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.
... bear fruit, fruit that will last.
John 15:16 (NRSV)
PJ's weekly reflection:
Each of us is connected to something larger than ourselves.
No one is an island. We are interdependent.
You and I have branches and our branches have branches and so on and so forth.
I know you know me as I know you yet we can always know one another more.
There are so many ways we could introduce ourselves to each other.
For example, the bible is filled with lots of genealogy.
One way to introduce myself it to say:
"Hello. My name is John. My mother is Anne. My step-father is Roger. My father is Jack. My step-mother is Ruth Ann. My grandparents are Richard, Edith, Rudolph and Mabel." Yet what has this told you? There are eight names laid out here and behind each of these names is a story.
Another way to introduce myself is to say:
"Hello. My name is John. I'm a citizen of The United States of America. I belong to a particular political party. I lean in this direction on these particular issues within that particular party. Yet, even though I belong to this particular political party, there are times I agree more with folks of the other political party on certain issues."
Or I could say:
"Hello. My name is John. I serve as Pastor of The First Congregational Church of Dudley, part of The United Church of Christ. Yet, I went to a United Methodist seminary. In most ways I think very much like a member of the United Church of Christ. Yet, in some ways, I lean towards the thinking of the United Methodist Church. My mother is Roman Catholic. My step-mother is the daughter of a District Superintendent of The United Methodist Church. My cousins are Jewish. I have Muslim friends. I also have friends who are Humanist / Atheist. I am also attracted to Buddhist, Hindu and Native American ways of perceiving the world."
I could go on...and so could you. None of us is simply this or that. As we approach our national Independence Day as The United States of America on July 4th it's important for us to remember. We're united not because we're all the same. We're united in our differences.
That's what I love about The United Church of Christ which celebrates its 60th anniversary on June 25. We recognize that we are strengthened by celebrating our vast diversity, united in our common journey of following the radical love of Jesus to the very best of each of our abilities, encouraging each person to become the highest expression of the child of God they were created to be, so they may love their little corner of the world into becoming the most compassionately loving and beautiful version it was created to be.
It's the journey we share.
Blessings, Peace and Love, Pastor John
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Read Pastor John's latest article in the Webster Times:
Marrying My Best Friend
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