Events – Folder

When Words Fail

Wes Head ShotWes Mullins, Senior Pastor

For the better part of the last two weeks, I enjoyed some spectacular time with MCC folk from all around the globe.  People were gathered from the Philippines, Australia, the UK, Russia, Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, the U.S., and more.  It was our 25th General Conference, held in MCC’s 45th year of existence, and the mood at our gathering in Chicago was just electric!

I spent the first several days in training on how to teach the class we will offer here this fall entitled, “Creating a Life that Matters.”  It is going to be a powerful and life-changing class for those who choose to attend.

During and especially after that training, work began to transform a hotel ballroom into a sanctuary.  By the time the opening worship service of General Conference came, people were so ready!  A 25-piece band scored the music for worship (hear trumpets and trombones and timpani and piano), banners and the cross and candles led the way into worship (see the teens carrying these items), and then all the clergy in MCC processed in (see scores of clergy of all ages and colors dressed in robes), and then the end of the processional was marked by the entrance of our leadership.  Rev. Elder Troy Perry led them in, the Founder of MCC and the recent victor in the Supreme Court case Hollingsworth v. Perry.  Boy did that room ignite when they saw Troy!  He was then followed in by all our current leaders, Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, our Moderator, being the last.

If you can imagine that scene with about 1300 MCCers present and singing, then you have some idea of what the first 2-3 minutes of General Conference was like!  And there was five full days of that.  It was quite a wonderful mix of powerful moments, tears, hope, loss, joy, and celebration.  When it comes right down to it, it is hard to put experiences like this into words.  It is like trying to explain how you feel when you come home from a retreat or when you are leaving a particularly powerful Sunday morning service.  Sometimes words just fail us.  So, as words are failing me now, I simply say this:  The Spirit of God moved through 1500 people in ways that we will never fully know but in ways we felt in our bones and hearts and souls.  And it was very good.

Want to know more?  Ask me or your lay delegates, Robin and Kevin!

 

Lasting Friendships

Denise Foerch Spiritual DirectorDenise Foerch, Spiritual Director

I’m very excited that Nori is with us this morning.  I had the privilege of spending about 10 of the 12 years she was with us, ministering under her leadership here, mostly within the music ministry.  And it was important to both Ann and I that she was able to officiate our Holy Union ceremony, 12 years ago.

When I met with Nori for the first time, she was kind and thoughtful while listening to my story.  She didn’t tell me what do (although that’s what I was hoping for), but said she would be praying for me as I processed and moved through my journey.  She did help my journey by connecting me with another woman, whose story was similar to mine.  Nori sent flowers to my work in PPMCC’s name, reminding me in words and flowers that God loves me.  She believed in me.

As the Praise Band Leader I enjoyed working with Nori, coordinating the music with the rest of the service.  She was supportive and encouraging.  We both love reading and often shared books with each other.  Nori introduced me to Sue Monk Kidd by encouraging me to read When the Heart Waits – which continues to be a favorite of mine.  We discovered that we both like Barbara Kingsolver.  She even got me to read a couple Dean Koontz books.

As I watched her life path begin to change, I knew that at some point she would need to move on to something else.  Since then, I’ve only had the chance to watch her from a distance.  And somehow I wasn’t really surprised that she ended up at All Soul’s Unitarian church as their Minister.  It’s where she started – where many of us started.

Our paths are separate now, but my heart still connects with her journey.  She was my mentor for a while, and sometimes through her Facebook postings, she still is my mentor.  Welcome, Nori.  It’s so good to have you here!

 

Encourage One Another

Shirley Lamontagne Office Manager AdministratorShirley Lamontagne, Director of Administration

In Hebrews 3, we are commanded by God to “Encourage One Another Daily”.  Notice in this passage that God is not commanding us to encourage each other once a month or once a week, but daily!  I truly believe that everyone wants to do their best at whatever they are doing and that they want to make a positive contribution every day.  However, no matter how hard we try there are days when we all encounter bumps and bruises along the way.  It is during these times that an encouraging word provides us with the permission needed to forgive ourselves or forgive others and start all over again.

I thought I knew exactly how important words of encouragement can be for someone, until our all church retreat last month.  During retreat we did an affirmation activity where each person gave and received affirmations.  Instantly, through receiving the affirmations our souls were connected more deeply then ever before.  The love we experienced through this activity tore down all the walls that we, as humans, build up over time.  After this affirmation activity, I went from knowing how important words of encouragement are to internalizing how encouraging words can transform our lives.  I learned that even as adults we all need encouragement to validate that we matter and what are doing with our lives matter.  This activity illustrated exactly what God has commanded us to do, encourage one another.

It is comforting for me to know that on days I need encouragement all I have to do is walk through the doors of our church.  There is always someone to say a kind word that lifts my spirit to a better place.  I am also comforted by the fact that God did not put any restrictions or conditions on this command.  Everybody has the ability to give and receive encouragement because God loves and values us all.  My ending prayer for all of us today is that  we find a person to encourage.  It doesn’t matter whether that person is here among our church family or out in the community, what matters is that we spread God’s message of encouragement and love, everyday!

Each time we meet, you always say, some word of praise that makes my day.
— Author Unknown