January 24, 2021, Third Sunday After Epiphany

This is an old 45 record repurposed into original mandala art. An original design by Beverley Finnegan. See her amazing work at Jurassic Mandala Art on Etsy.

This is an old 45 record repurposed into original mandala art. An original design by Beverley Finnegan. See her amazing work at Jurassic Mandala Art on Etsy.

Bethesda United Church of Christ 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.

For Your Reflection: “Buying found objects means repurposing something that was already made years before, sometimes decades before. It strikes a nice balance between the new and used equation we should strive for in our lives.”  –Nate Berkus, designer

Question: “To repurpose” means to use something for a purpose other than its original intended use. Have you ever repurposed something in your life? If so, did you repurpose out of necessity, creativity, beauty, or curiosity?  Can you think of specific ways in which God re-purposes human frailty and mistakes?


Rev. Dee Ledger

God’s Light Grows 

Call To Worship (Responsive)

–co-lead by Sophia Neufeld

God is the practice of radical imagination.
She is the freedom to dream of abundance and flourishing.
God is the practice of adaptability and change.
She is the power to break patterns that destroy life and relationships.
God is the practice of justice that transforms.
She is the work that mends, that heals, that builds anew.
We remember and rejoice. This is the God who dwells with us.
Among us and within us, God is here.


#504 You Walk Along Our Shoreline

Music and lyrics to You Walk along Our Shoreline

Music is shared under Church Copyright License: One License A-726712

Opening prayer (unison)

Holy Wonder, Crafter of the Universe, wild and free is your Spirit. Come and rouse our longings. Stir our imaginations. Liberate our thinking. Where we have grown more attached to the familiar than to your hopes for us, help us to release control. May we be willing to take the risks necessary to bring about the world we desire.  Amen.

 *Alleluia #765

Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia;
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia;
I will praise you, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia;
I will praise you al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia

Passing The Peace

Leader:       The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
People:      And also with you.

Children’s Moment

The children may depart to the breakout room for their classes and activities.

The Contemporary Reading

“Mending Mittens” written by Larry Schug

 Mending my leather mittens
for the third time this winter,
I sew them with waxed string
made to repair fishing nets,
hoping they’ll last
until the splitting maul rests
against the shrunken woodpile
and the hoe and spade come out of the shed.
Suddenly I find myself praying.
Blessed be those who have laced together
the splits at the seams of this world,
repaired its threads of twisted waters.
Blessed be those who stitch together
the animals and the land,
repair the rends in the fabric
of wolf and forest,
of whale and ocean,
of condor and sky.
Blessed be those who are forever fixing
the tear between people and the rest of life.
May we all have enough thread,
may our needles be sharp,
may our fingers not throb or go numb.
May each of us find an apprentice,
someone who will take the needle from our hands
continue all the mending that needs to be done.

“Mending Mittens” was originally published on the poetry website “Your Daily Poem” and appears in At Gloaming from North Star Press.

Larry Schug is retired after a lifetime of various kinds of physical labor, including recycler, farm worker, forest fire fighter, and groundskeeper among others.  He currently volunteers as a writing tutor at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in St. Joseph and Collegeville, Minnesota respectively. He’s published eight books of poems and is working on a ninth.  He lives with his wife, dog and two cats beside a large tamarack bog in St. Wendel Township, Minnesota, which is “forever preserved” through a conservation easement.  His website is

Musical Meditation

“There I Will Find Comfort” by Janet Vogt

A Reading From The Gospel

–read by Sophia Neufeld

Mark 1:14-20 

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news[a] of God,[b] 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;[c] repent, and believe in the good news.”[d]

16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.




#173 Lord, You Have Come To The Lakeshore

Music and lyrics to Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore

Music and lyrics to Lord you have come to the Lakeshore

Music is shared under Church Copyright License: One License A-726712

Giving Thanks

If you wish to give to support the work of Bethesda UCC, you can donate via Venmo @Bethesda-UCC or send a check via mail to Bethesda UCC c/o Treasurer; 10010 Fernwood Road; Bethesda, MD 20817

Invitation to offering

Through ordinary practices, we live God’s dreams into being. One simple choice at a time: To imagine. To share. To mend. To be held accountable. To learn. In gratitude for the grace that enables this freedom, let us bring together our offerings before God.

We thank you for your generous support of this faith community and of our ministry together.  Let us bless the offerings from this week together.

Prayer Of Dedication For The Offerings, Pledges, And Gifts Of Today And This Week   (Unison)

God of Compassion, we bring together our offerings with both sorrow and joy. Even as we hold tight to the hope of what could be, we do not turn from the grief and anger over the struggles of this day. As we dream of futures alive with justice, may we be faithful to the present reality. Faithful with our resources. Faithful to truth. Faithful in love and care for our neighbor. Amen.

Joys/Concerns, Pastoral Prayer & 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.


The Congregation


#449 Softly And Tenderly

Music and lyrics to Softly and Tenderly

Music is shared under Church Copyright License: One License A-726712


Meeting us in the midst of the world as it is, Christ invites us to pay attention to our deepest longings, to let them awaken dreams of collective abundance, and to risk believing we can make them possible together. With the assurance of God’s companionship, let us go as disciples of hope


Notes on Resources and Acknowledgements: Unless otherwise marked, our liturgy comes from and is adapted to our worship setting.

More about us

Bethesda UCC was founded in 1957 as Bethesda Congregational Church.  United Church of Christ is the union of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.

We are located at the corner of Fernwood and Democracy. Our postal address is:

Bethesda United Church of Christ
10010 Fernwood Road
Bethesda, Maryland  20817

Minister: Rev. Dee Ledger
Music Director: Kay Krekow

Today’s music is shared under Church Copyright License: One License A-726712

A ONE LICENSE Reprint License grants churches, schools, religious communities, retreat centers, and other worshiping bodies permission to reprint or project music for their congregations from any of our Member Publishers.

Permission to podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE, License #A-726712. All rights reserved.

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