A place of anger as well as grief

Andrea Ayvazian


by Rev. Andrea Ayvazian Haydenville Congregational Church Friday, June 17, 2016   On Monday evening, our church in Haydenville held a service in response to the shootings in Orlando. There were readings, prayers and much weeping. After a time of silence, Pastor Chris Mereschuk passed around a basket filled with 49 strips of paper, each with the name of someone who was killed in Orlando written on it, and their age.   We took the strips of paper as the basket was passed through the pews, and ...

The Orlando Shootings - A Pastoral Letter from Jim Antal

Jim Antal


Since we awoke yesterday, we have all had heavy hearts.  Our Sunday worship services offered many of us an opportunity to lift up to God’s compassion all who have been personally touched by the most horrific mass killing in American history.  Here is a prayer offered at Old South Church Boston.  Here is a statement by the UCC Open and Affirming Coalition and the UCC's National Officers.   I was with our UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer on Sunday morning when we got news of this ...

Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas


Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, June 12, 2016. Delivered by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Ashfield, MA. 1 Kings 21:1-21a Psalm 5:1-8 Galatians 2:15-21 Luke 7:36-8:3 “Naboth said to Ahab, ‘The LORD forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.’” (1 Kings 21:3) What a blessing to be with you today!  Thank you, Eliot, for welcoming me as preacher and celebrant for this special service that brings together the congregations of St. John’s ...

Standing in Prayer with My Hands Behind My Back

Rob Mark


by Rev. Rob Mark Pastor, Church of the Covenant, Boston At the end of most worship services at Covenant, I tend to stand with other worship leaders at the back of the sanctuary while Tom unfurls another spirited postlude on the Welte-Tripp. And most often I find myself standing with my hands behind my back, stole dangling in front, lovingly looking over the gathered community and giving thanks. This past week on May 25, I stood also with my hands behind my back and stole dangling in front, ...

Singing For Our Lives

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas


The day before I got arrested, I woke up singing. “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around, turn me around, turn me around. Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around." Arrested in West Roxbury (photo credit:  Robert A. Jonas) Resolve filled me as I sang my way through the tasks of the day, preparing for the morrow. Do you want to gather your courage? Lift your spirits? Find your true north? Stay the course? You get there by singing. On the day I was arrested, I sang. We all sang. On May 25, a crowd...

Sanctuary UCC journey shows power in collective

Wendy Vander Hart


The brave, faithful members and leaders of Sanctuary United Church of Christ revealed what it means to be church this weekend in an article beautifully written for the Boston Globe by Lisa Wangsness (with photographs by Dina Rudick).  It is all there – the tenderness, the angst, the compassion, the passive aggressive behavior, the asking good questions, the looking for quick fixes, the trial, the error, the mistakes, the forgiveness, the death, the hope.  You know what I am talking about right? ...

Faith Leaders Communicating on Climate - New Video from Jim Antal

Jim Antal


Dear UCC Colleagues and Friends,   On this series of wonderful spring days, I’m reminded of the beauty and inestimable worth of God’s great gift of creation.   As an expression of our covenant with God, with future generations and with all of creation, here are just a few suggestions for action and resources:   WATCH THIS: Here’s a link to an article on How Faith Leaders Can Tell the Story of Climate Change as an Opportunity for the Church.  The article features a 4 ½ minute video which Tiffany...

Making Congregations Greener

The Parish Paper


The celebration of Earth Day began in 1970 and has now spread to 192 countries. The early organizers could not imagine that almost fifty years later environmental issues would remain challenging, emotional, and controversial. However, for faith communities, the concept of caring for all creation fits with the Gospel message of assuming responsibility for what God has given us. How much have congregations embraced the practices of refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle?   Beginning Steps Making the ...

How Do New People Hear About Your Church?

The Parish Paper


When asked, “How did you first find out about this congregation?” visitors give surprisingly diverse answers. Because not all visitors are seeking the same thing, their path to your church door reflects their specific needs and interests. Thus, congregations need multiple strategies to publicize and promote their presence in the community.   Types of New There are three major types of potential members in your community and they usually have a variety of methods for seeking you out.   ...

Recommended reading: The Pollinator

Jim Antal


Leading the national setting of the UCC as our Minister of Environmental Justice is the Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt.  From time to time he assembles excellent material on climate and environmental activism and witness.  It’s called THE POLLINATOR.  If you’re not already a subscriber, I would encourage you to do so – and also I would encourage you to invite your congregation to do so as well. Sign up to receive the Pollinator newsletter. Earth Day blessings and hope,   Jim  

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