May 2021 - Message From The Pastor:
This month marks one year (May 15) since I arrived in Walpole, to begin serving as pastor of the First Congregational Church of Walpole, UCC. Though I have yet to be officially installed, I do now have ordained ministerial standing in the Southwest Association of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ. What a year it has been! I have not preached in the sanctuary since February 2020. There has been progress. Though worship has taken place, overwhelmingly on Zoom, we proclaimed the Good News of Christ’s resurrection at sunrise on Easter, IN PERSON! It was a welcome sign of new and abundant life.
As more of our members have been vaccinated, we can begin to see hopeful signs of worshipping together again in our sanctuary. When the time comes, we will take steps to do so as safely as we can. With the warming days of spring, we may well worship outside before we do so in the sanctuary. Once in the sanctuary, we may have to hold off on singing hymns together, and mask while we are indoors. We are all eager to be together again in the sanctuary on Sundays, but I am sure none of us are DYING to be there. We will get there, safe and sound.
The whole world has been reeling from this pandemic. Over three million have died. We have all been affected, physically, spiritually, economically, and perhaps all three. There is no ignoring the fact that the past year has taken a toll on our church’s finances. Our lay leadership is already wrestling with the challenges left by the past fiscal year in preparation for June’s annual meeting.
Our ongoing mission and ministry require an all-hands-on-deck stewardship response. I hope you are, each and all, prayerfully considering your role as Christ’s disciple in Walpole, NH in the twenty-first century. I am convinced that we are needed more than ever.
- In Christ, Richard Malmberg