Richmond Congregational Church
Rev. Marjorie MacNeill Interim Pastor • 20 Church St. • P.O. Box 302 • Richmond VT, 05477
(802) 434-2053 • Email: email@example.com • Facebook: www.facebook.com/rccucc
Sunday Worship September-June: 10:00 AM with
Sunday School and Nursery care
Church office hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 8:30am - 3:00pm
Open and Affirming • All are Welcome
|March 2014 Reflections|
Dear Members and Friends of Richmond Congregational Church (UCC)
On the western edge of Tucson, Arizona, out near the Saguaro cactus, there is a retreat center where I received training in the mid-1990s for the pastoral specialty of interim ministry and where I was touched by the unique spirit of the desert here in southeast Arizona where I am visiting once again as I write my pastor’s letter.
On the wall in the retreat’s chapel are the paraphrased words of Hosea 2:14 - "The desert will lead you to your heart where I will speak."
I have found that this part of the world – with its rugged landscape and beautiful birds and flowers – is just that sort of place for spiritual renewal - for getting in touch with what is important in my own journey of life and faith. Some find here a place of silent contemplation while others are moved by the spirituality of our Native American sisters and brothers. Others are touched by the continuing majesty of the mission church while many have discovered very differing spiritual paths in this powerful place.
I have continued to return to southeast Arizona to take in its beauty (and birding opportunities) with my partner, Carole, and this time with each of my grown daughters as we’ve created a special time together for which I am deeply grateful. And my own spirituality – an ever-growing discipleship that’s about Jesus and about justice, about welcome, inclusivity, and LOVE – never fails to be both challenged and deepened here whenever I encounter the issues with which Arizona’s people always seem to be struggling.
Every year the ubiquitous presence of the Border Patrol, the expanded detention centers, and the nearby fence which defines the US/Mexican border bring more closely to mind all the complex immigration issues with which we struggle as Americans. When we were here two years ago, the state decided to ban all diversity classes in the local high schools, a decision about which there was great backlash. This year the issue is about how welcoming Arizona will be of gay/lesbian residents and visitors. Really?? Will the AZ Governor sign the latest discriminatory bill – or not? We will know by the time you read this. It’s discouraging certainly, but I am also greatly and always moved and made hopeful by the outspokenness and courage of the Progressive Christian churches here in Arizona who work for justice, who give hope to those people of Arizona who are often at the margins of society – just as Jesus gave hope to the outsiders of his time and place.
May there always be such witness to the Gospel and may it inspire us along the Way.
Blessings, Rev. Marjorie MacNeill, interim pastor