Barbara's Blurb about Peace

Barbara Libby


Last Saturday night I returned from a four day national UCC Conference where nearly 150 of us gathered in Savannah, GA to imagine the future of ministry in the 21st century.  We were conference and associate conference ministers as well as national staff from the 38 United Church of Christ conferences across the country.  I met many new colleagues in ministry as well as reconnected with old friends.  We resourced one another about best practices in our conferences and shared concerns and ...

3rd Annual RIC UCC "Advent Adventures" Youth Event a great success!

Peggy Matteson


Fifty youth and leaders gathered at Newman Congregational Church on Saturday, Nov. 30th. They were a joyful group as they ate, sang, dialogued, played games, and created a special candle to take home. This was the third time some youth have attended to this annual event! After participants were grouped by grades, 5th through 8th, they rotated through four activity centers, each one designed for both learning and fellowship. Sweet Treats & Sweet Christmas Sounds - Here they made ice cream ...

Barbara's Blurb

Barbara Libby


Some of you may already know that Advent is one of my most favorite times of the year. I love the lights and the decorations and the setting up of my crèche collection from around the world.  I love the baking and the sharing of my favorite Christmas cookies. I love the four weeks of Advent as a time of preparation, a time of expectant waiting, a time of holding each day as a special gift - enhanced since I was a child by the daily opening of Advent calendars- both paper and now even, ...

Barbara's Blurb for Thanksgiving Week

Barbara Libby


In the words of the familiar Thanksgiving hymn, “Come, O thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home; all is safely gathered in, as the winter storms begin; God our Maker does provide for our wants to be supplied; come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.” However, it is clear that this week has been and will be full of ups and downs... Even as we approach this Thursday's National Holiday of Thanksgiving we know that there are those for whom this day will be ...

Reconstructing Church

Todd Grant Yonkman


Reconstructing Church By the Rev. Dr. Todd Grant Yonkman In October, I had the honor of presenting a workshop based on my book Reconstructing Church: Tools for Turning Your Congregation Around at Super Saturday, a joint project of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences. I’m grateful for this opportunity to engage these conversations, which are absolutely critical to the future of the congregations we love. Mainline Protestant churches could be thought of as the back of America’s hands:...

Barbara's Blog

Barbara Libby


As concerns and fear about the Ebola epidemic continue to increase I feel compelled to address here some of the harsh realities of this epidemic and to invite each of us to respond as individuals and church communities as we are able. As many of you already know Rhode Island has one of the biggest Liberian communities in the US; that community, our partners in Global Ministries, and Dr. Fine of the RI Dept. of Health are keeping us informed about the increasing urgency of the situation in ...

Thoughts on Stewardship: Excel in Giving

Susan Rotblat-Walker


Since you excel in so many ways - you have so much faith, such enthusiasm, and such love for us – now I want you to excel also in the gracious ministry of giving.  (2 Corinthians 8:7 NLT) In this passage from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, he compliments their devotion to Christ yet reminds them they are also expected to excel in giving!  As the Rev. Gwendolyn Kirkland has observed, “We can become scared and operate from a mentality of scarcity instead of seeing the true abundance around ...

An Anchor in Life's Storms

William Sterrett


With great regularity I hear people complain about what an albatross their church building is. Always in need of repair; spending money on bricks and mortar, while the needs of the hungry and homeless go unmet. I have also heard a clamor for moving church out of the building and bringing it to where the people are. Some are even saying, “Jettison the building and move your ministry to the streets. That is where Jesus did his ministry.” These are compelling arguments for trying to do “church” ...

Church Growth

William Sterrett


My church, Amicable Church, is filled with a wonderful group of people; people who are committed to serving God, their neighbor, and the world. It is a welcoming and loving community. What I have just described fits pretty much all the churches of our beloved Rhode Island Conference, because our churches are home to such welcoming, loving faith communities. Thus, it is a surprise to me that so many of our churches, mine included, share something else in common: great struggles to maintain ...

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