Pastors' Blog

Mar 26, 2020 - Kent French

On March 18, Matt Crebbin, a United Church of Christ pastor in Newtown, Connecticut, published a piece on our UCC conference website titled “Lessons from Ministry in the Midst of a Disaster.” Matt is the pastor of the First Congregational Church (UCC) in Newtown and was serving there during the Sandy Hook school...

Mar 19, 2020 - Kent French

When our Discernment & Engagement and Adult Deepening (in Christian Faith) Teams decided on a Lenten theme of “Discernment: Finding Clarity in the Chaos,” we had no idea just how chaotic it would become.

From a God's-eye perspective, this is a truly historic time for humanity. The news and health precautions are changing minute by minute. A tiny, nearly invisible virus is wreaking social and economic havoc all over the globe. To some public health officials, it’s not surprising....

Mar 12, 2020 - Amy Norton

Dear Ones,

What a week it has been! For updates on how United Parish is responding and adapting to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, click here, and to read God's take on anxious and scary situations such as these, click here, and...

Mar 05, 2020 - Jaz Buchanan

As Jesus traveled, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Martha spent the afternoon cooking and cleaning for Jesus so that he may eat a delicious, nourishing meal. Martha’s sister, Mary, however, sat at Jesus’s feet and listened to him instead of helping Martha. Filled with resentment, Martha marched over to Jesus and Mary and said to Jesus, “Do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me.” Jesus...

Feb 27, 2020 - Kent French

There's a fairly well-known story from the Hebrew scripture about the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-18). He has been speaking truth to power, which is what prophets are called to do. In this case, it's to the evil Queen Jezebel and King Ahab, who have forgotten their relationship with God. They are chasing after Elijah and he is literally running for his life.

After a full day's journey running in the wilderness, he is...

Feb 20, 2020 - Amy Norton

Dear United Parish Family,

On Presidents' Day, I went to see the movie Just Mercy. Without spoiling anything, there was a quote at the end that stuck with me: "Hope allows us to push forward, even when the truth is distorted by the people in power." It resonated with me for many reasons, one of which was that it seemed very fitting for this Sunday's scripture reading(s)!

From 2 Peter 1:16-21 (...

Feb 13, 2020 - Kent French

One of the things I’ve learned in parish ministry is that effective, skillful communication can be hard. Not just in how to get the word out about our multiple activities and what’s happening in different areas of a vibrant congregation — that’s challenging enough. But what it means to communicate in consistently healthy, kind, caring, loving ways, especially when our feelings or egos get in the way.

As I often say, we all bring our “stuff" to church, by which I mean our...

Feb 06, 2020 - Amy Norton

Dear United Parish Family,

Over the past 6 weeks, our children and youth (and teachers and staff) have embarked on our second ever Epiphany Term! The Church School teachers have been using a curriculum created by members of our Children & Youth Deepening Ministry Team that explores Jesus' parables and the lessons we learn through stories. These lessons have been centered around learning how we always have a chance to start again, how a small person can make a BIG difference,...

Jan 30, 2020 - Kent French

Last Sunday, we talked about discipleship as an adventure in faith. Many thanks to those of you who emailed your post-Sunday thoughts to me about what adventure looks like to you. I am enjoying reading them.

This Sunday, we will welcome an inspiring adventurer in faith and a good friend of United Parish, André de Quadros. As he likes to put it, he is an "admirer" who is "inspired by the vision" of our...

Jan 23, 2020 - Kent French

Imagine if you were at work one day, minding your own business, copying something on the photocopier, when a man walks up to you and says something like, "Follow me and I will make you copy joy and love wherever you go." It could be any setting: shopping for groceries, getting on the bus, seeing patients or clients, teaching students, washing windows. You're just going about your daily life and it gets interrupted by an invitation, changing your course forever.

What would cause you to...

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