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The Rev. Andrea Ayvazian Speaks at Common Ground

By | February 25th, 2017|Sermons, Worship|

Common Ground MESSAGE~~February 15, 2017 · I am so happy to be here with you all at Common Ground and with my beloved sister Sarah. Thank you for inviting me, and for welcoming me so warmly to your circle of love and worship. It is my joy and honor to be here. · We are living in dire and frightening times. You know that. We are all seeking a way forward. So how do peace-and-justice-loving people of faith live through and make a difference in these times when, it seems daily, all that we love, all the values we hold dear, all the tenets that we live by are threatened and under attack, and our very democracy seems at risk. · What I would like to do in the time I have with you tonight is to share some simple [...]

House Church Schedule for Lent 2017

By | February 21st, 2017|Adult Education|

Our House Church Groups begin on Monday, February 27.  The readings for each week are listed below.  Feel free to add comments and insights to the page.  Enjoy the book and your groups!   If you are looking for a group contact the church office at (413) 584-9392 or admin@firstchurches.org. Week 1 - Feb. 27                                                                                                                                                          Introduction through Chapter 2 (A Deeper Loyalty)  p. 1-49 [...]

“Are There Exceptions to the Golden Rule?”

By | February 20th, 2017|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir February 19,2017 Scriptures: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; Matthew 5:38-48 I began the week knowing that I would be preaching on love your neighbor, love your enemies, and turn the other cheek. Since Gandhi and Martin Luther King saw our Gospel text as a strategy for nonviolent resistance to injustice, I watched for examples. Last Saturday our Church Vision and Organization meeting moved because the Sugar Shack Alliance, an environmental group, was offering nonviolent resistance training, and nearly 50 people, mostly young women, signed up. We have had space requests for more training, and groups like The Worker’s Center have dozens of millennials who are organizing a safe streets program to protect and be in solidarity with immigrants. Young people are rediscovering nonviolent action. I had coffee with Rabbi Justin David, who was recently arrested with a [...]

Sermon: “Choosing to Live in Right Relationship”

By | February 17th, 2017|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir February 12, 2017 Scripture:  Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Matthew 5:21-35 (Click on the play button above left to listen to the sermon.) I have found a great appreciation for the book of Deuteronomy this week.  This is a very ancient law book, now nearly three millennia old.  Some of these laws feel strange and dated, such as practices for animal sacrifices, that they like lambs should not have blemishes.  Don’t use mixed fibers and shellfish are an abomination.  Others laws are remarkably relevant.  Don’t eat dead animals you find on the ground.  Appoint judges in every city who are impartial and who don’t take bribes.  Hired workers should be paid fairly.  Debts should be forgiven after seven years.  Parts of the crop should be set aside for poor people.  Here is a good one from [...]

Life Outside the Salt Shaker

By | February 6th, 2017|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir February 5, 2017 Scripture:  Matthew 5:13-20 (Click on the "play" button below to hear the sermon.) Jesus said we are to be the salt of the earth.  Salt is one of the essential things for life that is often taken for granted and forgotten.  You probably did not think much about salt this week, but consider how often you unknowingly use and need it.  Salt is more than a condiment to make our food taste better.  Our body needs a certain amount for good health.  The chemical compound for salt, sodium chloride, is essential for many chemical reactions which take place in the body.  When deprived of it we become dehydrated, our blood pressure will drop and we would eventually slip into a coma and die without salt.  Of course, this must be [...]

Religious Leaders Decry Travel Ban

By | February 1st, 2017|News|

by JACK SUNTRUP @JackSuntrup NORTHAMPTON — Religious leaders across the state on Tuesday called on President Donald Trump to reconsider his executive order that freezes refugee resettlement in the United States for four months. In an open letter, the Massachusetts Council of Churches called the executive order “injurious.” “We grieve this decision to limit refugees, as it will cause further suffering, not just to our fellow Christians escaping persecution, but all refugees fleeing violence,” the letter reads. It quotes from scripture, specifically Deuteronomy 10:19: “You shall also love the foreigner, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” “Our savior was a migrant,” the letter continues. “We hear Jesus Christ declare in Matthew 25 that His followers will be judged if we do not welcome the stranger. We stand under that judgment today.” The letter ends with a call [...]

600 gather for climate action in Northampton

By | January 31st, 2017|Environment, News, Peace and Justice|

By STEPHANIE MURRAY  @StephMurr_Jour  Printed in the Saturday, January 28, 2017 NORTHAMPTON — If there were ever a time to get involved in the fight against climate change, it appeared to be Saturday for Valley residents. Some 600 people packed First Churches on Main Street for “Climate Action in a Time of Crisis,” a panel made up of local leaders and experts to address the dangers of, and solutions to, climate change. Climate forums typically attract some 40 to 50 people in the city, but Saturday’s event drew 10 times that number. “This is the fight of our lives, folks,” said panelist Marty Nathan of Climate Action NOW. Additional panelists were state Senate President Stan Rosenberg, newly elected state Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, and Smith College Professor Nat Fortune. Lilly Lombard moderated the panel. “At this moment, we are faced with [...]

The Way Through: a sermon on the beatitudes

By | January 29th, 2017|Sermons, Worship|

  By the Rev. Sarah Buteux Epiphany 4, Year A, Anyone feeling especially blessed after hearing the Beatitudes this morning? Anyone wanting a little more blessing in their lives after hearing the Beatitudes this morning? Or are you feeling poor enough, thank you very much or that you’ve got all the suffering you can handle, thank you Jesus, or that meekness or mercy is precisely what got you into this mess…so a little more sure as heck isn’t going to help you find your way out? When you hear that word “blessing,” it sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to be blessed? Personally, I make it a point to count my blessings. I don’t tend to think of the good things in my life as the result of dumb luck, simple coincidence, or even hard work, [...]

Lenten House Church Dialog Series

By | January 29th, 2017|Adult Education, News|

“The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion is Seeking a Better Way to be Christian” By Brian McLaren Inviting all believers, questioners and questioning believers to a rich faith discussion!  First Churches will begin home reflection groups for the Lenten Season beginning on the week of Monday, February 27 and continuing for 6 weeks until Holy Week and Easter in mid-April.  Groups will meet weekly, and we hope to offer 4-5 different times and locations in the day and evening.  Sign ups will begin as soon as we set the sites and dates.  (Please contact pastor@firstchurches.org if you are willing to be a group facilitator or willing to host a group in your home.  You don't have to do both!) Books will be on sale at the church starting Sunday, February 5 at a cost of $15. Here [...]