From the Backcountry ...

North Greenwich Congregational Church

Pastor’s Weekly Update

November 2, 2017

From the Backcountry …

Today is All Souls Day.  Since the late Middle Ages, the faithful have set aside a day to remember the dearly departed.   There was a time when the faithful believed the spirits of the dead would visit homesteads to look over the household and bring blessings for future life and work.  Even though “roaming spirits” was officially declared necromancy, many communities around the world continue to lovingly remember those who have gone before us.   In Mexico, for example, a three-day celebration is underway: “Dia de los Muertos.”  Far from being a morbid observance, today’s All Souls observance will be a grand fiesta.   Festal dinners are being prepared.  Scattered petals and burning incense will invite the spirits to enter and partake of favorite foods.  The “leftovers” will then be shared among family and friends.  As night falls, many will process to cemeteries to hold vigils at the graves of loved ones.  I suppose we could call it quaint superstition.  And yet, a Mexican boy spending the night at his uncle’s gravesite will no doubt have a connection across time with his forebears that most of us have sadly lost.

Sunday,  November 5   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.


Our Church’s Wider Mission

Saying “Boo” to Hate

An interfaith counter-protest to a white supremacy rally took place in Shellbyville, Tennessee this past weekend.  The gathering gave more than 400 individuals a unique opportunity to celebrate Halloween -  by saying “Boo” to hate.  Both demonstrations were peaceful.  Organizations like the Nationalist Front, the League of the South and the Traditionalist Worker Party chose Shelbyville for their  “White Lives Matter”  march hoping to rile up racial resentment in this diverse and working class town - where a number of immigrants are moving because of the work available at a chicken factory.  Little did they know that their event would be so vastly outnumbered.  170 Tennessee faith leaders came together to support the counter message of love and solidarity.  And yet, it was a young man in the eighth grade, son of Latino immigrants, who organized the “Honk - To Say “Boo To Hate”  protest, enabling even passersby to participate!!

Margaret Ernst, a UCC seminary intern working in neighboring Brokmeade commented, “As a northerner, born in Connecticut and now living in the South,  (this event) has taught me that at an  historical moment when white supremacy is looking for new recruits, the North and liberal cities on the coasts have much to learn from courageous, rural and working class Southerners who are showing the rest of us how to face our history and carve out a new future with humility and togetherness.”

Way to go, Margaret!!

Say Boo To Hate,


Road Rules:   “We do not need magic to transform our world.  We carry all of the power we need inside us already.”   J.K. Rowling