Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bread for the Journey

August 4, 2011

A sermon offered by our Guatemala travelers, July 31, 2011

Matthew 14: 13-21

In worship on July 31, Guatemala travelers shared their reflections as the sermon. A group of thirteen First Church members, including our current confirmation class, visited the San Lucas Mission ( the week of July 15-22. This Catholic parish was founded by Father Greg Schaffer, from New Ulm, MN, in 1962. The parish engages in programs that address both the immediate effects of poverty and its underlying causes. The projects are initiated and led by Guatemalans. Currently, the parish is supporting projects such as a clinic, a women’s center, a coffee processing and distribution program, and reforestation. According to the philosophy of the parish, volunteers come not primarily to help, but to learn about the people of Guatemala, and the joys and struggles of their lives.

The reflections respond to the following prompts:

What event or person that impacted you during the trip?

What did you learn, about Guatemala, about yourself, your life, your place in the world?

How did this trip change you?. How are you different because of this experience? What different choices might you make about your life?

What did this trip teach you about God, or about being part of the church community?

How does your experience relate to the story of loaves and fishes (Matthew 14: 13-21). For instance, what did this trip teach you about trusting, sharing, having enough in life?



Blog post for Wednesday, July 20

July 20, 2011

Hello blog friends!

This is Zach Dyar speaking.  Today we went to the farm/ garden and filled bags of dirt. In these small plastic bags, they will start coffee seedlings.  Then we came back and had lunch.  Next, we went back out to the farm and did ¨rebar ing¨.  (In other words, we made metal forms that will help hold together concrete buildings.)   It hasent rained in two days. Dos dias to la regresa.

Adios, amigos.

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May 12, 2011

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Good Friday Resource for April 22, 2011

April 21, 2011
art by He Qi

Good Friday is the holy day on which we remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus. At First Church, we will observe this day with a simple time of scripture reading, prayer, and silence at noon. If you are unable to join us at church, we invite you to use this resource as a guide for observance at home. Below are just a few suggestions for practice, reading, meditation, and prayer; please draw from it as you see fit.


Baptism question of the week

March 3, 2011

This week I’m addressing this question:

Are there parallel rituals or events in other faiths?

Hindu ritual washing

I should first admit that an anthropologist would probably answer this question better than I can!  But the short answer is yes.  At its most basic, baptism is a rite of passage, and many cultures, of course, have rituals to create and mark transformative experiences.


Tough Love

February 21, 2011

February 20, 2011; Matt 5: 38-48; Lev 19: 1-2, 9-18

A sermon preached by Rev. Jane McBride, First Congregational Church of MN, UCC

A childhood friend of mine regularly issued a teasing challenge to my pastor father. “I dare you to preach a one-word sermon,” she would say. “Just get up and say “Looovve”; then sit down. I remembered this exchange as I considered Jesus’ words in today’s lesson: You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

Jesus, in his teaching about love, challenges the conventional, common-sense wisdom. We are to love those near to us, those like us. But we are also to love the adversaries who hurt us. In effect, enemies become neighbors. And what is Jesus saying about the space between “neighbor” and “enemy”? Are to love those we don’t like? Love those whose politics we find offensive? Love those with whom we wouldn’t normally mix or socialize?


Breaking the Surface

January 9, 2011

Baptism of Jesus by He Qi

1/9/11 Baptism of Jesus/ First Sunday After Epiphany; Matthew 3: 13-17

Rev. Jane McBride, First Congregational Church of MN, UCC

“May you find the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep need meet.” Each confirmation student held the bowl of water, and traced the sign of the cross on forehead or hand, as, together, we said spoke this blessing based on the words of Frederick Buechner. Our deep gladness. The world’s deep need. It is an intersection, a cross. The center of this intersection is purpose, call, vocation. That day in class, we read biblical call stories, shared dream careers, chewed over the idea that sometimes vocation is not the same thing as our work and that our sense of call may change in the course of our lives.


Sermon 1/2/2011: “Seeing the Light”

January 4, 2011

“Seeing the Light”

Early Christian art depicting the Magi.

a sermon preached by the Rev. Abigail G. Henderson at First Congregational Church of Minnesota, UCC, on Jan. 2, 2011.

Isaiah 60:1-6 (NRSV); Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV); John 1:1-18 (The Inclusive Bible)


Daily Advent Reflection for Fri Dec 17

December 16, 2010

I’m cheating a bit and posting my reflection from our Longest Night healing service, on 12/16/10.

Scripture:  Isaiah 40:1-8; Matthew 1:18-25

For the herald’s voice is calling in the desert far and near, Bidding us to make repentance since the realm of God is here.  Oh, that warning cry obey!  Now prepare for God a way; Let the valleys rise in meeting and the hills bow down in greeting. (Comfort, Comfort, O My People, verse 2, by Johannes Olearius)

As I began shoveling, the plow thundered down the street. The blade sliced through the drifts, carving a neat edge at the curb. Snow sprayed in a high arc. Just as I turned to continue my work, a second plow rumbled by, smoothing and perfecting the work of the first.

Mired in the slow, heavy labor of moving snow by hand, it was truly awesome to watch this process. What power! To make a straight highway in this desert of buried, stuck cars and exhausted shovelers! To lift up the ruts and lower the piles! To level and smooth the rough, uneven, impassible road!


Daily Advent Reflection for Thurs Dec 16

December 15, 2010

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her king; let ev’ry heart prepare him room…” Isaac Watts

Yikes!  So much undone cookie baking, gift shopping, package mailing and house cleaning!  The first two weeks of Advent felt reflective for me.   I wasn’t worried about Christmas actually arriving; I just focused on the spirit of waiting and awakening.   Now, I grow weary and unfocused.  I have to remind myself that the work of preparing my heart, making room for this infant God in my life, is not a seasonal activity.  Learning to receive God’s gifts of joy, even amid lives filled with stress or sorrow or sin, is the work of a lifetime.