From The Pastor’s Pen

From The Pastor’s Pen

FROM THE PASTOR’S PEN

The day of Pentecost will fall on the fourth Sunday of May this year. Pentecost is typically referred to as the “Birthday of the Church” because that was when the Holy Spirit transformed a group of leaderless Jesus followers, into a vibrant body of believers who would boldly change the world. In the second chapter of the Book of Acts we are told that, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” Hearing that…

From The Pastor’s Pen

During 2005, torrential rains battered California, leading to massive floods and mudslides that did billions of dollars in damage and took a toll on human life, as well. But in nearby Death Valley, instead of death and destruction, the rain brought new and unexpected life. Death Valley’s name is well deserved because it is one of the least hospitable environments in North America. Death Valley normally sees an average of two inches of rain in a year. But that year…

From The Pastor’s Pen

It was the First Sunday of Lent, and the minister called all the young people to the front for the children’s    sermon. She asked if anyone could tell her what Lent is. One young boy raised his hand and said, “Yes, it’s what we get out of our pockets.” Which is not such a bad answer, actually. Lent is a time for reaching deep into our pockets and cleaning out what has collected there without our noticing. Not the lint…
Ash Wednesday

From the Pastor’s Pen

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent. The forty days of fasting (not counting Sundays) includes the offering of the imposition of ashes on the foreheads of the faithful who desire it. The virtual Ash Wednesday Service will premiere at 10 am on February 17. This year, there will be two options available for receiving ashes while following the pandemic guidelines. 1.     There will be a “drive-through” imposition of ashes at the office entrance to the church, following the Virtual…

From The Pastor’s Pen

2021! We made it! Good Riddance 2020! This sure does feel like a New Year to celebrate. Although, we should also remember that life is not really like a slate that we simply wipe clean of that which the previous year has written. It is more like the         beginning of a new season in a Netflix series. Some of the conflicts of the previous year may have been   resolved, but there will be other challenges to take their place. A…

From the Pastor’s Pen

People have undergone unprecedented loss this year. Family and friends have succumbed to death in this pandemic, millions have lost economic security through loss of jobs, some have lost businesses they built over a lifetime. Most of us have lost our beloved rhythms of life that felt familiar and gave our lives the richness of gatherings and adventure. And we can name so many losses related to   hatred and violence. Throughout Advent we proclaim hope, love, joy, and peace in…

From The Pastor’s Pen

From the Pastor’s Pen The season of Advent is typically viewed as a kind of countdown to Christmas. But the spirit behind Advent precedes the birth of Christ by many centuries to some of the darkest epochs of Israel’s history. Which is why some of the lectionary readings during Advent come from the prophets like Isaiah, who lived during a time of Israel’s subjugation by foreign powers and the exile of many Jews to Babylon as they waited in the…

From The Pastor’s Pen

They’rrrree Baaaack! There’s still a week left before October, but the Halloween decorations are already making their annual appearances. October is the month of the calendar where wearing masks and costumes is a cherished  tradition. Trick-or-treating and costume parties give us the permission to experience the fun of dressing up as someone (or something) other than who we are. From Aladdin to Zombie, cute to creepy, there is a mask and costume suitable for channeling every person’s internal trick-or-treater. But…

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…