Last week after worship we heard the second in a two-part series of talks about the history of how the Pilgrim faith evolved and how they decided to journey to a new land. Peggy O’Connor researched and spoke about the history of the Pilgrim Separatists, explaining what they went through in England, then in Holland and finally why they chose to come across the Atlantic on the Mayflower 399 years ago. Peggy’s talks took us right up through some of our own more modern history about the formation of the United Church of Christ in 1957. When I received this letter from Dr. John Dorhauer, Minister and President of our United Church of Christ, I was reminded of Peggy’s talk and the long sweep of history she explained.
I think that this letter from Dr. Dorhauer is a good way to continue this conversation about who we are as a people of God. He has invited all the ministers to share it with our churches.
And I hope to see you this weekend for communion- in which we celebrate our oneness around Christ’s table. We will offer the Sacrament of Communion at 10 am as usual, but also for the first time we will offer it also at the 8:30 service in the Chapel.
We are also sending the sermons and bulletins out to people who are shut-in or living in a nursing home. If you know someone who might be interested in receiving the sermon in written form please let Matt Scinto know in the church office. If you will not be in Harwich Port this weekend please join us on Facebook when we begin a new series of sermon on Healing.
A Pastoral Letter: That They May All Be One
January 28, 2019 Written by John Dorhauer
Dear Partners in Christ:
The vision of a body united –in purpose, in mission, in vision – is one that inspired the birth of our denomination. All of our spiritual impulses reverberate in an effort to call us into a more perfect union. Throughout our shared history as a people of faith and as a part of the Body of Christ, we have challenged ourselves to widen the circle of inclusion. Widening the circle has always come with growth pains as we shed old skins and welcome those whom we had previously thought unwelcome. And, with each new articulation of a more fully expressed Body of Christ we have realized new joy. Through it all we remain focused on the call to be one and committed to meeting the challenges inherent in that call.
We are now living in and through a season when the threats to unity are legion. Talk of walls that mark refugees as threats, labels like ‘terrorist’ that attach too easily to Muslims, overt racial bias that normalizes fear and hatred, a pandemic of abuse to women with the trigger reflex to forgive the men who author that abuse have turned America into a land many of us no longer recognize and that too many of us are finding harder and harder to reconcile with our faith.
Now more than ever, the Holy Spirit of the Living God and the Risen Christ is seeking to partner with anyone committed to unifying the human community. The gospel mandate to love our neighbor as we love ourselves resonates deep within us. It calls for the better angels among and within us to always resist impulses to hate, to condemn, to vilify, or to castigate. In such a time as this, the United Church of Christ’s call to fulfill the prayer of Jesus, that they may all be one, stands as an urgent mandate to disciples who envision a just world for all.
United with you in God’s service,
The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer General Minister and President