Pastor’s Message for September 2008

Dear Friends in Christ ~

Think about what identifies you as a unique person. Despite the fact that most of the world “knows” us by our Social Security OR phone number, we are, first and foremost, known by our name. Whether we like them or not, our birth name was carefully chosen for us and sets us apart as an individual. Our surname identifies us as a member of our family of origin, which is its own unique heritage and history.

Our name establishes us in a particular place and time. Our name also connects us to our forebears and our heritage ~ which also account for most of our physical traits as well as some of our personality ‘quirks.’

With a simple, Hello, my name is …”, our name becomes the foundation for our relationships ~ with everyone that we encounter and interact with as well as within our own family. And, most importantly, our relationship with God. At Baptism, God names and claims us as our own. For this reason, in addition to our given name, we are also given the name “Child of God, Member of God’s Family.”

These connections are good. And they are important. Being known and connected to a particular family grounds us. Being known and connected also reminds us that we matter, that we count … that we BELONG.

Having said all of this, I believe that it is time for us to, again, proudly name and claim ourselves ~ as children of God and as members of the family of faith known as St. Paul’s UCC. During our God is Still Speaking! Campaign, we created name badges, which help us to not only identify each other by name, but which also help us to learn the names of new people. It also helps us to open conversations with visitors ~ visitors who might, one day, choose to join our family of faith.

My friends, God IS still speaking ~ within AND through each of us. SO ~ let’s help God out ~ by declaring Rally Day as “Claim Your Name Sunday!” by proudly wearing our name badges AND greeting each other by name… and, thus, honoring God’s presence within this family.

In Christ’s love, Pastor Patti

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