October 24, 2021
A Message from
Co-Pastor Rev. Barbara Lemmel
Grace and peace to you all!

During this strange time-out-of-time that is the Covid-19 pandemic, each day feels like both a precious gift and a frustrating challenge. We need help to muddle through the challenges we face, we give thanks for the hints of grace that poke through, and (when we quiet ourselves enough) we sit in wonder at the miracle of even the most ordinary moments. 

One of those hints of grace appeared in our email this morning, in the form of a prayer written by Rev. Ted Crass, President of the United Methodist Foundation of New England. (Some of you may remember Ted from when he was a seminary intern at Harvard-Epworth UMC.) Ted’s prayer joins our recent sermon trajectory: he reflects on Job 42, which we preached about a couple of Sundays ago, and the scripture we’ll address on Sunday, Mark 10:46-52, which tells the story of Bartimaeus’ trust in Jesus’ healing power. 

We offer Ted's prayer to each of you as a gift to your spirits, in these days of challenge and of grace.

Holy One,
As we awaken and begin this day, we declare our trust in you.
Thank you for the sun as it shines, for the rain as it falls, for the trees as the leaves change, and for the clouds in their spectacular ordinariness.
Thank you for our breath to live into the opportunities of this day.
As life intervenes and challenges arrive, there will be hardships for us –- health, finances, relationships, employment, and others. Naysayers abound.
But we will trust in you – that you will never abandon us through these challenges.
Even when we cannot see a way forward, we will open our hearts and minds to the ever-present Christ among us with the confidence that your love will prevail. Let us draw strength from the caring and goodwill offered by others.
In this day, put us to use – each one – giving as we have been gifted, working alongside you, and careful not to get in the way of your Spirit.
Will this be my day to lift another who is hurting, to forgive, to provide safety and shelter, to offer a word of encouragement or a word in solidarity, to stand against bigotry and injustice?
God of us all, placing our trust in you, we are ready this day to bring your love into the world.

(Throughout the pandemic, the New England Cabinet has offered Daily Prayers written by laity and clergy around the conference. If you would like to receive these in you email inbox each morning, you may subscribe here: https://neumc-reg.brtapp.com/Subscribe.)
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Help UMCOR Assemble Cleaning Kits for Disaster Relief
UMCOR has made a request for ‘flood buckets’ 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. We are requesting donations of the specific needed items or money to purchase needed items for 12 of these buckets, we will collect these items after church on October 31st and November 7th. For more information on the specifics of the bucket contents, see this link and youtube video. More information to come this Sunday during the Mission Moment and in an email next week. Thanks in advance for your support and keep your eye out because this is a novel way to support those in need and come together in fellowship which we may make a regular occurrence at Harvard-Epworth going forward!
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.

Events and Groups for University Students and Young Adults
Brunch Bunch – This Sunday, October 24
Sunday, October 24th will be our next 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 Sarah Harbaugh an email (sarah@harvardepworthchurch.org) so she can reserve a table.

November Book Club
If you're interested in joining a book club next month, take a look at these selections and cast your vote on what we should read with this form!
1. How to Have an Enemy: Righteous Anger and the Work of Peace by Melissa Florer-Blixer
2. A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey by Brian McLaren
3. A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions that are Transforming the Faith by Brian McLaren
4. In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World by Padrig O Tuama

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.
Conference Resource Day: What Can We Still Do?
The Climate Crisis and the Need for Action
Recording Now Online!
On Saturday, October 16, the New England Conference hosted a Zoom discussion with Bill McKibben. McKibben is a United Methodist, author, environmentalist, and founder of 350.org. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change. His most recent book is Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?

If you missed the event last weekend, you can view a recording on the Conference website here:
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 education@harvardepworthchurch.org.
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: https://zoom.us/j/95550522302

The topic for next Sunday, October 24 will be the conclusion of our series on Brian McLaren’s book, “Faith After Doubt”.
Friday Cafe Resumes with a Hybrid Model
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: https://signup.com/go/FxPZwPZ.

If you wish to volunteer on the third Friday, please contact the Harvard-Epworth office at office@harvardepworthchurch.org 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: https://signup.com/go/iNhdzfW.  More information about the Friday Café may be found at www.thefriday.cafe, Facebook and Instagram.
Outdoor Church Sandwich Ministry
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 jamaicaplainlane@gmail.com.
Join Us for In-Person Sunday Worship:
Fall Worship Schedule Resumes!
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! Virtual Coffee Hour will also be held at the same time.

Educational options (Sunday School for youth and children and Adult Forum for adults) will meet in person at 10:00am. For more on these opportunities for education, please see the articles below.

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 office@harvardepworthchurch.org.
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 erinism614@gmail.com. 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 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...

  • Thursday, October 21: Women's Potluck
  • Sunday, October 24:
  • 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
  • 12:30pm: Young Adult Brunch Bunch
  • 7:00pm: Young Adult Life Groups
  • Wednesday, October 27: Prayer Call (7:45am)
  • Friday, November 19: Friday Cafe
  • Saturday, November 20: Outdoor Church Sandwich Handout
  • Sunday, November 21: UMCOR Flood Bucket Assembly
Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church | office@ harvardepworthchurch.org