From the Backcountry

North Greenwich Congregational Church

Pastor’s Weekly Update

May 11, 2018


 From the Backcountry …

“Indeed the water I give will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:14

As the glory of May-time unfurls in every leaf and flower, we are also beginning to feel a new vigor and energy surging within us.  The Welsh have a name for it -  Nwyfre -  a power that rises up from within, whether we are speaking of the earth, or ourselves.   Nwyfre has been traditionally represented by an “awakening” dragon.   In fact, this symbol is emblazoned on the Welsh flag - thereby reflecting the proud spirit of a people who derive their sense of well-being from the energy of a land that has sustained them for nearly thirty millenniums.

In a couple of weeks’ time, we will be celebrating Pentecost and the “coming” of the Holy Spirit.  But, rest assured, that power already stirs within us.  The dragon is awakening from its winter dormancy to empower us with renewed energy and life.

Sunday, May 13   10:30 a.m.    Morning Worship

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 1;  Acts 1:15-26

Text:  “…and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven.”  Acts 1:26

Sermon:  “Out of the Ordinary”

Tease:  As we begin our preparations for Pentecost, we examine the story of Matthias, the man chosen to replace Judas Iscariot.  It’s no “burning bush” story, to be sure.  In fact, what stands out is how ordinary the selection process ends up becoming – a casting of lots.  We learn nothing of Matthias’ qualifications.  And we will learn nothing about his subsequent performance.  And yet, his selection tells us volumes about the meaning discipleship and the expectations we bring to our own role within the community as faith – as ordinary as that life ends up becoming.


Our Church’s Wider Ministry - Kilauea Eruptions

Last Sunday, we began praying for the residents of the Big Island of Hawaii.  By now, we have seen the footage of lava fountains spewing into the air.  More than thirty homes have been destroyed, forcing some 1700 residents to evacuate.  While there have been no further reports of lava flow since Wednesday, the US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to issue warnings that additional  outbreaks are likely.  Hawaii County civil defense administrator Talmadge Magno said, “This could be happening for a long time, or, mysteriously just stop.”

Volunteers are currently assisting about 200 evacuees who are now sleeping at emergency shelters, but lawmakers are concerned it could take weeks, or even months before they will return home.  Cracks are making many roads “not passable.”   Authorities are permitting those who can access their homes to gather belongings, but with the caveat that they might have to rush out again.  One of the ongoing dangers is the emission of deadly Sulphur dioxide gas.  This gas and other pollutants (like ash) settle with moisture and dust to create a deadly volcanic smog, or “Vog,” causing any number of respiratory complications.  Residents also have to be constantly aware that the explosions provide little, if any, warning and can send “ballistic projectiles” (from the size of small pebbles to giant boulders) into the air.

So, this situation remains volatile on the Big Island.  We will continue to pray for those impacted by these developments and await further information from UCC Disaster Relief about efforts, supported by our OCWM mission dollars that are supporting this vulnerable community.

Happy Mothers’ Day!


Road Rules:  “A mother understands what a child does not say.”  Jewish Proverb