Worship Highlights, September 25th

  • September 26, 2022

Amidst dramatic life events and scathing condemnation, the Prophet Jeremiah finds time for Lament. A sermon on Jeremiah 8:18-9:1.

Apples, Apples Everywhere

  • September 22, 2022

Check out the pictures from our gorgeous afternoon at Carver Hill Orchard! The apples were plentiful, the cider donuts were delicious, and the fun time with friends was fantastic. One of our favorite fall traditions!

Concord Prison Outreach: Past, Present & Future

  • September 20, 2022

Our Mission Partners at Concord Prison Outreach (CPO) held a community event on September 25th to remember where the organization has been and consider where it’s headed. Pastor Hannah was invited to offer an opening prayer rand share a part of WCUC’s history with the Concord Reformatory. Did you know that WCUC was started by Reformatory staff and their families?

Image: Pastor Hannah, Executive Director Mr. Sam Williams, Interim Senior Minister of First Parish Concord Rev. Seth Carrier-Ladd, and CPO Board President Ms. Liz Rust

We’ll get a chance to hear more about CPO at our next Service Sunday on October 23rd, when Executive Director Mr. Sam Williams will attend and we will participate in CPO’s new backpack project, preparing resources for people who are released from incarceration.

View CPO’s anniversary video below!

Not a Curse, but a Blessing

  • September 20, 2022

What is the story of Babel really about? A sermon on Genesis 11:1-9 for September 18th, 2022.

Walking Prayer: Nurturing Friendship and Faith

  • September 19, 2022

A return to weekly walking prayer is one of the many “back to normal” blessings experienced by our church members this fall. Alternating between the path at Walden Pond and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail path in West Concord, the prayer walkers enjoy a time of sharing followed by a walk in nature that is meant to connect us more deeply with God and one another. Both paths allow for short or longer walks, and for those who prefer something a little more stationary, the Labyrinth in the Welcome Garden at church is also an option.

Walking Prayer meets every Monday morning @ 9:30 a.m. in person as weather permits. In case of inclement weather, we also now have a Zoom option – a silver lining left over from more intense pandemic days. Newcomers are always welcome! If you’re interested, please be sure to email joycedegreeff@gmail.com to get on the weekly mailing list.

Enjoy these throwback pictures of walking prayer throughout the seasons…

Precious

  • September 12, 2022

What is your place in the community? A sermon on Luke 15:1-10.

A Wonderful End to Summer Worship

  • September 8, 2022

The Welcome Garden was filled on Sunday as we celebrated the end of our summer worship season outside. A very festive fellowship time followed with food, drink, games, and the creation of a huge mandala in the center of our labyrinth. Check out the pictures from the beautiful day!

Persuade us!

  • September 6, 2022

The Apostle Paul pulls out all the stops in his letter to Philemon. What was so important?

Greening the Soul: Thoughts on My Sabbatical

  • August 31, 2022

by Melissa Tustin

I felt pretty strange describing my sabbatical before I left. I’ve always enjoyed nature but camping and environmentalism were hardly defining interests. These are just some of the things people said: “Why are you so interested in trees all of the sudden? And why Ireland? Didn’t you go there a few years ago? You say, you’re planning to do yard work during some of the time? That’s the last thing I would do during vacation time.”

I can understand why people responded this way. I didn’t know why I craved green things so much. I just did. My body and soul seemed to want green in an almost visceral way. It didn’t seem to matter whether I was gardening in my backyard, devouring books about the science of forests, or biking though the green hills of Ireland.

I’ve returned from my time away with a deep appreciation for green things; not just because of their physical beauty or usefulness, but because of what they teach us about the nature of life. I never realized that forests are comprised of complex networks of organisms which together have an essential role in the climate. For example, did you know that the size, shape and type of trees growing in a given area can determine the temperature and water level? And apparently, huge trees depend on the tiny threads of an underground network of fungi to send and receive information from one another. Different species of trees will actually warn each other about approaching pests and diseases! And some trees work together for years to keep their parent trees alive if they’re damaged. There’s so much more I could say about how incredible forests are. If you want to learn more, check out “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben or “To Speak For the Trees” by Diana Beresford-Kroeger.

You know the old saying: “You can’t see the forest for the trees?” It means not being able to see the big picture because of being overwhelmed by the immediate concerns that surround us and block our view. I’d say that’s a pretty good description of my mental state before the sabbatical. In our chaotic world, with its 24 hour news cycle, it’s been difficult to hold on to hope while tragedy after tragedy arises to demand our attention until we feel utterly surrounded by suffering. It has felt like unbridled self-interest, violence and bigotry have gained the upper hand, especially over the last several years.

Little did I know that the trees could help me find the forest and see the big picture again. Like Hildegard of Bingen, I heard God calling me recognize her in the greenness all around me regardless of what else was happening in the world and to notice that my soul was already returning to its green and life-filled state, like a plant greening up after long-delayed rain.

What inspires me so much about green things is that they clearly demonstrate the benefits of valuing diversity and interdependence over competition and artificial homogeneity. I don’t think it’s an accident that some of the oldest, most natural systems on earth resemble the spiritual values of most world religions: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, Matthew 7:21, 19:19, 22:39, Luke 10). “None of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself” (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 72). Sounds like a blueprint for diversity and interdependence to me.