Pastoral Letter on Racism

Pastor Marisa Brown Ludwig would like to bring to our collective attention this recent letter available here.  The letter is written in response to “the recent rash of deaths of African Americans at hands of police, the UCC national leaders hope Martin Luther King weekend will be an opportunity for us to both address those issues through our continuing advocacy and hope for change toward King’s beloved community.”

Please reflect on this open letter & include your thoughts in the comments below.

Resolution of Witness & Conflict

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At First Church Longmeadow, we are blessed to be part of a church community that gives its parishioners opportunities to handle the most difficult issues in a thoughtful, supportive & intellectual manner.  The next session of Adult Education‘s Ethics series will be no exception.

The MACUCC has promulgated a Resolution of Witness concerning the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.  The PDF Version of this Resolution is here for your review:

How does this Resolution influence the complex effort towards peace in our beloved Holy Land?  How should we approach this question of boycott & divestment from certain corporations connected to this heart-wrenching conflict?

This is difficult subject matter.   Thankfully, our representative & impressive panel of presenters will help us discern our approach to the Resolution –  before it is voted upon by both the General Synod, and our own congregation.

The panel will occur on Sunday Feb 1, 2015 11:30 – 1pm in Bailey Hall (downstairs) at the First Church of Christ Longmeadow.  Panelists include Gay Harter, Professor Joe Levine of UMass Amherst, Rabbi Amy Katz of Temple Beth-El & Professor Justin Cammy of Smith College.  The panel will be moderated by our own Pastor Marisa Brown Ludwig – MACUCC Chair of the Task Force on Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations.

The promotional flyer is available here for your review.  We hope you will join us!

 

Advent Reflection by Eleanor Santos

This reflection is written in response to the sermon entitled, Stay Awake with Me! delivered by Pastor Marisa Brown Ludwig.  The video of this sermon is available in its entirety here:

 

 

REFLECTION BY ELEANOR SANTOS:

When we led our group of travelers to Israel we had a fantastic guide.  He was a secular Jew.

In discussing some biblical references he told me, “you need to understand that it is a long Hebrew tradition of story telling to speak metaphorically in order to drive home a point.  Most of the Biblical stories were never intended as history, but rather as stories to teach us something.”

that has stuck with me a long time, perhaps because it is a view I have always held.

The Christmas story itself is a wonderful metaphor though today’s reading has always stuck in my craw.  However, today I saw it in a new light… again using my metaphorical approach.

When the kingdom of God comes.. when we all start to live as Jesus had taught and laid out for us, the stars (not those heavenly bodies!) shall fall,

the sun shall be darkened– those powerful leaders who  march us off to war, who manipulate our lives to benefit the rich and powerful,—and the moon shall not give its light

I believe that passage has nothing to do with astronomy and the end times, but rather When we live as true children of God– and when we are steadfast in creating the heavenly kingdom here on earth, the evil which is so predominant in the powerful both now and in the first century, shall tumble.”

By Eleanor Santos    Sunday, November 30, 2014

 

Do you have an advent reflection you would like to share?  Send it to the Forum here & share your thoughts!

 

Holidays & Grief

Dealing with grief over the holidays is a real issue for so many people.  The fact that the dinner table is the center of the Thanksgiving tradition, can itself be a source of pain when one individual is not there.  First Church member & Baystate Medical Center Pastoral Care leader & educator, Ute Schmidt, shared some sage advice on local television:

 

For more information & the rest of the story from WGGB, please visit here.  Thank you Ute for sharing your wisdom with our community!