From the Pastor’s Desk

We will be starting a grief support group on September 13th.  Additional information about this opportunity can be found on these announcement pages.  I’m looking forward to facilitating this group with Jane Wruk.  The death of a loved one, and  associated grief are experiences that touch us all at some point.  None of us are immune from these experiences.  Therefore, it can be valuable to gather, to reflect upon them together, to learn from one another with the assistance of some solid materials, and to bring the light of our faith to these moments in our lives. 

We will be using resources from a program called “Grief Share.”  As I was looking over some of these materials in preparation, I came across the passage of scripture quoted above.  This passage is in a section of the leader’s guide called “What Most Participants Overlook in their Healing.”  According to this section throughout the Grief Share experience, group members will hear about 6 signs of healing.  One of these 6 signs is a willingness to eventually share the comfort they have received.  Although often overlooked, the authors state this is a crucial step for grieving people to experience.  Simply stated, reaching out to comfort and help other grieving people is a valuable part of our own healing process. 

What strikes me about this sentiment is how it applies to many areas of our lives, not only experiences of loss and grief.  For example, as I read these words, I was immediately reminded of a similar notion from Alcoholics Anonymous.  If a person wants to stay sober, it is important to assist others who are also seeking sobriety.  I believe this truth applies to our faith as well.  One way we keep our commitment to God in Christ alive, vital, and meaningful, is by being willing to help others in their own desire to grow and connect with God in Christ.  This can happen in many ways, including by being willing to invite a friend to join us for worship some Sunday, attending a Bible study and being willing to listen and share our thoughts with others, by singing in the choir and offering the gift of our voice to the congregation, by visiting with those who are shut-in and homebound, and even by attending a grief support group like this, to not only learn, but to offer others what we have received during our own experience of loss.  There are simply many ways to help others continue to grow in their walk with God.  When we are ready to  help others in this way, it is a sign of our own spiritual well-being.

Obviously, we must be ready to share what we have learned and have received from God before we offer what we can to others.  This can take time.  No one wants to be rushed into serving.  Yet, there does come a time when each one of us can move from a place of receiving to giving.  As the folks of Grief Share remind us of moving from the place of hurting to helping.  We can all become, in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, wounded healers.  This is perhaps one of the most important gifts we can give to each others as well.

The scripture passage reminds us that it is in God’s nature to comfort, support, and console us.  These are gift God is eager to share with us.  However, these gifts aren’t only for our own benefit, but meant to be passed on to others.

May we continue to be open to opportunities we are given to share what we have received from God, perhaps especially when we have been hurt or wounded, so we can assist others around us who are hurting now.  May we remember that by the grace of God, in the process we are not only helping them, but we are helping ourselves. 


Pastor John

Grief Support Group – Grief Share

Beginning on Wednesday, September 13th, Pastor John, and Jane Wruk will be leading a grief and loss support group called, Grief Share.  This is a 13-week, in-person class that will meet on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 until 8:00 PM, through December 13th. Grief Share is designed to offer a faith-based, safe, and welcoming place where people can come to reflect upon and support each other through the emotions related to loss.  Each week the group begins with a video featuring experts on grief-related topics and helpful stories from people who have experienced loss.  Some topics to be addressed include loneliness, fear, anger, regrets, relationships, and hope.  Group members will spend time discussing what was presented and how it may relate to their lives.  Talking with others who understand can bring a great deal of support as we take our turn journeying through grief.  Workbooks will be available.  This support group is being offered to all, whether a member of SYUMC or not.   Sign up in the Parish Hall or call the church office if you are interested, 508-398-9482.

Grace Notes

The choir will be returning for the new season on Sunday, September 17. Rehearsal begins at 9 a.m. and will be held in the sanctuary. All who are interested in singing with us, or trying the choir out before making a full commitment to the group, are welcome to join us for rehearsal. This semester we will be singing many familiar favorites and working on new Christmas pieces from a variety of musical genres.

September 17 also marks the anniversary of the death of one of Christianity’s most prolific mystics and polymaths: Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Apart from her works on theology, medicine and botany, Hildegard is highly revered for her musical compositions. There are more surviving monophonic chants by Hildegard than any other Western composer of the Middle Ages. She was unique for composers of the period, having written both the melodies and the texts for her compositions. Professor Bruce Holsinger of the University of Virginia has noted that Hildegard’s melodies pushed the boundaries of musical compositions of the era.  Her chants are highly melismatic (meaning that multiple notes are sung on one syllable) and contain recurring melodic units, a feature that we are familiar with today, but was outside the norm for twelfth century compositions. Even though Hildegard has been honored by Christians for centuries, she was not officially recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church until 2012.

-Cameron Shippee

New Members Welcome

On Sunday, September 17th we’ll be welcoming new members into the life of our community of faith, celebrating how God has invited us to share life together through the gift of the church.  We give God thanks for the gift of each new member.  If you are interested in exploring membership, please speak with Pastor John.

Book Signing September 24th

SYUMC’s own Donna Cramer recently wrote a children’s book that has been published by Kirk House Kids, Burnsville, MN.  The title of her book is “Lester Lion Wants to Roar.” The story contains an important message of hope for children who have experienced a concussion or some other type of trauma to the head. 

Donna will be available after worship on Sunday, September 24th, during fellowship hour, to dedicate copies of her book to those who would like one.  Generously, Donna has also offered to have all proceeds from the sales of her book on that day to go to support the ministry and mission of our congregation!  (Thank you, Donna!)  Donna’s book would make a nice gift for a child, grandchild, great-grandchild, young person in your neighborhood, or the local library.  Be sure to see Donna after worship on September 24th and get your copy of “Lester Lion Wants to Roar.”

Calling All SUNEOS!

SUNEOS will be having our next dining out on Sunday, September 24th at 5 p.m.  The restaurant location  will be  announced shortly.  A sign up sheet will be on the Parish Hall bulletin board.  We hope to see you there!

Save the Date for Flowers and Fun

Back by popular demand, a group of people can explore their creative side, and share in some laughter and fun, on Thursday, September 28th at 10 a.m. in the Parish Hall.  All are welcome to come to make floral arrangements for the Thrift Shop Christmas Room Sale.  The cost is $2 per person for the class. You are welcome to bring your materials and materials will also be provided by our Thrift Shop and Barn volunteers. If you have any questions, please contact Janet Snelley:  Text or call: ph. 978-735-6620.

Let’s Take a Hike – Together!

Our next church hike will be held on Saturday, September 30th.   Joy, Bailey, and Pastor John will meet all who are interested at our church’s parking lot at 10 a.m.    This month dogs are allowed back on the beach, so we’ll plan to walk Chapin Beach in Dennis, taking us to good views of Sandy Neck, Bass Hole and its boardwalk. Be sure to bring some water.   All ages are welcome and feel free to invite a friend. 

Gatherine for the August hike overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

Senior Advocates Life Story Ministry

The Senior Advocates of our congregation have been busy attentively listening to different members of our congregation and writing down some of their life stories.  Last month we shared some things about Vilma Johnson.  This month we can get to know Pete and Jane Peabody better.  We give God thanks for the incredible gift, God has given us in each other.  We give special thanks this month for Pete and Jane! 

Pete (Edmund) Peabody was born in Gardner, MA.  His favorite childhood memory is of the summers when he would visit with his grandparents in Maine.  At about age 8 or 9, his grandfather would take him to York Beach.  Pete loved swimming in the surf and had an unusual companion.  A certain seal enjoyed his company, and would swim back and forth with him, as long as Pete could stay there in the water.

Pete joined the Army in the late forties and was stationed at a hidden air base referred to as “Mile 26” in Alaska.  He was telephone wire chief and handled communications between planes and another base in Omaha, Nebraska.

Soon after marrying Jane, they moved to Madawaska, Maine.  It was the northernmost town in the United States.  He had a contract with the telephone company, AT&T, which sent him to various paper companies to purchase paper solely for the purpose of making telephone book pages. 

Pete and Jane attended church in Edmonston, New Brunswick, Canada, because it was the nearest Methodist Church.  Their youngest children, Dacia, and Edmund were baptized there.  The family lived there for a few years until Pete was transferred to Rhode Island.

Eventually, they moved to Cape Cod, where Pete bought a boat, and along with their son became a commercial fisherman.  Long days of fishing for Cod with the long line, as far as sixty miles out at sea.

Later, Pete and Jane bought the Red Cottage in Dennis.  For several years they had a successful restaurant business there.

The Peabodys have faithfully traveled through seventy years of marriage, through the easy times and the not so easy ones.  And they have always been faithful Methodists!

Jane Walton was born in Leominster, MA and had a brother and two sisters.  They lived with their parents on a farm in Sterling.  Jane attended school to the ninth grade in Sterling and then proceeded to high school in Leominster.

For transportation they used a horse and buggy, and since her father worked long hours on the farm, they could not get to church.  When older, she was able to drive herself to the Methodist Church in Leominster. 

One of the fondest memories that Jane could recall (among many) was the wonderful times they had at Thanksgiving.  Her mother had nine siblings, and the night before Thanksgiving many of the younger aunts and uncles would come to the farm.  They would pitch in and peel all the vegetables, and then spend the night.  The next day, the adults would do the cooking, while the young people would go to a local football game.  When the young folks returned, the feast would be ready.

After the meal was over, another tradition took place.  They would all go out to a certain field which had a high wall, and one aunt and one uncle would have a pumpkin pie throwing fight!  (Jane noted that those several pies did not have all the ingredients as the ones they ate).  This tradition carried on for several years until those aunts and uncles had families of their own.

Jane eventually married Edmund Peabody, “Pete.”

When asked about a childhood photo, the only ones included others, likely taken by relatives.  Then she recovered these early school photos!