Pastors' Blog

Oct 10, 2019 - Amy Norton

You know the old saying, "strike while the iron's hot"?  Well, what if the iron is very, very cold, and there's not a fire in sight? That is the situation the Israelites found themselves in in this Sunday's scripture reading, Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7. Captured by the Babylonians, they have no idea when (or even if) they will ever return home and be able to get to work being God's people,...

Oct 03, 2019 - Kent French

Have you ever been at a dinner party or reception where you really didn’t know people that well? Maybe you were a friend of a friend. Maybe you were the guest of a new acquaintance. Maybe you just crashed the party.

Depending on where you are on the introvert/extrovert scale, you may have keenly felt your outsider status, retreated into the walls, felt uncomfortable and gone home early. Or you naturally broke through any awkwardness, extended yourself to others, discovered common...

Sep 26, 2019 - Amy Norton

Dear United Parish Family, 

Three weeks ago, we welcomed back our beloved Minister of Music, Susan DeSelms, from her sabbatical. This Sunday, we will get to hear from Susan as she reflects on her sabbatical experience, and the purpose (and importance) of sabbath. Susan writes:

As most of you know, from May 1 through September 1, I took a Sabbatical with the generous support of the United Parish community and our volunteer and professional musicians. Without hesitation, and with...

Sep 19, 2019 - Kent French

Jesus spent a lot of his ministry teaching in parables (the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, the Sheep and the Goats), which sounds all ho-hum and "of course" until you realize that parables are anything but clear. They are head-scratchers, puzzling little fables, metaphorical examples.

Parables are the Christian version of Zen koans, those paradoxical riddles or sayings meant to defy logic and provoke enlightenment (for example, What is the sound of one hand clapping?).


Sep 12, 2019 - Amy Norton

Dear United Parish Family,

This week's Scripture reading comes from Paul's letter to Timothy:

I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I...

Sep 05, 2019 - Kent French

REMEMBER: This Sunday, September 8, we resume 11am worship, in the Sanctuary (see full schedule below)

In the 14th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus serves up some unsparing instructions about what it means to follow him. Essentially, he says you cannot be his disciple if you are not willing to: ...

Aug 29, 2019 - Amy Norton

Dear United Parish Family,

Hard to believe we're approaching our last Sunday of Summer Worship down in Willett Hall! I've been trying to avoid the 's-word' (September, of course) for as long as possible, but it is now undeniably upon us!

For our last day of our Milestones in our Faith Summer Worship Series, we'll be hearing from United Parish Member Matt Weber, as he traces his faith journey through faith and doubt, navigating the relationship between "truth" and "fact," and...

Aug 22, 2019 - Amy Norton

Greetings to you, and peace, from the One who is, and was, and is to come!

Ever get the feeling that you're being watched? Either in the prickling-hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck kind of way, or even in The Truman Show kind of way...probably not a great feeling. Ever get the feeling that you're being watched over? Those moments when you think "wow, my guardian angel must have been watching over me just then" or "...

Aug 15, 2019 - Kent French

common art is an art studio for unhoused and low income people, which takes place weekly at Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street. Many of you recall past summer and autumn Sundays when we have invited artists from the studio to join us in worship and sell their works afterwards. 

Two of our members, Alicia Hsu and Terry Bruce, were so inspired by the work and...

Aug 08, 2019 - Kent French

Have you ever been in the midst of a group of people and felt totally alone? Maybe you’re an introvert and this happens all the time. Maybe you’re shy. Maybe you had something personally troubling going on, or maybe you needed to be around people, but just not interact with them too much. 

Psychological research tells us that all humans need a mix of autonomy, a sense that we can do it by ourselves, and relationality, an...