From the Backcountry 9-21-17

North Greenwich Congregational Church

Pastor’s Weekly Update

Thursday, September 21

 First sign of Fall -  Spotted Orb Weavers spinning their webs!

First sign of Fall -  Spotted Orb Weavers spinning their webs!

From the Backcountry …

 “First keep peace with yourself, then you can also bring peace to others”   Thomas à Kempis

It is impossible to bring peace to our surroundings if we are not at peace with ourselves.  It invariably requires deeply personal and often difficult work.  Perhaps we need to rebuild bridges with certain individuals, apologize for certain behavior, or perhaps repair a certain injury.  And yet, if we have sufficient resolve and inner strength to preserve this peace, then we will be able to share this peace with others. 

Sunday, September 24   Morning Worship10:30 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  this Sunday, September 24 immediately following worship. Please bring a covered dish, or salad to share.  Beverages will be provided

Wider Mission    UCC Caribbean Initiative

 Hurricane Maria is the latest in a seemingly endless line of tropical storms to devastate islands in the western Atlantic.  Tragically, this week the island nation of Dominca suffered the brunt of 160 mph winds,  leaving the lives of some 73,000 residents in ruins.

We have probably spent vacation time in one or more of the islands impacted by this season’s hurricanes:  Antiqua, Anquilla, Baruda, The Bahamas, Cuba, Culebra, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe. Haiti, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, St. John, St.Kitts, St. Martin,  Turks and Caicos, Vieques, and the Virgin Islands.  The extent of the losses is simply “mindboggling.”  It will take years for people in the Caribbean to rebuild their homes and lives.

Sadly, these tragedies have come precisely at the time when the United Church of Christ’s Global Ministries is promoting its “Caribbean Initiative,” an 18-month program designed to raise consciousness of the issues, priorities, successes and struggles of our partners in seven Caribbean nations, including Venezuela and Colombia.  Needless to say, the Initiative (announced this past summer) will be taking on an entirely different meaning and context.  

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by the storms and the UCC Disaster ministries endeavoring to assess the overwhelming need.  Among the original objectives of the “Caribbean Initiative” is to know the joys and concerns of our neighbors, and in so doing,   understand ourselves, our world and our faith anew.   Little did we know how important those goals would soon become.

See you Sunday,


Road Rules:  “The magic of life is to see in the darkness, to dream with open eyes, to hear in the silence, to fly without wings, and to love without condition.”   Julie Parker