Welcome!

No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome at First Congregational Church of Blue Hill.

If you are visiting us for the first time, please allow us to extend our warmest greetings. We are an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. Sunday Worship services are available in-person, via Zoom and live stream on Facebook. While masks are no longer required, we do ask that everyone mask while singing. We look forward to having you join us in worship.

Sunday Worship April 7, 2024

Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ!  With the marvel of the resurrection behind and within us and the marvel of total eclipse in front of us, we approach this weekend profoundly aware of our place in the universe.  Maybe some of you will be venturing north into the “path of totality” of the solar eclipse on Monday; maybe some of you will avoid the predicted crowds.  Hearing news of an earthquake centered in New Jersey, there is a lot of speculation and scientific calculation regarding atmospheric and geologic changes, and no wonder.  We are wowed by cosmic events.  Still, we live in the day-to-day and often wonder how to be.  In very direct language and with symbols of light and dark that are wonderfully coordinated with this week’s events, scripture for tomorrow invites us to regard closely how it is that we respond to wonder and to our belief that our good God brings it.  How, like the disciples, do we question and how do we move forward in faith?  Do we become something or someone new in response to the glory that we see?  What does this look like? 

With tomorrow being the first Sunday of the month, we will celebrate the sacrament of Communion, in which we celebrate the very present way in which the Spirit moves in us, while remembering what Jesus has done for us.  If you are worshipping from home, please join us by setting aside some bread or a cracker and some juice.  We are together in love.

Blessings and peace, Lisa

Continue reading Sunday Worship April 7, 2024

Easter Sunday Worship March 31st, 2024

Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ!  There are old hymns whose title lines many of you can probably sing.  One such hymn begins, “I love to tell the story,” and its proclamation is especially true this weekend.  We are a people encouraged, emboldened, and invigorated by a story we have been telling for over 2,000 years.  Whether at 6:00 as the sun becomes visible at the foot of the mountain or at 10:00 as many don their finest clothing (and many do not, just as happily!), on Easter morning we celebrate good news!  God, who made and loves us, has given us new hope that continues to this day.  The most frightening reality that comes with life has been overcome.  Death need trouble us no more, because of God’s saving grace, known to us through Jesus Christ.  Come celebrate his resurrection–and ours!

The 10:00 service will provide the joy of musical clamor from Clair Maxwell on the organ, our chimes choir, trumpet, our musical consort, and our choir.  The quieter service at 6:00 a.m. at the foot of Blue Hill Mountain will be accompanied by birdsong and the brilliance of an Easter sunrise.  Join us in our contemplation and our celebration!

Blessings and peace, Lisa

Continue reading Easter Sunday Worship March 31st, 2024

Palm Sunday Worship March 24, 2024

Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ!  Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, when we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  The same day is often called Passion Sunday, because we know how the story continues: the same people who praised Jesus with loud Hosannas later called for his crucifixion.  Living between those poles of emotion is difficult and may feel too familiar from moments in our own lives, even if we haven’t anticipated judgment or betrayal.  How we navigate the movement between the breadth of experiences this life offers is the focus of this holy week, moving toward our celebration at Easter.  It begins tomorrow and continues with services here on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in Fisher Hall (a dramatic presentation with players from New Surry Theater as well as our own congregation), the stations of the cross on the Murphy Trail at noon on Good Friday, and with two services on Easter morning.  The 10:00 service will provide the joy of musical clamor from Clair Maxwell on the organ, our chimes choir, trumpet, our musical consort, and our choir.  The quieter service at 6:00 a.m. at the foot of Blue Hill Mountain will be accompanied by birdsong and the brilliance of an Easter sunrise.  Join us in our contemplation and our celebration!
Blessings and peace, Lisa

Continue reading Palm Sunday Worship March 24, 2024

Sunday Worship March 17, 2024

Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ!  In some ways, it is hard to believe that the spring equinox is this coming week.  In other ways, we have experienced very little winter and are anxious to know what becomes of our weather, of our climate.  This ambiguous place, a kind of hovering between is often what the season of Lent can feel like for those who observe it.  We are still in the midst of it, while also anticipating something good that we haven’t quite seen or even truly conceived of yet.  Scripture can help us to understand how to navigate ambiguous moments and in this week’s Gospel readings, we are provided a symbol that may offer to be fruitful in putting our minds at ease.  

We also look forward this week to our quarterly meeting to follow worship, while we also enjoy a celebratory St. Patrick’s Day potluck luncheon together.  What are you bringing?  Sweet?  Savory?  

Blessings and peace, Lisa

Continue reading Sunday Worship March 17, 2024

Sunday Worship March 10, 2024

Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! First, a reminder for you:  we set the clocks ahead tonight!  So, while we may “lose an hour of sleep,” we gain light!  See you at 10:00, in daylight savings time.  What an odd concept: with the mere turn of a dial or flip of a number, we change our atmosphere.  Sometimes, don’t we wish we could do that in other ways, as well?  For people of faith–every faith tradition–there is a sense that by following a particular path, our circumstances change.  For Christians, we have a tradition that uses the image of light as that which exposes sin, but in more significant ways, we have the image of light as an eternal promise of what is good, beginning now.  We do not flip a switch in the transformation of our current lives, though, and the season in which we make our way toward Easter resurrection is one in which we focus our intention on living into the light.  We practice our faith in more conscious ways, trusting that God walks with us as we model ourselves after Jesus’ teachings.  It may be that the altered states we seek will be unfamiliar, but no more so than the myriad ways human beings regularly seek to soften suffering.  See you in church, where we regularly seek the joy of community and the promise of God’s grace.

Blessings and peace, Lisa

Continue reading Sunday Worship March 10, 2024

Sunday Worship March 3, 2024

Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ!  “We are better together” is a phrase registered long ago as a kind of mantra of mine.  It is rallying in unity, as one body, that distinguishes people of faith in Jesus, for whom we say we are the hands and feet.  So, as many of us set out for Augusta this morning in solidarity with people living in poverty in this, our most wealthy nation, I pray for unity of spirit and of mind.  Together we may face every challenge and, in love, conquer every evil. 

Sometimes, though, to attempt change in the face of seemingly intractable difficulty feels foolish.  If so, I invite you to join me as “a fool for Christ,” in Paul’s words.  On this Communion Sunday, when we remember the self-sacrificial gift that Jesus gave us–so that we may live–I pray we may lean into the joy and the contentment of foolishness in the eyes of the world.  In so doing, perhaps we may know righteousness in the eyes of God.  Do you wonder what we’re talking about here?  Join us in conversation to discover our joy and our strength. 

Blessings and peace, Lisa

Continue reading Sunday Worship March 3, 2024