We Are A People!


The Spirit Calendar

A Weekly Devotional from the Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ


May 08, 2017


This week's author is the Rev. Kent J. Siladi, Conference Minister for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:10 (NRSV)

Once you were not a people,
   but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
   but now you have received mercy.

Reflection:

Who are your people? Have you ever been asked that question? If yes, how do you answer? If not, how might you answer?
 
If I was asked that question I could answer it in a number of ways. I could say "my" people are the members of my nuclear and extended family. I could say "my" people are the staff of the Conference with whom I work and carry out ministry. I could say "my" people are my friends who stick with me in spite of my myriad faults and personality traits. I could say "my" people are the members of the United Church of Christ who are bound together by covenant and by the values which we hold in common. I could say "my" people are those who have the same values and ideals that I do.
 
The Biblical record talks about God forming a people. The nation of Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures came together to be a light to the nations and to bear witness to God to the world. The Christian community becomes a people at Pentecost when the Spirit breaks forth and the Church is formed. These two "peoples" help us to understand our own heritage as God’s people.
 
I believe that we are connected one to the other. Our interdependence is a pre-existing condition which binds us to one another. We are not people who are supposed to run around touting our privilege rather we are called to be light bearers and love sharers and to work to make this world a more just, loving and compassionate place. We can accomplish more together. We were formed as a people to make a difference. We were formed as a people to proclaim God’s extravagant love for all of God’s children. As the new vision statement of the United Church of Christ proclaims we are, "United in Christ, a just world for all."

Prayer:

Thank you, God, that you have called us to be a people. Help us to be a people who make an impact and who make this world a better place. Help us to do this with glad and generous hearts.
 
Special Prayer Requests:
  • The family and friends of Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, who was killed during military operations in Somalia. Milliken is the first U.S. service member to be killed in Africa since 1993.
  • a prayer of joy as to colors of Spring bloom around us; and
  • blessings to mother's everywhere as we celebrate Mother's Day this Sunday.
Continuing Requests:
  • Those suffering or grieving a shooting in San Diego which left 2 dead, including the shooter, and 6 wounded on May 30;
  • those suffering or grieving in Seoul, South Korea after falling crane killed 6 workers and injured more than 20 others on May 1;
  • those living in the U.S. South and Midwest as violent weather continues after weekend storms left at least 15 dead;
  • Audrey Touloukian, granddaughter of Rev. Janice Touloukian, who is recovering after being hit by a car while biking on April 30;
  • the family and friends of Rev. Vernon Phelps, retired UCC and Methodist pastor, who died on April 26;
  • those grieving after a house fire in New York City killed 5 including 4 children on April 23;
  • those grieving in Fresno after a gunmen killed 4 people in two incidents on April 13 & 18;
  • the family and friends of Rev. Russell Ayre, retired UCC pastor who served several churches in CT. Ayre died April 10;
  • the people of Syria, where a gas attack on April 4 killed more than 80 people causing an escalation in military responses;
  • those grieving or suffering after 2 bombings at Christian churches in Egypt on April 9 killed more than 40 and left many others injured;
  • Rev. Sara Smith, Senior Pastor of United Congregational Church of Bridgeport, who is recovering from an injury;
  • Mark Engstrom, member of the CT Conference Board of Directors, and his wife Nina, who are facing health issues;
  • the community of Conway, MA, and the United Congregational Church, UCC, Conway after a tornado touched down on Feb. 25 causing significant structural damage;
  • he people of South Sudan where nearly 1 million people are facing famine;
  • Richard "Ned" Bunell, member of First Congregational Church of Canton Center, who was hospitalized for an illness and is now recovering;
  • John Polglase, husband of the Rev. Betsey Polglase, Pastor of the Columbia Congregational Church UCC, who has chronic pulmonary disease;
  • the members and staff of Thompson Congregational Church after a fire severely damage the building on Dec. 29;
  • Michael White, former Operations Manager at Silver Lake Conference Center, who was diagnosed with colon cancer;
  • Juliane Silver, the daughter of the Rev. Jim Silver of Middletown, who is in dire need of a liver transplant. We pray that a donor will come forward giving the gift of life and a portion of their liver to Juliane;
  • Chacy Eveland, husband of the Rev. Marcia Eveland, pastor of the First Congregational Church UCC of Ansonia, who has been moved to a full-time facility for care of dementia;
  • the thousands of migrants worldwide who flee from violence and persecution in search of safety;
  • our ecumenical partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery in South Korea;
  • 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 Drew Page at: drewp@ctucc.org.

Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:

Hebron
Gilead Congregational Church UCC

Denise M Esslinger - P
Stephanie Haines - CE
Bruce Gale - MM
 
Higganum
Higganum Congregational Church

Tomi Jacobs-Ziobro - P
 
Ivoryton
Ivoryton Congregational Church, UCC

John C. Van Epps - P
 
Kensington
Kensington Congregational Church

Olivia H. Robinson - P
Gwen McCann - CE
Allen M Humes - PE
 
Kent
The First Congregational Church of Kent

Melinda M. Keck - P 
 

The Spirit Calendar: May 08, 2017 , by Kent Siladi.