Welcome to Salem UCC

Note from Pastor

As I reflect on when I was a boy going to church, many memories are invoked. The first which comes to mind is that not going to church was never an option. It was expected - with no questions asked! I grew up in a faith tradition where Sunday was truly a day of Sabbath filled with worship. This means that when we went to church – it was for the day. After Sunday School, we would go to worship. Then we would have lunch and return to church for youth activities and then worship again that evening. I share this story for two reasons. The first is that I am thankful for my mother taking me to church – sometimes kicking and screaming. This enabled me to discern my relationship with God and Jesus Christ myself as I grew older. The children and young adults in Salem’s Sunday school program are more than just learning about God’s love. While that is certainly paramount – it is not the only thing happening. We are creating memorable experiences that our children will pass on to their children. Before that notion is disregarded, consider this: the Bible consists of memories and experiences of God. I am not suggesting that we have a potential Gospel writer in our midst. What I am saying is that we can teach all we want about ideas, concepts, perceptions and understandings, but it is not until we experience God and Jesus Christ that we truly begin our faith journey.
The second reason I share this story: as parents we have little control over which people our children are friends with or what they might experience when they walk out the door every morning. However, we can provide a “safe” space where they come to church or to a youth activity.
As a pastor, one of my primary responsibilities is to help nurture experiences and/or encounters with God. That is done through sermons, counseling, etc. However, it is not just my responsibility; it is also a parent’s responsibility. I encourage you to talk with your children about faith issues; share your faith story. Children look to their parents to model how to react to things, how to love, and how to be a Christian. My concern is, as parents, are we taking the role of “minister” to heart? Have we made church life important and treated it as the foundation of our lives?
My prayer for you as you reflect is to ask yourself, “Am I building a house on sand or am I building a house on rock?”

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

Other Note - Youth News

Slow Down
When we were babies, our parents and loved ones asked us to stop growing so fast. When we are learning new things, like eating on our own, we are told to slow down so we don’t choke. In school, teachers tell us to slow down when we read to make sure we understand. When we get our license, police warn us to slow down for our safety. When we hear these, we tend to roll our eyes. These seem like warnings from adults who think they are more experienced than us and who worry about us. However, there is some good that can come out of slowing down. Slowing down in life allows us to savor the moments that we want to remember forever. It helps us take in every single detail that we can. As kids, we can’t wait to grow up. But as young adults, it is common to want to go back to childhood, to spend as much time as we can with a favorite grandparent, to take the time to think through our choices and to try harder. In our lives today, everything is rushed and our schedules jammed packed. It is hard to slow down and enjoy life when every minute of our lives is planned out. Slowing down, we can make time for the things that we are missing in life, like our loved ones or going to church. So, as I grow older, I am trying to slow down, to find time to sleep, to take pictures, to watch my sisters grow up, spend every minute I can with my grandma, to really listen in church in hopes that I can not only grow in age, but also spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. And I ask you: do you need to slow down also?
THANK YOU!!!!!
Thank you to everybody that supported the Exhale Trivia Night. If you donated money, made up a basket, or simply attended and participated - it means so much to us. We were able to raise three times the amount that was needed to reach our goal for our mission trips. The amount of support from our congregation for our youth is simply heartwarming.

Important Anncouncement - Vacation Bible School

SAVE THE DATE:
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
June 12 – 15, 2017
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Nightly)

Join us in ROME. You’ll explore the caves of the Underground Church, meet the Apostle Paul, create cool Bible-times projects, experience thrilling real-life dramas, play high-energy games, sample tasty snacks, and hear unforgettable music. (Since everything is hands-on, kids might get a little messy. Be sure to send them in play clothes and safe shoes.) Plus, we’ll help kids discover how to see evidence of God in everyday life.
The fun starts at 6:00 pm in the Parish Hall and ends at 8:30pm. Note: We are only doing a 4 day VBS Week so we start on Monday, June 12th and end on Thursday, June 15th. So mark your calendar:
June 12 to June 15, 2017
Registration forms are available on the table outside the church office. We would appreciate you submitting these in a timely manner so that we can plan accordingly. Also, soon we will have a display in the hallway with items we need for VBS. We appreciate all your help and support and look forward to another successful year.
VBS is for children ages 3 years old to 5th grade.
Children ages 6th grade to high school are encouraged to join our Crew—please contact Becca.

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