Pastors' Blog

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...

Jan 15, 2020 - Amy Norton

Dear United Parish Family,

This Sunday, we have the joy of celebrating our confirmation class and the educational and spiritual journey they have taken.

Over the past church 'semester,' our confirmation class has been diving into some pretty big questions: 

What is faith?

Who is God?

Who is Jesus?

What is the Holy Spirit?

What does it mean to be a Christian in the world?

What does it mean to be a Christian at United Parish?


Jan 09, 2020 - Jaz Buchanan

This Sunday, we will remember Matthew’s account of Jesus’s baptism (Matthew 3:13-17), together. If you have ever asked yourself, why did Jesus need to be baptized when he is the son of God? You are not alone! I ask myself that, too.

I do not have the answer, but as I prepare a message for all of us to engage with and think about, I think Jesus’s baptism boils down to humility. Perhaps, even more importantly, his...

Jan 02, 2020 - Kent French

It is likely that you do not have the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6) written, typed in or pre-printed in your calendar. No worries. We've been celebrating it regularly here at United Parish, like a lot of other churches, on the Sunday closest to the date. It hasn't quite caught on in the rest of our culture.

It marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas and commemorates the familiar story of the Magi, or wise ones, following a bright star, meeting the baby Jesus and his parents and...

Dec 28, 2019 - Kent French

Happy Fourth Day of Christmas!

A few weeks ago, when we entered the season of Advent and began those four weeks leading up to Christmas, we were very intentional about not bursting into Christmas carols right away. We do have a weekly dose of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," the echt-Advent carol, because in keeping with the season, it anticipates Christ's coming. Since the broader culture is already loudly playing both sacred and secular Christmas season tunes, it seems a little counter-...

Dec 19, 2019 - 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 12, 2019 - Kent French

Have you ever been given a challenge or a task or asked to do something and you really thought, “I just can’t. I don’t have the bandwidth, I’m not capable enough. This never worked in the past.” And then, for some reason, you give in. You try it out. You “lean in,” as we like to say and respond, “Yes, Ok. Let it be with me.”

And it ended up being hard. It was challenging. And somehow, you made it through — probably with some unexpected and welcome help. Sometimes...