A MESSAGE

From our Conference Minister

 

 

 

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel

After the Shooting at Michigan State University

 

This Valentines Day, I do not send our 140 Michigan churches the sugary sentiments of a heart shaped box of chocolates but the prayers from my broken human heart after last night’s shooting at Michigan State University. We had church members who could see the scene from where they were locked down in homes and churches. Last night, as I checked in on our local pastors, I knew they were checking in on their churches, communities, families, workers, students, first responders and the weary world around them. 

 

For, as every pastor knows, when tragedy hits, our churches grow much larger than the membership rolls. Churches become centers of care for the whole community, in buildings at busy intersections, in online gatherings, or on prayer chains.  When violence locks us down or sends us into the streets, the church has the chance to blast past its walls, when preachers realize that their most important sermon may be the one that is offered to the stranger at the grocery store who recognizes them and says, “Pastor, just answer me this. How can God let this happen?”

I’ve heard that question a lot lately, from people horrified by whatever picture of the world they receive in the news of their own choosing, but it’s a question that we in the church have an ancient answer to. God does not let this happen. People do. It is people who let these things happen. 

 

We saw it in the video of Tyre Nichols, killed by the brutality of human violence and the more devastating brutality of human indifference. We see it in the horror of the war in Ukraine, where, as in all wars, the poor pay the greatest price, while far away leaders philosophize to  monetize their own safety. We see it in ourselves as a country, when the news of one school shooting after another becomes routine, in a culture drooling for violence as entertainment, but hardened to it in real life. We see it in ourselves as a nation of immature impulses and short attention spans, more interested in shooting balloons out of the sky than taking guns out of the hands of its own people. God does not allow that to happen. People do. 

 

Yet somehow, despite the stakes, God, the great creator of all things, chose to create us with free will and mortal bodies. We could have been made to live forever as coddled infants, with our needs met, our decisions constrained and our capacity to harm the rest of creation minimized. Instead, we were created in the image of God, which means we have souls and bodies that were literally built for growth and change. Created with a limited time on earth, we were given the ability to choose between right and wrong, love or death, God or stuff, the care of all creation or the tedious worship of the self, all on a short journey through life whose purpose is to draw us closer to the one who gave us life to begin with.

 

As for the shooting in East Lansing, God does not let this happen. People do. It is God’s people who let the worst things happen to ourselves and to one another, from the violent act of taking lives, to the violent inaction of cynical indifference. But it is also God’s people who allow the most beautiful things to happen, from the courageous saving of lives, to the loving healing of broken spirits, to the humble repairing of the world from our own mistakes. This is what it means to follow Jesus, human and divine. Today, our Michigan pastors and churches are at the beating heart of it all.

 

Peace and Blessings, 

The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel

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

Staff

Rev. Meg Wilson (Pastor)

Calley Garvin (Administrative assistant)

Board of Trustess

Steve Nielson (President)

Rick Cole (Vice President)

Terry Hillman (Treasurer)

Nancy Michelson

Ida Eckert

Jerry Rogers

Linda Parsons

Linda Rehm

Lori Sarnowski

Sunday School

Music Ministry

Deborah Frontczak (Music Director)

Denise Kildea (Accompanist)

Patrick Baker (Organist)


JOIN US THIS WEEK

WORSHIP SUNDAYS AT 10:00 am