Posts by First Congregational Church Of Westminster, MA (Page 3)

Posts by First Congregational Church Of Westminster, MA (Page 3)

From The Pastor’s Pen

After this, the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way.  Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of…

From the Pastor’s Pen

Thank You In the midst of this roller coaster ride of a pandemic we have all been on, I feel the need to pause, take a deep breath, and express my deepest gratitude. So, thank you, whoever you are who reads these words. Thank you for your patience as we have groped our way to being the Church together, while physically apart from one another; learning from our mistakes and discovering how to maintain our communal identity with no roadmaps…

From The Pastor’s Pen

On May 17 Governor Baker relaxed the shut-down order for specific businesses and gatherings in Massachusetts. Included among the entities that were granted permission for reopening (with certain restrictions) were houses of worship. Governors have the unenviable task of determining the right balance between public safety and economic sustainability. Churches, on the other hand, are guided by only one principle—the spiritual and physical wellbeing of the community. Just because we are permitted to re-open for in-person worship (with social distancing restrictions)…

From the Pastor’s Pen

Dear friends,What a beginning of 2020 this has been. I can’t recall a seminary class that could have prepared me for the challenges the Coronavirus and physical distancing brought to my ‘normal life’. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, afraid, angry, or in shock…I get it. So much feels and is different.And yet some things remain: the abiding love of God, the connections of friendship and prayer within our congregation, and our commitment to reach out in service to our neighbors.Here…

From the Pastor’s Pen

Long ago, God spoke to a prophet named Ezekiel in a vision. In that vision Ezekiel was transported to a valley. The floor of the valley was strewn with human bones, like the slain of a mighty army that had been utterly defeated. Ezekiel noticed that the bones were “very” dry, which seems to mean something like that they were dead as a doornail. God asked Ezekiel an odd question. “Mortal, can these bones live?” It would seem that the…

From The pastor’s Pen

Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land was a truly unforgettable experience. It is difficult to describe in words what it feels like to look out upon the same sights that Jesus would have taken in, to walk in his footsteps and to worship in places where he and his disciples would have prayed. Many of the sites related to Jesus’ life were venerated by the earliest Christians, sometimes even used as “house churches” where believers would meet for worship and…

From The Pastor’s Pen

In Alicia Britt Chole’s book of Lenten devotions, 40 Days of Decrease, she writes: “Decrease is a spiritual necessity. John the Baptist was the first among Jesus’ followers to grasp its countercultural power. “Less is more” is a popular simplicity mantra in our day. But John’s understanding of “less is more” was spiritually profound. In many ways, John lived a Lenten lifestyle 365 days a year. His diet was narrow, his possessions were minimal, and his focus was eternal. But…

from the Pastor’s Pen

By the time this edition of the Epistle goes to print, we should have reached the 30-day countdown to the departure date for the “In the Footsteps of Jesus” pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On February 3, fourteen people from our church will be joining eleven fellow pilgrims from churches outside Massachusetts to begin the journey to Israel. Our itinerary includes visits to places like Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes, the traditional location of the feeding…

From the Pastor’s Pen

Advent is the most impatient of seasons. We can’t wait to put up the  Christmas decorations and then can’t wait to take them back down. We can’t wait for the gift shopping to be over with at the same time that we can’t wait to see what’s waiting for us under the tree. The impatience of Advent is felt, even in church, where we can’t wait to sing the Christmas carols that have been playing in stores and on the…

From the pastor’s pen

Thanksgiving falls on November 28th this year, which is the latest it can possibly be, since it is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month. This might seem like a bit of useless trivia, but the truth is that it has important repercussions. For one thing, it means that the Advent Workshop, which usually takes place on the night of the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and prior to Advent, had to be moved to a Saturday night. That’s…

From The Pastor’s Pen

The people who generally make for effective stewards are those who have a vision. Some long-term goal of great meaning provides the best incentive for short-term decisions about how to manage our resources. Whether it is saving for a home, college education for our children or a comfortable retirement, a compelling vision for life which identifies what is of most value to us enables us to invest in that goal instead of sowing in places that will bear little fruit.…

From the Pastor’s Pen

Every two years, General Synod brings together thousands of faithful members of the United Church of Christ from across the nation for formal church witness, inspirational worship, and fellowship. The theme for the General Synod 2019 in Milwaukee was based on the scripture Matthew 5:16 In the same way let your light shine before others . . . One of the most important activities at General Synod are the consideration of various resolutions that recommend how the Church might respond to…

A Holy Land Pilgrimage

Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus: A Holy Land Pilgrimage! This pilgrimage will be led by Rev. Dr. Jay Terbush and Pastor Ray Medeiros and facilitated by Educational Opportunities Tours. The tour will take place from February 3 through 14, 2020. Price for the tour is $3658 and is all inclusive except for lunches and love offering for tour bus driver and tour guide. You can learn more about joining us by clicking this link.

From the Pastor’s Pen

Buried amid chapter after chapter in the Book of Exodus of tedious instructions concerning the building materials, dimensions, and craftmanship required to construct the Tabernacle for worshipping God, you will find one of the most amazing stories in the Bible. Moses had appealed to the Israelites to bring offerings of silver, gold, precious gems, fine linens and acacia wood to build a sanctuary suitable for housing the presence of God. The Israelites responded with such great enthusiasm that even after…

From the Pastor’s Pen

The theme of the Good Friday Walk to the Cross this year as we neared the close of Lent, was “In the Footsteps of Jesus.” It was an opportunity to use our imaginations to prayerfully walk with Jesus in the path of discipleship. Just before the beginning of Lent in 2020 (February 3-14) an opportunity to literally walk in the footsteps of Jesus will be open to you. Rev. Dr. Jay Terbush and I will be hosting a Holy Land…

From the Pastor’s Pen

In the North Sea, above the land we now call Scotland, lie the Orkney Islands. The rule of these islands, was split between two cousins, Earl Hakon, a mighty warrior, and Earl Magnus, also mighty in battle but gifted in peacemaking. Together they ruled peacefully for seven years until evil men gained the ear of Hakon and turned him against Magnus. There were great arguments until good men, persuaded the two rulers to work out their difference diplomatically. It was…

From the Pastor’s Pen

The forty days of Lent (not counting Sundays) commence with Ash Wednesday and conclude with the day before Easter. This span of days commemorate the time Jesus spent in the wilderness wrestling with temptation before beginning his ministry. Historically, Christians have used Lent as a season for confronting their own temptations and rededicating themselves to faithful discipleship. Lent contains some of the richest worship services of the Church year, including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. These services give…

From the Pastor’s Pen

“Would you like to join the Diaconate?” asked an older church member. She was a nice person, diligent in her service to the church. Most every week, she showed up early on Sunday morning to prepare the sanctuary for worship. She put up the hymn numbers, checked the candles and arranged the flowers. On Communion Sundays, she set the table, cut the bread and poured the juice and wine. Sounded like holy housework to me. Instead of saying yes or…

May 2018

On Sunday, May 6, the Central Association will be holding their Annual Meeting in West Boylston. I am pleased to say that my name will be on the list of new officers and committee members to be voted in at that gathering. I will be serving on the Central Association Committee on Ministry. According to UCC polity, Associations are delegated with the function of recognizing, authorizing and maintaining ordained, commissioned and licensed ministry. Each Association has its own Committee on…

From the Pastor’s Pen

Once upon a time, churches were looked upon as safe havens to which even fugitives could go for protection. “Church” and “safety” were all but synonymous. The exposure of clergy abuse scandals changed all that. Gone forever were the days when it could be taken for granted that any church was a safe sanctuary. Suddenly, “Safe Church Policies” were needed, primarily to protect children from predatory behavior within churches. Over time, a broader awareness of safety issues within places of…

From the Pastor’s Pen

It feels like an unusual number of calendar dates have been pulling double duty this year. Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday, which meant worship in the morning, early evening and late night. Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day doubled up for the first time in almost 75 years. And now Easter and April Fool’s Day will be sharing the spotlight on April 1. Typically, the Sunday after Easter is referred to as Holy Humor Sunday. More than a gimmick to…
Years ago, in the city of Muenster, Germany, a strange love story unfolded. A female black swan who was given the name Petra, became so attached to a paddleboat shaped like a great white swan, that she refused to leave its side. If you look closely at this picture, you can spot Petra floating contentedly alongside her “beau.” Even when winter arrived, she would not abandon her companion for a warmer location. Ultimately, the swan boat was temporarily relocated to…
Some holidays have special traditions attached to them. Easter has eggs, Christmas has trees and Thanksgiving has turkeys. Epiphany isn’t usually considered one of those holidays. But there is an old Epiphany tradition that can be celebrated by families. It’s called “Chalking the Door.” In Deuteronomy 6:9 God tells the people of Israel: “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you…

From the Pastor’s Pen

On the first Sunday in December, we begin our celebration of Advent. On the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, we will rejoice in the great gift that is ours in Jesus Christ. To help us celebrate, we will be lighting the candles of the Advent wreath. The candles signify that Jesus is the Light of the World. The evergreens remind us that He is life and brings life to us. All these are arranged in a circle because life…