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Thoughts from Pastor Dan

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

The following is an excerpt from the clergy column that will appear in this Saturday’s Eagle.

 

Last night our Theology on Tap gathering discussed the “nones.”  Great conversation!  “Nones” is a demographic term for religiously unaffiliated persons.  It’s that rising number of people who see no use for institutional religion, and their rapid rise fuels the so-called “demise of the church” debate.

 

Read more: For Those About to Rock, We Salute You

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Dear Church Family,

 

We sang the old hymn, “Blessed Assurance,” this past Sunday in the worship service.  It’s the gospel tune that sings with eschatological fervor, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!  O what a foretaste of glory divine!”  It’s fun to sing familiar tunes, but if you’re paying attention, the poetic words might rub you wrong.  The second stanza says, “Perfect submission, perfect delight!”  It’s funny to me that a community of people stand together on a Sunday morning singing out loud, “Perfect submission, perfect delight,” and then we depart into a world that would cringe at that assertion.

 

Read more: Perfect Submission?

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

The following is an excerpt from my clergy column that will appear in this Saturday’s Eagle.  Read on and stay tuned!

 

When talking about the general busyness of life, a wise clergy peer told me, “You can’t say ‘yes’ to something without saying ‘no’ to something else.”  Sage advice.  Sometimes new challenges that force us to say ‘no’ to something actually free us from burdens we didn’t realize we were carrying until we finally let them go.  Jesus preaches, “No one can serve two masters”—you’ll either end up hating the one and loving the other or being devoted to one and despising the other.  Indeed, we cannot say ‘yes’ to one thing without saying ‘no’ to something else, because we human beings can’t rest with a duality of friendship and apathy, charity and indifference, love and fear wrestling in our souls.  Made in the image of the Holy, our very being strives for wholeness that must refuse some things in order to fully embrace others.  As Barbara Brown Taylor says, “The ancient wisdom of the Sabbath commandment and the Christian gospel as well is that there is no saying ‘yes’ to God without saying ‘no’ to God’s rivals.”

 

Read more: Yes or No: The Curious Nature of the Human Condition

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Dear Church Family,

 

With so much happening in and through our church tomorrow, this week’s midweek message comes to you one day early with announcements about Ash Wednesday, etc. after this devotional…

 

I broke my pinky toe a few days ago.  No, it wasn’t an extreme skiing accident.  No, I didn’t drop something on it while trying to save an infant from a burning building.  I stubbed it on my bedside table.  Nothing noteworthy.  And it was just my pinky toe—nothing worth an x-ray or a cast.  It is what it is.  Boo hoo.

 

Read more: The Significance of Pain

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

The following is part of the Pastor’s Column that appears in the March e-newsletter, The Connection.  I invite you to read the devotional here in preparation for our midweek worship service tonight, when we will delve further into the notion of “shame versus grace,” but, please, don’t overlook the complete article in the upcoming Connection.  Read on and stay tuned!

 

“Shame on you!”  Those words stick with many of us like PTSD.  I was reminded of this at Brite Divinity School’s Ministers Week conference last week.  In the opening session that found a mix of over 200 seminarians, BDS alumni, clergy and laity of various denominations, Dr. Karen McClintock offered a two-part workshop titled first, “The Problem of Shame,” and second, “The Promise of Grace.”  Translation: How do we understand shame versus grace?

 

Read more: Shame on You

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Dear Church Family,

 

Today’s guest devotional comes from our very own Anna Deter - Licensed Lay Minister



The people I honor the most are people who put their own lives on the line, in times of great suffering and hopelessness, for the sake of others and the future.  The group of young men and women that come to mind are those in our armed forces who stand in the breach against foreign powers and have lost their lives staring down those who would do us harm or wish to oppress us. With such great faith in our country, and their countrymen they serve with acute integrity.

Read more: The Words of God for the People of God -- An Application

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Dear Church Family,

 

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from the clergy column that will appear in this Saturday’s Eagle.

 

I’m fascinated by the Winter Olympics.  I don’t understand how those figure skaters maintain elegance and poise while they’re throwing each other in the air and twirling on ice at lightning speed.  I can’t comprehend how those alpine skiers don’t dislocate a hip or blow a knee on those moguls there and there and there and there.  I fail to wrap my head around those snowboarders maintaining balance and doing mind-boggling tricks while their feet are locked in place.  I’m more than fascinated.  I’m inspired.

 

Read more: Faith or Fear?: Inspiration from the Winter Olympics

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

“The Peace of Christ be with you all.”
“And also with you.”

 

This is how we speak and share shalom with one another on Sunday mornings at Friends Congregational Church. What we are speaking is a word of peace. What we are sharing is tranquility. The Hebrew word ‘shalom’ is commonly defined as “peace,” but in his blog titled, “Peace Be Unto You,” Clarence Wagner, Jr. points out that Hebrew, being a much more efficient language than English, has a small vocabulary with words that consequently have multiple meanings. “Shalom,” Wagner says, “means more simply ‘tranquility’ or the opposite of war.”

 

Read more: Separation and Shalom

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

This Sunday, churches who decide to use the Revised Common Lectionary scriptures in their worship services, our congregation at Friends Church included, will turn to the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus stands on a mountaintop and offers the best sermon ever delivered. Specifically, Matthew 5:1-12 gives us those beatitudes, where Jesus proclaims a laundry list of those who will be blessed and the nature of their blessing: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Given the excitement of this week in particular, who cares about being blessed? We’ve got the State of the Union to pick apart and the Super Bowl coming up!

 

Read more: Who cares about being blessed?

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. –Matthew 4:18-22

 

This Season of Epiphany in the Christian Church turns to Jesus’ baptism, the start of his ministry, and the calling of his first disciples. Much attention is given to the audacity of these first followers for dropping their nets and following Jesus. The focus is on their discipleship, their willingness to take a bold and sudden direction in calling Jesus their Master, Teacher, Rabbi. It is viewed as an individual response to Jesus’ invitation.

 

 

Read more: Come Together

This Week @ Friends

Wednesday - Apr 16th

APR
16

Choir Rehearsal
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Friday - Apr 18th

APR
18

GOOD FRIDAY (office closed)

Thursday - Apr 17th

APR
17

Maundy Thursday Service
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Friday - Apr 18th

APR
18

Good Friday Service & Cantata
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Sunday - Apr 20th

APR
20

EASTER SUNDAY

APR
20

Early Worship
8:15 am - 9:15 am

APR
20

Sun. School
9:15 am - 10:15 am