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!”
Pastor's May Ponderings
I was reading in Psalm 51 some time ago and when I read verse 10, I thought, “That makes a wonderful prayer.” The verse reads like this: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” The Psalm writer wrote these words during a low point in his life when he came face to face with his wrong-doing. Woven into this prayer of confession and grief over his sin, the psalm-writer asked that God would show him how to live properly. His prayer was that God would help him to live his life in a way that is righteous and free from the shackles that sin puts in our lives.
What struck me when I read this verse was that it can be used as a breath prayer. What is a breath prayer? A breath prayer is a prayer that is short enough to say in the time it takes to breathe in and breathe out. It can go like this:” [breathe in] Create in me a clean heart, O God, [breathe out] and renew a right spirit within me.”
Another breath prayer that I like is a bit longer but is still short enough to pray within the time it takes to inhale and exhale. It comes from Psalm 139, verses 23 & 24. It goes like this: “[breathe in] Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts. [Breathe out] See if there is any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way.” These two verses could also be prayed with two cycles of breathing in and out. From the Catholic tradition, we are given the breath prayer: “Jesus, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
Breath prayers are helpful to use when we are distressed or are in a situation that prevents us from praying for an extended period of time. Breath prayers are helpful when we are at a loss of words and don’t know what to pray. A quick breath prayer is helpful when we are suddenly faced with dangers, plagued with doubts, tested by temptations, harassed by trials, and overcome with sadness. It is helpful as a response to an unexpected situation, or when we are overwhelmed with the situation and we don’t know what else to pray. Many people have created their own breath prayer and use it frequently throughout the many experiences of the day.
People have used breath prayers to be in continual prayer over a situation of concern and continue praying for that situation all day with their special breath prayer that addresses the concern. Sometimes a quick prayer can come to us based on the current situation we find ourselves in; whether we are experiencing joy or experiencing sorrow, we can offer a quick prayer that fits that situation. If you haven’t before, perhaps you might try creating a breath prayer (or two) of your own. It’s as easy as breathing in, and breathing out!
Prayer: [breathe in] Lord, in your mercy, [breathe out] hear our prayer.
Celebrate the resurrection!
*Read: Psalms 51 & 139