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The Congregationalist September 2023

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SEPTEMBER 2023 VOL 175 NO 3 THE GOSPEL FoFraeinrmsdtost Thank You Congregationalist Donors THE CALL T0 SERVE Committed to THE CONGREGATIONAL WAY www naccc org thecongregationalist Published by

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Table of CONTENTS RETIREMENT MAY NOT BE YOUR HIGHEST PRIORITY RIGHT NOW WE KNOW IT S OURS 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 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 TM Features 4 5th Century Perpective by Rev Dr Ashley Cook Cleere 5 The Pioneers Book Review by Rev Will Lange 8 The Gospel First and Foremost by Rev Barry W Szymanski 9 Thank You Congregationalist Donors 10 The Call to Serve by Rev Gerry Brannon Krupp 12 The Daring Endeavor of Being a Church by Marianne King 14 Church Pulmonary Resuscitation by Rev Lee Witting 17 Committed to the Congregational Way 18 Feeling the Pulse of Our Community by Daniel Wiita Livingston 25 The University of Olivet 28 Special recognition 29 Letter to the Editor Departments 21 ALONG THE WAY 22 NEWS NEEDS AND PRAYERS OF OUR MISSIONS 29 NECROLOGY 30 PASTORATES AND PULPITS 31 CALENDAR ON THE COVER Mary Prendergast Pomona California and son Luke brought youthful exuberance to the Annual Meeting in Milwaukee Mary explains that Luke s father Ryan grew up at the First Church of Christ Lynn Congregational in Lynn Massachusetts We met at NAPF so Luke only exists because of the NA says Mary 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 re ect 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 di erences

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From the desk of Our NACCC Executive Director A FIFTH CENTURY PERSPECTIVE By Reverend Dr Ashley Cleere Executive Director National Association of Congregational Christian Churches As we opened the 69th Annual Meeting and Conference I commented on happenings in the Association over the past year An abridged version of my remarks follows My friend an award winning author of young adult ction explains away compliments by saying I m not creative I do three things I scratched her words on a Post it note and read them every day for years 1 Sit in the chair 2 Trust the process 3 Note millimeters of progress is approach to creative writing applies to our pilgrimage as an association of Congregational churches our state of being Sit in the chair Congregationalists like to worship and break bread together We sit in pews lawn chairs folding chairs and around tables Sitting in the chair also is about showing up being present focused and avoiding distraction e congregations of the National Association do that in spades demonstrating remarkable determination following the pandemic amid changing social and cultural contexts NACCC congregations concentrate on being the people of God radiating the love of Christ in their communities A few things I encountered on the Listening Tour Roller skating as a ministry to youth An Underground Railroad Living History Museum An edible landscape surrounding a church building with fruit Two days spent baking over 500 pies Food pantries galore A world famous spaghetti dinner A relationship with a sister church in Ireland Movies and concerts in church parking lots Community choirs Meals prepared for refugees Supplies provided to people recently released from prison A freshly painted nursery Partnering with an arts foundation Cowboy Sundays Non member neighbors creating endowments to preserve historic meetinghouses If I were to summarize the mission of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches in one word it would be Velcro Congregational churches are autonomous Unlike independent churches autonomous churches choose to stick together with other churches With Christ as the Head each selfsu cient congregation gains strength from being part of an Association Among those fortifying connections Regional association gatherings Ecclesiastical councils Youth programming Congregational Investment Trust Ministers convocations Annual Meeting and Conference Webinar conversations Lay Ministry Training Program Velcro also describes the overall structure of the Association Boards ministry councils and committees collaborate o en When working separately they adhere their e orts to the greater whole 4 Trust the process Over the past two years we re ned procedures for approving requests When a church or individual applies for nancial support from the Association ministry councils and sta carry out steps to ensure objectivity To the extent it is feasible those processes are similar across di erent funds and awards Sometimes trusting the process means being open to new ways of doing things A year ago we contracted with a fractional CFO and two CPAs In a season of intentional disruption really we trusted that the systems we implemented would save time and money A clean opinion from our auditors illustrates the fruits of that deliberate upheaval At the annual meeting we welcomed four congregations into the NACCC Each local church went through its own discernment process en our membership committee discussed their applications over email before recommending them to the Leadership Council A h congregation also applied Our committee responded with thoughtful questions to learn more about their governance With graciousness and gratitude for the conversation the prospective member church withdrew its application Trusting the process doesn t always come with a guaranteed outcome As New England poet Robert Frost who is buried in the cemetery at First Congregational Church of Bennington Vermont wrote No surprise for the writer No surprise for the reader I ve heard a variation attributed to Henry Ward Beecher of Plymouth Church Brooklyn New York No surprise for the preacher no surprise for the congregation Have you ever set out to write a sermon and discovered that God and the text were leading you somewhere that wasn t in your outline Last winter the Board of Directors appointed a task team to evaluate whether the NACCC o ce building is appropriate for our needs Nine thousand square feet is roomy for a sta of six Although I claimed to be committed to the process I was sure we would move A er a thorough process and an appraisal the task team discerned that relocating was not coste ective We will stay in Oak Creek and assess what improvements are warranted and how to pay for them Trusting the process calls for openness to unexpected twists and turns unimagined outcomes and a belief that the Spirit guides dialogue and discernment is Spring the Planning and Action Committee began to contemplate partner organizations We have long term relationships with internal a nity groups and educational entities It has been a while since we re ected on the nature and bene ts of those a liations Moreover new friends have expressed interest in collaborating with us To better engage with longstanding alliances and acquaintances we developed a process for exploring uncharted territory Trust the process Set short term goals and see where they lead measure by what is accomplished rather than a hazy distant horizon Note millimeters of progress During the Listening Tour I rode in a combine Acres and acres of unharvested corn is a daunting sight However when progress is measured kernel by kernel there is much to celebrate Some kernels of progress in the NACCC since Summer 2022 Attendance at the annual meeting and conference increased by twenty percent We added a director of programs and an executive assistant outsourced meeting planning and nancial management and updated titles and responsibilities for continuing sta irty six churches increased their giving by 10 or more One Great Hour of Sharing contributions providing emergency relief for people impacted by natural disasters war and food insecurity exceeded 160 000 Whether in the local church or our national organization creativity abounds when we sit in the chair trust the process and note millimeters of progress 5

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Book Review DAVID MCCULLOUGH AUTHOR Want to learn about New England Congregationalists Rev Dr Manasseh Cutler and others who shaped the America we know today Cutler took his values and ideas and got the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 passed through the Confederation Congress in New York while the Constitutional Convention was meeting in Philadelphia e Ordinance provided for the settlement and organization of the Ohio country It helped the very poor new national government pay its war debts and in e ect gave the nation nationhood beyond being formerly several provinces of Britain It made settlement north of the Ohio River much more practical while Britain had ceded it by treaty but was still trying to hang on to that possession Our national government had taken on the war debts of the former colonies in exchange for their ceding claims in the West It made the debts owed to still unpaid soldiers worth something and encouraged western settlement Beyond this the Northwest Territory was to be suveyed in orderly townships in a grid Above and beyond Cutler and his partners from New England advocated for freedom of religion government support for schools and just relations with the Indians Article IV set forth a tenet never before stated in any American constitution there shall never be any slavery or involuntary servitude in the territory When you read e Pioneers by yourself or in your book club pay particular attention when a personal or cultural value arises It informs us as to what they really thought and how we became who we are both as a religious community and a nation e Pioneers answered the question of why a group of Congregationalists would call their colony Marietta at always vexed me I congratulate David McCullough for using the term Congregational in his writing when so many seem to work hard to avoid it is shows understanding and maybe appreciation My one nit to pick is that McCullough still has a little to travel He uses rectory when referring to Cutler s house I doubt a Congregationalist would call it that but rather the minister s house or perhaps parsonage I not only recommend e Pioneers to you or your book club to read I encourage that you do The Reverend William C Lange is former Historian for the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches He was called to serve the First Congregational Church of Detroit in 1978 and was Chaplain and Coordinator of Spiritual Care at the Detroit Medical Center for 26 years He also has served seven interims in Michigan Wisconsin and Illinois He has made important contributions as member and chair of the NACCC Congregational Foundation for Theological Studies and was a founding member of the Washington Gladden Society Rev Lange is a Licensed Professional Counselor National Certified Counselor and Master Additions Counselor 6 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 Editor s Round Table 1 000 Henry Martyn Dexter Society 500 999 Edward Beecher Society 250 499 Elias Smith Connexion 100 249 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 ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Thank You For Your Generosity All Gifts Are Tax Deductible To The Fullest Extent Allowed By Law 7

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FiTrGsHt EOanSd PFoEreLm ost by Rev Dr Barry W Szymanski We call ourselves Christians We do not call ourselves Torahites Prophet ites Paul ites Peter ites or James ites We proudly state we are Christian because we strive to follow the way of Jesus the Christ When we do so we abide in Jesus and respect his Gospel his Good News Jesus is the vine and we are the branches When Jesus was facing his death he ate the Last Supper with his followers As he broke and shared the Divine Bread and Cup he invited them to respond to join with him He just didn t give he also made a request He asked them to remember him erefore at Holy Communion we have our part to fully remember Him to keep Him in our minds always to commit to Him If we don t keep striving to bring Jesus to the forefront of our minds hearts and souls then we are not living as Christians Essential to our Christian tradition is service to others as Jesus served even washing feet even to the cross It is knowing that all our neighbors are our brothers and sisters Some say that truth is relative and they like that idea because they feel that no one can tell them what to think or believe But when it comes to our brothers and sisters in humanity Christ clearly tells us that we must love the least And love without judging Jesus presented an obvious and understandable story unambiguously illustrating who is our neighbor He didn t leave wiggle room With Jesus teachings in our hearts we work hour by hour to follow him for he is the Divine Vine planted and grounded in God When we stop believing in Jesus and no longer study and internalize his life every part of his life then we start to lose our way which coincidentally is His Way for he is the Way Truth and Life Jesus the face of God taught us to love Jesus paid dearly because of his love for us As he was preparing to leave this world by dying on that painful cross Jesus gave us His nal commandment recorded in John 15 is is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you Jesus loved without abandon He loved unconditionally He warned us not to judge Matthew 7 In discussions I am amazed how individuals give their opinions on the hot topics of today by quoting either the Hebrew Testament the Epistles or both However they do not quote the compassionate and merciful Jesus ey argue that the Old Testament still rules even though Jesus stated that the guiding principle to Love God with our whole mind and heart and soul and strength and our neighbor as ourselves is as valid as it has always been e Epistle writers wrote to the early churches to assist them the Epistles are not the Good News Only Jesus is If we solely rely on scripture other than the primacy of the Gospel we have struck its divine power If we remove the four versions of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the New Testament then we have removed Christianity from our lives It is as if Jesus never lived But he did We live with and in Him We are lost if we don t keep the Gospel as central in our Christian life Because Jesus declared a New Covenant with us and it is law of love If we want to approach the issues and problems confronting us in our culture it is my opinion that we must always look to Jesus Good News en we will not lose our way rough Jesus life and teachings we can face and adapt to cultural changes and scienti c advances as they occur because he is the guiding light the Light of Love If we fail to do so then we fail to remember Him as he asks us to do when we share in Holy Communion with Him by Rev Dr Barry W Szymanski 8 TYHA0NuK e National Association of Congregational Christian Churches wishes to thank our Editor s Round Table members who supported e Congregationalist with a contirbution of 100 00 or more in Fiscal Year 2023 April 1 2022 March 31 2023 Henry Martyn Dexter Society 1 000 and above Richard Derham Sylvia McCormick James Waechter Beth Wilkins Edward Beecher Society 500 999 Cathy Brockington Sam Shinozaki Bob Suzy Stoyer Bill Lorraine Street omas Edison Congregational Church Craig Barbara Walker Elias Smith Connexion 250 499 Edith Bartley Neil Linda Bennett Scott Andrea Chase Ashley Cleere Je Sharon Dillon Evangelical Congregational Church Lorraine Finison Sherry Glab Laura Hamby James Henson Jim Hopkins Jo Ellen Hoth Claude Johnson Johnathan Jones Michael Lambert Richard Kay Miller Todd Donald Marilyn Rauschl Barry Sue Szymanski Cli Betty Wall Sustaining Members 100 249 Kenneth Arnold Randy Nancy Asendorf William Barbara Barnes Charles Barr II Susan Behrens Sharon Beringson Philip Mary Biondi Charles Blackman Michael Polly Bodjanac Roger Janice Bowers Beth Brooks Sandra Buchman John Buscemi Norm Marcia Christensen Harold Covill Phylis Croonenberghs Patricia DeBelak Frederick Dunn Gregory Marcie Errico First Congregational Church of Elkader First Congregational Church of Toulon Sanford Linda Freud Phil Judy Frick Ruth Frost Irven Brenda Gammon Lois Gault Gustave Goldshine Craig Goodlock Charles Hall Robert Harlo Jim Ann Harris Randall Linda Hase Mary Hawk Clarence Jean Heerema Heritage Congregational Church of Berea Larry Katherine Howell Mary Jensen Charmaine Jones Marianne King Claudia Kniefel Paul Laederach Will Lange Steven Bridget Langehough Arlin Sharon Larson Jim Larson Janet Wilson Phil LeHoux Glenda Barkwell Dorothy Lenz Larry Joyce Linderer Douglas Lobb Lewis Caryn Chase Long George Magdalena Mays John Mary McAliley David Marsha McMurray Catherine Melendy Phyllis Merritt John Morrow Paul Karen Nickels Northeast Fellowship Olivet Congregational Church Ted Marlene Pendleton Varn Liz Philbrook David Karen Pier Virginia Pratt Nancianne Rathbun Phil Peg Read Joyce Reich Ruth Reindl Deborah Steve Rhinesmith Bob Barbara Smith Larry Joelle Sommers Peg Stephens William Sukeforth Martin Carol Taylor omas Wendy Van Tassell Casey Teresa vanderBent Jim Cindy Walsh Bruce Walters Joe Shaaron Walton Everett Ellen Wessel Edgar Suzanne Wheeler Stanley White Phyllis Wicker Leland Witting Allan Marilyn Worth Sharon Wozencra Sharon Wozencra 9

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THE CALL TO SERVE By Rev Gerry Brannon Krupp List the top ten jobs worth pursuing Doctor lawyer teacher and carpenter might appear on your list I suspect ministers missionaries or pastors as vocations would not be posted on any top ten list I want to say a good word about the work of ministry My home of origin emphasized following Jesus as the highest value one could embrace in this life If one was following Jesus it made sense to suggest that person was a minister We were taught that the way God used your natural gi s was to endow you with spiritual graces and the ability to use those gi s for God s glory A sense of every member a minister was imprinted on my person from very young I found the idea that God takes the unique imprint of a person s life personality abilities natural inclinations gi s and graces and uses them for the purpose of building the kingdom of heaven on earth exciting Around the age of 12 as I was entering my teen rebellion my father put his arm around me which was unusual for him and told me that he thought I was going to be a pastor e pre teen in me bristled at the thought of limiting my ability to serve God to a role in a church building behind a desk So I spent the next eight years of my life determined not to be limited by my father s prediction As I entered college I decided to study to be a lawyer e university I was attending at the time was launching a law school and I answered an advertisement to assist the dean of the law school in setting up his library What did I discover but that his entire library was lled with books that cited case law is was before the internet e thought of memorizing case law scared me to death So I quit pre law but kept the political science emphasis Having taken away my goal of being a lawyer I hit the life preparation wall about two and a half years into my college career and decided to go nd myself in Hawaii through a missionary training program It was in this program that I was noticed for some of my gi s and graces outside of my immediate family During this season of life the Spirit began to speak to me about serving the Lord by pursuing a collegiate curriculum that emphasized ministry and leadership Following the six month missionary training program I returned to my college studies and added an undergraduate Christian Ministries major to my Political Science major is begins my journey of 40 years of serving Christ and the people of God I didn t get rich in the ministry I got beat up by churches a couple of times I was o en disappointed by human leaders and I dropped out of ministry for several months to recover from dysfunction in the church However I have traveled the world worked with 10 The NACCC is pleased to welcome the Rev Dr Gerry Brannon Krupp as Director of Programs In this capacity he will collaborate with the Growth and Vitality Ministry Councils and walk alongside congregations in transition Soon after he began his new role Gerry commented It is a joy to work with the folks in the Oak Creek office as well as the scattered members of various councils and boards across the NACCC These are engaged and committed individuals Many Congregationalists got acquainted with Dr Krupp when he led two sharing endeavors at the Annual Meeting in June Most recently Gerry led the First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa and Heritage Congregational Church in Madison as a transitional minister Past experiences include consulting with congregations from eight different Christian traditions and partnering with a newly organized denomination in Uganda Earlier in his vocational journey Dr Krupp taught at Indiana Wesleyan University youth in several cultures and been privileged to bear witness to the love of Christ in every city town state and country I have served in I have served as a teacher prophet shepherd and organizer at various stages of life ere is no greater honor than to be partnered with the highest greatest Teacher and Savior Jesus Christ e NACCC is privileged to have two great programs available to members of our association e Congregational Foundation for eological Studies program is designed as a fellowship and resource to nurture students toward a better understanding of the Congregational Way Graduates of the CFTS program are uniquely prepared to meet the challenges of local ministry within the NACCC Similarly the Lay Ministry Training Program is designed to a rm every member s gi s and graces by honing these blessings with high quality training and mentoring for use in the local church as a lay minister or lay member If you have someone in your church who is wrestling with a call to serve the Lord or has a deep desire to serve their community please encourage them Point them toward a vocation that is worthy of their life A vocation that is challenging rewarding and has ultimate value We need people willing to serve churches as pastors and people willing to serve their local church in ministry for the love of Jesus If you have questions about either the CFTS or LMTP programs please contact the NACCC Director of Programs gkrupp naccc org 414 856 1617 The Congregational Church of Summerfield Florida is looking for an Interim Minister to begin service after the pending October 2023 retirement of our Senior Minister The person we seek will be asked to perform all ministry duties to include Preaching the gospel Ministering to the sick and homebound Administering the sacraments Supporting a program of Christian education Our location in sunny central Florida offers access to airports cruise ports and Orlando s many recreational opportunities Our congregation comes from a variety of nearby adult retirement communities such as The Villages Our members thrive in a friendly atmosphere of fellowship inspirational messages and beautiful music We re blessed to have relatively new facilities and a building program is underway to establish a new sanctuary An attractive compensation package will be offered for this position For more information www the congregational church org or www thevillages com Applications or questions should be directed to carlnystrom msn com or Carl Nystrom 3456 Rabbit Run Path The Villages FL 32163 11

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The Daring Endeavor of Being Church By Marianne King These are trying times for most churches as congregations and resources shrink e 69th Annual Meeting Conference of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches NACCC invited members to embrace these challenges by initiating daring endeavors of their own Churches were encouraged to seize opportunities for reimagining their future by reevaluating their mission to both their congregations and their communities e time is here to explore ways we bring God to our own members as well as to the unchurched in our neighborhoods is year s gathering was hosted by the Wisconsin Congregational Association WCA and held in Milwaukee For the rst time in the event s history Sunday s activities were open to all members of WCA churches at no charge Many members of local congregations convened at the hotel for Sunday morning worship with a number also participating in one or more of the day s workshops Senior Minister Andy King and Worship Minister Molly Tomashek along with the praise band from Pilgrim Congregational Church of Green Bay opened each morning with songs of joy and praise to God eir exuberance set the tone for an upbeat and optimistic event that shined light on many of the threatening situations facing member churches Andy and Molly launched the discussion Saturday morning with their session Music Why is Change so Hard ey suggested that change is most di cult when it happens to us and we don t have a choice In today s environment it is important for churches to respect the di ering spiritual needs and understanding It comes down to accommodating preference for a certain liturgy and music versus meeting a need e challenge is to write a new story for a change in church culture that the members can live into Congregational collaboration is better than leaving culture change to leadership Keynote speakers Rev Debie omas and Rev Justin Berkobien continued the conversation by helping members recognize ways in which a church might have veered o track over the years and how we need to rediscover what the mission of the church is meant to be columnist former contributing editor for e Christian Century and sta writer for Journey with Jesus A Weekly Webzine for the Global Church Her presentations re ected omas s own faith journey from a fundamentalist Christian upbringing to a more capacious salvation open to all Churches omas explained can help us develop an understanding of sin and a vision personal and collective of salvation an invitation to God s Grace She also explored the concept of grief as an integral aspect of our relationship with God Rev Justin Berkobien is Associate Minister at Oneonta Congregational Church in South Pasadena California His article in the September 2022 issue of e Congregationalist Magazine energized a great many readers with his approach to serving young people as well as our established congregations Berkobien helped workshop attendees view their role through a new lens He suggested that churches need to explore ways of observing God at work in the world around us and consider strategies for discerning Keynote speaker Rev Debie Thomas is a well known author as well as a columnist and contributing editor of The Christian Century Rev Debie omas is Minister for Lifelong Formation at St Mark s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto California omas is author of Into the Mess and Other Jesus Stories Re ections on the Life of Christ a 12 Keynote speaker Rev Justin Berkobien chats with Beth Wilkins of Plymouth Indiana how we might be called to participate in that work He warned against measuring churches by business metrics as opposed to what God wants of us Our mission is to be faithful to God says Berkobien He recommended going out into the community to share God s Word with people who do not know Jesus or really need Jesus in their lives e NACCC has acknowledged the growing number of its church members that are in transition from nding a new minister to moving into a smaller less burdensome facility Over the course of the conference members of four di erent churches shared how their churches were navigating a period of transition Rev Gerry Krupp Consulting Director of Programs for the NACCC facilitated two sessions that o ered strategies as well as the resources available through NACCC for e ective ministerial searches Rev Arlen Vernava of the Interim Ministry Network also facilitated two sessions on how congregations can work together e ectively to plan for change and successfully survive a major period of transition at just grazes the surface e various sessions were diverse in topic yet together provided meaningful guidance for mobilizing a congregation to meet a challenging future with creativity faith and hope Conference attendees capped off their visit to the Harley Davidson Museum with dinner in the Rumble Room ese are serious times but the Annual Meeting o ered plenty of time for reconnecting with old friends making new ones and simply enjoying Greater Milwaukee Attendees were invited to take the Milwaukee Brewery History Tour experience a Milwaukee Milkmen baseball game roam the Harley Davidson Museum and dine in the H D Rumble Room e Wisconsin Congregational Association organized a conference that dared to break the established mold for the conference while it dared member churches to move outside their comfort zone by adapting to a new religious landscape Rev Art Ritter outgoing Moderator and Rev Doug Grey senior minister at First Congregational Church in Salt Lake City Utah Dr Justin Shamell was on hand to acquaint members with Eden Theological Seminary in St Louis Missouri Eden Theological Seminary is committed to making theological education available to all who seek to engage critically the call to faith formation while supporting the Progressive Christian Movement Jacob Richards middle 2023 graduate of the Congregational Fellowship for Congregational Studies is joined by his wife Lilly and Mike Fales who presented Jacob with the John W Claxton Award for excellence in his seminary studies and his support for The Congregational Way Fales met Richards when he was a student at Olivet College 13

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HOW TO DO CPR Church Pulmonary Resuscitation by Rev Lee Witting My apologies as a one time EMT for the medically misleading title but it s true too many churches are needlessly dying from failing hearts now when they re needed the most I just nished reading Rev Michael Glidden s article e Stranger in the June issue of e Congregationalist and it reinforced my long held theory that congregations are strangers sharing the same roof But sharing that cover confers amazing spiritual opportunities So if congregations are strangers housed within a community of sharing why not open the doors to all of them Let them all in ese days in America there are thousands of strangers in desperate need of a wider church community In Bangor Maine you ll nd some of them sleeping on the church steps by night but rarely coming through the door for Sunday worship unless perhaps it s to arrive in time for that free lunch that follows ese are the people Jesus built his street ministry to serve because moneychangers had taken over the Temple But in the case of many churches today our buildings sit empty way too much of the time while too many of those sitting outside turn to drugs for their spiritual connection Ask yourself what s wrong with this picture Back in the 1990 s when my wife and I were students at Bangor eological Seminary our daily commute took us past the beautiful decrepit Union Street Brick Church a once proud Unitarian structure abandoned years before when the Unitarians merged with the Universalists on the other side of the city Businessmen proposed turning it into apartments but fortunately the Bangor Historic Commission said No to pulling out the beautiful stained glass windows e church was a Sleeping Beauty desperately in need of CPR and we were blessed with an opportunity to provide it When I was a child the old nger rhyme held true Here s the church and here s the steeple open the door and see all the people But by 2002 when I got my M Div some mainline denominations could count all the people on the ngers of those same two hands My rst assignment was as interim pastor at the NACCC a liated Searsport Congregational Church which enjoyed a strong and active congregation But when the time came to resuscitate our 1853 beauty we realized by contrast we had an enormous building with substantial problems and no congregation at all Still the building had its blessings e rst blessing was the pews had been removed In retrospect that should be the rst move in any e ort at church resuscitation One thing that stands in the way of community in the dying churches of today is the xed seating facing everyone altarwise uncomfortably snug and o en hard bottomed Pews scream is is a church and only a church Functions we do elsewhere Church dinners and most other events we do elsewhere is pew place is our holy of holies ing is the church should not be de ned by xed seating but rather by the body of Christ doing God s work in community at means us in all our diverse con gurations ose rigid pews can structure church worship into courtroom like procedure and align our worship to be legalistic too Whether form follows function or function form church services can get locked in a tight embrace that misses the point and spoils the good news We bought stackable lawn chairs instead inexpensive easy to reposition and comfortable e second blessing we discovered e enormous pipe organ was gone too Long story short we dropped the lo y organ lo to stage level and mounted some secondhand lighting In all this we were blessed with the skills of my son Matthew who d built movie sets in California We didn t get fancy and kept it a ordable Matthew built inside shutters that could shut out daylight when needed and help keep in the heat by winter In short our grand church was made user friendly for many many functions We had no congregation so we started with weekly Open Mic nights Some of those keyboard guitar and drum players became our Sunday worship music and some of their young audience became the start of 14 Rev Lee Witting earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in how chaplains can use near death experience reports to help hospital patients overcome their fear of dying He is the host of the podcast NDE Radio with Lee Witting with more than 500 NDE interviews available on the ad free YouTube channel of the same name His article Working with the Reality of Near Death Experiences appeared in the Sept 2018 issue of The Congregationalist and his seminary based novel Beneath the Phoenix Door is on Amazon Lee can be reached by email at leewitting gmail com our Sunday congregation Meanwhile the weekday church became their performance venue for concerts they promoted As audiences arrived they came up with other uses for the church My wife Charlene started a theater program with the focus on annual Passion Plays Each year was di erent with historic or modern dress and di erent takes based on the tone of di erent gospel writers We did professional shows like Godspell of course and spiritually related theater of all sorts including many shows Charlene wrote and directed o en based on Bible stories People of all ages got involved and anyone who wanted was welcome to be in our plays By typecasting the roles to t the actor Charlene proved that anyone could be an actor by just playing themselves She also did children s musicals for homeschoolers bringing those individually educated kids together as a group to learn theater dance and music in a spring celebration before their summer vacation Other groups began to bring theater dance and music productions to our church as well Even other churches worship services came to use our facilities from time to time depending on their needs but they also brought indoor yard sales dances and pageants the xed pew churches didn t have room for One large Baptist church in town followed our example and pulled out their pews too We o ered dinner theater movies food pantries and eventually a free daily weekday lunch take out or eat in for the street people At various times over the years we shared our church with Jewish Anglican Methodist and Orthodox congregations Our own Sunday worship nondenominational Christian was done seated in a large circle where anyone could speak during Joys and Concerns at in fact became the sermon as folks shared sometimes to profound depth regarding where they needed our prayers and love A er that Charlene served up a delicious organic lunch I managed to support the donation income the church brought in with my job as a non denominational chaplain at Eastern Maine Medical Center Despite that fact it was Bangor s Catholic hospital St Joseph s which funded the production of our rst Passion Play in 2002 Everything was open diverse and non judgmental by design Even the belly dance teachers in Maine got together to perform an annual show of Middle East dance with their students God is in community and the whole community was welcomed in As word spread the church was featured in a full page article in the April 9 2007 issue of the Christian Science Monitor In All this Church is a Stage writer Stacey Chase noted in part On a recent Sunday a ernoon thespians dressed in terra cotta scrubs their faces painted like various animals performed When Animals Could Talk an original play by Witting s wife Charlene Kent Witting that explores the notion that animals spoke in the Garden of Eden and at Jesus birth and will be able to speak again a er the Second Coming Kelly Nelson Santiago a Methodist and a mother got to play God Acting in a Christian play deepens your faith she says You see that man has fallen and in spite of that God like a parent is still a loving God e Brick Church typically stages a version of the Passion Play and two other religious plays a year bringing together amateur actors from area churches including Baptists Catholics Episcopalians Greek Orthodox Mormons and others e whole history of Christianity has been division and subdivision churches breaking away from other churches and congregations splitting up Witting says It s time that the body of Christ started pulling together Some might say that in supporting our community we lost track of Christian worship e best answer to that appeared just recently in the June 12 2023 issue of the New Yorker in which writer Paul Elie quotes Pope Francis as saying Art is an antidote to the mind set of calculation and standardization to give life esh and verbal expression to all that humanity experiences feels dreams and endures eir work has an impact on the spiritual imagination of the people of our time While the art and artists of the Brick Church were not on a par with the Vatican s perhaps our o erings were made to the community at large with the same energy and love Of course there are di erent ways for churches to pull themselves together depending on the needs of the area A er 20 years Charlene and Continued 15

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HOW TO DO CPR Church Pulmonary Resuscitation I retired and now the Brick Church is helping meet the critical situations of Bangor s homeless and hungry through the church s current volunteers the Biker Church USA It was in part the COVID pandemic that brought home the more pressing dilemma of the homeless community By 2020 the need was less for theater more for food and warmth and the Bikers were able to raise foundation and City of Bangor money to shelter and feed the homeless right in the church sanctuary during Bangor s harsh winter weather rough that funding and volunteer e ort a new e cient heating system a sprinkler system and new commercial kitchen have made the Brick Church s donation to the Bangor community a seven day a week e ort including their Sunday service It s a ne use of the building greater than Charlene and I could have mustered on our own and exactly the way this magni cent building should be used for now I o er our experience at CPR as just one example but here is the point of my writing ere are thousands of amazing churches dying for congregations right now while the very people needed are huddled by the door hoping to be let in Whether it s for theater for food and shelter or for some other manifestation of Christian community let them in Open doors and open eyes to the needs your church building can serve Find how many ways that big room can serve those needs and you can make your church building and what Christ taught us about love absolutely relevant again MINISTER POSITION North Congregational Church located in thriving Farmington Hills Michigan is seeking a full time minister as our current minister of twelve years is retiring North Church is a welcoming faith community serving our neighbors with joy and love We worship together with mutual respect and strive to make a difference in our lives and our world For information and inquiries see https www NorthCongregationalChurch org job opening 16 Continued Committed to THE CONGREGATIONAL WAY Rev Dr Mary Biedron Reverend Dr Harry Butman is a pivotal gure in both Congregationalism and the National Association of Congregational Churches NACCC Dr Butman was one of the NACCC s founders an in uential author and pastor as well as an important chronicler of Congregational history Among his considerable contributions to the NACCC is e Harry Butman Award given to ordained ministers with at least ten years of service in an NACCC Church and demonstrating a commitment to Congregationalism According to Rev Ian MacDonald of the Anamesa Christian Church Dr Butman created this honor as an incentive award to encourage ministers to go above and beyond the simple requirements and needs of their church Bloom eld Michigan was honored at the 2023 Annual Meeting Conference for his considerable contributions to CFTS and NACCC His commitment to preserving and promoting Congregational history and the Congregational Way is demonstrated by the many seminarians who have grown in their understanding and application of the Congregational Way because of his mentorship Willing to take on the challenges facing today s churches Dr Packer formed a virtual group to o er support and shared wisdom for congregations considering or in various stages of relocating from their church buildings As Chaplain Director of the Congregational Retreat Society Dr Packer has provided NACCC member ministers and laity with opportunities for spiritual re ection and renewal e 2023 recipients are Rev Dr Mary Biedron and Rev Dr Charles Packer Rev MacDonald presented the award to Dr Biedron on behalf of her congregation at North Congregational Church Farmington Hills Michigan the association s Vitality Ministry Council and the entire NACCC Rev MacDonald said that Dr Biedron not only has excelled in ministry but has written and taught extensively on Congregationalism and has been a steady and constant proponent of the Congregational Way both locally and nationally In nominating Dr Biedron for the award her church wrote that she is a gi ed orator and storyteller who supports all of us in our faith journeys and has encouraged each to nd their own way by embracing the fullness of the Congregational Way In addition to her other achievements Dr Biedron has served as president of the Southeast Michigan Congregational Clergy is current moderator of the Southeast Michigan Association of Congregational Churches and is on the board of the Congregational Library and Archives She recently retired as Historian for the NACCC Rev Justin Neier lead pastor of Sandstone Congregational Church in Jackson Michigan presented e Harry Butman Award to Rev Dr Charles Packer In June Dr Packer resigned as Dean of the NACCC Congregational Foundation for eological Studies CFTS Dr Packer who is Senior Minister at Pine Hill Congregational Church West Rev Neier o ered the following about Dr Packer I met the Rev Charles Packer in Greenville Michigan during the Annual Meeting for the Michigan Conference of Congregational Christian Churches From that meeting for a reason only God could have ordained an incredible friendship emerged From that time there have been countless games of dominoes and even more countless conversations trying to solve all the problems of congregationalism and at 2 am in the morning there were a few times we felt we solved them all As Dean of e Congregational Foundation of eological Studies Charles has overseen the journeys of countless seminary students including many that are involved in NACCC leadership at being said Charles Packer is my best friend and will continue to be a friend to me and a friend to Congregationalism Rev Dr Charles Packer left and Rev Justin Neier right 17

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Feeling the Pulse of Our Community by Daniel Wiita Livingston Most people in today s world disdain authority in some capacity If there is too much authority over a person they feel obligated to recoil If there is a minimal amount of power the aimless search for direction intrinsically surfaces Congregationalism gives each individual the freedom to build on those guidelines and be creative Having a relationship with God is unique for all individuals having the road paved by a direct connection with Jesus In addition many people have found their Holy Father in unique ways Each individual has a path leading them to the authority of Jesus My pathway to Jesus was quite bumpy it had many twists and turns making it very interesting I want to say it was beautifully messy My path was created by me unbeknownst to me with God s guidance ere was a time a er baptism I was an atheist and was bitter inside my soul ere were times I was a hermit reading my Bible alone with our Heavenly Father not wanting to socialize Sometimes I would reorganize my schedule to attend four churches for their Bible Studies ere were a few times I was praying God get me out of this en there were times I would thank God because there were no clouds on the horizon With all the twists and turns people were there to help me along my pilgrimage Bible study teachers pastors deacons strangers o the streets of Detroit etc Looking back I can see where they were all guiding me to the spiritual foundation I have today and now I am greatly indebted to them Now there are days when I feel full of knowledge and other days my understanding is still very much in its infancy Regardless it s essential I still move forward with my good and bad days learning as much as I can of God s Word and applying it to everyday life We can read the Word and teach it verbatim but we must lead by example to show others how to do it while giving them as much space as they need to grow How can I teach the Christian way of life in my community is can be a di cult question with social media the 24 hour news cycle and all the modern distractions e rst person I turn to is God through his beloved Son Jesus Christ John 3 16 14 6 Our Heavenly Father wants us to have a relationship with Him James 4 8 He knows all our thoughts and He wants us to come to Him with those thoughts as any loving father would A er all Are not two sparrows sold for a penny And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father But even the hairs on your head are all numbered Fear not therefore you are of more value than many sparrows So everyone who acknowledges me before men I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven Matthew 10 29 32 ESV Once we ask our Heavenly Father for guidance we take a deep breath and ask how to execute our teachings to our community with guidance We must think of Jesus Christ s love and how he exercised a signi cant amount of patience We must be ready to have patience and an endless supply of forgiveness Jesus and the disciples taught a new way of life to their community and they were met with much resistance We must be ready for this resistance and be prepared to take it on the cheek and give kindness in return A er all Jesus did say to turn the other cheek We must refrain from retaliation You have heard that it was said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth But I tell you do not resist an evil person If anyone slaps you on the right cheek turn to them the other cheek also And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt hand over your coat as well Matthew 5 38 40 ESV A point of perspective on what it may be like for a non believer a er I graduated high school I wanted to start going to church I had no upbringing in Christian teachings in my youth I knew nothing of the Bible My family were not churchgoers by any means and we rarely talked about religion in the house where I grew up My rst encounter turned out to be the First Congregational Church of Wayne in Michigan ere the senior pastor was 18 Daniel Wiita Livingston entered into Congregationalism in 2002 and continues to serve as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher at Mount Hope Congregational Church in Livonia Michigan He works full time serving his community as a Peer Recovery Coach helping those with alcohol and drug addictions Daniel graduated from Schoolcraft College with an associate degree in Fire Science He continues his education in the Lay Ministry Training Program with the aspiration of helping Congregational Churches serve their surrounding communities Reverend Dr Robert Joy a tting last name to say the least He made an e ort to remember my name and when I came to church the following week he recalled it We can look at people from our past and present who exercise the patience love care and empathy we aspire to have Whether we know it or not we need someone to be kind and gentle with us while we were thirsting for the fundamentals of God s Word When we give back to our community we can take a lesson from Reverend Joy Understanding the newcomers point of perspective who come into our church and give them the love they seek just as Jesus provided It was that vital moment of Reverend Joy remembering my name and remembering it the second time I saw him that altered the course of my religious pilgrimage forever I had no clue I needed that minuscule amount of compassion at the time but that ve second interaction was all it took to begin my Christian journey When going out to teach Christian values we must be ready to be the best teachers we can provide to others e shortest interactions can make a life changing impact on others as it did for me e religious community has the power to impact the lives of the impoverished Today we must make ourselves ready to volunteer our time to those who most need it We must be well supplied with knowledge materials abundant sel ess love or whatever our local community needs to thrive We must be the good Samaritans to help those surrounding us and the silent meek Each one must Continued Preston City Congregational Church Where friends become family Gathered in Our well established church in a small rural community is seeking a full time dynamic pastor with a strong faith who can nurture support and share God s Word and His love to our all accepting congregation Our Church Information Form is available at naccc org For a closer look please visit our website www prestoncitycongregational org 19

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Feeling the Pulse of Our Community give as he has decided in his heart not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver 2 Corinthians 9 7 ESV When we are teaching we should include the Bible and its many life lessons in the Word that can unlock our troubles We don t want to leave out or skimp on God s Word When we leave things out and start adding in our own opinions is when things have the potential to get messy ere is no mess when it comes to God s Word We can have regular Bible lessons with individuals is can be conducted in a group or one on one We should encourage one another to read the Word even when alone ey may feel obligated to do it with a group or only in church Whether a minister or the parishioners themselves the church must have a nger on the community s pulse If the community su ers the church su ers along with them Even if the su ering is not direct it is vital to have an empathetic heart to feel what the su erer feels If the community su ers from alcoholism and drugs the church is responsible for knowing the resources to help others get clean and become closer to God without us passing judgment is can take a few di erent forms One way is to start a Recovery Group at your church or even know where the substance abuse professionals are in your community If hunger resides in the community the church can take up the cause of feeding the poor and nding them access to nutrition No church ought to shy away from the strife existing around it Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth Matthew 5 5 ESV As time slips further in the shaping of our modern world the church has become less of a central gure in our communities is creates challenges distrust and confusion between the church and the surrounding populace ese challenges should be met with honesty obedience discipline empathy sympathy and integrity Despite the fact that the church no longer has an administrative role in the people surrounding them we can meet these challenges by living our faith and leading by biblical example is means the parishioners play a more active role in getting out into the community We cannot leave the sole responsibility to the Pastor All of us in Congregationalism are ordained to help those in need and are privileged to have the authority to help without any central governing body e church s community may be naive to what the church s role is having programs already set or ready to set in place to help the community is a need in modern times ere might be a lack of childcare in the community and the church can have chaperones ready for parents who cannot a ord childcare to have their children watched over for a few hours is might not be Vacation Bible School during the summer but rather all year around e church opens its doors to have kids play learn and have a safe place to be Creating a relationship between a church and the community should be intended to ease the grief strife and angst of the community Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality Romans 12 13 ESV People naturally desire to feel wanted to be heard and to matter When one is poor in spirit their highest potential becomes closer to being out of reach God does not want us to be or act alone We must carry one another not only through teaching but also through giving compassion We must show care to others as God cares for us Carry each other s burdens and so you will ful ll the law of Christ Galatians 6 2 ESV We must be ready to be Christ like teachers We must be prepared to interpret di cult situations and make sense of them when people are in the eye of their storms We must be ready to give empathy and aid to the meek We must be prepared to speak to the masses as Jesus did in the Beatitudes We must be on call for the challenges we face in the future We must have the readiness with the armor of God to help those who need us We should never underestimate the church s role in its community e Christian way of life ought never to be underestimated and forever be treasured wherever we go We must be ready to spearhead the challenges ahead through sacri ce For whoever would save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for my sake will nd it Matthew 16 25 26 ESV Wherever we go God is there too Psalms 139 7 12 20 Continued THE Along WAY Celebration of Dr James Keough s 50th Ordination On June 10 2023 e Congregational Church in Summer eld Florida had the honor of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ordination of our pastor Dr James Keough Formal hors d oeuvres made lovingly by members of the church were served along with rainbow punch and ending with two beautifully decorated cakes One cake had an iced picture of the church and the other a golden 50th anniversary motif Following the light menu was a great concert featuring as many as 12 singers who have performed at services over the past 12 years of our existence We had many professional singers from e Villages as well as a pastor from another church and a singer from Love INC of which Pastor Jim is a board member It was an excellent production Not only was Pastor Jim s 50th ordination celebrated but also his 57 years of pulpit ministry As well his imminent retirement by the end of this year was announced Pastor Jim will be leaving us to enjoy the good life in e Villages It was a very joyous occasion as Pastor Jim is an excellent pastor leader and guide to those in need as well as a very involved and innovative leader He will be sorely missed and will be very di cult to replace He started this church from its onset and with his guidance brought it to a very good sized and scally well planned church that is debt free for all of its buildings and land He has taught us to be self su cient but his presence knowledge insight and input in all aspects will continue to guide us as to continue building and maintaining our wonderful church We wish Pastor Jim and his lovely wife Dawn a well deserved and happy retirement ey will be sorely missed Submitted by Candace DeGarmo e Congregational Church in Summer eld SEEKING PART TIME MINISTER Oakwood Heights Community Church located on Staten Island NY seeks a Part time Pastor to lead us in Christian service to our community and beyond Our small and faithful Since 1928 congregation is a beacon to the community offering Christianly service to people from all walks of life The Part Time Pastor will work with the Deacon and Trustee Boards be involved in local church councils and community outreach represent us in NACCC initiatives and work with leadership to grow the membership The position is salaried and includes housing For information www myohcc org To apply https www naccc org resources pastoral search openpulpits 21

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News Needs and request from our Serving Christ through Global Missions 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 ASOCIACION CIVIL CRISTIANA CONGREGATIONAL ARGENTINA www accc ja com From Rev Dr Harding Stricker Director I had the honour to participate at the NACCC Annual Meeting in Brook eld and Milwaukee Wisconsin and want to express my gratitude for having been given this opportunity to renew my fellowship with the larger Congregational world and my commitment to the Congregational Mission in the Northeast of Argentina which is to continue to serve witness to the love of God that is in Christ through congregational ministry and social service e areas of service of the Congregational Mission of Jard n Am rica continue to be the following 1 Mission Clinic 2 Soup kitchen 3 Community gardening 4 Sponsorship area and 5 Christian education which includes Sunday School youth group music ensembles and regular church services at the mission s chapel With upcoming general elections in our country we are living with a high level of uncertainty about the economy and the political stability ank you for praying for Argentina Cooking together We all wish the best for the people we serve and to be able to envision a better future for them and their children We want to stay connected with all of our mission partners but donations need to be channeled through the NACCC O ce ank you for your prayers and donations toward the Congregational Mission in Jard n Am rica Argentina God bless LOVE WORTH SHARING HAITI www jesusloveshaiti org Over four thousand Scripture booklets await shipment from New Paris Indiana to Port au Prince From Rev Jim Owens Director e Lord continues to bless us in our e orts in Haiti We have been asked by World Missionary Press www wmpress org to become the distributors of their Bibles and scripture booklets in Haiti Pray for this new ministry to help spread the Gospel to all the towns and villages of Haiti Pray that the UN will nally agree to send in a stabilizing force to bring the unrest under control and get elections scheduled so the country can begin to heal Pray for our team as they continue to teach the children the Good News of Jesus Christ 22 NACCC MISSION OUTREACH CONTACT 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 We made it MISSION SCHOOL OF HOPE CAMEROON www missionschoolo ope org From Rev Charles Sagay Director Mission School of Hope is in a celebration mode as our children in Molobo all passed their entrance exams into middle school and our rst promotion class in Owens also recorded a 100 pass at the national entrance exams into middle school We want to use this opportunity to thank you all for feeding the children providing school supplies for them for health care and for taking care of our teachers You all contributed greatly to the successful performance of the children May the Lord continually bless all you do MORGAN SCOTT PROJECT TENNESSEE www morganscottproject org From Crystal Tompkins Director Morgan Scott Project for Cooperative Christian Concern serves the needs of those in two rural counties of East Tennessee Morgan and Scott It has been a busy summer So far we completed 11 ramps built handrails for a couple sets of steps replaced a wall on a house from storm damage put in a handicap shower pressured washed and painted a park and baseball eld We also hosted a weeklong kids community camp in each county We are fortunate to have a mobile medical unit from Ridgeview at our o ce each Friday for those who have any medical or behavioral needs e food pantry food line is going well serving on average 100 families a week Both counties are in need of more housing resources We are thankful f or your support God is blessing our many programs Newly constructed ramp HAPPY LIFE CHILDREN S HOME KENYA www happylifechildrenshome com From Rev Peter and Faith Ndungu Kenya and Rev Jim and Sharon Powell US Happy Life Directors If you want to know more about the Happy Life Mission and how you can help we will email you the 16 page prospectus Please contact us at happylifechildrenshome gmail com 23

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Continued News Needs and request from our Rev Dr Charles Nyane and Financial Administrator Isaac Boakye WORD ALIVE MISSION GHANA AND IVORY COAST From Rev Dr Charles Nyane President e Word Alive Christian Academy is an arm of the Educational Ministry of the Word Alive Mission e Word Alive Mission has three main arms of ministry 1 Church Ministry Department 2 Educational Ministry Department and 3 Social Services Department e Word Alive Christian Academy is one of the important sectors of the Educational Ministry Department of the Word Alive Mission as the Mission aspires to equip and train the hands of young people for life through education e primary objective is to educate the children in the area with Christian values and principles e school consists of Elementary Primary and Junior High school education e school teaches all the subjects as in the syllabus of the Ministry of Education of Ghana ese subjects include English Mathematics Social Studies Science Citizenship Home Science Technical Drawing etc e school also teaches Bible lessons has morning devotions and scheduled church services every week e objective is to instill Biblical principles and values in the students Indeed the school has been one of the best schools academically in the Nzema District of the Western Region of Ghana e school has fared very well in the nal examinations of the West African Examination Council of Government In 2018 59 schools in the Nzema District sat for the examination and the Word Alive Academy placed in the 11th position on the academic ladder In 2019 58 schools sat for the examination and the Word Alive Christian Academy claimed the 6th position In 2021 60 schools sat for the examination our school claimed the 17th position In 2022 67 schools sat for the examination and the Word Alive Academy took the 8th position in the academic ladder of the District Indeed the academy is faring well on the academic ladder of the Nzema District of Ghana In sports the school has been very active in eld events and in soccer In 2019 at the inter schools sports event in the District the school took the rst position in volleyball and soccer In 2020 there was no sporting event due to Covid 19 In 2021 the school took the rst position in soccer and the second position in volleyball We are thankful for the hard work of the teaching sta and the auxiliary workers who make things happen To God be the glory Also all Glory to God on Saturday July 1st 2023 I graduated from Northwestern Christian University USA a liate of Northwestern College of Arts Sciences Ghana with a PhD in governance and leadership ese skills will help me as President of Word Alive e graduation went well by the grace of God It was a beautiful ceremony beyond my comprehension Family friends and some pastors attend e ceremony was organized at the Assemblies of God church auditorium in Accra 24 Olivet College Becomes THE UNIVERSITY OF OLIVET Olivet College is becoming e University of Olivet re ecting its stronger bolder and forwardlooking array of new programs and its enrollment of new students e Olivet College Board of Trustees unanimously approved the 179 yearold Olivet College becoming e University of Olivet at its May 19 2023 board meeting to be more indicative of the comprehensive institution it has evolved into e private institution will formally become e University of Olivet in the 2023 fall semester roughout its history Olivet has persisted in staying true to its mission by being daring bold and forwardlooking President Steven M Corey Ph D said In 1844 the legislature told us that so long as Olivet had anything to do with the propagation of anti slavery views there would be no college charter Our founders rmly believed that higher education should be open and welcome to all regardless of gender race or socioeconomic status they persisted and became the Olivet Institute When in 1859 the State of Michigan was ready to accept the Olivet vision and mission for a more just society we evolved and became Olivet College Olivet continues to persist 179 years later Now as a more comprehensive institution it s time to evolve again to e University of Olivet Olivet s ambitious 2030 Vision for a Prosperous Future strategic plan precipitated the change e plan calls for the institution to remain rmly rooted in its mission of serving undergraduate residential students engaged in a deeply immersive experience while also launching a robust portfolio of online degree completion graduate and workforce development programs to bene t students throughout Michigan across the nation and around the world Expanding Course O erings and Opportunities e timing is optimal as Olivet has grown beyond its traditional residential liberal arts core with online degree completion and graduate programs Olivet currently o ers An online Master of Business Administration MBA with concentrations in insurance enterprise risk management accounting and general business administration An accelerated pathway from a Bachelor of Arts in Business to an MBA for advanced juniors and seniors Online bachelor degree completion coursework in business criminal justice psychology nursing RN BSN and individualized major Other new programs are in development and under review by the Higher Learning Commission Olivet is also exploring several strategic partnerships Recently Olivet established an international partnership with Christ Academy Institute for Advanced Studies and St Bede s College to o er Olivet s online MBA program to students from India Olivet is purposefully building diversity equity inclusion and belonging DEIB into its online curriculum where more typical approaches to online education can fall short We can leverage our long history and expertise in DEIB and social justice education to make sure we re serving all populations in a way that is welcoming accessible a ordable and e ective said Provost Paul Burkhardt Ph D It s not enough just to have a certain percentage of socioeconomic racial or ethnic diversity in our classroom or our employee body We need to make sure that it s in our curriculum and our practice so that it comes to de ne our approach towards relationships and relationship based learning What will not change is Olivet s grounding in a tradition of liberal arts At the core of the Olivet liberal arts curriculum is the embodiment of the institution s academic vision of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility Corey said A liberal arts foundation holds value in today s global job market preparing Olivet graduates to have the con dence to be more than they ever imagined and to have the conscience to do good through service to others Problemsolving critical thinking creativity and innovation written and oral communication teamwork and the ability to deal with complex issues are just a few examples of how a liberal arts foundation helps develop practical skills and a strong sense of social responsibility 25

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REMEMBERING Bangor Theological Seminary By Pastor Mike Glidden M Div BTS 1995 The Bangor Masonic Temple Moulton Library at BTS Ican remember the long lonely trip to Bangor when I was 13 years old Bangor was the highlight of the year Living in a remote area going to the big city was a treat At this time in my life I didn t have a concept of Church I had a concept of God but God was more of a mystical being My dad told me in Bangor that I could see Paul Bunyan and Stephen King s house Dad drove up Union Street It was like climbing a big hill But much bigger than the hill near our yard He slowed down so I could catch a glimpse of the sights I saw a big glass building that looked like a shimmering cathedral Books were stacked near the windows I wondered if Dr Seuss or Charlie Brown was in the stacks Around the corner I could see a giant steeple A nger pointing up to God I felt like I was near a mysterious castle that was calling me to go inside My 13 year old mind was taking me on a journey As my junior year at the University of Maine at Machias was coming to an end I decided to apply to BTS I heard the call of God a year earlier in the middle of the night Rhonda was at my side I heard my name spoken We both opened up the Word and Isaiah Chapter 6 stared at us Here I am God I m ready to go where you lead I m heading to the shimmering cathedral in Bangor with a nger pointing up to God I don t know what to expect but I must go Everything we owned was packed in a small 8 x 8 room We got help Nearly all of Rhonda s family came to see us o It felt like we were getting married again but a di erent groom had appeared e U Haul was packed e journey began up the airline road to begin that three year Master of Divinity quest at Bangor eological Seminary I wanted to go to that mysterious castle with the shimmering cathedral of books that I remembered as a young teen Our apartment was on Cedar Street It was a huge house with many apartments At the end of the street lived Stephen King I remembered seeing some of his movies I could see his gargoyles on the fence from our windows Rhonda and I remember many Halloweens and seeing many children enter the front gates of this very unusual home We didn t dare to venture I was still scared of monsters and the unknown I felt safe in our new apartment Several seminarian families lived in this house It felt like a big warm cave out in the middle of nowhere We had a glass porch that overlooked the street below Not too far down the street was Big Paul Bunyan Paul looked to be 30 feet high He reminded me of my grandfather who wore red annel holding a chainsaw as I helped him run the wood splitter in 1981 Big Paul was and is the icon of Bangor I could trust him to ferry many logs down the Penobscot River during the 1800s All I can say about my classes at BTS from 92 to 95 is that it was a hearty meal for ministry Some of my favorite professors were Roland Wessels Burton rockmorton Ann Johnston Glenn Miller and Cli Davis Of course there were many more and too numerous to list All of them were crucial in my formation in becoming the pastor that I am today I think all of us remember the blue books that would be given at the end of the term for the dreaded nal I don t remember word docs that were sent just a completed blue book to be placed in the professor s mail box e students were friendly too Each year on April 23rd I always got a birthday card from someone e atmosphere was family oriented and relational Professors were always invitational in their approach I can remember many long and interesting conversations with the profs at lunch in our dining hall which used to be a running track Many days and a ernoons I would be sitting in there always with a chocolate ice cream or co ee e caf always had snacks and goodies eological education and formation is much better with good food I can hardly remember the JEDP theory nor who was Rudolph Bultman but I ll always remember my professor singing in the classroom or watching a professor dance as he taught BTS taught me to not think too highly of myself I didn t matter that I got a C in the gospels or a B 26 Paul Bunyan 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 GordonConwell Theological Seminary in 2002 He was ordained in 2000 Mike lives in South Portland with his wife Rhonda in the Gospel of Matthew I felt it was an honor to just sit there and learn amidst these great men and women of the faith I was saddened to hear of the Seminary closing a few years ago I began to mourn the loss of this signi cant school that had brought me into maturity I realized that there will never be another seminary like Bangor Bangor will always be in me I represent the school wherever I go and serve in Jesus Christ I d love to hear other s stories of BTS Maybe our paths crossed in the early 90s A couple of years ago Rhonda and I went up to visit the old BTS campus We noticed that it is now the Maine Masonic Center It s purpose mission vision is much di erent now BTS has gone on but is now in a di erent form Instead of the old logo there is now a square and compass on the sign ere may no longer be programs to send forth pastors but I suspect there are folks being sent out to serve humanity Please email me or write me I d like to hear more stories about BTS Pastor Search Rockland Congregational Church is seeking a personable community focused and energetic pastor to lead us into our next chapter We are a small congregation in a desirable Mid Coast Maine location with easy access to hiking sailing a vibrant art scene world class seafood and more While we are an older congregation we are high energy and enjoy social gatherings and community events to spread the love and joy of Christ Applicants should be dedicated to visitations should be effective in planning and leading worship and should inspire an open and affirming church culture NACCC affiliation is desirable though not required While our financial situation dictates that this must be a part time position it is our hope and prayer that with the teamwork of the congregation and our new leader we can again grow the church to accommodate a full time pastor Learn More rocklandcongregationalchurch org Send CV to Rockland Congregational Church 180 Limerock Street Rockland ME 04841 27

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SPECIAL RECOGNITION The creativity energy and commitment of members drives the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches people who are willing to devote their time and resources to making sure that the programs and initiatives of the NACCC continue to serve our churches and the missions they support e Board of Directors takes a moment during each Annual Meeting to present its Citation to an individual or individuals distinguished by their exceptional leadership and service e 2023 Citations were presented to Jim Waechter and Laura Hamby In a unique twist the Board asked each to write and present the other s citation unaware that they would both be honored Laura was present at the Annual Meeting in Milwaukee and Jim joined the meeting via Zoom Laura is a member of Soquel Congregational Church in Soquel California Jim is a member of Flatbush Tompkins Congregational Church in Brooklyn New York Both have served as Vice Moderator and Moderator of the NACCC among other positions Laura Hamby Jim Waechter The Mission and Outreach Ministry Council MOMC awarded e Charles Rush Award to Rev Dr R Cli on Bailey minister of Shandon Congregational Church in Shandon Ohio e award is given in recognition of those who are working with Congregational Christian Churches toward worthwhile social and personal goals Rev Dr R Clifton Bailey Spokane Redux In 2021 the NACCC selected Spokane Washington as the site for its Annual Meeting Conference Sadly COVID intervened and the event was cancelled In 2024 NACCC will pick up where it le o by holding the 70th Annual Meeting and Conference in Spokane hosted by the Paci c Northwest Association of Congregational Churches Watch for more details in future issues of e Congregationalist 28 Spokane Riverfront Photo by Jim Poth TO THE Letter EDITOR Eugene G Wanger Lansing Michigan e Congregational Church and Its Core Beliefs Having been a member of a Congregational church for three quarters of a century it seems to me that Congregationalism is based upon two fundamental beliefs First that our principal guide to faith and morals is the Bible second that our church is for repentant sinners e rst belief means that a Congregationalist cannot be against something if he or she believes that the Bible to be for it and cannot be for something if he or she believes that the Bible is against it e second belief means that while we are all sinners in one way or another each of us must be sorry for his or her sins seek forgiveness for those sins and resolve not to sin again If and when questions about these two core beliefs arise in a Congregational church those questions can only be settled by the congregation of that church ere is no central body or person to which that congregation must adhere Happy is the church than can as my harnessmaker grandfather used to say ride easy in harness Rev William Bill S Trump Jr e Reverend Bill Trump died on July 22 2023 at the age of 67 Bill was ordained as a Pastor at Northshore Congregational Church in Fox Point Wisconsin in 1984 and for 40 years served congregations including First Congregational Church Vermontville Michigan First Congregational Church Burlington Iowa and Congregational Church of the Chimes Sherman Oaks California He retired from First Congregational Church in Wauwatosa Wisconsin in 2022 A member of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches Bill served on the Congregational Foundation for eological Studies 199019940 Nominating Committee 1996 1998 Executive Committee 2011 2014 Congregational Foundation Board of Governors 2012 2013 Bill had a lifelong love for his golden retrievers raising nine of them His wife Cathy introduced him to the service dog organization Canine Companions which she had been passionately supporting for many years Bill and Cathy enjoyed traveling exploring Europe South America and Alaska An accomplished cook Bill especially enjoyed grilling and smoking meat and loved preparing meals with family and friends Bill was preceded in death by his parents William and Mary and his rst wife Kathryn Kathy Trump who was the mother of their two children He is survived by wife Cathy daughter Sarah Trump and son Charlie Jamie Watson Trump and sisters Julie Trump and Roxanne David Miles Services were held August 17 2023 Memorials in Bill s name may be made to First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa or the American Heart Association https www heart org en a liates wisconsin 29

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Pastorates PULPITS Recent Calls Susan Cau eld Interim Minister First Congregational Church Barkhamsted CT April 16 2023 Rev Wendy Sue Kissa Interim Minister First Church of Squantum Squantum MA May 7 2023 John Chamberlain Enterprise Community Congregational Church Enterprise OR May 7 2023 Rev Douglas Gray First Congregational Church Salt Lake City UT May 21 2023 Jerry Eisner Senior Minister St Jacobi Congregational Church Rich eld WI June 1 2023 Rev Jacob Richards Senior Minister First Congregational Church Portland MI 12 19 2022 voted June 1 2023 Rev John Brock Evans Senior Minister Wading River Congregational Church Wading River NY 5 21 2023 voted June 18 2023 Installation Rev Susan Walters Senior Minister First Congregational Church East Bloom eld NY June 11 2023 Ordination Rev Scott Chase Union Congregational Church Amesbury MA May 21 2023 Rev Andy King Pilgrim Congregational Church Green Bay WI April 23 2023 In Search Senior Minister First Congregational Church Barkhamsted CT United Church of Marco Island Marco Island FL Robbins Memorial Congregational Church Green eld MA First Congregational Church Marsh eld MA Dix eld Congregational Church Dix eld ME e Congregational Church of East Sumner Sumner ME Elijah Kellogg Congregational Church Harpswell ME Rockland Congregational Church Rockland ME Arbor Grove Congregational Church Jackson MI North Congregational Church Farmington Hills MI First Congregational Church McCook NE Campton Congregational Church Campton NH Epping Congregational Church Epping NH First Congregational Church Crown Point NY First Congregational Church Little Valley NY Cambria Congregational Church Lockport NY Oakwood Heights Community Church Staten Island NY Congregational Christian Fellowship Church Winchester VA Heritage Congregational Church Madison WI Associate Assistant Minister First Congregational Church Beloit WI Interim Minister e Congregational Church in Summer eld Summer eld FL Non NACCC Church Associate Assistant Plymouth Congregational Church Miami FL CALENDAR 2023 SAVE THE DATE September 13 2023 November 1 2023 Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising Program 8 week online course and practical application process provided through the Lake Institute on Faith Giving For more information contact the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches www naccc org events ecrf Editor Marianne E King Contributing Editor Julie Robie Graphic Design Goes Studio Editorial Advisory Team Rev Dawn Carlson Rev Dr Barry W Szymanski Rev Dr Michael Glidden Claudia Kniefel Published quarterly by NACCC 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53154 0288 naccc naccc org Editorial Inquiries Marianne E King 800 262 1620 editor naccc org Advertising Inquiries Marianne E King 800 262 1620 editor naccc org Subscription Inquiries Tracy Bernhardt 800 262 1620 ext 1615 naccc naccc org Subscriptions Policy One subscription is provided free of charge to each individual requestor who is a member of a church in fellowship with the National Association One complimentary Newcomer Copy will be sent to any person one time only upon request by a church in fellowship with the National Association A subscription to e 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 o ce 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 e 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 o ces POSTMASTER Send address changes to e Congregationalist 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53201 0288 The Congregationalist Online 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 2023 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 30 31

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