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!”
PAM’S PONDERING for FEBRUARY
Increasing the Love
We are nearing that special "24 Hours of Love"…Valentine's Day!
According to Webster's Dictionary the definition of love is strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, or attraction based on desire, affection and tenderness.
Scripture however gives a very different view of love: love is kind, love is patient, and love is long suffering. It honors others, esteems others higher, it rejoices in truth. Love always protects, it always trusts, it always hopes; love perseveres. Love is a choice! These are the oft spoken tenents of love, according to 1 Corinthians 13, shared at so many weddings and other 'love' occasions.
This all-encompassing scripture seems like it is all we need to know about love, however, there is another love concept to consider. We all give love and receive love differently. A well-known Christian leader has written that there are five love languages! In case you have not discovered yours, let's review briefly what a love language is. Generally the five ways to express and experience love are receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. According to experts, to discover another person's love language one must observe the way they express love to others, and analyze what they request from their significant others in their lives. People tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love, and better communication can be accomplished when one can demonstrate caring to the other person in the love language the recipient understands. For example, if your personal love language is giving; you express your love towards others by giving gifts, and feel loved in return when you receive a gift. Others primary love language may be when someone spends time with them, or when they are being served, or wonderful words of affirmation are being spoken to them or about them!
Jesus's greatest commands involve loving Him, loving yourself, and thereby loving others. By exploring your love language and that of your loved ones, your very own relationships may improve exponentially! One simple prayer for this goal of greater love in one's life, comes from Romans 5:5. "Heavenly Father we ask that you would increase the love that you have shed abroad in my heart. In Jesus Name, amen."
Take a moment this Valentine's Day to share your love language with someone close to you.
~~ Pam Hardie
Rev. Isaiah Brokenleg Speaks on Cultural Dimensions
On January 12 Rev. Brokenleg, former Vicar of Trinity Episcopal Church, presented a class he described as a "foundation for cultural dialogue". He shared about the various components that are fundamental in understanding culture.
These elements include individualism, collectivism (group view point), harmony (fit in or break with the status quo), instant gratification versus a long term orientation, time (past, present or future) hierarchy, etc.
He described each of them and how they affect our ’lens’ in which we process culture through.
In addition, he pointed out how different our gestures, language, work ethic, decision making, norms, status, food, kinship,
conflict, religion, and so much more, make up our culture and traditions as well.
He explained about instances in which he saw things differently than someone from a western or European background.
Two examples came up in conversations about these diverse cultural view points. The first was how 'white man' describe a historical event in textbooks as the 1862 Dakotah Uprising, while Indian people view
the same event as the 'Incident' and from a totally different perspective.
Another point came up at the Ministerial Association meeting while I was sharing about the class at our church. I was informed
by several in attendance that Rev. Isaiah, a member of Rosebud, had stated that the term Indian was what he wanted to be referred to, NOT Native American. An interesting discussion ensued about how we of European descent were taught to be sensitive to that description 'Indian' and thought we were being more honoring in using the latter term.
This is an example of how important cultural dialogue is to avoid offense, expose misconceptions and heal wounds.
We wish Rev. Isaiah much success in his new position as Staff member to the Bishop of the International Episcopal Church. ~~~ Pam Hardie
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!