No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here — to explore your faith, to meet new people, and to strengthen your personal relationship with God.

uccplainfieldnj.org

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blue Christmas Service -Dec. 21 at 5:30 pm


For many people, the approaching Christmas holiday does not bring with it the joy and happiness that is advertised on television or in greeting cards. They may be facing a holiday after the death of a loved one or after a divorce. Perhaps they have been unable to have a child, or have suffered through an emotional trauma. Or perhaps they feel pressured and overwhelmed by holiday preparations.
The Blue Christmas Service is a service of compassion and prayer. This service has a more quiet, somber feel than a traditional Christmas worship service. It offers scripture, music and meditations on the comfort God offers during dark times.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Healing Circle

HEALING CIRLE - Monday, Dec. 15 at 11:00 AM

A CONVERSATION ON RACE AND RITUAL OF HEALING

The recent events in Ferguson and the court's decision on the Eric Garner case in Staten Island have left us with a need to talk about racism in this country and how we can contribute to eradicate it. Come to our healing circle as we discuss, pray and have a healing ritual on this issue that affects so many of us. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Advent is Here!

Advent is Here!

During advent we get ready for Jesus. Indeed it is a season of spiritual preparation in which we get ready for the birth of Jesus.  Celebrating Advent typically involves prayer, meditation, slowing down, and quieting the voices around us as we anticipate in hope, joy, peace and love. 

The seasons of Advent and Christmas offers us ample opportunities to embrace the spiritual practices of waiting, patience, hope, and joy. These are wise teachers but they come to us during the rush and clamor of the holiday season, a time when many of us are overwhelmed with obligations and extra work.
Instead of caving in to the stress of the holidays, let us stop briefly during Advent and the twelve days of Christmas to refresh our mind, body, and soul with inspirational quotations that show us another path through the season. 

Take time to worship in the communion and fellowship of our faith community. We have various opportunities for you to join with us during this season. May Advent and Christmas be a pure and holy joy for you and your loved ones!

With blessings to all during this Advent season,
Pastor D

Sunday, Dec. 7

Second Sunday of Advent

Hanging of the Greens Service
10:30 AM

Potluck Luncheon right after service.
You are invited to join us! Plates to share are welcome, not required.


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Sunday, Dec. 14

Third Sunday of Advent

10:30 AM

Our Christmas pageant is a joyful time to celebrate the season with our children. Come and enjoy the blessing. Invite friends and family to this important event in which we rejoice with our children.


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Sunday, Dec. 21

Forth Sunday of Advent

Christmas Tea 

during social hour


Blue Christmas Service

Sunday, Dec. 21 at 5:30 PM


A service of healing and hope for those who are going  through difficult times in life, grieve, or pain.

If you know of someone who might benefit for this worship experience, please share the invitation. 

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6:30 pm

We hope you can join us for these wonderful celebrations!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

[Sermon] "Stewards in Covenant: Walking Together in All God’s Ways”

Rev. Dámaris E. Ortega, Pastor
Ever since I decided to come clean with myself and others in my life, to accept who God made me to be, and finally understanding that being gay does not get in the way of my calling to ministry, I have had to seriously re-think my whole belief system and the tenants of my own personal faith. For one, being a Christian and gay have been in conflict in most of Puerto Rican churches and denominations. The idea of exploring the intersection of both in conversation and study has been out of the question. Even relating in public with someone out of the closet presents a huge threat to others. They are afraid to be labeled as gay too, by association, so needless to say, I have lost many so called “friends" in the process. It has been a lonely ride. Yet, my faith, doubts and questions, and my own vocation for ministry has taken me to a journey of exploration of what could be a place for me, where I can feel in sync, in harmony and in complete peace that there is a place for me and other Christians like me in Christianity. 

The answer is that I no longer allow mainline, traditional, conservative Christians to define what it is to be a Christian, or how is my faith journey going to look like. 
This is why I have found a little niche, or place from where I can question, challenge, explore, discuss my faith with the lens of Progressive Christianity. This personal journey has also been informed or shaped by my chaplaincy training in the Army and in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), which taught and encourage me to value religious pluralism. Understanding that God does not fit in one box, in one religion, in one particular group of people. Therefore, I would necessarily had to revise my own believes about “salvation" and the role of the Christ in human lives. Can Progressive Christianity Theology offer any hope? Eric Alexander says: 
"One of the questions I often hear is once you make it optional to believe the Bible as an inerrant instruction manual from God, and once you make it optional to subscribe to a substitutionary brand of atonement, what hope is there in Jesus anymore? He goes on to say that Progressive Christian thinkers have an opportunity to change the future, with the following three key ideas:
One, if there is such a thing as an eternal meritocracy (which most people call Heaven)  There’s probably not much reason to be stressing about it, or whether it even exists.  Because if we instead focus on the here and now, and put love first, eternity will come with the package (in whatever form it might exist). 
Two, the Bible offers “next steps” (via parables, writings, and stories) about how to live a better lifestyle, and we humans need and want next steps when we go through life changes. Therefore, “progressive” communities can meet and converse with others in various stages of growth, and learn from the Bible in context, but certainly not idolize any book, or any institution.
Threewe can use limited human language to describe a similar “equation” toward life change, but at the same time take the focus off a standard set of required beliefs  —  which means moving beyond a literal interpretation of the bible (or even one that gives the Bible any special authority at all) —  less obsession with heaven and hell  —  breaking down the contentious battle lines of who’s in and out —  much more open mindedness to science  —  and going beyond judgement toward others who have different beliefs or lifestyles. 
There can still be a similar and beneficial path toward positive life change (and world change) that can help the world via progressive Christian theology."

This is what I’ve personally have found in the United Church of Christ; a community of stewards in covenant, walking together in all God’s ways.  Just like in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6a says "Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit…" – I believe that God allows us to be stewards and administrators of everything that has been given to us, which is why during this month of November, we will continue to reflect on who we are, what we believe and how can we do our very best in the administration of that that belongs to God. That is stewardship!

The United Church of Christ comes to existence as a denomination through covenant. That is the glue that holds us together. Our Constitution says: “Within the United Church of Christ, the various expressions of the church relate to each other in a covenantal manner. Each expression of the church has responsibilities and rights in relation to the others, to the end that the whole church will seek God’s will and be faithful to God’s mission... Each expression of the church listens, hears, and carefully considers the advice, counsel, and requests of others. In this covenant, the various expressions of the United Church of Christ seek to walk together in all God’s ways.” – Article III, Par. 6

This is our perfect intention, our free choice, the “better way” we choose to live out our commitment to God in mutual relationship. That, my dears friends is part of being blessed to be a blessing. Amen.

Friday, October 24, 2014

AROUND THE FIRE FOR PEACE!



Tonight, come to our church parking lot for AROUND THE FIRE FOR PEACE! 
Celebrating United Nations Day, we pray, sing and talk about peace 
while we warm up around the fire and cook some s'mores.


tonight @ 7:00pm 
AROUND THE FIRE FOR PEACE! 
Fire, intentions and prayers for peace, fellowship, songs, readings... and s'mores. 
Join us!

United Church of Christ Congregational
220 West 7th Street Plainfield, NJ 07060

pfducc@verizon.net 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Keeping Jesus, Letting go of Christian Exceptionalism

“Christianity is not a club. It’s not about who’s in and who’s out. It’s about how we live.”
Yes! A transformative faith is a faith that transforms how we live.
We Christians are not exceptional because we are chosen by God over others, or because we possess the truth while others do not. However, if we truly follow the way of Jesus we should be exceptional
– in the ways we love and forgive others,
– in the way we pursue truth wherever the truth leads us,
– in the ways we care for the suffering, indentify with the marginalized, and engage in social justice,
– in the ways we practice hospitality, generosity, and invest in the common good.
If more Christians could let go of their Christian exceptionalism while deepening their commitment to Jesus, we could lead the way forward in helping to heal and give hope to our world.
Read the whole article. It is a must read!
Keeping Jesus, Letting Go of Christian Exceptionalism

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Juneteenth Worship Service


Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
    that our ancestors have told us.
 We will not hide them from their children;
    we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done. 
-Psalm 78:1-4 NRSV

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Church Karaoke Night

Join me for Karaoke on Thursday, May 29th

7:30 - 9:00 PM

Paulo's Bar and Restaurant

 
 
Portuguese and Brazilian Restaurant
Address:
2341 Plainfield Avenue
South Plainfield New Jersey 07080
 

Let's have an informal summer kick off with some Karaoke! Come wether you want to sing or not. Let's just have some fun together, and while we're at it, let's show how cool our church is. 

 

See you all on Thursday!
- Pastor Dámaris