'You matter': UCC leaders spotlight small, rural congregations during first-ever national gathering - United Church of Christ
For three evenings Pastor Liz and Marcie Miller attended an online conference that focused on small, rural congregations within the UCC. On the final evening we gathered at the church, and were joined by Craig Clark, for a keynote address by the United Church of Christ General Minister and President, the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer. His message, repeated throughout the three days, resonated with us and with many of the other attendees: "The ministry of small congregations in rural towns is just as vital to their communities as those of larger ones in bigger cities." “It really doesn’t matter where you are or who you are or how big you are,” Dorhauer said during a keynote address during the event’s final day. “If you live fully into the call of the Gospel, you are where you need to be, you are who you need to be and you can make the difference that God needs in the world.” He added that each church's mission should allow the faith communities to let go of worries about scarcity and diminishing populations. Dorhauer asserted. “I want us to abandon the notion, the myth that bigger means better and that the determination of our success is how much we’ve grown this year over last year,” he said. “We are measuring the wrong things, we are noticing the wrong things and, in doing so, we can fail to notice the beauty that happens just because we are who we are right now.”
Over the course of three evenings, we experienced a number of uplifting stories and workshops offered by a variety of small church clergy, experts in rural church ministry and UCC leaders from the national setting. The event was presented by the new Coalition for UCC Rural Churches and Ministries and the UCC Justice and Local Church Ministries’ Faith INFO team. It was co-hosted by the Rev. Roberto Ochoa, UCC minister for ethnic inclusion and congregational support for rural and small churches; the Rev. Marc Stewart, Conference Minister of the Montana-Northern Wyoming Conference; and the Rev. Amelia Price, pastor of St. Paul’s Verdilla UCC in Selinsgrove, Pa. It also featured virtual choirs from Hawaii and the Penn Central Conference and highlighted an informative presentation by Jonathan LeMaster-Smith, a United Methodist-affiliated professor with expertise in studying rural ministry. The event highlighted how we can effectively use technology to gather together!
Feedback was exceedingly positive, as attendees reported being energized and feeling validated by the overwhelming sense of purpose that we have in our small church settings. Pastor Liz and Marcie also report that it was a very valuable and useful experience and provided us with numerous connections with other churches throughout the country, who are engaged in vital and unique ministry within their small and often rural church settings.
"Small is Beautiful" is the overriding message!
For more details see the link to the article published on February 14, 2023 which highlights the online conference: 'You matter': UCC leaders spotlight small, rural congregations during first-ever national gathering - United Church of Christ. Or see Pastor Liz, Marcie or Craig if you have questions or comments.
RINDGE GOT LUNCH Christmas Break
Volunteering at 155 main St - Parsonage
Volunteers will be needed on
Monday 12/18 4:30 - 5:30 for packing the groceries.
Wednesday 12/20 4:30 - 5:30 we will packing the produce to be delivered Thursday 12/21. Or just stop in and say Hello!
Ministers: The People of the Church
Pastor: The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth M. Magill (Liz)
Music Director: Pat Frederick
*ANNOUNCEMENTS* All are welcome to Join
Third Sunday 11 am Ministry Assembly
Second Wednesday 10 am Caring Cards & More
Third Saturday 1:30 Charity Crafters
Bridging Differences is having community conversations on 4th Tuesday - 6:30 in Jan 2024
Advent Conspiracy Study Wed 3:30 - 5 pm: - Rindge - Nov 29, Dec 13 Ashburnham Dec 6 & 20
Holiday Mart with Gift cards, Poinsettias and more! Sunday Dec 3 & 10 following service
Friday Dec 15 Project Shakespeare Christmas Carol
Saturday Dec 16 LIVE NATIVITY 5-7
December 21 Longest Night Worship in Ashburnham 5 pm
Decembers 24 Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 7pm
No in person service Sunday Dec 31 - Happy New Year!
Sunday Services at 10 am
Rindge Church Address: 6 Payson Hill Road Rindge NH
Parsonage (got Lunch) 155 Main St Rindge NH
Ashburnham Church Address: 6 Chapel Street, 84 Main Street Ashburnham MA