From The Pastor’s Pen (Page 3)

From The Pastor’s Pen (Page 3)

From The Pastor’s Pen

I used to live across the street from a cemetery. Which, maybe sounds a little depressing.  Sometimes, though, cemeteries can be very educational places. Very old gravestones often tell more than the name and age of the person buried beneath them; often they tell you something about the life that person lived, or the manner of their dying. It was also not unusual for a person’s gravestone to reveal what he or she believed about what followed death. For most…

From The Pastor’s Pen

  On their way home from an Ash Wednesday service, little Johnny asked his mother, “Is it true that we are made of dust like   the minister said tonight?” “Yes, honey,” she answered. “And is it true that we go back to dust again when we die?” “Yes, dear,” his mother replied. “Well, Mom, when I said my prayers last night and looked under my bed, I saw someone who is either coming or going, ”It seems that the dust…

From The Pastor’s Pen

  The late Henri Nouwen once wrote, “Maybe we still do not fully believe that God’s Spirit is, indeed, the Spirit of love, always leading us deeper into love. Maybe we still distrust the Spirit, afraid to be led to places where our freedom is taken away. Maybe we still think of God’s Spirit as an enemy who wants something of us that is not good for us. But God is love, only love, and God’s Spirit is the Spirit…

Stewardship

“In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.” Ephesians 2:21-22 Dear Fellow Church Members, In November, we visited or mailed you an invitation to support the ministry of 1st Congregational Church of Westminster, UCC. In the letter was a Pledge Slip to be returned with your financial commitment for the upcoming year. In addition to the Pledge…

From The Pastor’s Pen

Happy New Year! January first may still be weeks away, but the Church Year follows its own timetable, one not determined by nature or calendars, but by the rhythms of Jesus’ life. For that reason, the Church Year begins with the first Sunday of Advent. The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” It is the season that Christians prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas, which is the First Advent. It is also the time for anticipation of the…

Your Church in 60 Seconds

Research Says, “Givers Also Get” “While most people probably subscribe to the general theory that charity is ‘good for the soul,’ almost all would be hard-pressed to say why. Many would also be surprised to learn that philanthropic acts are also good for the mind and body. Research is beginning to confirm these claims. These emerging findings can transform the way people live and feel about themselves . . . philanthropic involvement is measurably wholesome for mind, body, and soul.”…

From the Pastor’s Pen

I think it was Joni Mitchell that sang the phrase, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone?” Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have until we are forced to do without. This lesson was really brought home to Sue and me one year. First, a short circuit left us without phone service for several days. Next, the refrigerator went on the fritz for a few weeks forcing us to make use…

The Journey to Bethlehem Continues!

If you have been in Covenant Hall recently you will see lots of “stuff” being collected for the journey to Bethlehem, a Creche Celebration Service on December 20. Thank you to all of you who have already contributed materials. Carolyn Hemman and Dolores Tamulen have been spending several mornings each week organizing and inventorying what we have and what we need. We still need some items. Your help and donations are greatly appreciated! And be looking for more information on…

From the Pastor’s Pen

“Christian stewardship begins not with an inventory of what we have, but from a recognition of whose we are.” These words by author Donald Joiner remind us that financial support for the ministry of the church involves partnership. The initial partnership is found in the relationship between God and God’s people. God, who created and redeemed us, has also called us to share in the work of ministry. That ministry requires an investment of our spiritual gifts and our material…

History of the Massachusetts Conference

The churches of the Massachusetts Conference represent the oldest and largest Protestant denomination in the Bay State. Most of our churches are of the Congregational tradition, and direct descendants of the churches founded by the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Forty of our churches were organized before 1699, and another 150 before 1799. Until 1833, the Congregational Church was the official, tax-supported church of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Conference itself finds its roots…

Syrian Refugee Crisis Surrounds the Middle East

The news has been filled this first week of September with chaotic scenes. 3-year old Alyan Kurdi, along with his brother Galip, their mother, and nine other Syrian refugees drowned during an attempt to pass the Aegean Sea in hopes of finding safety (over 2500 others have been lost in recent months attempting similar escape). Outside of the Hungarian capital of Budapest, trains packed with Syrian refugees have been halted at the order of the authorities, while the migrants inside…

From the Pastor’s Pen:

Will Willimon tells the story of a high school commencement speaker he once heard. This person was giving a rather conventional address. “It is important for you, as you go forth,” he said, “to have a great dream. Dream big things, great things.” Willimon describes his response to the speaker’s message: “The speaker didn’t quote any Scripture, but I immediately thought of Jacob’s dream the night he was on the run from his angry brother. A great ladder was let…

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 Once upon a time, a monastery stood in a mountain pass alongside a rarely traveled road. The monks who inhabited the monastery had very little contact with the outside world. Still, they were quite fulfilled in their life together. Like most monks their days were filled with work and prayer, and of course the keeping of the appointed times of the day for worship.…

It was those who were the last to give up hope, who were the first to see

The stories of Holy Week and Easter are retold year after year, usually to congregations that are swelled  beyond their usual numbers. Hence, the Passion and Resurrection narratives are some of the most familiar of all. So, here’s a little Holy Week “Pop Quiz” to test how well you have been paying attention all these years. This is an open book test, so feel free to consult your Bibles. What group of people stayed with Jesus the longest when he…

“Return to God with all your heart.”

Our theme for Lent this year is “Return to God with all your heart.” God’s “wholehearted” love is available to us through grace. But there are parts of our hearts that we withhold from God. Lent is the season to be mindful of what you might be giving your heart to, instead of giving it all to God. Throughout Lent there will be ash grey paper hearts available for you to take and use to identify the pieces of your…