Happenings at an inner city church in Allentown

The St. James UCC Book Club is currently reading “Quilt of Souls” by Phyllis Lawson.  It is Phyllis Lawson’s personal memoir

about African American girls struggles and triumph.  We will be meeting Saturday, July 25, 2015 at 10AM to discuss this book.

If you have read this book, come join us for a most interesting discussion.

Contemporary Service

On Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 2:00PM we will be having our 1st Contemporary Worship Service. It will be less formal, less liturgy, more singing and messages based on different themes. This will give an opportunity to come worship with us, once a month, on a time other than on a Sunday morning.
Come join us – all are WELCOME! Go out for a nice lunch and then stop by and worship with us! The theme for our 1st contemporary services will be: “Why Am I Here?”
At this time we do not have a projector, so we will need to use our hymnal. But personally, for me, as Pastor, I like to read the words on paper because they have so much more meaning to me.
Come, join us in worship! Try it, you might like it! That is, singing and being with us at St. James U.C.C. See you there! Pastor Lorraine

“Killing Jesus”

Currently we at St. James U.C.C. are reading the book “Killing Jesus” written by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. It is a history book about the life of Jesus as a man. It is not a spiritual book by any means, but will tell who Jesus actually was and what happened to him.

The authors use the resources from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but also other resources to write the historical view of his life. It is a fact-based book and where they do not know exactly what happened, they tell you so.

If you would like to read about the life of Jesus and join us for discussion, we will meet Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 10AM in the parlor. It should be an interesting read as together we learn more about the man named Jesus and how he has shaped the world and is still shaping us if we let him.

2014 begins our third year together as a book club. You are welcome to join us. Pastor Lorraine

“The Shack”

The book we are currently reading is “The Shack” written by William P. Young. It is a book of fiction written in 2007 and it wrestles with the question “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” And as much as the world was filled with pain in 2007, sometimes I believe we in 2013 are even more filled with pain and questions.

Even if you have read this book years ago, we invite you to read it again and join us for discussion on Saturday, November 9th at 10AM in the parlor. I read it in 2008, but never wrestled with my thoughts or reflections nor did I discuss it much with anyone. For some this book may be hard to read through because of the tragic murder of a young girl, but persevere because you may just be transformed. This will give you the opportunity to read the book again and discuss it with other sisters and brothers in Christ. Coffee, juice, fruit and a baked good will be provided.

YOU ARE WELCOME! Pastor Lorraine

“The Storyteller”

Currently the book we are reading is “The Storyteller” written by Jodi Picoult. This is book of fiction about a woman named Sage, her life and a chance encounter with an elderly man, Josef Weber in her grief support group that they both attend. As they become closer and he confesses a buried, shameful secret, Sage begins to question her life.
These questions come into the picture: “When does a moral choice become a moral imperative? And where does one draw the line between punishment and justice, forgiveness and mercy? It is definitely a good read and will get you thinking.
We will be meeting Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 10AM in the parlor to discuss Part I. Then we will meet
Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 10AM to discuss Part 2 and Part 3. Everyone is welcome if you have read the book. Join us for a light snack, juice and good discussion.
Resources: From the book jacket.
Pastor Lorraine

This gallery contains 12 photos.

DSCN0759DSCN0763get-attachment-6.aspxDSCN0741On Sunday, June 2, 2013, we celebrated St. James UCC 100th Anniversary through a special worship service where former Pastors, former Organists, son and daughters of the congregation along with dignitaries from the city attended. Following the service, we buried the time capsule to be dug up and opened in the year 2025. We then went into the Fellowship Hall for a special luncheon.

The book for the month of June is “The Reason for God” – Belief in an Age of Skepticism written by Timothy Keller. In this book there will be discussion on certain questions, such as: Why does God allow suffering in the world? How could a loving God send people to Hell? Why isn’t Christianity more inclusive? How can there be one true religion? Why have so many wars been fought in the name of God?

“Keller explains how the belief in a Christian God is, in fact, a sound and rational one.” (Back cover of book) If you would like to join us for this discussion, read the book and come to the church on Saturday, June 22nd at 10AM. Contact the Pastor at 610-432-7677 if interested.
Pastor Lorraine

For Sunday, March 24th

Sermon Title: “When We Feel Unwanted”
Scripture: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Luke 19:28-40

Palm Sunday 2013 – welcome to this most holiest of weeks, where follow Jesus to the cross at Golgotha and finally to the resurrection on Easter Sunday. But for today, we focus on Jesus journey to Jerusalem. It was a celebration, but short lived. Jesus was riding on a young donkey, while people threw their cloaks down on the pathway to honor royalty, for Jesus was king.

Jesus was receiving the welcome he deserved. He had taught faithfully, healed those who were sick and set an example for all of us. Now he was being welcomed into Jerusalem as a king. But as we all know the story does not end here, it is only the beginning of his pain and suffering. But we know that “the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this.”

This holy week will lead us to rejoicing on Easter Sunday. Join us for this most holy week with services on Maundy Thursday beginning at 7PM in the Fellowship Hall; Good Friday beginning at 7PM in the sanctuary. We will begin this service in light and end in darkness and silence. Then Easter Sunday, March 31st we will sing our alleluias and our praises. We will rejoice. Source: Dynamic Preaching

Thought for the week: When you feel fear or doubt about the future, remember all that God has done in the past.

Let us pray: God, who moves in every heartbeat and moment, help us be mindful of our connection with you. Help us to live
so that we might be your voice and hands and heart in a hurting world. We remember friends, family and loved ones who
live with illnesses, who endure chronic pain daily. In your love and grace, heal them, comfort them, and strengthen
them. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Source: The Minister’s Annual Manual
Pastor Lorraine

For Sunday, March 10th

Sermon Title: “When We Feel Lost”
Scripture: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

In the passage recorded in the Gospel of Luke for this coming Sunday, the scripture focuses first of all on the Parable of the Lost Sheep and second, the very familiar story of the Prodigal Son. One resource quoted a comment by George Buttrick, the greatest preacher America has ever produced, said the the parable of the Prodigal Son captures “the essence of the Christian faith.” It is a story of repentance, forgiveness, and grace. It also reflects self-righteousness, resentment and anger.

There are three main characters in this story: the Prodigal Son, the father and the elder son. If you have access to art, you might want to look up the picture painted by Ducth artist Rembrandt, called “The Return of the Prodigal Son. Some have called it the greatest picture ever painted. Notice the father’s hands, one appears to be masculine and the other more feminine. Author Father Henri Nouwen, also noted the difference in the father’s hands in his book, “The Return of the Prodigal Son.”

Are you one of the characters in this story? Come and worship with us as we look more deeply into the three men in this story, and look at what the Christian message is for us this day. Resource: Dynamic Preaching

Thought for the Week: Prayer is important. Do everything you can do and then trust God to do what you cannot do.

Let us pray: Almighty God, Your word is true. I believe that You have plans for me for wholeness and not for evil. I believe that you have a future and a hope for me. I believe that You are working all things together for the good of those who love You. I say by faith that You are good. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. Resource: “Always True” by James
MacDonald. Pastor Lorraine