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The Congregationalist June 2022

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JUNE 2022 VOL 174 NO 2 SACRED SOLIDARITY EVANGELISM G ROWTH AND A CHARGE Published by Darkness to Light www naccc org thecongregationalist

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Table of CONTENTS Features 4 6 10 RETIREMENT MAY NOT BE YOUR HIGHEST PRIORITY RIGHT NOW 11 12 WE KNOW IT S OURS 16 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 24 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 THERE S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW LEARN MORE MMBB org what we offer Supporting your calling is our calling ON THE COVER A Fifth Century Perspective Kathy Reash raises funds for Ukrainian family by Rev Dr Ashley Cook Cleere through cookie sales Sacred Solidarity by Robb Tar The Tree of Life by Kim Davis Departments Darkness to Light by Shawn Stapelton Evangelism Growth and a Charge by John Tamilio III Ph D Private Personal Workshop Part II by Grove Armstrong What Do You See by Dr Michael Wayne Glidden Bitter Sweet by Dr Chris Surber 14 20 26 27 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 Established in 1849 The Congregationalist has been a notable presence providing resources for local churches promoting just causes defining and shaping the Congregational Way F A Fifth Century Perspective or nine years after they arrived in 1620 the Plymouth Pilgrims were the sole arbiters of Congregationalism in the New World The Puritans who settled at Salem in 1629 carried across the Atlantic a different discontent with England than their predecessors did When Dr Samuel Fuller of Plymouth journeyed north to treat an outbreak of scurvy in Salem he did not leave behind his role as deacon Medical and spiritual care were intermingled Not surprisingly the church established at Salem though a distinct community of faith bore the influence of Plymouth Each Congregational church has a unique story of its founding shaped by local circumstances and the backgrounds of faithful people who brought the church into being These histories are interlaced in ways that exceed our capacity to unravel them tales of sponsorship collaboration splits mergers unions yoked calls and other innovative relationships Although we honor local church autonomy our congregations stories are delightfully intertwined In this fifth century of Congregationalism information travels from one church to another unprecipitated by medical care Through this publication the Internet convocations annual meetings and even the oldfangled telephone members of NACCC churches communicate with one another sharing joys and burdens We ve come a long way since the time when there were only two Congregational churches 65 miles apart Even amid the efficiency of the present day it s possible to know more about one another than we already do In 1629 Dr Fuller shared his talent with people who belonged to a church other than the one where he was a member In 2022 members of NACCC churches have untapped skills and ideas to offer Congregationalists around the country To learn more about the member churches and church members of the National Association I am launching an initiative personally visit 300 congregations in 36 months This endeavor will begin in July 2022 and culminate in June 2025 I won t bring a doctor s black bag to these house calls But in the spirit of Samuel Fuller I plan to circulate stories regarding the health and vitality of Congregational churches My grandparents retired to Arizona when I was in elementary school Every summer they drove across the country to visit my family in Vermont and our cousins in New Jersey stopping to see other friends and relatives in the Midwest My grandmother a fantastic storyteller passed news from house to house These annual pilgrimages connected me to shirttail cousins I had never met and drew me closer to those I knew Following her example and Samuel Fuller s I hope we all will become better acquainted in the next three years 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 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 ______________________________________________________________________________________________ 4 Thank You For Your Generosity All Gifts Are Tax Deductible To The Fullest Extent Allowed By Law 5

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SACRED SOLIDARITY Hope for Sustaining Racial Justice By Robb Tarr A Conversation Between Collaborators Robert Caldwell Robb Tarr I have worked with my mentor Robert Caldwell in poverty and justice ministry for almost 10 years With me being a white older millennial and Robert being a black younger baby boomer we are not always perceived as the likeliest of pairs but we ve had fruitful partnership coaching churches and developing ministry programs and curriculum together I am incredibly thankful for how God has used him to form my perception of and response to what happens in the world around us Over our years together focused on racial justice and reconciliation we ve seen seasons of heartbreaking tragedy and discouragement for what is happening in our country and times of momentum excitement and profound hope as movements and efforts respond We know it has been the same for many churches and Christians whether our involvement has especially come in the last couple years in response to the murders of folks like Ahmaud Arbery Brianna Taylor and George Floyd among others or like Robert our memory and experience goes back to the mid twentieth century civil rights movement or before Lately as we think about continued ministry together and how different churches in different contexts will be working to continue in their own call for racial justice we ve noticed that the issue of sustaining ourselves through ups and downs has come up a lot for people lately There was so much earnest reflection and a desire to acknowledge issues that still needed justice and reconciliation in 2020 Yet many people now are seeing that what is culturally predominant is more rancor suspicion and debates not about what can be done to bring wholeness but how to define if appeals for justice are going too far We know there s a range of experiences Some of us are newer to how racial justice movements play out and are feeling surprised and discouraged Some of us have been involved for many years have seen this before and are seeking hope and new strategies to keep going Some feel an initial sympathy to challenges about how racial justice should proceed but also want to see injustice end and are trying to figure things out Some of us have had trouble feeling deeply personally connected to the issue and are overwhelmed and exhausted by controversy We also share the conviction that all of us should know God created all of humanity for shared dignity as well as wholeness together and therefore be committed to finding a role for ourselves to participate in how God is working for justice as part of salvation life even as it may end up looking different for each of us We ve consolidated these recent conversations when we ve been prayerfully processing how we all continue in the current season of renewed focus on racial justice in the hopes that others may relate to the questions and challenges and find some encouragement and sense of shared experience in your own hope for sustaining justice Robb So Robert as someone who s been involved for a long time in various movement work for justice and reconciliation how do you process the big swings of interest and attitude happening the last few years both for yourself and for others Robert Well it makes me very thankful to have had the experiences I ve had over time and to know I m connected to people and actions that have been working for a long while and how we ve seen God s faithful movement through it all Any swings that can happen are also a big reason why I encourage people that whatever specific moment you get involved in a cause developing a full perspective of the underlying vision and how things have unfolded in history is incredibly important How you describe people wondering about progress and sustainability now reminds me that Martin Luther King Jr s last book written in 1967 was titled Where Do We Go From Here So much of it sounds like it would apply exactly to today It might be discouraging that more things still haven t changed but it s also very clarifying to remember we re a part of something so much bigger than ourselves King had won significant legislative victories but he d also seen how people were already looking for workarounds that gave lip service to the full vision of justice but really sought to undermine it Progress and pushback are part of the cycle of this work Remembering that can help our perseverance against discouragement or make us accountable to the movement if we feel our own pushback to a new moment despite believing in the cause overall Every generation and in fact every person is going to have to buy in for justice to happen It s like a relay race but there s no last leg because people are still coming Though it can feel good to say we re done either for your own sense of accomplishment or so you can try to escape participating it s not a reflection of the goal Justice isn t something we solve it s something we share Robb That is a really beautiful vision There are times though it can feel like Robert Caldwell is the the Founder and CEO of Answerpoverty org a training coaching and program development organization for raising the capacity of poverty ministries and programs in the church and the community He has over 30 years experience in social service and community development for a range of organizations and even more time participating and leading in social movements His programs have received recognition like the Governor s Award for Excellence in Public Service in Ohio and he was the 2016 recipient of the Ohio State University Distinguished Service Award we re running backwards or the having to keep going feels overwhelming How do you respond to those feelings Robert We should always recognize even small victories of progress for encouragement and for finding our next steps However we have to remember we re not trying to win news cycles we re working to transform the systems that influence people s lives We re not trying to get people s attention we re working to transform people s values and relationships with each other Getting the focus right keeps us accountable to the full vision of justice in God s Kingdom and to the strategies that get us there Robb Those are really big goals especially when you talk about systems For some people that feels right in their wheelhouse and how they want to work for racial justice but for others that feels potentially controversial or almost too big to think about or outside their gifts How do we help anyone find their role in that type of vision Robert Well here s where we have to be honest that all movements for social change must transform the comfort level of the dominant group The Reverend Robb Tarr has been pastor at Gahanna Community Congregational Church Columbus Ohio since 2019 and works with faith based non profit organizations that help bring the experience of God s Kingdom to more of our world He is a graduate of Florida State University and Fuller Theological Seminary and combines faith and theology with an understanding of media and culture He and wife Wendy have two children Aislynn and Coen that wants to keep the status quo All of us feel uncomfortable with the unfamiliar None of us are likely to notice something going on behind the scenes that s working well for us even if it isn t working well for others we aren t connected to But relational connection moves us past even just comfort to deep caring When someone I love who I see as my own is suffering I cannot help but also be uncomfortable enough to do something about that When a system is not working for the people I love I will find a way to change it for their thriving even if it takes great struggle Then these are not just abstractions and issues they are problems to transform for the real experience of real people I really love So intentionally loving as God calls us to where there is injustice is something any of us can do but also ends up even impacting systems Truly if anyone is wondering what to do to get involved or sustain themselves creating truly invested relationships with people crying out for justice should be the foundation not just quick conversations or a service project but true bonds Robb I love that idea but Continued 6 7

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NAC C C relationships are so fraught right now If anything it seems like more people are feeling like relationships are fracturing over this issue Can relationships really do that for us Robert I don t think there s another way but we have to put that love of a person ahead of like you said the issue If I care more about my position on an issue I will make defending my private idea of justice more important than helping a person experiencing J U NE 2 5 2 8 2 0 2 2 Continued SACRED SOLIDARITY A N N UA L M E E T I NG CO N F E R E NC E injustice If I am willing to love and make people my own I will not be able to hold a position that would hurt their dignity and thriving even if I have to give up something for myself Sadly I have had to let go of relationships recently too when people could only relate to me as the issue as much as I hoped to get to something else but I m also in relationships that are changing lives because there s mutual investment and people with power are releasing W I C H I TA K A N SAS And the Greatest of These is Love private comfort and control I still take great hope that I follow a God who in Jesus transformed the issue of reconciliation by treating us as personally and lovingly as possible often by challenging his followers and all the way to the point of taking the cost of injustice on himself I have hope that God will help us all be so in Christ that justice will be shared even when we push back are discouraged or aren t sure how to keep going 1 CORINTHIANS 13 13 L ove Ta l ks L ove o f G o d D i a n a B ut l e r B a s s dia na b utlerbass com 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 L ove o f Neighbo r Valar ie Kaur va lari ekau r com Love o f Self Mihee Kim Ko rt mk i mkort com 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 8 C o n g re gat i o n a l Ta l k A sh l ey C l e e re naccc org new exe cutive d i re cto r Venue D rury Pl aza Hotel Broadview Wichita dr ur y h o tels co m lo c at io n s w ic h it a k s dr ur y pla z a h o te l b ro a d v i ew w i c h i t a HOSTED BY P LY MOU TH CONGR EGATI ONA L CH U RC H U N I V E RS I TY CONGR EGATI ONA L CH URC H 9

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The Tree of Life M Kathy Reash By Kim Davis Kathy Reash is a member of our Congregational church Grace Church of Columbiana Ohio Her business Sweet Temptations creates specialty cakes cookies muffins and pies She has a passion for creating art through batter and icing Last year a local caf ordered cookies with its logo the Tree of Life and Kathy searched high and low for a cookie cutter that would match the logo as closely as possible She found just the right cookie cutter on Etsy an online site that serves as a marketplace for unique handcrafted and vintage items from around the world This year as Kathy was preparing for her taxes she came across the receipt for that cookie cutter Kathy noticed that its creator was from Ukraine She reached out to the maker Elena via Etsy Elena whose home is Chernihiv replied and the two women have since established a friendship without borders They have been in touch daily except for a few days when communications were down 10 Elena her husband both engineers and their three children have fled Russia s assault on Ukraine by car to Slovakia where they remain Her eldest child age seven is suffering from PTSD from the bombings and shelling Kathy put her creative baking to work on behalf of her new friend and offers cookies designed as sunflowers Ukraine s national flower for sale The profits are sent to Elena and her family in Slovakia Kathy has also given cookies to Grace Church for free will donations The money sent to Elena has bought food and laundry soap Kathy has located an individual in Columbiana who has offered to sponsor Elena and her family and can provide employment Unfortunately at the time this went to press the United States isn t currently accepting Ukrainian refugees In the meantime Grace Church is hoping to assist Elena with the supplies she needs to create her cookie cutters so she can generate income for her family as they live as refugees Darkness to Light A Seminar Recap By Shawn Stapleton ll too often the horrors a child experiences privately at the hands of an abuser go untold and unnoticed A child may not be able to easily identify a trustworthy person to whom they can disclose their experiences Perhaps a person sees something suspicious but decides not to say anything because they don t want to get an innocent person in trouble over an easily explained bruise Or there s the scenario we may struggle to admit could happen in our fellowship the church inadvertently finds itself with an abuser in its midst Thanks to Carol Hogue lead trainer with Darkness to Light participants in a recent seminar learned more about the nature of child abuse signs to help them identify potential victims and how to respond to any suspicions they may have In addition participants learned about prudent steps to take when volunteers and staff work with children Hogue who is married to a pastor highlighted the importance of screening those who watch the nursery or teach Sunday School and not just accepting anyone who volunteers Abusers are often people in a child s life who have cultivated a sense of trust she said and that list of people can include the adults that children encounter at church That s why it s so important to include a background check as part of the onboarding process for volunteers and staff who work closely with children for instance She also encouraged churches to have a strategy to ensure an adult is never alone with a child because eliminating an opportunity to violate a child ensures the church remains a safe place Michelle West youth ministry director at First Congregational Church of Toulon Illinois said I fear we have a tendency to forget that our children are people too and worthy of respect In many cases we the church may be the only ones that some of these children can turn to The church should not only be a safe haven for those seeking help but also a place where children are safe and feel safe Many youth workers and pastors who participated in the webinar said the concepts were not new to them but the updated statistics and strategies renewed a sense of urgency for them in ensuring the children in their fellowships are protected Whether participants were seasoned veterans or just beginning to think through strategies to keep children safe they valued the information Ms Hogue presented I believe the importance of protecting children anywhere is vitally important said Pastor Linda Hauschild who serves the First Congregational Church of Elkader Iowa We need to make a safe environment and we also need to be aware of warning signs of abuse Julie Robie Missions Administrator for the NACCC and wife of recently retired pastor the Reverend Jeff Robie agreed It child safety should be a primary goal of every church Christian Education program youth group mission activities The webinar was sponsored by the Growth Ministry Council of the NACCC in partnership with the Center for Congregational Leadership The groups anticipate a second offering of this important information sometime soon and more advanced webinars on child safety and human trafficking are being discussed The Reverend Dr Shawn Stapleton has been associated with the NACCC since 1997 and has served churches in Wisconsin Iowa and Florida He currently serves as the Workshop Coordinator for the NACCC s Center for Congregational Leadership 11

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EVANGELISM GROWTH and a CHARGE PROCLAIM GOOD NEWS to the By John Tamilio III Ph D T I The Problem he Enlightenment ubiquitous in Europe in the mid eighteenth century before immigrating to the New World influencing the construction of the US Constitution was a cultural blessing Not only did it establish the scientific method and new perspectives on human rights however incomplete it also challenged all academic disciplines to meet the standard of critical scrutiny in order to be considered legitimate The downside though is that it dealt a staggering blow to religion Anything that could not pass the litmus test of reason was jettisoned But all was not lost The movement spawned the modern theological enterprise framed by the works of Kant Schleiermacher and Hegel It also led to the revitalization of Catholic thought France had Fran ois Ren de Chateaubriand England boasted John Henry Newman Liberal theology which these and other thinkers birthed some directly some indirectly would face the criticism of the twentieth century s greatest theologian Karl Barth but not until it deconstructed Christianity The implication of such bricolage was a radicalism that took root on both sides conservatives responded with fundamentalism liberals embraced pluralism Evangelicals sought an alternative However due to its current connection to political neoconservatism it has been caricatured in popular culture 12 The result of all this has been a postmodern rejection of anything religious The gulf between church and state has widened Mainline denominations have been in a state of decline since the glory days of the 1950s What we see in churches today reflects the political climate more partisanship and less credibility in the public eye Some churches have responded by being more welcoming by embracing those who traditionally have been thrust to the margins of society by organized religion The United Church of Christ s God is Still Speaking campaign the brainchild of Ron Bufford is one example In the early years of this century the UCC rolled out its program of extravagant welcome to use their words with the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church USA following suit In the public eye this gave the Church some pre Enlightenment credibility Reaching out to those in the LGBTQIA community and supporting organizations such as Black Lives Matter gave some branches of Christianity an air of respectability while further ostracizing others Furthermore social media is saturated with anti religious messages particularly anti Christian ones If you spend any amount of time on TikTok for example you will find numerous video snippets that sound as if they came right out of the Enlightenment Religion is based on superstition and faulty logic This is not as well developed an argument as Marx s claim that religion is the opium of the people or the Freudian dictum that God is a transcendent father figure whom we constructed as a wish fulfillment However there is a popular growing perception that religion is unscientific and a relic of the uneducated masses who needed it to give order to their lives and to help justify their sociopolitical station Little did Nietzsche know how true his words would reverberate in the minds of many modern Americans II A Solution There is no clear fix to this problem hence this section title begins with the indefinite article However there is a solution that may seem to some anyway to be part of the problem itself The Church should stop acclimating to culture and proclaim what it believes and it needs to do so with uncompromising vigor I must explain what this means and what it does not mean Let me tackle the latter first Any student of history knows quite well that the Church has a great deal of blood on its hands and sins that shadow its soul There are no excuses When Constantine converted to the faith in 312 CE Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire Since then there have been many dark chapters in her story One need only think of the Crusades that haunted the medieval period This was followed by inquisitions witch hunts and antisemitism Today people often point to Christian doctrine as the Church s justification for discrimination against people of minority races and sexual orientations Many liberal churches have sought to rectify these abuses through social justice They have much to teach I am not saying that we need to do less of this but this is not the solution Although it may be a pertinent first step towards reconciliation it will do little to convert nonbelievers Many churches have been engaged in seeking justice since the 1960s but ironically it is from this period forward that we have experienced our greatest decline Some may say that we engage in such outreach endeavors because it is a biblical mandate not a plan for evangelism This is very true and I applaud such work but we will not grow simply by quoting Micah 6 8 and following Jesus command to minister to the least of these All Christian practices must be rooted in our normative text Scripture and the theology we construct from it The solution is to proclaim what we believe without watering it down We often do the latter because we believe that it will be more appealing or because we think that people who subscribe to other religions or no religion may find it intolerant for a reason that has more to do with some bizarre conception of political correctness and less to do with the tenets of Christianity So what are we to say Tomes have been written to answer this question but let s see if we can construct an elevator speech God created the universe out of nothing ex nihilo and human beings in his image imago Dei because he wanted to share his divine life with us But we rebelled against God s gracious invitation because of temptation the desire to be like God This created a chasm between us and God that could only be bridged by God Our Triune God entered the human drama The Reverend John Tamilio III Ph D is the pastor of the Congregational Church in Canton Massachusetts a church that currently holds membership in the NACCC Dr John as his parishioners call him is also a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Salem State University definitively through Jesus Christ By teaching us the will of God and healing us of our infirmities Jesus gave humankind a foretaste of the kingdom of God Eventually Jesus shouldered the sins of humanity by paying the ultimate price for them death upon a Roman cross Three days later Jesus defeated the powers of sin and death by rising from the grave to offer all who believe in him eternal life Before he ascended to sit at the righthand of the Father he promised to return at the end of time to make all things new Rev 21 5 The previous paragraph is not definitive It does not touch upon numerous theological issues e g ecclesiology evangelism or missiology It does however give us a place to start It is the core of what we believe It is the heart of the Gospel III Conclusion The issue in the eyes of some is that what I have outlined sounds exclusive Am I saying that only Christians are saved Are these claims too intolerant for progressives Maybe Maybe not My argument in this piece is not to refute religious pluralism That is a topic for another essay It is however to say that those who feel that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life John 14 6 are not being intolerant by proclaiming that message from the rooftops Matthew 10 27 Furthermore we do not grow our churches by compromising our message Unfortunately this seems to be more rampant in liberal churches Conservative churches need a reformation as well Too often they preach the fear of God providing their adherents with strict rules that often lead to feelings of guilt and isolation Missing is the message of God s unconditional love and never ending grace They also promote a radical political agenda like their liberal counterparts it is just the opposite one This is not why most people go to church Politics judgment and guilt turn people off Churches would yield better results if they catered to people s strengths rather than capitalizing on their weaknesses However the church has a different message to send altogether and it often gets shortchanged or takes a backseat to current sociopolitical concerns That message is of Christ crucified But the story does not end at a sealed grave Christ broke the bonds of death to offer new life to all who believe in him and seek forgiveness in his name That s Good News and that is our message God will provide The people who long to hear this message will come if we keep proclaiming it As Paul told the Corinthians who were grappling with their own problems I planted the seed Apollos watered it but God has been making it grow 1 Cor 3 6 italics added I am not saying that churches need to ignore the problems or hurts that people bring to us I am not saying we do not need to reach out to the lost and lonely I am saying however that our message is the faithful way to do it 13

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News Needs and 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 Outreach request from our Farming and Faith ASOCIACION CIVIL CRISTIANA CONGREGATIONAL ARGENTENA From Rev Dr Harding Stricker The Congregational Mission of Jard n Am rica is glad to report God s wonderful guidance and blessings As we are approaching post pandemic circumstances we are also facing new challenges and new opportunities to grow as financial difficulties seem to come along with rich spiritual blessings Our mission is currently serving the surrounding community through outpatient attention at the mission clinic a soup kitchen monthly distribution of 42 food bags and the free use of a sports center To these we added the distribution of school items to 25 children four children studying music and three taking English classes all sponsored by the mission We are offering regular church services on Sundays youth group meetings on Saturdays and Sunday Bible School for children and teenagers Our youth group has grown considerably and we are asking Christian professionals each two months to inform our young people about matters of their interest There are also difficulties as we are looking towards the future in the midst of very unstable social and financial circumstances with a yearly inflation reaching 52 in our country As I am writing these lines I cannot avoid mentioning with deep sadness and disruption that the sickness of my father the Rev Teodoro Stricker and founder of this mission is producing both at home as also for the mission He has developed a Demential Syndrome that needs attention around the clock that demands a lot of time and energy as I also take care of the mission s ministry and health service I mention this as a special prayer request so that we may find the stamina and the strength to move forward in spite of all Thank you to all who pray and freely spend for our Congregational Mission in Argentina May God bless your lives and daily activities Blessed with school supplies CHRIST TO THE VILLAGES NIGERIA From Matthew Oladele We see God at work in situations that seem overwhelming and in places that seem ordinary when we gather under a tree for Sunday worship because the former building is dilapidated when we visit the sick to a say a word of prayer and encouragement when we gather the little ones to share the love of Jesus and his caring heart and when we teach in the schools All these seemingly ordinary events are what God uses as channels to reach people s heart bringing about transformations beyond our capability Christ to the Villages mission is proud to be a channel of blessing to many people through your partnership and generosity 14 HAPPY LIFE CHILDREN S HOME KENYA From Amy Wiggins Esther a West Africa woman in her sixties was suffering each year from the loss of a large part of her tomato harvest While attending a recent ECHO training to learn new farming techniques and methods she shared I am not a Christian but I know that it is your God who sent you to open my eyes I would never have imagined that it was possible to transform and preserve the tomatoes we produce ourselves and this without even spending money I am so happy to know that we can finally produce without any fear of tomorrow We praise God for how ECHO s agricultural trainings which incorporate Biblical principles and involve local church partners for ongoing evangelism are opening the door to share God s love Will you join with us in praying for Esther and thousands more like her who deserve to know the life giving grace of God and His provision for their lives not just for tomorrow but for all of eternity From the Happy Life Directors The year 2022 started on a high note for the Happy Life Mission family This is the year we celebrate 20 years of giving hope to the abandoned children of Kenya In those twenty years 890 children have been given a home and hope with 450 of them adopted and numerous others re united with their families We are also celebrating the growth of our staff from only two caregivers at inception to a staff of more than 100 As lives have been transformed our facilities have also grown from one ranch house to a 4 storey building at our Nairobi Centre and eight three bedroom houses at our Juja Center that collectively accommodate over 150 children We are so grateful for the great partnerships that God has allowed us to develop in the last 20 years Through friends and partners of our Mission we have now established our three pillars of Rescue Education and Health Our education pillar in particular has grown from 12 pupils and one teacher to the fully fledged Happy Life Christian school and the Faith Premier High School This pillar that started in a make shift room in 2013 now provides holistic education based on Biblical values to almost 500 students in two locations and facilities As the schools continue to provide education to so many needy children the need for more classrooms furniture books stationery uniforms and computers is growing We therefore continue to seek sponsorships for the students as well as funds to build more classrooms and equip the schools We are ever so grateful for the continued support from NACCC You are surely an integral part of our 20th anniversary celebrations and we take opportunity to welcome you to Happy Life KARIBU KENYA PANAMERICAN INSTITUTE MEXICO Channel of blessing CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF MYANMAR MYANMAR Yangon Grace Home ECHO FLORIDA From Rev Sa Do Grace Children s home is a safeguard for needy orphaned children from our Mission and Chin state who have been brought to Yangon to receive education and care We provide food clothing welfare and healthcare and all their physical and spiritual needs Due to long civil war extreme poverty bad leadership many thousands of children need education and healthcare in Myanmar More news of the Grace Children s Ministry can be seen on our website www ccomygracechildrensministry org From Laura Ramirez President Panamerican Institute has been taking online classes for the last 2 years and the staff had tried to make it as fun as possible by having a few events like the Crazy Hat Day in which students could show their artistical skills by showing up to class in a wig or hat We went back to in person classes on March 22 2022 and we are very excited about that Our students were able to interact in person and get to know their school as 2 of the 3 groups have never been in the facilities before Only half of the school s population came back to in person classes and the other half remained in online classes We made sure that this was a safe return for everyone by following the Government guidelines and our COVID 19 protocol Please continue to support us in order to make education possible for these kids Blessings from Tijuana Mexico Back to in person classes 15

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The Theology of PRIVATE PERSONAL WORSHIP by Grove Armstrong Grove Armstrong is Minister Emeritus of Central Congregational Church in Derry New Hampshire He retired in 1996 after sixteen years there Today Grove and his wife Charity live in Bear Delaware The theology of the preceding article has been taught by Rev Armstrong at the Bible Fellowship Church of Newark and the New Life Alliance Church of Newark A Plan for Connecting with Jesus in His Word Part II The March issue of The Congregationalist offered Grove Armstrong s discussion of the theology of personal worship In the following pages he addresses the actual practice of person worship with his hope that these ideas have persuaded you that personally meeting with Jesus in his written Word can be a life enriching lifesaving means of grace to you M any have called the truths presented in this little book lifechanging enabling them to go joyfully to their Bible to meet Jesus free of obligation and guilt and enter into genuine Scripture guided fellowship and conversation with him The following plan will help you meet Jesus as you read the Bible The Holy Spirit gave me this simple approach over many years and has used it to reveal Jesus to me Change your approach to Quiet Time or Devotions Instead of having devotions you are meeting with Jesus That subtle intentional change is powerful in its impact upon your mind heart and actions You re going to meet with your Creator Savior Lord and Friend This plan incorporates simple relationship building activities designed to help you meet personally with Jesus as you would any other good friend Everything there involves him The hymns or praise choruses we sing are to him Your reading in his Word is accompanied by his comments Whether your thoughts 16 come directly from him or rise out of your own soul they are shared with him Your responses to his words to you whether vocal written or purely internal become a conversation with him Writing your thoughts is your effort to truly grasp and accept what he is saying to you Remembering that you have come to meet Jesus begin your worship time by singing to him Before opening the Word each morning I find it helpful to sing songs that express how I am feeling about Jesus at that very hour and prepare myself to meet Him so we can share our thoughts The enemy of our souls does not want us to be in fellowship with Jesus If we are not careful he will turn even meeting with Jesus into a ritual a habit It s important to remind myself why I am doing what I am doing and warm my heart to meet him The Bible says Worship the Lord with gladness come before him with joyful songs Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise Psalm 100 1 4 Music and singing Biblical truth expressed poetically can open up one s spirit and mind to Jesus Decide to read the Bible for a certain number of minutes rather than a certain number of verses or chapters This single idea is the distinctive and critical part of this Bible reading plan It is key to meeting Jesus the only way I know that truly sets me free to unhurriedly listen to and fellowship with Jesus I call it reading by the clock rather than by the chapter or verse Amazing things happen when one starts reading by the clock Time seems to stand still All sense of hurry is gone as is the need to hurry No matter how slowly you read you are free from the pressure of time Worshiping God is not about finishing chapters or reading the Bible in a year It is about hearing from Jesus If you want to meet with Jesus you must give yourself and God time Just reading slowly won t do it because you still must finish your chapter or chapters so you can t stop reading and think about what you just read The only thing that will do it for you is to read by the clock to determine before you start reading how much time you are going to give yourself and Jesus to be together Reading three verses and talking with Jesus about them will do more for you than reading three chapters and not meeting Jesus and not hearing what he would like to say to you Time is a creation of God There is no substitute for time when folks are building quality relationships Communication with another whether it be your spouse or Jesus takes time Love takes time If you are reading a passage to finish your daily quota of verses or chapters you aren t giving yourself time to talk with Jesus But if you say I am going to spend twenty minutes reading the Bible whether you read five verses or an entire chapter makes no difference You have given yourself time to be with Jesus and given him time to talk with you When your twenty minutes are up close your Bible and go to do what you need to do fresh from a special time with Jesus God wants to use his written Word to draw you into conversation with himself Reading by the clock drains all the hurry out of your time with Jesus allowing you to hear his voice and respond It allows you to stop reread and think seriously about what he just pointed out to you in his Word It allows you to take time to thank him or cry out to him for help You can just sit and revel in his love and care Or if you read something that bothers you something you don t understand you can say I don t understand what I just read or you just said to me and ask him to help you You can search other passages of Scripture for further insights on the issue You have time to meditate on what you have just read and what if anything you should do about it You can look back at something you read yesterday or a week ago that relates to this passage and gain greater understanding of what he is saying to you You do not have to finish the chapter It introduces you to the silence of eternity where you can talk privately and unhurriedly with Jesus Having come to meet Jesus and decided how much time you have free to spend with him the following simple practices can significantly help you connect with him through his Word Write down your observation a critically important part of your worship Write down the things you notice the things Jesus shows you or says to you your new insights your questions the answers you get and the further questions that come the things you say to Jesus and the things he says to you Writing is thinking When you are writing you are grappling with an idea an insight You must get a handle on an insight to put it into words That does not happen when you simply underline a passage of Scripture When you are writing and thinking about what you have seen Jesus often will speak further to you So write out all your thoughts questions and answers Please understand I am not suggesting you write a commentary on the passage you are reading Just write your observations thoughts and prayers The following from my journal are examples of what I suggest you write as you worship Include your writing in your allotted time for worship It is a significant part of your worship Numbers 20 26 Aaron was gathered to his people I like this picture of the death event Thank you Jesus for my people and for this picture of death I look forward to being gathered Luke 11 46 My role as a believer is to help people find strength in God not load them up with burdens and obligations Luke 12 15 Interesting All kinds of greed There must be many kinds of greed They may not all be obvious but I expect they have to do with things things we think we must have Jesus warns us that life doesn t consist of the abundance of things we possess but our greed makes us skeptical of that truth Lord Jesus help me remember this truth Help me recognize greed in its many disguises It may be hard at first to write out your thoughts But you will better understand what you are seeing once you put it into a sentence Writing your inspiration enables you to identify it clearly If you do not write out your thoughts you will settle for imprecise feelings that quickly fade away instead of the precise truth the Lord Jesus wants you to appreciate Furthermore you will not long remember the inspiration Nor will you be able to look at your observation again as encouraging and helpful as it was at t he time Do not get discouraged Keep writing Continued 17

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Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus and his truth to you as you worship The Bible is a unique book It is the only book in the world that reveals the mysteries of the nature of God and his glorious purposes It was given to us by revelation through the ministry of the Holy Spirit Its mysteries cannot be understood except through the ministry of the same Holy Spirit Unless the Holy Spirit opens our minds and hearts to its truth this amazingly beautiful book will be meaningless to us So before you begin reading humble yourself before the Lord God Thank him for this book and ask him to graciously reveal himself and his wonderful truths to you and to speak his will into your heart Ask him to apply his truth to your life and things that are on your mind that very day Then write down what he shows you or says to you As you read prayerfully look for things in the Scriptures You have asked the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus and his truth to you Now in the words of the Holy Spirit to Ezekiel Look carefully listen closely and give attention to everything Ezek 44 5 Pay attention to what you are reading Notice things that are repeated things that are contrasts geographical or historical facts things that surprise you or confuse you things that support what you have been taught things that might contradict what you have been taught things you never thought of before things you do not understand even individual words that might catch your attention 18 Look for things that cause you to ask questions Questions are doors that open to truth Whether you are asking Jesus or yourself questions take you deeper into the event or relationship or issue involved They can often lead you to ask more questions and arrive at answers that bless you even thrill you Questions can open your mind so the Holy Spirit can give you new insights into the mind and heart of Christ as well as your own heart and mind If the Holy Spirit caused you to ask the question certainly he wants you to think seriously about it He is not just trying to educate but to liberate enrich and thrill you He uses questions to help you mature in your faith that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God Phil 1 9 11 This is called the inductive approach to the Scriptures You are going to the Scriptures with the help of the Holy Spirit to find out what they say not to prove what you believe Talk to Jesus about what you are reading while you are reading Conversation is a significant element in any personal encounter whether it be with Jesus or a friend This is the very thing that turns your worship time into a meeting with Jesus Do not wait until you finish reading the Word to pray Talk with Jesus while you are reading his Word You can have Continued The Theology of PRIVATE PERSONAL WORSHIP a wonderful conversation with Jesus as you worship Isn t that why you are there with him Isn t this entering into the joy of fellowship with Jesus and how we experience his presence with us throughout the day The Bible tells us to pray in the Holy Spirit Jude 20 et al What prayer could be more in the Holy Spirit than prayer that arises out of your worship of God in his Word As you come to Jesus in his Word with your heart open to fellowship with him open to his Word to you open to his will for you and your family almost any thought any desire could be a Holy Spirit inspired prayer certain to be an expression of God s will certain to be answered in a God glorifying way certain to be encouraging Our personal desires may be strong and self centered but as we worship and fellowship with Jesus in his Word we can trust that the prayers inspired in us by God s Holy Spirit are pure and holy Offered sincerely and joyfully from our hearts their answers will truly enrich our lives and bless others Share with a Christian friend As the Lord gives you opportunity share with others something that he spoke to you or showed you that day If Jesus encouraged you with his truth you may encourage someone else with the same truth The sentence Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle has been attributed to several persons even to Plato But whoever first said it and all who quoted him have spoken the truth Life can be very difficult at times The name Barnabas means Son of Encouragement Acts 4 36 The Lord can make you a son daughter of encouragement and use you to encourage struggling persons to keep looking to and trusting in Jesus In summary This simple plan for meeting with Jesus has been an incredible blessing to me for over 60 years The one crucial difference between it and all other plans for personal worship that I have seen is the suggestion to read by the clock Please practice this feature It is essential if you would meet with Jesus In Jeremiah 30 21 the Lord asks Who is he who will devote himself to be close to me As much as Jesus desires intimate fellowship with the person in whom he abides this fellowship won t happen consistently unless that person also wants to connect with Jesus and is willing to devote himself to being close to Jesus willing to make the effort The effort and practice of this plan will certainly return rich rewards King David cried out O God you are my God Earnestly I seek you Ps 63 1 A leaf or a piece of bark or a chip of wood can t float upstream The occasional longing after God and occasional joyful feeling will not carry you far in this sinful world To be a success in the Christian life as in any other venture you need to be in earnest intentional thoughtful even methodical about your efforts The writer to the Hebrews tells us to be diligent and not to become lazy Heb 6 11 12 Excellent counsel from one who knew what it was to endure and who had no intention of drawing back from his faith in his Savior the Lord Jesus Christ This worship plan takes diligence and practice I believe if you will work at it diligently and patiently you will discover that your worship experiences get richer and richer God will open his Word to you more and more as you persist in practicing its simple procedures seeking friendship with Jesus Read by the clock rather than by chapter or verse William D Longstaff s old hymn Take Time to be Holy slightly altered seems very appropriate here 1 Take time to meet Jesus speak oft with your Lord Abide in him always and feed on his Word Make friends of God s children help those who are weak Forgetting in nothing his blessing to seek Take time to meet Jesus the world rushes on Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone By looking to Jesus like him you will be Your friends in your conduct his likeness shall see Seeking a Full Time Minister to Serve Our Church First Congregational Church is seeking a pastor called to serve a small urban city Wauwatosa has quaint village characteristics along with major medical regional corporate offices and several universities and colleges It is a city undergoing an exciting generational shift as well as demographic change We are looking for a leader who will call us to greater service and spiritual growth through dynamic preaching and walk with us to bring others to Christ We seek a pastor who will demonstrate and embrace the Congregational Way ARE YOU CALLED Are you able to love and listen in a way that invites our congregation and our community into a journey of discovery centered on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ Are you passionate about connecting and building relationships with people across multiple generations and backgrounds Are you able to adapt to the changing needs and cultural shifts happening in our world today Are you the person God is calling to Wauwatosa Wisconsin to help us become the congregation God has called us to be The people of First Church Tosa have celebrated over 180 years in service to God and our community sharing our Covenant As followers of Jesus Christ we commit ourselves to share in the worship and service of God to grow in the knowledge and expression of our faith to reach out with compassion to those in need to treat each other with love and understanding and to return to God a portion of God s gifts LEARN MORE ABOUT US To express your interest in this position you are invited to send a cover letter and resume to search firstchurchtosa org Visit firstchurchtosa org View our church profile at naccc org In the public domain Altered 1 19

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FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH SEEKS MINISTER SALT LAKE CITY UTAH Winnifred Lois Kline Smith Korsborn Walters Main December 9 1923 December 14 2021 Winnifred Lois Kline Smith Korsborn Walters Main passed away in Spokane Washington on December 14 2021 at 98 After studying at Iowa State University where she married Melvin Graves Smith she joined the WAVES and became a Link trainer instructor at the Atlanta Naval Air Station Following the war She and Melvin moved to Spokane where Winnifred taught kindergarten Melvin died in 1966 Winnie then earned her Master s Degree from Eastern State College where she met and married Elton H Korsborn Winnie taught at various colleges in the Spokane area ending her career at Whitworth College Winnie and Elton enjoyed extensive traveling until Elton s death in 1988 In the mid seventies Winnie developed expertise in handwriting analysis and lectured on cruise ships for many years In 1992 she married Peter A Walter who died in 2001 Winnie married Kenny Main from her home state of Iowa in 2004 They enjoyed a wonderful relationship until his death in 2016 Throughout her life Winnie attended church She became a member of the Congregationalist community in 1947 supporting its missions locally nationally and internationally She served as a Missionary Society Alumni and on the Spiritual Resources Committee of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches Historic First Congregational Church of Wayne Michigan Seeking Full Time Senior Pastor FCC began in the small town of Wayne in 1848 We are now seeking a new minister to join us on our spiritual journey in the Congregational Way We are a resilient accepting enthusiastic group of members who eagerly awaits a supportive minister looking for a joyful loving congregation We are twenty minutes from everywhere Ann Arbor Detroit DTW airport and a variety of K 12 public charter independent and private Christian schools For more information please visit us at www FCCOW com See our church information form at www naccc org Or contact Pam Wright Search Committee Chair at pamswright16 gmail com 20 Salt Lake City is a vibrant young city that offers a great variety of outdoor activities as well as many opportunities to enjoy music dance and theatre The city is home to colleges and universities museums good schools and hospitals and professional sports teams As we make plans to sell our The core of our ministry is worship We are seeking a Minister who is current building and move to a new home First ConAn articulate and dynamic speaker providing thought progregational Church wants to voking sermons that relate to our modern life honor our 157 year old history and the foundation that Able to provide opportunities to explore our faith outside of it has given us We hope to Sunday worship such as Bible Study and book groups build on our past and continue to be a Christian presence Able to embrace a theologically diverse congregation whose in the Salt Lake Valley We members value individual judgement on matters of belief look forward to moving in and Bible new directions free from the financial burdens and reCaring compassionate and comfortable helping members sponsibilities a large building through immediate health issues and life transitions requires Strong in pastoral leadership to help us envision new ways to engage with our community and encourage congregational participation Will you be the one to join us and guide us on our faith journey as we continue to be a welcoming faith community of love tolerance and inclusiveness Willing to work with people of other faiths and help us connect with the interfaith community Willing to work with lay leadership Able to provide vision and new ideas to help us develop a sustainable future First Congregational Church is a member of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches Additional church information is available at naccc org For inquiries or to apply contact Ken at kwrockwell yahoo com 21

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What do you see The Reverend Dr Michael Glidden is Minister at North Deering Congregational Meeting House in Portland Maine He has been pastoring since 1993 Rev Glidden earned his Master of Divinity Degree in 1995 from Bangor Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in 2002 He was ordained in 2000 Mike lives in South Portland with his wife Rhonda By Dr Michael Wayne Glidden I n the late 90 s my uncle and I went kayaking up the St Croix river in Calais Maine This river separates St Stephen N B Canada and Calais Maine USA Growing up I never thought about this mysterious hidden river Our home was on an old logging road a few hundred feet from the St Croix that seemed to me the end of the Tolkien shire and the beginning of a new adventure or maybe a quest into Narnia I took the river for granted never going down to see what was there My mother never allowed me to venture far beyond the yard for fear that I would be hurt up until I was 19 years old Perhaps she worried that a sea monster would arise and engulf me Over time I became indifferent to what lay beyond In school I heard the story of St Croix Island only a few hundred feet from our home in the middle of the river It was the first French settlement in North America in the early 17th Century That first winter harkened no survivors despite the help of the native peoples Starvation flu and inexperience wiped out the whole colony It wasn t until I was 30 years old that my uncle invited me to view from afar remnants this piece of local history We d be allowed to see only from a distance and only imagine what was and what could have been I kept my eyes open that day As the heat bore down we went down to the edge of the river A journey a little way up the river might reveal the remains of an old shipyard that was the port for the maritime trade No Viking ships here but English vessels carrying cargo from the Calais port across the Pond and back This had been the main identity of Calais Maine a crossroad of discovery exploration and settlement Among the old rotten wood amid a vibrant river flowing between sister cities also erupted a crossroads of contention during the Revolutionary War The British 22 were in St Stephen Canada as the French Colonial and Native Americans were most willing to fire shots at enemies over the border It took a British Anglican minister in St Stephen to call upon the Lord from the middle of the bridge spanning the St Croix to stop the muskets from firing At the International Festival every year since there is a public shaking of hands midway on the bridge It was on this bridge in 1983 that I proudly marched holding an American flag with other Boy Scouts during the Festival Walking along I tried to imagine the shots from a musket flying through the air My uncle took the lead on the river when I joined him in a journey to rediscover St Croix Island He was no rookie and I hadn t been on a kayak or sailboat since I was a teenager in the Scouts We paddled along a quiet river that might have witnessed some interesting events a few hundred years earlier At one point a friend came along side us A cute seal curious and playful popped his head up As we paddled by St Croix island I envisioned that early settlement with the cabins and huts in a square grid and fish cooking on an open fire I could see the weapons and helmets back packs and fish hanging on the side of the wall No one is allowed to walk on the island Nothing is to be disturbed No trace left behind It lays as it is forever frozen in time However our active minds can never be frozen I was invited by the Spirit to imagine what had been and how I might have been a part of that story and to wonder how the story might influence me now I ve come a long way from life on that old logging road I often wonder what life might have been like in 1830 where our old trailer later sat in the middle of nowhere Maybe a lumber mill once occupied the spot where our kitchen was A few months ago Rhonda and I went walking near our condo The road leads down an area resembling a cross between a campground and a forest It s a serene walk in a park each day the kind of place where one might expect to hear from God If you keep your eyes open you will definitely see what He s up to A few hundred feet away we could walk out into traffic and be near the hustle bustle of life The sound of a train roars by predictably each morning Sometimes our L L Bean lobster wind chimes will sing to us in the early morn On one such walk I noticed some interesting stones They were naturally occurring not manmade or purposely placed As we approached them I could see a design to them as my eyes began to play tricks on me that resembled a whale Our walk along the road felt like our trip on the river On opposing sides of the street could have been the cities of St Stephen and Calais I saw myself as that Boy Scout marching across the bridge and hearing the voice of the minister calling to us to lay down the guns and barrels But wait I m standing in Portland Maine not Calais I m not in the river with my uncle but am walking with Rhonda on a road near condos Yet I felt as though both of us had a foot in God s kingdom It s wonderful how God can use our imagination as we reflect on the past as well as the now Imagination helps us to escape the mundane and envision great possibilities I ve been experiencing this each day since the pandemic began I don t take normal walks anymore I always share with my flock the importance of keeping your eyes open and hearts willing to allow God to speak I believe God takes fragments of the past and winds them into new creations for our lives We are becoming new each day and in every moment Rhonda has begun to fall in love with artwork We have enough Disney paintings in our condo to make Walt blush Late in the summer we bought some pictures from a photo artist who lives in Kennebunk His specialty is photo Impressionism One piece of his that hangs in my study contantly reminds me to always keep one eye open to what God may be showing me This artist took a photo of a window in an old house Nothing too important but beside the pane was something exhilarating A growth of colorful weeds Weeds that would be cast away uprooted burned or left to die became the focus of this beautiful picture Now I don t see the window but I see the weeds I believe that God is a creative God As this pandemic comes to an end as 2021 turns to 2022 I am deeply reminded to keep an eye out let Him speak let Him direct and let Him breathe new life all around us 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 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 23

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Are You Ready to Shepherd Heritage Into the Future BITTER SWEET By Rev Dr Chris Surber I started this year among the people who work the bitter sweet sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic My family and a few other families went on mission to minister mostly to people of Haitian descent As a missionary to Haiti and a student of Haitian language life and culture I was loosely familiar with the real price of sugar but now I understand more fully Not all chains are visible Haiti s sons and daughters are shamed from speaking their heart language because they are largely unwelcomed guests in the Dominican Republic I m not judging Dominicans We are all perpetrators and victims of the consequences of Babel s Tower Divided Dispersed Victims of our own conceit and self concern Racism Nationalism Fear These are oddities universally common to the human condition God hates them They reflect the worst parts of our fallen nature Not all slavery looks the same Haiti s sons and daughters are mostly relegated to sugar cane labor in communities called Bateys Living in a foreign land in only slightly but significantly wealthier than one s homeland under constant social stigma and with 24 great difficulty of anything like legal representation is just repackaged serfdom Even those Haitian people living in the broader community outside of the Bateyes live under constant threat of being checked for paperwork and potentially deported These are among the things that stung my eyes and stabbed my heart while on mission in that place But they are not all that my senses took in My heart was warmed my soul impassioned by a Spanish speaking Dominican pastor named Pedro He chooses to plant churches among Haitian people because in his words Christians should go to those who suffer most My spiritual brother plants churches among those his culture rejects His compassion paints a portrait of the love of God in Christ for everyone My soul was touched as my Haitian brother Dago spoke Haitian Creole to a little Haitian boy living in an orphanage Remember who you are God hasn t and won t forget you Neither will we I continued to experience my wife s capacity to love anybody from anywhere with a strangely unfettered compassion I watched my children and several of their friends befriend boys just as they would other kids Their actions said We re all the same People in need of friends friendship love Life on mission in the world forces us to face its brightest and bleakest realities God calls us to live at the intersection between the beauty of the human spirit and betrayal of the divine spark in the human soul Finally all 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 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 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 A Bible class and craft time with children in a Haitian Batey of you have unity of mind sympathy brotherly love a tender heart and a humble mind I Peter 3 8 ESV Our life loving Haiti and her people are as heart building as it is heartcrushing Everywhere I find Haiti she is beautiful and resilient She is often oppressed but always hunting for hope I need her so much more than she needs me because she teaches me that true hope is eternal real freedom is internal and friendship and family are my greatest treasures in this difficult sometimes despicable fallen world I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus Philippians 3 14 ESV Chris produces The Pilgrim Podcast which offers sermons searchings conversations and insights from his journey of faith Chris would like to hear from other ministers who are interested in other podcast topics anything they are passionate about biblical technological ministerial practical discipleship and more Visitors to the site can leave Chris a message at https anchor fm pilgrimpastor Direct applications and questions to our office heritageoffice heritagemadison org 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 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 25

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Pastorates PULPITS Recent Calls Rev Paul Nesbit First Congregational Church Westfield MA December 5 2021 Installations Rev Dr Jeffery Lunchun Mt Hope Congregational Church January 16 2022 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 June 25 28 2022 68th Annual Meeting Conference Wichita KS In Search Senior Minister Stafford Springs Congregational Church Stafford Springs CT Tinley Park Community Church Tinley Park IL First Congregational Church Spencer IA Maple Hill Community Congregational Church Maple Hill KS First Church in Pembroke Pembroke MA First Congregational Church Nantucket MA Dixfield Congregational Church Dixfield ME Congregational Church of East Sumner Sumner ME First Congregational Church Portland 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 Gomer Congregational Church Gomer OH First Congregational Church Salt Lake City UT Trinity Congregational Church Adams WI Heritage Congregational Church Madison WI First Congregational Church Wauwatosa WI Interim Minister Arbor Grove Congregational Church Jackson MI Licensed Minister June 29 2022 Quiet Day Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview Wichita KS 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 537149998 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 For more information https www naccc org new events events 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 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 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 Advertising Inquiries Carrie Dahm 800 262 1620 ext 1612 cdahm naccc org Subscription Inquiries 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 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 Enterprise Congregational Church Enterprise OR First Congregational Church Wayne MI The NACCC reserves the right to refuse any advertisement Director of Children s Ministry 2022 The National Association of Congregational Christian Churches All rights reserved First Congregational Church Ann Arbor MI To discontinue receiving the magazine contact Tracy Bernhardt at 800 262 1620 ext 1612 or email naccc naccc org Provisional Licensed Minister Second Church of Plymouth Plymouth MA Non NACCC Church Senior Minister Pinedale Community United Church of Christ Pinedale WY 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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