People of Faith... Still Waiting

A Letter from the Conference Ministers of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut

We write in the midst of this complicated Advent season. It is easy to get overwhelmed and overloaded by the volume of bad news and fear that pervades our country and our world in many different forms this year. These are difficult times. There are no easy answers. The grief and sorrow and yes, even anger, are palpable for all of us. By faith we trust that God weeps over our country and the world as it moves through these dark days. In this Advent season we are called to wait and to watch and to prepare. And this waiting is sometimes very difficult. 

Tony Robinson once commented “The Bible ends by not ending. It ends in anticipating. It ends with the faithful still waiting… this is what it means to be people of faith  to be still waiting, still watching, still hoping, still listening… for God.  Fiercely waiting.”

Waiting that is fierce cannot be passive. Called as we are to make God’s love and justice real, it is up to each of us to make real the Advent virtues of hope, peace, joy and love. We invite you and your congregations to prepare for the birth of the Holy child in a way that nurtures and amplifies these virtues. This is one way we can live out our call to be disciples of the One whose coming we await.

Read the full letter 

We Believe in the Power of Love

Renew your commitment to love with the coming of the Christ Child. Merry Christmas from the United Church of Christ National Officers.

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Conference Announces Several Clergy Transitions

The Rhode Island Conference is seeing a number of clergy transitions take place this season.

  1. Licensed Pastor Warren Marble has come out of a brief time of retirement to resume his ministry at the First Congregational Church of Warwick UCC by congregational vote in November, 2017.
  2. Rev. Yong Hwan Noh became the Interim pastor of the First Korean Church in Cranston, RI in early November, 2017.
  3. Rev. John Eklund was called to become the full time pastor of the congregation of Chepachet Union Church on November 19, 2017 after serving as Interim pastor for the past few years.
  4. Rev. Paul Bizer departs from Peace Dale Congregational Church after 15 years of service as Pastor after services on Dec. 31st.  He and his wife are moving to Florida, where she has a new position.
  5. Rev. Gary Bagley departs from Edgewood Congregational Church in Cranston, RI after 5 years of service as Pastor after services on Dec. 24th
  6. Rev. Gary Bagley will become the Bridge Interim at the Peace Dale Congregational Church as of Jan. 2, 2018.
  7. Rev. Sharon Key, Bridge Interim at First Congregational Church UCC in Bristol, will complete her Bridge Interim ministry after services on Dec. 31st
  8. Rev. Burton Bagby-Grose will begin his ministry as the Pastor at First Congregational Church UCC in Bristol on Jan. 2, 2018.
  9. Word was received of the recent December death of the Rev. John Avedis Zarifian in Montreal, Canada.

Upcoming Events

Vigil at the State House: Fighting Poverty with Faith
Jan. 3, 2018, 2:00 to 4:15 PM
Meet at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Providence

The 10th Annual Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty Vigil at the State House: a gathering, as a community of faith on the first full day of the legislative session to remind elected officials of their responsibility to those living in poverty. 

Sky Zone / Faith Zone
Jan. 21, 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Newman Congregational Church, Rumford

For 3rd-8th grade youth: an afternoon of faith and fun starting at Newman Congregational Church including snacks and a youth program followed by an outing at the Sky Zone trampoline park.

Racial Justice Awareness Confirmation Event
Jan. 28, 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Seekonk Congregational Church

A gathering of confirmands from our RI churches for an afternoon program with trained Racial Justice Awareness facilitators. All 8th grade -12th graders welcome.

Sliding with Faith
Feb. 4, 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Peace Dale Congregational Church, 
South Kingstown

6th-12th graders are invited to gather at Peace Dale Congregational Church for a youth program including a snack, followed by an outing to Yawgoo Valley for tubing.

Ordination for Shelly Moses
April 29, 2018
Peace Dale Congregational UCC

Details TBA

Super Saturday Workshop Proposals Now Being Accepted

Clergy and laity who would like to share concepts and practices that are changing their congregation or community's mission and ministry are invited to submit a workshop proposal for Super Saturday, being held March 17, 2018, at Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, MA.

Learn More

Other Events of Interest

Boundary Awareness Training
Jan. 17 & 18
Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge

Clergy Boundary Awareness Training sponsored by The Metropolitan Boston Association of the Massachusetts Conference.


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Rhode Island Conference, United Church of Christ
8 Summer Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860
(401) 724-7700