November 2023

I spent the first weekend of November in La Mesa, California, just outside San Diego. On Saturday, November 4, the Cal West Association host minister and moderator, Rev. Scott Archer, completed his term with a day made extra delightful by a youth rally, delicious Tijuana tacos, and music from the First Samoan Congregational Church of San Diego. The next morning, I worshipped at Central Congregational Church of La Mesa (#48) and admired the elegant blend of traditional organ and contemporary music. Like many NACCC churches, the congregation shares the sacrament of communion on the first Sunday of the month. The fellowship hour following the service included a baby shower for a child whose due date was a couple days earlier. Before worship, Pastor Scott gave me a tour of the building, which has served the congregation and local community for over a century. 

First Congregational Church of Royal Oak, Michigan (#49) welcomed me with open arms on Sunday, November 12. As it was Veterans Day weekend, a video slideshow of veterans associated with the congregation across the decades was playing in the narthex. Tributes to those who have served our nation were incorporated into the service musically, homiletically, and with a letter from a longtime member. That afternoon, the congregation and guests gathered for the installation of the Rev. J. Christopher Kurtz. I was honored to provide the sermon for a beautifully planned service that included memorable music and a signing by Jamie Kurtz. Michigan colleagues, the Rev. Charles Packer and the Rev. Joel Boyd, offered the charge to the congregation and extended the right hand of fellowship. 

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