Bulletin for September 20, 2020, Sixteenth Sunday after Pentacost

BUCC Worship service

We welcome all without exception as we worship God together, journey in the spirit, and share our gifts with each other, our neighbors and the world.


We invite you to gather for quiet and centering prayer and reflection every Sunday at 10:15 am. May this time and space be a blessing for your journey.

Please view this important message from our Potomac Association and Central Atlantic Conference:

For Your Reflection: “Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.”  –Roald Dahl

Question:  Do you remember the first time that you cast a vote?  Do you remember what inspired you to do so?  What inspired your choice at that time, and how did your faith/values influence you(or not) ?  If you’ve never voted and have been able to do so, what have been your reasons for not voting?



Musical selection

Call to Worship

led by Pat Miller

God is here:
God who loves each of us without measure,
and welcomes us from every race, color, creed,
language, culture, and orientation.

God who sees us and knows us all: is here!
Hallelujah! Let all the people praise God!    

Call to Prayerful Reflection

Moment of Silent Reflection

Prayer of Invocation  (responsive)

Gracious and compassionate Creator,
we are gathered to worship you.
You are great and worthy of all praise.

We quiet our hearts and minds
so we may hear and respond to your voice.
You are great and worthy of all praise.

Christ of our hearts,
be enlivened in and among us.
You are great and worthy of all praise.

Live through us as doers of justice, lovers of mercy,
and as those who walk humbly with you.
You are great and worthy of all praise.

This, so we may become the beloved community
where all may live with dignity and in peace:
Because you are great and worthy of all praise.

Passing the Peace

Leader:       The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

People:      And also with you.

Opening Hymn

Here I am, Lord 

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?


Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord.
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my peoples pain.
I have wept for love of them, They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak My word to them,
Whom shall I send?


I, the Lord of wind and rain,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide,
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give My life to them,
Whom shall I send?


The Living Word


read by Pat Miller

Note: Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) died just days after receiving this letter from Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906).  It would be another eighteen years before passage of the Nineteenth Amendment granted women in all states the right to vote.   -from America 1900-1999: Letters of the Century, Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler, editors. (New York: The Dial Press, 1999), 26-27

A Reading from the Gospel

read by Mike Miller

Matthew 20:1-16

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage,[a] he sent them into his vineyard. 3 When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4 and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5 When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6 And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9 When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.[b10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.[c11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?[d14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’[e16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”[f]


Who Do You Think You Are?


God, you are so generous, providing abundance, enough for all. Yet, it is so easy for us to decide that we do not have enough. Worse, we can be resentful of your generosity to others. Help us partner with you in the vineyards of our communities to ensure our elected officials are committed to the flourishing of all your people.

And God, when our resentment deteriorates into vengeful anger at those whom we believe deserve your punishment — when we “other” those who disagree with us — help us do better than pouting. Transform that anger into the energy to share the stories of your love and justice throughout the generations. Help us carry that prophetic voice all the way to the voting booth. Thank you for calling us to share your generous love — may we meet your call, without fear. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

inspired by Psalm 145

“The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
When we act in ways that separate us from the love of God,
God welcomes us back onto the path that follows Jesus’ way.
Thanks Be to God.

Musical Meditation


Mission Moment

We encourage you to view this message from Rev. Graylan S. Hagler, Senior Pastor, Plymouth Congregational UCC, Washington, DC

Giving Thanks

Invitation to offering, led by Mike Miller

Our scripture today reminds us that even if we have not worked yet to get out the vote, completed the census or reminded others to complete the census there is still work to be done by all of us. Yes, some have been working for years, some for months, and some will hear this call anew today. As a community we are called in this time to the harvest work of getting out the vote and to make sure there is a good census count. Sometimes the tithe we need to give is monetary and sometimes we need to use our feet and hands to create the just kin-dom. What do you commit to do?

Prayer of Dedication (unison)

We give thanks to God that we have the opportunity to act on our faith by voting and by helping others to vote. Guide us to use our vote not just for furthering our own self-interests but to make sure that those who are most in need of a just government and care of the community are the ones our leaders will respond to. Take our hands and feet and use them to create your beloved community of love and compassion.

Pastoral Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer

Our Mother/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.  Amen.

Musical Selection

#588  Let Justice Flow Like Streams


inspired by Isaiah 58:6, responsive

May we go forward:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke.

Let us covenant not to take easy answers
or succumb to apathy,
but to seek God’s will in all that we do.

Let us follow Christ’s lead in redirecting our gaze to God’s economy,
and commit to distributive justice
so that all may have abundance, freedom, and peace,
remembering that we are citizens that belong to Jesus Christ’s reign.

May the Peace of God, the love of Jesus, and
the fellowship of the Holy Spirit abide with you now and forever. Amen.


Musical selection

Liturgical Resources

Except where specifically noted, our liturgy comes from Rev. Andrea Vassell (NJ), Rev. Linda Higgins (VA) and Rev. Terry Yasuko Ogawa (NC)

Call to Action and more Spiritual Food for Thought

  • Please make sure you are registered to vote and that you have a voter plan. If you have already done so, you might offer to help other members of your congregation do the same. Members of the Central Atlantic Conference may check their registration and register to vote at our Faith & Democracy 2020 Election Center on the homepage of Participants outside the Central Atlantic Conference may use the Our Faith, Our Vote UCC Civic Action Center to do the same.
  • Share your action and enthusiasm!
  • We are so grateful to those of you who are actively writing postcards and phonebanking through our partner the Center for Common Ground. It’s not too late to join! .
  • Finally, take time to familiarize yourself and your congregation with the issues.
Menu Title