ABOUT US:

 

INTRODUCING OUR PASTOR

 

The First Congregational Church of Walpole, UCC has called Richard Malmberg to be our new settled pastor.  He has served congregations in New England and the Midwest since his ordination in 1993.  The call brings him back to New Hampshire, where he has previously worked at the Concord Monitor and served as associate pastor of South Congregational Church. 

     Pastor Richard enjoys parish ministry for its variety of challenges and depth of relationships.  He finds the pastoral office calls clergy to stand on sacred ground at some of the most important moments in people's lives.  Whether a wedding, baptism, funeral, emotional crisis or a hospital bedside, when someone invites a minister into a sacred moment in their life, the only answer is the biblical one: "Here I am."

      An enthusiastic cook, Richard is convinced that church potluck suppers are generally the best meal in town whenever and wherever they are.  He also feels that the potluck supper is an excellent metaphor for a healthy congregation.  He looks forward to the chicken barbeque and pie baking First Congregational Church is known for.  

     Richard lives in the parsonage with wife, Jane, a librarian by profession.  Their two grown sons, Max and Oscar, live and work in Boston.  Richard collects toys, enjoys fishing, reading, films, and taking long walks around Walpole.  

 

Pastor Richard Malmberg  

  

February Message From The Pastor's Desk: 

 

Friends,

 

Lent is a time for prayer and contemplation.  The forty days recall the time Jesus spent fasting and praying in the wilderness, after his baptism. Mark tells us that after he was baptized, “…the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.  He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts, and the angels waited on him.” (Mark 1:12-13)

 

Because Jesus fasted, many observe the season by giving something up for Lent. I find this a helpful focus, and a practical spiritual discipline. I try to avoid giving up some trivial indulgence, like chocolate, or dessert. However, if desserts are significantly impacting your health, that might be just the thing. Rather than giving something up, some choose to take on a Lenten discipline, like daily prayer, Bible Study, exercise, or volunteering. This year, I will offer some opportunities you might like to try during your Lenten journey:

 

Ash Wednesday: Wednesday, February 14th at 7:00 p.m. there will a special worship service to mark the beginning of Lent. The service will include Communion and the imposition of ashes. 

 

The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon:  For our Lenten study this year, we will read and discuss Bill McKibben’s 2022 memoir, The Flag, the Cross and the Station Wagon.  We will gather in Fellowship Hall to discuss our reading following worship on five Sundays in Lent: February 18, 25, March 3, 10, and 24. The book is widely available in paperback, and a librarian I know said the title is easily obtained through interlibrary loan. 

 

Thursday Morning Meditation: We will gather from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. on Thursday mornings, February 15, 22, 29, March 7, 14 and 21 in the front parlor of the parsonage. We will begin with a brief reading for reflection, then spend 30 minutes in silence. At the end of thirty minutes, we will share our insights and experiences meditating for the remainder of our time together. We will part at 10:00, spiritually primed for the day.

 

I hope you will find something among these opportunities to enrich your Lenten experience. If none of the above appeal to you, but would like to engage in a Lenten discipline, let me know. I may be able to help you discern something that works for you. Feel free to call me, email or drop by the office. Sometimes it helps to think out loud with someone else.

 

I wish you all a rich and meaningful Lent, as we prepare for the drama and heartbreak of Holy Week, and glorious resurrection on Easter.

 

 

    - Yours In Christ, Richard Malmberg

Who is UCC?

The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a distinct and diverse community of Christians that come together as one church to join faith and action.  With over 5,000 churches and nearly one million members across the U.S., the UCC serves God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world.  The UCC is a church of firsts, a church of extravagant welcome, and a church where "…they may all be one" (John 17:21).


The Church of Firsts

Since 1957, the United Church of Christ has been the church of firsts, weaving God’s message of hope and extravagant welcome with action for justice and peace. Together, we live out our faith in ways that effect change in our communities.  The UCC's many "firsts" mean that we have inherited a tradition of acting upon the demands of our faith.  When we read in Galatians: "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" — a demand is made upon us. And so we were the first historically white denomination to ordain an African-American, the first to ordain a woman, the first to ordain an openly gay man, and the first Christian church to affirm the right of same-gender couples to marry. We were in the forefront of the anti-slavery movement and the Civil Rights movement.  Our response to the demands of our faith is woven into the history of our country.


A Church of Extravagant Welcome

Today, we continue to change lives throughout the world. We work alongside more than 200 mission partners. We labor ceaselessly to fight injustice in the United States and abroad. We instill our vision into our youth and young adults, forging leaders who will imagine new dreams. And we sustain and develop church leaders, pastors, and our local churches to live their faith in exciting new ways.  We believe in a God that is still speaking, a God that is all-loving and inclusive.  We are a church that welcomes and accepts everyone as they are, where your mind is nourished as much as your soul.


We are a church where Jesus the healer meets Jesus the revolutionary, and where together, we grow a just and peaceful world.

MEET OUR STAFF:

JANE VESPER

Office Administrator


TRACEY MARTIN

Treasurer

OUR COVENANT:

FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

OF WALPOLE, UCC

 

Our Congregational Covenant

 

We seek to create and nurture a caring, safe, and supportive atmosphere that facilitates the growth of a strong Christian community.  These covenants are promises to each other, not rules, but descriptions of expected behavior, not changes of personality.

 

Covenants are ways of being in community at church, but also a model we can take home with us and out into the world.  These promises guide us in sharing information with each other, setting priorities, making decisions, addressing complaints and resolving conflicts.

 

With this our Covenant, we commit ourselves to:

 

  •          Support and love one another, as Jesus commanded. “Just as I have loved you, you should love one another.”  (John 13: 34)
  •          Forgive one another again and again.  (Matthew 18: 21-22)
  •          Seek resolution to conflict by first addressing the person directly with whom there is a problem, then if necessary involving witnesses, and third going to the congregation’s leaders.  (Matthew 18: 15-17)
  •         Interrupt gossip, neither accepting nor sharing rumors, even when such is masked as a concern.
  •          Always assume in others the best possible intentions and motivations, not the worst.
  •          Treat others as you wish to be treated.
  •         Seek what is best for the whole congregation, not only our immediate circle.
  •         Agree to disagree with love and respect.

 

Covenant:  a contract or agreement. In the Bible, an agreement between God and his people, in which God makes promises to his people and, usually, requires certain conduct from them. In the Old Testament, God made agreements with Noah, Abraham, and Moses.