The Bible is a complex witness of faith, says Chuck Wildman in his reflection this week, but also the start of an inspiring adventure. In the news, we learn more about the continuing scourge of slavery, called "human trafficking" in these days, and efforts to stop it. Coming up are great events for Christian Educators, pastors, and those who dream and make things happen.
Reflecting of Jesus' call to the first disciples to catch men and women, Barbara Libby tells of fishing with her dad on New Hampshire's Wild River, and rejoices in her call to bring people to new life in the kindom. In the news, Andrew Young addresses an audience in Glastonbury and describes the faith foundations of the civil rights movement. Churches which have imagined and worked to make things possible are invited to apply toward recognition at the summer's General Synod, and we pause to reflect on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
In the wake of the violence in Tucson, Arizona, Eric Anderson notes God's comfort with a radical directive: to bridle the tongue, to lay aside the sword, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord's favor. In the news, registration opens for Silver Lake summer conferences, Connecticut digs out from a record-breaking snowstorm, General Synod lies ahead in July, and nominees for national offices have been named. There are special events coming up for Martin Luther King Day and, looking further ahead, major conferences on stewardship, pastoral concerns, and the environment.
The Epiphany edition of ConferenceCast looks beyond the celebration of Three Kings Day or of God's manifestation among us: Patsy Bjorling is struck by the disconnect of Jesus' baptism beginning the "Ordinary Time" of the Christian year. In the news, a look back at the headlines of 2010, and preparation for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Some major upcoming events on Martin Luther King Day round out this first ConferenceCast of the new year.
Jesus' family probably didn't have a peaceful, reflective time on the day after he was born, as they prepared to flee from a jealous king. Sarah Verasco wonders if we might make them a place of refuge in our hearts today. Children at Woodmont UCC make a literal place for Jesus by building cribs, and ten years of effort will open a health clinic in a small village in Uganda next month. Christmas greetings from Chuck Wildman, a special reflection from host Eric Anderson, and seasonal music mark this podcast for the celebration of the birth of Christ.
Sometimes things just don't arrive as we expect. Susan Tarolli's reflection on the arrival of God's Messiah asks how God With Us might surprise us, just as Jesus did many years ago. Interfaith health care advocates hear from Governor-elect Dan Malloy, and parishioners at First Church of Christ in West Hartford begin the season in the bustle of a Bethlehem marketplace.
Tim and Anne Hughes offer stillness and simplicity amidst the business of the Advent season, and we get to share in just a little bit of Christmas joy with melodies from Christmas at Silver Lake. Youth at King Street UCC in Danbury raise awareness of bullying by inviting us to walk "In Our Shoes," and we extend a special appeal to become a Friend of the Conference.
Charlie Kuchenbrod finds that the sweetness of a moment demands his attention as he and his daughter serve communion, leaving him just a bit verklempt, and very appreciative. Windham Interfaith Ministries are honored for "kicking carbon," Silver Lake launches a new tradition, and the latest issue of ConnTact celebrates ministries of transformation.
Inspired by a candidate for ordination, Da Vita McCallister considers the awesome responsbility of leadership in God's church, and the requirement, moment to moment, to examine what God requires of us. At Kings Street UCC in Danbury, shoes bear witness for teens who fear, and a young man testifies to the greatest summer of his life, spent as a member of Camp Family at Silver Lake. ConferenceCast takes a break for Thanksgiving (and the host's vacation) next week, but not before a special greeting from the Conference staff.
Mike Penn-Strah finds an opportunity to testify to his faith in a Stonington restaurant, and wonders why the church has not better empowered its members to share the conviction that sustains them. We hold in prayer the families of Robbins Barstow, Peg Post, and David Hindinger; David is the husband of our former Conference Minister, Davida Foy Crabtree. This week's news includes creative evangelism in Brooklyn, the challenge of refugee resettlement in Farmington, the departure of Ron Brown and the appointment of Barbara Libby for clergy concerns, and a great Friend-Raising weekend around the United Church of Christ.
Ineke Mitchell follows the example of Jesus, and refuses to be distracted by trick questions, addressed to her or to anyone else. Our task is to be courageous enough to be voices of truth and justice in the world. Tomorrow the UCC launches its new video "Uniquely UCC" online, a great start for National Friend-Raising Weekend and Bring a Friend to Church Sunday. Another video at ctucc.org celebrates the learnings and worship at the Conference Annual Meeting, while yet another offers a flavor of Silver Lake's summer. Andrew Harvey comes to visit this weekend, and the Tree of Life Conference considers peace in the Middle East, with Jeremiah Wright coming to visit Hartford later in the month.
Karen Ziel wonders about the tax collector Zacchaeus and his game of hide-and-seek with Jesus, and how often we play hide-and-seek with God. From last weekend's Annual Meeting come voices of challenge and hope, include keynote speaker Robert Orr, Interim Conference Minister Chuck Wildman, and preacher John Nelson. Sarah Drummond led the Conference's authorized ministers in a lively discussion of the new mission field of multi-cultural, secular society, and National Friend-Raising weekend is coming soon!
In a world filled with arrogance and ego, Conference Minister Chuck Wildman takes a look at Jesus' call to humility. Leaders and members around the Connecticut Conference join in wearing purple to raise awareness of anti-gay bullying and its cost, and the Special Commission on Conference Sustainablity issues its recommendations. The Annual Meeting is this weekend in Middletown, and Fall Action comes up at Silver Lake next weekend.
In Ron Brown's reflection this week, he wonders why we don't do more wrestling in the church, in contrast to so much "rasslin'." Conference Minister Chuck Wildman extends a special invitation to the October 22-23 Annual Meeting in Middletown, and we bid a sad farewell to two friends. Current news and some upcoming events complete this ConferenceCast.
In this official first edition of the CTUCC ConferenceCast, host Eric Anderson reflects on the presence of God in harsh times. In an interview, Interim Conference Minister Chuck Wildman shares some of his experience and gifts, and looks ahead to what the interim time may be like. In the news, Silver Lake celebrates with prayer and basketball, and UCC clergy join their interfaith colleagues in condemning religious bigotry. Upcoming events include the Fall Meeting of the Connecticut Conference in Middletown October 22nd-23rd.
Patsy Bjorling's reflection on the "scandal of the Psalter," Psalm 137, asks the vital question of the day: will we move forward in faith to expand the Kingdom of God for a new world and a new time? The big news this week is the amazing two days of interfaith conversation at General Association, and we look forward to further discussion. Up ahead: the fall Annual Meeting!
This week's reflection, by Valley/Northwest Regional Minister Michael Ciba, visits the prophet Jeremiah during the siege of Jerusalem. Despite the invading army, Jeremiah bought a field: a sign of hope in a doubtful future. "Sometimes, we need to do something for the sake of the future, even if we don't know exactly what that future will look like or if we'll be around for it," says Michael Ciba. It's a way to strengthen and to manifest our trust in God.
This reflection is by John Deckenback, former Central Atlantic Conference Minister. It is from God in My Life: Faith Stories and How and Why We Share Them, Maren C. Tirabassi & Maria I. Tirabassi, eds. 2008. It is used here by permission and read by Karen Ziel.