Let’s see: I have a wedding Friday, a funeral on Saturday, and I just held baby Aleah—at 8 days old, not even our newest First Church baby! (Nanani Lim was born the night before last: praise Jesus).
It brings to mind the old saw that the minister’s vocation is to hatch, match, and dispatch—though we don’t usually get to do all those tasks in such great proximity to one another.
Being let in to people’s lives at these most holy, liminal moments in life is a treasure. Having a church to do it in: priceless. Good churches know how to hold emotion—even the ugly or socially unacceptable emotions. Good churches know how to keep people company at the most intense moments of life (not just birth, marriage, death, but illness, divorce, moves, depressions, vocational shifts, and many many more)—and how to help people tell the WHOLE truth of what is going on, even when the ‘good times’ (like: birth, moves, vocational shifts...).
How many times have I heard one of you say: “I don’t know how I would have gotten through _____ if it weren’t for First Church. What do other people do?”
Thank God, we don’t have to find out, because we have this place, and this people.
Come all you people. Come from summer vacations and semester starts, from whirlwinds and workdays. Get your head out of your job, your book, your family crisis, your 5,000 emails, and come and rest and sing and pray with your people.
Come remember that what God deeply desires for you is Sabbath rest, every week, and holy friends on the spiritual journey.
This Sunday is Regathering Sunday. We will gather not once but TWICE, at 9am with Sunday school and 11am with Choir. Choir rehearsal happens at 10am, and if you’ve always secretly wanted to sing with the choir, now is your chance to slip into the stream!
Things went great at last week’s inaugural worship split! Melissa Shungu spent all morning at church, helping with Sunday school and later attending worship, and said “I loved every minute!” The coffee hour was a living organism: ebbing and flowing. Smaller worship meant more opportunities (especially for introverts!) to meet people in a less overwhelming setting. Remember, in these September Sunday when a lot of newcomers are shopping us, to look for and be kind to the stranger, the lost, the least, the lonely, the one with the sad or scared default face—you were once in that position!
Between worship services: Big Meeting Brunch meetings return us to the work of building the beloved community. After the 11am worship: First Churcher Chelsea Levy and one of her grad school professors would love to interview you on your views regarding faith and its relationship to gun control issues.
Beloved, whatever you’re going through: you’re not alone. Come Sunday, and remember that.
Bless you, and may you be a blessing,
Choir Retreat Sat. 10 AM - 3 PM
It might not have come across your radar that there is a Choir Retreat this Saturday from 10am-3pm, right here at our own church.
It could be that you sing in the shower or in the car, and would never, ever consider singing in public--except from maybe, just maybe, within the safe confines of a 12-20-person volunteer choir such as ours. It's not performance after all: it's a gift (however imperfect) that we give back to God (yes, She loves it every time, no matter what), and a way we singers deepen our own experience of worship (plus then we don't have to worry about where to sit or who to sit with!).
You don't have to come to the choir retreat to be able to sing with choir this year--but it's a good way to meet people, to learn a lot of music at once, and to feel more deeply a part of things. You won't be obligated to sing every week or even most weeks if you come to choir--lots of folks are sometimes singers, and we love them every bit as much as the regulars. If you think you'd like to come for all or part of the retreat, email Hugh at firstname.lastname@example.org
I also wanted to say how excited I am for the changes in our music staff this year. Did you know that Hugh, our music director, is also the Director of campus music activities at Merrimack College? That he has a doctorate in piano performance from New England Conservatory, and that he is a founding member of the amazing Core Ensemble
, that tours internationally? That he was raised United Methodist in Louisiana and LOVES his new church home, the UCC, bringing his lifelong spirituality and faith to bear among us? How blessed are we?
Did you know that our incoming assistant music director, Marcus Mack, is a graduate of Berklee and a current student at Harvard Divinity School? That he plays percussion as well as piano, and that he writes film scores? That he was raised Pentecostal in Texas with a father who does Christian television programming, and LOVES his new church home, the UCC, bringing his lifelong church involvement and newly expanding theology to bear among us? How lucky are we?
Hope that inspires you to think about finding a new pew/chair this year, one closer to the front!