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,
In partnership with the United Church of Christ.
Click on tab below to read the thought provoking op-ed piece published in the Worcester T&G Tuesday,
April 26, 2016 written by Paul Gregory Smith.
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.
View their website here:
View Pastor John's Clay Jar testimonial, given at the MACUCC 2015 Annual Meeting at UMass Amherst:
Follow Pastor John on Twitter
You can now follow Pastor John on Twitter @PJsPeace
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known as PJ's Place, please contact Pastor John
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First of all, then, I urge
that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and
thanksgivings be made for everyone,
for kings and all who are in high positions,
so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life
in all godliness and dignity.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NRSV)
PJ's weekly reflection:
So I have to share with you the funniest, catch me off guard, slightly awkward moment I've experienced in a long while.
My oldest daughter is living with my wife and I for a while, which is wonderful. This week, two of her friends are staying with us also. Now in their twenties, they come and go as they please. Last evening they went out together until early in the morning. I awoke when I heard them. We have a bathroom upstairs, but wanted to leave that available for them, so I walked, half asleep, to the other bathroom downstairs. I heard my daughter walk downstairs to the kitchen, next to the bathroom. When I walked into the kitchen we spoke to one another of her evening with friends while I grabbed an Advil for my back which was hurting. She offered me some Tiger Balm. I don't even think I responded to that, being as foggy in my mind as I was. I started going back upstairs when I realized I had neglected to give my daughter a hug and tell her I love her. I went back into the kitchen, threw my arms around her, called her sweetie and went to give her a kiss, when, now slightly more awake, I realized the face so close to mine was not that of my daughter, but one of her friends!
I immediately pulled away, not sure what to do or say. Knowing this young woman well, we hugged again, and laughed, yet thank God this particular friend is one of those young people who we consider an extension of our own family. While I was apologizing for what I assumed was inappropriate closeness, she assured me that she understood, knew what had happened, and tried to make me feel better, as we continued to laugh. Wow.
You know me as someone who works every day to live aware, and it's true.
Yet, mistakes in perception can so easily be made.
September 21 was the United Nations International Day of Peace. So, where was the peace? Where is the peace? Why are so many innocents being displaced? How can our minds and hearts wrap around Syria, let alone Charlotte, North Carolina? What course is available to move back from fear, racial tensions, class divisions and unresolved, unforgiven pain?
What do you love? Who do you love? Can't we join on this path of love and peace together? Wouldn't it be better to view our neighbor first as a possible friend?
Tonight, I'm going to be attending a concert. All proceeds will go to support those who are experiencing a state of homelessness. It could be you or me right? If the circumstances of our lives had gone just a little bit differently, it could have been us. And so, we do what we can.
Keep the peace brothers. Keep the peace sisters. Hug your children, but make sure they're your children first. Live aware.
Blessings and Peace, Pastor John