Whenever the month of May arrives each year, I breathe a sigh of relief. For me, May brings with it warm weather that finally settles in to stay, the flowers are in full bloom, and there is a sense of newness and brightness all around. It gives me the sense of a promise that “everything and anything is possible” now that the sweet days of May are upon us.
When I was a young girl, people still celebrated the first day of May as “May Day.” Festivals were held at the elementary school – the May Day Pole was decorated with colored ribbons and placed in the center of the playground; the May Day king and queen were crowned and their court paraded around the school in fancy clothes and flowers in hand; there were games to play and ice cream for all to enjoy.
It was a grand time to welcome springtime and celebrate all the good things that come with it as we neared the end of the school year. What a time! The word “May Day” meant good times and fun were coming and it brought joy to our hearts.
But, as we all know it can have a different meaning as well. “Mayday!” is the word used around the world to make a distress call via communications. Calling out “Mayday” three times in a row signals a life-threatening emergency that's occurring usually on a ship or a plane, although it could be used in a variety of other situations. I had a friend in college who suffered from social anxiety. Whenever she found herself in a situation that simply overwhelmed her emotionally, she would call me up and say “mayday” and then tell me where she was at the time and I knew to come help her out. What else are friends for, right? Whether it's a sinking ship or a friend sinking in anxiety – we help rescue one another.
Well, I think that's what Jesus calls us to do for everyone – for all the creatures in the world. God put us in charge – in the creation story, he gives us “dominion” over all that he has created – but let's be careful, folks that it doesn't go to our heads. After all, “dominion” means “stewardship” - doing what is good for creation. And remember what Spider Man says, “with great power comes great responsibility”. On May Day here at church, we'll be celebrating God's creation and how we're called to care for all of it. We're going to spend the whole month focusing how we do that. So, please plan to join us. We're back to providing the full worship experience for all ages. We're back and better than ever - and we're looking forward to sharing it all with YOU!
As an appeal on behalf of the people of Ukraine, the UCC continues to work with global partners to assist vulnerable communities within that country and the neighboring countries who have became hosts to the refugees. Our appeal includes prayer for those in need; donations to assist in the care of the refugees; and encouraging others, including our government, to offer humanitarian assistance. Let us truly become the heart and hands and voices of Jesus on behalf of those in need and make of ourselves part of the answer to the cries of the world.
All donations we make will be deposited into the International Disasters fund designated for “Ukraine Relief” and used by our global partners for those in areas of greatest need. To donate, send your check made payable to the United Church of Christ directly to UCC, PO Box 71957, Cleveland, OH 44194. Please be sure to note “Ukraine Relief Fund” in the memo section of that check.
Reverend Susan Hanson has been serving churches since December 19, 1993, when she delivered her first sermon to her first congregation. Since then, Pastor Susan has served in 12 different settings of churches as an interim pastor and to nursing homes as a chaplain, primarily helping to heal hurting congregations and institutions so they could recover and start anew. Reverend Hanson came to St. Vincent UCC in 2013 - her lucky number 13, as she says - and has been with us ever since. How lucky we are because on Sunday, April 8, 2018, Pastor Susan was officially installed by the PA Southeast Conference of the UCC as St. Vincent UCC’s permanent pastor!
Susan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development from Florida State University; a Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary; and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from Moravian Theological Seminary. She was ordained in her home church, St. John’s UCC in Lansdale, PA, on January 9, 1994.
Susan and her husband, the Reverend Doug Hanson, pastor of St. Peter’s Pikeland UCC, live in Chester Springs. They have a daughter and son-in-law who live in Alabama with Pastor Susan’s two grandchildren, a daughter and a son who live locally, and a Golden Doodle. In addition to meeting new people, Pastor Susan enjoys reading a good book, taking walks in nature, and visiting with family and friends.
In her Statement on Ministry, Reverend Hanson says that “a pastor assists the congregation in living out our call to be the heart and hands and voice of God here on earth in our own particular time and place. We can be assured that all of God’s hopes and dreams for us will be realized when we allow God’s Spirit to work within our own lives, and through us, to help others as we seek to do God’s will in the world. Together, we celebrate that when good people seek to make a positive difference in the world, it is there that real ministry happens.”
Feel free to contact Pastor Susan via email at email@example.com or by cell phone at 610.393.6971.
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