Pastors' Blog

Feb 03, 2022 - Thomas Mitchell

Happy Friday, y’all!

In my last semester of divinity school, I’ve decided to dedicate more time to reading for myself, rather than just for class. Most recently, I finished Wholehearted Faith, Rachel Held Evans’ posthumously published book that was partially finished by her dear friend Jeff Chu. The last chapter of the book, “Dwelling In Sabbath,” includes...

Jan 27, 2022 - Amy Norton

Dear Beloveds,

As I pondered and planned my installation service, I thought about the passage from Ecclesiastes that our children studied and sang during our 2020 Epiphany Term: "for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven". An installation liturgy is a beautiful way to bless and affirm the start of a new ministry covenant. And yet here we...

Jan 19, 2022 - Amy Norton

Dear Ones,

I've been thinking a lot about persistence lately. In their book, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, authors Emily and Amelia Nagoski reflect on the ways that persistence can be both a strength and a disadvantage, especially for women and people of other marginalized identities. Our sacred stories are filled with persistent women: Hannah, the Caananite woman encountering Jesus, Martha, Mary Magdalene...

Jan 13, 2022 - Kent French

We hail the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior, as perhaps the greatest American prophet. A prophet being "an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God," and in the biblical sense, God's spokesperson holding people in power accountable to God's will.

We have watched in the 54 years since Dr. King's murder, as his image and memory have been iconized, beatified and even sanitized to become like a marble statue locked into our nation's memorial gallery of cultural heroes...

Jan 06, 2022 - Thomas Mitchell


I hope that you’re all doing as well as you can amid this time of uncertainty and new beginnings. We’ll continue our Zoom worship services this Sunday with a retelling of the story of the Magi visiting Jesus and of their decision to return home by another way. We will also celebrate the joyful feast that is Communion!

The story of the journey of the Magi only appears in the Gospel of Matthew, yet its significance cannot be understated. As we encounter this story again...

Dec 29, 2021 - Kent French

From our Church Council:

Dear United Parish Family,

As 2021 draws to a close, we want to take a moment to reflect on the incredible efforts of our staff and ministry teams, and the amazing ways God has moved among us these past twelve months.

For many of us it has been a trying year, and this is not where we expected or hoped to be nearly two years into the pandemic. We did not anticipate another Christmas Eve with virtual worship as a new variant surges, filling our...

Dec 22, 2021 - Kent French

Out of an abundance of caution, we will hold our Christmas Eve worship online. Our staff reached this decision in consultation with our Reopening Team, other pastoral colleagues and houses of faith and in evaluating the latest public health news. Our worship will be live-streamed on our YouTube channel. We are monitoring our own internal COVID rapid testing among staff and choir to determine who will participate....

Dec 15, 2021 - Amy Norton

Dear Ones,

Advent IV is upon us again, the Sunday where we help re-tell the story of the first Christmas (which, like our pageant, was unrehearsed). We'll hear the call of the angels, follow the star to Bethlehem, pay homage to the infant Christ, and return home by another way.

One of my favorite lines in the Christmas Story is "But Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart."

In these few short days before Christmas, I invite you to do some pondering...

Dec 09, 2021 - Kent French

This Sunday, we'll hear the familiar, heartwarming, central core of the Nativity story (Luke 2:1-7) -- a very pregnant Mary and loyal Joseph trekking some 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be counted in the Roman census. Google maps says it's about a 33-hour walk. And there, likely exhausted, with no place to stay, she gave birth.

We cozy up to this central story of our faith. We tell it again in charming...

Dec 02, 2021 - Amy Norton

This week we continue to celebrate Advent alongside the launching of our Negro Spirituals Royalties Project (more info here). We will center both our Sunday morning and Tuesday midweek worship around four spirituals: 1. Mary Had a Baby  2. ...