A woman, a man, a donkey and a baby

12/16/2014

Uphill all the way, it's about 40 miles from Nazareth, by the Sea of Galilee to the little village of Bethlehem outside Jerusalem. The woman - eight uncomfortable months pregnant - doesn't complain as her husband plods along, mumbling to himself about the stupid government, the dumb donkey, lost work, and his confused mix of loyalty, loss, and worry for his wife and the child she bears. Today's reality is not the "sweet baby Jesus, asleep on the hay" of our Christmas pageants. Although, by the ...


Barbara's Blurb 12/17/14

Barbara Libby

12/16/2014

At this time of the year I love the poetry of Ann Weems from her book, Kneeling in Bethlehem. Her poetry speaks to me in words that resonate because they are clear and true. I've been particularly struck this Advent by how long the nights have been and how short the days are - both actually and psychically with all the turmoil both here and around the world. I yearn for more light (Light) in my life at this time of year and so appreciate the language of Jesus as the Light of the World at this ...


An Open Letter to the United Church Of Christ 12/10/14

12/10/2014

An Open Letter to the United Church of Christ "I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God who raised him from the dead. I’m God-commissioned. So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace!" (Galatians 1:1-3) As leaders of the United Church of Christ, we ...


A Litany for Those Who Aren't Ready for Healing

12/10/2014

A Litany for Those Who Aren’t Ready For Healing by Dr. Yolanda Piercee One: Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury and the depth of the wound. ALL: Let us not rush to offer a band-aid, when the gaping wound requires surgery and complete reconstruction. One: Let us not offer false equivalencies, thereby diminishing the particular pain being felt in a particular circumstance in a particular historical moment. ALL: Let us not speak of ...


Barbara's Blurb about Peace

Barbara Libby

12/10/2014

Last Saturday night I returned from a four day national UCC Conference where nearly 150 of us gathered in Savannah, GA to imagine the future of ministry in the 21st century.  We were conference and associate conference ministers as well as national staff from the 38 United Church of Christ conferences across the country.  I met many new colleagues in ministry as well as reconnected with old friends.  We resourced one another about best practices in our conferences and shared concerns and ...


3rd Annual RIC UCC "Advent Adventures" Youth Event a great success!

Peggy Matteson

12/3/2014

Fifty youth and leaders gathered at Newman Congregational Church on Saturday, Nov. 30th. They were a joyful group as they ate, sang, dialogued, played games, and created a special candle to take home. This was the third time some youth have attended to this annual event! After participants were grouped by grades, 5th through 8th, they rotated through four activity centers, each one designed for both learning and fellowship. Sweet Treats & Sweet Christmas Sounds - Here they made ice cream ...


Barbara's Blurb

Barbara Libby

12/3/2014

Some of you may already know that Advent is one of my most favorite times of the year. I love the lights and the decorations and the setting up of my crèche collection from around the world.  I love the baking and the sharing of my favorite Christmas cookies. I love the four weeks of Advent as a time of preparation, a time of expectant waiting, a time of holding each day as a special gift - enhanced since I was a child by the daily opening of Advent calendars- both paper and now even, ...


Barbara's Blurb for Thanksgiving Week

Barbara Libby

11/25/2014

In the words of the familiar Thanksgiving hymn, “Come, O thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home; all is safely gathered in, as the winter storms begin; God our Maker does provide for our wants to be supplied; come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.” However, it is clear that this week has been and will be full of ups and downs... Even as we approach this Thursday's National Holiday of Thanksgiving we know that there are those for whom this day will be ...


Reconstructing Church

Todd Grant Yonkman

11/17/2014

Reconstructing Church By the Rev. Dr. Todd Grant Yonkman In October, I had the honor of presenting a workshop based on my book Reconstructing Church: Tools for Turning Your Congregation Around at Super Saturday, a joint project of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences. I’m grateful for this opportunity to engage these conversations, which are absolutely critical to the future of the congregations we love. Mainline Protestant churches could be thought of as the back of America’s hands:...


Barbara's Blog

Barbara Libby

10/14/2014

As concerns and fear about the Ebola epidemic continue to increase I feel compelled to address here some of the harsh realities of this epidemic and to invite each of us to respond as individuals and church communities as we are able. As many of you already know Rhode Island has one of the biggest Liberian communities in the US; that community, our partners in Global Ministries, and Dr. Fine of the RI Dept. of Health are keeping us informed about the increasing urgency of the situation in ...


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