Listen to this week’s Devotional here.
Author: Caitlin Smith
“…When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” 1 Corinthians 14:26
I first discovered First Congregational in April 2021. After reading through the website and watching a recent service on YouTube, I found myself both hopeful that I had found a church community in Boulder and curious about how to get more involved during what I thought were the waning days of the pandemic. I optimistically sent in the “Contact Us” form and braced myself for a standardized, form letter reply that typically comes. Within 24 hours, a different email appeared in my inbox: a note from Pastor Chris inviting me to an outdoor coffee and a conversation about the church. As I typed out some times and dates to meet, that hope transformed to optimism about what I would find at First Congregational.
After a brief tour of the church, we headed for the patio at Hotel Boulderado, ordered coffee, and Pastor Chris listened carefully as I explained the highlights of my wandering path from Boulder, around the world, and then my pandemic-induced move back. She deftly pivoted to what I was looking for in a faith community and listing the small groups at First Cong that best matched my interests. I left delighted and confident about the First Cong community; a reaction quickly reinforced as Pastor Chris facilitated introductions to the Memoir Writing Group and Climate Action Team. Both groups were warm, welcoming, and energizing and almost immediately, they and First Cong became staples of my weekly routines.
At least once a week since that initial coffee, I leave First Cong gatherings feeling deeply connected and energized, though the sources of that connection are often different. On Sunday mornings, I feel nourished and awed by the spiritual pull and long history of the Sanctuary; by the sense that our choir, prayers, sermons, and socializing are continuing the legacy and vision of the miners, westward settlers, and farmers who built the sanctuary and grew the congregation. My Wednesday afternoons come alive with the written recollections of the transformative and mundane life events, told in our own words and received with compassion and curiosity, that comprise the Memoir Writing Group. During both the Climate Action Team and Board of Management meetings, I am repeatedly inspired by the breadth of expertise, commitment to service, creativity, and determination of my fellow group members.
In reflecting on the myriad ways that First Congregational comes together, I concluded there are three essential components that make it such a nourishing and dynamic spiritual home. One, genuine compassion and support for each person’s story. Two, an intentional commitment to using the principles of the Christian faith to guide our efforts in combatting systemic social justice issues. Three, a widespread willingness to volunteer time, energy, skills, and resources to build, nurture, and grow all the small groups, events, and committees that have a home within First Cong’s walls. As 2023 unfolds and we begin implementing the new strategic plan, let us remember that “When [we] come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”