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  • Writer's pictureTom Emanuel

REMEMBRANCE DAY... This Week at UCC Watertown

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.” --Ernest Hemingway

Around Veterans Day (or Remembrance Day as it’s known in Great Britain), I always think of my grandfather Charlie Emanuel. Charlie emigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the early 1930s. Like many German families, the Emanuels had lost dozens of family members in World War I. They could see the writing on the wall with Hitler and the Nazis, and they were not about to let a totalitarian maniac kill off the rest of the family in a second World War. So: goodbye Rhineland, hello Chicago. When World War II broke out, Charlie joined up with the U.S. Air Force and ran bombing raids against the Axis Powers.

Charlie’s story reminds me that violence has a way of begetting violence. 11 November 2018 marks the hundredth anniversary of the end of WWI, or the “War to End All Wars” as it was called at the time. An Allied victory in 1918 was thought to have finally “made the world safe for democracy,” as U.S. President Woodrow Wilson put it, ushering in a new era of peace and freedom for all.

…in case you missed it, that’s not what happened.

A hundred years on from WWI, organized mass violence is still a reality for too many across the globe. Half a million or more have died in the civil war in Syria alone, and more than 10 million have been displaced. The Saudi-backed war in Yemen is a humanitarian catastrophe that’s set to become the worst famine in a century. The violence of gangs and drug cartels continues to tear apart communities throughout Latin America. The U.S. Military is deployed the world over. The War to End All Wars could hardly have been a greater misnomer.

Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel famously urged us never to forget the horrors of WWII and the Nazi genocide of Jews, Romani, and other so-called “degenerate” peoples. “If we forget,” said Wiesel, “we are guilty, we are accomplices.” Remembering is not a passive act. It is an active commitment to learn from the past, and to change our ways here and now, so that we don’t repeat the sins of history.

On this centennial Remembrance Day, then, let us hold in memory all who have given their lives to protect others. Let us also remember all the lives that have been wasted by war. Let us remember the lessons of history, and commit ourselves to building a world in which war is unthinkable, a world where the vision of the Prophet Isaiah is no pipedream but the reality of our days:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (2:4)

Blessin’s, --Tom

QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK: How has your life, or the life of a dear one, been impacted by war? How can we better support our veterans? What would it look like to “beat swords into ploughshares” in our time?



Wednesday 11/7

•     Tom at LATI community office hours 9am – 12pm

•     Women’s Fellowship Committee 12:30 pm, Fellowship and program with Kurt Engel, about ham radio, 1:30pm

•     Wednesday Youth Church 6 pm

•     UCCW  Choir 7pm

Thursday 11/8

•     Tom’s Community Office Hours, 9am-12pm @ Gather

Sunday 11/11

•     Adult Bible Study, 8:45am

•     Sunday Worship 10am

•     "Good Books" book study, 4pm (Fellowship Hall)

Monday, 11/12

•     Office closed, Veteran’s Day observed

Tuesday 11/13 – Friday 11/16

•     Meals on Wheels

Wednesday 11/14

•     Tom at LATI community office hours 9am – 12pm

Guild I & II, 1:30pm

•     Wednesday Youth Church, 6pm

•     UCCW Choir, 7pm

Thursday 11/15

•     Tom’s Community Office Hours, 9am-12pm @ Gather

Saturday 11/17

•     Water: Our Most Precious Natural Resource, 10am-12pm @ Bramble Park Zoo

Where does our water come from? Where does it go? Why should we care? Healing Earth Watertown, a coalition of local organization and faith communities, invites you to answer these questions with us Saturday, November 17 from 10am-12pm at the Bramble Park Zoo’s Terry Redlin Environmental Center. We’ll explore the scientific, social, and spiritual sides of water in an exciting experiential program for all adults 16 and over. Admission is free and open to the public, but we ask that you preregister at or 605-886-6777 by Wednesday, November 14. Bring a pencil and paper, a cup of water, and your curiosity!

Sunday 11/18

•     Adult Bible Study, 8:45am

•     Sunday Worship 10am, Church Council meeting following the service

•     Book Study 4pm, (Fellowship Hall)

Wednesday 11/21

•     Thanksgiving Eve. Service, 5:30pm

Thursday 11/22

•     Happy Thanksgiving!

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