|Cecile Gilson, Assistant to the Conference Minister|
This week's author is Cecile Gilson, Assistant to the Conference Minister for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.
I had the privilege of attending the opening worship of the United Black Christians Convocation that met last week in Hartford. For this "frozen" child of New England, experiencing worship as a full body celebration is both a joy and a challenge.
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Samuel of Victory for the World UCC in Stone Mountain, Georgia, was the preacher for the service. I knew of his reputation as a preacher and he didn't disappoint. He shared stories, preached the gospel, and challenged us in ways that are both comfortable and uncomfortable. It was definitely an "out of my comfort zone" experience and I am grateful for the challenge.
With apologies to Dr. Samuel, I would like to share one of his stories, one that came to mind as I read the passage from Ephesians.
Dr. Samuel's mother is a baker of cakes. Not just cakes, but great cakes, and all made from scratch. She wouldn't know what to do with a box of cake mix if you gave it to her.
When she prepares to make a cake she lays out all her ingredients before she begins mixing. As young children, Dr. Samuel and his brother would watch in great anticipation of the cake that was to come.
One time their mother left the room for a bit leaving them to ponder the ingredients lovingly laid out. When they considered how great the cake was when it was done, they decided that the individual elements must also taste good. So they dunked a finger in the egg and it was just plain nasty. The flour, sugar and butter weren't so hot either. How could all these unpleasant things make such a wonderful treat?
Dr. Samuel went on to say that each of us, with all our flaws and gifts, come together to create the wonderful community of Christ. Individually we are bitter and sweet; together we can be the whole body of Christ.
Dr. Samuel also shared that when his mother came back she knew immediately what they had done and sent them packing.
How good it is to be part of a community of believers. In our worship and ministry, we celebrate and practice the life and ministry of Jesus. How much better our world would be if we could all work together to make delicious cakes.
Creator God, we celebrate the wonderful diversity that is our world. We give you thanks for our churches and ask for your blessing in our ministries. Amen.
the athletes, coaches, and organizers of the 30th Olympiad: may their competition foster peace;
the citizens of Aleppo, Syria, whose homes have become a battlefield;
those injured or grieving by the railroad fire in Nellore, India, today; and
all the staff, volunteer leaders, and conferees at Silver Lake this week.
Grace Congdon, daughter of the Rev. David Congdon, pastor of the Elmwood Community Church UCC, who is undergoing tests for a yet undetermined illness;
the Rev. Stephen Camp, senior pastor of Faith Congregational Church UCC in Hartford, who is recovering from severe injuries suffered in a fall;
those left wounded in body, mind, and soul; those left grieving; and those who care for those injured by the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20;
those grieving or wounded by coordinated attacks in Iraq on July 23;
the Rev. Carl F. Schultz, Jr., pastor emeritus of First Church of Christ Congregational UCC in Glastonbury, who is recovering from surgery for a broken hip;
the Conference Minister Search Committee as they begin to consider candidates;
the Rev. Dr. Barry Cass, the staff, members, and friends of the Somers Congregational United Church of Christ, which lost its 170-year-old meetinghouse to a devastating fire the night of January 1-2;
the Rev. Alison Buttrick-Patton, the lay leadership, staff, members, friends, and community of the Saugatuck Congregational Church UCC, which suffered severe damage from a substantial fire on the night of November 20;
the Conference's partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery and their communities on the Korean peninsula;
the Conference's partners working for peace in Colombia amidst violence;
the leaders of this nation, that they may meet the challenges of the day with insight, wisdom, and compassion;
this nation, that it may continue its difficult work to end the practices of racism;
those suffering due to the ongoing financial woes of the nation, be they struggling to meet an unaffordable mortgage, seeking employment, or working to find just resolutions; and
those serving or living in war or conflict zones around the world, or where terrorists have struck.
To be added to the prayer list, please send an email to Rev. Eric Anderson at: email@example.com.
First Cong'l Church of Darien
P The Rev. Dale B. Rosenberger
CE Ms. Kate Nelson
First Cong'l Church
P The Rev. Timothy E. Haut
CE Ms. Sybil Higgins
Y E. Bjornberg
First Cong'l Church of Derby, Inc.
IN The Rev. Marc Trister
CE Ms. Mary Delventhal
UCC in Devon
P The Rev. Karl H. Duetzmann
United Churches of Durham
P The Rev. Elven W. Riggles Jr.
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The Spirit Calendar: July 30, 2012 by Cecile Gilson, Assistant to the Conference Minister