As we move into December it is a very busy month, let us remember :
Twas the night before Christmas & all through the house
Not a creature was praying—not one in the house
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
Because Mom and Dad were to busy to share.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed
Not one ever kneeling or bowing their heads
Mom’s wrapping gifts to put under the tree
While Dad’s making sure there’s nothing wrong with the Wii.
When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter Dad sprang to his feet to
See what was the matter
Away down the hallway he flew like a flash looking for the culprit
That caused such a crash.
He stopped in his tracks to take in the sight
Of Angels declaring the real reason for this night.
It was Jesus they said not Santa or Elves:
Now Peace! Now Joy! Now Goodness and Love
On Mercy & Grace! Now look above
For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son
The gift of Salvation– A gift you can not buy.
They told him to enjoy the real reason for Christmas and
spend some time with this God that loves you so much.
Enjoy Christmas with your family and remember to thank God for the greatest gift you ever received.
In Christ’ Love
As we enter into this very busy and crazy month, I want to look at our church family and see if we really realize the gift that we have been given in being part of this congregation. UnionChurch has such a long and blessed history of serving the Brimfield community and a strong connection with its members. There have been countless families that have dedicated their lives, their time and talents to make Union Church what it is today. We have a rich history of people bringing their little ones to learn about faith and what an impact it has on their lives. Faith is something that is both personal and communal. We each have a personal faith in which we believe in God and we worship him in our daily lives. He blesses us with countless gifts daily. We also belong to the Body of Christ on earth--the Church. And through that church God has called us together and has gifted us to work together and to serve the needs of the community around us. It is through this church that we work together like the parts of the body. When those parts are all working together the body is healthy and happy. When a part of that body is sick or missing the body does not function the way that it was meant to be. We need your presence to be whole and happy. Union Church is an amazing body and it has so much to offer to the community and the world. Please come and invite a friend.
Things are really getting busy and, as we have in the past, we need all of you to do your part. Whatever that is really helps us out. God wants to thank you and so do I. Our Church year begins with Advent on November 27th and so as we move into a new year in the church, I ask you to recommit to being part of our faith family and to share all the wonderful gifts that God has given to you, and us. May God bless us and strengthen us for another year of faithful service and growth.
May The Lord Bless and Keep You,
Rev. Stephen W. Barch
As we change seasons and move into fall, it is a good time to settle back into a schedule and to come back to church. We have missed you and hope you know that we care. We would love to see you again. Now that we have hopefully gotten away from the extreme heat and long dry weather we can now get together. Fall is also a great time to reflect on our stewardship. Are we using the gifts that God has given us in our lives? Whether it be financially, our talents or our time, everything that we have we have been given by God is for building up His kingdom here on earth. That means that we do not own anything, as we can not take it with us. So, how are we using it for the good of others.
Do our lives attract others to Christ— or distract them from Christ? It is October the month when the temperatures begin to change, and we begin thinking about the holidays that start with Halloween and run through the beginning of the new year. It is a time that we get busy with planning and preparing for everything that is coming up so fast. We all get nervous, and our schedules get hectic with everything that we must get done. It is easy to put our faith on hold and focus on the tasks at hand. Our lives become running from one thing to another. Know that God understands that, and he wants you to know that he is a place you can come when you feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Spend some quiet time in prayer and watch what God can and will do in your life. It is when we take time for God that we will accomplish more and be more rested.
For some reason we think that if we work harder, pray harder or go to the faith gym then we are going to work on our faith muscles and then we will have faith enough to move mountains. But if you look at Jesus, he lived his relationship with God his father and it was not that he had to work harder, He just loved him and lived out that relationship in everything that he did and said. We need to learn that we need to experience Jesus, so we know what we are sharing with others. It is not getting better faith, or stronger faith muscles, it is just living out our relationship the way that God has called us to live. God has gifted us faith, so that we can share this gift with those around us. Make sure that you are focusing on the important things this fall and that Jesus and Your faith take a priority in the business of life. If we are too busy for God how do we expect God not to be to busy for us. May this fall season bring you a renewed faith and better understanding of the call that God has for you and your family. Thank you for your dedication and faithfulness.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Stephen Barch
As we get into the fall and back into a routine, it is a good time to look at our calling as Christians and how we are doing. Our baptism was a promise that was made usually by our parents or an older adult , who spoke for us and said that we wanted to be Christian. That we wanted to become Christ -like. This promise or vow is something that takes a lifetime. We work at it and we continue to grow in it throughout our life. Sometimes we do better at it than other times, but we keep working at it. This is how we walk our faith journey to continuously be walking in the footsteps of Jesus. You see our Baptism changes us immediately and continuously throughout our life. We are washed clean immediately and we are given a longing to become like Christ. As his adopted sons and daughters we are heirs of his promises and are called to be his children. This is an honor and a privilege. One that we should not take too lightly. Our Baptism is an awesome gift; that someone thought so highly of us that they made some promises for us and we reconfirmed for ourselves in our confirmation.
Our faith journey is then the way that we live into these baptismal promises everyday of our lives. Through baptism we enter the covenant God has established, within this covenant God gives us new life, guards us from evil, and nurtures us in love. In embracing that covenant, we choose whom we will serve by turning from evil and turning to Jesus Christ. As God embraces you within the covenant, He asks you to reject sin, to live your Faith in Christ Jesus, and to confess the faith of the church, the faith in which you are baptized. We then promise: Trusting in the gracious mercy of God, we will turn from the ways of sin and renounce evil and its power in the world. We will turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as our Lord and Savior, trust in His grace and love. We will be Christ’s faithful disciple obeying his Word and showing his love.
We then end our Baptismal promises by promising that we will be a faithful member of this congregation, share in its worship and ministry through our prayers and gifts, our study and service and so fulfill our calling to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Our response is always ~ “WITH THE HELP OF GOD. AMEN.”
Thanks be to God,
Rev. Stephen Barch
Why do You Go to Church? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Is there something else that you could be doing on Sunday Morning? What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning? Going to church should not be another thing on my to -do-list.
Going to church is not a chore to be accomplished; something that we just do because we have to. We are made up of body and soul and we need to connect to others both in our body and soul. We need to be with others and we nee to connect to God and fill our souls.
Jesus came and taught us that His one goal was to worship and honor his father in everything he did and said. He has given us the best example of what our life is supposed to be like. He told us that our life in heaven is going to be worshipping and honoring his father for all Eternity. So, if that is the goal of the Christian life then we should be practicing here on earth. We should always be looking for ways to honor God our Father in our daily lives. We have been made to be in relation with one another and called and set apart -to be the Body of Christ here on earth. It only makes sense that we need to be with other Christians in our practice of worship. We need one another to experience God and to experience all that God has called us to do in our lives. Religion helps us to move outside of ourselves and to realize that life is about sharing the gifts that God has given to us. God has given us the gifts that we need and he also has given us the opportunities to use those gifts. We are stronger together than separately. Being together on Sunday helps us to focus on our faith and faithfulness.
Do we ever think how privileged we are to be part of His Body? To be set apart, to live the life that he has called us to? To be part of a long history of Christ-like people. From the earliest documentation of the Christian tradition, we know that their gatherings and life together centered around the distribution of food. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper, the baptizing of Christians to set them apart and call them into God’s family. Praying together, and the hearing of God’s Word. To make them into the disciples that God wants them to be.
This is why we go to church, to grow in our experience of God in our lives and to be with other believers so that we can experience God through them. Together we can proclaim the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, and we can be fed by his Body and Blood in Holy Communion. Together we can show the world the power of Christ’s love and what HE can do and truly does in our lives and in the lives that he has given us to serve.
Why our church pews are not full-on Sundays is still a mystery to me. See you on Sunday.
May The Lord Bless and Keep You,
Rev. Stephen W. Barch
It is the Dog Days of Summer, and we all need to take a break and stay cool and take care of ourselves. God wants you to know that he understands but he wants you to know that he still wants to stay in touch with you and he loves to hear from you. Church is air conditioned, so you do not have to stay away. He would love to see you in worship. As we see all the stuff going on in society, we need to know that the best thing that we can do is to pray. The best thing that we can pray for is that Gods will be done. We don’t know what that is but if God’s will is done then it is the best thing that can happen. Our calling is to worship and praise him in all circumstances. We are also called to be the body of Christ here on earth and that calls us to get together with other believers and build one another up.
I know that we are all busy, but we have tried different events at church and the attendance has been so low that we have either postponed them or had to cancel them. We need you and miss you – please come back. You are part of our family and when you are missing, we are not whole. You really do make such a big difference and we would love to see you again.
Religion historically has always helped in creating and defining the ethical framework of every society. It has also been a regulator for values in day-to-day life. Religion helps build character and connects us one to another. It allows us to focus not on ourselves as the center of our world - but rather to look out for the good of others. Religion helps us to connect to others who believe, and it helps us to connect to people that we serve. Religion helps build values life love, empathy, respect, and harmony. Religion also helps us to look beyond the world that we live in and to realize that we are connected to the divine. That no matter what we are going through in life, God is bigger, and HE is more powerful. Religion calls us to rise above our situation and see things as God sees them.
As we pass religion on to our kids, we are giving them the best gift we can. We are preparing them to handle things in a different way. We are connecting them to a God who loves them and will only do what is best for them. We are letting them know that God wants to have a personal relationship with them. As parents we can only do so much, but God can do so much more. We need to be teaching our kids about the love of God and connecting them to this religion that has gotten us through life for centuries. As we look around at the society we live in -Religion is the best gift we can give our kids. Religion is really the thing that is going to change the society we live in and the time to start is now. How are we really living our faith?
We can do all things through the love of Christ that passes all understanding.
With Christ’s blessings,
In thinking about this month’s letter, I am just filled with a wonderful feeling. We have been busy doing the work of the Lord, and there are many different ways that this is evident.
We have focused a lot of energy on seeing how our relationship with Jesus is one that grows and matures with us. As we are actively living out our faith, God is helping us grow. We continue to be changed from what we are into what God wants us to be. It has been a real blessing to be able to journey with each one of you as you continue to walk by faith and not by sight. The momentum and enthusiasm around church is fantastic. People are really enjoying their faith and are seeing how much God loves them and how He reveals that love to us each and every day.
As the weather changes and we move into summer months it is easy to put faith aside and enjoy ourselves. This is detrimental to us and our faith journey. I had a wise professor in seminary that use to always say “ good, better, best; never let it rest until the good become better and the better become best.” This is a wonderful way to remind ourselves that there is always room to grow and ways to make our faith life stronger and better. How do we look for Christ in our daily lives and in our daily actions? If we are called to be Christ to the world today ~ How am I doing with it?
It is an awesome responsibility and a wonderful reward to know that we are Christ’s hands and his feet this week and in this place. May we be the hands that reach out to our brothers and sisters in need. May our hands reach out to hug instead of fight. May our feet walk the extra mile with our neighbor in need instead of kicking. May our hearts love the unlovable. May this summer allow us to be the best example of Christ that we can.
May The Lord Bless and Keep You,
Rev. Stephen W. Barch
Paul Harvey said it best : And on the 6th day, God looked down on Adam in his planned paradise and said, “I need a nurturer.” So God made a Mother. God said, “I need someone who feels deeply and loves fiercely, whose tears flow just as abundantly as their laughter, whose heart is as warm as their ability to guide and set limits is strong. I need someone whose influence on those that they nurture is eternal.” So God made a Mother.
God said “I need someone who can hear a sneeze through closed doors, in the middle of the night, 3 bedrooms away while daddy snores next to her, who could kiss the ‘boo boos’, scare away the monsters under the bed, clean up the middle-of-the-night accidents, and live off of 4 hours of interrupted sleep. So God made a Mother.
God said, “I need someone who can ride the roller-coaster of anxiety, hope, fear, and pride with an outward appearance of calm assurance as she sends her child off to his first day of school. I need someone who will buy the school supplies, drive for the field trips, help study for the history tests, fill out the permission forms, clap from the back row of the spring musical, and help coach a sport she’s never played. I need someone to teach a child to tie her shoes, make new friends, handle disappointments, shop for a prom dress, and drive a stick shift. And when that child is 18, I need someone to ride that roller coaster of anxiety, hope, fear, and pride again as she sends her child away to college with the same calm confident outside exterior.” So God made a Mother.
God said, “I need someone who is willing to jump in a car and drive children to school, soccer games, and piano lessons on a daily basis. I need someone who can run to the grocery store twice in a day, because someone forgot to add something to the list. I need someone who can take the animals to the vet, drop off the dry cleaning and pick up prescriptions and still make sure dinner in on the table for the family to eat.” So God created a Mother.
“Somebody who realizes that children need to be allowed to grow, gain confidence in themselves and be encouraged to be independent individuals and accept the path they choose. Somebody who realizes that their job is one where the better they are the more surely they won’t be needed in the long run. “ “Somebody whose breath will be taken away when they visit their first newborn grandchild in the hospital and their daughter looks at them with loving eyes and says “I hope I can be the kind of mom you are, mom.” So God made a Mother.
Thank You God for making Mothers
The boy Jacob led his father down the rocky hillside that led up to Jerusalem from Jericho. His father, Ezra, had been blind from birth. Each day from daybreak until dusk he sat on a boulder, always the same boulder. Begging for food or money from pilgrims on the road.
Jacob left his father and climbed again up the hillside, where he tended the flocks of their neighbor. Jacob lived with his father, mother, Anna, and his younger brothers and sisters in a tiny village of Bethpage. They were poor and Jacob was trying to help where he could. Jacob spent all day on the hillside watching the sheep and the newly born lambs. It was nearly evening when he noticed that one of the lambs were missing. The mother ewe was bleating uncontrollably, and Jacob set out to find the little one that had wandered away from its mother. He put the Ewe on his shoulder and as it was getting to be evening, he bounded down the hillside to get his father. He ran along the rough road to the boulder where his father was always waiting for him, but when he came to the place, the boulder was empty! His father was not there. Jacob stood there trembling with fear; surely his father had not tried to make his way home alone, up the hillside full of rocks and stunted thorn bushes? Then a worse thought struck him. Had robbers attacked him, a defenseless blind man? Jacob was crying when he looked up and saw a man walking down the road towards him. He wiped his eyes and started towards him. Jacob didn’t know if he could be trusted but he ran to him to ask him if he had seen his father. As Jacob got closer to him Jacob stopped,
the man was his father, Ezra!”
“Jacob,” Ezra called, “I can see! I can see! As I sat by the wayside, listening as the people passed, I heard them saying that Jesus of Nazareth was coming, so I called out to him, “What do you want?” he asked me “I wish to see, Master,” I said. Then. Jacob, he touched my eyes and slowly, slowly I began to see- first shadows, and then people, trees, hills, everything. I followed the crowd looking for him, but he was lost in the crowd, I turned back. “Do you think He could be our savior, the one we have been waiting to see?
What rejoicing there was in Jacob’s home that night! In the next days, Jacob showed his father the sheep and the lambs, all the flowers on the hillside. He showed him the stars at night. A few days later was the feast of the Passover and Jacob told his father “I would like to go to Jerusalem to find Jesus.”
As Jacob ran into Jerusalem, he saw one of the pharisees going to the inner sanctuary, and he ran up to him, “Please, please, where can I find Jesus of Nazareth?” Then the pharisee took him by the arm and led him to a quiet corner and said “that name must never be mentioned again in the temple. That man has been scourged and crucified by the Roman Governor.” But said Jacob, “That man cured my father of his blindness.” Jacob ran out crying once again, running, and running until he ran into the arms of a woman. “What is hurting you child?” Jacob told her the whole story. Gently she took him by the hand told him – “Yes, it is true that the Roman Guards took our Jesus and scourged him and crucified him, but we know he was the long-awaited Messiah. When some of our women went to the tomb the rock was rolled away, and an angel stood there and told them that Jesus had risen from the dead, just as he promised. Go tell your father that Jesus is alive.
This is what we celebrate each and every Easter. Jesus is alive~ and we must tell the story!
In Christ’s Love,
I can’t believe that we are already at the start of March, and we are entering into the Holy Season of Lent. Ash Wednesday is March 2nd, and it will go until Maundy Thursday - April 14th. This is a season that can be scary for some people and bewildering for others.
Lent is the season of the church year that Christians Penitential prepare for the greatest event that ever took place- Jesus’s death and resurrection. It is forty days (Sundays excluded) before Easter to allow us to prepare our hearts, minds, and lives. It is also the amount of time that Jesus spent in the desert preparing for his public ministry. If Jesus spent time preparing,
so must we.
Lent is a time to focus our attention on prayer, fasting and alms giving. These are important practices in the Christian life and lent is a time when we focus our energies on realigning our life with the life of Christ. How can I grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ and become more like HIM:
This is the time we set aside each year, to really focus on ways that we can grow in our faith relationship with Jesus Christ. To remember the love of God that is poured out through Christ Jesus on the cross, in his death, and his defeat of death. This makes the things that we can do for him -pale in comparison. Jesus loves us so much and he is asking that we make this
season special and to try to grow in our devotion to him and one another. May this Lenten season bring each one of us closer to Christ and one another.
In Christ’s love,