Christ Church, Presbyterian

Welcome to the CCP website!

Christ Church, Presbyterian, worships each Sunday at 4:00pm on the lower level of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington, VT. All are welcome. Click here for Sunday’s worship preview.

Click here for information about CCP’s Christmas Eve Service: Wednesday, December 24, 6:15pm.

If you have questions, we can be reached in the following ways…

Phone: (802) 862-1898
General Email: secretary@christchurchburlington.org
Rev. Michael Brown: pastor@christchurchburlington.org

Mailing Address:
Christ Church, Presbyterian
PO Box 574
Burlington, VT 05402-0574

Somewhere beyond belief, our hearts know…

We’re a warm family of Christians who welcome you to our community of faith, no matter what your background. Some of us grew up in a church; some of us had never explored our spiritual life; most of us are somewhere in between. Together we seek to discern who Christ is and what He offers and asks of us. We’re people in mission, trying to make a difference through our inclusive, healing life together and our variety of work within the wider community and the world. We welcome everyone to our work and worship, celebrating the diversity of human beings God has created.

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December 22, 2014

Mike Brown
by Mike Brown
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The Song of Mary, Sung Again

We have just sung what I think is a beautiful Advent carol, and I trust you found the efforts of our own little Hallelujah Chorus helpful in your singing. If so, let them know, right now….

But there are many settings to Mary’s song, the Magnificat. In 1968, Fred Kaan wrote such a setting, suggesting that it be sung to the tune of “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates,” and here it is, including my editing of the gender-specific language of the late sixties: Continue Reading →

December 17, 2014

Mike Brown
by Mike Brown
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Keeping the Candle Lit

I was driving back from taking Amity to work one morning this week when one of those pickup trucks on steroids cut in front of me. Along with doing what I needed to do to avoid hitting the guy, and muttering something in French, I was compelled to notice a bumper sticker, which wasn’t on the bumper but on the rear window. It was the silhouette of a rifle—not just any rifle, but actually a military sniper weapon, complete with mounted scope—and under it the caption read: “Give me liberty…or I’ll get up and get it myself.” I guess somewhere in there is supposed to be something funny. But I’m not laughing, and I wondered if the driver of that truck—also ornamented with Iraq and Afghanistan veteran advertisements—really could have articulated the message that was being sent. Not even a defensive weapon, but a sniper weapon. Meaning, I guess: liberty, as presumably defined and celebrated by this erstwhile warrior, would be license to “take out” human beings with impunity. Larger meaning: doing away with anybody that the current wave of American exceptionalism decides is expendable. Continue Reading →

December 10, 2014

Christ Church
by Christ Church
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Worship Preview – Sunday, December 14, 2014

GREETINGS FROM WORSHIP PLANNERS

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2014

Third Sunday in Advent

“Hope rides on the decision either to believe that God stands on this dark road waiting to walk with us toward new light again or to despair of the fact that God, who is faithful, is eternally faithful and will sustain us in our darkness one more time.”  -Sister Joan Chittister

God sends the prophet Isaiah (61:1-4, 8-11) to bring hope to a post-exilic people who face re-building their lives in Zion after the devastation there. They are told they will become “mighty oaks.” There is gorgeous language here about a Lord who “loves justice,” “hates wrongdoing,” and so on. Most reassuring. But behind the scenes we have a people who are divided among insiders and outsiders. The insiders, the exceptional ones, urge purification and scorn those left behind who had assimilated among the occupiers.

The echo of Isaiah in John 1:6-8, 19-28 reflects more conflict within a community and with the powers that be.  John the Baptizer has been sent by God to point the way to Jesus. The Pharisees are suspicious (“Who are you, again?”) of this person who is baptizing without official sanction. Trouble ahead: a messenger who goes around saying everyone should be included in God’s grace will not fare well.

Mike Brown is preaching.

Christmas Eve Service

You won’t want to miss our first Christmas Eve in our new home. Plans are in the works to make this a very special evening. We will gather in the Parish Hall at 6:15 pm for a candlelight service of lessons and carols, featuring special offerings from our own Hallelujah Chorus and other musical friends. As a special treat, our old (young!) friend Sammy Angstman will be our guest pianist. At 7:00 we’ll switch gears and enjoy a time of fellowship and refreshment. A potluck Christmas supper, ​(provided by all of us) and orchestrated by the incomparable Audrey Arnold and her team, will consist of “heavy” hors d’oeuvres, finger foods, punch and holiday sweet treats. The festivities will end by 8:00 to give our St. Paul’s friends time to prepare for their 9:30 service.

Date/Time
Date(s) - 12/24/2014
6:15 pm - 8:00 pm

Location
CCP at Cathedral Church of St. Paul

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December 9, 2014

Mike Brown
by Mike Brown
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Something’s Melting?

Isaiah 40: 1-11
Mark 1: 1-8
W.B.Yeats, “The Second Coming”
Chapter 11, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Last Sunday our Call to Worship began with the surprising strains of the song from West Side Story, “Something’s Coming.” And of course, that is one of the themes of the season of Advent. To be sure, that song tells us that what’s coming is gonna be good, gotta be good. But you never know—someone asked me a few days ago if, with my retirement approaching, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I said, “Well, yes. But of course it might be an oncoming train.”

That’s a little of the sense of the William Butler Yeats poem, “The Second Coming.” Probably borrowing the image from the Book of Revelation—whose echoes of the appalling horrors of the first century in Palestine ended with the coming reign of the risen and returned Christ—Yeats imagined something very different. Continue Reading →

November 25, 2014

Mike Brown
by Mike Brown
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Ruling from a Park Bench

As Gandhi is claimed to have said, “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.” In our faith traditions, we see that even as societies devalue human dignity, God calls us to lift up the dignity of all of our brothers and sisters. Because it is so easy for economic structures to devalue human life into production and consumption, we as people of faith hear a special call to care for those who are the most vulnerable.

In our context of Vermont, this includes a number of people. It means that children get special consideration, especially those at economic disadvantage. We believe that all children should be given a good education, healthcare (including preventative care), time with their family, and safety (including safety from want). We believe that single mothers warrant special consideration, as do our aged brothers and sisters. We believe that those who are physically or mentally disabled deserve special protections, and we believe that we are called to care for our veterans, especially those who have suffered injury.

Our faith reminds us that human beings are of inestimable worth, even when this or that particular economic system may say otherwise. Continue Reading →

Memorial Service – Ed Granai

A memorial service for Ed Granai will be held on Saturday, Nov 22 at 2 pm at St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Burlington, with a reception following.

Date/Time
Date(s) - 11/22/2014
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Location
Cathedral Church of St. Paul

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November 16, 2014

Mike Brown
by Mike Brown
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For All the Souls

Micah 3: 5-12
Matthew 23: 1-12

Earlier we sang the familiar hymn for All Saints’, Ralph Vaughn Williams’ For All the Saints. In our hymnal we are offered the choice of singing or not singing two additional verses, the one about “thy soldiers faithful true and bold” who seem to fight nobly, if there is such a thing, and the one about the fierce strife and the long warfare, and the triumph song, and bravery and all that. In our planning of worship we chose not to include those verses; no surprise there. Continue Reading →

November 11, 2014

Mike Brown
by Mike Brown
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Will the Real Church Please Step Up?

Matthew 25: 1-13
Amos 5: 18-24

Stay alert! No, no, I’m not scolding anyone in advance for falling asleep just now—I’ve always had it that being able to sleep in public is a sign of comfort in the company one is keeping, so it’s a kind of good thing, really. Please try to avoid snoring too loud.

Stay alert! There is, of course, the thought that in the mid term elections just over, too many of us have not been very alert, and in some way that seems a lot like logical consequences we are continuing to get the governments we deserve. Perhaps the prophet Amos was saying it’s too late now; that the time for alertness is past and that all we can do is hunker down and absorb the consequences. Or perhaps he was pointing to a remaining hope, one that cuts across politics as usual, business as usual, religion as usual. Stay alert, and you might be able to glimpse where the divine winds are blowing, Continue Reading →

October 27, 2014

Mike Brown
by Mike Brown
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Standing on One Foot

Matthew 22: 34-46

You have heard me cite this story a few times over the years, and I’m sure it has a number of variants, so I probably repeat it differently each time. None of my variations may be completely accurate, but you’ll get the drift. It seems that the student of the great rabbi was in a puckish mood and decided to play a game with his mentor, since he sometimes got weary of the rabbi’s great wisdom, which made him often feel foolish and naïve. If he knows so much, thought the student, I will ask him something he can’t possibly do! So he went to the rabbi and said, “Rabbi, you can do so many marvelous things. I wonder if you can recite the entire Torah while standing on one foot.” Continue Reading →