaccinations being unavailable for children under 12, we feel as if this is the safest option for our youth and children at this time. 

Our Sunday Morning Schedule will be as follows:
Children's Sunday School (Ages 3-5th grade)
10:00 am - 10:25 am 
Youth Sunday School (Grades 5-12)
10:30 am - 11:00 am

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we try to accommodate our families to the best of our ability through these continued uncertain times. We hope you will encourage your children to join us online on Sunday mornings and/or consider volunteering to help lead Sunday School as in the next several weeks of transition. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us at
Join Us for In-Person Sunday Worship
This fall season, we are gathering again for joy-filled worship at 9:00am (with Communion) and then at 11:00am. The 11:00am service will also be live-streamed. After 11:00 worship, we'll gather outside for Coffee Hour and fellowship!

Our Re-Opening Task Force has done research, surveyed the congregation, and consulted local guidelines to determine how Harvard-Epworth can safely re-open. Please be aware of these requirements:
  • congregants will wear surgical masks (we’ll provide them at the door)
  • the sanctuary windows will be open in all weather
  • singing may be done with masks, but please sing quietly rather than loudly
  • please observe social distancing when possible
If you have any questions, please contact
Seeking Flower Donations for the Sunday Altar
If you would like to donate flowers for the altar on an upcoming Sunday, please sign up on the sheet at church or here online.

You may order flowers from a florist, bring in your own arrangement, or donate an offering that will be used to obtain flowers. Please indicate the dedication that you’d like to have included in that Sunday’s bulletin. 

Thank you for bringing beauty to our worship!
We are the Church: Voices of Harvard Epworth
During the "online reality" that we find ourselves in, it is difficult for new people to get a sense of who we are as a church. Therefore, the Welcome and Evangelism committee is inviting people to submit a video (30 seconds or less) that introduces themselves and says what they find special about our church. We are hoping to put together a number of these short videos and release them in the coming weeks and months. This will be a great way for people to get a sense of this ministry we share in together. Please consider recording a short video and emailing it to Erin Lee, our Welcome & Evangelism Chair, at Thank you in advance for being a part of this important opportunity of welcome! 
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  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...

  • Friday, November 19: Friday Cafe
  • Saturday, November 20: Outdoor Church Sandwich Handout
  • Sunday, November 21:
  • Salvation Army Thanksgiving Basket Drop Off (at church)
  • 9:00am: Worship Service (sanctuary)
  • 10:00am:Choir Rehearsal (library)
  • Sunday School (children and youth, livestream)
  • Adult Forum (in person and livestream)
  • 11:00am: Worship Service (sanctuary and livestream)
  • 12:10pm: Outdoor Coffee Hour
  • Young Adult Brunch Bunch
  • UMCOR Cleaning Kits Assembly
  • 7:00pm: Young Adult Life Groups
  • Monday, November 22: Salvation Army Thanksgiving Basket Drop Off
  • Tuesday, November 23: Salvation Army Thanksgiving Basket Drop Off
  • Wednesday, November 24: Prayer Call (7:45am)
  • Sunday, November 28: Special Outdoor Church Offering
  • Wednesday, December 1: Young Adult Book Club
  • Saturday, December 4: Church Conference
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