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The Congregationalist December 2022

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DECEMBER 2022 VOL 174 NO 4 When Visions Unite TIME OF Renewal CHURCHES Published by MOVING FORWARD www naccc org thecongregationalist

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Table of CONTENTS ON THE COVER Features 4 6 RETIREMENT MAY NOT BE YOUR HIGHEST PRIORITY RIGHT NOW 10 16 WE KNOW IT S OURS 18 21 When you re called to serve the concerns of others are often more important than your own Especially when it comes to thinking about your retirement 22 MMBB looks out for your concerns We specialize in planning ahead for clergy and church staff We do all the work preparing for your future Our kind of financial expertise makes MMBB an indispensable partner for pastors and churches 110 years and counting 25 THERE S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW LEARN MORE MMBB org what we offer Supporting your calling is our calling Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater and pianist Bill Charlap open the Bombyx Center In Communion by Rev Dr Ashley Cook Cleere When Visions Unite by Rev Dr Irven Gammone Time of Renewal by Rev Dr Shawn Stapleton Creative Community Connections by Rev Dr Chris Surber Churches Moving Foward by Rev Dr Charles Packer Power of Love by Bill Rhoads Shared Expectations by Lawrence Balleine A Story of Immigrants by Larry Sommers Departments 9 12 17 22 23 ALONG THE WAY NEWS NEEDS AND PRAYERS OF OUR MISSIONS 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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From the desk of Our NACCC Executive Director By Reverend Dr Ashley Cleere Executive Director National Association of Congregational Christian Churches In Communion A mid the diverse ways Congregationalists observe the sacrament of communion many liturgies make a similar request We invite you to partake of the bread as it is served acknowledging your individual relationship with God Please hold the cup until all are served expressing our shared membership in Body of Christ We gather around the table as unique individuals Yet together we receive the gifts of God for the people of God The Lord s Supper is both a personal and collective act of faith Secular activities also reflect this interplay between individuality and collegiality Athletes hone their skills to better their team and themselves Musicians play diverse instruments in concert with others to accomplish symphonic excellence Congregationalists use the terms autonomy and fellowship to describe how churches relate to one another Both characteristics autonomy 4 and fellowship shape the life of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches The Planning and Action Committee formed a year ago recently introduced three objectives to lend continuity to the diverse initiatives of the Association Increase professionalism Foster collaboration Expand the visibility of NACCC NACCC leadership team members are exploring how these aims inform their responsibilities Some will further these open ended purposes through copious planning The Holy Spirit also steps in to forge unplanned connections The Association calendar and stops on the Listening Tour reveal examples of Congregationalists fulfilling these goals described partnerships with elementary schools in need of mentors and with high school National Honor Society students seeking opportunities to complete service hours New to the NACCC Union Congregational Church of Amesbury Massachusetts updated its street sign with the NACCC logo expanding visibility for their church and our Association On an October evening a parking lot concert with bonfires and chili drew attention around town for the First Congregational Church of Laingsburg Michigan Will your church reflect these objectives as we venture into a new calendar year We would love to hear how you pursue them deliberately or unexpectedly Please email me at director naccc org Pictures welcome The communion meal feeds our individual souls and binds us together with Christ and one another through a holy mystery Our quest for common goals in various contexts unites us in practical ways visible expressions of our intangible membership in the Body of Christ First Congregational Church of Laingsburg Michigan held a concert in its parking lot New street sign at Union Congregational Church of Amesbury Massachusetts GETTING TO KNOW YOU In November a dozen clergy enrolled in the Healthy Boundaries 101 workshops to increase professionalism The Racial Justice Task Team provides resources for the local church to discuss the challenging difficult painful subject of racism in a safe space Their effort is in tandem with progress toward diversity equity and inclusion in other professional arenas The Mission and Outreach Ministry Council fosters collaboration through One Great Hour of Sharing appeals In the wake of natural disasters they work with respected and responsible organizations that comply with IRS and NACCC requirements At a recent meeting of the Michigan Conference of Congregational Christian Churches local churches A Listening Tour Ashley Cleere meets the band As of July 1 2022 the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches comprises 312 congregations and 28 715 church members In July Ashley Cleere NACCC Executive Director kicked off a listening tour with the goal of visiting every NACCC church over the next three years SATURDAY OCTOBER 1 Pilgrim Congregational Church of Green Bay Wisconsin THURSDAY OCTOBER 6 First Congregational Church of Elkader Iowa FRIDAY OCTOBER 7 Little Brown Church in the Vale Nashua Iowa SATURDAY OCTOBER 8 First Congregational Church of Berwick Iowa SUNDAY OCTOBER 9 First Congregational Church of Marshalltown Iowa SATURDAY OCTOBER 15 Allison Congregational Church Allison IowaI SUNDAY OCTOBER 16 First Congregational Church of Clear Lake Iowa 5

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Pianist Bill Charlap and singer Dee Dee Bridgewater WHEN VISIONS UNITE With Rev Dr Irven Gammon Clay Ross of Ranky Tank F lorence Congregational Church was shaped by a storied past In 1842 local activists farmers teachers and businessmen founded the Northampton Association of Education and Industry on the principles of abolitionism temperance pacifism gender equality and religious tolerance The group established a utopian community along a grove of pine trees in the location now known as Florence Massachusetts Though the community disbanded after four years it sold its 100 acres of land including a silk mill that provided jobs to former enslaved workers to abolitionist churchmen and local industrialists On the site of the former utopian community Moses Breck an assistant on the Underground Railroad built Florence Congregational Church The new congregation included members from nine denominations Led by Northampton Deacon and Underground Railroad agent John Payson Williston members insisted that antislavery language be included in the church bylaws Women of the congregation had full voting rights Beit Ahavah Reformed Synagogue began sharing the space the church space about 20 years ago The synagogue was attracted by Florence CC s history of social justice Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips lectured in the pine grove adjacent to the church Sojourner Truth and David Ruggles lived nearby Today the Sojourner Truth Memorial Park and statue in front of the building is the location of education ceremonies and community events and a reminder of the church s heritage More recently Florence CC has faced the challenges common to today s churches including declining memberships and the subsequent erosion in financial stability As a result churches are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain church facilities and operations Florence CC was committed to preserving not only the church but its heritage Beit Ahavah also wanted to remain in the building as did the other tenant Cloverdale Cooperative Preschool A New Lease on Life In 2021 the church was purchased by Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity founded by Kyle Homstead and Cassandra Holden of Laudable Productions The current rent to buy agreement gave Florence CC a 99 year lease on its church space granting them the right to use the space for services and events Beit Ahavah and the Cloverdale Cooperative Preschool continue to be housed there as tenants of the church Laudable themselves tenants of the Bombyx non profit entity produces festivals concerts and other music and art events Homstead and Holden named the multi purpose facility Bombyx Center for Arts Equity Holden serves as the Executive Director of the Board of Directors of Bombyx Bombyx refers to bombyx mori the moth that that provides silk which was woven into fabric by enslaved individuals during the church s early history The founders of the once famous silk mill of Florence and citizens of the surrounding community were abolitionists during the Civil War and wanted to produce and market silk to consumers to reduce the need for cotton in the country reducing the market for cotton picked by slaves as the time Homstead and Holden working with Bombyx combined their vision and creativity to turn the Sanctuary into a Florence Congregational Church chancel and Bombyx Center stage Photos by Julian Parker Burns Laudable Productions Kyle Homstead and Cassandra Holden dual purpose space The new stage showcases a range of performers while serving as a Chancel on Fridays and Sundays for the Jewish and Christian congregations The church building was also spruced up with many community volunteers painting the adjacent Parish Hall community space and large music room Separate entrances to church and arts center will maintain Florence CC s identity and afford a level of privacy The hall hosts weddings and other special events The Reverend Dr Irven Gammon former minister at Florence FCC has been pleased with the way Holden and Homstead promote the relationship between Bombyx and the church Cassandra makes it a point to talk to artists who will be on stage about the unique heritage and work of the congregation within the community for 162 years She speaks of its legacy and its work in the abolition movement in the 1860s including sending their pastor to the front lines with care packages from the church The proposed utopian equitable community of Florence that was developing at the time was extremely supportive of all people for who they were and where they were on their journey I am so happy to see and experience this collaboration and partnership It is a dream come true and reflective of my doctorate work in 2013 I truly believe the partnership will bless the community of Florence and surrounding towns for years to come Cassandra s desire to create a space for all people to discover spiritual connectivity through music and art is truly amazing beautiful and in sync with my belief that we need to think outside the box to serve Christ in new and innovative ways as our American culture continues to change and adapt within the chaos of life today The acts scheduled for Bombyx are eclectic jazz global music American standards bluegrass gospel and tend to reinforce the diversity cherished by the Florence CC and Beit Ahavah congregations The stage will also welcome visual artists speakers exhibitions dance performances worships and film screenings According to Holden Laudable Productions represents a number of artists who are also activists in social and racial justice Opening night for the Bombyx Center for Arts Equity featured Grammy winning jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater and award winning pianist Bill Charlap The choice of performers was an indication that Holden and Homstead planned to honor the church s history in the types of performers it booked at the center When Dee Dee stepped on stage she looked through the church and out through the front doors at the statue of Sojourner Truth once enslaved who was deeply involved in the abolition movement and the underground railroad that passed through Florence Gammon recalled Dee Dee with glassy eyes almost teary I think said Gammon spoke of the church s engagement in the community and country towards a more equitable society for all and the commitment and love of the congregation Although normally on large stages across the country she noted that it was an honor and privilege to be on the stage of such amazing people The audience was moved deeply by her words Gammon s experience with the owners has convinced him that Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity is poised to work with and support all people on a journey of discovery and abundant life For her part Cassandra Holden is energized by how the multi use character of Bombyx Center touches so many people in the community in different ways Though Laudable Productions still works with other venues Bombyx represents a dream come true the type of music and arts center she had always envisioned Continued 6 7

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Continued We re really inspired by what an organization like this can bring to the fabric of the community using the arts as a vehicle to reawaken the history here of local activism said Holden Dr Gammon now serving as Executive Director of The Fellowship of Northeast Congregational Christian Churches is a former builder of Maine prior to his admission to seminary in 1998 He served the Rockland Congregational Church as first an Intern while in seminary and then as the Associate Pastor prior to his call to the Florence Congregational Church in 2005 Along with his pastoral duties and preaching he was very involved in the maintenance and use of the church building by community groups He continues to hold his church membership with Florence and has a special interest in future renovations to and development of the building He notes I hope that this partnership can become a model and inspiration to other churches in the Fellowship and NA churches across the county While it may not work for every church it might offer hope to the many struggling churches and move them to think outside the traditional box The Rev Averill Elizabeth Blackburn Florence CC s most recent pastor who First Congregational Church of Portland Michigan est 1843 seeks a settled pastor to help us minister to each other and the community share the love of the gospel message and continue as stewards and ambassadors for Jesus Our White Church on the Hill offers a furnished parsonage a competitive compensation package and vibrant lay support left the pulpit late August of 2022 says she s thrilled by the new collaboration with Laudable Productions which allows the the church stay in its historic home while also relieving much of its recent financial burden More to Come Future plans for Bombyx Center for Arts Equity include building a new main entrance a glass atrium to the arts center which will further define the arts center as apart from the church synagogue and preschool In addition to the private funding sources generated by Holden and Homstead the Bombyx Center qualifies for arts grants that will help enhance and preserve the historic church building as well as the center More information about the Bombyx Center for Arts Equity can be found at bombyx live A small town conveniently located between Lansing and Grand Rapids Portland features New medical center Beautiful riverwalk network of paved trails Vibrant arts and culture scene Top colleges and universities nearby FCC Portland is a member of NACCC Minister to and spiritually support the congregation Support new and existing programs to inspire teach and enrich the life of the church Coach and encourage the congregation to apply the Word in their daily lives and in the life of the community Help develop and support the congregation s overall vision with new ideas to encourage growth Engage compassion and enhance relationships with members and the community We at the First Congregational Church believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ and witness His Love to each other and the community We pledge to make our Church a place to worship and grow in faith and a haven for all people Learn more https fccportland weebly com Facebook page First Congregational Church of Portland Portland michigan org 8 Among those who were shooting baskets were our oldest member Jane Shoemaker and her family Gary Mattson church Moderator Nancy Mattson Treasurer Deacon Colleen Dehler Trustee Gunnar Johnson and me Pastor Danielson Several other friends were on board to try out their skills as well Surprise hoopsters included Linda who played basketball in high school and made a basket and Pam Swiler who stood up from her wheelchair to take more than one shot at the hoop MENIFEE REACHES OUT TO GOGO GRANDMOTHERS Several members and friends of the church met outside following a celebration of a long time friend Sandy Johnson About 10 years ago I heard about Gogo Grandmothers who joined the church family It was an amazing day from a friend Her church was sponsoring a Malawi village But believing God is in the center of this outreach we My husband Bill Rhoads and I signed up to sponsor one witnessed an even more amazing happening when Josh Gogo each month 30 with her church Gogo is the Liggins an international basketball player who lives across word for grandmother in Malawi The couple who started the street offered to be basketball coach and mentor for this ministry saw the need for spiritual emotional and neighborhood kids of all ages He is as excited as we are physical assistance because many Gogos were raising their Already kids are coming to play in our usually empty grandchildren because so many parents had been lost to parking lot HIV AIDS Our introduction to Josh was providential He was I introduced our Menifee Congregational Church watching his little boy ride his bike in the parking lot When congregation to the Gogos project and for four or five years we have sponsored four Gogos a month in a remote northern I happened to mention that new basketball hoops were to be installed within a couple of days Josh was eager to be Malawi village at the recommendation of the director I m involved He helped outline the best place and how long and attaching a link to the history of the project Dick Day who with his wife Charlotte founded the program has died and is wide each half court should be He was also the first to shoot several 3 pointers God most certainly works in mysterious buried in Malawi His wife just recently returned to the U S permanently because she s now in her 90s But there are very ways And did I mention he is a youth leader and his dad is a Grand Rapids pastor active groups seeing that the work they started continues Never underestimate the mighty power of our God and You ll see various programs that are making a huge impact the vision He has for us all on the lives of these poor people Just our small donations help with maize and fertilizer that sustain these people Respectfully submitted Pastor Marilyn Danielson throughout the year Gogograndmothers is part of SAFE First Congregational Church Lake Odessa Michigan Sub Saharan Africa Family Enrichment Along WAY THE WHEN VISIONS UNITE https gogograndmothers com history https gogograndmothers com https gogograndmothers com annual report top Submitted by Rose Rhoads Congregational Church of Menifee California HOOPING IT UP IN ODESSA First Congregational Church of Lake Odessa Michigan had a great day hooping it up Two days after the installation of the finest of basketball hoops in the church parking lot the congregation met outside to dedicate the hoops for a community outreach for youth The state of theart hoops were recently installed with funding given to the church for youth ministries Several new basketballs have also been purchased 9

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Renewal TIME OF T By Rev Dr Shawn Stapleton here is amazing work going on at United Church of Beloit UCB a Congregational church and NACCC member in southeastern Wisconsin on the border with Illinois The experience may be helpful to other churches considering the need to discern their congregation s future After a year long strategic planning process identified strengths and challenges for UCB Pastor Steve Erkel called me and asked if we might partner to help discern how God is calling them forward The congregation formed after First Presbyterian Church of Beloit PCUSA and Second Congregational Church of Beloit NACCC merged a decade ago That merger gave the newly blended fellowship tremendous momentum that has served them well the past 10 years but it has now waned A once robust choir has lost key members worship attendance has dropped and some formerly vibrant ministries have become fond memories as the pool of servant leaders grows smaller and smaller Still the long tradition of serving the surrounding community continues today through strong and active partnerships with community agencies a powerful specialized ministry to special needs adults an annual school supplies drive that is vital to the students of the Beloit School District and in other ways The Strategic Planning team that had done such difficult work for the previous year was re commissioned to now facilitate a time Renewal at UCB and began interviewing church members over the summer On Sunday September 25 2022 the Sunday morning worship at UCB continued as members and friends enjoyed a meal together and sang hymns of promise and vision in Fellowship Hall They Rev Dr Shawn Stapleton and Jamison Geiger Co Chair Coordinating Council then shared the findings from their first round of interviews asking questions like When were we at our best and Can you share a favorite memory or experience at our church Amid the recollections and reminiscences they said that among all the other blessings they are feeling from God through this process they rediscovered that deep sense of the church as their home UCB will now begin asking pivotal questions about the congregation as it exists today followed by a season of envisioning what God may be planning for their future They will continue telling their stories growing closer and learning from one another all while God continues to reveal the next season of their amazing ministry together Please hold the saints of UCB in your prayers in the coming months Established in 1849 The Congregationalist has been a notable presence providing resources for local churches promoting just causes defining and shaping the Congregational Way The Congregationalist has been published continuously since 1958 by the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches ENSURE THE TRADITION CONTINUES 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 Members sing hymns of promise and vision Editor s Round Table 1 000 Henry Martyn Dexter Society 500 999 Edward Beecher Society 250 499 Elias Smith Connexion 100 249 249 Sustaining __________ 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 ______________________________________________________________________________________________ 10 Thank You For Your Generosity All Gifts Are Tax Deductible To The Fullest Extent Allowed By Law 11

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News Needs and NACCC MISSION OUTREACH CONTACT request from our CHRISTIAN MINISTRY IN THE NATIONAL PARKS ACMNP COLORADO CHRIST TO THE VILLAGES NIGERIA From Matthew Oladele We bring hope and a future to the children by providing good education godly teaching with Christ s love and good moral ethics Often we are faced with complex daily needs and choices The needs are great and unending which could sometimes be overwhelming However we are grateful to God for the grace to overcome challenges We are also grateful to all our friends supporters NACCC and MOMC for your encouragements financial support and prayers God bless you all Thank you Please pray for Divine protection from all danger and political instability God s wisdom for the leadership of this ministry God s blessings on the work of Christ to the villages Children lined Provision to meet the needs of the mission up for lessons Nigeria as we are approaching election Ways you can support Christ to the Villages by weekly monthly or quarterly support From Amy Kennedy Your prayers are requested We have a few open positions for our National Office team Program Assistant Communications Coordinator and Seasonal Recruiter and we are prayerfully reviewing applications as we look for the right fits We are making plans towards our November fall gathering which coincides with one of our in person board meetings in Shenandoah National Park We are praying for great attendance discussions and plans as we step into another season of ministry Lastly our winter team members have headed to the national parks If an individual or church is interested in sponsoring a team member or team they can reach out to us We can connect them to either remain in direct prayer support or to even send a package of encouragement notes treats fun games relational ministry items etc We will have teams in Everglades Big Bend Grand Teton and Zion this year Would you like to work here CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF MYANMAR MYANMAR From Rev Sa Do On August 2th the Grace Children s Ministry families celebrated the opening ceremony of the new building Ongoing needs are for child sponsorship which includes costs for education and basic needs for mission workers Due to the long political crisis war has caused greater poverty homelessness and diseases especially in the most remote regions such as Chin Kachin and Karen States ASOCIACION CIVIL CRISTIANA CONGREGATIONAL ARGENTINA From Rev Dr Harding Stricker As the Congregational Mission in the Northeast of Argentina we feel honoured to count you as mission partners in prayers and support Over the years we have developed different areas of service Mission Clinic soup kitchen community gardening sponsorships and Christian education Even though the present looks dim with a financial crisis still looming all over the situation has improved somewhat since the last change of the Minister of Economy Our main prayer concerns for our country are for a peaceful evolution without social unrest and for recovery of the economy without a major devaluation As for our mission our FOR MORE INFORMATION ON NACCC MISSIONS OR TO DONATE PLEASE CONTACT Missions Administrator Julie Robie at 800 262 1620 or 603 642 7270 or email jrobie naccc org National Association of Congregational Christian Churches Missions and Outreach Ministry Council PO Box 288 Oak Creek WI 53154 For a complete listing of NACCC Mission Projects or to donate please visit our website www naccc org and click on Missions and Outreach main prayer concern is for God s continuing blessings without which we can do nothing the same we pray for our mission partners We wish to reestablish lost connections because of the pandemic A number of these connections have been previously managed by regular mail which is slow and at times does not reach the destination We can be best reached at harding stricker gmail com or www acc ja com We appreciate every single donation you are willing to make and thank you for it You are helping us to carry on a witness to the love of God in practical ways Thank you and God bless Grace House Project ECHO INTERNATIONAL FLORIDA Tiny patient From Abram Bicksler PH D ECHO President CEO Thank you for your thoughts and prayers following Hurricane Ian We cleared debris re opened pathways staked up downed trees repaired damaged buildings and prepared to re open the campus safely As of October much of our electricity is back on but some key buildings were still without power City water had returned yet we needed to boil water before drinking and cooking Still we are grateful for small luxuries Several roofs are in bad shape and our pavilion where many of you have eaten lunch during our conferences or volunteer lunches is pretty beaten up Some of you have asked how you can help We need financial support to get us back up and running and make necessary repairs to our farm and buildings We can also use physical help through work crews and volunteers The hurricane and its aftermath have also led us to realize that there are some longerterm resilience measures that we need to put in place to help us weather future storms The campus has recently had some structural upgrades but we would benefit from a newer and stronger skid steer loader propane generator sets for key buildings and another gasolinetype gator for hauling loads We also recognize that we are in much better shape than many of those in our surrounding communities and we are excited to serve this afternoon as an ECHO staff family by helping our neighbors with their cleanup Today we donated 555 lbs of produce that will be distributed to needy families in Collier County through our partners Cultivate Abundance and Mision Peniel Hurricane Ian cleanup and outreach 12 13

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News Needs and request from our Continued Devastation and destruction LOVE WORTH SHARING HAITI From Rev Jim Owens Haiti is on the verge of collapse This fall Ezechiel our Haitian Director reported there is no gasoline propane or water The country had been on total lockdown for over 10 days and nothing was moving except by foot We need your prayers and financial support as inflation in Haiti is now at 27 Pray that we can still purchase food in country The ministry continues even in these difficult times the children teachers and cooks still make their way to the facilities FISHERS OF MEN MEXICO From Julie Claassen Short term volunteers play a vital role in the ministry of Fishers of Men both at Refuge Ranch and with the Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusades This past summer was no different Whether it be teaching English or baking pizza playing board games or doing landscaping and construction work whatever the task at hand volunteers at Refuge Ranch make the biggest impact through their relationships with the kids While the work carried out makes a huge difference for the ministry the love laughter and reflecting Christ s character leave an eternal imprint on the young and impressionable hearts of each child On crusade volunteers carry out responsibilities from registration to cleaning dental instruments to helping unload setup tear down load and then do it all again as the team moves to a new location Such mundane tasks take on new meaning depth and purpose when done out of love and with joy so that the Good News of Jesus Christ as well as the power of His compassionate healing touch may be experienced by so many of the least of these We thank the Lord for the volunteers that He provided for the ministry this summer and look forward to the day that God calls YOU to be His hands feet and heart in Mexico through Fishers of Men HAPPY LIFE CHILDREN S HOME KENYA From the Happy Life Directors We at Happy Life Mission have continued to experience God s miracles as we celebrate 20 years of rescuing abandoned children in Kenya One remarkable thing this year is the return of adoptions Due to occasional changes in government policies in the last three years plus the COVID 19 situation adoptions had really gone down or halted altogether So having nine children adopted in three months and with 10 more already in the process has warmed our hearts with excitement and hope While we feel sad to see our babies leave us there is always such a fulfillment to see our vision of providing a home and hope for adoption realized One other success story is that 10 of our toddlers joined school last week This is always such an exciting milestone for these children most of them having been rescued as infants Some come to us underweight malnourished or sickly Our caregivers and all the staff do 14 MISSION SCHOOL OF HOPE CAMEROON Choe and Lilly at the pyramids on an outing with some of the kids a lot of work to ensure that these babies grow big and stay healthy So seeing them in their school uniform is a big win for everyone We are ever so grateful to all our partners and friends who support us in prayer and with their donations You are really part of our success stories From Rev Charles Sagay DIGNITY FOR EVERY GIRL was birthed as a response to some of the bitter situations our girls are facing in their communities that strips them of their honor dignity positive self esteem and the joy of being a female We hear many girls say I hate the fact that I was born a girl Bijogoh ran away from school because they had seen her nakedness and laughed at her since she had no underwear There are hundreds of girls like her in poor and desperate communities like our Baka community Many girls go about without underwear and sometimes they are victims of sexual violence infections shame and embarrassment Dignity for every girl is fixing that situation and getting our girls back to school Marie Teresse is quite excited with her new underwear and she said she would be going to school in September and when asked why she giggled and said I have never owned underwear and I was scared to go to school because I didn t want anyone to shame me But with these four beautiful underwear I am confident no one will shame me and I will not be ridiculed in front of others We were able to distribute two pairs to some girls and four pairs to others for 110 girls We know two pairs of underwear per girl is not enough but it is manageable and there are hundreds of girls we plan to reach out to We are grateful to God for all our partners for their determination and amazing support to restore girls dignity get them back to school and keep them in school Marie Teressee with her first underwear MORGAN SCOTT PROJECT TENNESSEE Toddler s first day of school From Crystal Tompkins The Morgan Scott Project is blessed with wonderful volunteers donors and most of all prayer warriors We have hosted seven work groups to date and are very thankful to have the opportunity to do so once again The various mission teams have completed around 10 wheelchair ramps a community project which was painting at the schools a blessing box for a local church some pressuring washing and painting at the office and filled many backpacks with school supplies The Friday food line is going strong and we continue to be blessed with food to serve them We were able to give out six scholarships to graduating students continuing their education The thrift store seems to be growing in popularity We are thankful for all the donations that keep it going God is Good Building a wheelchair ramp 15

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Creative Community CONNECTIONS S By Rev Dr Chris Surber emper Reformanda must not only be at the heart of Christian orthodoxy It must be at the center of Christian outreach The reformers discerned an inherent flaw in that kind of doctrinal rigidity that refuses to see new light from Scripture and present tense leading of the Holy Spirit While the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus remains the locus of Christian life teaching and doctrine our manner and methods of worship and evangelism are ever in need of creative solutions to connect with the ever changing dynamics of society around us The Mission of God Missio Dei is an active extension of the hand of the Living God Missions isn t a subcategory of church life God s Church doesn t have a mission committee God s mission has a Church The classical doctrine on the missio Dei as God the Father sending the Son and God the Father and the Son sending the Spirit was expanded to include yet another movement The Father Son and the Holy Spirit sending the church into the world In the new image mission is not primarily an activity of the church but an attribute of God To participate in mission is to participate in the movement of God s love toward people since God is a fountain of sending love 1 Living as a missionary in Haiti changed my cultural perspective I no longer feel bound and obligated to my own cultural norms when it comes to evangelism outreach and church life I no longer see any part of my life in ministry and local church leadership as maintenance of cultural norms My role as shepherd and our collective role as sheep of the fold of God is to engage in the missio Dei where we are with what we have in every way we can That ol Congregational divine Washington Gladden in his book The Christian Pastor and the Working Church put it this way There is a little higher conception of the work of the minister than that which regards him as a hired man whose duet is wholly owed to the people who pay him his wage He is to begin with the minister of Christ he must regard himself as sent to all those to whom Christ would be ministering if he were dwelling in that community 2 In other words minister and flock are called to participate in the mission of God by any and every means at our disposal What gifts talents ideas are lying dormant in our local churches What embers are waiting for the breath of God to breathe on them so that they may once again burst aflame By way of a humble offering of example my sons and I are engaging Ninjas l r Ephram Sebastian Chris and Hansel Surber 16 The Reverend Dr Chris Surber is pastor of First Congregational Church of Naples Florida and Executive Director of Supply and Multiply Haiti Contact Chris at pilgrimpastor77 gmail com Chris and karate class in a new outreach ministry in Naples Florida I have been involved in various martial arts for most of my life From amateur boxing as a teen to various martial arts during a decade in the military to Karate and Jui Jitsu with my sons I love the discipline training fun and community of martial arts I ve taught a kind of karate discipleship program at two previous churches and now I m implementing the same program at First Congregational Church of Naples and as an outreach as part of an afterschool program at a community center in one of the much less affluent neighborhoods in Naples At the church it is an overt discipleship program At this or other locations in the community it is soft evangelism providing a positive witness of the Church through fun activity and character development with biblical principles providing the foundation Karate is the bait Jesus is the hook and the world is my pond Jesus said to them Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men Mark 1 17 ESV This is just one of many ways we re reaching out into the community in South West Florida Through community involvement I ve observed that martial arts are very popular with families in my community I have a skill and a passion for them so with my sons at my side we re reaching out What gifts do you your pastor or your congregation have hiding out in the pews or pulpit that might be used as bait to go fishing in your community What creative connection can you build to reach the world for Christ starting at your front gate I m praying for a revival in imagination in fishing techniques and tactics in our churches Let s reach out with the old Gospel message in creative ways in these modern days I think God is inviting us to go fishing in new ponds in different ways for His glory Let me know what your church is doing so we can share strategies to reach our communities in inventive ways 1 The World Council of Churches Mission Statement Together Towards Life Mission Evangelism and Missio Dei Source European Journal of Theology 27 no 1 2018 p 78 88 2 Washington Gladden The Christian Pastor and the Working Church Charles Scribner s Sons New York 1898 254 The Reverend Harry W Clark 1927 2022 The Reverend Harry W Clark died at home on October 5 2022 at age 94 Ordained in 1955 Harry served as minister at four churches after which he served 10 years as Associate Executive Secretary for the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches NACCC from 1984 1994 Rev Clark was involved in several leadership positions at NACCC Congregational Foundation for Theological Studies 1974 1977 25th Anniversary Committee 1978 1979 Commission on Youth 1962 1965 He graduated from Indiana University where he met his wife Eleanora Nora and was ordained in 1955 He earned advanced degrees from Colgate Rochester Seminary and Wayne State University s theatre program along with honorary doctorates from Olivet College and Piedmont College He is survived by wife Eleanora daughters Terry Clark Bauman Laury Clark and Amy Clark son in law Rick Bauman granddaughter in law Theresa Bauman and great granddaughter Kivi Bauman Services were held at Ozaukee Congregational Church Grafton Wisconsin Donations may be made in Rev Clark s name to Ozaukee CC s music and benevolence programs The Reverend Gisela Gerdes 1934 2022 Born in Germany The Reverend Gisela Gerdes attended seminary received her certification as a teacher of religious education and taught in Berlin She married Egon Gerdes in 1958 and became a missionary in the Congo in 1961 and gave birth to her daughter in South Africa in 1962 In 1963 the family moved to Nashville where she taught Christian education at the elementary school They then moved to Evanston where Rev Gerdes served several churches as youth leader and director of Christian Education She was ordained in 1989 moving to Los Angeles Glendale to serve as associate minister She served on the NACCC s Christian Education Commission 1990 1994 and Missionary Society 199 1999 She is survived by daughter Ute son Eckhard three grandchildren and five great grandchildren Services were held The Reverend Glenn A Lawson 1947 2022 The Reverend Glenn A Lawson died September 12 2022 in Evansville Indiana He was the outgoing Moderator of the Alabama Georgia Association in 2004 and presided over Rev J R McAliley s Installation at Center Congregational Church Atlanta has his last official act He was on the NACCC s Church Services Commission 2007 2009 and Division for Ministry 2000 2004 Lawson served as a minister for over 30 years pastoring churches in Florida Georgia Wisconsin and Indiana Casting no judgement people of every walk of life came to hear his preaching in Florida Georgia Wisconsin and Indiana He is survived by daughters Cecilia Bunker Tad and Christiana Jones stepdaughter Becky Curry several grandchildren and a great grandchild Donna D Rafuse 1952 2022 Donna D Rafuse wife of Rev Bill Rafuse died September 21 2022 at home in Rapid River Michigan Rafuse was a devoted and faithful pastor s wife The couple served and ministered in Windsor Massachusetts Bozrah Connecticut and Lebanon Connecticut Their final church home was the Rapid River Congregational Church in Michigan for 26 years In addition to her loving husband Bill Rafuse is survived by sons Paul Caitlin Rafuse and James Bobbie Jo Rafuse daughters Michelle Steve Constantino LaMarque Martha John Hutchison Blomstrom brother Michael Davis ten grandchildren and one great grandchild Services were held 17

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CHURCHES MOVING FORWARD By Rev Dr Charles Packer of financial or human resources or questions about the long term future are leading a growing number of churches to contemplate transitioning from a model of dependency upon buildings and grounds D uring Advent Christian churches of many traditions recognize the importance of Jesus arrival in the world as a human child The accounts of the birth of Jesus emphasize the lowliness of the place in which his mother Mary delivered him The gospel writers Matthew and Luke highlight a variety of details some very different from one another However one thing is clear Jesus though ultimately worshiped as a king did not enter into his earthly existence with ease or with comfort The one to whom the Church looks to as the center and core of its faith never relied on strictly conceived architecture in order to conduct His mission More and more churches are finding ways to minister that are not as building based as once would have been taken for granted As several studies indicate church attendance and participation in organized forms of Christianity are dwindling For lots of churches this means trying to figure out how to sustain properties that once were used to greater capacity but now are unoccupied for much of the week Even faith communities that are not facing immediate diminishing Heritage Congregational Christian Church IT S NOT ABOUT THE SPACE by Susan P Carter Past Moderator Heritage Congregational Church As I write this article about our transition my thoughts keep returning to a recent trip to Greece where we traveled in a rented stick shift van with bald tires It was a rocky curvy hilly scary experience and yet along the way we were witness to many beautiful sites Transitioning is nothing new to our congregation In 54 years our journey has taken us from a Presbyterian Church to a Jewish Temple to a movie theatre to purchase of our first meeting house to a local school to building our second meeting house to zoom and finally to our current retail meeting space So how did we end up here In 1983 a Long Range Planning Committee was formed with the task of looking to the future They were particularly interested in whether to move to a new building The lot size of our current meeting space limited most options for expanding As a result the committee eventually decided that the best option would be building in a new developing neighborhood And we did just that Build It and They Will Come Here We Grow That was our dream here is our reality On Sunday December 23 1990 we came together to worship in our beautiful new meeting house What should have been a time of joy and thanksgiving turned to disaster Members and friends arrived for our first service only to find we were without a minister We were told he had resigned and was under investigation by the district attorney This dramatically changed our congregation Our recovery was slow and we lost many members Trust issues caused conflicts with future pastors Of course with a smaller aging congregation it was difficult to keep up with expenses It didn t take long to realize our building had construction issues Most of this centered around snow ice and water We were unable to afford the maintenance of such a large facility Our meeting house became an albatross to mission and ministry When our minister of 18 years retired we knew it was decision time We couldn t move forward in search of a settled pastor until we made some hard decisions about our future A special meeting of the congregation was called and though painful it was unanimous that we put our building on the market Surprisingly the sale was quicker than expected After several weeks of cleaning out a pod was placed on the property and we filled it with items that had been selected for storage And then Covid hit Zoom became our best friend and gave us time to search for a new meeting house It was clear that rental space would be our best option for the immediate future It wasn t long before we found space in the Heritage Square Strip Mall Heritage Congregational s new storefront church It was fitting Heritage Congregational Church at Heritage Square We have settled into our new space and although we are saddened that a few of our loved members have chosen a different path we feel liberated from owning and maintaining our building There is JOY on Sunday mornings as we gather to worship We have continued our zoom service with the addition of an OWL 360 degree video conferencing camera This allows us to see those online as well as the online participants to view us We are blessed to have a wonderful interim pastor while we search for a settled pastor to shepherd our flock A person we pray is uniquely equipped to help us re start our mission and ministry here in Madison We all serve and follow God in one fashion or another It is not about the space it is about relationships Pine Hill Congregational Church CHANGES WERE ON THE HORIZON By Rev Dr Charles Packer Senior Minister When a long time childcare business that rented significant space in Pine Hill s building for over 30 years decided to sell their property next door and cease their summer camp and day care programs the Pine Hill Congregational Church in West Bloomfield Michigan knew that changes would have to be made Should we actively seek out a new tenant How might we use our space differently to enhance our ministries What would we need to do as we looked to the coming years and decades to remain an active vital vibrant witness in West Bloomfield The idea of selling the building and grounds was not at the forefront of Pine Hill s deliberation at that point However when offers began to come in to purchase Pine Hill s building and grounds we were compelled to consider at least some of these in light of our pondering about new directions for the long term health and well being of the church Church leadership gave serious thought to one offer in particular and deemed it prudent to take it to the congregation In mid October 2020 information was presented during a congregational meeting about the offer and some scenarios that could play out were we to stay or leave the present property Members of the congregation were given two weeks to pray and think about this offer before a vote would be taken In the meantime an electronic survey was generated to get an idea of the congregation s perspectives on the matter of relocation Those who completed the survey were asked three things 1 Are you in favor of selling the property 2 What out of six options would you be most inclined to support These options included remaining on the property and not selling potentially using existing financial resources to maintain it until there was nothing remaining building a new facility renting new space dissolving as a congregation merging with another Congregational church or being a virtual church 3 If you see relocation as the most appealing choice how far would you drive from the current location to attend worship and participate in the life of the church They could select from 5 10 miles 10 15 miles or more than 15 miles The church was pleased with the response By far the preferred 2 3 of all respondents course of action would be to sell the building and rent another space One hundred 100 percent were in favor of selling the building and grounds Most preferred to drive between the range of 5 15 miles so an upper limit of 10 miles or less was thought to be safest in looking for places for Pine Hill The Moving Forward process began and four smaller committees were formed under the umbrella of the Moving Forward Committee One was charged with Finding a Facility for Pine Hill to rent Another was tasked with doing inventory of the entire church building to determine What to Keep once a move was accomplished These two committees began their work in February 2021 and with a deadline of May 1 2021 to finish their work Both completed their efforts before deadline in under three months time Two other committees Logistics and Disbursements handled the practical aspects of getting the items that needed to be moved into the new location and sold donated or discarded respectively The Finding a Facility Committee researched over 60 locations in the West Bloomfield area Members of that group visited at least 40 sites personally Most were store fronts charging high rental rates and wanting tenants to move in within a short period of time Pine Hill knew that a move would not take place until October 2021 at the very earliest A church parsonage was investigated but it was quite a distance from the former church building With a large Jewish community in West Bloomfield three nearby synagogues were contacted Almost nearing the May 1 deadline one of those three responded positively and offered to rent their space to Pine Hill The Finding a Continued 18 19

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Facility Committee looked at the space were immediately taken with it and a decision was made by another vote of the congregation to move into the spiritual home of Temple Shir Shalom a Reform Jewish community of over 900 families An office area was negotiated into the rental agreement and when everything was moved in January 2022 it all fit As the chairperson of our Logistics Committee had informed warned us we were moving what we had in 2 500 square feet into 250 square feet We had pared down enough that everything essential made it into that space It should be noted that there are many items stored in the homes of gracious church members willing to hold them until such a time that the church might be in a place with room for them Pine Hill is learning about Jewish holidays figuring out how to be in a much larger sanctuary and how to do 205 years of history SEEKING A PART TIME SENIOR PASTOR TO LEAD US FORWARD Cambria Congregational Church serves a rural farming community northeast of Niagara Falls NY Our small hard working congregation is dedicated to expanding our mission to the community Sunday Worship is traditional and focused on Old and New Testament teachings as related to our daily lives United in our faith and the teaching of Christ we seek a part time Senior Pastor to provide spiritual counsel as we grow our church LEARN ABOUT US Find our Church Information Form at naccc org or on our website cambriacc com INTERESTED CONTACT Cameron Workman Search Committee Chairman cameronworkman mac com or 716 570 4714 Overcomes the Love of Power Above Pine Hill in Temple Shir Shalom the new space Left Pine Hills former church building creative outreach like taking worship services to area parks in the summer when no sign can be placed in front of the building where the community worships Pine Hill is engaged in outreach projects with Temple members to feed the hungry in downtown Detroit There are adjustments to not being in one s own building Yet there is also the freedom to be focused on mission instead of maintenance of any significance Having gone through COVID concurrently with figuring out how to relocate has given the congregation a sense of flexibility and resilience that enables what might look like obstacles to turn into new opportunities The leaders of the congregation have risen to the challenges of doing church in a new way and support one another whenever a need is expressed It is an almost weekly occurrence if not more frequently that someone asks What are you going to do next Pine Hill s pastor and members know to answer We are taking the time to listen to God and we are not going to rush God trying to figure out the next step of the journey During the seasons of Advent and Christmas there is a lesson that God is able to enter the world and touch lives in diverse places and through a variety of means There are no limits to what God can do and where God can be seen known heard and felt These churches and many other churches within and outside the NACCC are living the incarnation of God in real and unique ways The future is being discerned with openness daring hope and trust Support for Others A virtual group has been formed to offer support and shared wisdom for congregations considering or that are in various stages of relocating from their church buildings Meeting approximately quarterly by Zoom and led by the Rev Dr Charles Packer and Thomas Rockwell a Fellow in the Congregational Foundation for Theological Studies the next meeting will be held on Thursday December 29 2022 at 7 00 pm Eastern Time If you are interested please email drcapacker gmail com to request a link By Bill Rhoads When the power of love overcomes the love of power There will be peace on earth When man understand that we re all in God s plans Then God will grant us peace on this earth Bill Rhoads legally blind is a retired US Army veteran and has been a singer songwriter all his life Bill is a member of the Congregational Church of Menifee California And the voices shall ring from the mountains Where once thundered fire of dread And the children will play in the meadows below Where the winding streams no longer run red When the power of love Overcomes the love of power COPYRIGHT 7 2022 BILL RHOADS 26181 KITT ANSETT DR SUN CITY CA 92586 MOVING FORWARD Power of Love Continued CHURCHES When the And the farmers shall plant in the springtime Sunday morning clear church bells will toll Lovers shall walk hand in hand in the park Flowers will bloom full as will every soul When the power of love Overcomes the love of power Then all men shall see love in their neighbor The Light commands darkness depart Then man understands the true language of God And harmony will flow through every heart When the power of love Overcomes the love of power Join the Conversation The National Association of Congregational Christian Churches recently launched a dedicated discussion forum exclusively for individuals of member churches This resource enables users to interact on current topics in congregational life Areas of interest have been established to heighten connectivity The Member Forum is a place to share ideas ask questions gain knowledge make suggestions provide guidance or simply to connect www naccc org member forum 20 21

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Figure a EXPECTATION SHARED EXPECTATIONS Preventing Unnecessary Pastoral Dismissals by Lawrence Balleine E xpectations we all have them When we purchase a new vehicle we expect it to perform reliably We teach our children proper etiquette and expect them to act accordingly We have expectations of our favorite athletic teams as they embark on new seasons of competition We also have expectations of the people we hire or call to serve us Just as we expect our mail carrier to deliver our mail on time or our teachers to treat our children fairly we have expectations of our pastors These expectations are often unique for each person in the pew Thus a 300 member congregation may have 300 sets of expectations And since every congregation is composed of people with different personalities life histories and needs it should not be surprising that expectations may vary from congregation to congregation It s unrealistic for a pastor to meet all these sets of expectations Some try but most fail Dissension between a congregation and its pastor often occurs when expectations are not clarified and communicated Expectations that have not been articulated often go unmet And by the time the pastor discovers these expectations the pastor parish relationship is often strained beyond repair and the pastor resigns or is asked to resign Many of these premature departures are preventable by engaging in a process that clarifies and shares a set of reasonable expectations The following are instructions for a three part exercise meant to facilitate a sharing of expectations The exercise is undertaken not by the entire congregation but a representative subgroup The purpose is to help a congregation identify its priorities and to ascertain whether the pastor is on the same page The exercise also identifies whether the members of the representative group have similar expectations Ultimately the exercise can be a means of establishing a reasonable set of shared expectations that are owned by both the congregation and its pastor The genesis for this exercise is a tool offered by the late Lyle Schaller in his book The Pastor and the People first published by Abingdon Press in 1973 In Chapter 3 Pastoral Priorities Schaller offers an exercise to be completed by a search committee regarding the priorities on the time and energy of a prospective pastor In Schaller s tool each committee member and the pastoral candidate prioritize 12 ministerial roles including the leader visiting counseling leading worship and preaching community leader enabler teaching evangelism denomination and ecumenical responsibilities a leader among l eaders personal and spiritual growth and administration The following is a modification and expansion of Dr Schaller s model First a group of five to 10 members representative of the congregation are chosen This group and the pastor commit to completing the exercise Prior to the exercise identical sets of 10 cards are prepared for the representative lay persons and the pastor On each card is printed a role or responsibility of pastoral ministry and a brief definition of that role Each participant holds a set of the 10 cards Card 1 Worship preparing for and leading worship Card 2 Teaching preparing for and teaching various classes Bible studies confirmation special Lenten studies etc Card 3 Administration responding to mail and e mails writing newsletter items letters of recommendation and supervision o staff Card 4 Visitation home and hospital visitation including home communion visits Card 5 Counseling marital family and individual counseling grief counseling and counseling in preparation for marriages and baptisms Card 6 Evangelism actively inviting others to be followers of Jesus Christ and assimilating them into the life of the church equipping evangelism teams to do the same Card 7 Professional Development participating in continuing education events pastors retreats pastors support groups Card 8 Biblical Justice Issues actively opposing racism sexism ageism human trafficking etc and involvement in efforts to eliminate them Card 9 Denominational Activities work with association conference and national church committees and meetings Card 10 Community and Ecumenical Ministry participation in local pastors groups attending community events and supporting the work of interdenominational groups Each equipped with the 10 cards the participants including the pastor to complete three steps Step 1 Individually prioritize the 10 roles by placing them in the order of their perceived importance to the congregation by assigning a number from one through 10 on each of the cards A different number between one from 1 to 10 with one being most important No number should be used more than once Note Remind the participants that there are no correct or incorrect responses The purpose is to obtain a clearer picture of the priorities representative of the congregation Step 2 Give each role a percentage value indicating its relative importance among the 10 and record it on the card Each participant determines a percentage value indicating the relative importance of each of the ten roles and records it on the respective card The higher the priority the higher the percentage number assigned and vice versa The total of the percentage of a member s 10 cards should add up to 100 percent Step 3 Finally members should identify their expectations for how many hours per week the pastor will spend on each role Record the hours on each card If for example three people and the pastor complete the exercise the result of Steps 1 2 and 3 may appear as follows Note Although a minimum of five and maximum of ten participants in addition to the pastor s are recommended for the completion of the exercise to right Figure a is an illustration of the results if three lay persons and the pastor were to complete the exercise When all have completed Steps 1 2 and 3 tabulate the results in the following manner Eliminating the pastor s cards average the priority numbers on the group s cards In the above example the average priority for Worship is 1 33 and Biblical Justice Issues is 9 33 Remember that 1 is the highest priority while 10 is the lowest Next tabulate the average priority by percentage for each of the ministerial roles Using our example cards Worship is 21 and Biblical Justice Activities is 2 Priority and priority by percentage should closely align It checks the accuracy of Step 1 Make the group aware of the results following Step 1 and Step 2 respectively Then conduct a brief discussion regarding the collective results In the best case scenario the discussion will conclude that Steps 1 and 2 present a fairly accurate assessment of the importance to the congregation of the 10 pastoral roles The pastor then discloses his or her responses regarding Steps 1 and 2 Hopefully the pastor s priorities are similar to the composite results of the lay participants This is especially true if the participants Continued 22 VALUE PRIORITY Participant A Worship 25 12 Administration 20 10 Counseling 15 5 Teaching 12 6 Visitation 10 8 Evangelism 8 4 Denominational Activities 4 2 Professional Development 3 2 Community Ecumenical Min 2 2 Biblical Justice Issues 1 2 100 53 hrs Worship 20 12 Administration 18 6 Counseling 15 6 Teaching 14 6 Visitation 13 2 Evangelism 7 4 Denominational Activities 6 2 Professional Development 3 2 Community Ecumenical Min 2 2 Biblical Justice Issues 2 2 100 52 hrs Worship 20 15 Administration 16 9 Counseling 14 10 Teaching 12 4 Visitation 11 2 Evangelism 10 6 Denominational Activities 7 2 Professional Development 5 2 Community Ecumenical Min 3 2 Participant B Participant C Biblical Justice Issues 2 2 100 54 hrs Worship 20 12 Administration 18 8 Counseling 15 4 Teaching 12 6 Visitation 10 8 Evangelism 9 2 Denominational Activities 7 2 Professional Development 4 4 Community Ecumenical Min 3 2 Biblical Justice Issues 2 2 100 50 hrs Pastor 23

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A Story of Immigrants Continued SHARED EXPECTATIONS Larry F Sommers upper left is interviewed by author Doug Moe at the Aug 24 launch party for his historical novel Price of Passage Lawrence H Balleine is a 1975 CFTS graduate who has served as Congregational and UCC pastor for forty three years Most of his ministry has been with small town rural congregations have agreed that their collective results present a fairly accurate picture of the congregation The pastor s results need not match exactly those of the group However large discrepancies between the pastor s responses and the group s averages should be discussed Next average the number of hours the participants feel that the pastor should spend weekly in each of the roles Add the hours for all the ministerial roles to determine the number of hours weekly the pastor should be engaged in the ten roles The following represents the example Worship Participant A Participant B Participant C Average Pastor 12 12 15 13 12 Teaching 6 10 9 8 33 6 Visitation 8 6 10 8 8 Administration 10 6 6 7 33 8 Counseling 5 4 4 4 33 4 Evangelism 4 6 2 4 2 Denominational Activities 2 2 2 2 2 Comm and Ecumenical Ministry 2 2 2 2 4 Professional Development 2 2 2 2 2 Biblical Justice Activities 2 2 2 2 2 3 hrs 52 hrs 54 hrs 53 hrs 50 hrs TOTAL After the lay participants briefly discuss the hours per week for each pastoral role and the total hours for the week the pastor s results are disclosed Again the pastor s results regarding hours need not completely match those of the committee But large discrepancies between the group s averages and the pastor s responses should be noted and discussed How can this exercise be used This exercise may be used by a search call committee while interviewing pastoral candidates It can be used by a church council board of deacons a pastor parish relations committee or some other representative leadership group in the church shortly after the pastor has been called and installed 24 Since conditions and needs of a congregation are constantly in flux expectations do not remain constant Thus it is advisable to repeat this exercise every three to four years Again the group doing the exercise should represent a good cross section of the membership and be sanctioned by the church s governing body such as the church council Ideally no less than five or more than 10 lay members and the pastor should engage in the exercise This expectations exercise has shown to be a more helpful tool than many congregation surveys by determining whether the pastor and congregation are in relative agreement regarding the pastor s priorities A copy of the tabulated results should be presented to the church council And if deemed appropriate by the council the results may be shared with the entire congregation The exercise can also be used with a pastor who has served the congregation for a year or more by asking participants to place a number from 1 to 10 by each of the ministerial roles to indicate the current pastor s strengths This is a simple exercise that can be completed within two hours Yet it is an invaluable tool that may prevent unnecessary pastoral dismissals that often result in strife and division within congregations L arry F Sommers former editor of The Congregationalist recently published his first novel Price of Passage It debuted with a launch and signing party on August 24 It was marvelous Larry said Everybody should have the experience of launching a book They make you the center of attention You get to talk about yourself and the things you care about Forty close friends attended the party where Larry was interviewed by award winning author and journalist Doug Moe Price of Passage is a historical novel about two Norwegian immigrants Anders and Maria who befriend Daniel a fugitive slave before the American Civil War It s filled with conflict yearning and struggle Larry said but there s also humor prairie stuff and old Norsk folklore If you like historical fiction you ll love Price of Passage If you have never read historical fiction it s a great introduction to the genre The book is available as a paperback or e book in bookstores on Amazon or straight from the publisher at 20 percent off list by clicking https www dxvaros com books PRICE OF PASSAGE Price of Passage was 77 years in the making Larry said but I m speeding up My next title should be along any decade now Are You Ready to Shepherd Heritage Into the Future Heritage Congregational Christian Church has a 50 plus year legacy in Madison Wisconsin Framed by beautiful lakes and home to the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin State Government Madison prides itself as a green city filled with many parks an arboretum and miles of walking and biking paths We recently sold our meeting house which had become an albatross to mission and ministry Our church family has moved into a temporary home and are excited about our future We seek a shepherd for our flock uniquely equipped to help us re start our mission and ministry willing to embrace the Congregational Way with an entrepreneurial drive towards a new mission and ministry within a small but willing congregation and unashamed to be a disciple of Jesus Christ If you are able to love and listen in a way that invites our congregation and community into a journey of discovery centered on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ you may be just who we are looking for We invite you to check out our profile at naccc org And visit our website at www Heritagemadison org Direct applications and questions to our office heritageoffice heritagemadison org 25

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Recent Calls Rev Robert L Cooper First Congregational Church Wayne MI July 10 2022 Pastorates Ordination Rev Wendell Dennison Associate Minister First Congregational Church Machiasport ME 04655 July 24 2022 Rev William D Mulholland Senior Minister First Congregational Church Becket MA October 9 2022 Patricia E Smith Co Pastor Berwick Congregational Church Berwick IA October 9 2022 PULPITS In Search Senior Minister First Congregational Church Anchorage AK Third Congregational Church Middletown CT Tinley Park Community Church Tinley Park IL First Congregational Church Spencer IA First Congregational Church Emporia KS First Church in Pembroke Pembroke MA Dixfield Congregational Church Dixfield ME Congregational Church of East Sumner Sumner ME Arbor Grove Congregational Church Jackson MI First Congregational Church Portland MI First Congregational Church Royal Oak MI First Congregational Church McCook NE First Congregational Church of East Bloomfield Bloomfield NY First Congregational Church Little Valley NY Cambria Congregational Church Lockport NY Oakwood Heights Community Church Staten Island NY Wading River Congregational Church Wading River NY Gomer Congregational Church Gomer OH Heritage Congregational Church Madison WI St Jacobi Congregational Church Richfield WI Interim Minister Stuart Congregational Church Stuart FL Arbor Grove Congregational Church Jackson MI Licensed Minister Second Church of Plymouth Plymouth MA Enterprise Congregational Church Enterprise OR First Congregational Church Salt Lake City UT Non NACCC Church Licensed Minister We are currently searching for the right person to move us forward and grow our church St Jacobi Congregational Church is located in the beautiful Kettle Moraine in a suburban community just north of Milwaukee Wisconsin We have a strong foundation of hard working and diverse members united by faith in the Gospel of Christ We are seeking a part time Senior Pastor to lead our close knit and welcoming church family Rye Congregational Church Rye NH Non NACCC Church Associate Minister Plymouth Congregational Church Miami FL Non NACCC Church Senior Minister CALENDAR 2022 Subscriptions Policy SAVE THE DATE Ongoing NACCC Online Prayer Circle Monday evenings 8pm Central on Zoom To join https www naccc org naccc prayer circle Save the Date June 24 27 2023 NACCC Annual Meeting and Conference Milwaukee Wisconsin For more information https www naccc org new events events 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 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 53154 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 Editor Marianne E King Publisher Carrie Dahm Contributing Editor Julie Robie Graphic Design Goes Studio Published quarterly by NACCC 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53154 0288 naccc naccc org Editorial Inquiries Marianne E King 800 262 1620 ext 1624 editor naccc org Editorial Advisory Team Rev Dawn Carlson Rev Dr Barry W Szymanski Rev Dr Michael Glidden Claudia Kniefel Advertising Inquiries Carrie Dahm 800 262 1620 ext 1612 cdahm naccc org Subscription Inquiries Tracy Bernhardt 800 262 1620 ext 1615 naccc naccc org Our Web site www naccc org thecongregationalist features the current issue plus back issues Each new issue is posted on the site when the printed issue is mailed so you typically can read the magazine before the printed copy reaches your mailbox Enjoy SUBSCRIBING CANCELING MOVING Email us at naccc naccc org 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 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 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 2022 The National Association of Congregational Christian Churches All rights reserved To discontinue receiving the magazine contact Tracy Bernhardt at 800 262 1620 ext 1615 or email naccc naccc org First Congregational United Church of Christ Waterloo IA Learn About Us Access our Church Information Form at naccc org For Additional Information Email our Search Committee Chairman Bob Laubenheimer at sjccsearch yahoo com 26 27

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8473 South Howell Avenue Oak Creek WI 53154 0288 In honor of the 400th Anniversary of the Pilgrims Landing in Plymouth in 1620 and the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving in 1621 our four part historical introduction and discussion guide Plymouth s Pilgrims Their Church Their World and Ours is available PLYMOUTH S PILGRIMS Their Church Their World and Ours Guide includes A youth and adu It version of our guide Key historical documents paired with each lesson r A list of helpful websites And a variety of other online resources I Free on our website Congregationallibrary org Congregational Library Archives History Matters Written by Linda 51111th Rhoads 14 BEACON STREET BOSTON MA 02108

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