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The Congregationalist March 2019

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MARCH 2019 VOL 171 NO 1 Toward a Congregational Missiology WHAT IS A Congregational Church CHRISTIAN UNITY Achieved Published by the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches c o n g r e g a t i o n a l i s t o r g

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We ve changed our look Not our mission We have a new contemporary look to our name But our focus remains the same helping the men and women who serve God envision what is financially possible for their lives now and in the future Let s get started BENEFITS AND RETIREMENT PLANS CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM PROFESSIONALS TEN FUNDS COMPETITIVE RETURNS FREE UNBIASED ADVICE mmbb org 800 986 6222 The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board

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Table of CONTENTS Features 6 10 14 16 18 20 22 24 27 28 29 Toward a Congregationalist Missiology ON THE COVER Newfield Community Church Winter 2018 What is a Congregational Church Photo by Tayt Dame Providence Endowment Buckles Aprons and the Plymouth Golden Thread Same Date Three Convocations Prophecy Revealed to Me Departments Christian Unity Achieved A Labor of Love Quiet Day Retreat Form An Easter Hope 65th AMC Speakers 4 11 12 23 23 30 31 OUR VOYAGE TOGETHER Christ is Risen ALONG THE WAY NEWS AND NEEDS LETTERS TO THE EDITOR NECROLOGY PASTORATES AND PULPITS CALENDAR EDITORIAL STATEMENT All content in The Congregationalist appears by the authority of the editor We reserve freedom of expression to our authors and freedom of opinion to our readers Except for service information clearly sponsored by the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches NACCC or its component parts content does not necessarily reflect policies and opinions of the NACCC Neither The Congregationalist nor the NACCC has a creed or holds positions on social or theological issues but we recognize the authority of each local church to do so for itself if and as it wishes and we encourage thoughtful and respectful discussion of our agreements and differences

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OUR Voyage TOGETHER By Michael Chittum Executive Director National Association of Congregational Christian Churches CHRIST IS RISEN Christ is Risen indeed M any years ago as I was serving as the pastor of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Wichita Kansas I experienced what was for me one of the most meaningful services on Easter Sunday morning We had had the usual services during Holy Week On Thursday evening we did a Maundy Thursday service On Friday we observed a Good Friday service Howard Webb our choir director and I knew though as meaningful as those services were only a fraction of the people attended them as compared to Palm Sunday worship with its emphasis on the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and as compared to the crowd for Easter 4 morning worship with its emphasis on the Resurrection So we decided to add to the usual elements of an Easter Sunday morning worship service to help communicate the full range of events and emotions of Holy Week Our Easter morning worship was packed with families all dressed in their Easter best The service began with me reading the ending part of the account of the crucifixion narrative from Luke s gospel Then one of our sopranos stood at the front of the sanctuary and sang Were you There I then read the opening of the resurrection narrative from Luke s gospel 24 1 5 When I finished reading the words He is not here but he has risen the organ began playing Up From the Grave He Arose as the choir processed in singing that hymn with all of the congregation joining in song That Easter service helped me remember the power and the hope of God at work in our world even in the most hopeless situations In this Easter season may you also be strengthened and comforted by that reality Christ is Risen Christ is Risen indeed Blessings Michael

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HOSTED BY THE OHIO ASSOCIATION JUNE 22 25 2019 Cleveland Airport Marriott u Cleveland Ohio Rev Dr Brett Younger Bible Lecturer Rev John Tamilio III Ph D Congregational Lecturer For registration forms www naccc org

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Toward a Gaius Glenn Atkins A Congregational Our way is an incarnational way Our way is an adaptable way Our way is a lived way The Congregational Way is nothing if not the life on life incarnate visible demonstration of the truth the way and the life of Jesus in the world and among us I m convinced that our way has deeper insights into Christian missiology than others credit and perhaps even than we know of ourselves Faith Freedom Fellowship undergirds my philosophy and practice of mission My wife and I founded a vibrant and growing ministry in Haiti called Supply and Multiply which is inherently Congregational It is rooted in cross cultural relationships It is essentially indigenous It couldn t be less denominational I ve been a decidedly Congregational and decidedly outreach oriented pastor for several years at the same time Supply and Multiply is the outgrowth of a life following Jesus simply and reaching out relationally I am a missiologist in the most practical sense of the word I really do this stuff and The Congregational Way not only informs but frames my missiology On December 19 1909 at First Congregational Church of Detroit Pastor Gaius Glenn Atkins proclaimed We want our truth made incarnate not only because life is the best demonstration and passion is the best logic but because truth once made incarnate is stated in terms which are forever intelligible 1 We are the present tense passionate living breathing incarnation of Jesus in the world The Congregational Way is inherently missiological 6 Faith Who better than followers of Jesus who do so as pilgrim followers of The Congregational Way to carry the message of Christ to the nations and our neighbors Why has the missional aspect of our way been obscured when we carry it so simply and have the capacity to offer it in such straightforward terms Followers of our ways championed bringing the Gospel message to bear in the real affairs of the world when champions of social justice like Washington Gladden worked to promote and spoke to proclaim The relation of Social Science to Christianity is in fact the relation of an offspring to its parent Social Science is the child of Christianity The national and international associations that are so diligently studying the things that make for human welfare in sociality are as distinctly the products of Christianity as is the American Board of Missions 2 For any missiology to be properly oriented in the direction of biblical inspiration historic Christianity and godly adherence Christ and His Gospel must be at the center The Christian approach is of course the Way the Truth and the Life of Jesus Christ 3 Our way is a way consistent with those earliest Christians who followed Christ who suffered martyrdom in His name and believed in the efficacy of the suffering of Christ so deeply so as to warrant their own collective and personal suffering to further His name Our way speaks as directly to a missional way in the world as it did in Gladden s day We continue to be a people deeply concerned with applying Christianity in direct terms to the world around us The Congregational Way has informed our missionary work in Haiti in ways directly Matthew 28 is our aim and Matthew 25 is our method We proclaim Christ in our acts of compassion kindness and bringing godly justice to bear in the lives of the poor and forgotten We proclaim Christ in our words on the platform of an applied Christianity Brothers and Sisters a plain vocal proclamation of the Gospel that Jesus died for sinners and a spoken invitation to receive the redemption offered in Jesus by faith compliments a desire to act justly and live like Jesus in the world because We are never really renewed until we are renewed in ours 4 What s more it is inherent to our way The work of Christ on our behalf was potent beyond all other because His love was the most sincere His selfrenunciation the most complete His sympathetic participation in the world s pain and shame the most acute In his desire for our redemption He became obedient unto death even the death of the Cross it was the completeness of His devotion to our interests and to the will of the Heavenly Father which brought Him to Calvary 5 Our historic understanding of an applied faith informs a missiology which is replete with reasons to receive our Gospel In Haiti I m all the time telling mission team members that the only way to find the endurance for long term work

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Missiology By Chris Surber in the desperate details of Haiti is to accept that the world really is this broken and that we as the living passionate incarnation of Christ to world must wade through the brokenness in deep relationship with people We aren t here to check project list boxes or to do parachute drop ministry and run back to the comforts of America No Christ is most well and perhaps only authentically expressed in covenant community And that is as true at Mt Hope in Livonia as it is in the dirt street alleys of Montrouis Haiti Our handling of the Gospel when it is a valid expression of The Congregational Way is demonstrated and therefore intelligible It is inherently a life on life expression of divinely inspired healing interaction which is burning with the compassion of Christ Freedom Woven right into the fabric of our identity is adaptability No family of churches has rolled with the punches of shifting culture societal and theological trends more than followers of Jesus living out The Congregational Way When I first came into Congregational churches I wondered if our diversity was our detriment We put up such a big tent that I wondered if our broadness would necessarily crowd out the Gospel In the years since then I ve discovered the opposite to be true though I remain concerned that our greatest strength has the capacity to become our greatest weakness When freedom in Christ becomes license to abandon the simplest commands of Christ our ideals can lull us to sleep when it comes to intentionality in missions Making room for various views of the Kingdom can never become license to ignore what is perhaps the clearest command regarding the Kingdom to declare it s King to the world Lecturing on missions in the nave of Westminster Abby on the evening of December 3 1873 Professor Max Muller stated the following with clarity Let missionaries preach the Gospel again as it was preached when it began the conquest of the Roman Empire and the Gothic nations when it had to struggle with powers and principalities with time honored religions and triumphant philosophies with pride of civilizations and savagery of life and yet came out victorious At that time conversion was not a question to be settled by the acceptance or rejection of certain formulas or articles a simple prayer was often enough God be merciful to me a sinner 6 Who proclaims unity in diversity more loudly than adherents of The Congregational Way So long as we cling to the simplest purest historical and biblical truths our diversity is the very thing that secures a well considered and properly articulated Congregational Missiology a head chair at the table of any discussion of Christian missions Our way is inherently undenominational and as such we ought to be more free than any other movement to cling to the simplicity of the biblical Gospel alone I m a practical missiologist I m a missionary I ve found there to be a great deal of rigidity found among a broad range of missionaries It s to be expected God s call to missionary work is usually heard most clearly by people of strong convictions Wishy washy people don t tend toward bold and courageous actions It takes conviction to personally interact with victims of homelessness on the streets of Detroit or to lock eyes with orphans in Port Au Prince Missionaries are often formed in Christian traditions which promote a heavily rigid way of thinking doctrinally Life on the mission field wherever it is found is difficult Consequently many people take spiritual psychological and emotional shelter in unbending patterns of thought The trouble is that perhaps nothing hinders a missionary s effectiveness more than a lack of adaptability Mental spiritual and emotional elasticity is crucial to every aspect of mission work Learning another language at a high level requires entrance into another culture Language nuance is bound tightly to the culture in which it is spoken Interacting effectively with people who don t think like you requires what may appear to outsiders to be an absurd amount of empathy and understanding Rigid thinking does not lend itself well to effective mission work Ministering cross culturally must be adaptable nonjudgmental and relatable An adaptable missiology the kind that flows naturally from our culture and heritage has incarnational impact that rigidity simply cannot Rigidity reinforces opposition to the Gospel bearer and the Continued 7

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Congregational Missiology Gospel while adaptability allows for the creation of life on life relationships A lot of people want strict adherence to rules and regulations when it comes to programs of Christian discipleship patterns of local outreach or participation in global evangelism and foreign mission I ve experienced and witnessed a great deal more value and lasting spiritual and material fruit flow out of authentic community life In Haiti we take people on mission who barely know Jesus and watch Christ life come alive in them In Church discipleship we steer people toward a Holy Spirit led personal and communal search of the Scriptures and watch people become personal students of God s Word and imitators of Jesus in the world Freedom to follow Jesus is an invitation to a hurting world to find lasting hope Fellowship The essence of our way is life on life connection A lot of Christians are gravitating toward this notion because it is seen as inherently missional incarnational and consequently life giving But these ideas aren t a new discovery They are just a new articulation of truths that have been present among Congregationalists from the time of the English Reformation Congregational missiologists have something of great value to share with this generation Ours is a life giving way with roots The Congregational Way is inherently incarnational Covenant connection not contrived community is central to our way Our way is living breathing moving because it is essentially voluntary Our churches partner with one another out of a voluntary conviction that two are better than one Our members voluntarily associate with one another because we recognize that where two or more are gathered Christ is there with us I m suggesting that it s time for us to restate reshape and reimagine a robust conversation as to a Congregational Missiology My wife and I planted a seed in Haiti wrapped up in Congregational identity and are watching it flourish Our Haitian church and community investments and partnerships couldn t be more cross denominational Our supporters and friends in America come from every corner of Christendom We re seeing that plant in Haiti coming back to America by way of seeds of similar content in the hearts of mission team members who have tasted its fruit in Haiti Gaius Glenn Atkins Things That Remain First Congregational Church Detroit 1910 85 Washington Gladden Applied Christianity Houghton Mifflin and Company Boston and New York 1886 215 3 Gaius Glenn Atkins Preaching and the Mind of Today Round Table Press INC New York 1934 135 4 Gaius Glenn Atkins The Godward Side of Life The Pilgrim Press Boston and Chicago 1917 93 5 Charles Reynolds Brown Why I Believe in Religion The Macmillan Company New York 1924 68 This book is comprised of the Washington Gladden lectures delivered in First Congregational Church of Columbus Ohio in 1923 6 Arthur Stanley On Missions Scribner Armstrong and Company New York 1874 64 65 7 Gaius Glenn Atkins The Undiscovered Country Fleming H Revell Company New York 1922 180 81 and want to find its sweet savor at home The Congregational Way is not easy to pin down to one concrete set of dogmas or definitions yet it is visible A Congregational missiology is fluid and moving like a river winding into a nearly unpassable valley That is because our way reflects the very heart of the Kingdom Jesus proclaimed and we live out It was a kingdom of insights and ideals and the true understanding of prevailing forces a kingdom of visions and incarnate love It was for the moment real only in a life and words which had been sown as seed across the fields in the souls of fishermen and tax gatherers Surely there was never so strange a kingdom as that and even its king was on His way to a Cross 7 Our way is uniquely adaptable It is at least uniquely relational It is entirely incarnational Mission activity isn t something we should do It is something that when rightly considered flows supernaturally out of The Congregational Way 1 2 8 CONTINUED Toward a Chris Surber is pastor of Mt Hope Congregational Church Livonia Michigan He is Executive Director of Supply and Multiply Haiti

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YOU HAVE A The Congregationalist celebrates the voices of Congregationalism unique in our thinking and unified by our heritage DONATE TO THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONGREGATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCHES Please cut and send to The Congregationalist NACCC PO Box 288 Oak Creek WI 53154 Yes Please use my our gift to support the Congregational Way through The Congregationalist Editor s Round Table 100 249 Sustaining 500 999 Edward Beecher Society 50 Sponsor 25 Patron 250 499 Elias Smith Connexion 1 000 Henry Martyn Dexter Society 15 Sustainer ___________Other A check is enclosed made payable to the NACCC Please charge my credit card MasterCard Visa Amount ________________ Card Number _______________________________ CVV Code _________ Expiration Date ______ _______ Name ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Address __________________________________________________________________________________________ City __________________________________________________State ___________________ Zip ________________ Phone ____________________________________________ E mail Address __________________________________ Church __________________________________________________________________________________________ Thank You For Your Generosity All Gifts Are Tax Deductible To The Fullest Extent Allowed By Law 9

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W H A T I S A Congregational Church Creeds and Liturgy By Andrew McHenry How It Started Some articles are designed to persuade Others are meant to question The June 2018 issue of The Congregationalist featured the article What is a Congregational Church by Bob Hellam With the goal of generating a dialog Bob presented without offering any opinion a list of statements he has heard regarding Congregationalism His hopes were realized The article was catalyst for a robust discussion chain on the NACCC Ministers Facebook page Andrew McHenry pastor at Craig Memorial Congregational Church in Paradise California kicked off the discussion and did the hard work of compiling the resulting Facebook posts He also obtained permissions to share some of their remarks in this magazine The following is first in a series What is a Congregationalist Church which will feature several of the responses generated by the statements in Bob s article Statement We are a non creedal association There is no place for creeds and other liturgy in our worship 10 O f all the little phrases and ideas that make their way into Congregationalism the variations of this one annoys me the most I came into the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches NACCC in 2000 from an independent church The congregation that called me wisely insisted that I take the Congregational history and polity course in Boston that fall Part of it involved purchasing and reading Williston Walker s The Creeds and Platforms of Congregationalism The book contains 600 pages of very dense reading Now that I ve done all that work I d hate to think I was deceived and that I wasted my time because we actually have no creeds in Congregationalism It s simply not true that Congregational churches have no place for creeds and other liturgy in our worship I think some definition of terms would be helpful here A creed is basically a summary statement of belief Liturgy is a mode of worship So every kind of worship service has some form of liturgy even if it s just half an hour of singing and half an hour of preaching And every worshipper has some kind of creed even if it s just an expression like deeds not creeds or the Bible is our only creed or Jesus is Lord These are all creedal statements It is true that Congregationalism traditionally has used creeds as more a form of testimony than as a test This is for good reason the Bible prescribes no single direct creed itself And holding to dry beliefs makes for a poor substitute for a real living faith Christianity consists of much more than believing beliefs I think our refusal to adhere strictly to any one of the creeds is good for allowing each of us or better yet each congregation to find the one that best suits how we understand the faith For me the Creed of 1883 is the best one ever written It was superseded by the Kansas City Statement of Faith of 1913 which is certainly orthodox but is laden with a lot of turn of the century optimistic language that makes it seem trendy and less timeless But I m just not enough of a Calvinist to be enthusiastic about the older confessions either Saybrooke Savoy etc That s just me Others may feel differently and that s fine Pastor Andrew McHenry pictured with wife Hillary describes himself as a hybrid of mainline evangelical and emergent influences He has been pastor of Craig Memorial Congregational Church since 2017 The church building was lost in the recent Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise California He and his congregation are currently worshipping at Sycamore Glen in Chico Pastor McHenry is active in the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and has ministerial standing with the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference He has a B A in Religious Studies from the University of Kansas and an M Div from Saint Paul School of Theology

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THE Along WAY Building On Faith T his past fall volunteers from Rockwood First Congregational Church joined volunteers from Thrivent Financial to help Habitat for Humanity during Building on Faith 2018 in Monroe County Michigan Thrivent Financial and its members provided a 5 000 grant to start the projects and 140 local community members donated their time and resources during the event The construction and nonconstruction activities helped provide affordable housing in local neighborhoods Sponsored by Thrivent Financial the month long campaign connected Habitat affiliates with their local faith partners and encouraged volunteers to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their neighborhoods by helping to build a Habitat house We talked about it every week and how important it was for us to get out there said Pastor Dave Pniewski of Rockwood First Congregational Church in Rockwood Michigan Pniewski recruited 24 volunteers from his church to help build a Habitat house and to provide lunch during Building on Faith This was not Pastor Dave s first brush with Habitat After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005 he traveled there on a mission trip and worked with Habitat to help rebuild the hard hit 9th ward Throughout the weeks volunteers worked on two houses located in Monroe County These two projects were the 100th and 101st undertaken by Habitat for Humanity in the county Volunteers also provided lunches and assisted at Habitat Monroe s ReStore The Rockwood First Congregational Church group was assigned to the house in South Rockwood It was pretty amazing that they could take a group of a dozen of us and actually with minimal guidance make us productive said Michael Stiles a volunteer from Rockwood First Congregational Church Monroe County s Building on Faith events were a part of a broader effort that included 26 communities throughout the northeast and thousands of hours donated by volunteers who put generosity into action Thrivent Financial is Habitat for Humanity International s largest corporate partner Thrivent and its members have contributed more than 240 million and over 5 2 million volunteer hours to Habitat for Humanity Up to 138 teams led by Thrivent members built or repaired homes in the U S and abroad in 2018 Thrivent is a not for profit financial services organization that provides Christians products and guidance that help them obtain a life of contentment confidence and generosity Rockwood FCC volunteers at work Rockwood volunteers gather for a pic Submitted by Rev David Pniewski Submitted by the Reverend David Pniewski Rockwood First Congregational Church Rockwood Michigan 11

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AND News NEEDS of OUR NACCC WELCOMES NEW MISSION The Reverend Joy Matos is a new chaplain for Seafarer s Friend in Massachusetts Joy is pastor of New Day a mission church in Quincy and an ordained minister associated with the NACCC She was the recipient of the Charles Rush Award at the 2018 NACCC Annual Meeting Conference This past November the Mission and Outreach Ministry Council voted to add a new mission A Christian Mission in the National Parks ACMNP was recommended to the Council by the Warden Community Church in Warden Washington The mission based in Colorado provides a positive God honoring impact on the National State Park communities that include park visitors concessionaire employees and the park employees The mission teams lead worship services and provide opportunities to cultivate a sense of community with coworkers They also provide leadership training ACMNP has a presence in 40 to 45 national parks and 275 mission team workers Hosanna Industries Pennsylvania staff worked with volunteers to rebuild two homes in Wilmington Delaware in January 2019 This is a relief effort from Hurricane Florence is needed The Reverend Charles Nyane Word Alive Mission Ghana has glaucoma and will be coming to the United States for surgery in the spring of 2019 The Reverend Matthew Oladele Christ to the Villages Nigeria is recuperating from malaria and typhoid fever People affected by natural disasters during 2018 continue to need our prayers 12 Worship time in the national park Annual Meeting 2019 in Cleveland The invited missionaries for the NACCC 2019 Annual Meeting Conference are the Reverend Harding Stricker Asociacion Civil Cristiana Congregational Argentina and the Reverend Julio Santana Bread of Life Florida Many other missionaries will attend Please consider joining us This year the Annual Meeting and Conference will be in Cleveland Ohio June 22 through June 25 2019 Information is posted on the NACCC website at www naccc org HOSTED BY THE OHIO ASSOCIATION JUNE 22 25 2019

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The Camp Fire destroyed the church building in Paradise California but the Craig Memorial Congregational Church congregation is currently worshipping at Sycamore Glen in Chico One Great Hour of Sharing Update Fall 2018 saw more disasters Hurricanes Florence and Michael swept through Florida and the Carolinas Fires in California destroyed entire communities The NACCC family has been very generous Over 35 000 has been donated to these disasters Thank you very much for your generosity The publicity dies down but people are still in need Please keep these people in your prayers Congratulations to Fishers of Men Fishers of Men Mexico celebrated its 15 year anniversary this past October with a full weekend of activities During 2018 the mission continued its important work The volunteer teams of the Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusades provided 6 826 individual services including appointments in general medicine dental care haircuts massage therapy optometry and podiatry Each patient served heard the Gospel in an individual or small group setting As a result 1 181 individuals prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior Contact information for these individuals was passed on to the local pastor or missionary who follow up with visitation and discipleship Fishers of Men has a schedule for the Medical Brigade set up for the new year The celebration was held at a local Bible school 2018 Update from Morgan Scott Project Under new leadership Morgan Scott Project Tennessee has done wonderful things in 2018 Their Christmas Give Away served 448 families reaching 1 257 children In its third year the 2018 For more information on any of these missions or to donate to any of the these projects please contact Janet Wilson chair NACCC Mission Council at jaw 47jaw gmail com For a complete listing of NACCC Mission Projects please go to our website www naccc org and click on the Missions tab Mission and Outreach Ministry Council NACCC PO Box 288 Oak Creek WI 53154 MISSION NEEDS Indian Community Fellowship India would like more sewing machines to train women in the community The skill will enable them to be selfsufficient The mission also needs study Bibles for cell leaders Christ to the Villages Nigeria needs a four wheel vehicle for the mission MISSION VISITS A student receives a back pack full of school supplies Camp in the Community provided a week long camp for 70 children in the community The Back Pack Program helped 567 children with back packs full of school supplies Remote Area Medical Program hosted two clinics providing dental and vision services for 137 people The Good Earth Program provided seeds plants and fertilizer to 263 families so they could grow their own food With the support of volunteer groups the mission was able to work on 27 homes and four community projects December 2018 Tom and Gisela Chelimsky North Shore Congregational Church Fox Point Wisconsin visited Pilgrim s Presence Kenya January 2019 The Reverend Joy Matos New Day Church Quincy Massachusetts visited the Reverend Elvis SaDo at the Congregational Church of Myanmar January 2019 Barbara Dabul from the NACCC Mission Council and the Congregational Church of Sun City Arizona visited Fishers of Men Mexico 13

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A Look at a Too Little Known Bene t The Providence Endowment by Edith Bartley I am on the Board of the NACCC s sister organization an affiliate to use legal terminology namely the Congregational Foundation The Foundation has a problem which is common these days we have identity issues Nobody seems to know we exist much less understand what we do Quick answer We manage the NACCC s endowments prudently we raise more money and then we hand over the money to the NACCC which decided what to do with the money Until very recently the one exception was a small amount of money whose recipients were chosen by the Board of the Foundation itself These recipients were awarded grants from the Richard Fund for arts programming and the Providence Fund to help churches send delegates who could otherwise not afford to attend to the Annual Meeting and Conference The exception is now history Thanks to the past president of the Leadership Council Laura Hamby recipients of the Providence Endowment Award are now named by the Growth Ministry and Richard Award recipients by the Vitality Ministry The following is a personal essay based on my time on the Grants and Awards Committee of the Congregational Foundation from 2012 until 2018 when we handed the baton to the Growth Ministry 14 I n 2012 the Grants and Awards G A Committee was headed by Grant Stannard one of the great and dedicated leaders of the NACCC and the Foundation who also served as Foundation Treasurer for many years At different times Tom King Harry Holz and Lowell Linden who most readers will remember from the days of the NACCC Executive Committee served on G A Giving away Other People s Money in a good cause was always fun although sometimes we did dig into our own pockets to supplement what the stock market had done for the Providence Endowment investments Happily those days are over The Fund now stands at 75 600 compared with 4 500 in 2006 To be perfectly accurate the Grants and Awards Committee didn t technically choose the recipients of the Providence Endowment Award Fortunately or not we had so few applicants we simply allocated the available funds among those who applied based on how much they requested and whether they could drive or would need to fly to the Annual Meeting Conference The maximum award is 500 if there is enough funding The award covers the registration fee and any balance can go for transportation and other items Although the word providence does have a theological ring the fund actually takes its name from Providence Rhode Island where the 2004 Annual Meeting was held There was money left over after expenses were met we try to avoid the word profit and that is the original source of funding I remember the 2004 AMC I think I was my church s alternate Our church delegate was Dick Davis who had grown up on a potato farm in nearby Little Compton I remember the wonderful homemade cookies which local churches provided for our breaks I remember waiting for the elevators And I remember playing hooky there was just too much that Dick wanted to show me and his wife Bobbi Since the goal of the Providence Endowment is to help churches to send delegates to the AMC who otherwise could not afford to attend awards are available to lay leaders as well as ministers part time as well as full time In putting together this article I did have vivid recollections of some recipients from various years but I also wanted to speak with recent recipients A three year list of eleven was quickly whittled down recipients didn t use their awards health reasons mostly pastors have changed churches or email

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Edith Bartley is a 50 year member of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn New York She served a term on the Executive Committee of the NACCC and has been a member of the Board of Governors since 2010 She is originally from Iowa addresses or have left the NACCC altogether some small churches have no email and in some cases there was no response to my email or phone calls I am immensely grateful to Rev David Barnes 2018 pastor of Hampshire Colony Congregational Church Princeton Illinois Rev William Muller 2016 Onondaga Community Church Onondaga Michigan and Rev Peter Stickney 2016 Minister of Music and Arts Newfield Community Church Newfield Maine for taking the time to answer my laundry list of questions and provide insight into their experiences at the AMC All three mentioned fellowship as one of the highlights David complimented the meeting s structure saying it allowed lots of downtime which permitted very genuine conversations getting to know a lot of different people of different ages Bill actually used the word fellowship mentioning fellowship with people from other states When I asked what surprised him about the AMC Peter who is gay commented on everyone s refreshing lack of hatred and judgment of gays Peter said he experienced a natural acceptance of the whole person at the NACCC event He compared that to the UCC he edits the UCC s sacred music journal which compels its churches to at least say they are open and affirming Initially as a first timer he seems to have encountered the frozen chosen side of us my choice of words not Peter s but he experienced wonderful fellowship after awhile Another compliment to the NACCC a genuine sense of Congregationalism experiencing our polity in action and witnessing the commitment and dedication to the association on the part of everyone present Individual favorites one person mentioned the Bible lecture one the Congregational lecture two the missionaries and the missionary breakfast and two complimented the Newfield is eleven members strong way that particular AMC was organized and staffed Some said they wanted to attend the AMC to get an understanding of the NACCC Two were pastors who previously served in other denominations and spoke of their appreciation of Congregationalism Cycles of church life Many ministers will identify with David who said his church has passed the will we survive stage and is now in the fling open the doors stage Specifically they are starting a children s Bible club and next fall will begin a high school for teens who don t fit in at public school Five years ago Bill s church moved from an older clapboard building which saw an average attendance of 40 to a new structure and has seen average attendance go to 65 In 2015 Peter s nine person church began drawn out negotiations and finally acquired a former Methodist building leading to much physical plant work on the white clapboard steepled structure Some quick memories In Salt Lake City in 2015 I met an older black woman from a very conservative African American church in the South Some people in her church thought the NACCC was too liberal on social issues She had been granted her award in 2014 but needed more time to save up for the rest of her expenses In 2017 I spoke with a Hispanic part time pastor who served a church in Connecticut which some of my own ancestors attended during the American Revolution On another occasion I interviewed a man who later became a Providence Endowment recipient he was a long time NACCC pastor of a thriving but cash strapped church and a former contributor to this magazine If anyone somehow thinks the NACCC lacks diversity just go down the list of Providence Endowment recipients since 2012 From a tiny church or average in size Cradle Congregationalist or convert NACCC long timer or newcomer Fulltime or part time Clergy or lay Note the demographics black white Hispanic straight gay from the South the East the Midwest Since the committee didn t actually choose recipients this variety was not intentional it just happened Because this is who the NACCC is 15

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Buckles Aprons Plymouth s Golden Thread by James P Nichols PROLOGUE Sitting on a communion table in the front of the sanctuary in Stanton Michigan is a large ornately constructed book It lies open on a gold plated stand and is centered between a pair of candles all of which rests atop a rectangular table The vignette is the focal point of the platform upon which local Congregational Christians are led in weekly worship Such an arrangement of artifacts is not uncommon within the NACCC and the reason is unsurprising If we were to pull on the shared thread of history that runs through all Congregational churches we would find it is a golden thread tying us back to the pages of Holy Scripture Ideas such as God s redemptive activity a sinless Savior or a Heavenly Father would be unimaginable apart from the Bible Quite simply remove the Bible from history and God s glorious gospel would vanish Given Scripture s critical place in the historic Christian faith the central placement of a Bible in a house of worship is not arbitrary For earliest Congregationalists the Bible is never a signpost pointing us toward God s word it is God s Word This fact is why so many of us preach and pray from it every week Though we do not worship the book we revere it as the inspired guide it is it explains who Jesus is and how to walk with him it is our authoritative rule for understanding what pleases or displeases the LORD it stands as the reliable story of our faith and the historical record of the Living God s interaction with humanity Without this amazing book religious understanding would be left to nonspecific generalizations about God s power and divinity Without the Bible God s people would as Jesus brother said wander from the truth James 5 19 Without it there would be no Congregational Christian churches No Christmas No Easter No Eucharist The Bible is far more than sanctuary d cor It is far more than a mere symbol Historic Congregationalists unequivocally believed this book to be profitable for teaching rebuking correcting and training in righteousness Faithful are the Modern Congregationalists who affirm there to be no higher authority on matters of Christianity I n 2020 America will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims arrival in the New World In recognition of this milestone symbols will likely be referenced Of those symbols the two most likely to rise prominent include 1 the hoisted sails of the Mayflower think NACCC logo and 2 the 10 ton boulder we call Plymouth Rock As the country looks forward to the quadricentennial churches of the NACCC 16 have the unique opportunity to promote a contextualized unvarnished accounting lest history be re envisioned with cozy platitudes that miss the mark Whenever symbols are interpolated rather than interpreted symbolism runs roughshod over history and we offend the memories of those whose sacrifices were the seedbed from which the symbols grew At risk of being overly dramatic missing the point of Pilgrim symbols is somewhat akin to violating the third commandment Exodus 20 7 The Name is something we receive and submit to on God s terms not our own The Name sets us free but never free to represent it any way we wish Similarly the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock may take on symbolism of their own for modern secularists looking backwards but fresh explanations of their meaning are more a case of symbol hijacking than faithful commemoration In a world of symbols and substance prudence calls us to handle our historic symbols in a way that preserves the substance from which the symbols sprang To put it simply 1 symbols reflect an original substance worth remembering By rehearsing and reinforcing the values subsequent generations are able to hold on to the original substance If the original substance is forgotten symbols may end up reimagined beyond their historical scope In such instances what would remain is a cherished symbol whose meaning has become confused or at worst entirely redefined Consider any number of second or third generation business owners whose parents or grandparents put in long hard years of work to build something special only to see their silver spooned offspring make it into something radically different or run it into the ground In many cases what is passed down gets squandered through irresponsible decision making The original values may have been in grandpa s heart but only the rewards not the values made their way through the family tree In the wider culture primary iconic symbols became iconic because they were born from a place of achievement embedded in relative unity For example we re all familiar with the tri colored banner often constructed of weather resilient fabric It comes in various sizes but thanks to Dwight D Eisenhower s 1959 executive order the familiar rectangle is typical in its proportions and design The alternating rows of red and white the smaller rectangular field of blue in the upper corner and the familiar white stars within that blue

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field combine to form an artifact so inseparable from American culture it s unthinkable a citizen could live a normal lifetime without knowing of it Constituently speaking the banner I describe is nothing more than fabric Symbolically it s much more Were we to speak of how much more by contemporary standards explanations would be far broader than they were for the 2nd Continental Congress For them it was about a new independent identity and a commitment to self governance without infringement from England Today one needn t look far to find expanded meanings such as opportunity privilege loyalty volunteerism or responsibility The challenge is deciding whether contemporary meanings fall within the essential ideals undergirding the founding fathers Most people I ve known would have no issue accepting the idea of loyalty as one meaning conveyed by the US flag And on the opposite end of the continuum every person I ve known would not hesitate to say that the My Lai Massacre fell outside the scope of American ideals But what about less obvious aberrations What will our collective reject and what will we embrace And more importantly how do we decide between what is an unfaithful interpolation and what is an historically faithful interpretation I believe the answer lies among founding values A commemoration that truly honors the Pilgrims would never spotlight imported meanings Instead it would magnify the beliefs and values of those without whom there would be no commemoration To rightly understand why the Mayflower is iconic we must tap into the passions and values of the religious dissenters who sailed aboard her We must listen carefully for the religious ideals undergirding their thought processes We must answer the questions What would compel intelligent people to risk a transatlantic voyage and settle the rocky shores of a mysterious and daunting wilderness What beliefs were so passionately held that this wearied band would be compelled to endure disease malnourishment and harsh conditions such that nearly half their community died the first year Fortunately there s no need for speculative explanations when original 2 Separatist writings exist To understand the thinking behind their epic exploits we would be silly to ignore the body of work from those who were leaders in the movement Among source documents readers will not find political rantings about freedom for its own sake There is nothing to read about courageous pioneering wanderlust or rugged individualism Yes readers will observe a fear of some American natives but it s fear of being targeted by those who would harm them rather than bigotry and hatred And above all nowhere among the writings of Winslow and Bradford Mayflower passengers or Browne and Robinson Separatist leaders is there any indication of their movement being an English revolt in favor of self determination or some prescient sense of a preconscious American dream Source documents reveal that the Separatists took risks because certain theological beliefs burned within them These Christians shared convictions for which they were willing to die That fact must never be glossed over Moreover the source that informed their convictions was the same book sitting front and center in our houses of worship Early Congregationalists believed the Bible was God s written Word They were persuaded that by studying it a person could learn the will of its Author and that without the intervening doctors of 4 the church They believed these things unto persecution and death long before 5 they set sail in 1620 As we anticipate the 400th I pray our NACCC churches remember the religious passions that compelled our spiritual ancestors Among such courageous Christians may we find Rev Dr James P Nichols is pastor at First Congregational Church in Stanton Michigan He and wife Michelle have raised their three children in Stanton since coming to pastor FCC in 2002 inspiration to reconnect with The Book that undergirded their world view and encouraged their resolve Our Pilgrim identity is far more than buckles and aprons The NACCC has an ancestry descending from godly martyrs who stood unequivocally on biblical convictions Their commitment to obey God rather than man compelled them on an historic pilgrimage that is foundational to who we are Imagine those gaunt and haggard survivors sitting among us as America commemorates her present blessings vis vis their agonizing losses Let us be swift to recall what their suffering meant to them before elaborating on what their symbols mean to us Furthermore let s honor our forebearers sacrifices by invigorating their values and giving prayerful consideration to our own readiness to suffer risk imprisonment forsake our homes and hazard death so that we might live ruled by the laws of God s word conducting our fellowships according to the Scriptures William Bradford Of Plymouth Plantation 1 In certain cases a symbol may be ascribed substance Consider how images of flag burnings are so evocative Some might argue It s just a symbol being desecrated The substance it represents is superior to the symbol To argue that point alone ignores loyalties of the human heart We care about symbols because we believe they are shorthand for something more The one who publicly flies a flag is using shorthand to say something So also is the person who burns it This is no less true with wedding rings company logos family crests bald eagles and so on Symbols grow to become precious because they reflect something precious often deeply held beliefs and cherished convictions 2 The Online Library of Liberty and the website mayflowerhistory com are both accessible sites for primary sources 3 As with all nationalities none is monolithic Native American included Pilgrims reported Indian tribes who tended toward friendliness others toward violence Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow was one of a number of Pilgrim Fathers who took an early interest in evangelizing the Indians Additionally noteworthy the first Bible published in the American colonies was not in English but Algonquin in 1663 4 In reading Separatist writings their foundational objections are primarily ecclesiological While many Congregationalists today are keen to declare a freedom to interpret the gospel historical evidence does not indicate such freedom was a core value of the Separatists I m currently unaware of any Separatist or Brownist writings alleging differences with the COE over basic soteriology Neither is there evidence that the euangelion was open to varieties of interpretation Predominate Pilgrim objections were against an oppressive top down institutionalism that had taken over the organized church As for soteriology and most other Christian doctrines the evidence reveals solidarity of belief Historical Congregationalists openly cited concurrence with doctrines of the French Reformed Church and the Westminster Confession History also shows that Congregationalists eventually unified around the doctrines outlined in the Savoy Declaration Departures may have been considered but only upon persuasion by Holy Scripture Later Puritan writings also bear this out 5 Henry Barrowe and John Greenwood were hanged in 1593 for their separatist religious beliefs 17

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SAME DATES DIFFERENT CONVOCATIONS by Justin Nierer It was a dark and stormy night The rain soaked the ground and I could not wait to warm my cold hands by the fire T hat would have been a dramatic and very literary start to my convocations story It was however a sunny Thursday morning on the campus of Piedmont College where I first met the Reverend Dr Phil Jackson who invited me to a meeting that to be honest I probably wasn t supposed to attend It was a meeting of the Vitality Council of the NACCC I had been nominated but this was the first day of the Annual Meeting and elections wouldn t be held for days It was at this first meeting though that I heard the idea of Regional Minister s Convocations an idea that would be realized in less than a year For many years the Minister s Convocation was held at one venue for all pastors and leaders of the NACCC which created a few problems right away One of course was travel Our brothers and sisters in California sometimes needed to take out a small loan to travel to the event each year The Vitality Council wondered how we could ask those traveling so far to attend the Convocation as well as the Annual Meeting where travel and other costs would be even more That is not being good stewards 18 of our time or our resources Over time the result was a large number of leaders attending the annual Convocation who were predominately from the same geographical area in which it was held Regional Minister s Convocations do two things well They most definitely communicate the Congregational Way of Faith Freedom and most certainly Fellowship and they produce what I have defined as Convocational Math Convocational Math is this when you have one convocation and you have 30 pastors attend you have 30 churches represented 30 pastors that will hear the speaker that will learn that will be challenged and ministered to Those 30 pastors will go back to their 30 churches and they will be the better for it A convocation is an incredible tool of education and enrichment that every pastor should experience Now there are three regional convocations and each is attended by 20 30 pastors and leaders We have now tripled the number of churches represented How many churches are represented at our Annual Meeting If you want anything communicated and discussed at the national level

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The Reverend Justin J Nierer is the lead pastor of Sandstone Congregational Church in Jackson Michigan He absolutely loves being a Congregationalist adores the NACCC and enjoys spending time with his wife Seneca and their six year old son Wesley He can be reached anytime via email at theoutreachguy hotmail com Make Your Plans to Attend you need to bring it to the local church as Congregationalists this should make the most sense and you do that by bringing that vision and idea to the Minister s Convocation That is how Convocational Math works now that we have three regional events across the country that will communicate and celebrate both the Congregational Way and the Vision of the NACCC This spring s three Regional Minister s Convocations will take place simultaneously in April The newest one will be in California along with the established convocation in the Midwest Michigan and the second annual convocation in the North East Massachusetts This is exciting beyond words and you will see these events bear fruit almost right away We will be gathering together to strengthen our faith and celebrate our freedom and there is definite reward in being able to sit down with one another and to break bread I see a time not long from now at our Annual Meeting when many conversations will start with the words at our convocation this past year And that my friends is exciting to me and should be to you Because of Regional Convocations and the fruit from them we will be finding new ways to tell the world about the Congregational Way a way of sitting down and in love being able to agree to disagree a way that should be can be will be extremely attractive to generations that just know debate and anger Those ideas those conversations will begin at the Regional Minister s Convocations as we gather together Make your way to one of the three Regional Convocations this year I truly believe that when you do your life and ministry along with the ministries and legacy of your church will be the better for it It will also make you a part of the fellowship and true congregationalism that is the NACCC The Convocations will be April 29 May 2 2019 They will run simultaneously We even plan to have communion together if the technology works out Exciting times for sure To register go to www naccc org East Coast Massachusetts Cathedral Camp Retreat Conference Center 167 Middleboro Road Route 18 East Freetown MA 02717 Mid West 50th Annual Michigan Weber Retreat and Conference Center 1257 East Sienna Heights Drive Adrian MI 49221 West CoastNevada Zephyr Point 660 Highway 50 PO Box 289 Zephyr Cove NV 89448 First Congregational Church Wayne Michigan SEEKING FULL TIME SENIOR PASTOR Our pastor is retiring from full time senior ministry and we are looking for a new guide to lead us on our Christian journey deepening our love of Christ and serving with open minds open hearts and open hands See our Church Information Form at www naccc org Visit our Church Website at www fccow com 19

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A Prophecy Revealed to Me IS THE Golden Ruletarni Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country John 4 44 L ate one night in 2008 while I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed I heard a clear voice say to me The United States will soon face great trials and struggles that will threaten our existence We will come through alright if we adhere to the Golden Rule I believe it was the voice of God I was told to pass this message on to those who would hear The Golden Rule So in everything do to others what you would have them do to you for this sums up the Law and the Prophets Matthew 7 12 NIV 20 I immediately told my wife Rose but otherwise kept the message to myself for a few years At first I was in shock having received The Message Then I was afraid for my country and afraid to expose myself to the doubt and ridicule I knew would follow if I shared it My faulty reasoning told me that I couldn t know who would hear and that I wouldn t be believed if someone did hear I told myself that if I were not believed The Message certainly would not be believed In fact I was disobeying God But The Message would not let me rest I thought and prayed about it constantly Eventually I sought advice from several trusted pastors and close religious friends and asked them what I should do I was told what I already knew The Message would not leave me alone and I must do God s Will In time and with the help of others I developed the courage to share The Message openly With Rose s help on November 25 2011 we sent it to over 600 people including our President his cabinet the entire Congress Supreme Court Justices governors mayors of major cities some nationally known celebrities and religious leaders We received three cursory replies We started passing out The Message to friends and acquaintances I wrote a song about it and have performed it in churches and at various events at which I have spoken We continue these efforts today On March 23 2015 Rose sent The Message to Pope Francis In his speech to our US Congress September 2015 he quoted the Golden Rule and added Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated the yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us In 2016 we repeated the process of mailing The Message to all our country s leaders and others as mentioned above We continue our campaign and have hired a part time assistant to help us It is 2019 and a new year has begun Where do we stand as a country According to a March 2018 Washington Post article Americans are more glum now than they were during the 2009 Great Recession according to the GallupSharecare Well Being Index While the data shows that most Americans feel the economy is improving they don t think their overall well being is going up To date 2017 was the worst year for wellbeing on record The results for 2018 aren t looking any better The overall index score was even lower than during the financial crisis of 2008 and for the first time in the decade that Gallup has done this poll no state in the country showed a statistically significant increase in well being Witters Gallup research director for the Well Being Index said What we found was an unprecedented decline in well being nationally What s driving the gloominess now is very different from what Gallup and Sharecare a health and wellness company saw during the Great Recession of 2009 Today emotional and psychological factors dominate People are not content in their jobs and relationships Depression diagnoses are at an all time high in the United States Some blame politics and polarization for causing people to feel more anxiety and bitterness toward work colleagues and family There s a constant narrative

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ished by Bill Rhoads of division between Republicans and Democrats gun rights supporters and gun control advocates the religious and the nonreligious and so on According to the Southern Poverty Law Center there are now 932 registered hate groups in the United States I think one reason people may be anxious is because the government itself seems to be in disarray said Isabel Sawhill a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution We don t know what is going to happen next There s no clear path toward stabilizing either the country or the world The Prophecy The United States will soon face great trials and struggles that will threaten our existence We will come through alright if we adhere to the Golden Rule Is it too late Am I doing enough Do we hear Did I deliver The Message in time The Golden Rule is not tarnished It is still a timeless truth It is man s vision that has become blurred My prayer is that God will see our shortcomings and grant us time to heal and learn to live by His commandment Love thy neighbor as theyself As I wrote in my song God s Golden Rule Pass It On Pass It On Pass It On Til all trace of hunger hate and war is gone Only do unto others as you d have them do to you That s God s Golden Rule Pass It On Bill Rhoads pictured with his wife Rose is retired from the United States Army and a veteran of the Vietnam War He is a singer and songwriter He and Rose are members of the Congregational Church of Menifee California fIrST congrEgATIonAL chUrch roScoMMon MIchIgAn our christ Centered church is seeking An energetic senior pastor who exhibits integrity morals and a strong faith A leader with compassionate qualities and good communications skills who will be able to help grow our church by reaching out to a younger generation Located in roscommon Michigan a close rural resort community offering Beautiful natural resources including lakes rivers and forests Excellent local medical facilities schools and a community college Year round recreational activities FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH ROSCOMMON MICHIGAN If you believe god is calling you please contact us EMAIL ellen48653 gmail com or munchkin_dj yahoo com 21

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Christian Unity Achieved By Dr David W T Brattston T here is no further need for efforts toward Christian unity The major churches have already attained a sufficient degree of harmony and mutual acceptance to fulfill Jesus s call for unity among Christians in John 10 16 and in His oft cited prayer in John 17 We must now concentrate on more vital endeavors Look at mainline denominations such as Congregationalist Most of them have intercommunion agreements fellowship and joint ventures with other church bodies and cooperation in local national and world council of churches Any disunity is largely illusory with the differences being only in nonessentials which other major church bodies are willing to tolerate What keeps denominational separation in place are the secular laws which confer corporate status and property holding arrangements which were laid down centuries ago and can be overcome only by an act of Congress or state Legislature 22 I looked for the meaning of Christian unity as contemplated in the Scriptures and in the writings of Christians so early they could recall what the Jesus and His first disciples actually did I aimed to ascertain the meaning of such unity in the practice of the apostles and their first successors and how unity was understood in the next few overlapping generations Drawing on Christian sources to the middle of the third century AD I discovered that unity means attitudes qualities of character or modes of relating to people with whom one is in personal contact In the Biblical sense it is a pattern of conducting one to one interpersonal relations among Christians that fosters peace love and harmony at the neighborhood level The Scriptures and church fathers never mentioned merger of organizations or bureaucracies My research resulted in the December 2011 Congregationalist article that investigated and countered allegations that the Christian churches today are too fragmented to fulfill Christ s will The article demonstrated that there already was or could easily be at a moment s notice Christian unity among mainline denominations especially at the local and person to person level Even if we substitute the phrase Christian unity in its Biblical sense by the organizational unity or structural unity that fringe denominations and Dr David W T Brattston a retired lawyer residing in Lunenburg Nova Scotia Canada who has been a selfdirected student of authoritative Christian texts since a teenager His articles on early and contemporary Christianity have been published by a wide variety of denominations in eleven countries some members of mainline churches mistake it for believers of every denomination can practice John 17 now in their daily lives Even when we narrow down the meaning of Christian unity to structural or bureaucratic arrangements there is no longer any sense to regard disunity as a problem for there exist far too many avenues for churches to share and cooperate with each other such as intercommunion agreements open Communion unhindered mutual acceptance joint ventures with other church bodies and cooperation in local national and world councils of churches True some church leaders allege that disunity remains but this may be a mere public relations gesture by some of them They usually mention it as if it were the only sin of which they are guilty and hasten to add that they are working hard to overcome it In the last hundred years the tireless efforts of many leaders of major churches and the goodwill of local laity towards their counterparts in other communions have achieved a real viable and practical unity through many branches of Christendom which answers Christ s prayer Let us honor them or their memories and concentrate instead on redoubling Christian efforts more towards feeding the hungry masses of the Third World Even here there is opportunity for interdenominational cooperation

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Necrology 2018 TO THE Letters EDITOR After reading Rev Tamilio s article Unleased to Witness I beg to question who exactly is he referring to by the religious right who use the term Evangelical as a clenched fist ready to dislodge the jaw of the unbeliever Though certainly words like these make good copy are they Christlike I think not Over the years I have seen again and again conservative Christians caricatured as bigots and closeminded louts In my experience I have seen close minded clenched fisted individuals many times however usually they have been liberals John Swanson Thank you for putting the article about our trip to Houston in the recent Congregationalist December 2018 I don t know if it was brought to your attention that the article is mislabeled on page 12 I was the author of the article not Amber Hagin of Maine I am sure this doesn t happen too often but I thought I would bring it to you attention Thanks for telling our story Pastor Stu Merkel Faith Community Church Franklin WI REVEREND DR LLOYD M HALL JR The Reverend Dr Lloyd M Hall Jr passed away on October 22 2018 at age 78 He resided in Waterford Michigan For over 40 years Dr Hall served as an ordained minister in member churches of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches NACCC Dr Hall s devotion to the association included many years of service which included the Division for Ministry 1992 1996 Executive Committee 1982 1986 Nominating Committee 1987 1989 Program Committee 19851986 1989 1990 1996 1997 Moderator 1990 1991 Library Board 1998 2000 and Historian 2000 2009 His service to the NACCC dates to his involvement with the Youth Committee from 1964 to 1967 Dr Hall received his education at Harvard University Bangor Theological Seminary and Southern Bible Seminary He was ordained by Plymouth Congregational Church of Wichita Kansas with the Mid America Fellowship Dr Hall s significant legacy includes his extensive writings about The Congregational Way Dr Hall also was an active contributor to his community He was a local and regional leader of the Boy Scouts of America for 30 years a committed member of Kiwanis during his time in southeastern Wisconsin and a member and leader of numerous religious youth and community service organizations throughout his life He was a gifted vocalist and avid gardener A devoted husband and father Dr Hall is survived by his wife Hannah his children Lloyd Dorothy Dawson Hall III Jennifer Steven Parker Hall and Martin Sharon Hall five grandchildren and his brother William Memorials can be made to the Congregational Foundation of the NACCC or the Spina Bifida Association of America Editor s note Thank you for sharing your story Stu My apologies for the error 23

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A Labor of Love by Lawrence Balleine S ome call them work camps Others refer to them as mission trips Both involve recruiting a group of volunteers who travel to a mission location where they offer their services to the mission I became familiar with work camps in the summer of 1974 while serving as an intern pastor with the Robbins Parish three Congregational churches in Robbins Glenmary and Deer Lodge Tennessee and assisting with the ministry of the Morgan Scott Project for Cooperative Christian Concerns Morgan Scott is an ecumenical Appalachian ministry that has received support from National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and its congregations for over 40 years During that summer three or four church youth groups and their leaders arrived at the Morgan Scott Project from their homes in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast Identified as work campers each of these volunteer groups spent a week doing home repairs helping with the operation of local thrift shops taking on painting projects pouring concrete and completing a variety of other tasks during daylight hours In the evenings the staff of the Morgan Scott Project offered educational programs that were designed to sensitize the work campers to the unique problems challenges and opportunities facing those living in this section of central Appalachia Witnessing the value of the work camp experience for both the work campers and those of us who served as hosts I envisioned myself becoming an advocate for work camps with the congregations I would come to serve 24 Thus while serving the Rapid River Congregational Church our initial call my spouse and I took a group of youth to the Morgan Scott Project in the summer of 1978 One participant was a 15 year old girl named Sue In the years that followed Sue often said the work camp was a formative experience for her It must have been because for the past 25 years she has been a United Methodist minister Many other work camp experiences would follow The last congregation I served sponsored a work camp for 17 consecutive years We offered our services at church related colleges church camps a home for mentally disabled adults children s homes an ecumenical Appalachian mission and a regional Heifer International farm We ve painted homes laid flooring constructed porches and decks poured concrete planted flowers and shrubs built picnic tables anchored rafts blazed trails felled trees washed windows installed windows and doors removed fallen trees and shoveled manure Most importantly we have shared our lives with those we have sought to serve just as those we served shared their lives with us Now over four decades later as I look back upon the many work camps I coordinated I feel both pride and satisfaction in all that our work groups accomplished More importantly I am awed by how those experiences impacted the work campers involved The following guidelines may help other churches in planning executing and evaluating a successful work camp Before the Camp Start small If it s the congregation s first work camp a three to four day experience is recommended If it s successful a five to 10 day camp may come next Alternating a shorter work camp one year with a longer one the next year often works well I recommend that church staff pastors Christian education staff or youth leaders assist the mission committee or other designated committee with coordination of the work camp Plan the work camp well in advance Most work camps occur during the summer months although this is not mandatory If the work camp is scheduled for summer it is advisable to begin planning the prior fall October or November Contact the intended mission site as soon as possible to determine tentative dates for the work camp During the initial contact discover if there are age requirements for the workers Check also on the types of projects to be undertaken and determine if the skills needed match the abilities of the potential work campers Introduce the proposed work camp its purpose and benefits to the church council and secure their blessing Offer a preview on the upcoming work camp at the annual meeting of the congregation assuming that meeting is in January or early February Start recruiting volunteers for the work camp Remember that work camps are not only for youth Some of the best work camp experiences are intergenerational and participants may well include youth through senior adults It is

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Lawrence H Balleine is a 1975 CFTS graduate and past contributor to The Congregationalist Now retired he served as a pastor with Congregational and United Church of Christ congregations for over forty years advisable to have one adult participant for every four youth Begin in church fund raising for the work camp Solicit financial support from Women s and Men s groups and the church s other auxiliary organizations Consider fundraisers such as soup n salad luncheons rummage sales and auctions to be executed by those who will be the work campers Such events allow the whole congregation to feel a part of the venture Provide the hosting mission with the estimated number of work campers Ask the hosts at the mission site if materials paint brushes cleaning supplies lumber hardware and other tools etc will be provided at the site or if the workers will need to supply them Secure a list of projects to be completed Arrange for transportation to and from the mission site If large passenger vans and or trucks need to be rented reserve them well in advance Prepare permission slips for youth participants Conduct background checks for the adults who are participating Request appropriate medical records from all participants And make sure the church has adequate liability coverage for both the travel and activities associated with the work camp Conduct team building experiences and an initial orientation for the work camp participants Provide boundary training for adult volunteers Report the final number of work camper participants to the hosts The Sunday before leaving commission the workers during the morning worship service Hold a prayer circle with all the work camp participants just prior to departing for the work camp location During the Work Camp Work campers are guests of the mission and representatives of their local congregations Work campers need to know they are not doing something for the mission they are doing something with them Work campers are to be good team players as they cooperate with their hosts and fellow workers Start each day with morning devotions Follow this with the assignment of the work that is to be continued or accomplished for that day Close each day with evening vespers and a time for participants to share their thoughts and reflections on the day s experience Continued 25

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of Love Try to complete all work assignments Tidy up all work sites after each day s work Appoint a scribe to briefly record each day s activities so that a more complete report can be developed upon returning from the work camp For shorter work camps of three tofour days take one half day off for a fun recreational or educational activity For works camps of five or more days take at least one day off for every five days of work Following the Work Camp Thank the hosts A brief report three to four minutes on the work camp should be presented by one or more of the participants on the Sunday immediately after the group returns Offer to give detailed reports regarding the work camp to groups in the congregation and local community Write an article for the church newsletter Report on who participated tasks completed and include some appropriate comments or brief reflections from some of the workers Place on file a one to two page summary evaluation of the experience indicating what was positive about the work camp Also note areas needing improvement for future work camps The Benefits of Offering and Engaging in a Work Camp Work camps help church members realize that mission work is not just a matter of giving monetary gifts It 26 involves offering our time talent and physical labor as well And it can entail face to face contact with the recipients of our efforts The work campers often learn useful skills such as painting carpentry and mixing laying concrete A work camp is a venture in which the entire congregation can participate Even those not going on the actual trip can be supportive in a variety of ways such as helping with the fundraisers providing vehicles or gas money offering needed tools and equipment Inter generational work camps often break down age barriers and have the potential for developing on going mentor mentee relationships Participants have the opportunity to be a part of a team that works together to accomplish shared goals Friendships often develop among the participants that last long beyond the work camp itself Some ask Why go somewhere else to volunteer Isn t there plenty we can be doing around our own church Yes there is often work that can be done among our own membership and with our own church facilities Engaging in such local ministry is a good thing But traveling to a mission site away from home often puts us in touch face to face with persons from other parts of the country and sometimes in cultures very different from our own As we get to know the recipients of our work efforts sometimes working side by side with them during the work camp experiences the stereotypes that may have existed about them often banish CONTINUED A Labor And as we come to an appreciation of people and places that are often quite different than our own we grow personally and spiritually Work camps can result in financial savings for the missions I recently estimated the value of the labor provided by work camp participants from the last congregation I served An estimated average of 12 workers per work camp with each participant providing an average 25 hours of labor over a period of 17 years equals a total of 5100 hours of volunteer labor If that labor is valued at 15 per hour the savings for the mission sites amounts to a little over 75 000 In the final analysis work camps mission trips are also about building relationships relationships among the work camp participants and relationships with those at the mission location Whether you call them work camps or mission trips they remain labors of love Heifer International is a non profit organization that helps improve impoverished communities around the world by training people in sustainable farming helping them to access markets and offering women opportunities to develop leadership skills and entrepreneurship

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R everend Dan Vellinga Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Marshalltown Iowa will lead a Quiet Day Retreat at the Jesuit Retreat House in Parma Ohio on Friday June 21 2019 8 30 am 3 30 pm The retreat will give us time to reflect on what we find valuable in life in comparison to the Lord s values noting Jesus statement in Matthew 6 19 21 Participants will consider how our resources of time and money align with our values Situated on over 50 wooded acres the Jesuit Retreat House JRH has been more than an institution in the Cleveland area Since opening in 1898 it has been serving people of the Diocese of Cleveland providing leaders and programs to meet the needs of the times The event is sponsored by the Congregational Retreat Society For more information contact the Reverend Dr Charles Packer Chaplain Director of the Society at drcapacker gmail com or call him at 734 755 4131 By Charles Packer TREASURES A Quiet Day Retreat Cost is 30 which includes lunch Checks made out to the Congregational Society of Classical Retreat Guides may be sent to the Pine Hill Congregational Church 4160 Middlebelt Road West Bloomfield Michigan 48323 Registration Deadline is Friday June 7 2019 Space is limited and registration will only be finalized when full payment is received 2019 Quiet Day Retreat Registration form Name ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ Street Address ____________________________________________________________________________________________ City State Zip Code________________________________________________________________________________________ Telephone number_________________________________________________________________________________________ Email ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Dietary Restrictions _______________________________________________________________________________________ _____ Yes I can drive _____ people including myself in my vehicle ______ I will need transportation Enclosed is my check for _________________ 30 per person made out to the Congregational Society of Classical Retreat Guides or CSCRG 27

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An Easter Hope Submitted by the Reverend Dr Michael Chittum A s we look ahead to Easter let me share with you one of the classic poems that has an Easter theme It was written by George Herbert an early 17th century Englishman This poem speaks to my hope in sharing in the resurrection of Jesus the Christ Is this not the hope that each of us has in faith Despite our sin and rebellion in faith we affirm that we also are raised to new life through the power of God s love grace and mercy Easter Wings By George Herbert 1593 1633 Lord who createdst man in wealth and store Though foolishly he lost the same Decaying more and more Till he became Most poore With thee O let me rise As larks harmoniously And sing this day thy victories Then shall the fall further the flight in me My tender age in sorrow did beginne And still with sicknesses and shame Thou didst so punish sinne That I became Most thinne With thee Let me combine And feel thy victorie For if I imp my wing on thine Affliction shall advance the flight in me 28

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Speaking ofTHE ANNUAL MEETING AND CONFERENCE T wo keynote speakers promise to enlighten educate and entertain attendees at the NACCC s 65th Annual Meeting and Conference of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches This year s event is hosted by the Ohio Association June 22 25 2019 at the Cleveland Marriott Hotel in Cleveland Ohio The Reverend Brett Younger Ph D will present this year s Bible Lecture Rev Younger has been the Senior Minister of Plymouth Church in Boston New York since 2016 He loves giving tours of the Great Northern Depot of the Underground Railroad also known as the church basement He enjoys writing preaching and sharing life with the congregation Before coming to Plymouth Rev Younger was a professor at the McAfee School of Theology of Mercer University of Atlanta for eight years Prior to that he was a pastor for 22 years in Texas Kansas and Indiana He has authored four books Time for Supper Invitations to Christ s Table Reflections Daily Devotional Guide The Lighter Side Serving Up Life Lessons with a Smile and Who Moved My Pulpit A Hilarious Look at Ministerial Life Rev Younger presented the workshop Prophetic Preaching Preaching on the Edge of the Cliff at last year s Annual Meeting and Conference in San Diego The Reverend John Tamilio III Ph D will present the Congregational Lecture The Heart of Our Heritage and Our Treasure Dr Tamilio is Pastor of the Congregational Church of Canton Massachusetts which joined the NACCC in June 2016 He is also a visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy at Salem State University his undergraduate alma mater Dr Tamilio holds graduate degrees from Northeastern University Andover Newton Seminary and Boston University He has conducted post doctoral research at Harvard University as part of its Minister in the Vicinity program Dr Tamilio is a member of the International T S Eliot Society the Society of Christian Philosophers the Mercersburg Society and is an Ambassador of the Harvard Club in Boston His first book Blind Painting Poems was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Letters in 2003 He is a frequent contributor to The Congregationalist magazine Dr John Tamilio III For more information and the registration brochure please go to www naccc org and click on the 65th Annual Meeting Conference logo under Now Trending The Reverend Brett Younger 29

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Pastorates PULPITS Recent Calls First Congregational Church Crown Point N Y has called Rev Joshua Mancini as Senior Minister Little Washington Congregational Church Mansfield Ohio has called Rev Michael Ziadeh as Senior Minister Installations Rev Carrie Orlando First Congregational Church Royal Oak Mich November 4 2018 The Reverend Jim Harper Thomas A Edison Congregational Church Ft Myers Fla November 4 2018 Rev Maxwell O Nkansah Olivet Congregational Church Olivet Mich November 11 2018 Rev Dr Alexander W Hunter Stafford Springs Congregational Church Stafford Springs Conn November 18 2018 IN SEARCH Senior Minister The First Congregational Church of Yarmouth Yarmouth Port MA Following Christ We Proclaim the Gospel Teach God s Word And Serve with Love We are searching for a full time Senior Pastor to guide us on our Christian journey sharing God s Word and His love with our church and the local communities More information about our church may be found on our website www fccyarmouth org as well as on our Church Information Form at www naccc org 30 Atkinson Congregational Church Atkinson Ill Congregational Church of Bound Brook N J First Congregational Church Interlachen Fla First Congregational Church Peterson Iowa First Congregational Church Terre Haute Ind First Congregational Church of Yarmouth Yarmouth Port Mass First Congregational Church of Roscommon Mich Flatbush Tompkins Congregational Church Brooklyn N Y Founders Congregational Church Harwinton Conn Gahanna Community Congregational Church Gahanna Ohio People s Congregational Church Bayport Minn Pilgrim Congregational Church Pomona Calif Second Congregational Church Jewett City Conn Second Congregational Church Warren Maine St Jacobi Congregational Church Richfield Wis Tinley Park Community Church Tinley Park Ill Associate Minister Congregational Christian Church North Manchester Ind United Church of Marco Island Marco Island Fla Assistant Minister Minister of Youth Amelia Christian Church Clayton N C Non NACCC Church First Congregational Church United Church of Christ Springfield Vt

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2019 CALENDAR APRIL 29 MAY 2 2019 Copy deadline for the March issue of The Congregationalist Contact editor naccc org or 800 262 1620 ext 1624 April 29 May 2 2019 East Coast Minister s Convocation Cathedral Camp Retreat Conference Center East Freetown MA APRIL 29 MAY 2 2019 Midwest Minister s Convocation Weber Center Adrian MI April 29 May 2 2019 West Coast Minister s Convocation Zephyr Point Zephyr Cove NV JUNE 21 2019 Treasures Quiet Day Retreat Jesuit Retreat House Parma OH JUNE 22 25 2019 65th Annual Meeting Conference of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches Cleveland Airport Marriott Cleveland OH SAVE THE DATES JULY 22 28 2020 International Congregational Fellowship Quadrennial Conference Curry College Milton MA NACCC Advertising Inquiries Editorial Inquiries Subscription Inquiries 8473 South Howell Avenue Oak Creek WI 53154 naccc naccc org Marianne E King 800 262 1620 ext 1624 editor naccc org Carrie Dahm 800 262 1620 ext 1612 cdahm naccc org Tracy Bernhardt 800 262 1620 ext 1615 naccc naccc org Articles and editorials in The Congregationalist are by the authority of the editor and do not necessarily reflect policies and opinions of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches The NACCC reserves freedom of expression to its authors as well as freedom of opinion to its readers Editor Marianne E King Publisher Carrie Dahm Contributing Editor Linda Miller Graphic Design Goes Studio Editorial Advisory Team Rev Dawn Carlson Rev Dr Barry W Szymanski Randy Asendorf Rev Dr Michael Glidden Miriam Bryant Subscriptions Policy One subscription is provided free of charge to each individual requestor who is a member of a church in fellowship with the National Association One complimentary Newcomer Copy will be sent to any person one time only upon request by a church in fellowship with the National Association A subscription to The Congregationalist is provided free of charge to each church in fellowship with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and one to each accredited theological seminary on the magazine s mailing list Single copies may be purchased from the National Association office for 3 75 plus 3 20 to cover shipping and handling We seek and gratefully accept voluntary donations to help keep this magazine in print Donations are tax deductible except for the first 15 of donation per subscription received by the taxpayer per year The Congregationalist ISSN 0010 5856 Postage paid at Madison WI 53714 9998 Published quarterly by the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53201 0288 Periodicals postage paid at Madison WI and additional mailings offices POSTMASTER Send address changes to The Congregationalist 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53201 0288 The Congregationalist Online Our Web site congregationalist org features PDF files of the current issue plus back issues and a searchable index of all articles Each new issue is posted on the Web when the printed version is mailed so you can read it online days or even weeks before the printed copy reaches your mailbox Enjoy SUBSCRIBING CANCELING MOVING Email us at naccc naccc org Copy deadline for each issue is noted in the previous issue s Calendar section Letters to the Editor are welcome All letters may be edited for clarity and length We regret we cannot publish or respond to all letters The NACCC reserves the right to refuse any advertisement 2018 The National Association of Congregational Christian Churches All rights reserved The National Association of Congregational Christian Churches Mission Statement To nurture fellowship among Congregational Christian Churches and to support ministries of the local church in its community and to the world all in the name of Christ 31

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8473 South Howell Avenue Oak Creek WI 53154 0288 Puritan Boston Tests Democracy Discover the Puritans you never knew congrelib