July & August Sunday Worship at 9 am & 5 pm

First Congregational Church of Burlington, Vermont (United Church of Christ) welcomes you to join us in worship, fellowship, and service. We are a diverse congregation based in the heart of the city that lives our commitments, values, and beliefs: “Welcoming All, Seeking Justice, Finding God.” We invite you to learn more about our faith community and its members and explore how we might share this pilgrimage together. Read our Open and Affirming Declaration.

Sunday Worship Services September through June:

– 8am in the Chapel
– 10am in the Sanctuary

– 5 pm Sacred Spaces: alternative, contemporary, participatory worship gathering for all ages.

During July & August – there is one Sunday morning worship at 9 am.


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Sacred Spaces ~ Alternative Worship ~ Sundays at 5 p.m.

at “First Church”  –  SUNDAYS at 5 p.m.
Please accept and share this invitation
to a new model for worship, a new way of
creating sacred space in community:
     Sacred Spaces is starting the summer with a series on Worship. What is worship? Why do we worship? What makes worship meaningful… or not?
     As we look to the future of “church,” this new series will create space for us to think critically about one of its key elements – worship- and explore ways to make it meaningful and relevant for where people are in their lives today.
     We are looking forward to a time of rich discussion and growing closer as a community. Join us every Sunday at 5 p.m. (get there early for snacks and drinks!). Community Ministries Coordinator, Ava Kelly sends out a weekly email update with themes, music, and materials for reflection. If you’d like to be on that list, email her at [email protected]
Weather permitting… we’ll enjoy the church grounds as our Sanctuary for “Sacred Spaces.”
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PEACE CAMP for All Ages! July 23-27

“Night Lights” – the summer multi-generational  experience that we have been inviting you to – has announced its theme! July 23rd-27th “campers” of all ages (adults, youth, pre-K/nursery)  are invited to join us for “Peace Camp”. This 5-evening series will engage campers around the theme of peace, letting us explore our faith together through fellowship, worship, and age-appropriate interesting discussions and fun activities.

     We are so excited to be partnering with College Street UCC on this project. What a great opportunity for our two communities to join together in faith and friendship.

Here’s what you can expect at Peace Camp:
5:30 – 6pm: Picnic Supper
6:00 – 6:30: “Campfire” + Storytelling – each evening will start with the sharing of a Bible story that exemplifies the central theme of peace in Christianity. This is a multi-generational time.
6:30 – 7:30: Age-based Breakout Time (Adults, Elementary/Youth, Nursery/Pre-K): Adults will meet on their own to discuss the story in depth with leadership from Rev. Carrie Bail and Rev. Ken White.  The youth – in elementary grades and older – will be involved in creative, hands-on activities to explore the story. The youngest children will have fun, age appropriate activities.
7:30 – 7:45: Closing Vespers – a multi-generational song and prayer time.

Volunteers Needed: We need your help to make Peace Camp a success! We’re looking for people to help with meal prep, set-up/clean-up, storytelling, teaching, and activity leading. You can volunteer AND enjoy participating in the camp- no need to choose, or be there every day.  RSVP to learn more about volunteering with Peace Camp by emailing Ava Kelly ([email protected]) or on the Peace Camp REGISTRATION FORM

Camp registration fee is $10/individual or $20/household and includes meals and a camp T shirt. Sign up for Peace Camp using this REGISTRATION FORM. Thank you. Email Ava Kelly [email protected] with any questions!

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We’re Hiring!

Children’s and Family Ministries Coordinator & Youth/Young Adult Ministries Coordinator

Please click on the titles below to find links to job descriptions and application process

details for the following openings at First Congregational Church UCC of Burlington,


Children’s and Family Ministries Coordinator Description.March.2018

Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator.Job Description.3.2018

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Sunday April 15: Pulpit Exchange & Association Spring Meeting

On Sunday April 15, we are participating in the:
      This Sunday’s Vermont Conference UCC Champlain Association annual “pulpit exchange” will bring Rev. Jared Hamilton of the United Church of Hinesburg to serve as our guest preacher for both the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. worship services.
Jared received his Master of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological Seminary in 2012. He has served as a chaplain at New England Baptist Hospital and on staff at the Human & Civil Rights Organizations of America. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Next Generation Leadership Initiative of the United Church of Christ.  Jared gardens and keeps bees. He is married to Leah Hamilton and spends his down time with their three young children.
As part of the pulpit exchange, our interim minister, Rev. Carrie Bail, is preaching at the United Church of Hinesburg on Sunday.  Interestingly, the United Church of Hinesburg is a congregation with roots in the Congregational, Methodist and Baptist traditions.

Contemporary Topic: Civil Discourse

         The Vermont UCC Champlain Association Spring Meeting will be held this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at the United Church of Hinesburg. Delegates have been invited to represent our congregation and the meeting is also open to all interested in participating. Please plan to participate if you can!
Lunch will be available at 12:30 in the Hinesburg Parish Hall.  The Spring Association Meeting & Program begins at 1:15 and will include a presentation by Mark Hews, Maine Director for the National Institute for Civil Discourse. Mark will meet with us (via teleconferencing) from Maine to offer a 30 minute introduction to the process of Civil Discourse and will answer questions about how we can implement this in our churches. We are also encouraged to participate in the National Week of Civility Challenge from April 20-28. For more information about Civil Discourse use this LINK.  In this time of what can feel like extreme political division, the approach that Mark Hews will be discussing seems promising to assist communities and small groups seeking to participate in  civil and productive conversation where there are deeply held differences.
Please plan to participate in the April 15 Champlain Association meeting if you can!
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We’re Hiring: Children’s and Family Ministries Coordinator & Youth/Young Adult Ministries Coordinator

Please click on the title above to find links to job descriptions and application process details for the following openings at First Congregational Church UCC of Burlington, Vermont:  Children’s and Family Ministries Coordinator   &   Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator

Children’s and Family Ministries Coordinator Description.March.2018

Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator.Job Description.3.2018

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Please plan to come to our Sunday, April 8 Auction following the 10:00am worship service. (The Silent Auction will open for bidding between the worship services at 9 am.)

The Auction supports all of our programs for High School and Middle School Youth including our June 2018 YETS: Youth Experience in Travel & Service for High School Youth and April 2018 Farm and Faith Experience for Middle School Youth!

The silent auction will feature gift cards, themed gift baskets, dinners, and services.

One of a kind experiences and trips are featured in our live auction led by teens (with assistance from experts!). With items for every taste and budget, there is truly something for everyone. Please invite your friends and make sure you’re there to support this worthy cause.

We are currently accepting donations and we are looking for a wide variety of items including: services, dinners, weekends at vacation homes, and other items of a wide variety. Consider donating: jewelry, boat rides, gift cards, gourmet dinners, household items – decorative and practical, baskets of items with a special theme, small pieces of furniture, baked goods made to order, services, framed items… Be creative and know that your donations of auction items are needed and appreciated!

Auction Donation forms are available at Church on the main bulletin board in the midway. You can LINK to our online AUCTION DONATION FORM HERE!  If you opt to use the online form – please print and complete it – and scan and email it to Andy Barker or Ava Kelly, or drop it off or mail it to them at First Congregational Church, 38 South Winooski Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401.  Thank you so very much!

If you have any questions about the Auction, please be in touch with our High School Youth Coordinator, Andy Barker ([email protected]) or Community Ministries Coordinator, Ava Kelly ([email protected]).

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January 2019 TRIP to INDIA

Are You Interested in a
January 2019 Trip to INDIA?
Please plan to meet on
Tuesday, February 13
from 6 to 7 p.m. to learn more!

All are invited to gather from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 13, at First Congregational Church, to learn more about a trip to visit our long-time mission partners at the James Hospital in Tamil Nadu, India.  This is a preliminary informational meeting – not a commitment. If you feel called to learn more about God’s work in the world, joining us at this time is a great first step! The India mission team will focus on learning about the mission and work of the James Hospital and School of Nursing, and bringing their story back to Vermont to inspire deeper connections with this meaningful ministry.
It may seem like 2019 is a long way off, but team building and preparation is key for a successful mission experience. In the next few months, we will begin the process of planning, fundraising for travel expenses, and communicating with the James Hospital leaders in preparation for the trip.
Got questions?  Contact Community Ministries Coordinator, Ava Kelly.

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LENTEN GATHERINGS for “Lovers & Fools”!

Sundays at 9 a.m. with Carrie – 2/18 through 3/18
Thursdays at 6 p.m. with Ava and Lucy – 2/22 through 3/22
Tuesdays at 2 p.m.
with Tom and Betty – 2/20 through 3/20

In an unusual twist, the secular calendar is lending special meaning to the Christian calendar!   In 2018, Lent is framed at one end by Ash Wednesday on Valentine’s Day and on the other, by Easter on April Fool’s Day!
The UCC’s Lent Devotional takes on this theme of “Lovers and Fools” to inspire us in our Lenten reflections – a time to explore faith in meaningful ways – on our own and in community.
All are invited to participate in a “Lenten Gatherings for Lovers & Fools” at any of the listed times during Lent. Though these gatherings will vary somewhat from one to another, they will all utilize the UCC’s Lenten Daily Devotional.  Click HERE for a preview.Lenten Gatherings for Lovers & Fools:
Sundays at 9 a.m. with Rev. Carrie Bail from 2/18 through 3/18 – coffee, tea, bagels and cream cheese provided.
Thursdays at 6 p.m. with Ava Kelly and Lucy Samara from 2/22 through 3/22 – this time will include music, prayer and reflection on scripture and the Lenten Devotionals. You can bring a “brown bag dinner” if you’d like; coffee and tea will be provided.
–  Tuesdays at 2 p.m.  with Rev. Tom and Betty Taylor from 2/20 through 3/20 – coffee and tea provided.Copies of the UCC Daily Devotional for Lent: “Lovers and Fools” – are available in the Church Office for a suggested donation of $5.
Those planning to participate in a Lenten Gathering are asked to pick up a copy of the UCC Lenten Devotional on Sunday mornings or during Church Office hours – Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m..  Copies of the Lenten Devotionals are also available for anyone looking for a guide for reflection and prayer during Lent.
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Stewardship: Pledge Time is Now! Abundance & Generosity: Our Stories

                  STEWARDSHIP 2018 – 2019
The Path to Abundance is Paved with Generosity

Pledges are welcome any time in March and April  – there will be a dedication of 2018-2019 pledges during worship on Sunday, April 8

    Pledge cards and pledging information were available for pick up at church on Sunday March 18.  Most of the pledge cards not picked up on were mailed to members and friends this past week.  If you have not received yours, it may be one of the 30 or so yet to be mailed – please see Cyndy Hall after either of the two Palm Sunday worship services on March 25 (8 a.m. and 10 a.m.), to pick up your pledge packet.
– You can link to our 2018-2019 Stewardship Brochure/Narrative Budget HERE. 
– You can link to our ONLINE PLEDGE CARD HERE.
– Church Treasurer, Bob Wolf share an overview that reflected back on the successes of the last year and the hopes, goals and vision for the year ahead.  You can see a summary of his presentation HERE.
– A specific preliminary budget document was also shared at the meeting – it is linked HERE.
If you have questions about stewardship or the preliminary budget for 2018-2019, please be in touch with Church Treasurer, Bob Wolf; Church President, Steve Hyde, &/or Stewardship Committee Chair, Cyndy Hall. Thank you!


Carrie Bail’s sermon on Epiphany Sunday emphasized the importance of giving to others and receiving God’s gifts.  Our church community is strengthened when we share our personal stories of receiving and giving God’s gifts. From now until Easter there will be time during worship for many of us to be part of this community building opportunity. Please consider offering to share your personal story with our wonderful church community.  Please contact Cyndy Hall via EMAIL or call her at (802) 985.3984.  Thank you.

 SEE BELOW FOR STORIES OF GRATITUDE & STEWARDSHIP FROM:  Dave Grace, Tony Hall, Cyndy Hall, Caroline Crawford, Danielle Rochford, Samantha Wager, and Rob Backus.

As we kick off our annual stewardship campaign, each week before the offering, a member of this church will share their personal story of how they have experienced abundance through God’s generous gifts.

I’d like to start with my story. Last summer we moved into a wonderful new old home as a direct result of being part of this church. We first heard of the house from a member of this church, who is now our neighbor, saying it would be listing soon. That early tip allowed us to formulate our plan to actually sell our old place and buy this new one, as well as gave us a connection to the neighborhood in a competitive real estate market.

While we moved our possessions, families from this church organized to provide meals to us for over a week, saving valuable time and effort during a stressful period. On the biggest day of our move, another family took our kids, gave them dinner and got them to bed so we could pull off a monumental task. And last, another member entertained our kids, planted tomato seedlings in our garden, and even later planted new flowers around our yard, making us truly feel at home.

As transplants from the Midwest, we have no family in New England, let alone in Vermont, so we often struggle with the logistics of raising kids with such busy lives, but this church has become our family, and it supports and nurtures us in so many ways. We really are blessed with abundance by God’s generosity.

Now, as we head into the stewardship season, I encourage you to remember Carrie’s sermon from last week, when she asked us to think of the gifts we have received from God as well as those we bring to others. Thank you.     – Dave Grace

As a Partner In Pastoral Care at First Church, my visits to people in the hospital, rehab centers and  nursing homes are a blessing. I have been called to do this work for many years. In this calling I see the Holy Spirit at work.  The Holy Spirit leads me to bring Good News to those in need. The Holy Spirit not only comforts me but enables me to do this work. More importantly the Holy Spirit fosters an environment for healing. Just the act of being present to another human being is powerful and palpable.  Just being present starts the healing process.While I’m not physician, the Holy Spirit helps me offer another kind of medicine; healing t  hrough listening and the power of prayer.

Recently, I visited a member of our church in the hospital.  That day found my friend looking all her 90 years; a bit frail and reticent.  As we talked her story unfolded. The details rolled off her tongue as I listened and asked questions. She told me her story from day one to the present. The more we talked the more animated and engaged she became. I could see a change in her demeanor. Her eyes twinkled, she laughed and her salty personality was restored. I could feel her love for her children, the pride in her accomplishments and  see her gratefulness for friends and First Church. Her vivid memories were a tonic for her soul.

After we prayed, I told her how meaningful our time together had been to me. “Let me tell you something” she said. “All day I have prayed someone would come to visit me. All of a sudden, here you are. My prayer has been answered !”

That’s when I knew the Holy Spirit was among us. That’s when I knew we both had been healed.    What a gift.        – Tony Hall

As we continue to think about ways God’s generosity is experienced in our lives, I’d like to share a short story.

Twenty years ago when I was teaching in Bridport, the school received a grant to fund after school clubs. Naturally, I offered hiking. I scheduled two afternoons, one for K-3 and another for 4-6. I taught 6th grade so I knew what I could expect of the older kids. But kindergarteners? It had been a long time since I had dealt with that age group. And sure enough, trying to get everyone ready for our walk was a challenge; eat a snack, bathroom time, shoes tied, find the missing jacket or hat, arguments about who’s first. I thought we’d never get going. Finally we were out the door and safely across the road to a sidewalk. Things evened out, although there was the constant “slow down” for the beginning of the line and “walk faster” for the dawdlers. Soon we were on a quiet dirt road lined with trees. Suddenly a little hand slipped into mine. At that moment I felt a surge of well being. To be so trusted and loved unconditionally was a surprise. Every time I remember that moment, I feel uplifted. That small child may have taken my hand to find comfort for herself, but in so doing, she comforted me. That’s the wonder of this circle of God’s love.

A trusting hand, a smile, a word of affirmation; these are some of the ways we allow God’s generosity to flow through us. It only takes a couple seconds, but the impact is great and long lasting.          – Cyndy Hall



When I was asked if I would be willing to share a few thoughts about my experiences with God’s abundance and generosity, especially as it relates to First Congregational Church, I thought, “Where do I start?”

My name is Caroline Crawford and I have been attending First Congregational since 1997—so, for much of my adult life. In those 21 years, I have experienced innumerable moments of generosity, both from individuals and from the church in general.

I am a people person, so for me, the moments that stand out are as interactions with people, about people. I think about Bruce Hewitt, who sold me my first house, and Nancy McClellan, who was the midwife present when my daughter Elizabeth was born, and Jamie Polli, who was in a play—It was “Lend Me a Tenor”—with me back in 1999. Developing relationships with these people, and countless others, within the church has brought me a depth of relationships that comes with seeing people week after week, year after year, that just isn’t possible with so many other social interactions.

In many ways, First Church has helped me raise my children—in the nursery, in Sunday School, in youth groups, in Super Bowl sub sales. Many of you have been coming here long enough to remember my son Carl’s lively contributions to Bob Lee’s Word of God for All Ages—and now at this very moment, he’s working at the security desk in the midway and helping to prepare the coffee for coffee hour.

My daughter Elizabeth was born six months after her father, my husband Alan, passed away, and the way that this church came together when I had her baptized here, by Adrienne Carr, ably assisted by Nancy McClellan, was a bright light for my whole family. And this morning Elizabeth is at work with the high school youth planning Youth Sunday in two weeks.

God’s abundance and generosity, as manifested in this church, has revealed itself again to me just in the past week or two. I am an outgoing person, but I always sit in paralyzed silence during the prayers of concern and celebration—I just can’t bring myself to open my mouth and speak of things so close to my heart in a group setting—unless I’m at a podium, I guess. But I filled out one of those blue pew cards two weeks ago, letting the church know that a beloved aunt had suddenly passed away, and that I had to travel unexpectedly to Florida to help my parents while my father was having some surgery.

The outpouring of support from this church has moved me deeply. I had phone calls, emails, and mail reassuring me of the church’s support and prayers. And it moved my parents too—and through that outreach, my mom discovered that she’s attending the same church in Naples Florida that some of our snowbird members attend, and she’s hoping to connect with them.

My question was where do I start, and now it is “where do I end?” I’ll end with the invitation to consider for yourself how this church exposes you to God’s abundance. I am grateful to each one of you for being part of my overflowing cup here.

– Caroline Crawford


My name is Danielle Rochford and I have been a member of First Church for almost five years now.  I initially started coming here on Wednesday mornings for bible study. It was important to me to find a church that was opening and affirming, welcoming, and not just tolerant but accepting of others. The only church that responded to my email inquiry was First Church.  This made my decision rather easy.
Cindy Hall asked me to speak today to share my story of gratitude. I’ve just shared my gratitude of finding a faith community that accepts me for me. However, this is about gratitude towards a community that has become my chosen family.
Two years ago, January 31st, my father passed away.  My father died from complications with Parkinson’s Disease; there had been a sudden decrease in his health and his death was unexpected.  I was feeling empty at 4 AM that Sunday morning in the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. I remember thinking on my way back to the motel that I was going to miss church that day. I didn’t grow up UCC and the task of finding a church that morning seemed daunting. Exhaustion enclosed me as I entered my motel room; I informed a few people about dad’s passing before I fell asleep after a long night.
I woke up later that day feeling alone, numb, and in need. As I started considering options for pastoral care while being four hours away from the church my cell phone started ringing.  Lucy Samara was on the other end of the line. She let me know that the church heard of my father’s passing before 10 AM service.  I was told that my family was being held in prayer and I was asked if there was anything the church could do right now. I can’t remember what Lucy and I spoke about, that whole day is still a blur to me, but what I do remember is that Lucy spent a significant amount of time talking to me. That following week, while I was still miles away, Rev. Sally May embodied our welcome of “who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here” by coming to me via Facebook pastoral care sessions.  Space was held, where space needed to be held, where it was most meaningful to me.
Returning to church after my dad’s death initially was anxiety-filled.  I am a very private person and I dreaded constant questions surrounding dad’s death.  Yet, pardon the cliché, home is where the heart is. I did not just re-enter a community, but I was surrounded by love and grace by my chosen family. In the year following my dad’s death chosen family unconditionally supported me in ways that my estranged family was unable to. Through condolence cards, conversations, hugs, and the question “how are you doing?”  I am grateful for a church family that cares so much about me, who wants me to take a place at the table, and who continues to support me in my aspirations.
– Danielle Rochford


Good morning! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Samantha. I am a third generation First Church member. Faith and God have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have many things to celebrate in my life and I have endured challenges as well. Through these trials and tribulations, God has been ever present. Even in those times when it is hard to understand His plan.
When I was 15 years old, I lost my step-father after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Eight months later, I lost my father, unexpectedly, to a heart attack. To say that this was a challenging time for me and my family is a huge understatement. We all experienced the same tragedy, yet we each handled the losses differently. For me, as a 15 year old, I believed with great conviction that the passing of my fathers was part of God’s master plan. How else could I cope with such profound loss?
Even though I had faith in God, the losses were, and still are, very painful. For milestones like birthdays, graduations and weddings, that feeling of loss seems to be exacerbated. On the third anniversary of my step-father’s death I was a freshman at UVM and my heart was feeling exceptionally heavy. It was a beautiful day in October: sunny and calm. As I walked from my dorm on East Campus to chemistry lab on main campus, I said a prayer to God – “God, please, give me a sign that daddy is here with me”.  Almost instantaneously a big gust of wind came along and blew the bright red and orange leaves from the maple trees swirling them around me. When my stepfather was sick he told us that the leaves falling from the trees were kisses from heaven. So I thought, was that it God? Was that my sign? I took a few more steps and came to the intersection of Main Street. I looked up as white transport truck rumbled by. On the side of the truck were big black letters that read, “J. Clark Communications”. My step-father’s name was John Clarke. In that moment, I knew with absolute certainty that God was walking beside me, listening to me and answering my prayers.
This is just one testament of God’s generosity in my life. Now, God’s generosity is not always so obvious. Like most of us here today, I have struggled with obstacles in my life that have rocked my faith. At one point, more recently than I would like to admit, I nearly lost my faith altogether. But God’s love is hard to shake. By surrendering to His will and by giving my hopes and fears to Him, I have received God’s unconditional love. As it says in Proverbs 3:5, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
So I have learned to, “Give it to God” and in doing so, I bear witness to His generosity. It is evident in the big things: the birth of my child after struggling with infertility; finding my soulmate in my husband, Derek; a sign from God written on a transport truck. And I recognize it in the small things: the beautiful sunrise on my drive to work; a smile from my daughter; the leaves falling from the trees.  I have learned that even in the most challenging and dark times, I must keep my heart open to God’s love and I will receive His abundant generosity.
Thank you.
Samantha Wager

(Rob Backus is pictured here – in the center of a Faithful Friday activity that provided hand-warmers and healthy snacks to people in need in our community. He is wearing a hat.)

I was approached recently and asked to say a few words about stewardship. I accepted the challenge. It is a challenge because I find it much easier to say many words!
I am going to talk about why I give to this church. Stewardship is obviously more than money, it is all our gifts and it is taking responsibility for this congregation, both its present life and its future life. But in this season I am talking about why I support our church’s budget.
I want to develop my understanding of what it means for me to be Christian and I want to know how to live out that understanding. I cannot do this alone. I have to do it in community. It is in community that I receive the wisdom of others which illumines the dark spaces in my perception and it is in community that I find the support to live a Christian life in a country that I find increasingly hostile to the life of the spirit. Because of this understanding I have, as an adult, always sought to find that community wherever I live. In Burlington that search brought me to First Church.
Being in church every Sunday that I am in town and listening to, and thinking about, a sermon is another, and very important way for me to learn and to grow. I learn from someone who has the time, the opportunity, and the education, to talk to me about the ancient texts whose messages are the basis for my religious convictions.
Worship always comes back to trying to understanding how Jesus wants me to live in the world. Jesus was clearly an activist and an agitator. Crucifixion was not for the meek. To me this means that I have obligations beyond myself and beyond my family. It means to me that I must act in the world. Acting as a member of a community of faith is much more powerful than acting alone, and safer. By safer I mean that when I work with others I get feedback, I learn and am better able to see my errors and to correct them.
I also understand that part of my acting in this world is to support others in their lives of faith, development and understanding, particularly families with children.
I cannot do any of what I have just talked about on my own and all of it takes my support of the church’s budget to happen. And so, I support our congregation’s budget by prayerfully considering what it is I can do and should do and what feels good to do.
I also give because of joy. In the first hymn we sang “oh what wondrous love is this.” It is here that I feel that wondrous love. Sometimes when I am sitting in a pew I intensely feel the love of Christ and I feel the love of the congregation. That fills me with joy and out of that joy I give.
One last reason I support our church’s budget is that I believe that what we do here is important. I am talking about the work we do in the communities that lie outside the doors of this church but even more I am talking about the gospel we preach. It is a gospel that calls each of us to take responsibility for how we live and for our faith lives, and never cede that responsibility to another, not even a charismatic preacher. It is a gospel of love, acceptance and affirmation. It is a gospel that says we each have the God given right to be who we are and be loved for who we are. It is a gospel that seems to me to have only one test – am I acting out of love and lovingly? It is a Gospel the world needs to know about, and it is worth supporting.
– Rob Backus


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