Archive for Growing Our Faith

Welcome Brunch and New Member Series

If you are brand new (or fairly new) to the church, please come to a Welcome Brunch on Sunday, April 2, at 8:45 am.

You may also be interested in the New Members / Seekers Series with the Pastors and Leadership Team of ORUCC. Please attend at least two of the three informational classes at the church:

Sunday, April 9, 9:00-9:50 a.m.

Sunday, April 23, 9:00-9:50 a.m.

Sunday, April 30, 9:00-9:50 a.m.

RSVP to the church office at, or 271-7212.

At the Informational Classes, you’ll learn more about Orchard Ridge and the United Church of Christ (UCC). We’ll discuss our history as a local church, ministries within the congregation and the wider community, and some of the church’s views on important issues of faith. In preparation for this series, you may wish to browse this website.

A WORD A DAY – 2017 Lenten Devotional


Our focus for the season of Lent this year at Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ will be the gospel of Mark. We’ll be offering home groups to read and discuss the gospel; we’ll be focusing on it throughout worship services; we’ll be offering a one-person drama called According to Mark; and we are offering this devotional for use at home. Almost 20 different writers have contributed to this booklet. After being randomly assigned a text from the gospel, we invited them to write about one word or short phrase in the text or inspired by the text. We have a reflection for each day of Lent. On the Sundays (which are technically not part of Lent), we’ve listed the text that from which the day’s sermon will be preached.

Rather than asking for a scholarly discussion of the gospel, we were looking for a heartfelt response to the teachings, actions and life of Jesus. We invite you to read each day’s verse twice, read the reflection, but also notice the word(s) that speak to you. How does it challenge or comfort you? What are you curious about? How does it help you reflect on your faith? Maybe you could carry the word with you all day; maybe you could read it with others in your life. We hope the short length of each day’s offering will make this a useful and versatile guide for your walk of faith through the season. Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture version used in the New International Version. (Winton Boyd and Kim Kaspar)

A WORD A DAY Lenten Devotional


Lenten Opportunities at ORUCC

February 28 – Partygras

Fun for all ages!  Don your beads and wear your masks for our annual PartyGras Celebration Tuesday, February 28th, 5:30-7:30 pm!  Great supper of pizza, red beans & rice, cajun gumbo, and cajun jambalaya! (donations accepted). But we need your help with the supper! Please bring the following according to the first letter of your last name: A-H fresh cut fruit, I-P veggie trays, R-Z dessert. Our evening will include table games, dancing, “O When the Saints” parade, and a closing ritual in which we burn last year’s palm branches. Laissez les bons temps rouler!


March 1 – Ash Wednesday

5:30 – 6:45                Open Labyrinth Walk

7:00                            Ash Wednesday Service in the Friendship Hall

Our Focus for Lent – The Gospel of Mark

The season Lent in the progressive church marks a time of introspection and turning back to our connection with the Sacred.   Rather than focusing on our personal unworthiness, we focus on our personal sense of who we are.  As Jung once wrote, “He who looks outside, dreams.  He who looks inside, awakens.” 

Our guide this year will be the Gospel of Mark.

We are excited to explore this short and early gospel in 5 ways over the season.  We hope you will participate as much as you can. 

  1. Take this opportunity to simply READ THE GOSPEL.  Enjoy it.  Note your questions.  Wonder with the characters.  Notice the themes.  Pray for understanding as you read.
  2. Enjoy our WORD A DAY DEVOTIONAL.  20 writers from ORUCC have written on individual words in specific passages all the way through the gospel.  Their observations are diverse, creative, timely and personal.  Paper copies of the devotional will be available on Sunday, February 26.  If you’d like one emailed to you, please email 
  3. Take part in a LENTEN HOME GROUP.  We’ll be offering these gatherings as a chance to discuss the gospel with others from the church.  There is still room to sign up.  You can do this on Sunday or contact Ken Pennings ( to check on availability.
  4. Attend our 1 person drama on Saturday, March 25th titled, ACCORDING TO MARK .  It will be a unique, creative and fascinating rendition of the gospel.
  5. Attend worship.  Our LENTEN PREACHING SERIES will be on the gospel.  Winton Boyd, Tammy Martens and Ken Pennings will all explore aspects of the gospel and it’s importance for our lives.  


March 5 – “Tip-toeing into the Gospel of Mark” – Ken Pennings preaching, ORUCC Choir

March 12 – “Suffering, Serving King” – Winton Boyd preaching, Handbell Choir

March 19 – “The Marginal Way” – Tammy Martens preaching, ORUCC Choir

March 26 – “The Good News As Mark Understood It” – Winton Boyd preaching, Tru Gumption

April 2 – “Fear, Faith And The Raising Of Jesus In Our Lives” – Winton Boyd preaching, Choir

April 9 – Palm Sunday – Winton Boyd preaching, Handbell Choir

April 16 – Easter  – Winton Boyd preaching, ORUCC Choir



Anxiety, Leadership and The Church – Richard Blackburn

On January 29th, 2017 – Richard Blackburn of the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center led a 9 a.m. workshop on Leadership, Anxiety and the Church.  This is a video of that presentation.

Click here

Click here for more information about the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center

Understanding Anxiety and Family Systems theory in our lives

These slides were used in a Sunday morning session at ORUCC on January 8, 2017.  Much of the material comes from the work of the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center.

Pastoral Prayer by Winton Boyd, December 18



This prayer was shared at the conclusion of Winton’s sermon, Returning to Love. 

Loving God, there is so much that we appreciate about this season – in our worship life, our family life, and in our personal journey of faith.

And yet, there is so much that is complicated and confusing – in our worship life, our family lives, and in our personal journey of faith.

We give thanks for those who have gone before us, who have lived faith in the midst of very difficult circumstances, who have penned words, written songs and shared stories that in their own way have become timeless offerings; offerings that remind us of your promises of light in the darkness, and love overcoming fear.

We also give you thanks for those coming after us; those for whom we will be an inspiration and a hope. Because in this time, this week, these moments in history – we stood up to be counted, we offered love that was unexpected, and we remembered words of grace in a troubled time.

We give thanks for the past, we pray for the future and we ask that your very powerful Spirit be with us in this present moment. This moment in our worship service, this moment in our lives, this moment in our world.


Grant us peace, we pray.

Longest Night and Christmas Eve at ORUCC

Christmas Week Services 
 Wednesday December 21: Longest Night Observance
5:30-7:00            Labyrinth Walk in the Friendship Hall
7:00                      Service of the Longest Night in the sanctuary
Spiritually, we take a few moments on this evening to honor, acknowledge, and meditate upon darkness. As we pay a en on to the natural seasons, we know that even in darkness, new life is being born. As we approach the celebration of Christmas, we remember God’s promise to come to us even in darkness. The evening is a me for re ec on, prayer, and community. You are welcome to either the Labyrinth Walk, the Longest Night Service or both.
Saturday, December 24: Christmas Eve services
4:00 p.m.
Family friendly service featuring our children under the direction of Julie Mazer and our high school rock band, Tru Function
9:00 p.m.
Lessons and Carols featuring ORUCC choir and special music from John Stevens (Melodica), Dave Allen (piano), Bethany Schultz (Clarinet), and our Trio (Deb Heilert, Tammy Boyd, Kythie Boyd – vocals)
Sunday, December 25: Christmas Day service
10:00 a.m.          Tammy Martens will lead an informal service (Friendship Hall)

A Prayer to Commit Ourselves to Tomorrow, and Each New Tomorrow, by Kim Kaspar

lantern_shellThis prayer was offering by Kim on Sunday, November 13 as we dedicated our 2017 pledges:

Still in the shadows of our national election we hear your still speaking voice reminding us that we are children of light and we can share light with each other, with our community, and with our country. We are humbled, and honored, and grateful to come forward with our small gifts for you to bless.

God of Grace,

May this offering stretch across deep divides allowing hearts space to sing, to hear, to hold our broken hallelujahs. Amid opportunities outside of our comfort zone may this offering help to meet adversity and uncertainty with compassion and abiding faith. May this offering be used to proclaim your good news, celebrate creative ministries, and encourage bold risk taking.

Lord of Love,

With this offering we commit ourselves to tomorrow, and tomorrow, and each new tomorrow, to imagine and build a more just and inclusive world for our children, all children. These pledges are our profession of reaffirmed hope, resilient courage, and relentless kindness. These pledges are our promise to be your church.


Sacred Reading from Sunday, October 23rd


This reading was used in worship on 10/23.

There are those who sing the song of their own soul, finding therein everything: full spiritual satisfaction…

And there are those who sing the song of the people, moving beyond their own soul, reaching for more powerful heights…

And there are those whose souls lift beyond the limitation of Israel, to sing the song of all humanity. This spirit expands to include the glory of the human image and its dreams…

And there are those who lift beyond this level, becoming one with all creation and all creatures, and all the worlds… and with all of these worlds sing a song

And there are those who rise together with the (ensemble) of all these songs. All of them sing out, each gives meaning and life to the other.

And this completeness is the song of holiness, the song of God, and the song of Israel.

Rav (Rabbi) Kook (1865-19350

Orot Hakodesh II, p. 444

Opening Prayer from Worship on Oct. 2

Opening Prayer from Oct. 2nd Worship  (written by Brock Schultz)                                                             

Lord of all creation, we humbly come before You, ready to experience You, learn from You,

feel You here among us.

Help us to be mindful of Your presence.

Lord, we eagerly come before you, desiring to be one with You, desiring to know Your very thoughts here, now, tomorrow, and forever.

Help us to be mindful of Your will.

Lord, may we be ever-watchful. May we notice all of your acts in this world, and be ready to play any part You call us to.

Help us to be mindful of the ways in which You move through this world.

Help us to be mindful.

Lord, hear our prayer.  AMEN