Important Notice from Our Denominational Offices

Dear Siblings in Christ: Just a few hours ago, this notice was published on our denomination’s website and social media: “A MESSAGE TO OUR CHURCHES While we are hesitant to raise the alarm and/or overreact, recent events compel us to inform you about what we are hearing regarding possible threats that have come to our attention. There are reports that “liberal” churches will become targets of possible attacks in the coming week, with the dates of Jan. 17 and Jan. 20 featured more prominently. We strongly encourage you to be attendant to all safety concerns for ministers and congregants, even … Continue reading Important Notice from Our Denominational Offices

Roar, then… A reflection on January 6th

I’ve been trying to find the word to describe what I’m feeling. What do you call the combination of anger, sadness, fear, and hopelessness? It feels primal, close to that edge of fight and flight. It is the emotional sense of a coiled self ready with a full-body, full-throated eruption of a yell or a scream. It is the feeling of an impending growly roar that tries to stop the momentum of the force coming at me. At us. It is the loudest possible, “No!” I can muster. That’s what I feel like at this moment. It doesn’t stand alone. … Continue reading Roar, then… A reflection on January 6th

An awful and beautiful year

Dear Siblings in Christ: On December 31st of 2019, the World Health Organization reported that the Chinese government had confirmed that dozens of people in Wuhan were being treated for pneumonia from an unknown source. Our flights had been delayed while we were on the way home from visiting family in Ohio when I read the news. I didn’t think that much about it. The only reason I paid any attention at all was that a few months earlier, there had been an outbreak of the bubonic plague in China. A lot of folks were worried that it would get … Continue reading An awful and beautiful year

Today, I choose to love.

The numbers are undeniably grim. As I write this, the pandemic modeling suggests that we are moving into a period when the number of daily deaths is likely to exceed 3000 deaths every day for the next few months. Essentially, a 9-11 every day. The number of people who are going to get sick or die is staggering. Last May, a Pew study said that 20% of Americans knew someone who had been hospitalized or died due to COVID. That number is now up to 54% and is going to grow. At current rates, by the end of this pandemic, … Continue reading Today, I choose to love.

Reflection on Matthew 25:31-46

The lectionary text emphasized by the UCC (Matthew 25:31-46) is a celebration of justice work and a condemnation of privilege. Jesus names some of the most common consequences of oppression in his time (lack of nutrition and water, lack of recognition and inclusion, lack of dignity and honor, lack of health care, lack of freedom). He celebrates those who help counter the consequences of oppression and condemns those who don’t. The basic means by which people are oppressed haven’t changed that much. More ways have been added to the mix, and more ways of rationalizing have been, too. But the … Continue reading Reflection on Matthew 25:31-46

11/13/2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

This will likely be a note that will only interest a few of you. I’ve had several people ask what sources of information I use to try and figure out what suggestions to pass on to all of you. If you’re one of those folks that wondered this, too, this email is for you. In the early weeks of the pandemic, I, like many folks, was doomscrolling through news feeds and social media trying to get some sort of handle on what was happening and how we all might protect ourselves. Although that was helpful in the short term, it … Continue reading 11/13/2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

11/11/2020 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. It’s been a while since I’ve sent you two notes two days in a row, but recent news reports warrant it.  Most of you have likely seen articles like this in your local news source within the last 24 hours. This one is from The South Seattle Emerald: “We should probably all stop socializing for the next several weeks.” Even though this isn’t a surprise – we’ve been warned about the likelihood of this possibility for months – … Continue reading 11/11/2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

11/10/2020 Reflection: A Beautiful Mess on the Inside

Dear Siblings in Christ:Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too. One of the things I’ve been saying a lot the last couple of months is that possibilities are exciting and uncertainty is exhausting. Last week, it felt even deeper than that. I got to the point where I was too exhausted to have the capacity for excitement. Every day was like walking through water. Or molasses. Or wet cement. I know many of you can relate. It’s been day after day of waiting for the next shoe to fall … Continue reading 11/10/2020 Reflection: A Beautiful Mess on the Inside

Election Day, 2020

Dear Siblings in Christ:Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too.“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,Courage to change the things I can,And Wisdom to know the difference.” This is one of those prayers I say almost every day. Some version of it was originally written by The Reverend Reinhold Niebuhr. He stood squarely in the middle of those he considered to be unrealistically dependent on a shallow and narrow interpretation of scripture and those he considered to be unrealistically hopeful about human nature. … Continue reading Election Day, 2020