From The Pastor’s Pen

From The Pastor’s Pen

tree pruning

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…

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…
we are called to bless

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…

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…