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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service...

Join us on Christmas Eve at 6:30 pm 

for a Service of Readings, Carols and Candlelights! 

"For unto us a child is born."

Friday, October 2, 2015

World Communion Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Psalmist said: "I was glad when they said to me,“Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1)
Join us on Sunday for World Communion Sunday. We will also begin our sermon series on "Be The Church." Don't miss it! 
Give yourself the gift of coming to church to worship! See you at 10:30am.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Blessing of the Animals, Sunday, Sept. 27 at 10:30 AM



First Blessing of the Animals Service
UCC Congregational in Plainfield

On Sunday, September 27, at 10:30 am, the United Church of Christ Congregational Church at 220 W 7th Street in Plainfield, NJ will hold the Blessing of the Animal Service on the front lawn of the Sanctuary. This service is open to the whole community and all well-mannered pets are invited.

The bond between person and pet is like no other relationship, because the communication between fellow creatures is at its most basic. Many pets become such a blessing in people’s lives and a member of the family, and for that reason it makes sense to take good care of them, including extending blessings upon them.

Having the opportunity to bring your animal companions to church for a special blessing is priceless. Church is the place where the bond of creation is celebrated. So come, with your special pet(s) and receive a blessing. 

In the Scriptures, the act of blessing means 'the imparting of power or life.' The person performing the blessing is mediating that power from God or Christ to the person or the animal involved. To bless is more than an expression of goodwill and caring. To bless is to impart God's power in person! The blessing of each animal, by name, means that health, healing and life are being mediated from God for the benefit of the animal in its relationship with its human partners.

*Please consider the wisdom of bringing aggressive animals.*
*If bringing an animal is not possible, consider bringing a picture or a pet’s belonging that will represent the pet for the blessing.*


Paint Nite Fundraiser Oct. 10th at 7:00 PM


SAVE THE DATE: October 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm
PAINT NITE FUNDRAISER
Let's get creative for a great cause and put the fun in fundraising!
Please RSVP and register now at http://paintnite.com/pages/events/view/northeastnj/909718 or email Ruth Sykes at sykesr@comcast.net 
See you there!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

We're Going to Gay Pride in Asbury Park after Service Tomorrow

Tomorrow is gay pride in Asbury Park and a group from our church is going after service. Join us tomorrow for service at 10:30 am.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Passion Week at UCC Congregational


Come to church on this Holy Week. Don't wait for the right reasons to come. You can come for the wrong reasons, but come. We don't have to have it together or believe everything happened how we have been taught. Come with your doubts, and your desire for peace and justice. Come to encounter the Divine in worship. Come to reach grace among others maybe just like you... Come! Christ will be waiting and we will all embrace and welcome you just the way you are.
Our HOLY WEEK PROGRAM IS:
Tuesday night at 7:30 pm TAIZE SERVICE- A service of prayer, chanting, meditation and fellowship with candle lights.
Good Friday at 7:00 pm SERVICE - A service of Love & Sacrifice
Easter Sunday at 10:30 am EASTER SERVICE & Egg Hunt for children. 
We look forward to worshipping with you this week... cause no matter where you are in life's journey, YOU ARE ALWAYS WELCOME HERE! We mean it! What to see?



Let me share with you what Rev. Nadia Bolz Weber says about Holy Week:

Not sure if you want to go to Holy Week services?

Here’s what I have to say about Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil):
feetTwo thousand years ago in the middle-east, there had to have been crowds who shouted praise and friends who betrayed and followers who denied and women who wept and soldiers who mocked and thieves who believed. It would have happened like this even if the Jesus event were happening now instead of then. Even if we knew everything in advance – were we the ones on the street we too would shout Hosanna and a few days later shout crucify him. And that’s the good news when it comes down to it. Because these people of the Holy Week story are we people. And we people are the likes of which God came to save. God did not become human and dwell among us as Jesus to save only an improved, doesn’t make the wrong choices kind of people. There is no improved version of humanity that could have done any differently. So go ahead. Don’t wait until you think your motivations are correct. Don’t wait till you are sure you believe every single line of the Nicene creed (no one does all the time!). Don’t worry about coming to church this week for the right reasons. Just wave branches. Shout praise for the wrong reason. Eat a meal. Have your feet washed. Grab at coins. Shout Crucify him. Walk away when the cock crows. Because we, as we are and not as some improved version of ourselves…we are who God came to save. And nothing can stop what’s going to happen.
Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2015/03/not-sure-if-you-want-to-go-to-holy-week-services/#ixzz3VtXw0RZT

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

#DriverLicensesForUndocumentedImmigrantsNJ

Plainfield residents and other advocates of Plainfield's children and families: the City Council will be considering the following resolution to support an NJ bill that would permit undocumented NJ residents to obtain drivers licenses. Pastor D will be attending the City Council meeting on 2/9/15. if this issue calls to you, perhaps you will join us.

To: R. Allen Smiley, City Administrator

From: Abubakar Jalloh, Municipal Clerk

Date: January 30, 2015

Subject: Councilmanic Resolution in Support of Senate Bill S1696 and Assembly Bill A2135 Proposing the Issuance of “Driving Privilege
Cards” to Undocumented New Jersey Residents

COUNCILMANIC RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF SENATE BILL S1696 AND ASSEMBLY BILL A2135 PROPOSING THE ISSUANCE OF “DRIVING PRIVILEGE

WHEREAS, approximately 525,000 of New Jersey’s residents are estimated to
be undocumented, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective; and

WHEREAS, companion bills S1696 and A2135 have been introduced in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly, proposing the issuance of “Driving Privilege Cards” to undocumented New Jersey residents; and

WHEREAS, Eleven U.S. states and the District of Columbia grant driving privileges to undocumented residents; and

WHEREAS, these bills would permit holders of these cards to legally operate a motor vehicle under the same stipulations as those of an official New Jersey driver’s license; and

WHEREAS, many undocumented residents presently operate vehicles without proper identification, licensing or insurance; and

WHEREAS, this proposal would provide a way for undocumented residents to obtain a form of state-issued identification that would allow them to legally operate a vehicle; and CARDS” TO UNDOCUMENTED NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS

WHEREAS, these bills would mandate that all applicants must present proof of their name, date of birth and residence in New Jersey; pass driving and vision tests; have a clean criminal record; obtain car insurance; and pay the same fees as those associated with the New Jersey driver’s license; and

WHEREAS, these bills would not only address the issue of public safety on state roads by ensuring that more drivers are properly documented and insured, they would also generate state revenue through fees and taxes paid for these cards, the issuance of new insurance policies and the expanded mobility of this population,
resulting in greater spending and workforce mobility; and

WHEREAS, the Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs, acting in an effort to foster relationships with the vast Latino community of Plainfield and to provide information to all Plainfield residents, has reviewed and recommended passage of both resolutions by the City Council of the City of Plainfield.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the City Council of the City of Plainfield that the Council supports the issuance of driving privilege cards for undocumented residents, as outlined in Bills S1696 and A2135.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council requests that our
legislators take action at the state level to pass these bills and allow thousands of residents the chance to obtain proper identification that would permit them to legally operate motor vehicles in the State of New Jersey.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Certified Copies of this Resolution
shall be forwarded to Senator Nicholas P. Scutari, Assemblyman Jerry Green and Assemblywoman Linda Stender.
Scheduled by the City Council February 2, 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Support Measure that Would Allow Immigrants to Get Driver's Licence

The Plainfield City Council will be acting on the resolution in support of the drivers license legislation at its next meeting:

Monday, February 9
8:00pm
Municipal Court-Council Chambers
325 Watchung Avenue   
Plainfield, NJ 07060

We are hoping to have 150+ folks present at the meeting to convey our community's support. I hope we can count on your support to make that happen.

Plainfield City Council has in it's agenda for Monday, Feb. 9th at 8:00 pm the discussion of the measure that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license. WE NEED PEOPLE TO COME AND SHOW THEIR SUPPORT!!!!!!! Please come, invite others and mobilize... Pastor D will be there. Who's coming too?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Be the Church - Sermon Series Part 1 (1.25.15)

Be the Church
Ephesians 4:1-16

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive he gave gifts to his people.”
9 (When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended[a] into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Pray with me: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. Amen. 



The UCC’s cover photo to be the church mentions interesting tasks given to the church. Tasks that would be make us good administrators of God’s creation.When we are the church and we understand our mission, these come naturally, they come as part of the “job description,” or better yet, part of our ministry, as it is not just a job, but a ministry. 
Thing is, you don’t have to be the church to be able to:
- protect the environment
- care for the poor
- embrace diversity
- reject racism
- forgive often
- fight for the powerless
- share earthly and spiritual resources
- enjoy this life
I have seen people that don’t consider themselves religious doing that. 
For different people: 

It has also been said of the church, that it saves lives. 
Brian McLaren on his book: “A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming Faith” said:
I’ve heard stories of Catholics being saved from ritualism by becoming Pentecostal, Pentecostals being saved from emotionalism by becoming Presbyterian, Presbyterians being saved from rationalism by becoming Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox being saved from clericalism by becoming Baptist, and Baptists being saved from historical amnesia by becoming Catholic or Orthodox. Simple churches save people from complexity, and complex churches save people from simplicity. Political churches save people from an overly personal religiosity, and personal churches save people from an overly politicized religiosity. Exciting churches save people from boredom, and quiet churches save people from hoopla and hype. Around and around the cycle goes.  McLaren, Brian D. (2010-01-21). A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (p. 162). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. 

Ephesians 4 mentions a calling for the Christians. Not just any calling, but a vocational calling to BE THE CHURCH. The instructions were quite clear: we have been called to be the church, in humility, gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 
In other words, just as McLaren expresses: "the church exists to form Christlike people, people of Christlike love. It exists to save people from the great danger of wasting their lives, becoming something less than and other than they were intended to be, gaining the world but losing their souls.
McLaren, Brian D. (2010-01-21). A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (p. 164). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. 

 It is quite ok then to say that if by being the church we are becoming one with Christ in being his body, and being agents of transformation, will mean that we need to be transformed first. We can not give what we don’t have. Yes we need to do strategic planning, yes we need to be active and alive in the community. Yes we need to be a sanctuary to all in the storms of life, but how is that done? What does that even mean?  'To become like Christ, we need to have the Spirit of Christ within us, among us, before us, beside us, as the old Celtic prayer says. We need to be Spirit-saturated people.” McLaren, Brian D. (2010-01-21). A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (p. 165). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. 

There is no doubt that the church is experiencing the crisis of its life. Churches are being closed. They are being found useless to many that have had an encountered not with Christlike Christians, but with people that are full of great intentions and good ideas, but are not yet matured in their faith, by being insisting that things are done their way or the high way, that process, practices and traditions are more important than being open to God’s transforming Spirit. They wanted to produce transformation their way, not God’s way… and it didn’t worked.  Why should people go to the trouble of being part of a church if it does a thousand other things well, but falters in this one primary calling?
McLaren, Brian D. (2010-01-21). A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (p. 170). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. 

This week I ask on Facebook for folks to answer in one or two words what was church for them. Here are the answers:
  • Family
  • Peace
  • A significant part of my life
  • Home
  • Spiritual home
  • Fellowship
  • God’s limbs
  • community
  • Our rock
  • Saving grace
  • Love & respect
  • Kin-dom come (as in kindred)

It is clear that for us to be the church, we have to individually and collectively seek God’s Spirit constantly. To be Christlike people in ongoing transformation. Not something that happen once, and we’re good… but a daily transformation that allow us to in sync with God’s Spirit and God’s plan for us as people with very important ministries to perform…

"God was making a body for Christ, Paul said. Christ didn't have a regular body any more so God was making him one out of anybody he could find who looked as if he might just possibly do. He was using other people's hands to be Christ's hands and other people's feet to be Christ's feet, and when there was some place where Christ was needed in a hurry and needed bad, he put the finger on some maybe-not-all-that-innocent bystander and got him or her to go and be Christ in that place himself for lack of anybody better.” 

Let us pray:

Gracious God, you have called us to be your church leading a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Transform us today. Change our ways, as we so many times struggle with our own inconsistencies. Makes us like Christ and increase in us our love for you, so that we desire to seek your Spirit, so that we long to come together in prayer and worship.  So that we strive to be a people that bring others to be transformed too. 
We know that as people we can’t be perfect, yet allow us to seek perfection in faith and in spirit, keeping our own desires and ways in check, so that we live through you and for you.  Allow us to clearly see our calling to serve, our calling to seek transformation, our calling to BE THE CHURH, seeking you and maturing our faith so that we can love, grow, and serve. 

In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Rev. Dámaris E. Ortega,
Pastor