Month: February 2019

A true story: Sendhil Mullainathan is a professor of economics at Harvard, and Eldar Shafir is a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton. A few years ago, they decided to work together to study a subject that doesn’t get a lot of attention: scarcity.  They wanted to know what happens to our brains and our behavior when we don’t have enough money or food or time or whatever. And they wanted to know how we could help people who don’t have enough money or food or time or whatever. One day, they told an economist colleague of…
The Kingdom of Heaven is like this: A mustard seed is a very small seed. It’s not necessarily the smallest seed in the whole world, but it’s small. And in Jesus’ time and Jesus’ land, it grew wild. It’s not the kind of plant that someone would plant in a well-kept garden, where you want your crops all laid out in nice clean rows. But a man took a mustard seed and planted it in his garden, and it grew. It grew so big that it became a shrub. And it grew so great that it became a tree….
If you read my columns in the Carillon Notes, then you know that I’m embarking on a personal project during Black History Month. I’m trying to add Black (or predominantly Black) media to my usual media diet. Admittedly, I wasn’t as active in my search for media this week as I was last week. Sometimes, life gets in the way, and even good projects get pushed to the side. That said, I do want to highlight a few items that I’ve come across in the last couple of weeks that I think are good: Black History Month Includes Black Queer…
I majored in philosophy.  Now, before you judge, I majored in philosophy during the philosophy boom of the late 90s, when there was a major philosopher shortage and all of the big philosophy firms were hiring. I had no idea that the philosophy market would collapse right before I graduated. Either that, or I majored in philosophy because I was in my late teens, and I like big questions, and it was interesting (and maybe even a little romantic). But regardless of the reason, I majored in philosophy. And one of the things that philosophers like to do is…
If you read my columns in the Carillon Notes, then you know that I’m embarking on a personal project during Black History Month. I’m trying to add Black (or predominantly Black) media to my usual media diet. Because I’m looking to change my media diet, I’m not looking so much for books or articles, even though I have been reading a few articles. That’s because those kinds of media tend to be one-off. Once I’ve read a book, I’ve read that book. And while I might read that book again sometime, it isn’t something that I’ll keep reading day in…
Believe it or not, spring is coming! And spring faith formation activities are coming with it. Faith in Motion is a youth program that combines learning about faith and compassion with plenty of physical activity! Each week, participants spend about a half hour learning about a Christian value and how to put it into action in their lives, and about a half an hour playing a game. Click here to learn more and see the schedule. Young Children’s Church is a time for our younger friends to learn about God with their peers and our helpful volunteers. Pre-K kids…
Please join us for special Lenten programming this year. Pastor Chris will lead a discussion of Rachel Held Evans’ book Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church. Here’s the back cover copy: Like millions of her millennial peers, Rachel Held Evans didn’t want to go to church anymore. The hypocrisy, the politics, the gargantuan building budgets, the scandals–church culture seemed so far removed from Jesus. Yet, despite her cynicism and misgivings, something kept drawing her back to Church. And so she set out on a journey to understand Church and to find her place in it. Centered around seven sacraments, Evans’ quest takes readers through…
Have you been attending First Congregational United Church of Christ for a while? Are you interested in becoming a member of our community? Pastor Chris will start leading new member classes on Sunday, March 3! The time and number of classes will depend on how many people are interested. If you would like to explore membership at First Congregational, or if you know of someone who might like to, please send a message to Pastor Chris! Facebook Twitter Buffer…
This is a reprint of my column from the February 2019 Carillon Notes. It’s no secret that we’re a pretty white church in a pretty white town, in a pretty white county, in a pretty white state. DeWitt, Clinton county, and Iowa are about 97%, 92%, and 86% white, respectively. While everyone’s experience is a little different, that it’s easy for most of us to go through our days without being in a predominantly Black space… or even having a face-to-face conversation with someone who is Black. And what’s true in our daily lives is also true in our media consumption: I know that a lot of the books and websites…
Way back at the end of November, when we were decorating the church for Christmas, we got the Advent wreath and the Advent candles out. I wanted to make sure that they were okay, so I lit them. Later, we finished decorating, turned out the lights, locked up the church, and left. And I was sure that I had blown out the candles… but there was a little itchy feeling in the back of my brain: what if I hadn’t blown them out? What if I burned down the church? I get that feeling—that itchy feeling in the back…

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Ash Wednesday (February 26)

Ashes to Go

Can't make it to worship? Join Pastor Chris in the church parking lot for ashes to go on Wednesday from noon to 1pm (weather permitting).

Dinner and Worship

Join us at DeWitt's United Methodist Church for a light dinner at 6pm and worship at 7pm.