From The Pastor’s Pen

From The Pastor’s Pen

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

From The Pastor’s Pen

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul lends some sage advice to Churches for persevering as Christian communities in the face of great challenges. Paul counsels them to put on the Whole Armor of God for the protection they need to continue their ministry in hostile environments. It is advice that takes on new meaning for us as we confront the challenges posed to society in general, and the Church in particular, under the prolonged shadow of the…

Church Regathering: Phase 2

The second phase of our Church Regathering plan is still scheduled to begin on the Sunday of September 12, 2021. The Phase 1 “Open Air Worship” services were conducted as planned during the month of June. But as New Englanders know, one thing that cannot be planned for is the weather. One of the wettest July’s on record made it necessary to move worship into the sanctuary on four consecutive Sundays. Depending on what the weather is like for the remainder…

Church Regathering: Phase 1

As most of you already know, the Commonwealth has lifted almost all COVID restrictions for gatherings that were instituted during the state of emergency. In light of these changes and the most recent recommendations of the CDC, FCCW is prepared to move forward with the first phase of returning to in-person worship. This is what Phase 1 of the Regathering will look like. 1.  Summertime outdoor worship:  Beginning June 6, 2021, and continuing through Labor Day Sunday (September 5, 2021) in-person worship services will…

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…
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