Have You Heard?

ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING. ANOTHER PRAYER. ANOTHER HASHTAG. ANOTHER DAY IN AMERICA. (Ruiz) Thus far in January, there have been forty mass shootings in the United States. That fact took my breath away in disbelief. I can’t help but wonder. How did we get here? God be with us. Deadly start to 2023 as mass shootings pervades the nation. Two fatal mass shootings have rocked our [Asian] community in California in two days – tragedies as we celebrate the Lunar New Year, as well as gun violence killing Asian-Americans, and others, by two older Asian men. The stress, trauma, and sheer…
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Have You Heard?

Today is my third week as your Bridge Conference Minister (BCM), and what an impactful three weeks it has been. First, I would like to thank God, who continues to bless, keep, watch over, and guide me. I would also like to thank two of the most delightful working colleagues I am blessed to serve alongside, Office Manager MeLinda LaViene and Office Support Joy Davis. Their jobs are extremely demanding and they work so hard to ensure you all have everything you request promptly. Your Conference Staff is intelligent, competent, wise, compassionate, and filled with the love of God. I…
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Have You Heard?

This week, NCNC Ministers braved the storms to travel to Monterey for the annual Authorized Ministers' Retreat. The weather was frightening, but the worship, workshops, meals, and time spent together was well worth it. (Note: send your pastor next year!) Meanwhile, the UCC Disaster Ministries has been in touch to ask how NCNC churches are doing (see below) Getting through Gilroy was an adventure. One minister didn't make it -- they're okay!! -- they turned around and went home.             Disaster Update, How to Help Event:  California Atmospheric Rivers, Storms, Floods, Mudslides, Landslides, and Fallen…
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Have You Heard?

Welcome to the New Year of 2023! American Recording artist Prince released the song “1999” on October 27, 1982. I was twelve years old, and I recall thinking, wow, 1999, will we even see that year here on earth; will I be alive…well, yes and yes. The world remains, and I am nearing my 53rd birthday this month on the 15th. Through it ALL, God has blessed me, kept me, called me to ministry, and now to this newly elevated role as Bridge Conference Minister. Furthermore, I am in as much wonder and excitement as I was when I heard…
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Let’s Talk: About Gratitude

I don’t have words to express my gratitude for the Service of Release and reception this past Sunday. The love and warmth of all who gathered and all who sent wishes because they couldn’t be there in person made my heart sing.  Thank you; thank you; thank you!!  I am so grateful for each and every one of you. For the years we have spent together in ministry; for the prayers you have offered me when I have needed it most; for the love and laughter and tears we have shared; and for your witness and strength in God’s love…
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Let’s Talk: About Lessons Learned on the Path 

This week I am at the Council of Conference Ministers meeting in Atlanta and by the time you read this I will be in the midst of the Authorizing Ministry for the 21st Century (AM21) gathering.    The CCM retreat was such a gift—a time with colleagues to reflect on the importance of this ministry we do with and on behalf of local churches and in support of our authorized ministers. We talked about the pain that we are all feeling in our various contexts. We talked about the hope that is also showing up within our settings. We talked about…
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Let’s Talk: About Life-Long Learning

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: For learning about wisdom and instruction, for understanding words of insight, for gaining instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; to teach shrewdness to the simple, knowledge and prudence to the young—let the wise, too, hear and gain in learning and the discerning acquire skill. (Proverbs 1:1-5) As my time as your Conference Minister is drawing to a close, I find myself wanting to take an opportunity to talk about some of the things that have been a big part of my Conference life over the past many years.…
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Let’s Talk: About Club Q

When Open and Affirming congregations gathered Sunday to honor our transgender and nonbinary neighbors who have lost their lives to hatred, we were stunned by the news that a young man inside an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs shot and killed at least five people and injured 25 late Saturday night. Once again, lives have been irretrievably lost by the rising tide of hatred and gun violence in America. As I heard the news Sunday morning, my thoughts went to Jeremiah 31, verse 15: Thus says the Lord: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is…
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Let’s Talk Revisited: About the New Look of Church Today

Prior to pandemic, I wrote this Let’s Talk article to remind us that we have to step out of the way we always think things should be in the church and begin to look at what fits and works for our ministry goals today. I was thinking about this article today as I have had several conversations about the anxiety in the system now as we emerge from pandemic and continue to live with endemic(s). There is pull to “get back to normal”. My argument, however, is that this is actually an opportunity for us to do a new thing.…
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Let’s Talk: About Racial Justice Training

Recently, I attended the play To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. I had no idea what was to come. Watching the stage come alive, I quickly learned the subject matter: race, racism, and the trial of a Black man in the south. Hearing the first “N” word, I shook in my seat. The same thing happened at the second and the next and the next. Then the character Bob Ewell began to denigrate Black people in such a way that I couldn’t breathe. The Black man was almost lynched by the KKK, which included the local law enforcement…
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