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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Let’s Talk: Let’s Listen

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. Penny Phillips, Committee on Ministry, Section B co-chairperson. Be still, (and be quiet and listen) and know that I am God. Who knew that listening would be such an exhausting task and take so much energy, both physical and mental? And might I add, spiritual? Who knew? If any of us had known this, we might have taken a very different life path. In my participation with…
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Let’s Talk: About Unexpected Blessings

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. Karen Thisthlethwaite, associate pastor at Ladera Community Church, UCC, in Portola Valley. When COVID first hit in March 2020 my life was filled with unexpected blessings. I was serving at a church I loved, pushed to be more creative, and was connect with my colleagues in new ways. Remarkably our son Colin’s preschool stayed open and then welcomed our daughter Siena when her school shut down. My…
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Let’s Talk: About You, Me, and We

I don't remember the exact year, but I remember going to a retreat with my middle school youth group to our church's camp next to a lake on the flat plains of western Minnesota. My church geekiness set in quite early; I had always been fond of church and I was turning to the age where the simple, pat answers to my religious questions of childhood were no longer suitable as my mind and reason was expanding. I had just started to read the Bible as sacred text on my own, not simply as isolated chunks of stories (pericopes) but…
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Let’s Talk: About Mask Season

October is a month filled with many things. It is the beginning of fall; therefore, the leaves on trees begin to change colors. It is a time of year that all children at heart look forward to dressing up as their favorite character or person. Visiting the pumpkin patch to hang out, ride ponies, jump around in jump houses, eat delicious pumpkin pies, cotton candy, and hot pretzels -- oh and pick out a pumpkin to carve or paint. Some kids are trick or treating and others are attending their school fall dances. And then there are the beautiful, fun-filled…
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Let’s Talk: About Wonder

On a shelf in my study, in visible sight of my desk, I have a handcrafted piece of art created and given to me by a friend of mine from a prior ministry setting. With white wooden letters embossed against a white canvas background, on three lines, it reads: Wonder Fully Made. Depending on the moment I glance at it, the spacing leads me to consider its multiple meanings separately. Inspired by the Psalmist, who writes of the intimate knowledge God has of God’s creation, I most often read it with a silent comma: “wonder, fully made.” (I’m a UCCer,…
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Let’s Talk: About Being Human

Last time I wrote to you all in this space I was getting ready for my sabbatical. I shared with you an excitement about exploring spaciousness during my time away; space to reflect, reset, and reframe. I’ll be honest to my truth: going into my sabbatical I was beyond burned out. It is easy to blame the coronavirus pandemic for this burnout, and yet that wasn’t all of it. I was already drained going into 2020. Just making it to sabbatical in the summer of 2021 with everything that happened in between was its own miracle. One of my sacred…
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Let’s Talk: About General Synod 

By Conference Minister Diane Weible Every two years the United Church gathers as one body to worship, sing, make new friends and connect with long-time friends, and consider resolutions, just to name a few of the things we love the most about General Synod.  In just ten days the first-ever virtual General Synod will open for a similar but different kind of gathering. Rooted in Love is the theme and there will be, as always, speakers and musicians and even a virtual exhibit hall.  I know I will miss visiting in person with people I don’t get to see that…
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