RI Council of Churches Civil Rights Pilgrimage – April 2016


By Scott Spencer September 15, 1963 was youth Sunday at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL.   On this special day, the young people would lead the worship service with the boys wearing dark pants and white shirts and the girls wearing white dresses.  Carole Robertson would wear her first pair of heels that day. While 5 young girls prepared for worship following Sunday school in the women’s room, a powerful explosion went off directly beside the bathroom.  Eight-year-old ...

A History of The Watch Night Service


A Blog by Rev. Cleo Graham So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  ~John 8:36 On that first Freedom’s Eve, December 31, 1862, African American slaves in the south adapted an African custom which dates back to 1742, the Watch Night Service. They gathered in their churches and homes and waited, watched and prayed for freedom. They stayed awake from dusk to dawn, they tarried, prayed lamentations, they desperately watched and waited for the call to freedom. They probably sang: https:...

A Most Fitting Cross for a UCC Synod Gathering

Peggy Matteson


At Synod there was a cross on the stage where we gathered together to worship, to celebrate, and to do the business of the church. Approximately two feet by three feet, this cross was made of wood. Having a wooden cross is not unusual, but the characteristics of this particular cross were unique. This cross is composed of many pieces of wood. They are of various sizes and colors, including hues from light tan to deep brown. These pieces of wood are attached in a seemingly random matter that ...

Barbara's Blurb July 2015

Barbara Libby


It is interesting to try to sum up what a week of the United Church of Christ 30th Synod (held in Cleveland, Ohio in late June of 2015) is really like! So hold onto your hat and here goes my effort to summarize: Very long and full days of meetings, meals, conversations, and walks to and from our hotels… Resolutions from across the country about a wide variety of topics that warranted multiple meetings to discuss, wordsmith, and eventually bring to the whole body for consideration, more ...

Barbara's Blurb for May 20, 2015

Barbara Libby


Reading Changes Lives is a current national United Church of Christ initiative to improve reading literacy.  It is a justice issue that one in five adults here in the United States (20%) lack reading skills beyond a fourth grade level. As you have read there are several ways that you and your church can help our neighbors learn how to read. One way is through the Service Project at Synod in Cleveland, Ohio in late June when 1000 backpacks for elementary school age children will be prepared.  ...

Barbara’s Blurb for Week of May 13, 2015

Barbara Libby


Early in the day I was examining on Facebook the latest document from the PEW Research Center about the 2014 Religious Landscape Study which states that “The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing…”   Although this isn’t really new news to any of us who’ve been in the church for a few years or who have watched our congregations not fill the pews in our churches, it is still startling to me to...

Building Lives in the Knowledge of Christ


“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom belongs to such as these.”Matt 19:14   Slatersville Congregational Church, UCC has a long history of Christian education. Our Sunday school is one of the earliest and continuously active Sunday schools in the nation. We owe this legacy to the Slaters, brothers Samuel and John who brought the Robert Raikes Sunday school system from England to America. In 1780 Raikes saw the near slavery life the young mill workers had, ...

Barbara's Blurb for Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Barbara Libby


I enjoyed seeing so many of you at last Saturday's Rhode Island Conference annual spring meeting at Riverside Congregational Church! The meeting came together because so many people made contributions of their time and talents. I hesitate to try to name so many who helped out because it's certain I could not name everyone and thereby would leave someone out.  Suffice it to say that Saturday's meeting was a wondrous display of cooperative effort and interdependence at its best.  A HUGE thank you...

Barbara’s Blurb for Wednesday, April 29

Barbara Libby


Hoping to see you all at Annual Spring Meeting of the Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ this Saturday, May 2nd at Riverside Congregational Church.  Everyone is welcome! There will be opportunities for conversation and collaboration with folks from across our Conference as well as an abundance of resource displays that might benefit your church. As explained above please register online and let us know you are coming. Meanwhile, we trust that you are enjoying Springtime as...

Barbara's Blurb for April 8, 2015

Barbara Libby


I’m hoping that your Holy Week and Easter celebrations were filled with the power of faith and that you arrived at Easter dawn with a sense of wonder and awe at the amazing power of God to do even the most incredible things.   A clergy friend of mine, Rev. Patricia Felletter wrote this poem on the first date of Easter-tide, with only 49 days left before Pentecost Sunday. The poem is shared here with her permission: Forty Nine Days of Easter Yesterday we remembered Jesus rose from the dead. It ...

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