First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ,
Throughout the journey
of our lives we find ourselves on many different roads, traveling with a diverse group of people. We learn much through the joys and pains of daily living. Each of these experiences forms and molds us a bit more as children of God. At the First Congregational Church of Dudley we celebrate the journey you are on towards becoming the highest expression of yourself, whom God created you to be. As an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ we want you to know no matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here! At our church we encourage a journey which is traveled with our bodies, minds and hearts, our intelligence and our compassion working together…side by side. This is a community of seekers who work to live the questions of our faith, the faith of Jesus, forming ourselves more and more in that image of perfect love.
Please take some time to explore our website, sign up for PJ’s Place (my weekly e-letter) and visit us for worship. You may not be fully sure why it is you are exploring a relationship with our church and The United Church of Christ. You may simply be following some inner urging. We encourage you to listen to the voice of your heart for God is still speaking now. Come and become something more, as together we seek to live and grow as followers of Jesus on The Way… an inclusive and ever-expanding journey of love, beginning with ourselves and our families, extending to our communities, our nation and all the world. We look forward to meeting and getting to know you soon.
Blessings on your journey,
Open and Affirming
All are welcome! The Open and Affirming Coalition provides support and sanctuary to all our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers, their families and friends; advocates for their full inclusion in church and society; and brings Christ's affirming message of love and justice for all people.
In partnership with the
United Church of Christ.
"In all this I have given you an example
that by such work we must support the weak,
remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said,
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
Acts 20:35 (NRSV)
PJ's weekly reflection:
Today I'm asking you to consider your chronological age which I'm well aware is not everyone's favorite subject.
So I'll begin by sharing with you the number of my years is 55.
I'll also share with you my experience of never having been happier with my age than I am now. Why? More than ever before in my life, I know who I am. I understand how the pieces of my life's journey make sense in making me who I am. I've stopped being ashamed, unforgiving and discouraged about past decisions and events beyond my control and am much more able to simply be where I am now. I see visions revealing different versions of the person I might yet become. Each is full of hope and possibility as I have learned how to steer the ship of my own life.
Are there certain aspects of my younger physical self I wish I could get back? Yes.
Are there certain aspects of memory or other skills which were quicker when I was younger? Yes again. Yet, I can still work to improve these parts of myself, and I have more patience than I've ever possessed.
Some length of years has taught me how to walk the long road and to never give up on what is possible. The long road has taught me that even if I'm not there at the end of it, I can prepare others who will be.
Rod Stewart released his version of a Bob Dylan song in 1988, when he was in his early 40's, a song titled Forever Young. The video shows him singing this song to a young boy and it appears to me as a prayer that the boy would grow to be everything he is created to be, in love, as he develops and hopefully gets older.
Earlier, when Rod was 30, in 1975, he released a cover version of a gorgeous, heartbreakingly soulful love song written by Danny Whitten titled I Don't Want to Talk About It. You can find early versions of Rod singing the song, yet, in my opinion, he never sang it more beautifully than in 2004, when he sang (then 59) with Amy Belle (then 23). Today, at 72, Rod Stewart remains a legend. At 36, Amy Belle is still working to be recognized by the world as the great talent she is yet she remains forever grateful to Rod for essentially plucking her out of obscurity and placing her with him on stage at Royal Albert Hall in London, England.
When our shared song combines the freshness of youth with
the experience of years, the result can be beautiful.
Wherever you are on the journey of your life,
just sing with all your heart.
Sing your song the best you can now.
It gets more and more beautiful every time you do.
On Sunday at our church in Dudley, Massachusetts we'll be celebrating the longest continuously active organization within our multi-generational church family.
They are wonderfully old and bold. If you can join us, please do.
In this moment...Blessings, Peace and Love, Pastor John
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