Let’s Talk: About Inflation

As with everyone, the economic impacts of inflation have been near the front of my mind for some months now. In a very particular way this was felt in relationship to the housing market: my husband and I bought our home in pre-pandemic 2020 and my parents recently bought a new home a couple zip codes away from us in late-stage pandemic 2021. The inflation of housing prices in the intervening 18 months has been astounding, even by California standards. I notice it in our monthly expenses, in the price for our groceries and other consumables. I’ve seen the uptick…
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Let’s Talk: About Now

I’ve confessed to you in the past that I’m a chronic planner. My natural orientation is toward the future, readying and planning and strategizing my way into some new reality. This past weekend, I read a wonderful piece by Elizabeth Weil that introduced me to some new language for the present time, and the challenge of being “native to now.” (Pastoral content advisory: the article focuses on wildfire, and includes reflections on the Oakland, Wine Country, Camp, Tamarack, and Caldor Fires.) In this present moment, as a series of ongoing and interconnected crises, we humans are doing what we humans…
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IDKT: Bladimer Paeste

Frank McCourt (1930-2009) was an Irish-American teacher and Pulitzer Prize writer. He is attributed with the quote “Everyone has a story to share. You just have to write it.” Many of us would say that we lead a fairly mundane life. Nothing really to share. But that’s just your perspective. How many others do we know that have stories to share? How many others within our Conference that have stories to share that would make us say “I didn’t know that?” It is hoped that these interviews will bring us a little closer to each other as a Conference and…
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Let’s Talk: About What’s Next

I’m thinking today of a comic one of my seminary professors shared with our class years ago. It was illustrating the trajectory of Jesus’s life through the biblical narrative in just four or five frames. I don’t remember the exact words, but I do remember the gist of the punchline: asking what Mary and Joseph were hiding about Jesus in the oh-too-simple verse from Luke 2:40: “The child grew up and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.” For sure, that’s a lot of heavy lifting for that passage. It’s summarizing a period of…
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Let’s Talk: Open Your Presence

by Rev. Davena Jones, Associate Conference Minister No, I did not miss spell the word "presents" as in wrapped gifts. These last years have been challenging to navigate in a time of chaos and change. In this season of preparation for the presence of the holy one, Jesus Christ, how are you finding moments of self-care and soul-care? This year, Advent might just be a season of joyful opportunity in a world of stressful chaos. It’s a season of waiting instead of instant gratification, a season of quiet anticipation in so much noise. As we move through the next week…
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Let’s Talk: Don’t Miss the Surprise

I hate surprises. I am, by nature, a planner. I don’t like anything that takes me off my carefully mapped and measured trajectory. At best, when I encounter the unexpected, I quickly assess it and strategize my way back to the plan as if it didn’t happen. Then, the next time I’m planning, I use it as a scenario in said planning to be prepared should it happen again. Well… that’s not quite accurate. I’m A-OK with happy surprises, or even neutral surprises – especially when I can tell, in the moment, they’ll make for a humorous anecdote when I…
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Let’s Talk: Something’s Coming

I am a liturgical nerd. For a time in my life, well before I was ordained, I would coordinate my shirt on Sunday mornings with the appropriate color appointed for the liturgical season. And I have feelings – strong feelings – that blue, not purple, is most appropriate for Advent’s season of preparation. This, however, isn’t a column about that. Instead, the question on my mind is this: How do you prepare for everything you know being on the cusp of change? And I mean big change, no-going-back-now change. Some of you might be thinking, “great, just another pandemic reflection.”…
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Let’s Talk: About a Bigger Covenant

During the month of November, a variety of voices from around our Conference will be sharing the weekly Let's Talk column around a thematic focus of gratitude. This week's columnist is the Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, pastor & teacher of Berkeley Chinese Community Church. “We Covenant with the Lord and one with another; and doe bynd our selves in the presence of God, to walke together in all his waies, according as he is pleased to reveale himselfe unto us in his Blessed word of truth.” Salem Covenant 1629 In the 1990’s First Congregational Church of Memphis recited this pledge…
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Let’s Talk: About Where We’ve Been

During the month of November, a variety of voices from around our Conference will be sharing the weekly Let's Talk column around a thematic focus of gratitude. This week's columnist is the Rev. Dan Wysong, pastor & teacher of St. John's United Church of Christ in Woodland. There are few things I love more than getting out into the wilderness. Whether hiking beside a stream or climbing up the side of a mountain, being surrounded by beauty, moving my body - hearing, seeing, smelling, touching the earth makes me feel like I am part of all of it.  These are…
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Vote on a New Name for our Newsletter

In October, members and friends of the Northern California Nevada Conference were invited to submit possible new names for our weekly newsletter. Thank you to the 10 people who submitted proposed names for our weekly newsletter, as well as another six individuals who submitted their thoughts and reflections without a specific name. Submissions were reviewed against the following criteria: The name must be unique among Conferences in the UCC. The name must also be unique among the Local Churches and Associations in NCNC-UCC. The name must be accessible to all people, including those who use adaptive devices for vision or…
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