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  

October 2021 - Message From The Pastor: 

Well, we finally did it. We got hitched. I have always seen the Search and Call process as a courtship. Like so many modern relationships, it began on the internet. Church’s list their profiles, and ministers list theirs. Listings lead to contact, which leads to conversations, eventually dates (in the form of interviews). Eventually things get serious. I think they reached mutually-interested conversations about this time two years ago. I think we first met in person in November of 2019, if memory serves.

         After the courtship phase, the future becomes more of a topic of discussion. We meet each other's families. We discuss terms. We declare our intentions. When the Search and Call Committee submits a candidate’s name to the Church Council, an invitation to come preach a candidating sermon, and a congregational meeting is called. It feels a little like auditioning for pastor. In February of 2020, less than a month before the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown began, Jane and I came to Walpole. I preached. You voted to call me to become the next settled pastor of the First Congregational Church of Walpole, United Church of Christ.

        But that was not the wedding. This process is more like the European wedding process. Do you recall following a royal wedding, when the wedding couple go to the local government, city or town hall and get registered or licensed, or whatever they call it in their locale? As soon as the documents are signed and submitted, they are technically married. But are they? Marriage is a sacred covenant. God gave the commandments to Moses on Sinai, but the covenant was established when the Israelites affirmed the covenant out loud, in the presence of God and everybody. The installation is the wedding.

        By the time I was installed, it was beginning to feel like so many couples who have lived together, even had children together before making their commitment formal in the covenant of marriage. Does it really have any meaning, given the situation of the ground, so to speak. The truth is it does matter. When a couple gets married, they make covenant promises to each other in front of God and everybody. It is made legal by the state in the form of the marriage license.

        On the last Sunday of September, and the first Sunday of Autumn, we gathered on Zoom and in the sanctuary and we made it official. There were representatives from the New Hampshire Conference and the Southwest Association of the United Church of Christ. We made our promises to each other and established a sacred covenant. We already had a relationship, and we have been working together for sixteen months, but we defined our relationship and declared our commitment to each other and the rest of the world.

        I was not prepared for how moving the service was. I was so emotional; I could barely finish saying the benediction. We did it. We are hitched. Our futures are now linked. What will we do now? God knows, in a world without end. Amen.


    - 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

AMY CANN 

Music Director

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.