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.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)
PJ's weekly reflection:
I just want to say I understand if you think me weird for this, yet truth be told my favorite video I've seen in the past year comes in three parts, is several minutes longer than 24 hours in total length, and has a slowly oscillating version of one song continuously playing in the background by one of my favorite musical groups Sigur Rós. At the beginning of the first video it says: "XL Recordings & The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service - RUV present SIGUR ROS ROUTE ONE. Over the 2016 summer solstice, Sigur Rós unveiled a 24 hour 'slow tv' event entitled 'Route One' - set to a constantly evolving soundtrack based around elements of new song Ovedur. 'Route One' was a 1332 km journey the whole way round Iceland's coastal ring road."
The journey begins and ends in the capital city of Reykjavik. Likely I'll never physically visit Reykjavik, yet what a lovely place it appears to be, along with the entire country of Iceland, and certainly this coastal road. Of course putting their best face forward, as official websites do, when you visit The Reykjavik website by clicking Reykjavik you will encounter a city which describes its "best face" as being "family friendly, a place with unspoiled nature, a small and safe city in a country ranked as being one of the most peaceful in the world which is very proud of its LGBT community and has become quite the beacon of rainbow colored light in the past few years."
So while I haven't watched even 25% of the 24 hours of this video (although over time I'll likely watch all of it) I find it mesmerizing. I've listened to well over half of the video, as background music while I'm working, such as writing these words to you now. It moves slowly. It evolves. There is no speaking. The only words which appear on the screen point out the name of the next place in the journey being passed through. Occasionally the journey pauses, likely to switch drivers, get a bite to eat and take a bathroom break. During the pause music continues as the picture simply looks forward as the scenery moves at its own pace before you.
In this world of noisy information overload with little useful content I find it incredibly comforting and restorative to be invited to be a passenger for a time on this tranquil and deeply beautiful road.
The roads we travel, both literal and figurative, along the journeys of our lives, aren't always tranquil or beautiful. Yet, in Psalm 23 it says: God "restores my soul" "in green pastures" and "beside still waters." It also says: God is with us "through the valley of the shadow of death" taking away fear. (Psalm 23:2-4 NKJV)
What are your restorative places of green pastures and still waters?
What are your valleys and fearful places?
Here we are now, wherever we are on our journey, deep in the season of Lent. Where are you? How's it going? Together we move forward and individually too.
If you can join us for worship in Dudley, Massachusetts on Sunday we'll talk more.
Either way, I pray your journey to be filled with less fear and worry, and more moments of peace and restoration as together we seek to form our lives upon the life of Jesus, upon the life of love.
Blessings and Peace, Pastor John
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