From The Pastor’s Pen

From The Pastor’s Pen

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…