From the Backcountry 9-7-17

North Greenwich Congregational Church

Pastor’s Weekly Update

September 7, 2017

 Fall is in the air!

Fall is in the air!

From the Backcountry …

The soothing tongue is a tree of life … but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”   Proverbs 15:4

We all know the power that a few words can have.  A single word can contain enough force to make someone smile, or cry; laugh, or grind their teeth.  Language is a unique way to convey our feelings and intentions.  It can be magical.  But, language is also a powerful weapon in free circulation.  It can bring happiness and comfort… but also profound suffering and desolation.  As my mom would say, “Choose your words carefully.”   

Sunday,  September 10    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”

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 in healthy and constructive ways.

Fall Kick-Off Luncheon   Sunday,  September 24

Our first Autumn social event will be an al-fresco (outdoor) pot-luck luncheon after Church – weather permitting, of course.  Please bring a covered dish, salad, or dessert to share.

The Wider Church

 Cacao Sustainable Initiative

As Hurricane Irma pummels the Caribbean Islands, my thoughts and prayers are with the small holding farmers whose crops will be totally destroyed.  During my trips to Haiti, I met a number of local cacao growers who provide raw materials to various multi-national corporations.  Needless to say, when the supply chain is interrupted by ever-increasing extreme weather patterns, the chocolate industry is severely impacted.  The African drought is having the same catastrophic effect, as well. Climate science suggests the dilemma will only get worse. While it’s important for governments to engage and address issues involving climate change, it will – no doubt - be the private sector that affects the transformational changes needed to reverse the trend.

In a September 6 on-line posting, Business Insider reported that the British chocolate giant, Mars Corporation, has decided to set aside $1 billion to fight climate change. CEO Grant Reid has indicated that the consequences of doing nothing will lead only to the further global calamity. Mars is upfront.  They are a food business, based on agriculture.  Their primary concern is the supply of raw materials required to support their $35 billion dollar business. This investment is being done to protect profits.  At the same time, they are beginning to realize that their own future requires reducing the company’s carbon footprint by 60%, and challenge other corporations to see the same handwriting-on-the-wall by following their lead.

Even though I continue to have serious issues with the multi-national companies who drive the cacao industry (particularly their exploitation of child labor) the Mars Cacao Sustainable Initiative is perhaps the most encouraging sign of environmental action to date.

Pray for Barbuda,


Road Rules:  “When you give of yourself, something new comes into being.  The world expands.  A bit of goodness is brought forth and a miracle occurs.  Never underestimate this miracle.”     Kent Nerborn