North Greenwich Congregational Church
Pastor’s Weekly Update
May 4, 2018
From the Backcountry …
It’s time to go “A-Maying!” Through the centuries, winter-worn revelers have greeted the explosion of May-blossom, sunlight and burgeoning life with song, Maypole dancing and other forms of communal frivolity. Despite our Protestant forebears’ best efforts to discourage the rowdy and sometimes lusty enjoyment of Spring’s exuberance, “A-Maying” has always found ways to express itself. Physically, psychologically and spiritually, we need these moments to throw “work-day commonplaces” to the wind and simply delight in the bright joy of living. So go forth!! Make merry. Pursue something the gives you great pleasure. Let your natural joy find the best ways to express itself. Tra La!
Sunday, May 6 Holy Communion 10:30 a.m.
Lectionary Readings: Psalm 47; Luke 24:44-53
Text: “While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.”
Sermon: “On The Edge”
Tease: The story of Jesus’ ascension defies any human logic. What does Luke mean when he asserts so matter-of-factly: “Jesus withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven?” Surely, his statement demands a few more details. What actually happened? How fast did he ascend? Where did he go? The author makes a second attempt to recount the same event in his Book of Acts. (None of the other Gospel writers even give it a try!) In Acts, he simply tells us that a cloud came in and “hid him from their view.” It’s as if Luke takes us as far as he can … to the point where traditional language suddenly stops working … and we must muster the courage to venture beyond that edge … and into uncharted spiritual territory.
Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM)
Puerto Rico Update
As we continue to hear alarming stories of Puerto Rico’s struggle to recover the ravages of Hurricanes Maria and Irma last September, the United Church of Christ has been very active in the relief effort. We are partnering with the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico (The Evangelical United Church of Puerto Rico.) In addition to the $52,000 of initial assistance to meet immediate needs, our denomination is making a $155,000 investment to develop both short and long term hurricane response efforts around the city of Humacao - on Puerto Rico’s eastern shore. This city was selected in consultation with our Iglesia Evangelica Unida partners. There is a church and a camp located in the area that are currently being repaired and will serve as a base for volunteer work crews in the region, beginning June 1. The UCC has commissioned long-time Partners in Service, Judy and Doug Moore, to oversee the hiring of contractors who will undertake heavy tasks - like roof reconstruction. The Moore’s are also coordinating volunteer work teams for ongoing clean up, painting and miscellaneous repairs. These teams will be housed at the local camp.
One of the established goals of the UCC Disaster ministries is long-term strategies. Needless to say, hurricanes are a way of life in the Caribbean. The Moore’s will spend much of their time helping the community determine plans that will provide more organization in times of disaster. Church facilities throughout the region will become storage facilities for water, food, and other emergency supplies. The initial $155,000 investment has been earmarked for the coordinator’s salaries, purchasing a vehicle dedicated to disaster recovery work, construction materials, tools and supplies and the all-important generator ( with back-up ) to restore power to the camp, as needed. Our congregation pledges funds from our annual Operating Budget to support Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM) which will be supporting all these efforts.
Road Rules: “We’re all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder. Our souls are deep with dreams.” - Romanian proverb