Equal Justice for All

There will be a rally THIS TUESDAY June 9th from 4-6 pm held next to Brecksville Road by the Brecksville Post Office and Fire Department in support of black justice and an end to police brutality. If you would like to participate in the rally with other members of BUCC, please feel free to meet in the BUCC parking lot at 3:30 and we can walk over together. Please remember to wear a mask and maintain social distancing standards to the best of your ability at the rally. IT WILL BE HOT – so dress accordingly. This event is not organized by BUCC, but it is an important issue and one we are supporting as a congregation.
We have an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to Peace and Justice by ‘Showing Up’ — even if it’s only for five minutes, or even a drive-by and honking in support. If you are able, please bring some extra water bottles to share (I am taking a couple coolers with ice and waters over early because of the heat).
Also note: As of this morning, over 400 people has responded as ‘Going’ on Facebook. We have offered the BUCC parking lot as well, so make sure you’re there early or it may fill up!

Click here to learn more.

Additional information posted this morning by the organizer, Sam Barchet:

Hello everyone! A few important reminders about Tuesday’s event:

PARKING:
– There will be (limited) parking at the lot where the rally will be held. If you choose to park here please park away from the fire station and towards the back. There is also parking available down the road at the Brecksville United Church of Christ as well as any other public parking.
THINGS TO BRING:
– Water!
– Mask
– Signs
DO NOT BRING
– Bags. Please do not bring a bag if not necessary.
PROTEST REMINDERS
– As of right now there are no speakers at this event. We will not be marching. We will gather in the lot and line the sidewalk along Brecksville road. Again, please DO NOT block the fire station or any traffic. At 5PM we will be kneeling for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in a moment of silence for George Floyd.
IF YOU ARE ATTENDING THIS PROTEST AS AN ALLY
– Please educate yourself! please make sure that you listen more than you speak. Your job here is to amplify the voices of black people and make Brecksville a more welcoming place for people of color.
IF YOU SEE SOMEONE INSTIGATING VIOLENCE
– Do not engage with them! Separate them from the group. No violence or vandalism will be tolerated.
– Although I do not expect this to happen, IF there is any altercations with police PLEASE use your white privilege to protect the black members of our community. Stand as a barrier against police force.
If you have any questions about how to be a good ally please reach out to me!
I am so so thankful for everyone who has shown interest in this event. I think that a lot of times the lack of diversity in our town creates an atmosphere where racism is tolerated but it is time for our community to show up and speak out! See everyone on Tuesday!

 

 Brecksville United Church of Christ joins with our parent organization, the United Church of Christ, in deploring the systemic violence against African Americans in contemporary America. We call on all levels of government and Law Enforcement to consult with African American leadership to build a way forward together, so that the United States’ promise of equal justice for all may be fulfilled.

Thank you for your donation!

The Pastor and Congregation of Brecksville United Church of Christ thanks you for your kindness in sharing God’s blessings with us in a monetary fashion.

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Virtual Worship Service each Sunday at 10:00

In the light of additional guidance from our UCC Association and the Governor of Ohio, we are practicing true social distancing by conducting our Worship Service as a virtual gathering, for the foreseeable future.

At 10:00 AM on Sunday (or whenever we have virtual services) please join us by:

  • Pressing this button to launch the service on your computer or smart phone: Zoom Button
  • Clicking on this link or pasting this address into your browser… https://zoom.us/j/4780705901
  • Dialing (our new phone number) 1-929-205-6099, then enter meeting ID 478 070 5901 followed by the # sign.

If you wish, you can download and print the BUCC Zoom Instruction Sheet

You can go to our Sunday Bulletins Page to print out a copy of the bulletin to follow along at home.

Since we cannot “pass the plate” during our virtual service, please consider other methods of giving to BUCC.

 

Virtual Communion Service – March 29 @ 10:00AM

We will be holding our virtual worship service this Sunday at 10:00 AM, from each of our homes.

In addition, we will be sharing Communion together. In order to participate, please obtain a small amount of bread and juice (or wine) for your family, prior to the service. Pastor Allan will direct us what to do during the service.

To connect to our live virtual service at 10:00 AM:

  • On your computer or smart phone: https://zoom.us/j/4780705901
  • On your phone: (our new phone number) 1-929-205-6099 and enter meeting ID 478 070 5901 #

You can print out the bulletin to follow along: Click here to download

A Meditation for a Church in Exile, based on Psalm 137

From Pastor Allan Lane:

We sit confined in our homes. On dread occasions we find ourselves forced to venture out into a dangerous city for the sake of a roll of toilet paper or a carton of eggs. Out there…out where the virus is hiding, out where the possibility of catastrophic illness looms over every ordinary encounter with another person. It’s a paralyzing time, and the comfortable rhythms of everyday life seem like a receding memory. We fear that fear will be the new normal, and there is literally no place in the world we can go to be safe.

In the midst of all this, it’s easy to start to feel depressed and to grieve, or to be full of anger, at the disruption of our lives, our economy, our retirement, and our security. When will we see our grandchildren, or our parents, again? What is left of the future we imagined?

We are a people in exile from the life we used to know. It’s distressing, and it’s okay to feel that distress, feel that grief, feel that fear, feel that anger.

In Psalm 137, the Psalmist takes us to the shores of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the rivers of Babylon, where the people of Judah have been taken into exile, captives of the Babylonians who besieged and captured Jerusalem. The life they used to know is gone. Their future is unclear. And, like March Breakers on Florida beaches, the Babylonians taunted them with a request to hear some of the Temple songs they used to sing to their God.

The request is a taunt, because as far as the Babylonians were concerned, their god Marduk had destroyed Israel’s god, YHWH–going so far as to destroy YHWH’s temple. The conquerors’ god had proved triumphant. The Babylonian soldiers had swarmed over the broken walls of Jerusalem’s defenses, killing many, and carrying off the rest into this horrible exile in the glittering glory that was Babylon, it’s famous hanging gardens and tall towers looming reminders of the futility of resistance.

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion,” the psalmist writes. The thought of the life they used to know, of the security they used to feel when they were worshipping in YHWH’s temple on Mt. Zion, is too much for the Psalmist and his hearers. It is a time for weeping for the way the world once was, and may never be again.

The first verses of the Psalm, vs. 1-4, express the grief of the captives in their new situation. Life now is nothing like what they were used to, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

In order to deal with their changed circumstances, the Psalmist calls his community to remember in vs. 5-6. Remember who they are, and whose they are. Remember the God whose songs they are being asked to sing, who had rescued them out of oppression in Egypt once before, and who would surely not forget them in Babylon, either.

It’s typical of Hebrew poetry, which didn’t have rhyming verse, to show its poetic nature by a repetitive structure, which emphasizes the point the poet is trying to make. Here we see the call to remember embracing the songs they used to play and to sing.

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
May my right hand forget [its skill]
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
If I do not remember you.

The hand, which plays the harps now hung on the poplars, and the tongue which used to sing the songs of God in the Temple, will be useless in future, if the spirit forgets and does not remember who God is, and what God has done. Jerusalem is likely standing in for God as God’s holy city.

We remember what life has been, and what life will be again when the crisis has passed, so that we have strength to endure what life is in the present. It is difficult, but this, too, shall pass.

Finally, the Psalmist expresses anger in vv. 8-9. Why us? Why is this happening to us? Naturally, they want to strike out at someone. They’re furious with the neighboring Edomites, who not only didn’t help them, but actually cheered the Babylonians on. They’re furious with the invading, enslaving Babylonians, who killed their children, depriving them of a future. And they want revenge.

In a passage that horrifies most people, the Psalmist says, “O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy are those who will pay you back for what you’ve done to us; happy are those who will take your babies and smash them against the rocks.”

We understand the anger, the need to blame someone; we are angry that we are confined to our homes. We are angry that our lives have been disrupted, our savings shot, our favorite restaurants and museums now closed, perhaps never to reopen. We can’t blame the virus for being what it is. But we want to express our anger somehow.

This is the danger zone, as the Psalmist found out. We recoil in horror at an indiscriminate anger that attacks innocent babies in its need for revenge. We reject as outrageous an anger that wants to smash innocent babies’ heads open on rocks.  It’s easy to see that anger in others, harder to see it in ourselves, especially when there are those who want to stoke our anger against others as a way to hide their own poor crisis management. The Chinese have blamed Americans for the virus; American leadership is trying to blame the Chinese for shortcomings in our domestic response to this phenomenon of nature. Asian Americans have been insulted and attacked in indiscriminate anger. We must not let ourselves become those who attack innocents out of an anger that can’t reach the real culprit: a virus too small to be seen.

We are a people in exile. We grieve. We mourn. And we remember. We remember that in time, Israel’s exile came to an end. We remember that God called them to return home to a land that was changed, but still their home. They had to rebuild their lives and their civilization. But they had God as their partner, the same God who had called them back from exile, who was now calling them to a new adventure, calling them into a future that was pregnant with new possibilities, into which strode, eventually, Jesus the Messiah. Our exile will end, too, and a new future will lie before us. Hang on in your grief; hang on in your anger; hang on, and remember, for who knows what the God of exile has planned for us next!

Help – Sewers needed!

If you are skilled at sewing and have extra fabric at home, you can help out during this public health challenge.

The medical system is in need of face masks for general use.  Providing these hand made masks to health workers and patients will help conserve surgical masks and extend their life.

To see video instructions, click here.

To get the pattern to print, click –> How-To-Sew-A-Facemask-Instructions.

Stay tuned – we will update this post soon, to tell you where to send or drop off your masks.

Worshiping together in this time of concern about Coronavirus

Our church has a deep commitment to the health and well-being of its members. Due to the spread of the Corona Virus in Cuyahoga County, we are embracing the call of public health officials to practice “social distancing”. Out of an abundance of caution, your Pastor and Church Council have decided on the following actions:

  1. If you are feeling ill, Council recommends strongly that you NOT attend church, but should take advantage of one of the alternative methods of seeing/hearing the service outlined below. God will understand that your absence is for the health and safety of all.
  2. We are encouraging all members to use their best judgment about attending physical service. Do not feel under any obligation to come to church if you feel it may be safer to stay home. Even if you are not feeling unwell, it may be your best choice to watch/listen to the service via one of our alternatives. Again, God will understand.
  3. To maintain our worshipping community, we will be providing online options for watching or listening to our Worship Services live or in a recorded fashion.  Further details will be forthcoming. We plan to start this on Sunday, March 15th, 2020.  If you do choose to attend this Sunday, there will be a demonstration of how to access these social media versions of our service after worship.
  4. We will be putting a prayer request form up on our website so that you can submit your prayers to Pastor Allan, just as you would do if you were at the service in person. He will pray for those people you submit, but privately rather than publicly, unless otherwise requested on the form.
  5. We are working on having lessons for the children online as well. Plans are still in the early stages here as we try to adapt to the situation, and more details will be communicated in a future email blast.
  6. Pastor Allan is working with the Spiritual Life Ministry to determine the safest way to distribute Holy Communion.
  7. If the situation worsens, Pastor Allan and Office Manager Jeannette may start working from home. . If you need pastoral support, you can contact Pastor Allan at 513 417-1537. If you need Office Support, you can call the Office at 440 526-4364 and leave a message. Messages will continue to be picked up regularly Monday to Thursday (regular office hours). 

We realize the situation is very fluid, with circumstances changing from morning to evening, so watch for more information via email blasts. If you know of a member who might not get this information, please contact them to make sure they know what is happening.

As Computer Scientist and Entrepreneur Paul Graham said on Twitter, “When you’re dealing with exponential growth, the time to act is when it feels too early.”

As a Council, we decided it was far better to act too early than too late. If the situation deteriorates further, we may move to cancel physical church and go strictly online until it is safe to meet again. We are not there yet, but know that we are keeping your health and the health of our community uppermost in our minds.

In summary: if you feel sick, stay home. If you are worried about becoming sick, stay home. Take advantage of the alternative means of worship being offered once they are set up. Take care of yourself and your family.

We pray that these measures will help our community to be as healthy as possible, and to avoid the worst dangers of the pandemic that appears to be coming. Stay healthy!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor and Council of Brecksville United Church of Christ

Prayer Requests

If you are unable to join us for worship, yet desire to share prayer requests with the Pastor or Congregation, you can submit a request on this website. Click here to submit your request.

Find Yourself at Brecksville UCC