Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pastor's Page

This is a rough draft for the pastor's page on the church website. I am interested in feedback. Does this say something which might compell someone enough to get the kids up on Sunday morning and try church again - maybe for the first time?

Hello and welcome. Or, as I leaned to say growing up in West Texas, “Howdy, stranger.”

Stranger. That’s a pretty good place to begin. It is my hope that this page will give you, the stranger, a brief introduction to who we are and will serve as an invitation to come and get to know us the old fashioned way – in person.

I like to tell people that we are a church that is becoming.

Actually, we’ve been a becoming church for a long time now really. Since 1804 in fact. When the bricks were laid for what is now the United Church of Colchester, the building tripled as the Baptist church, the Congregationalist church, and the town meeting hall. Like a lot of other New England churches, our church was the place to be.

But things changed; a whole generation of New Englanders quit going to church and there came a day when the members of the United Church of Colchester didn’t know if they were going to make it. Then a really cool thing happened. A small group of faithful people came to the conclusion that they still had something good here and decided not to quit doing life together. So they kept on gathering and kept praying and somehow they kept the lights on. And they survived the storm.

Now we’ve turned a corner. On any given Sunday a steady stream of children’s feet can be heard pattering up and down the halls. Adults gather on Sunday mornings and regularly throughout the week to pray and study scripture together and talk about work and home and rest and play and piece all those things together into the arrangement I like to call spiritual living.

We believe we were made for relationship with God and each other. With that in mind we are trying to do two very simple things. Love God and love neighbor. Bottom line.

If you come to visit us you will discover we have done our best to preserve the character of the church we inherited from generations past. With wooden pews (cushioned now) and stained glass and a beautiful steeple on top, our church is indeed a traditional Vermont village church. For over 150 years people have gathered in our humble sanctuary to marry, bury, laugh with, listen to and love one another. Sometimes when I need a break I will go in there to sit by myself. I always get this peculiar feeling that I am not alone, but that a cloud of witnesses sits with me. Our sanctuary is more than a quaint space. It is a sacred one also.

We are Baptists, and wherever two or three Baptists are gathered there will be food. So we eat together a lot – not because we love food (we do) but because we love each other and because we believe something really special happens when people break bread together. I think this is why a lot of the parables Jesus told about the kingdom of God were about banquet feasts.

A seat will be left empty for you at our banquet. No matter who you are. No matter where you have been. No matter what you have done. We will welcome you. We will say, “Pull up a chair. Tell us your story. Share with us in this feast called life.”

Your children will be welcomed too. We will welcome their laughter because it gives us buoyancy. We will teach them our stories because it gives them faith. We will not stop telling them that God loves them – without remainder.

We are truly a church that is becoming. And we hope you will become along with us.

Strangers no more,