Zion United Church of Christ


Pastor's Pen March

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 9:35 AM
We are journeying through the Spiritual Season of Lent.  It is a time of preparation for Holy Week and the last events of the life of Jesus. The ultimate triumphal ending which is really the beginning is Jesus’ raising from the dead, conquering, overcoming all. 
There are words used at this time of year that can sound foreign to us. One of those words with ancient meaning is “Paschal”.  The Paschal Mystery refers to the death,resurrection and ascension of our Lord into glory.  The Paschal Mystery is the central mystery ofthe Christian Faith, celebrated at the Easter Triduum – the THREE days: HolyThursday evening, Good Friday and Holy Saturday culminating in the Resurrectionon Easter Sunday.
One of the ancient traditions of the early church was that of the lighting of the New Fire to remember that Jesus is the Light of the world, illuminating the path that takes each of us to the home that Jesus has told us is already prepared for us.
The earliest writing about this tradition is recorded by historian Jerome who lived from 347-420 AD.  This means that the practice of rememberingJesus’ Resurrection with the Paschal (Easter) Candle, is a very old traditionfor Christians, beginning in the 3 Century.
This year Zion will be celebrating this ancient tradition on Easter Morning at the beginning of ourEaster Sunday Worship Service.
All who would like to witness the lighting of the New Fire will gather in the Narthex of the church where the fire will be lit and the Paschal Candle prepared through recallingthe Scriptures.  The Candle will then belit from the New Fire remembering the triumph of Jesus and his presence alwayswith us till the end of time.
The Candle will then be brought forward in a Procession and set in a special candle stand in a place of prominence where the Light of Christ will reign in this symbolic reminder until Ascension Day which is 40 days after Easter and 10 days before Pentecost.  The Paschal Candle will then be removed as we begin the time of Pentecost.  Throughout the year the Paschal Candle will be lit for special services of Light, like Baptisms and Funerals.
All that I have mentioned here reminds us that we are part of a rich and ancient tradition that continues to enrich and fill our hearts while deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ, who Lights up our lives and calls us each by name.
Come and be a witness to our Christian heritage as we light the NEW FIRE of CHRIST and remember whose you are.
Fullness of life…..
The Rev. Dr. CarolVaccariello
Zion UCC, Pastor

Pastor's Pen 2/6/2013

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 2:26 PM
Blessings and Opportunities at Zion abound.....
This Sunday is the last Sunday before Lentbegins.  It is Transfiguration Sunday, apowerful remembrance of the transformative power of the Christ energy in all ofcreation -including you and me.
On this Sunday we declare our personal commitmentto the Open and Affirming statement that we as a people proclaim.
The Lenten Season is upon us and is filled withspiritual opportunity...
Ash Wednesday, February 13th,  provides a time of community and gatheringwhen we share our meager meal and a time of prayer.  We recall God’s blessing for us in the takingof Ashes - a reminder that this life is a temporary state of being; that we arecalled to live in a profound way as Jesus has shown us to live and given usexample of sacrificial loving.  This isthe beginning of our journey of living into the Open and Affirming Declarationthat we profess as the family of God.  Itis not to be taken lightly.  It is ourprofession of understanding and unconditional love for all of God’s creation.
Opportunity Knocks: Church Vitality Expert at Zion UCC
What a tremendous opportunity to live the LentenSeason, remembering all that Jesus has and does mean to us.
Taking action, speaking up, making a difference asfollowers United  and Uniting in theChurch of Christ,
where we know that God is STILL SPEAKING! ...andthat we should NEVER put a Period where God has put a COMA!!!
Take a breath... That's the coma... That's thewhisper of the Divine, It is up to us to make the sacred and sought afterPresence known.
Everyone, member and friend of the church, isinvited and encouraged to be a part of Zion's future story.
Pastor Jim Oates, Church Vitality expert, will behere to guide us in moving Zion UCC into the future.
Please come and enjoy a lite dinner at 6:00followed by our workshop with Pastor Jim.
We will be considering the Vision and Mission ofour church at this time in Steubenville. 
We will discuss church organization models to helpus be effective, productive and comfortable with our current activemembership. 
We will look at what it takes to be a Vital andInviting Church Presence.,, a place where the compassionate love of JesusChrist is all.
To accomplish all of this is a big order. We willbegin with dinner at 6:00 on Friday evening. Saturday morning  we will resumewith Coffee Hour at 9:30.  We will endwith prayer at 11:55.
Please call the Church Office to let us know if youintend to participate in ALL or PART of the workshop. You can attend Fridayonly, Saturday only or both!  You areencouraged to be there for the entire process, however, you are welcome forwhatever times work for you.
This is YOUR CHURCH.  Make a difference in her future.  God has called each of us to this verymoment.
Blessings All and Fullness of Life as we listen tothe still speaking God in our midst.
With love and gratitude for each and every one ofyou,
Pastor Carol