All Posts By

Mary Ellen Fitch

Keep Going

By Talks

Today, Jessica Williams spoke about hope and defiance and shared how accessing her own defiance helped her to access hope. She pointed out some good reasons for defiance in these times — and thanked SCC for the ways they’ve defied oppressive practices in the church and allowed the presence of God in the people around them to change and propel them toward new, more loving and inclusive ways of being a community together. She thinks that this matters more than we might know, and encourages the community to keep going.

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Perfect Community

By Talks

Peter Fitch focuses on the idealism of the early church with its communal vision. He thinks that it grows from a shared experience of wonder that opens people’s hearts to share with others. This is provided as a contrast to the painful political situation that is so often in the news.

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Grief and Hope

By Talks

Wendy VanderWal Martin spoke today about church denominations that have chosen to exclude churches that affirm same-sex marriage. This talk is powerful and is full of grief, lament, anger, and then hope, though Wendy resisted the temptation to tie it nicely in a bow. She asked questions and the people gathered shared their thoughts. Some of the responses were about unjust systems and some were about individual grieving. Music before and after the talk was by Wendy’s husband, John Martin.

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Missing View

By Talks

Peter Fitch read an ancient account from Eusebius of Caesarea of a letter that a king wrote to Jesus asking to be healed. Eusebius found this letter and a letter in response from Jesus in the archives in the city of Edessa. Together we discussed this story and also commented upon some anti-Semitic references in the piece. Following this, Peter played a short video of Kumail Ninjani on racism, and spoke about the pain of Sikh people around the world after the brutal assassination this week of Sidhu Moose Wala, a hip-hop artist and inspirational hero who gave many the strength to withstand racism in Canada. Finally, he spoke about the kind of bias that has kept a story like the one Eusebius tells from becoming better known. 

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Second Breakfast!

By Talks

Today we enjoyed gathering together over 2nd breakfast for the first time since pre-covid! We’ve certainly missed the simple pleasure and delight of sharing a meal together. For our prayer time, we were led in Kate Bowler’s recent blessing “A Blessing for Collective Grief (when thoughts and prayers are not enough)” and some siliece in acknowledgement of the most recent shootings in the U.S.
Rachael Barham then led us in a lectio Poem – a sacred reading – titled “Things to Believe In.” After a time of quiet personal reflection, Julie Peregrin shared her own reflection, which was followed by an invitation for each table group to share any thoughts with each other. We closed with a wider sharing circle and one more read-through of the poem. (No recording today)

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The God Who sees Me

By Talks

Today, Jessica Williams explored ideas about what it means to be seen by God. She began with the story of Hagar, relying on womanist midrash for deeper insights into the lived experience of Hagar. After this introduction everyone was invited to share what they noticed through this lens, and all of these perspectives created a fuller, more empathic understanding of the text and of  Hagar’s life. Then she shared a personal “Hagar story” from a difficult season in her life. Reflecting on this, Jessica points out that when we understand that the God who sees us loves every part of us we can begin to come out of hiding and open ourselves up to experience what it’s like to be seen, to be known, and to be loved. To end the service we listened to Everything by Alanis Morrissette, and after the service we conspired about road trips to catch Alanis on tour this summer. 

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Snapping Back

By Talks

The focus of this talk was on some of the ways that the Christian Church has fallen back into cultural norms over the centuries. A moment of enlightenment and social advance is often followed by an “unlearning”, resulting in the institutional side of things becoming more important than the Spirit-infused life of God’s Presence, or the various ways that patriarchy has oppressed women through the ages.

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The Danger of a Single Story

By Talks

Today, Rick Coates led us into a beautiful time of worship. This was followed by a poem and a prayer read by Jessica Williams, and a TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie titled The Danger of a Single Story. After listening to the talk, we reflected on the themes that stood out to us, noting how much we need to seek out a variety of stories (the more the better!) about others, and about ourselves, too. Then we listened to a song by May Erlewine that helped tie it all together. Unfortunately only the first part of the service was recorded, but you can access all of these things through the links provided.

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A Love Story

By Talks

Jessica Williams talks about the experience of deconstruction in her own life, and reflects on how the reality of this experience has been a little more like the work of careful excavation to recover something precious. She uses this metaphor and others to share a bit about her history of losing the ability to believe certain church doctrines while maintaining a deep love and affection for church communities throughout her life. She sees this process of losing, or letting go of what was, as a gift that can reveal a truer beauty that’s been there all along.

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