News about potential threats and opportunities for hope

Dear Siblings in Christ: You may have heard in the news or other places about this weekend’s protests in Washington, DC in support of those who were arrested during the January 6th protests and insurrection. As part of these reports, you might have also learned that there are suggestions on extremist websites for state capitals as well as “Jewish centers and Liberal churches” to be targeted. Over the last couple of days, some religious bodies have started to share this information. These are reports to pay attention to and be aware of. At the same time, I’ve heard nothing from … Continue reading News about potential threats and opportunities for hope

Trying hard to be happy

Mike Denton Sermon at 1st Congregational Church of Bellevue 9/5/21 I’ve been ordained since 1999, and during that time, I decided not to preach from scripture just once. The congregation I served wanted to hear more about some work I was involved in on the congregation’s behalf. Until midweek, I was sure I would be preaching from James, a great and important text about the dangers of favoritism, bias, and prejudice. This is one of those texts that reads us more than we read it. This text and I were sharing a great conversation, and I was looking forward to … Continue reading Trying hard to be happy

8-5-2021 PNC COVID-19 Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: This update will be a quick one. Last week I strongly recommended that churches worshipping inside return to wearing masks and pause congregational singing. The CDC also came out with a recommendation that people wear masks indoors anywhere COVID transmission was “substantial” or “high.” A week ago, a little under half of our churches were in counties that did not fall within CDC guidelines. As of the new numbers released today, this has changed. Every single one of the churches of the Pacific Northwest Conference are now in a county where transmission is “substantial” or “high” and masks are recommended by … Continue reading 8-5-2021 PNC COVID-19 Update

7-30-21 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too. For several weeks now, we’ve been learning more and more about COVID’s Delta variant. In the last week, we’ve learned considerably more. These points in particular jump out: COVID’s Delta variant is one of the most contagious respiratory diseases known. The main reason for this is that people sick with the Delta variant have a viral load around 1000 times higher than the original variant.  Although the likelihood of vaccinated people passing on previous variants was low, a … Continue reading 7-30-21 COVID-19 PNC Update

5-20-21 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Pentecost is my favorite festival of the Christian calendar. I can relate to being part of a post-resurrection, uncertain, afraid, and mourning people gathering together to try and figure out what’s next. I’ve been part of those groups before. And, I’ve had the honor of being present when there is a palpable shift in the room, and a new idea is born, or the calling of the Spirit catches fire or hope takes root like a thunderbolt. The fact that, in the Book of Acts, everyone also could hear the explanation of what happened in words … Continue reading 5-20-21 COVID-19 PNC Update

2021 Annual Meeting Sermon

(Sermon for the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ. You can also watch the entire service by going here. The sermon begins at approximately 24:49) I love the process of pulling together sermons even more than I like preaching. I read the bible and reflect on it almost every day but writing a sermon invites me to study the text, and almost every single time, I find something new. Every two years is a national gathering of the United Church of Christ called Synod. The theme for the UCC’s Synod this year … Continue reading 2021 Annual Meeting Sermon

About getting vaccinated…

As of last week, everyone 16 years of age and older in the Pacific Northwest Conference qualifies for a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a massive step. We’re not out of the woods, but we’re getting there. It’s still important to live with hope and caution. About a quarter of US adults are now fully vaccinated. Although there are promising signs that the vaccine will be effective with folks younger than 16, it’s still being tested.  Some of the COVID variants seem to affect younger folks at a higher rate than other variances.  Yep, a few folks have had vaccine side effects … Continue reading About getting vaccinated…

03/23/21 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: It’s been a while since I’ve written this long of a note. So, get your cup of coffee or tea, and let’s talk about meeting in-person. Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too. The emerging news about COVID-19 continues to improve. Infection rates are way down. Vaccinations continue to go up. The pandemic is not over yet, but we’re getting closer to the end every day. As of yesterday, all of the State of Washington is in Phase 3 and, today, the Governor’s office expanded … Continue reading 03/23/21 COVID-19 PNC Update

3/12/2021 PNC COVID-19 Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too. This week’s lectionary text from Numbers 21:4-9 starts with these words: “From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way.” Can you relate? I can relate. I’m tired of COVID, too. That said, there’s been a lot of good news in the last few days: Even though COVID will probably be here to stay in some form, the pandemic’s … Continue reading 3/12/2021 PNC COVID-19 Update