Green's Farms Church

Weekly Message

May 9, 2014

Dear Friends,

For months now the Vision Team has been hard at work.  We've analyzed data gathered from listening sessions, studyied demographic treads both national and local, conducted interviews with key community stakeholders, and we've prayed!  At each step, we've asked God for guidance in discerning a vision for our church's future.  Vision statements seem like a modern invention but contemporary organizations aren't the only ones to use them.  

Over 2000 years ago Jesus proclaimed his own vision statement which appears in our lectionary text for this Sunday, May 11 – John 10:1-10.  Come, discover Jesus' simple and powerful statement of what he's about as we look with anticipation to Sunday, June 1 when the Vision Team shares God's vision for Green's Farms Church.

Oh, and did I mention it's Mother's Day?  We'll be honoring our moms, for sure!  I hope you'll join us.

With Joy,

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

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May 2, 2014

Dear Friends,

I hope you'll join us for worship this Sunday, May 4, at 10AM as we welcome John Twiname back to our pulpit.  We'll also have the privilege of naming John Minister Emeritus in a special service to take place during worship, immediately following communion.

The term Minister Emeritus is used by a local church of the United Church of Christ to honor a person whose lengthy ministry in that particular setting has been one of distinguished service.  For close to two decades John has served Green's Farms Church with distinction and dedication, and it is a real joy that we now have the opportunity to recognize and honor John's faithful service in this way.

What will John be preaching on Sunday?  He writes:

"In view of the spate of films on religious topics ("Son of God;" "God Is Not Dead;" "Heaven Is For Real"), I thought we could review some of the questions about what the Bible teaches us about heaven (Where is it? How soon after death do we get to go there...if that's where we go?  What does it mean when we pray "thy kingdom come...on earth as it is in heaven?"  Is getting to heaven what we mean by resurrection?...and others like that).   My sermon will be entitled "For Heaven's Sake!"

A brief Annual Meeting of the congregation follows right after the service.  Then, after the meeting, we will have the first Annual Luncheon of some 30 or so Legacy Partners (those who have made "planned gifts" - outside of our annual Stewardship Campaign in the fall).

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!

With Joy,

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

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April 26, 2014

Dear Friends,

Can you believe it?  It's almost here — GFC’s first Service Sunday is tomorrow and the weather forecast couldn’t be brighter!

Volunteers, please arrive by 9:45AM to sign in, get your team bracelets and last minute instructions. We will join together in (brief) worship featuring our Youth Praise Team promptly at 10AM, and then head out the door to serve organizations throughout Fairfield County including, Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Domestic Violence Center, Pilgrim Towers, Homes with Hope, Person2Person and Pivot House. 

We’re currently 150+ strong, but there's still room for last minute volunteers.  Come tomorrow and we’ll assign you to a team.  Child care (no Sunday School) will be provided.  Can't participate?  No worries!  Join us at 10AM and be part of the Send Off Team!  And when we're done, everyone will meet back at church for an informal cookout.  

With Joy,

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister 

Christ has no body now, but yours.  No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.  Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world.  Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good.  Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.   – St. Theresa of Avila

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April 19, 2014


Dear Friends,

Our Easter Sunday celebration begins at 6:00AM with an ecumenical Sunrise Service at Compo Beach in Westport. Then, join us back on campus at 9:00AM for Family Worship and Sunday School, followed by traditional Egg Hunt on the lawn and a second service at 11:00AM. The services at GFC are identical and feature choral and instrumental music, including brass and strings, and my Easter Message based on John's account of the resurrection.

Wishing you and your family God's hope and joy this Easter.

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

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April 17, 2014


We gather tonight for our Maundy Thursday Service of Tenebrae at 8:00PM, featuring music, dramatic readings of scripture from the Last Supper with Communion.  I hope you will join us.
Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister 

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April 12, 2014

Worship Palm Sunday,  April 13th @10:00 am


This Sunday is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.  We travel with Jesus as he makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem with crowds lining the streets greeting him with palms and cries of praise as they shout “Hosanna.”  We also know this as Passion Sunday, which points us to the events in the week ahead including an encounter with the darkness of Good Friday before we move to the light of Easter Sunday.

The psalm for this Sunday is Psalm 22.  The psalm may be familiar as we remember Jesus crying out the first line while on the cross; “ “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

My hope is that you spent some time practicing, pondering and praying this psalm over this past week, and will join us tomorrow as we spend more time wrestling with its message.    I look forward to seeing you on tomorrow as we explore this powerful psalm.

Peace, Amy


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April 9, 2014

Practice  Ponder  Pray

Movie Night Thursday April 10th light supper at 6:30 movie starts promptly at 7pm

Palm Sunday Worship, April 13th at 10am


This Sunday is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.  We travel with Jesus as he makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem with crowds lining the streets greeting him with palms and cries of praise as they shout “Hosanna.”  We also know this as Passion Sunday, which points us to the events in the week ahead including an encounter with the darkness of Good Friday before we move to the light of Easter Sunday. 

The psalm for this Sunday is Psalm 22.  The psalm may be familiar as we remember Jesus crying out the first line while on the cross; “ “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

 The two translations below have variations in that opening line, but the feel is identical.  I invite you toPractice the psalm throughout the week by reading the translations below.  Ponder the artwork and listen to the song that offers a reflection on this psalm.  And Pray throughout the week this wonderful prayer written by Joan Scott.   I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we explore this powerful psalm.  Peace, Amy  



Psalm 22

                      New English Translation


My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

I groan in prayer, but help seems far away.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

I groan in prayer, but help seems far away.
My God, I cry out during the day,
but you do not answer,
and during the night my prayers do not let up.
You are holy;
you sit as king receiving the praises of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted in you and you rescued them.
To you they cried out, and they were saved;
in you they trusted and they were not disappointed.
But I am a worm, not a man;
people insult me and despise me.
All who see me taunt me;
they mock me and shake their heads.
They say,
“Commit yourself to the Lord!
Let the Lord rescue him!
Let the Lord deliver him, for he delights in him.”
Yes, you are the one who brought me out from the womb
and made me feel secure on my mother’s breasts.
10 I have been dependent on you since birth;
from the time I came out of my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not remain far away from me,
for trouble is near and I have no one to help me.
12 Many bulls surround me;
powerful bulls of Bashan hem me in.
13 They open their mouths to devour me
like a roaring lion that rips its prey.
14 My strength drains away like water;
all my bones are dislocated;
my heart is like wax;
it melts away inside me.
15 The roof of my mouth is as dry as a piece of pottery;
my tongue sticks to my gums.
You set me in the dust of death.
16 Yes, wild dogs surround me—
a gang of evil men crowd around me;
like a lion they pin my hands and feet.
17 I can count all my bones;
my enemies are gloating over me in triumph.
18 They are dividing up my clothes among themselves;
they are rolling dice for my garments.
19 But you, O Lord, do not remain far away!
You are my source of strength! Hurry and help me!
20 Deliver me from the sword!
Save my life from the claws of the wild dogs!
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lion,
and from the horns of the wild oxen!
You have answered me!
22 I will declare your name to my countrymen!
In the middle of the assembly I will praise you!
23 You loyal followers of the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
All you descendants of Israel, stand in awe of him!
24 For he did not despise or detest the suffering of the oppressed;
he did not ignore him;
when he cried out to him, he responded.
25 You are the reason I offer praise in the great assembly;
I will fulfill my promises before the Lord’s loyal followers.
26 Let the oppressed eat and be filled!
Let those who seek his help praise the Lord!
May you live forever!
27 Let all the people of the earth acknowledge the Lord and turn to him!
Let all the nations worship you!
28 For the Lord is king
and rules over the nations.
29 All of the thriving people of the earth will join the celebration and worship;
all those who are descending into the grave will bow before him,
including those who cannot preserve their lives.
30 A whole generation will serve him;
they will tell the next generation about the sovereign Lord.
31 They will come and tell about his saving deeds;
they will tell a future generation what he has accomplished.


                                    The Message

God, God . . . my God!
    Why did you dump me
    miles from nowhere?
Doubled up with pain, I call to God
    all the day long. No answer. Nothing.
I keep at it all night, tossing and turning.

3-5 And you! Are you indifferent, above it all,
    leaning back on the cushions of Israel’s praise?
We know you were there for our parents:
    they cried for your help and you gave it;
    they trusted and lived a good life.

6-8 And here I am, a nothing—an earthworm,
    something to step on, to squash.
Everyone pokes fun at me;
    they make faces at me, they shake their heads:
“Let’s see how God handles this one;
    since God likes him so much, let him help him!”

9-11 And to think you were midwife at my birth,
    setting me at my mother’s breasts!
When I left the womb you cradled me;
    since the moment of birth you’ve been my God.
Then you moved far away
    and trouble moved in next door.
I need a neighbor.

12-13 Herds of bulls come at me,
    the raging bulls stampede,
Horns lowered, nostrils flaring,
    like a herd of buffalo on the move.

14-15 I’m a bucket kicked over and spilled,
    every joint in my body has been pulled apart.
My heart is a blob
    of melted wax in my gut.
I’m dry as a bone,
    my tongue black and swollen.
They have laid me out for burial
    in the dirt.

16-18 Now packs of wild dogs come at me;
    thugs gang up on me.
They pin me down hand and foot,
    and lock me in a cage—a bag
Of bones in a cage, stared at
    by every passerby.
They take my wallet and the shirt off my back,
    and then throw dice for my clothes.

19-21 You, God—don’t put off my rescue!
    Hurry and help me!
Don’t let them cut my throat;
    don’t let those mongrels devour me.
If you don’t show up soon,
    I’m done for—gored by the bulls,
    meat for the lions.

22-24 Here’s the story I’ll tell my friends when they come to worship,
    and punctuate it with Hallelujahs:
Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers;
    give glory, you sons of Jacob;
    adore him, you daughters of Israel.
He has never let you down,
    never looked the other way
    when you were being kicked around.
He has never wandered off to do his own thing;
    he has been right there, listening.

25-26 Here in this great gathering for worship
    I have discovered this praise-life.
And I’ll do what I promised right here
    in front of the God-worshipers.
Down-and-outers sit at God’s table
    and eat their fill.
Everyone on the hunt for God
    is here, praising him.
“Live it up, from head to toe.
    Don’t ever quit!”

27-28 From the four corners of the earth
    people are coming to their senses,
    are running back to God.
Long-lost families
    are falling on their faces before him.
God has taken charge;
    from now on he has the last word.

29 All the power-mongers are before him
All the poor and powerless, too
Along with those who never got it together

30-31 Our children and their children
    will get in on this
As the word is passed along
    from parent to child.  Babies not yet conceive will hear the good news that God does what he says.


Click the link below to listen to Joel Limpic sing his interpretation of Psalm 22


"Steadfast God, we come before you in trust, in hope and faith.  Somehow, your presence, O God, seems to be far away, and your voice silent. Thanks be to God, that not everyone will be experiencing this emptiness; but it is a feeling we know all too well from other times of separation from you. So, in this waiting silence, we express our longing to hear again your loving words of grace, peace and blessing. Despite our doubts and fears we come trusting that as in the past, our God is not absent from us, but is now as near as our breath, and as close as our beating heart.”  By Joan Scott

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April 2, 2014            
                                       Practice  Ponder  Pray

Contemporary Worship • Social Hall
Thursday, April 3
Led by GFC Youth with special guests from Pivot House

Worship in the Meetinghouse
Sunday, April 6
Featuring Children's Choir, "Joyful Noise"

Dear Friends,

What does it mean to praise God?  Why is it so important to what we do in and out of church?

This week we're switching gears and taking a look at Psalm 98, one of the best known examples of a psalm of praise.  Best known?  Indeed!  Scroll down and discover the Christmas Carol it inspired Isaac Watts to pen.  Better yet, click on the link below the title and hear it sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  

And speaking of choirs...

I hope you'll make time this Thursday at 7PM for our youth-led contemporary worship.  In addition to inspiring music and scripture, Yale Divinity Intern, Allen Reynolds, will offer a reflection.  Special guests, the men of Pivot House, will join Allen, Rebecca, guitarist Michael Racine, and our youth in a song that's sure to move us to offer God our thanks and praise!

Then, on Sunday, April 6, Eileen Hunt and our children's choir (Grades 1-5), Joyful Noise, will present a song based on this week's featured psalm and text for my sermon.  And let's not forget our Chancel Choir and soloists – they'll be front and center, too, leading all of us in one giant chorus of praise.

In the meantime...... Why not Practice by reading Psalm 98 aloud this week?  I like both translations very much.  Ponder the meditation below by Gary Pence, Professor Emeritus at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, and Pray his prayer at the close.

With Joy,

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

Psalm 98
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

1 O sing to the Lord a new song,
   for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
   have gained him victory.
2 The Lord has made known his victory;
   he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
   to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
   the victory of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
   break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
   with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
   make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
   the world and those who live in it.
8 Let the floods clap their hands;
   let the hills sing together for joy
9 at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
   to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
   and the peoples with equity.
Psalm 98
The Message (MSG)

1 Sing to God a brand-new song.
He’s made a world of wonders!
He rolled up his sleeves,
He set things right.

2 God made history with salvation,
He showed the world what he could do.

3 He remembered to love us, a bonus
To his dear family, Israel—indefatigable love.
The whole earth comes to attention.
Look—God’s work of salvation!

4 Shout your praises to God, everybody!
Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!

5 Round up an orchestra to play for God,
Add on a hundred-voice choir.

6 Feature trumpets and big trombones,
Fill the air with praises to King God.

7 Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause,
With everything living on earth joining in.

8 Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!”
And mountains harmonize the finale—

9 A tribute to God when he comes,
When he comes to set the earth right.
He’ll straighten out the whole world,
He’ll put the world right, and everyone in it.

"Joy to the World"
Hymn by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98
Joy to the world! the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav'n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love.

A Meditation and Prayer on Psalm 98:1
by Gary Pence, Professor Emeritus
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

O sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory. – Psalm 98:1

I love to listen to my four-year-old grandson, Sam, sing songs of his own making. Sometimes they are just a sweet somewhat aimless chant. Sometimes they are endless variations on a single simple line. Usually they are soft, gentle, introspective, meditative. I will overhear him humming to himself or savoring a tuneful syllable while he is playing with his cars and trucks.

Unlike the songs I tend to sing, every song Sam sings is a new song. Each one is his fresh creation; neither the earth nor any of its creatures has ever heard Sam’s songs before he intones them. They are voiced forth as humble paeans to the goodness and generosity of life that Sam imbibes each day. Sam doesn’t need to memorize or repeat his songs because they flow forth unselfconsciously and spontaneously from his joy and contentment.

We need neither marvels nor grand victories to sing new songs, only eyes and ears that are open and hearts ready to receive each day’s bounty.

Prayer: God, open my eyes this day to see y

our goodness and my lips to sing new songs of thankful wonder. Amen. 

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March 29, 2014

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow we have a wonderful line-up focused on the beautiful Psalm 139..."Lord you have searched me and know me..." What does it mean to invite God to know us? If God already knows us through and through, why does inviting him in matter?

Join us for several beautiful settings of this psalm sung by our chancel choir, a youth-led reading, and a sermon by yours truly.

Not only that, but you'll get to hear all about the exciting SERVICE SUNDAY we've got planned for April 27th, when our whole church will go out and serve our community as the hands and feet of Christ in the world.  Come hear what it's all about!

In Faith and Service,


The Reverend Rebecca Floyd
Associate Minister for Youth 


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March 18, 2014

Practice  Ponder  Pray

Supper, Song & Psalm 23 • Social Hall
Thursday, March 20
RSVP by replying to this message – $5 suggested  donation

Worship in the Meetinghouse
Sunday, March 23

Dear Friends,

I hope you've been enjoying the Psalms Project as much as I have. What a gift this book is!  And the chance to share it together as a faith community is nothing short of a double blessing.

We turn our attention this week to what has to be the best known (best loved?) of all the psalms – Psalm 23. This Thursday at 6:30PM, we'll gather in the Social Hall for an informal supper and hear musical examples, old and new, of how this gem has been interpreted over the years. (Rebecca tells me even rappers have caught the power of this lyric!) A favor - let us know you're coming by replying to this email.  A $5 per person donation is suggested.

Then, this Sunday, March 23, we'll join in reciting the 23rd Psalm in unison before the Sunday School heads off to the Annual Bible Bee.  Eileen and the Chancel Choir will present the psalm in different settings, including hymns, and my message will center on the text - just six short verses.  

In the meantime, why not join the Sunday School by practicing Psalm 23 (kids are memorizing it - very cool!).  Ponder the Longfellow poem below, or listen to one of the hymns (just click on the YouTube link beneath the title).  And pray...  The close of this email includes a lovely prayer from an Anglican Church located on the Isle of Jersey.

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

Psalm 23
New King James Version (NKJ)

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Psalm 23
The Message (MSG)

1-3 God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

Psalms for Young Children by Marie-Helene Delval

God is my shepherd.
He leads me in the right direction.
And even if I have to walk in a dark place, I am not scared.
I know nothing will hurt me if I walk with God!

A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Familiar hymns based on Psalm 23

The Lord Is My Shepherd, Scottish Psalter, 1650

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need , Isaac Watts, 1719

The King of Love My Shepherd Is, H.W. Baker, 1868

A prayer based on Psalm 23 – St. Paul’s Church, Jersey

The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want ­– Give thanks to God that through Jesus we have everything we need.

He makes me lie down in green pastures – Pray that during this season we might each find rest and have more time enjoying God’s presence.

He leads me beside quiet waters – Pray for all those who are troubled in mind or spirit that they might increase their trust to know God’s peace and stillness.

He restore my soul – Give thanks that broken and hurting lives can be made new and whole in Christ.

He guides me in paths of righteousness – Pray for all those who are at a crossroads in their lives, that they would hear God’s voice and make choices in line with his will.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – Pray for those on their last journey in this life to know Jesus and have hope, and also for comfort and peace for their families.

Surely goodnes and mercy follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever – Thank you, Father God, blessed be your holy name.  Amen.

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March 14, 2014

"Praise the Lord...praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe." 
Psalm 150 

Sounds like GFC's Contra Dance to me! Grab your cowboy boots & come to GFC TONIGHT, Friday, 5-8:30pm where you can swing yer partner round and round in the name of the Lord!

Where else can you get all of this in one night?:
  • Delicious home-made fare
  • Dancing and entertainment (trust me!) for all ages
  • A chance to support our Youth Group & their Mission Trip
  • The joy of praising God by stomping your feet and clapping your hands
...Nowhere else! 
So, join us TONIGHT from 5pm-8:30pm at GFC for our Dinner & Contra Dance! 

Tickets are available at the door: 
  • $15 for individual
  • $40 for families

    Thank you for supporting our Youth and the Missions of GFC!

P.S. Our PSalms Project Continues! Don't forget to join Dan England in the parlor this Sunday at 8:45am for his special Spiritual Gym on "the story behind the psalms," and then stay for worship, music, and a sermon from Dan featuring psalm 121 at 10am.

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March 7, 2014

Practice  Ponder  Pray

First Sunday in Lent: Psalm 1
March 9 • 10:00AM

Dear Friends,

In the weeks leading up to Easter, the season we call Lent, all of us at GFC have an opportunity to come together as a community around the Book of Psalms. For forty days and forty nights, from kids to seniors to everyone in between, we’ll explore this amazing book by practicing, pondering and praying the psalms together. The psalms are real, they’re messy, they’re meaningful, and they’re all about relationships – perfect for a church-wide Lenten experience.

Join us Sunday, March 9, as we start at the very beginning by focusing on Psalm 1. Looking for a head start? Practice by reading the psalm before worship – there are multiple translations below. Ponder the poem by Robert Burns, a paraphrase of Psalm 1. Pray the psalm on your own or with your family – a children’s version is included at the end.

See you in church.

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

Psalm 1 – New Revised Standard Version

Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers; 
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.

3 They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 1 ­– The Message by Eugene Peterson 

1 How well God must like you—
you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon,
you don’t slink along Dead-End Road,
you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.

2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.

4-5 You’re not at all like the wicked,
who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
unfit company for innocent people.

6 God charts the road you take.
The road they take is Skid Row.

Psalm 1 – Paraphrased by Robert Burns

The man, in life wherever plac'd,
Hath happiness in store,
Who walks not in the wicked's way,
Nor learns their guilty lore!
Nor from the seat of scornful pride

Casts forth his eyes abroad,
But with humility and awe
Still walks before his God.

That man shall flourish like the trees,
Which by the streamlets grow;
The fruitful top is spread on high,
And firm the root below.

But he whose blossom buds in guilt
Shall to the ground be cast,
And, like the rootless stubble, tost
Before the sweeping blast.

For why? that God the good adore,
Hath giv'n them peace and rest,
But hath decreed that wicked men
Shall ne'er be truly blest. 

Psalms for Young Children by Marie-Helene Delval

When I listen to you, God,
when I do what you ask me to,
I am like a tree
planted by a river,
a tree full of fruit
with leaves that are always green.
                             – Psalm 1

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March 1, 2014

Dear Friends,

A reminder that the Annual Budget Meeting will be held tomorrow immediately after worship, featuring the Rev. Susan Townsley who will be preaching and updating the congregation on her work with GFC's Vision Team.

The Annual Budget Meeting offers an opportunity for GFC friends and members to gain a deeper understanding of the financial operations of the church, and we encourage you to review the Budget Report prior to the meeting.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact Trustee Co-Chairs Tony Menchaca or Pat McNeela.

With Joy,

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

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February 22, 2014

Dear Friends,

"Tomorrow's worship service will include wonderful music and guest musicians," writes Dr. Eileen Hunt. "In addition to our choir and soloists, we will be treated to a beautiful violin solo offered by Rico McNeela, music director and conductor of the St Joseph, MO Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, violinist Annie McNeela, Rico's niece, will grace us with a lively postlude."

I hope you'll join us as we welcome Rico McNeela and Annie to our chancel, and welcome back Rebecca Floyd, who will give the children's message. Amy Forte will offer the pastoral prayer, and (thanks to our lectionary!) I will preach on what have been called the toughest words in scripture: Matthew 5:38-48. Is Jesus really serious when he says we are to love our enemies? Turn the other cheek? And what's all this business about being "perfect"?  

Oh, and a spoiler alert...

I'll be talking about the film, Philomena, nominated this year for Best Picture. If you haven't seen it, give it try. Don't have time? Here's a link to the New York Times Review:

With Joy,

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

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February 15, 2014

Dear Friends,

Allen Reynolds, our Youth Intern from Yale Divinity School, will be in the pulpit tomorrow.  Please find his message below.

With Joy,

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

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I remember asking our high schoolers at Icthus (youth group) a few weeks ago, “What does it mean to be Christian?" The responses varied from having a relationship with Jesus to trying to treat people like Jesus would. It was great to glean from those revelatory responses by our young people that Christianity had to do with how people act, and that the action was related to Jesus and church communities.

Well as simple as that may sound, sometimes the pressures of life can make remembering the call of our Christian faith difficult, and make us forget what it means to be Christian beyond just a name. The early church struggled with the same questions and got an important reminder not from a bumper sticker…but in a letter from a prisoner who was reminding them that “Christian” was more than just a name.

Join me Sunday for a sermon investigating that letter found in one of my favorite books of the Bible, the Book of Revelation (Revelation 3:1-6).

Grace & Peace,

Allen Reynolds
Green's Farms Church Youth Intern
M.Div Candidate 2015
Yale Divinity School

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February 8, 2014


Tired of the cold and snow?  Join us for a Jazz Service tomorrow, February 9, at 10AM.  The service will feature guest musicians Kenneth Tedeschi, trumpet; James Andrews, bass; and Anthony De Quattro, percussion.  The hymns, prelude, postlude and vocal music will all be taken from the jazz idiom.  I can't think of a better way to warm the heart and beat the winter blues.  In fact, why not come early at 8:45AM and join Dan England in the Spiritual Gym (AKA Church Parlor) for coffee and conversation on the Book of Daniel, or Rebecca Floyd for questions about faith from Words for the Journey?  Rebecca's class meets at 9:00AM in the Upper Room.

And speaking of Rebecca...

Rebecca teams up tomorrow with youth worship leader, Michael Racine, for a children's message based on Matthew 5:13-16 – only there's a catch...   They're going to need a little help from their friends, big and small.  Can you guess what it is?  Here's a hint: take a peek at the scripture.  Still stumped?  How about the title of my message – Let It Shine.

See you in Church!

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

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February 1, 2014

Dear Friends,

The cross is the most recognizable symbol of our faith.  We almost take it for granted because we see it so frequently. But let us put on fresh ears like my wonderful confirmation class and hear the story as if for the first time. It sounds almost ridiculous. What does it mean to believe in a God who became human only to die in such a gruesome way, a way reserved for the lowest criminals of his day?  The Romans dismissed it as foolishness, and yet Paul assures us it is wisdom itself.

It seems to me that sooner or later, we all come to the foot of the cross.  Whether from illness or accident, sudden loss or painful betrayal, broken relationships or broken hearts, addiction or mental illness, we all find ourselves gazing at the cross. Ours is a religion that does not ignore the suffering and brokenness of the world, but rather meets it face to face.

Join us tomorrow for a look at Paul's first letter to the Corinthians as he describes the wisdom of the cross, which turns all worldly wisdom on its head.  It sounds heavy, but I promise I'll end with the Good News!

In Faith and Service,


The Rev. Rebecca Floyd
Associate Minister for Youth 

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Dear Friends,

Please join us any Sunday for worship at 10AM.  Each week families gather in our historic Meetinghouse to experience God's presence and let Christ's love shape our lives.  Bible Study for adults meets prior to worship at 9AM.  Sunday School for preschool through grade 8, and a professionally staffed Nursery for infants and toddlers gathers during the worship hour.  Confirmation and Youth Programs meet during the week.  Come, feel the welcome and experience the spirit at Green's Farms Church!

With Joy,

Jeffrey Rider
Senior Minister

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