Pastoral Series

Church Matters: The Shadow of Hope

   We have the great fortune to be able to gather this evening at 7pm to meet and listen to Austin Channing Brown, one of the freshest voices on what ails our society and church I’ve heard in a long time. She explains how dealing with race can be exhausting for everyone, how white privilege…

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Church Matters: People

   We are blessed to be able to livestream our services. Shut-ins, folks who are out of town or hospitalized are able to participate, which means so much. But a few months back, I spoke with a guy who’d just discovered we livestream. “That’s great!” he said. “I don’t have to show up over here…

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Church Matters: Buildings

   Why does Church matter? Lots of reasons – and in this series I hope to help us think together about how engaging with others enriches our own life of faith and makes a difference in the world. Lots of kids learn to do the little thing where they fold their hands together and say…

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Prayer/Church Matters: A New Series!

  After months of sending you emails about prayer, and just relating to God in various ways, I am shifting my focus here in early 2019 to “Church Matters.” In our worship services, during December we fixed our attention on the coming of Christ, Emmanuel, “God with us.” God indeed is with us. And if…

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Prayer: Gratitude, Commitment and Freedom

   When I started out in ministry, quite a few churches had “Watch Night” services – on New Year’s Eve. Puzzled on learning this, I asked an older pastor friend why we would do such a thing. He chuckled and said “Keeps people from drinking too much.” There are better answers. John Wesley gathered as…

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Prayer: The Days of Christmas

My family: we’re the oddballs who steadfastly refuse to whisk away all signs of Christmas on the 26th. The “twelve days of Christmas” isn’t just a kooky song. It’s a historic observance of the first days of the life of Jesus – culminating in Epiphany, January 6, the traditional date on which the magi appeared…

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Prayer: My Christmas Message to You

   It seems like I should have some special Christmas message for you, my Church family. It could be simple, like Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in Meet Me in St. Louis. All the music of Christmas moves me – so much so that I wrote a little book about sacred…

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Prayer: Longest night

   Tomorrow marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Or the longest night. Many churches have “Longest Night” services during Advent, remembering those who grieve a loss during this season. It’s not a coincidence that Christmas falls so close to this longest night. We have no idea on which day Jesus was…

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Prayer: Watch

   A friend sent me a Christmas card the other day, with these thoughtful words from John Henry Newman enclosed: “They watch for Christ who are sensitive, eager, apprehensive in mind, who are awake, alive, quick-sighted, zealous in honoring him, who look for him in all that happens, and who would not be surprised, who…

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Prayer: Good Company

  Mary, barely able to absorb the news of her destiny, went on a long, arduous journey to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth. Eighty miles it is from Nazareth to Ein Kerem, where this elegant statue commemorates her visit. Fascinating: facing the most daunting time of her life, she doesn’t hole up in the house, but…

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