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  • Writer's pictureTom Emanuel


“For me, walking in a hard Dakota wind can be like staring at the ocean: humbled before its immensity, I also have a sense of being at home on this planet.” –Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

If you were at the Annual Meeting this past Sunday, or even if you weren’t, you will have heard my announcement that I don’t plan to stay on as UCC Watertown’s pastor beyond the end of my contract in July. This may come as a surprise to many of you, and I’m more than happy to answer any questions you have.

If you were around on Sunday, I also hope you were able to hear my sermon, in which I gave an impassioned defense of small towns like Cana of Galilee, or Watertown of South Dakota for that matter, as precisely the kinds of places where God is likely to work miracles. No matter what our future together looks like, I believe that with every fiber of my being.

And I want you to know that, as long as I am your minister, I am fully committed to this community. God IS still speaking in Watertown, SD, that is so clear to me even in the six months I’ve spent in this wonderful community so far. God is still speaking through your warmth and generosity of spirit, your willingness to pitch in and lend a hand, your ever-expanding practice of extravagant welcome. Water is already turning to wine here, folks. And God is inviting us to trust in that abundance, even when our plans change and we fear the wells may run dry.

Indeed, I’ve found that those moments are the very ones in which God is getting ready “to do a new thing… do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

In that spirit, I share a new song I wrote for all of us at UCCW, “God Is Still Speaking." I can’t wait to sing it with you this Sunday and each week for the rest of Epiphany. As we move through the coming weeks, I pray that we will take up our UCCW motto: resolve to love, agree to disagree, and unite to serve the world as Children of a God who is always composing new songs.

Even here. Even now.

Blessin’s, --Tom

QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK: What do you love about your hometown? What do you love about your spiritual community, if you have one? What does it take to make a place feel like “home” for you?

["God Is Still Speaking" words + music (c) 2019 by Tom Emanuel]

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