Archive for June, 2010

6/27/10 sermon: Free to Be… You and Me

June 30, 2010

“Free to Be… You and Me” © Abigail Henderson.  Preached at First Congregational Church of Minnesota on June 27, 2010.

Galatians 5:1, 13-25

If you are a parent or a child of a certain vintage—say, the seventies and early eighties—then chances are you have encountered the children’s record album and book “Free to Be You and Me.”  The actress Marlo Thomas conceived of this project after going to the bookstore to find something for her young niece, and discovering that every available book and recording played to traditional stereotypes of gender and family.  So she called on a bunch of her famous and talented friends, and together they created a vision of magical land where mommies could be ranchers and engineers, and daddies could be cello players and poets.  In this place, boys had their own dolls and girls didn’t care about being pretty, and they all played together happily and harmoniously, and, as football hero Rosey Grier proclaimed, it was even all right to cry. All this to a soundtrack of exuberant seventies folk rock!



First Church Pride Presence

June 22, 2010

On Sunday, June 27, all members and friends of the Minnesota Conference UCC are invited to march together. Our unit is number 53 under the name “MN Chapter United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns.”

The parade starts at 11:00 a.m. Abby will be joining the contingent but needs to remain at First Church through the healing prayer circle after worship. Therefore, First Churchers are encouraged to meet up with the UCC contingent on their own. If you are concerned about getting downtown, please let Abby know, and we will coordinate transportation.

Before the parade, all participants are lining up along 3rd St. South between Hennepin and Portland Avenues. (Our unit, #53, will probably be around 3rd Avenue.)  For more info about parade logistics, visit

Let Abby know if you’re coming! Email

Ordination Photos

June 21, 2010

Hi folks!

Here are some photos from my ordination on June 13, 2010, at the Exeter Congregational Church in New Hampshire.  Click on the thumbnails to see larger versions!

In peace and gratitude,


6/20/10 Sermon: What are you doing here?

June 20, 2010

“What are you doing here?” © Jane McBride. Preached at First Congregational Church of Minnesota on June 20, 2010

The Poet with the Birds, by Marc Chagall

The Poet with the Birds, by Marc Chagall

I Kings 19: 1-15a

What are you doing here, Elijah?   This is the phrase in the text I felt drawn to chew on this week.  What are you doing here, Elijah?   What are you doing here, First Church of MN?  What are we doing here?


Your flight has been canceled…

June 15, 2010

Ironically, I re-read the first chapter of Receiving the Day by Dorothy Bass as my plane tore through the miles between Boston and Minneapolis. This flight constituted the last leg of my journey to Abby’s ordination in New Hampshire, which, with the “help” of the airline, turned into an epic exercise. Let’s just say I slept in Atlanta the night before, and got up at 3 am Central time two mornings in a row! So, there I sat, literally riding on the current of our culture’s frantic, fragmented ways of relating to both time and space, even as I pondered the spiritual practice of keeping time sacred.


Good morning! I’ve had my coffee!

June 8, 2010

Dear friends,

I am not a morning person!    I am barely human BC (that is, “before coffee”).   I have tried, and failed, over the years, to connect with my inner “early riser”.  And yet, I realized last week that, at this point in my life, getting up earlier is the only way to claim time for exercise and prayer.  Against all odds, I decided to try again.   Since two days do not make a new habit (they say it takes three weeks), I offer these reflections humbly, and a bit reluctantly.  Please be gentle with me if I do not prevail : ).


Our summer reading

June 7, 2010

Hi folks. This is the book that Jane and I will be reading and blogging on this summer, if you want to follow along!  Just click the image to go to the book’s page at  Receiving the Day

Peace, Abby

6/6/10 Sermon: Resurrections

June 7, 2010

“Resurrections” © Abigail Henderson. Preached at First Congregational Church of Minnesota on June 6, 2010


I Kings: 17: 8-24; Luke 7:11-17

As many of you know, I’m preparing for my ordination next Sunday, June 13. It will take place in Exeter, New Hampshire, in the church where I grew up. A few weeks ago, I sent out an announcement to my friends and family in New England, sharing the good news and inviting them to the service. A old college buddy named Sarah wrote back. She reported that she planned to attend, and then asked, “Is it OK if I bring Jesus?”