You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
TODAY ~ April 15, 2018
10:00 AM – Worship
11:30 AM – Choir Rehearsal
Running Through Fear to Hope
My heart pounded as I watched the video footage of the devastating fire that ripped through a second floor dance academy in Edgewater, NJ this week. What I witnessed was people running toward this horrific fire with ladders in hand in an effort to save the young girls stranded on a balcony by intense flames. Without a thought of their own safety these people brought ladders to try and help the girls and many simply stood below the balcony trying to break the fall of the girls who jumped to safety.
Tony Nehmi, a business owner in the complex where the fire broke out, was the first person on the scene. He rescued two of the girls with the help of Edgewater Police Officer Jimmy Dalton. Nehmi said he immediately ran toward the building when he saw smoke down the street from his shop. He started asking some restaurant workers who had escaped if they knew if anyone was still inside and then saw two girls pounding on the glass window on the second floor.
He said he knew he had to act quickly as the room was quickly filling with smoke. “I just wanted to get those two girls out; I never would have lived with myself if they got hurt.” Nehmi said. So he grabbed a ladder, ran to the building and once on the balcony used the ladder to break the glass and rescue the girls.
I would like to think if I was in that situation I would be able to react in the same way, to work through my own fear to bring hope to those who needed rescuing. Due to the quick action of so many there were no casualties and most of the girls received only minor injuries. Thank God for these real life heroes, they inspire me. They take my breath away. I have watched the video several times and each time I am overwhelmed by the sheer selflessness of those who ran toward danger to bring hope.
I hope that in some way I will have the courage to put aside my fear and run toward someone who needs help and give them hope. While I most likely will never be asked to raise a ladder to a burning building I know there is a lot more I can do to bring hope to others if I am willing to run through my fear of the unknown and be a witness for Christ. Where can I bring hope if I run through my own fear of rejection or worry about not having just the right words?
Thank God for the heroes we see each day and pray that in some way we might bring the light of hope to those who so desperately need rescuing.
Blessings, Pastor Allyson
John 24: 36b-48
A small boy once approached his slightly older sister with a question about God. “Susie, can anybody ever really see God?” he asked. Busy with other things, Susie curtly replied: “No, of course not silly. God is so far up in heaven that nobody can see him.” Time passed, but his question still lingered so he approached his mom: “Mom, can anybody ever really see God?” “No, not really,” she gently said. “God is a spirit and he dwells in our hearts, but we can never really see Him.” Somewhat satisfied but still wondering, the youngster went on his way. Not long afterwards, his saintly old grandfather took the little boy on a fishing trip. They were having a great time together – it had been an ideal day. The sun was beginning to set with unusual splendor as the day ended. The old man stopped fishing and turned his full attention to the exquisite beauty unfolding before him.On seeing the face of his grandfather reflecting such deep peace and contentment as he gazed into the magnificent ever-changing sunset, the little boy thought for a moment and finally spoke hesitatingly: “Granddad, I – I – wasn’t going to ask anybody else, but I wonder if you can tell me the answer to something I’ve been wondering about a long time – can anybody – can anybody ever really see God?”.The old man did not even turn his head. A long moment slipped by before he finally answered. “Son,” he quietly said. “It’s getting so I can’t see anything else.” Jesus truly does want to be seen by His disciples during the forty days following His resurrection. He wants them to move from fear to hope to joy as they see Him and touch Him and even eat with Him. Luke moves us through these emotions in our reading this morning. When Jesus appears in their midst, they are “startled and terrified.” They think they are seeing a ghost. Their fear is a natural human response and would have most likely been our response. Yet there stood Jesus comforting them with his words, “Peace be with you.” He wants them to See Him and believe in His presence with him so he says, “Look at my hands and feet; see that it is I myself.” To further assure them of his real presence he remarkably asks from something to eat, and they gave him some fish. He eats the fish to further assure them of His living presence with them following His crucifixion. And so their fear moved to hope. Hope that Jesus was truly with them, a live presence among them. And as He opens their minds to understand the scriptures, their hope turns to joy. From the fear that had them hiding behind locked doors, Jesus appears to them and moves their fear to hope and finally to the joy of His presence. Jesus wants to move us from the fear that sometimes causes us to hide behind locked doors. Jesus is here with us opening our hearts and minds to His loving presence in our lives if we only look. We want to see Jesus; that is our desire. We want to know that Jesus is among us, and so I ask – What do you see? My heart pounded as I watched the video footage of the devastating fire that ripped through a second floor dance academy in Edgewater, NJ this week. What I witnessed was people running toward this horrific fire with ladders in hand in an effort to save the young girls stranded on a balcony by intense flames. Without a thought of their own safety these people brought ladders to try and help the girls and many simply stood below the balcony trying to break the fall of the girls who jumped to safety. Tony Nehmi, a business owner in the complex where the fire broke out, was the first person on the scene. He rescued two of the girls with the help of Edgewater Police Officer Jimmy Dalton. Nehmi said he immediately ran toward the building when he saw smoke down the street from his shop. He started asking some restaurant workers who had escaped if they knew if anyone was still inside and then saw two girls pounding on the glass window on the second floor. He said he knew he had to act quickly as the room was quickly filling with smoke. “I just wanted to get those two girls out; I never would have lived with myself if they got hurt.” Nehmi said. So he grabbed a ladder, ran to the building and once on the balcony used the ladder to break the glass and rescue the girls. Through the courageous actions of these everyday heroes Jesus is saying… See Me, I am here. Desmond Doss was one of those heroes that demonstrate Jesus is present moving us from fear to hope to joy. Doss’ religious beliefs forbade him to carry a gun so when he was drafted to serve in World War II he faced ridicule from his fellow soldiers. Doss served as a field medic in Okinawa. When his unit was attacked by Japanese forces on top of a cliff, cutting down nearly every man, Doss quickly rigged up a stretcher that he could lower with ropes and pulleys to the safety of the ground below. Then by himself and under fire he retrieved each soldier in his unit one at a time and lowered them to safety. He rescued 75 men that day. Through Doss’ courageous actions Jesus is saying…See Me. Countless heroic actions during the devastation of Hurricane Harvey brought us further evidence that the loving presence is among us. During the height of the storm a resident of a Houston apartment building went into labor. Her husband quickly called 911 but after he wasn’t able to reach any first responders, he sent an urgent email to the apartment building residents to ask if anyone in the complex was an obstetrician, or a physician, or a nurse. Almost immediately, people began coming to the couple’s apartment to see if they could help, and they were there an hour later when the Houston Fire Department came to rescue the woman. However, with the flood waters rising the emergency responders couldn’t get a stretcher to the building so the residents formed a human chain. Through the driving wind and rain they stood hand in hand in the rising waist deep water to ensure that the woman and her husband got to the rescue truck safely. Through their selflessness, they help us to hear Jesus saying to us…“See Me” On October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concert goers at the Las Vegas Harvest music festival leaving 58 people dead and 851 injured. In the chaos of this traumatic event we witnessed many moments of heroism in which people overcame their fear and with hope moved to help those around them. During the shooting, Dean McAuley had found a path to safety, but he didn’t leave. As his two friends followed the police away from the Las Vegas gunman’s view, one called back to him: “You’ve got to come with us.” McAuley replied, “I’ve got to go to work.” You see, McAuley is a firefighter from Seattle who went to the music festival each year with his friends. He ignored warnings that bullets were still flying and got gloves from a medical tent and helped bring two wounded women back to the tent and to safety. He then found Natalia Baca, a 17 year old girl, and applied a tourniquet to the bullet wound in her arm. She was having hard time breathing due to the loss of blood but was somehow able to stay calm. McAuley told her to trust him, and said he wouldn’t let anything happen to her. Just at that moment, a passerby offered his car to take them to the hospital. He recalls that he kept Natalia calm by showing her pictures of his wife, son and dog. Natalia’s parents later thanked McAuley and told him, “You saved our daughter’s life.” Through Dean McAuley’s selfless actions Jesus is saying to us…“See Me” Jesus’ post Easter appearances assure us that God is alive and working in our community and in the world. Jesus is alive and working among us. May His words bring us a release from our fears and His presence bring us hope for the future and the knowledge that He has not forsaken us move us to joy as we hear Him say; “Peace Be With You…I am here.”
Monday, April 16 4:30 & 6 PM Weight Watchers
Tuesday, April 17 6:15 PM Girl Scouts #135
7:00 PM Council
Wednesday, April 18 6:00 PM Girl Scouts #306
Thursday, April 19 7:30 PM Masons
Saturday, April 21 5:30 PM Turkey Dinner
Advanced Care Planning Forum
Join us for an interactive evening of information and discussion on Monday, April 16th at Trinity Episcopal Church from 6 – 7:30 PM. Advanced Care Planning (ACP) is a process for understanding, reflecting on and talking about your own goals, beliefs and values in order to determine your healthcare wishes, should a time come when you cannot make them – or express them yourself. Come and learn about some of the legal terms in Advanced Care Planning and their implications. This is being sponsored by the Seymour Oxford Clergy group and presented by Griffin Hospital.
TURKEY DINNER AND BASKET BONANZA
Saturday, April 21st, join us at the Seymour Congregational Church for delicious food and wonderful company! With a chance to win one of our many baskets!
Dinner starts at 5:30 PM
Adults – $14
Kids (under 10 years) – $5
Basket drawing at 7:00 PM
Chances – $1 each
Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life: A Women’s Day Retreat will be led by Pastor Allyson for the women of the Seymour Congregational Church, UCC on May 5, 2018 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Mercy By The Sea conference center in Madison, CT. The cost of the retreat is $36 which includes a continental breakfast, a sit down lunch, the retreat and use of the beautiful waterfront property. Due to limited space the first 20 paid participants will be accepted for the retreat.
Bible Study: The next Bible study will be held on April 24 at 1:00 pm. All are welcome to join the discussion and fellowship as we study the Word. Please contact Pastor Allyson with any questions regarding bible study.
Property & Renovation Committee request.
During the previous 30 days, there has been two occurrences of a water faucet in the lower level restrooms being left on full blast. This results in a serious water loss and a much higher water bill for the Church. The folks that use the lower level have been asked to check the restrooms before they leave. It would be helpful for all of us, anytime we are participating with a group in the lower level to check the restrooms upon departure. THANKS.
PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY – Are you interested in being a member of the Prayer Shawl Ministry? Please contact Lynda Boynton at 203-888-5473. Shawls are given to bring comfort to those who have suffered a loss, an illness or some misfortune. For more information go towww.shawlministry.com. To request a shawl, call Lynda (203-888-5473) or leave a message at the church office 203-888-6729.
The Shriner’s Children’s Hospital: Pull-tabs or “pop-tops” from beverage cans, soup cans, etc. can be saved and delivered to the Shriners Hospital, and then they are sold to a recycling center. The money collected is used to fund transportation for needy children to and from the hospital. See Dawn Ryan or call her at 203-888-0600. She will deliver them.