The Union Church in Waban   
Friday, July 28, 2017
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Summer Worship continues this Sunday  
This coming weekend is the final Sunday of our summer worship services until we gather again in September.  We'll join our voices in favorite songs; and hear special music (lovingly contributed by some folks dear to Pastor Amy!). We'll pray for one another and our world; hear and ponder God's word and wisdom for us; and break bread together.  Gathering together we come to experience the living presence of God among us, between us, within us.  It is one way we come closer to experiencing the answer to the question below for ourselves.  We hope you will join us! 

Summer Musings by Pastor Amy Feldman
"Who do you say that I am?"
This is the whopper of a question Jesus poses to his disciples, and through them, us, in the scripture passage we'll explore this Sunday ( Matthew 16:13-21 ).  It is a question (THE question) that has stopped me in my tracks this week as I imagine how I might respond, not with an answer based in theological or rote knowledge or creed, but from my heart.  Who do I - from personal, lived experience and relationship with Jesus - say that he is?  Where do I experience Jesus in my life today in ways that open my eyes and heart to an answer to this question? What does my answer say about me and how I am called to be, speak and act in this beautiful and broken world?   
In the scripture, Peter gives one right answer, but I'm not inclined to believe Jesus posed this question desiring or expecting a set answer (as if it were a school exam), but rather from a place of inquiry and care for his disciples, his friends.  "Who do YOU say that I am?"  It is the question on which our faith, decisions, actions, lives, and understanding of ourselves, individually and collectively, depends.  In this question, Jesus asks us to give voice to our answer, and then to walk the talk - no small ask in our world, culture and lives today (as it is and has been no small ask for Christians around the world and throughout time). 

For me it is a question almost beyond answering with words.  If a loved one were to ask me 'who do you say that I am?,' words, as they so often do, would fall short in capturing the fullness of that person and my feelings for them. How much more difficult then, for our relationship with Jesus?  Yet, when I'm paying attention (and sometimes in shocking moments when I'm not, and Jesus wakes me up) I do unmistakably experience Jesus' presence and know him when I see him.  Jesus - God incarnate, alive and present among us -- for me, shows up alive and active in the middle of real conversations; in moments of quiet prayer with another; in listening to a child tell a story about her week; in moments gathered around the table; in that space within and between me and another when I am fully present to their suffering or joy.  Jesus was unmistakably present in our worship service with our congregation at the Waban Health Center this week. Perhaps you also can remember a time when you have experienced Jesus in the face or touch of others, in worship together, or in moments with loved ones or strangers in your home, work or elsewhere.
I believe we experience the Who of Jesus Christ in the relationships we nourish; in the moments when we are present to our neighbor and to God.  It is easy, I think, in the busyness of our days, with the lure of screens, and with other distractions, or real worries that cloud our vision, to miss Who of Jesus moments.    Wherever you find yourself this summer, I hope you will take this question of Jesus'- Who do you say that I am? - into your heart; and that in the question, you may find an invitation to be present to the places you might experience the Who of Jesus alive and active; calling you into unhurried relationship with others, and in those relationships, into an experience of God.  It just may be that in experiencing and living the answer to Jesus' question that everything else depends. 

Missiom M atters

Russell Elementary students head for summer camp 
(some for the first time),  with Union Church support, 
backpacks and love .



"Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing."

John 15: 4-5

When is the retreat?    
Friday, October 20 starting at 6:30 p.m. - Sunday, October 22, 
finishing up before noon.

Where is it? 
Rolling Ridge Retreat Center in North Andover, 660 Great Pond Rd,
North Andover, MA 01845

Why are we doing this?
To celebrate and nourish the rootedness that we have with each other and with our God that enables us to thrive in the midst of the challenges of our time and to also bring forth goodness into the world.  It is a time to have fun.  To enjoy each other and to grow. 

Who is it for?   
All of us!  We are an inter-generational community where all are beloved and all are invited.   There is a cost associated with the retreat but we do not want that to be a barrier to anyone or any family.  What is most important is that you come so that we can all be together and be nourished by each other's presence.  So make whatever contribution you can, whether that be less than or more than the actual cost.

Save the weekend now! Put a big UCW on your calendar for that weekend.  Registration forms will be available via the Friday Eblast starting in August and will be due by September 17th

?'s or want to help out?
If you have questions or would like to help out in the planning or leadership of the retreat, please be in touch with Pastor Stacy.   We need and welcome your ideas and help. 

Church Matters
Union Church in Waban is in the middle of a search for a new 
Assistant Music Minister/Soprano or Mezzo Section Leader.

This position will start in September and requires a 10 month commitment.
We are currently interviewing candidates and plan to fill the position by the middle of August.
Please find attached a detailed job description HERE.  

All applicants should contact Bill Merrill, the  Music Director  of the church, at:  

From the Wider Community