Pastors' Blog

Nov 07, 2019 - Kent French

This past week I attended a long-awaited clergy conference sponsored by the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ (PBUCC). It’s called CREDO. “Credo,” is Latin for “I believe,” or even “I give my heart to…”

The conference was an intentional six-day period for church pastors to assess the different aspects of their lives: vocational, spiritual, physical, psychological and financial. There are...

Oct 31, 2019 - Amy Norton

Zacchaeus was a wee little manAnd a wee little man was heHe climbed up in a sycamore treeFor the Lord he wanted to see

And when the Savior passed that wayHe looked up in the treeAnd said, 'Zacchaeus, you come down!For I'm going to your house today!For I'm going to your house today!'

Zacchaeus was a wee little manBut a happy man was he...

Oct 23, 2019 - Kent French

This Sunday, we continue exploring some of Jesus' parables in the Gospel of Luke.

This week's parable (Luke 18:9-14), is about a righteous Pharisee and a worldly tax-collector praying side-by-side. The Pharisee is giving thanks for how pious and holy he is, while the tax-collector is asking for mercy and fessing up to his imperfections. Jesus observes that the tax-collector ...

Oct 17, 2019 - Amy Norton

When I was 3 or 4 years old and my mother was feeling particularly exasperated by her argumentative, persistent first-born, she would often sigh and say "God, give me patience." She later recounted to me one instance when she sighed in frustration...and then heard my little voice chime in, "Talk to God, mommy!"

Prayer is how we talk to God, and as anyone can tell you, communication is key to any healthy relationship, be it romantic, familial, platonic, or divine. 

...

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?).

One...

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: ...

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