Posts Tagged ‘transformation’

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Transformation and the United Church of Christ

February 8, 2012

Phil Hart & Patricia de JongThe church is a transformative place. We are changing and being changed. And the United Church of Christ has some particular gifts for this time in our culture and world as things change so rapidly all around us.

In a dialog sermon, Conference Minister Phil Hart, of the Northern California Nevada Conference, and First Church Senior Minister Patricia de Jong share their thoughts on this subject.

In  particular, you will want to hear their own personal stories of being transformed by the United Church of Christ which occurs at about 14 minutes into the video.

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Places for Grace

December 22, 2011

Throughout the Advent Season, we have been looking for “Places for Grace”—in our lives, in the world and in the stories of the season leading up to the birth of Jesus. Each Sunday we have explored Grace in a variety of ways using personal stories, scripture, music and preaching. Here are some videos from the fourth Sunday of Advent.

Angela Arnold and Matt Reed share ways in which they find grace in their lives as they light the fourth Advent candle.

The First Church Flute Choir plays “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.

Phil Porter tells the story of the Angel Gabriel visiting Mary from the Book of Luke.

Patricia de Jong preaches the sermon “Full of Grace”.

First Church Berkeley is a progressive Christian church with two services on Christmas Eve—a Family Service at 5 pm and a Candlelight Service at 10 pm. Both are full of sights, sounds and inspiration.

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Weaving Together Motherhood and Ministry

August 8, 2011

Shelly Dieterle, Minister of Campus Life, recently returned to work at the church from maternity leave after giving birth to twins. She is shown below with Mirabelle, Ethan and Sebastian.

It was exactly one year ago that I received astonishing news of two lives growing within me—news that dramatically changed my life and vision for 2010-11 and beyond, personally and professionally. The immediate plans for campus life were impacted by my impending absence in the Spring Semester. My vision for family life was swept away and spewed back in new form. In short, this last year was full of change, blessing, and new ways of doing things.

Shelly Dieterle with Mirabelle, Ethan and SebastianIn January and February I ministered from my home, and frequently from a hospital bed, as I withstood early labor.  In March, I counted the hours until those two little ones gave out their first yelp.  And for the past four and a half months, I have surrendered to the cycles of new life, new life that knows no daily rhythm, no difference between night and day, no moment but the present, no need except for food, sleep, a clean diaper and love.  I have also readily accepted every helping hand, meal, hug, story and inspirational word…many from the First Church community. There has been little time for thank yous, for catching up, or for giving back. And now, my soul longs to engage with the community that has buoyed me with support throughout this journey. My expectant spirit awaits the curious engagement of students’ hearts, minds and lives.

Still, the demands of motherhood will shift the way I minister – exact impact unknown in this moment. I will be more bound by the needs and demands of family life. And yet I believe my spirit will be more present, fresh, and creative (and more efficient) by what my children teach me each day. I am more aware of the intricate balancing act, not only families work out each day, but students as well, who seem to manage more demands than any mother does!

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Are We Ready to Feed 5000?

August 4, 2011

Meredith JacksonMeredith Jackson is a seminary intern at First Church. Here is an excerpt from a sermon she preached on Sunday, July 31, 2011, using the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 with just five loaves and two fishes. The prelude to this Biblical story was that John the Baptist had been recently killed.

I have hope that God will provide for our future. I trust that God will give us what we need by giving us each other. Jesus, even when he was mourning the loss of his great friend John, got out of the boat, onto the beach, and trusted that God would provide the food that the people needed. God also gave the people each other, and the people had food. They simply opened their knapsacks and lunchpails and shared what they had with their neighbor. God provided and all 5000 were fed.

I believe that First Church Berkeley can feed the 5000. I believe that there are 5000 people in the world that are searching for a place like First Church. In this space and in this time we have all that we need to feed the people. When we lift our gifts to God and give thanks and praise, we genuinely live into who we are. When we are authentic and thankful, we are able to feed the people.

Every day we hear stories of people who are searching for this church. I hear it every day—stories of violence in high schools because youth haven’t figured out that there’s another way to live. We hear of college students and seniors living far from their families and searching for people to connect with. Do you know of same-gender loving couples who haven’t been able to find a faith community that is willing to stand up for their human rights? When we hear all of these stories we know people are hungry for a place like First Church.

How many lives could be changed by this place? This community is a powerful place and it can create transformation we are longing to experience. The change towards a safe space for all people. A transformation away from loneliness and depression and into life in community. A change towards a world that knows how to seek resolution without violence.

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