Please come and join us every Sunday
Sunday School at 9am and Worship at 10am
First Congregational United Church of Christ, Watertown, SD Welcoming Statement
Based on welcoming statement from Prince of Peace Lutheran, Philadelphia, PA
Who is welcome here?
If you are Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Black, White, or multi-racial . . .
If you are three days old, 30 years old, or 103 years old . . .
If you are male or female or transgender . . .
If you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or not registered to vote . . .
If you are single, married, divorced, separated, or partnered . . .
If you are straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual . . .
If you are Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, or a life-long Congregationalist . . .
If you have never set foot in a church, attend only on Easter and Christmas, or attend every Sunday . . .
If you are fully-abled, living with a disability, or a person of differing abilities . . .
If you have or had addictions, phobias, mental illness, or physical illness . . .
If you own your own home, rent, live with your parents, or are homeless . . .
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!
This congregation is committed to being a loving and welcoming community.
In faithfulness to God, and to the best of our ability, we work to provide programs, ministries, fellowship, and pastoral care to all who seek God in this place.
We dedicate ourselves to living the UCC church’s motto:
“No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!”
A couple of years ago, my wife and I were discussing one day all of the upcoming events of the summer. The conversation left us a bit overwhelmed when we thought about all of the things we needed to do. We jokingly told each other that “we needed a vacation.” The thing of it was that only just a few weeks earlier, we had just taken a vacation – only most of the time away got taken up dealing with the details of a recently deceased relative’s estate. So, even though we recently had taken vacation time, it ended up not being very relaxing.
As we talked, we started daydreaming about how fun it would be to slip out of town on a secret get away. Well, the more we talked about it, the more the joke turned into solid plans. Before we knew it, we were plotting to stage our “run-away-from-home,” “shh! don’t tell anyone,” vacation, after some of the busyness calmed down. As with any trip, we had to take care of the details of being away from our responsibilities, so along with planning the trip itself, we began planning the details at home and at work. And, the more we took care of those various responsibilities, the larger the list grew of people who knew about our secret get-away. By the time we had taken care of everything, we had pretty much told everyone we knew about our trip – so much for quietly slipping out of town!
While driving down the interstate on our trip, I reflected on this situation of having so many connections that we couldn’t possibly slip away unnoticed without letting people know what we were doing. Though we could enjoy the fantasy of secretly leaving town, the reality is that we were accountable to too many people to leave our responsibilities unnoticed. As I thought about this fact, I realized that this phenomenon was actually a good thing.
The Apostle Paul referred to this inter-connectedness as being a part of the “Body of Christ.” Paul uses this image several times in his various letters. In the book of Ephesians, for instance, this image of being a part of a body is repeated many times and this image is fleshed out even more in Romans 12:4 & 5. The image of the body is developed best of all in I Corinthians 12:12-27. In these images, Paul explains that those who claim Christ as their Savior are a part of the church in the same way that different body parts form the whole of a body. We are not alone in our faith, we bless others with our unique set of gifts and abilities, and we are equally blessed by others. Because we are an integral part of the Body, we are accountable to the other parts of the Body and we have responsibilities toward each other. Paul sums it up in Romans 2:5 by saying: “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to the others.”
We can triumphantly say that we have connections! We are blessed and supported by others, and we have the responsibility to be a blessing to others.
Together we form the Body of Christ, a body that is inter-connected with each of the members. Since we are connected with each other, we need to share our needs with each other, and we need to actively seek ways to take care of the needs of others. We support each other, are accountable to each other, love each other, pray for each other, help each other, and together we are stronger together than we are apart. And together we spread the gospel message of God’s love and grace.
Grace and peace,
*If you want to know more about the Body of Christ image, read Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12.