"Discovering Mark's Jesus: The Rebel with a Holy Cause" - Dr. Nichols
From the Interim Minister . . . .
Dear Christ Congregation Friends,
Last Sunday, October 23, 2016, in its duly called and constituted meeting Christ Congregation enthusiastically called The Rev. Alexis Fuller-Wright of Farmington, Maine to be its new installed Pastor. She herself has just as enthusiastically accepted the call, and will begin her ministry here at the end of January, 2017, preaching for the first time on February 5, 2017.
After over a year of searching—meaning “soul”-searching, identity-searching, organization-searching, theological-searching, pastor-searching, feeling-searching, personal-searching, and much more—the task is accomplished, the work is done, and a new day has begun for this congregation. “Whew!” says the pastoral search committee, with well-deserved relief. “Thank you,” says the congregation, eager to welcome new pastoral leadership. (“About time,” mutter those few dyspeptics who, like the poor and disgruntled so Jesus says, are always with us.)
And I the Interim Minister, a sort of “contract-shepherd,” join that whole chorus of appreciation and hope with equal enthusiasm and thanksgiving. Alexis and I have had at least a brief time in this whirlwind of activity to meet, affirm and appreciate each other, and look forward to the colleagueship of like hearts, minds and spirits in days ahead.
Cue the organ! “The strife is o’er, the battle done, the victory of life is won, the song of triumph has begun!”
Uh, not exactly. Taking nothing away from the satisfaction and relief of having a new Pastor, the transitional work of interim ministry now enters quite an important and energetic, though somewhat different, phase. As I’ve remarked before in these letters, the Interim Team and I have agreed all along that we wanted the self-reflection and re-thinking of Interim Ministry to blend as seamlessly as possible with the transition into a new pastorate and a “new day” for Christ Congregation and its life and mission. In the next three months we are aiming to make that as intentional and stimulating as we can, with Alexis a full participant. You will be hearing details as we have them.
This Sunday, October 30, is officially Reformation Sunday. While United Church of Christ and Baptist folk may not always think of themselves as standing in the Reformed tradition, they in fact are even though the ghosts of Martin Luther and John Calvin may not be quite as frightening as they sometimes are in the more explicitly reformed counties of Lutheran and Presbyterian and Reformed churches. (Happy Halloween!)
My nod to the occasion is to start a sermon series this Sunday on the sharply different portraits of Jesus we are given in the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I hope you will enjoy them and find them useful in your own faith journeys.
Blessings and Peace,
The Rev. Alexis Fuller-Wright and daughter Nora
On the left: Nancy Wright (Alexis’ mother), Liz Fuller-Wright (Alexis' wife), Alexis Fuller-Wright, and daughter Nora.
Dear Christ Congregation Friends,
This Sunday I will begin a series of four sermons around probably the most basic theme of Christian faith: Who was Jesus, and what does he want with you? The series will take us into the Season of Advent, the celebration of the coming of God to God’s people in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
My “conversation partner” in this series is the English theologian and biblical scholar Robin Griffith-Jones and his seminal book The Four Witnesses (Harper Collins, 2000). That book was a compelling and detailed study—a tour de force, really—of the different “portraits” of Jesus to be found in each of the four Gospels, Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. While he bears no responsibility for what I say, I am indebted to his spirit and ideas for much of the inspiration behind these sermons.
The identity, place, and role of Jesus in Christianity has never not been a mysterious and controversial subject, from the pages of the New Testament itself to the present day. The basic Christian confession that Jesus Christ is Lord is itself the doorway to transcendent cosmic mystery whether for the simplest and humblest believer or the most erudite and critical biblical/theological scholar. All who stand in that doorway are called to pause, reflect, and wonder at the enduring question asked by Jesus himself . . . .
“Who Do You Say I Am?” the series is titled and will be preached in the following order:
October 30, 2016: “Discovering Mark’s Jesus: The Rebel with a Holy Cause”
November 6, 2016: “Discovering Matthew’s Jesus: The Ultimate Rabbi”
November 13, 2016: “Discovering Luke’s Jesus: The Sacred Story-Teller”
November 20, 2016: Non-series Thanksgiving sermon: “One Came Back”
November 27, 2016: Guest Preacher
December 4, 2016: Discovering John’s Jesus: The Breath of the Mystic”
Blessings and Peace,
J. Randall Nichols
We hope to see you! – November 5, 2016 will be CC Work Day. Work Day is an opportunity for us to give our building a bit of tender loving care. Please plan on joining us.
Please notice! – Sunday, November 6, 2016 9:00 a.m. Bible Study will be cancelled due to the Princeton Half-Marathon.
November 13th - Together with Coalition for Peace Action, Christ Congregation will co-sponsor the Coalition’s 37th Annual Conference and Multi-faith Service for Peace. 11:00 a.m. at the Princeton University Chapel. Sunday's sermon will be given by Muslim Life Coordinator and Chaplin for Princeton University, Imam Sohaib Sultan. For more information, visit www.peacecoalition.org.
Save the Date! – December 10, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. we will gather for Christmas dinner. More details to follow.
Saturday, December 24th there will be a special holiday service. WE WILL NOT worship together on Sunday, December 25th
To submit announcements and suggestions to be included in the CC Newsletter, email email@example.com by Wednesday each week.
The Rev. Dr. J. Randall Nichols, Interim Minister
Joanne Hardgrove, Organist-Choir Director
Brandi Grove, Church Secretary
Rebecca Fransisco, Seminary Intern
The Rev. Jeffrey Mays, Pastor Emeritus
Office Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.