From The Pastor’s Pen

From The Pastor’s Pen

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From The Pastor’s Pen- Eastertide

 As Christ journeyed in the wilderness for 40 days, which we observe approaching Holy Week (excluding Sundays), Eastertide is a similar 40 day observance (in western Christian traditions), celebrating Christ’s resurrected presence amongst the still stunned, loving and enthusiastic disciples. Eastertide ends with Ascension Sunday, which is then followed by Pentecost. We know of several Eastertide customs, though we often think of them as solely customs for Easter Sunday, itself. The donning of Easter bonnets by women, flowering of the…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

Peace be with you. With these words, Jesus greeted His disciples after His resurrection, signaling a profound truth that resonates through the ages: His resurrection brings life, joy, and light, ushering in peace, harmony, and tranquility for all believers. As we reflect on the significance of Easter, we are reminded of the boundless blessings that Jesus’s resurrection bestows upon us. It is a time for contemplation, a time to embrace the transformative power of His love, and a time to seek healing of…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

Historically, the church has understood Lent to be a time for spiritual reflection,    confession, repentance, and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. Various faith traditions have embraced practices of self-denial, fasting, and honest confession during this period of time as a way of drawing closer to Christ’s experience of traveling through the wilderness and facing the things the worldly aspects of life that pull us away from relationship with God and Christ. N.T. Wright reminds us that…
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Lent

Lent begins with the starkness of Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday we face our mortality and the limits of our earthborn existence. Ashes are smeared on our    forehead as we hear the solemn words spoken: “You are dust and to dust you shall return.†It is not hard to make the connection with the words often said at the burial of the dead: “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.†Ash Wednesday falls at a time when our…
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From The Pastors pen

In an article written by Albrecht Powell for “About.com Guide†the following resolutions make the top ten list across the United States: Did you make a new year’s resolution this year? Does it make this list?  The best resolutions are those which focus on changing behaviors and are attainable by taking a few short steps and sticking with them.  An interesting fact about these resolutions which often goes unnoticed, is that each connects to our lives of faith.  Seeking to obtain…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

Sacred PauseWhen the urgeto react to thetactless clowns,anddown looks likeup,and life’s teethare sharper thana steak knife,breathe,and take asacred pauseThomas W Case Liturgically, Advent, is a time of waiting, of   slowing down our minds, giving ourselves the time to refocus, re-energize, remember. It is   also a time for us in the New England area to face, what can sometimes be a challenge, of recognizing birth and new life as the earth lays dormant and the critters of the forest find their…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

All congregations experience ebbs and flows in those actively attending and participating in church programming and worship. No church enters into a community as a large church, nor do they complete their ministry as such. This shifts in size will be accompanied with anxiety and leadership stress. As well, negative perceptions of the congregation’s abilities to turn things around will increase when these shifts are not openly recognized by seeking adaptations: to the church structure, of the foci of the…
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Generous Giving Pledges Needed!

Over the past month, we have had a number of members speak on behalf of their committees. Thank you to those folks who shared such valuable information about how their committees and their volunteers “show up†for the church. We need you. Your presence.We are asking all folks committed to this church to consider making a pledge as a way to bear witness of your presence. And for those who are already pledgers, we ask for you to increase your…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

                                               Anxiety is high in this congregation. Questions of budget, pastoral leadership, and direction swirl. One source of this anxiety rests on the intersection of Generous Giving, church budget, and the capacity of the congregation to support a full-time minister. This is one level of the anxiety related to this particular aspect of the church’s life. To take it to another level is to name the reality of tension between remaining the same and adapting—making shifts in…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

While walking with churches facing the uncertainties of the future and asking where God is calling them to be present in the midst of that future, it is increasingly clear to me that it is imperative for us to be a people of Resurrection Faith.…      Resurrection Faith is living with the constant awareness that all of this (every aspect of our being as humans walking this planet and as members of the church) was originally God’s project. It is surrendering…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

The Oxford dictionary online defines Tradition as “a long-standing custom or belief that has been passed from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.†The Merriam Webster Dictionary describes “tradition†as a. “an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior;†b. a   belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable;†c. the handing down of information, beliefs,…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

Friends, As we are stepping into the Transitional work of this Interim time, I will be sharing a series of articles on the directions, trends, and concerns facing churches today. The following is one such article.  Blessings on your exploration and thank you for having me beside you in your journey of becoming. 7-Things to do When a Church is in Decline… by Ron Edmondson ON February 12, 2020 1. Evaluate What is going wrong? Why are fewer people attending and…
A stained glass window with a cross in the center.

Seeking: Honest Questions For Deeper Faith

Lent begins on February 22 with Ash Wednesday. This year’s lectionary for Lent offers us many stories of Jesus encountering people who are seeking: Nicodemus comes to him in the veil of night, he approaches a Samaritan woman at a well, he heals a man born without sight. In these stories, each person is seeking a new beginning, a different life, a deeper faith. What unfolds is an exchange filled with questions and exploration. Often, an unveiling occurs—assumptions are disrupted,…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

I’ve been thinking about house blessings as Epiphany approaches and at the same time also imagining the coming year as a house—a space in time that is opening itself to all of us. How will we inhabit the coming year? How will we enter it with mindfulness and with intention? How will we move through the rooms of the coming months in a way that brings blessing to this world? I also have been pondering what it is to carry…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

When I close my eyes in prayer and allow myself the possibility of looking within, to consider the wonder of God’s magnificent all-encompassing love, the darkness I experience is beautiful and inviting. It is a space of deep healing. In summer months, I volunteer for a program that I loved deeply as a teen and still love today for the power of transformation it serves as a catalyst of in people who dare to say yes to a week on…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

 Have you ever pruned a tree? Have you had the privilege of raising a fruit tree from a mere “stick with roots in the ground†to fruit bearing on to maturity with a well-coiffed top? If you have, there is emotion you are registering in your body when you read these next words…you know it is not easy. If you haven’t, please believe those who have. It is especially not easy in these years of drought or too much rain paired…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

Mark Edelson reminds the Christian community in We Aren’t Broke: Uncovering Hidden Resources for Mission and Ministry, that the church has been doing “mission and money†since its inception in the book of Acts. Amid its many successes have come, if not failure, at least staleness.†When the church faces either, it backs itself into survival mode and protects its assets, at all costs, even to closure—a trend we have been seeing clearly across the country and in this Conference for…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

We are called to bless. “We are called to bless,†from the SALT Project reminds all, who are willing andinspired to click the watch button, what a blessing is. Hammers, backpacks, the cup and bread, waters of Baptism, canned goods, casseroles, pastors, mission trip participants—we ask God to bless all these. We stretch out our hands above our heads and call down the mercy and grace of God. We lift up our voices calling God to bless lands filled with…

From The Pastor’s Pen

Maintaining healthy boundaries is an important part of every minister’s vocation. Ministers are entrusted with intimate details about parishioners’ lives. Appropriate boundaries at the time of a minister’s departure are also important. It is essential for the health of the congregation that they are able to devote themselves to forming a relationship with the incoming Pastor without the shadow of the departing Pastor getting in the way. The Ethical Code for Ministers defines what healthy boundaries should be adhered to…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

Jesus had a knack for never being where you would expect to find him. What could be more unexpected than a child who was conceived in the womb of a virgin? As an adult, he always seemed to be found among the people who were considered to be forsaken by God. He died on a Cross, which was the last place anyone ever expected to look for the Savior of humanity. After they took his dead body down, they laid…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

In January of 2013, I was called to serve as Pastor and Teacher of this congregation. Sometime after that, a Service of Installation took place to celebrate our covenant relationship with each other and to “make it    official.†It has been a blessing and a privilege to have spent the last nine (plus) years since then as your pastor. Together, I believe we have been faithful stewards of what has been passed down to us by those generations who preceded…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

As we approach our third Lent since the onset of the pandemic, we will once again face the challenge of adapting our traditional pre-Easter observances in order to mitigate the risks that persist with large gatherings.  While that may feel like a burden and an intrusion upon this sacred season, Lent and quarantine actually have more common than one might realize. We all know that Lent lasts forty days (not including Sundays). What is less well known is that during…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

The month of January gets its name from the ancient Roman god, Janus. Janus was the god of beginnings and endings. He was a two-faced deity. One face looked back to the past. The other face looked forward to the future. Honestly, from the vantage point of January 2022, neither view looks all that rosy. 2021  began with the hope that the race to develop and distribute COVID vaccines would prove to be the solution for subduing the disease so…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

Advent Schedule of Services and Activities The year 2021 has been a time of growing uncertainty. With the development of vaccines to defend against COVID it seemed reasonable to hope that the virus would be contained and life, as we were accustomed to it, could soon resume. As we near the end of the year, numbers of cases are resurging instead of retreating. The cloud of uncertainty also takes the forms of increasing effects of climate change, the specter of…
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From The Pastor’s Pen

Jesus once said that “you cannot put new wine into old wineskins, or they will burst.†He meant that the new dimensions of knowing God and being God’s people that he was revealing, were too expansive to be fully contained in the former traditions and rituals. As we have been transitioning from the fully virtual worship format used during the pandemic state of emergency, through the Summer Open Air Worship services and now to our Regathering in the sanctuary for…
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