Reflecting on the end of the Olympics

Barbara Libby


I imagine that many of you had an opportunity to view various Olympic competitions, openings, and closings in August. My daughter, Sarah, had five different Olympic channels running simultaneously throughout the 16 days and was able to tape and watch a wide variety. She claims to have watched at least 25 of the 34 different sports and has her own list of favorites (and not so favorites)! There were some won derful moments when fellow athletes hugged one another, congratulated and cheered one ...

Millennials are - literally - at your doorstep

Tiffany Vail


If yours is like most mainline Protestant churches in Southern New England, you've spent a lot of time and energy wondering how you can get those 20- and 30-somethings to come to your church. What if I told you they are quite literally at your doorstep.

We live in difficult times

Barbara Libby


We live in difficult times. We are bombarded with bad news on too regular a basis. Last week in particular was one of those weeks. Last week I simply got overwhelmed with the pain, violence, and hurting of our nation. I found myself grieving and feeling helpless and hopeless in the face of our racism, gun violence, and mental illness. I have valued so many reflections (both grief and anger-filled) by friends and colleagues across the United Church of Christ. This is an anxious time. This is a ...

May we continue to find common ground

Barbara Libby


FDR once said, "We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization." I do not need to remind anyone that this country seems to be in a time of great rifts and schisms. There are forces at work among us that seem to encourage hatred and divisions among us - issues of racism, sexism, ageism, and homophobia - just to name a few. ...

RI Council of Churches Civil Rights Pilgrimage – April 2016


By Scott Spencer September 15, 1963 was youth Sunday at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL.   On this special day, the young people would lead the worship service with the boys wearing dark pants and white shirts and the girls wearing white dresses.  Carole Robertson would wear her first pair of heels that day. While 5 young girls prepared for worship following Sunday school in the women’s room, a powerful explosion went off directly beside the bathroom.  Eight-year-old ...

A History of The Watch Night Service


A Blog by Rev. Cleo Graham So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  ~John 8:36 On that first Freedom’s Eve, December 31, 1862, African American slaves in the south adapted an African custom which dates back to 1742, the Watch Night Service. They gathered in their churches and homes and waited, watched and prayed for freedom. They stayed awake from dusk to dawn, they tarried, prayed lamentations, they desperately watched and waited for the call to freedom. They probably sang: https:...

A Most Fitting Cross for a UCC Synod Gathering

Peggy Matteson


At Synod there was a cross on the stage where we gathered together to worship, to celebrate, and to do the business of the church. Approximately two feet by three feet, this cross was made of wood. Having a wooden cross is not unusual, but the characteristics of this particular cross were unique. This cross is composed of many pieces of wood. They are of various sizes and colors, including hues from light tan to deep brown. These pieces of wood are attached in a seemingly random matter that ...

Barbara's Blurb July 2015

Barbara Libby


It is interesting to try to sum up what a week of the United Church of Christ 30th Synod (held in Cleveland, Ohio in late June of 2015) is really like! So hold onto your hat and here goes my effort to summarize: Very long and full days of meetings, meals, conversations, and walks to and from our hotels… Resolutions from across the country about a wide variety of topics that warranted multiple meetings to discuss, wordsmith, and eventually bring to the whole body for consideration, more ...

Barbara's Blurb for May 20, 2015

Barbara Libby


Reading Changes Lives is a current national United Church of Christ initiative to improve reading literacy.  It is a justice issue that one in five adults here in the United States (20%) lack reading skills beyond a fourth grade level. As you have read there are several ways that you and your church can help our neighbors learn how to read. One way is through the Service Project at Synod in Cleveland, Ohio in late June when 1000 backpacks for elementary school age children will be prepared.  ...

Barbara’s Blurb for Week of May 13, 2015

Barbara Libby


Early in the day I was examining on Facebook the latest document from the PEW Research Center about the 2014 Religious Landscape Study which states that “The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing…”   Although this isn’t really new news to any of us who’ve been in the church for a few years or who have watched our congregations not fill the pews in our churches, it is still startling to me to...

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