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  • Rev. Peter Surgenor

November 1 Worship

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Hello Union Church Presbyterians,

Worship this Sunday, November 1 will be hosted on Zoom with an option for in the sanctuary attendance (limited seating) We will share prayers and reflections.


For computers:

(Or use )

For smartphones and tablets, download and install the Zoom app.

If prompted: Click “JOIN Meeting” and enter:

Meeting ID: 972 8501 6374 Passcode: LURRNN

FACEBOOKLIVE: Click on the church Facebook page


Don’t forget to VOTE in this election. Check out locations for early voting. Open 10am -8pm on Fri, Oct 30, 10am-3pm on Sat, Oct 31, and 10am-3pm on Sun, Nov 1.

Daylight Savings: This is the “Fall Back” time change weekend. If you find yourself alone waiting for worship in the sanctuary or on zoom you may have forgotten to turn your clocks back 1 hour at 2:00 am Sunday morning.

The Zoom meeting will open at 10:15 am to allow folks to connect and greet each other. If you have a camera, you will have the option to share your face and smile—be prepared. You can also have a cup of your favorite morning beverage at hand.

The worship will include familiar elements (although recorded rather than live) as well as live leadership of prayers, scripture reading, and the sermon.


Union Church, Newburgh NY

November 1, 2020 10:30 am


We are glad that you are joining us today and hope you feel God’s blessings. If you do not have a church home, we sincerely invite you to be a part of the Union Church fellowship.


Food Pantry operates every other week. Next: Mon. Nov 9 and Wed. Nov 11 from 9:30-11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.

VIRTUAL Coffee Hour: Begins immediately after worship. If you have joined worship on Zoom you don’t need to do anything more. If you are joining us for fellowship time only use mobile phone or computer video. Check email or website for access instructions. Questions? Call James at (301) 335-8677

Choral Music will precede the worship service beginning at 9:45 as people ‘tune in’ to the zoom service.



PRELUDE For All the Saints


Happy are we

when our treasures cannot be quantified.

Happy are we

when our knowledge is tempered by mystery.

Happy are we

when our pain is held in the balm of love.

Happy are we

when our delight comes from beyond ourselves.


In all our weakness and strength,

with our youth-filled spirits and aging bodies,

we come to be your people, O God.

Strong in faith and eager with questions,

singing our praise and whispering our prayers,

we come to be your people, O God.

Filled with saintly determination

yet mindful of our human limitations,

we come to be your people, O God.

Made strong in your endless love for us,

we know ourselves to be yours and

we come to be your people, O God.

May we truly become your people today. Amen.


Beloved, we are God’s children now,

but what we will be in the fullness of our time

has not been revealed.

What we do know is this:

we will be like Jesus the Christ and saints of God.

Let us consider how Jesus was revealed among us

and pray to be more like the Christ in every way.

Jesus embodied the unconditional love of God…

We pray, may we be more like Jesus.

Jesus fed those who were hungry…

We pray, may we be more like Jesus.

Jesus drew near to those living on the margins and excluded…

We pray, may we be more like Jesus.

Jesus brought healing and wholeness to those in need…

We pray, may we be more like Jesus.

Jesus hungered and thirsted for righteousness…

We pray, may we be more like Jesus. Amen.


Beloved, through the love shown to us by Jesus, we can be sure that we are God’s children now. The Spirit of Christ is among us in this gathering and the nature of Christ is revealed within us. We are becoming more and more like Christ each day. Therefore, let us live joyfully as God’s people; saints and instruments of God’s way.



Prepare our hearts, O God, to accept your Word.

Silence in us any voice but your own,

that, hearing, we may also obey your will;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


FIRST READING Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.

What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

SERMON “For All the Saints” Rev. Peter Surgenor

(Full text at the end of bulletin)


You can support the work of Union Church by mailing donations to 44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh, NY 12550 or visit to donate online.





Prayers of the People and Silent Lord’s Prayer

Faithful God, source of every blessing:

teach us to love our enemies,

to bless those who curse us,

to pray for those who persecute us,

to turn the other cheek,

to share our possessions,

to give to those who are in need,

and to do to others

as we would have them do to us,

so that we may join that company of blessed saints

who feast with you in heaven.

(Pray for those of this community whom we have mentioned and thought of this day)

Bless those who are ill at home or in hospital,

those who are feeling anxious or low,

feeling like they would rather just give up than live on.

May they know Your love and sense Your presence with them

and may we as a church reach out to them in their time of need.

Bless the leaders of nations and people.

Guide them in the decisions that they make,

ensuring they work hard and fight for the people they represent.

Lord, may we always sense Your presence in our lives and in the lives of others.

Transform us to be the people that You would have us be.

All of this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen

Our 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,

for ever. Amen.


Go out into the world in peace;

have courage;

hold on to what is good;

return no one evil for evil;

strengthen the fainthearted;

support the weak, and help the suffering;

honor all people;

love and serve the Lord,

rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit

be with you all. Amen.



Rev. Cathy Surgenor Rev. Peter Surgenor

(845) 216-4328 (914) 907-9685

Union Church

44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh NY 12550

Phone: (845) 562-0954 Fax: (845) 562-0955

SERMON TEXT For All the Saints Rev. Peter Surgenor

This convergence of Reformation Sunday and All Saints Day sends us off into some interesting thought territory today. In order to get the full picture, we need to take a view from a high altitude.

In all the scriptures we have been reading this fall, people of God have been wondering about God and about how to be people of faith. Whether it was the Israelites in the wilderness or the crowds following Jesus they were wondering and looking for answers.

And as stories of Jesus life began to be told in many places, we find that the writers of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John felt compelled to write down their compilation of the stories of Jesus life. Matthew was a detail person (think about that long genealogy in the first chapter – and check out the women mentioned!). The gospel of Mark begins with a miracle and runs toward the Crucifixion (leaving out the Bethlehem birth narrative and might have been the first written). Luke we know was a physician in those days and so wrote from a scientific observer point of view (jumps right to that miraculous birth and chronicles lots of healing miracles). John was writing to the philosophers and mystics. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. Giving lots of raw material for deep analytical and representational thinking.

And people of all sorts used these texts to enrich their lives of faith.

And people of faith were creative but also tried to define God or explain their understandings of faith. And so, Theology developed as a formal body of literature and study. Don’t worry – this won’t even go as deep as freshman philosophy but let me lay out some framework.

On a basic level, theology has four basic areas of study. Although you could dive deep into many sub areas of these four this list will be helpful:

Biblical Theology – trying to understand and explain what is in the Bible and how it speaks to us today

Christology – reading the Biblical texts trying to parse out/understand who Jesus was, what compelled him to act the way he did, figure out Jesus relation to God and more….

Eschatology – from the Greek last words – study of the end of the world including the second coming of Jesus and the last judgement

Ecclesiology – the study of the church as a biblical and theological topic. The new testament presents various images of the church that the early church struggled with as it sought self-understanding in light of the gospels.

Reformation Sunday reminds us that after 1500 years of faithful living as human beings of the Christian faith there had been a veering away or a pull toward contemporary thought in the life of the Christian Church. It was people like Martin Luther who read scripture for themselves, prayed and listened for God’s direction – these people changed the way faith is practiced and the way theology is described in words.

Reformation Sunday is where a big distinction occurs in the language of the church. Even to this day Saints in the Roman Catholic church are outstanding Christians who are recognized in a special way by the leadership of the church in Rome. Occasionally new Saints are named and celebrated.

In the Protestant Church the concept of “Priesthood of all believers” became an important new thought. A thought developed by Luther holding that all Christians have direct access to God and do not need to go through an intermediary priest. It did not take long for Saints to take on a new meaning. Transformed from a few to “Sainthood for all believers” who enter the kingdom of God.

This conversation of All Saints brings us into the realm of the Theology of Eschatology – study of the end of the world including the second coming of Jesus and the last judgement.

A death of one of our community challenges us to think about the Second coming of Jesus and our own ultimate judgement. We are forced to think about our own understanding of the hereafter and judgement. In our service this morning we reminded ourselves that God found us as willful, sinning human beings. But we assured ourselves in our faith that God has accepted us and was indeed just waiting for our enlightenment or understanding. Those whom we remember at this time should be inspirations for us.

As we think of Mary Jane Miller and Jim Halpin we are encouraged by the example of these people of faith. Many of us think of parents or grandparents and have nothing but gratitude for their contributions to our families and our communities. In these days of so many deaths related to COVID-19 we are inspired to be better contributors to the kingdom of God. Many are inspired by Sean Connery today. I am inspired by Glenn Bannerman who in a chance conversation on an airplane found a ministry using waste panty hose that complemented his dance and music ministry in the Presbyterian Church.

We are sure that those we remember on All Saints day are experiencing the promises that Jesus made and that were recorded by those gospel writers. This dip into the realm of Eschatology can be very depressing, especially these days. (shorter daylight, continuing curtailing activity, risky encounters with others).

One of the gifts of our faith is that exactly in the moments we are driven to depression or despair or lack of vision – just then we are challenged by the optimism of faith and the life of the church.

We wander or pulled or remember to think about Ecclesiology. We remember that the church has been God’s agent and corrected by God for over 2000 years. Talk about Faithful!! God has been faithful to communities of faith.

In our churches we are constantly enduring a tension between contemplative thought and community action. And not in the same manner or with the same mission at all times. This church has adjusted its mission as it moved from a bustling city center to a home in a suburban mansion. I am sure that has led to some intriguing discussions and thought as you have interpreted God’s call to be the church in the world. And the activity which began here was very different than being faithful to God in these days.

As an established community of faith – which is engaged in some specific ministries to those around us there is a continuing challenge.

How do we take these words of the Beatitudes and refresh/reinterpret them for today?

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Who do we see are the poor in spirit and what have we done to lift/enrich their spirits?

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Especially in these days of social restriction, in these days of HIPPA restrictions – how as a community do we comfort those who mourn. If we are mourning, can we articulate the support we need?

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

In these days when the loud and boisterous take up most of the energy and media – do we know the meek? How do we encourage them – help develop new skills?

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Who are those around us who long for acceptance, community and reassurance in faith? Who are the people our society neglects? The very one who need to understand righteousness/ wholeness and forgiveness that we enjoy.

Look at the whole list and ask yourself how you are strengthening/blessing those mentioned.

"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Have you/ have we taken stands for justice, equality, acceptance, and forgiveness to make this community and our world more caring and faithful?

How do we have the courage to go outside of our comfort zones? Listen to these words from Eugene Peterson’s translation of the passage from First John chapter 3. This letter is part of the source material for Ecclesiology – it was written to a group of churches where an unfaithful charismatic leader was denying the incarnation ( the inclusion of Jesus in the God the Trinity) of Jesus. These were folks who needed to be reminded how they were called and how to behave as the church.

Hear these words and be challenge by them.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who God is or what God’s up to.

But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.

Be reminded of these guiding words of Martin Luther: How do people of faith enter the kingdom of God? How did all our Saints enter the kingdom of God?

Scripture alone

Christ alone

Grace alone

Faith alone

Glory of God alone


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