From the Pastor’s Desk—Emerging In the most recent issue of the Christian Century (March 24) Peter W. Marty, editor/publisher, wrote in his column about the “post-pandemic” church, offering some predictions of what that church might resemble. It seems a topic that has some resonance with the Easter account, a resurrection or emerging of sorts, so I’d like to offer some of his observations. “First,” Marty writes, “the social and spiritual capital connected with congregational life will be increasingly valuable in a post-pandemic culture…as social gathering places (at least ones where people can meet without paying) get put on the endangered species list….the gathered church becomes an ever more precious entity Thirst will increase for authentic community… Congregations will play a heightened role in providing thick human community.. “Second,” he continues, “worship during the pandemic has taught us that churches can be liberated from a fixation on counting. If denominations and congregations can catch the spirit, there’s refreshing new freedom to be found leaving religious bean counting behind.” This one will tweak a lot of people, but take it as a both/and more than an either/or. “Third, the ability to conduct worthwhile ministry online…has upended some of our obsessiveness over our church buildings.” But he goes on, “Our extended experience with virtual church may allow us to appreciate our buildings as hubs for mission without idolizing them—a healthy reset.” “Fourth,” he goes on, “there is some out-sized work ahead for pastoring in an age of conspiracy and disinformation…speaking the truth, displaying constancy, addressing paranoia, denouncing cults, and elevating the gospel above every nefarious claim that demonizes others or sows chaos.” “Fifth,” Marty observes, “many churches have expanded their virtual reach in innovative ways and enlarged their social media presence. This is exciting. But…intimacy, proximity and personal presence will carry more genuine authority…than touting a large platform.” He concludes, “Finally, the long pandemic gap should have congregations eager to address racial inequity, unconscious bias, and the everyday experiences of Black Americans. The creative joy of face-to-face conversation will be to get as many people around the table as possible thinking spiritually, confessionally, and enthusiastically about what the prophets and Jesus offer us in this journey of humility and reckoning.” After Easter we will thoughtfully begin to review and make plans toward Re-Gathering…a name I strongly prefer over re-opening as, the church as a people was never closed…it is emergence that will take a lot of consideration of all kinds of factors. To my mind, as we bring our questions and concerns for the future and where we will go, I think we will do well to be aware of where we have been, especially over the past year. May God bless us all with Easter’s resurrection hope and lots of new life. See you in church —Pastor Doug Pastor:
“How come you keep falling asleep in church? Old man: I’m striving to be more like God. On the seventh day He rested.”
An Invitation for Membership Orientation/Exploration
If you have an interest in possibly joining our membership or simply learning more about First Congregational and the United Church of Christ as well as what it means to be a member, please let Pastor Doug know and we’ll make arrangements for a no-obligation membership orientation/exploration session, or talk further about your interest.
CONFIRMATION MENTORS POOL
A new confirmation class will be starting in October. And while confirmands-to-be are being strongly encouraged to think of and ask a church member of their choosing to be a mentor for them, we would like to know of those of you who might consider being a mentor, especially if a confirmand-to-be is not sure who to ask and so on. Please let Pastor Doug know if you would be open to being considered as a possible mentor and/or your questions about what that entails. Thank you!
FLOOD RELIEF CONTRIBUTIONS
To make monetary donations for flood relief in Sauk County go to www.greatersaukcountycf.org.
Habitat for Humanity Build
We are building a home at 540 White Spruce Avenue on the south side of Baraboo near many of the other homes we have built together. The foundation has been poured and work has begun in earnest. We will have regular workdays on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Our construction manager will be on site each of those days to assist volunteers and show folks “the ropes”. We are looking for volunteers to help in any way they can; experience is not necessary. There is work for every skill level. And we need lunch donations as well. So if feeding the hungry is your thing, there is a place for you. For further information or to sign up for a particular work day, call our Habitat office at (608) 448-2888 and ask for Jessica our Volunteer Coordinator.
From Our Parish Nurse By: Geri Schoenoff
Sometimes we hear a comment that just stays with you and it begins to trigger thoughts in your mind that will not leave you–ever. Such was the comment made by one of our dear parishoners during our annual picnic two years ago. To her, the picnic was special because she was witn essing the children playing made up games. To her it wasn’t the food or the other adults there but the witnessing of children playing that was bringing joy to her. She lamented to me ,”children don’t seem to know how to play games anymore.” This was a scene she had witnessed many times years ago in her childhood. From two recent articles , one from the Wi. State Journal dated Aug.8,th, “Could be doctors’s orders:Let children just play” and the other article from the Opinion section of Wi State Journal of Sept. 12, titled,’ Play is the work of the child, Protect it”,both articles strongly concurred that our children are losing the gift of time to just play.
All the values that we want for ourselves as adults e.g.decision making, creativity, conflict resolving, and other attributes can be built from play of early childhood . The source is unknown, but the comment, “Play is the work of the child” is very true, so let the games begin..
We know that school academics, digital screen time and organized sports are leaving precious time to “just play”. Play that is encouraged by loving caregivers and their peers in a child’s life promotes self-regulation, language, social-.relationships and so much more.
I’ve always felt that good old -fashioned safe play with minimal adult intrusion is to be encouraged by caring involved adults. As DR.Navsaria, an associate professor of pediatrics at U.W states “, Play is the work of the child. Protect it”
Through UCCTakeAction.org, our national Justice and Witness Ministries office offers resources, news updates, and action alerts on a broad spectrum of justice issues. Working with members of the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network (a network of thousands of UCC justice and peace advocates), Justice and Witness continues its strong policy advocacy work on issues such as the federal budget, voting rights, immigration, health care, hate crimes, civil liberties, and environmental justice. Neighbors in Need also supports our American Indian neighbors in the UCC. One-third of the offering supports the UCC’s Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM). Historically, forebears of the UCC established churches and worked with Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arickara, and Hocak in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and northern Nebraska. Today there are 20 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban, multi-tribal UCC congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These churches and their pastors are supported by CAIM. CAIM is also an invaluable resource for more than 1,000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations who are members of other UCC congregations in the U.S.
Neighbors in Need helps make another world possible. It needs your support. Please give generously.
Special NIN offering envelopes will be available at worship through October 7. Checks can be sent to the church as well. Make checks out to First Congregational UCC with “NIN” clearly marked in the memo. Thank you