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The Congregational Church of West Medford is now doing business as Sanctuary UCC.

The Canary in the Coal Mine

971693_10152277796163954_1266615875_nDear Friends,

In the days since our “field” trip to North Prospect Union, UCC I have found myself whistling with delight and energized by possibility. The warmth and comfortable feeling we all had walking into the sanctuary and fellowship spaces at NPU has warmed my heart through the week. The marvelous sound of our singing together in a space that is right-sized for us continues to make melody in my spirit. All week, I’ve caught myself humming the lovely anthem presented by Alex and Jonathan—”You alone are my strength and shield.” And your participation in creating our beautiful worship center, your smiles and hopeful responses to our worship, your happy energy during the fellowship time and your hopefulness about our possibilities have truly inspired my ministry! Thank you for being open and thank you for taking these risks together.

On Monday, as I was cruising through my facebook feed I stumbled upon this blog post (The Canary in the Coal Mine) by a young UCC pastor from Pennsylvania and my heart was truly blown wide open by his reflection. As with so many of my colleagues, I was saddened and even shocked by the news that The Alban Institute was closing—and doing so abruptly. As this author reflects, it leaves one wondering if it is yet another really scary sign for ‘The Church’. Yet, Williams observes that there are new and vital ways of doing what we do—and there is great need for faith communities that can be places of connection and formation while meeting the culture and flexible people where they are. Once you read the post, you will see why I am SO excited by the possibilities about which we are10154145_10152277796408954_1417594328_n speaking and planning. If you believe the conventional wisdom about what Christian Churches need to be—we are leading the charge. We are out on the edge and doing the stuff of transformational ministry. This is what we are imagining ourselves doing! Praise the Lord and the Congregational Church of West Medford.

With blessing and prayer, Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade/

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