Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I spent last weekend, a three-day work-filled weekend, at the annual meeting of Penn Central Conference, United Church of Christ (generally abbreviated as PCCUCC). The theme of the three days of workshops and worship was SPIRITED! Sunday morning, our speaker (not our worship preacher) reminded that we tell each other how awesome and spirit-filled our churches are, but we too often neglect telling others. This blog is one way to communicate how awesome the congregation at Soul Link Faith Community UCC/DOC in Mansfield and Tioga County Pennsylvania is.

The UCC/DOC means we are part of two denominations. The new part in Tioga County is the UCC connection. We are part of the United Church of Christ, a denomination that has as its foundation three important building blocks: The three are
* Though our faith that is 2,000 years old, it is still evolving giving us the perspective that our thinking is current and in keeping with our culture and times.
* The UCC is a denomination that practices extravagant welcome telling all who come to our churches that “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here” and we mean it.
* We are a transforming church, the Still Speaking Church that reminds us of Gracie Allen’s advice: "Never place a period where God has placed a comma" (I cannot even put a period at the end of her quote ) In Tioga County, God is still speaking through this growing congregation.

In addition to our UCC d.n.a., we celebrate our joint affiliation with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) a denomination that declares “no creed but Christ” and seeks reconciliation of all Christian communities. We invite all to weekly communion and full participation in our faith.

In our lives and in our church, Soul Link is inclusive, an open and affirming congregation, welcoming all into church and all aspects of the life of the church including calls to ministry and ordination. A list of who is included would leave some out, so if you feel called to come to this church, you are welcome.

Weekly, sermons remind us that our faith is still vital and offers ways for us to be called into the community. Someone wrote that if the church is myopic or tunnel-visioned, always focusing on itself, it becomes no different than a social club. We are not a social club, we are a faith community – a group who is fed spiritually seeking opportunities to feed others. This food is frequently food for those who are in need through cans for the food pantry, our Fourth Sunday Supper and cash donations to agencies serving the hungry. We also look to other needs, asking who is lonely, who needs a friend, who faces so much stress they can barely get through the day and who seeks ways to enhance inner spirituality. We cannot always provide cash, we can always provide an arm, a listening ear and a heart.

This coming Sunday, one of our young members will preach for us. He is confined to a wheelchair, but though his body is limited, his mind and abilities are not. I invite you to join this 10AM service – be part of this amazing congregation – a church that offers God to 21st Century seekers.

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