How many times have I heard myself say, "I've been thinking about you and meaning to check in…" or "You've been on my mind and I've been meaning to ask..."
The ellipses symbolize the main objective for our September sermon series, titled "I've Been Meaning to Ask": to cultivate deeper relationships to God and to one another through meaningful and authentic conversations.
During the pandemic, many of us have experienced a general sense of disconnection as we literally placed partitions between us and the rest of the world. Not only have we been physically divided, but our culture has also become increasingly divided -- divided along lines of politics, social class, generation, and race. It's now possible to live your life in a silo, interacting only with people of your age, race, political persuasion, and income level. You can even curate your news feed to show only articles that align with your beliefs! The Church, however, is one of the few intergenerational communities left where people of different ideas, abilities, and backgrounds come together to live life together.
So each Sunday, we'll be asking a question that will stir meaningful conversations at Church and in your small groups to connect us with God through authentic relationships with one another:
By the time you receive this, I will be on my way to Minnesota to visit my dear friend from seminary, Rev. Mariah Tollgaard, whom you heard preach at my installation in February. This will be my last Sunday away before our regular fall programming kicks off, and then you’ll be stuck with me through Christmas!
Though I will not be with you in body this Sunday, I will be worshipping with you online because I’m so excited to hear Rev. Dr. Sarah Allen preach this Sunday. Dr. Allen is the Director of the Doctor of Ministry and Supervised Practice of Ministry programs at Austin Seminary and is ordained in the Presbyterian Church, USA. We have been blessed to have her family of 5 worshipping with us these past months and to have them as part of our community.
Speaking of community, I’m so excited for our fall sermon series on community, and the community we will be building in our small groups. After hours of logistical gymnastics by Jan Austin-Scott and Mark Simoneau, we just have a few final details to confirm, but we can tell you that:
This Sunday, please join us for a wonderful morning of celebrations!
During our 10 a.m. Worship Service, we will have a special time of Blessing for those beginning a new school year - students, teachers, and school staff. All are invited to bring a backpack or school bag, and any other teaching tools that you would like to have blessed during the service.
Let's help our neighbors by bringing school supplies to donate to area schools. We want to help everyone have the best start possible to their school year - bring ANY school supply to donate during the month of August!
After the worship service, please stay as we celebrate the new school year with our Second Sunday Social: Splash-Party Edition! Bring clothes you can splash around in, a towel, and lunch or snack for your family. The church will provide the water and some fun water-play activities. We hope you'll stay to play, snack, and socialize with our church family!!!
Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!
With love, always,
This Sunday, August 7th, we will celebrate Pride Sunday at UCC. While celebrating Pride Sunday is not a new thing for our congregation, celebrating it as an out, queer woman is new for me. When I began attending this church in 2008, I knew it was a special place. The sense of community, the amazing children’s programs, the true feeling of welcome and inclusion, were like nothing I had ever experienced anywhere before. I loved being a part of a church that had a clearly written open and affirming statement...what a welcome to all!
After attending for several years, I was so proud of the intentional work put into expanding that open and affirming statement. The work put into making the statement more inclusive and welcoming, showed that our congregation believes very much in the phrase “God is still speaking.” We are a congregation that continues to show welcome and love, because we are willing to continue to learn and grow in our faith.
This extravagant welcome and continued focus on what it means to be a child of God, is what helped me to learn to know myself better. I am grateful for a God that loves me "no matter who I am, or where I am on life’s journey.” What a privilege that the church where I am encouraged to serve, worship, and practice my faith, is one of such love, welcome, and radical hospitality. Thank you all for loving me into being, I look forward to sharing more of my story this Sunday!
Pastor Meghan Dever
Director of Youth Ministries