December 27, 2020

“It’s Your Story Now,” Susan and Bob Ryder

Praying, Mary Oliver
[Read more…]

November 22, 2020

“Prelude to Goodbye,” Bob Ryder

READING

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant as well as to harvest;
a time to kill as well as to heal;
a time to take things apart as well as a time to put them back together;
there’s a time to cry just as there’s a time to laugh;
there’s a time to grieve just as there’s a time to rejoice;
there’s a time to scatter bricks, just as there’s a time to lay them in place;
there’s a time to embrace, as well as a time to refrain from embracing;
there’s a time to call off the search, as well as a time to begin looking;
there’s a time to give belongings away, just as there’s a time to collect what we need;
there’s a time to tear things apart, just as there’s a time to sew them together;
there’s a time to keep silence as well as a time to speak;
there’s a time to hate as well as a time to love;
there’s a time for war, and there’s a time for peace. [Read more…]

October 18, 2020

Sunday, October 18, 2020
“New Covenant Community – A Welcoming Congregation,” Susan Ryder

READINGS:
Galatians 3:28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 

Bishop Desmond Tutu: “All over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are persecuted. We treat them as pariahs and push them outside our communities. We make them doubt that they too are children of God – and this must be nearly the ultimate blasphemy.”  [Read more…]

September 27, 2020

“Inclusive, Compassionate, Joyful,” Bob Ryder

READINGS

Matthew 5:13-16 (partial/paraphrased)
You are the light of the world. No one lights a lamp and hides it under a blanket. You hang it from the ceiling, so it lights up the room. Likewise, let your inner light shine so others may see it and be drawn to the sacred coming into the world through you.

Matthew 6:1-4
Resist practicing your piety before others to be seen – there’s no virtue in that. When you give to charity, don’t make a production of it so others will praise you. Those who do such things have received all the reward coming to them. When you give, be so private about it even your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing. Let your charity be between you and God. [Read more…]

September 20, 2020

“We’re Lost and it’s Your Fault!” The Rev. Dr. Teresa Dulyea-Parker, Regional Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for Illinois and Wisconsin

READING

Exodus 16:2-15

2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.

3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.”

6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” [Read more…]

August 9, 2020

“2020 NCC Bingo,” Susan Ryder

READINGS:
1 Corinthians 12:14ff  For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? If all were a single organ, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

Galatians 5:22-23
The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. [Read more…]

August 2, 2020

“Detachment and Adaptation,” Bob Ryder

READINGS
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant as well as to harvest;
a time to kill as well as to heal;
a time to take things apart as well as a time to put them back together;
there’s a time to cry just as there’s a time to laugh;
there’s a time to grieve just as there’s a time to rejoice;
there’s a time to scatter bricks, just as there’s a time to lay them in place;
there’s a time to embrace, as well as a time to abstain from embracing;
there’s a time to call off the search, as well as a time to begin looking;
there’s a time to give belongings away, just as there’s a time to collect what we need;
there’s a time to tear things apart, just as there’s a time to sew them together;
there’s a time to keep silence as well as a time to speak;
there’s a time to hate as well as a time to love;
there’s a time for war, and there’s a time for peace. [Read more…]

The Sacred Mystery of Life

This statement of faith by Jim Pruyne is a lightly edited excerpt by Dick Watts and Gwen Pruyne of two Reflections he offered at New Covenant Community, the church of which he was founding pastor. It was read at his memorial service at First Presbyterian Church, Normal, Illinois, on June 15, 2019.

The Sacred Mystery of Life
By Jim Pruyne

My belief is tentative, incomplete, ever changing, open to revision as I seek to listen to life in order to experience the presence of the sacred in all that surrounds me.

When I am asked whether I believe in God, I offer my current, tentative understanding.  When in the biblical story Moses pleads with God to reveal his name, the answer comes, “I am who I am.” Those words derive from the Hebrew verb, “to be.”  That is, God is not a being, but Being itself. [Read more…]