January 7


Epiphany Sunday  10:30  a.m.     Holy Communion

Lectionary Readings:  Isaiah 60: 1-6; Mathew 2: 1-12

Text:    “…Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.”   Matthew 2:1

Sermon:   “On the Fourteenth Day of Christmas”

Tease:   Once again, we join ranks with those strange men from the East, who journey from afar - field and fountain, moor and mountain. They bear gifts that are tools of the magian tradition.   In fact, the word “magi,” simply means wise ones.  Through the millennia, these “wise ones” have become shrouded in myth.   And yet, their appearance in the birth narrative bears profound symbolic significance as the “Old” Testament begins blending with the “New.”

December 31

Presentation in Temple by Andrea Mantegna

Presentation in Temple by Andrea Mantegna

First Sunday after Christmas  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 148; Luke 2: 22-40

Text:  “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel.”  Luke 2:34

Sermon:   “Baby … It’s You!”

Tease:  We share a tender moment as Jesus is presented in the Temple and the aged prophet Simeon takes the infant Jesus in arm and makes an astonishing claim regarding the child’s future.  If true, his words introduce us to the entirely new and unexpected way God acts in the world.  Simeon’s predictions not only place trust in God, they place considerable  trust in us, as well.

December 24


Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Sunday Evening, December 24 at 5:00 p.m.

At the magical twilight hour, we gather to hear the story of Jesus’ birth.  Our traditional service of lessons and carols will include special music.   The anthems will be the traditional “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming and Don Besig’s haunting “Advent Carol.  The evening offertory will Felix Mendelssohn’s “Song Without Words" with Carlos Avila on piano and Mihai Marica on cello.

Rev Garren will deliver a short meditation, entitled “Comfort and Joy.”

It is a joyous, yet reflective hour, guaranteed to put you and the entire family in that Christmas spirit.

There will be no morning service.

December 17


Third Sunday of Advent   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Isaiah  61: 1-11;  Luke 1: 46-55

Text:  “He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich empty away.”  Luke 1:53

Sermon:   “Mary, Quite Contrary”

Tease:   From the moment the strange messenger brings greetings to Mary of Nazareth, she remains demure and quiet.  But, then, in a moment of sheer inspiration … she speaks.  And what a speech!!   God might have chosen a more mature, stronger woman of better background to play this daunting role. Yet, the choice of a young, poor and vulnerable peasant girl may tell us something far more important about God …and ourselves.


Christmas Eve Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols

Sunday Evening, December 24,  5:00 p.m.

At that magical twilight hour, we once again gather to hear the story of Jesus’ birth.  Our traditional service of lessons and carols will include special music and a short, inspirational message.  It’s a joyous, yet reflective hour – guaranteed to put you and the entire family in the Christmas spirit. 

There will be no morning service on December 24.

December 10

The Sermon of John the Baptist by Pieter Bruegel the Elder 1566

The Sermon of John the Baptist by Pieter Bruegel the Elder 1566

Second Sunday of Advent  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Isaiah 40: 1-11;  Mark 1: 1-8

Sermon:  “The One Who Comes After”   Rev. Dr. Michael Ciba

We welcome Senior Regional Minister, Rev. Dr. Michael Ciba to the pulpit this Sunday.  Michael has served on the staff of the Connecticut Conference since 2005.  He is a graduate of St. John’s College in Maryland and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. He has served as pastor of two congregations, the most recent in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Annual Christmas Luncheon    Join us afterward for a Turkey Fête.  Council members Peter and Kerry Linderoth will be grilling the bird and we will provide all the trimmings.  Please bring one (or more) of the following to share :  Stuffing, Potatoes, Gravy, Cranberry creations, or Vegetables.  We will have a Bûche de Noël for dessert.  If someone wants to bring a Figgie Pudding, don’t be shy.  And how about some  Razzleberry Dressing, just for good measure?

Sunday, November 26


Morning Worship   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:   Psalm 95;  Matthew 25: 31-46

Text:  “And he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.”  Matthew 25:33

Sermon:  “Hotel California”

Tease:   “This could be heaven, or this could be hell.”  So goes Don Henley’s line from the 1977 Grammy Award winning song describing a traveler’s sojourn at a remote desert inn.   Jesus, of course, never uses the words, “heaven” and “hell” in any of his teachings - even this week’s infamous story of a King separating sheep from goats.  As we take a closer look at the words our Lord actually uses, we may be in for a few surprises.  Welcome to the Hotel California!

Sunday November 19

Service of Thanksgiving   10:30 a.m.


Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 100;   Matthew 25: 14-30

Sermon:  “Risky Business”

Text:  “He who received the one talent dug in …hid his master’s money.”  Matthew 25:18

Tease:  Our passage introduces us to two very clever and successful entrepreneurs.  They show us how to undertake ventures with skill and confidence, even in the face of certain risk.  Their rewards  are enviable..  But, success is never a sure thing.  Often, like a third entrepreneur in our story, fear of failure can get the better of us. Terrified that he will lose the small sum entrusted to him, this worker does nothing.  Sadly, his “return and reward” aren’t so enviable.  Yet, within the startling, if not uncomfortable narrative, we do learn what Thanksgiving is all about. 

Sunday, November 12

Five "Prudent" Virgins

Five "Prudent" Virgins

Morning Worship  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 78;  Matthew 25: 1-13

Sermon:   “Bridesmaids”

Text:  “But when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them”  Matthew 25: 3

Tease:   Ah… the bridesmaid story.  Five are prudent.  Five are not.  When  it’s to join the wedding party, the “foolish” ones are turned away because their wicks aren’t trimmed!   It always seems to me that the prudent ladies are a snooty bunch.  And, the fact that they aren’t willing to share their resources seems contrary to the gospel message.  And yet, there’s a verse in this passage that turns this disturbing story completely inside out.

Sunday, November 5

Reproving The Pharisees by James Tissot

Reproving The Pharisees by James Tissot

Holy Communion   10:30 am.

Lectionary Readings:   Psalm 43;  Matthew 23: 1-12

Text:   “…but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they  teach.”

Sermon:  “Hypocritic Oath” 

Tease:   We love to castigate hypocrisy!  Catching prominent leaders not living up to their principles is an American sport.  The unfortunate result of these feeding frenzies is a general reluctance to commit to any kind of principles, for fear that others may accuse us of being a “phony”.  As Jesus once again takes on the Pharisees, we may just conclude that hypocrisy is the risk we all take every time we try to commit ourselves to doing something good.

Sunday, October 22


Morning Worship  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:   Psalm 96,  1 Thessalonians 1: 1-10

Text:  “We always give thanks to God for all of you.”    1 Thessalonians 1:2

Sermon:  “Gratitude Attitude”

Tease:  As we prepare to enter the Thanksgivng Season,  the Apostle Paul reminds us how nurturing an attitude of gratitude,  is always the first step in restoring the balance and harmony that we all anxiously seek in our daily lives.

October 15

"The Uninvited Wedding Guest"  by Vincent Malo

"The Uninvited Wedding Guest"  by Vincent Malo

Morning Worship 10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Psalm 23; Matthew 22: 1-14

Text:  “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?”  Matthew 22:12

Sermon:  “Fashion Police”

Synopsis:  Jesus often uses wedding customs of his day to describe the working of God’s Kingdom.  In this week’s passage, an unsuspecting quest is banished from a wedding reception for wearing inappropriate attire.  At first, it seems as though the poor man is being treated harshly and unfairly.  Would we throw an invited guest out of a party for showing up in the wrong outfit?  As we take a closer look, however, a hidden agenda emerges that may justify the host’s discourteousness.

Sunday, October 8

Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen by Marten van Valckenborch

Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen by Marten van Valckenborch

Morning Worship  10:30 a.m. 

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 80; Matthew 21: 33-46

Sermon:  “Sticks and Stones”

Synopsis:  This week we look at one of Jesus’ more controversial teachings – “The Parables of the Wicked Tenants.”  A landowner leases a vineyard to a group of tenant farmers.  At harvest, he sends his servants to collect his share of the crops.  Each of the landowner’s representatives, even his own son, meets a violent end at the hands of the tenants.  The story is not for the squeamish.  And yet, as we deconstructthe parable, we discover a narrative that gives us a fascinating reflection not only on Jesus’ time, but our own.

Sunday, October 1

World Communion Sunday

"The Two Sons"  by Eugène Burnard

"The Two Sons"  by Eugène Burnard

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 25, Matthew 21:23-32

Text:  “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you!”  Matthew2 21:31

Sermon:   “Casting Call”

Synopsis:  This week’s Parable is a drama that calls for two actors.  The first role is a young adult who flatly refuses to work in his dad’s vineyard, but has a change of heart and returns to help.  The second role calls for a sibling who promises to help, but then skips out when no one is looking.  The characters describe two personality types within the faith community.  As we read the script, each of us will be invited to reflect on personal experience and determine for which role we’re best suited to audition.  The Kingdom of God is an equal opportunity employer!

Sunday, September 24

"Labourers in the Vineyard" by Bernard Keil

"Labourers in the Vineyard" by Bernard Keil

Morning Worship 10:30 a.m.

 Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 145; Matthew 20: 1-16

 Text:  “I choose to give to the last the same as I gave to you.”   Matthew 20:14

 Sermon:  “Sour Grapes”

 Synopsis:  This week we revisit a familiar, yet controversial teaching of Jesus – the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.  It’s the story where a landowner hires day laborers at various intervals during the day.  When it’s time for everyone to line up for their pay, those hired late in the day receive the exact same amount as those who worked the entire day!  We agree with the disgruntled workers that this arrangement simply isn’t fair!!  Why would Jesus indicate that this is what we can expect in the Kingdom of God?   Is he joking?  Or, what?

Fall Kick-OffPotluck  immediately following worship. Please bring a covered dish, or salad to share.  Beverages will be provided

Sunday, September 17, 2017

"The Unmerciful Servant" by Rembrandt van Rijn

"The Unmerciful Servant" by Rembrandt van Rijn

Morning Worship   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 114;  Matthew 18: 21-35

Text:  “Lord, how often shall I forgive?  As many as seven times?"  Matthew 18:21

Sermon:  “Scot Free”

Synopsis:  This week’s story of the Unmerciful Servant is Jesus’ response to the vexing question of how many times we should forgive someone who does us wrong.  Im certain Peter thought he was being more than generous when suggesting the magic number is seven.  Certainly, no one was expecting Jesus to match Peter’s challenge and multiply it by seventy!!  We mustn’t, however, get hung up on the number 490.  That’s not really Jesus’ point.  But, then … giving it another thought… maybe that is the whole point!!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Early depiction of first century Agape Feast promoting unity among community members

Early depiction of first century Agape Feast promoting unity among community members

Morning Worship   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 119;   Matthew 18: 15-20

Text:  “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.”   Matthew 18:18

Sermon:  “Agree to Disagree”   Rev. Garren preaching

Synopsis:   Psychologists tell us that we want to be around people with whom we agree.  We live in a culture that sees conflict as a problem.  And so, we tend to look for the paths of least resistance.  Although most Biblical scholars don’t believe the instructions given in Matthew 18 on conflict management are the actual words of Jesus ( I’ll explain ), the passage nonetheless provides some very helpful guidelines in how we can disagree with someone inhealthy and constructive ways.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

"Get Thee Behind Me, Satan"  by James Tissott

"Get Thee Behind Me, Satan"  by James Tissott

Morning Worship   Holy Communion   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:   Psalm 26; Matthew 16: 21-28

Text:  But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me.”   Matthew 16: 23

Sermon:   “Apocalypse Now”

Synopsis:  What a difference a week makes!  When we last met up with Jesus and the disciples, Peter was being heralded as “The Rock” upon which Jesus would build his church.  This week, he’s being cursed as an incarnation of the Devil himself!  Why this dramatic change of attitude?  We quickly discover that everyone is on edge.  We are preparing to go to Jerusalem for Jesus’ inevitable showdown with the authorities.  It’s a moment to which we can all relate - a threatening situation looming on the horizon.  Perhaps, we can take comfort that there are days when even Jesus can’t quite hold it all together.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

"Peter's Confession" by Raphael Sanzio da Urbino

"Peter's Confession" by Raphael Sanzio da Urbino

August 27   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 138;  Matthew 16: 13-20

Text:  “And he said to them, ‘Who do you say that I am?’”  Matthew 16:15

Sermon:    “Wild Risk”     Rev. Garren Preaching

Synopsis:  We arrive at the pivotal moment in Matthew’s Gospel where Peter acknowledges Jesus as the messiah and is handed the keys to the Kingdom.  While the passage brings honor to the often wild and boisterous Peter, we only have to read further to discover this honor comes with awesome responsibility.  We will also begin to appreciate the tremendous risk that Jesus takes when calling any of us to be his followers. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jesus and the Canaanite Woman by Jan Brueghel (check out the Bichon Frise in the foreground)

Jesus and the Canaanite Woman by Jan Brueghel

(check out the Bichon Frise in the foreground)

Morning Worship10:30 a.m.   

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 67;  Matthew 15: 21-28

Text:  "Yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”  Matthew 15:27

Sermon:   “Dog Days”   Rev. Garren preaching

Synopsis:  It may be one of the most disturbing (and, at the same time reassuring ) passages in all of scripture.  Jesus doesn’t always get it right!!  We catch him snubbing, and even making disparaging comments to a foreigner … an outsider.   As painful as it is to witness this encounter with the Canaanite woman, she is quick to point out the error of his Way - whereupon Jesus’ makes a 180 degree attitude adjustment.  Fact is - we don’t always get it right.  Would that we could turn as quickly on that shiny dime in the middle of our Way.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Jesus Walking on Water by Giovanni Tiepolo

Jesus Walking on Water by Giovanni Tiepolo

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 85; Matthew 14: 22-33

Text:  “Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water’” Matthew 14:28

Sermon:  “Rock The Boat”

Synopsis:   The Gospel of Matthew was written when the early church faced a raging storm of persecution.  The early Church was like a boat being battered by waves of violence.  The story of Jesus walking on those troubled waters was intended to comfort and encourage followers to take heart and not be afraid.  Its message continues to provide reassurance to those looking for the courage and faith to rise above limitations and become the people God intends us to be.