Rev. Alan Johnson, Chair of the UCC Mental Health Network, was First Church’s guest preacher on Mental Health Sunday. He encouraged the congregation to “not shrink back” from the reality of mental illness—our own stories, those of our family members and our church family. The stigma around mental illness is strong. By breaking the silence and stepping forward we can offer and get support.
Palm Sunday is the beginning of a series of events leading up to Easter Sunday.
Sunday, July 10, 2016 followed a week in which two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were killed by police, and five Dallas police officers "Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa and Brent Thompson" were shot by a sniper.
On the first of the 2016 summer Sunday services (10 am through early September), Senior Minister Molly Baskette bases her sermon on the story of the centurion who asks Jesus to heal his servant (Luke 7:1-10).
Palm Sunday represents one of the few celebrations that Jesus received as an adult. The people recognized the power of his teaching and healing. His prophetic words of God?s inclusive love touched the hearts of those who chose to follow him. He had such integrity?his words and actions so clearly congruent.
Minister of Art & Communication Phil Porter suggests that although Jesus was a prophet, his style was quite different from other prophets. He communicated his message in both word and deed teaching, healing, preaching, telling stories and parables. He was quite humble and generally low-key.
As the country approaches Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day, Emerging Leader Sonny Graves reflects on how the story of our country has eliminated complexity. In this case, the fate of the indigenous people who lived here before Europeans arrived has been largely erased.
First Church members Curt Wands-Bourdoseau, Diana Graham and Tim Sweetser share their stories in testimony to their faith. Curt speaks of times in his life when he "quaked" in God's presence upon being challenged to help victims of poverty and oppression.