My Summer Vacation Worship Report

While there are many creative ways that young people write reports about their summer vacations that creativity rarely extends into adulthood.  Rather than attempt such an ambitious project, I offer some insight into one hour of my summer vacation: worship at Naples United Church of Christ. Under Construction No church is ever complete. No community of faith has ever arrived.  Every congregation is always under construction. Given these theological assertions, I was pleasantly surprised Read More …

Ministry Reflection: Getting Started in the UCC

On June 30, I concluded 4+ years of service as Director of Adult Education at Naples United Church of Christ (a tenure that also included a shorter stint as IT Manager).  This ministry role was my first in the United Church of Christ after serving congregations affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Lutheran (ELCA), and Presbyterian (PCUSA) traditions. Naples UCC Naples UCC is among the flagship churches in the United Church of Christ denomination. Just over 1% Read More …

Three Invitations

Consider this your personal invitation to join me and many others for one of three events I am facilitating over the next four weeks: Sunday, January 11 at Fort Myers Congregational UCC (Fort Myers, FL).  Join us at 10:00 a.m. for worship on the occasion of my first Sunday to preach since assuming the role of Transitional Minister (more about this new role). Tuesday, January 13 at Naples United Church of Christ (Naples, FL).  Join us at 7:00 p.m. for Christian Piatt’s talk based on his Read More …

PostChristian Opportunity

Christian Piatt's new book postChristian: What’s Left? Can We Fix It? Do We Care? topped my list of September reading recommendations.  In January, he will be making a stop in Southwest Florida at two UCC congregations: Tuesday, January 13 @ 7pm -  Naples United Church of Christ, and Wednesday, January 14 @ 10am - United Church of Marco Island. Note: Registration is not required for these free events. All are welcome. About the Book Check out Christian's new book tour trailer Read More …

Marketing Adult Ministries

Last week the fourth annual Naples United Church of Christ Adult Enrichment brochure was published.  While this booklet is shared with around 1,000 households by old fashioned postal mail in a single mailing, the electronic version is shared with an even larger audience over a much longer time period. History Like most newer initiatives in an established congregation, this marketing piece has developed over the years. A basic timeline: 2012 - a simple booklet offering information about Read More …

The Wisdom of the Labyrinth

Naples United Church of Christ, one of the congregations I serve, recently added a public labyrinth to its campus.  This new labyrinth will be formally dedicated at a public ceremony this Saturday, April 5 at 4:00 p.m. Prior to that event, Lauren Artress will lead a 6-hour workshop: The Wisdom of the Labyrinth.  Registration ($60 today or $75 thereafter) can be completed online.  To learn more about the workshop and labyrinth, check out Kelly Farrell's recent Naples Daily News Read More …

A Unique Valentine’s Weekend

Back in the summer of 2012, I invited Diana Butler Bass to spend some time at Naples United Church of Christ in February 2014.  After eighteen months of planning by a great team, we are now ready for an unforgettable Valentine's Day and weekend. In the News Yesterday, the Collier Citizen ran an article by Mollie Page.  Page interviewed Butler Bass about our event.  Page writes: She’s a voice for theological sanity in an uncertain world. Religious historian Diana Butler Bass is coming to Read More …

Prayer of Dedication for Sunday, August 12

God of unexpected provision and unending love we place before You our offerings and our lives. Multiply what we bring and change who we are for the sake of advancing Your realm. Open before us the possibilities of ministry and guide our community of faith in the way of Jesus. Amen. Read More …

Call to Worship for Sunday, August 12

Leaving behind our busy lives we enter this sacred space for a holy hour seeking an experience that begins but never ends. In losing ourselves we find ourselves; In pursuing God's reign, we participate in it. Pressing on toward what is ahead, let us worship God.   Note: The call to worship is followed by congregational singing of Come Away from Rush and Hurry.  The first 2:40 of video below features Josh Bales singing those words. Read More …

Prayer of Consecration/Blessing for Sunday, August 5

God of new beginnings, we approach your table desiring an enduring connection with you.  In the blessing of this bread and this cup, bring the way of Jesus into focus. Enlarge our view of the abundant life.  Remind us of the call to follow, and strengthen us to travel that path.  May our hunger be fully satisfied with the extravagant provision of the Bread of Life in whose name we pray.  Amen. Read More …