Rev. William Sloane Coffin once said "Churches
are in the love business - if we're out of love,
we're out of business." That statement is,
at once, so obvious and so profound!
In the life of a church, love really is the
measure of our wealth, and what we do with our
love really is the measure of our success! This
is a loving, lively congregation, and we welcome
you to join us.
The ministry of the Church belongs to the whole
congregation, and God has blessed every
disciple with gifts for ministry. Here at the
First Congregational Church, I am blessed to
serve as the Pastor. My job is to encourage
each member of the church to develop their
sense of discipleship, and equipping the congregation
for its ministry. Opportunities to pray, learn,
sing, laugh, dream and act, dare to disagree
and chance forgiveness equip and strengthen
us for discipleship every day. While
Sunday worship is the most obvious place that
those things happen, every time that the church
gathers (committee meetings, Bible study, fundraising,
fellowship, outreach) is an opportunity to grow
in faith. When we put God first, everything
that we do becomes an act of prayer.
Sunday morning worship is the gathering time
in the life of our church family, when we come
together for prayer and reflection and companionship
around Christ's table. The comfort of tradition;
prayers that are written on our hearts, beloved
hymns, a beautiful and familiar liturgy can
enable us to fully relax into the rhythm of
worshipping God, even as new ideas and unfamiliar
worship experiences refresh our spiritual lives.
Our monthly Taize service is beautiful and contemplative.
A strong religious education for children, youth
and adults is an important ministry here at
the First Congregational Church. Opportunities
to learn and to share help people of all ages
to identify more closely with the Gospel message.
Faith is a journey, for which we all need nourishment
and companionship. Understanding our faith story
and finding within it a message for our own
lives is a life-long adventure. Gathering a
small group around shared interest, such as
scripture, or hot topics, or lively books helps
us to learn and to grow in faith and find belonging
within the church family. There is always something
interesting going on here! Adult education opportunities
are offered by lay people as well as by me.
There is a well-known saying that 'the church
exists by mission as a fire exists by burning'.
How true that statement is! A sense of purpose
is vital to our church life. Most people want
to reach out and just need help figuring out
how! With time, talent and treasure, our congregation
reaches out generously to a wide range of local,
homeland and global missions.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. summed up Jesus'
call to every one of us who love him;
"Everybody can be great because anybody
can serve. You don't have to have a college
degree to serve. You don't have to make
your subject and verb agree to serve. You
don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle
to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's
theory of relativity to serve. You don't
have to know the second theory of thermo-dynamics
to serve. You only need a heart full of
grace. A soul generated by love."
With hearts full of grace, and souls generated
by love our possibilities for ministry in Christ's
name are as endless as promising as his love
for us. Thanks be to God.