Please come and join us every Sunday
Sunday School at 9am
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!”
“Door Is Difficult – Keep Trying”
A story is told about a woman who got trapped in a public restroom. It seemed that the lock was stuck and she couldn’t open the door. With the panic rising, she then noticed a note taped to the door: “Door is difficult – keep trying.” Being assured that she wasn’t really trapped, but just needed to put more effort into it, the woman was able to free herself with some vigorous jiggling!
The same is true for those of us who follow Jesus Christ. Though we may find ourselves in situations, where it seems like the proverbial door won’t open, take heart: the door will open! The message that the woman found on the bathroom door is the same message that God gives us: ‘the door is difficult – keep trying.’ In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus told a parable to teach that we should always pray and not give up. The story tells of a poor widow who kept pleading her case to an unjust judge. The judge eventually decided to grant the widow her request. The point that Jesus made in this story was that if an unjust judge will grant justice, won’t God (who is supremely just and greatly loves us) all the more take care of the needs of God’s people in a timely way? The answer is a resounding YES! But God invites us into the struggle. God challenges us to be persistent and to be faithful in praying and working toward the solutions to our problems. The door is difficult – but keep trying!
All of us have problems that at times cause us to feel trapped. ‘How are we going to get out of this?’ we wonder. ‘When will we get relief?’ ‘When will this situation relent?’ Some of us are facing health concerns. Some may be dealing with relationship issues, or a financial problem. Maybe you’ve been praying and working for a solution with no change seeming to come. Maybe we feel like giving up. Don’t! Remember, the door is difficult – keep trying!
Grace and peace,
Click Here for Walking Suggestions
The Church Council at their May meeting gave me permission to inform you about the part of my ministry called the Satyagraha Institute, and to solicit your prayers and contributions.
Beginning in 2015, the Institute has been working to train participants in alternatives to violence as a "way of life". We want people to have the tools to change their personal way of being in the world as well as the social structures that continue to degrade and destroy.
We use the word Satyagraha coined by Mahatma Gandhi. Liberally translated, it means holding firm to God's truth. We recognize that none has the Truth with a capitol T. All fall short. It is only in seeking the resolution of conflict as if through the eyes of God, that we begin to see the way forward. Then we need the skills of conflict resolution to walk that path.
We rely on our faculty: Gandhian scholars, religious practitioners, peace and justice activists, artists, and indigenous elders, to lead us to new insights and commitments. We gather together long enough to build strong bonds of fellowship. We meet in a sacred and renewing place, our own camp Placerville in the Black Hills.
We understand there are two major threats today to the human family, indeed, to all of God's good creation. War and the threat of nuclear war is one. A changing climate is the other. Both are the consequence of our violence, against each other and the earth. The vision projected by Gandhi for a different way of being in the world is similar to Martin Luther King's "the Beloved Community," much indigenous wisdom, and the way of Jesus proclaimed in the Gospels. These are our deepest models and teachers at the Institute and our spiritual weapons against the violence of our time.
The Institute has been growing a little each year internationally. We just completed a program in Ghana with forty some participants, mostly college age. A second program in Nigeria drew over 500 applications, with several attending from other African nations. Our Mexico program will happen in late July. We will be at Placerville August 5-14 and are still accepting applications for that program. If you or someone you know is interested, applications are available online at: www.satyagrahainstitute.org
You are also able to donate on line. Or if you prefer, I will make a brochure and contribution envelope available in the narthex later in June. For members of the UCC, your contribution does double duty, as we will leave between $6,000 and $10,000 with the camp.
For me, the persons attending these programs strengthen my hope for a less violent, more just and peaceful world. One by one, we make a difference!