1st Congregational Church, UCC

  • I am sitting here reading and reflecting.

    Did you realize that more than half of those incarcerated are there for drug crimes? Our ‘war on drugs’ has changed addiction from a health crisis to a criminal offence. Is that justice? Does it make our lives safer? I see so many ways to look at this issue and I am stuck with the system being unjust.

    I read about our justice system being a system of punishment. Would it not serve our people and economy more if it was a system of recompense? If you do a crime – you pay the cost, not do the time. If you burn a building you pay to restore it. If you vandalize you repair. If you hurt you pay for healing of body and mind. If you steal you repay. Our justice system should educate and empower young offenders to lead them to self-discovery and positive citizenship. Again I fear our system is broken.

    God gives us free choice and allows us to face the consequences of our choices and the choices of others. We must not assume God got it wrong and takes away choices. God offers power, leads us to vocations with meaning, loves us and give us grace to get back up when we fall down. How can we apply this?????

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  • Rodney Zeigler memorial

    Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and these witnesses to be honest. We are sad, lonely, angry, we are confused and we are hurting. We have a hole in our hearts that feels like an open wounded festering, infected and inflamed. We are torn. We can’t hold fast to a god who would choose to afflict Rodney or take him out of our lives.

    God wants us all to have abundant lives filled with peace, joy, hope and love. God is hurting with us. God cares.

    Rodney P. Ziegler, age 46, of Marysville, died Sunday, June 7, 2015 at his home after a 6 month battle with leukemia, treatments and side effects.

    Born December 4, 1968 to Clarence and Marjorie Ziegler, graduate of Marysville High School in 1987, wed to Jo Ellen October 8, 1999.

    Rodney, PaPa Bear, Big Daddy – was an avid outdoorsman. Rodney would have liked to take a pocket knife into the woods and just try to survive. He enjoyed camping, hunting, hiking, and flying remote control airplanes. Rodney was a loyal friend, devoted family man, loving kind husband, fun father, proud American, Viet Nam history buff, and a self-sufficient rock and roll fan.

    The spiritual side of Rodney came out in the outdoors and with his soulmate Jo Ellen. Put those 2 together and his tough exterior showed a very tender and generous heart. Rodney possessed a forgiving spirit. Rodney said he came from the dust of the stars and the waters of the oceans. He identified with the phrase – it is what it is.

    Rodney worked hard, from dawn to dusk 6 days a week and was often gone. Jo Ellen felt empowered knowing he had her back and his spirit was always with her. And when he left her he told her he would meet her back at the ranch. Good-byes were prolonged enough to get some kisses and loving glances.

    Rodney was blessed with a loving wife and great neighbors – especially Bob – who gave of themselves sacrificially.

    Rodney struggled with his self-image and felt unworthy of the love Jo Ellen and others showered upon him. So he wore camo to blend in and relax.

    Rodney knew pain and loss having lost his father when he was a child. He became orphaned with the loss of his mother just a few weeks ago. His stepfather also predeceased him.

    Left to grieve are his wife, stepson Robert and his wife Heather, 2 aunts, one uncle, some in-laws, and a host of extended family and friends. He is missed and already relating to those whom he loved in spiritual ways.

    WE gather in the name of the God who created us, loves us and sustains us. God is alive and graciously greets each one of us as we make our transition from this life to the next. Scripture assures us that there is a celebration each time one of us comes home. Rodney is at his welcoming, he is whole.

    Let us pray: O Living, Loving God we come to you filled with confusion, pain, anger, questions, broken hearts – we want you to fix everything right now – we don’t understand. Somehow, still in this darkness, we know you love us and you care. Help us to feel that love coming to us through others, help us to know that love in our hearts and minds, help us to share that love – so that we may grow on and be filled with hope, trust and peace. We begin to release Rodney to you, but part of us still clings to him- still longs for him. Help us to let go of what was so that we may come to know the wonder of what is yet to be. Be with us in this time of reflection and faith. Fill this room and all our hearts with you.

    Let us pray the Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father, who art in heaven Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, Forever and ever. Amen.

    Psalm 23 A psalm of David. Shephards – survivalists

    The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.

    He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters; he keeps me alive.

    He guides me in proper paths for the sake of his good name.

    Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me.

    Your rod and your staff— they protect me.

    You set a table for me right in front of my enemies.

    You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over!

    Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the Lord’s house as long as I live.

    Reflections

    From Reformed Hebrew liturgy

    Only this we have been taught and in this we put our trust. From you comes the spirit and to you it must return. You are our dwelling in life and in death. More we cannot say for all else is hidden from our sight by an impenetrable veil. We thank you then for the life we have and the gifts that daily are our portion. For health and healing, labor and repose, for the ever renewed beauty of earth and sky, for thoughts of truth and justice that move us to acts of goodness, and for the contemplation of your eternal presence that fills us with hope that what is good and lovely will not perish. Lord, what are we, a breath and passing shadow, yet you have made us little less than divine.

    Grant us peace, your most precious gift, o eternal source of peace, and give us the will to proclaim your message of peace to all the peoples of the earth. Bless our country that it may always be a stronghold of peace, and an advocate among the nations. May contentment reign within its borders, health and happiness within its homes. Strengthen the bonds of friendship among the inhabitants of all lands. And may love of your name hallow every home and heart. Blessed is the eternal God source of peace.

    O God guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking guile. Purify my heart that there may be no malice, but a prayer for the good of all. Lead me in the ways of righteousness that I may hurt no one; and help me bring blessings and love to others. Open my heart to do your will. Strengthen my desire to obey your commandments. May my thoughts and prayers be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

    We grieve the loss of our loved one Rodney Zeigler. The place he once stood is empty now forever. We see him through the eye of memory – his faults forgiven and his virtues grown larger.

    IN THE RISING of the sun, and in its going down, we remember.

    From the moment we wake till we fall asleep, all that we do is remember.

    In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember.

    On the frigid days of winter and the moments we breathe the cold air, we warm ourselves with their embrace, and remember.

    In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember.

    As the days grow longer and the outside becomes warmer, we are more awake and we remember.

    In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.

    When we look above and see the images of the clouds and when we are comforted by the sun that shines down on us, we remember.

    In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember.

    From the time in which we feel the cool, crisp breeze and see the colors of the leaves, we remember In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember.

    On the day we make resolutions for ourselves and on the day we reflect upon how We’ve grown, we remember.

    When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember.

    As we are faced with challenges that enter life, we remember all that they taught us, and remember.

    When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember.

    When we have gone astray and feel uncomfortable, we ask for help and remember.

    When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember.

    From those times of celebration, love, and happiness, we remember.

    We can add:

    When we go fishing or hunting or camping we will remember Rodney.

    When we take a walk in the woods. We will remember.

    When a remote control machine flies by, we will remember.

    When we see camouflage clothes, we will remember

    So long as we live, he, too, shall live, for he is now a part of us, as we remember.

    On every day, and in every way, I know that he is with us and we remember.

    Friends and family share stories

    You can laugh and you can play

    You can know I am ok

    Cherish each moment cease this day

    Take some time your love to say

    Love your country, love the earth

    Dare to let your dreams give birth

    To all that makes you live in peace

    And make my pride in you increase

    I loved you then and love you still

    Rest assured I always will

    I touch you gently with my breath

    And let you rest upon my chest

    Don’t linger too long - there are fish to catch

    Deer to hunt and to work must get back

    Walk in the woods in my memory

    And maybe even plant a tree

    Cry if you must and laugh all you can

    Dare to make your own life plan

    And live it fully, brave and strong

    Don’t put off anything for very long

    This is your moment and the time is now

    To pick up your shovel, your blade or a trowel

    and do what’ s important in your heart and soul

    don’t wait til its too late our you are too old. 6/11/15 llm

    A Psalm for the Dying

    Relatives and friends,

    I am about to leave: my last breath does not say "goodbye,” for my love for you is truly timeless, beyond the touch of boney death.

    I leave myself not to the undertaker, for decoration in this house of the dead, but to your memory, with love.

    I leave my thoughts, my laughter, my dreams to you whom I have treasured beyond gold and precious gems.

    I give you what no thief can steal, the memories of our times together: the tender, love-filled moments, the successes we have shared, the hard times that brought us closer together and the roads we have walked side by side.

    I also leave you a solemn promise that after I am home in the bosom of God, I will still be present, whenever and wherever you call on me. My energy will be drawn to you by the magnet of our love. Whenever you are in need, call me; I will come to you, with my arms full of wisdom and light to open up your blocked paths, to untangle your knots and to be your avenue to God.

    And all I take with me as I leave is your love and the millions of memories of all that we have shared so I truly enter my new life as a millionaire.

    Fear not nor grieve at my departure, you whom I have loved so much, for my roots and yours are forever intertwined.

    - by Edward Hayes, Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

    PRAYER BLESSING

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  • What does it mean to be healed? We get so many pat answers and excuses that healing appears worthless. God desires for us to have abundant life. So why don’t we all live safe, healthy, flexible and pain free? Is it that we lack faith? Is it that we are filled with sin? Is it that healing was only around to build a church and is no longer available? Do we not have the correct formula? These questions are asked everyday. Why me? Why now? Why someone I care about? What did they/we do to deserve this?

    Let’s start with some common insights and see where they take us.

    God gives us free choice. Does that mean we choose illness or suffering? Maybe. Maybe we want to learn a lesson and this is how the learning is accomplished. Maybe not. Perhaps we are suffering due to the free choices of others. We do not live in isolation. The choices of others near and far effect us in forms of pollution and global warming—violence and compassion, generosity and greed. Then there are the choices we made that have ripple effects—long term repercussions of past behaviors (addictions, sun exposure, sports, accidents), and cumulative effect of lifetime habits (caffeine, smoking, diet, shallow breathing, activities). Sin, anger, hate—are we holding on to negative emotions that block the flow of our life energy? Do we need to forgive ourselves or others to be freed from an ailment? Are we holding on to things we know are bad for us but we think we can’t live without—jobs, relationships, sugar, caffeine, …?

    What does healing look like? Are we free from depression, ailments, irritations? Do we see ourselves differently? What does healthy feel like?

    I propose that healthy means we love ourselves, our bodies, our minds, our abilities, our blessings and our learning opportunities. We love our God and thank God for loving grace flowing in our lives each day. We make some effort to let go of anything that keeps us stuck in uncomfortable places, activities, behavior. We don’t give others ‘free parking space’ in our minds. We learn to live in the moment. We laugh often and love without fear. That is what whole means to me.

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  • Reflections on who we are and where we're going

    First Congregational UCC is a spiritual respite in an historical building in downtown Marysville. This building provides safe space to explore and develop as pilgrims and citizens.

    First Congregational United Church of Christ of Marysville Ohio is a living group of diverse folks seeking to enhance their spiritual understandings and live their faith every day. We recognized Jesus Christ as the sole head of the church and each participant as a pilgrim on the journey of faith and faithfulness.

    First Congregational United Church of Christ has been serving the Marysville Ohio area since the 1800’s. First as a Presbyterian Church then Congregational and now UCC; our forbearers were part of the Underground Railroad and the Temperance union. Historically we have been a church that reaches out into our community and the world with needed food, clothing and dignity items. Our women have made quilts for the sick for many years. Our mission team collects and distributes food items to the local food pantry and the public schools for weekend food bags for youth on food assistance programs. Our building is a meeting place for weekly AA, weekly AlAnon, weekly yoga classes, annual historical society teas, celebrations of various holidays, support to Uptown Friday Nights, community worship, educational seminars, weddings, funerals, social events, youth group and more. Each week we gather for worship and Christian education and groups gather to plan and implement programs. We provide supplies and support to the Hope Center, the Pregnancy Center, the local food bank, area school programs and the wider UCC church.

    We are an open and affirming congregation who embraces diversity. We are pilgrims on a spiritual journey towards wholeness and holiness. We are young and old and in-between. We have various levels of education and income. Our worship is somewhat traditional and our sanctuary is very traditional. We use the Bible as an educational tool; and tradition, history and personal experience to interpret it. We strive for a fulfilling relationship with the Divine.

    The grand old building is in need of major restoration. Brickwork needs repaired and replaced, electricity needs updated, climate control needs to be made more efficient as it is over 30 years old, downspouts need redone and redirected, windows need treated, chairs and tables need replaced and kitchen needs updated for full use. We have installed a new air conditioner for the sanctuary and new carpeting in our downstairs; our computers and printer/copier have been updated.

    As we vision towards our future and what we have to offer, we are confident our building is worth saving.

    Our Sew n Sews have made quilt squares that are being sold for $250 as a fund raiser for our renovation seed money (73 squares), they are also raffling off the matching full quilt. This project should give us seed money of approximately $20,000. Our estimated costs are in the $300,000. range.

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  • Tribute to John Long

    John A. Long

    1927 Calvin Coolidge was president and called the 2nd disarmament conference. He also formed the Federal Radio Commission. Baseball made the news often with many records being set and broken. Babe Ruth got a record salary of $70,000. US & Mexico struggled over oil rights. US and Canada built a Peace Bridge. The first Alfred Hitchcock film was released. Transatlantic telephone service was activated and phone calls between US and Mexico began. There were major earthquakes in Japan, China and Philistine, tornadoes in Missouri and Washington DC, tropical storms and record rain in Vermont. The first flights to Hawaii were flown and the first iron lung installed. First movie with a sound track was published, Jazz Singer. CBS got its start. Charles Lindberg flew across US making public stops. The world’s largest gas tank which was in PA exploded. Supreme Court ruled that bootleggers must pay income tax. Ford stopped making the Model T of which 15 million had been made. The Model A came out and cost $385.

    Also Phillip and Nellie gave birth to John – a small, quiet boy who liked to think and create. John was the third son – and one of 11 children. They grew up with many struggles and transitions. John and his brother were in the mountains of Idaho and heard about some new women on the hill. They attempted to be the welcome wagon and John found the love of his life – Jean. July 1949 they were wed. They raised 4 children who have extended the family also.

    Over the years John got lots of education and tried many things. From hunting and fishing, to military academy, forest service, firefighting, politics, grass growing, to science project judging, to card playing, church leadership and child rearing. He received patents and awards and still remained humble and tried to help others. He enjoyed getting to know and serve his community and also loved his work and research and spent extremely long hours at his lab.

    John loved his family and loved to travel. Each trip was a learning adventure and a time to catch up on extended family. An eternal optimist – he said it isn’t always about aptitude it’s about attitude. John was before his time in repurposing and recycling – never met a nail beyond use or a screw that needed discarded – nothing wasted if duct tape could hold it together - even a chain saw. No plant was beyond another chance to grow. John was a clean man so a popular traveling companion on fishing trips. A loyal family man, John was there to pick on his kids in the morning and to share dinner with family in the evening. John helped build a ball diamond at the fair grounds and then helped coach a team.

    John is remembered as a very patient man, slow to anger, with an insatiable curiosity about everything. He enjoyed coffee with friends, cheap beer, cheap cigars and fine wine. He loved American history, reading, watching and visiting historical sights. He loved James Bond movies and Chevy Chase movies especially Christmas Vacation. He loved any kind of dessert item. He liked the incredible hulk and Dallas series from the 80's, he found JR's scheming amusing.

    We could never cover all that he was and all he still is to us in one gathering. Let’s devote ourselves to living his legacy.

    John liked traditional hymns and understandable worship. He was proud and brave. He loved his family and would do all he could to help his friends and family. If Jean needed something repaired he would risk life and limb and fingers to creatively engineer a solution. John loved fun and he wants us all to try new things, not be afraid to fail – but learn from our mistakes; to laugh often and love much; to not take one day for granted; to thank God for the things we can do – and work around the things we can’t – doing these things we will pay respect and honor to his memory.

    There once was a man from Montana

    Who worked hard – was part polyanna

    Very strong willed – he truly was thrilled

    To learn and to try all he can – a

    This man studied hard and did fine

    Learned what he needed and applied

    The things that he knew – add experience too

    And inventions and projects refined

    He moved with family to Idaho

    Where he searched for a woman to show

    His love and devotion – not shallow emotion

    Together they family did grow

    Devotion was part of this scientist

    He gave love and life his own twist

    He read, watched tv – enjoyed history

    Pranked friends – and caught fish in the mist

    What more can we say of this fellow

    We are not yet ready to let go

    Hold is memory – and then set him free

    So from his example we might grow 41115 llm

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First Congregational United Church of Christ, Marysville, Ohio

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