Flowing from My Heart

“Let’s go around the table and each person say what they’re thankful for.”  What a lovely tradition. So why do I balk at it? And feel bad for doing so. I worry that I’m not thankful enough. Which is partly true. Hezekiah Walker’s Grateful plays in my head. Grateful, grateful, grateful,Gratefulness, it’s flowing from my heart Each

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Our Islands

The branches of the bitternut hickory look different from this vantage point, lit by the eastern sun. I love the giant tree that defines my backyard, but I have hardly ever examined it from my bedroom window. Too busy. Always moving. Up and at ‘em from one place to the next. Our rhythms have changed.

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Back Online

Technology has been such a gift these past eight months. The ease with which folks can record themselves reading scripture, praying, teaching, and sharing has enabled widespread participation and connection in our online services. Michael Linder and the musicians have created amazing music that encourages us and enables us to worship. But we longed for

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Election Day

Today we pray. For peace, justice, and mercy. I encourage you to listen (again) to Marty Shupack’s prayer from Sunday’s service for the election. Reminding me of the twelve representatives who each took a stone from the Jordan River to contribute to the collective memorial, pastors and faith leaders of the executive team of the Interfaith Alliance of Champaign County share

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re-remembering

Understanding our story within the larger story of our country, within the much larger story of God’s work in the world, is an ongoing process. Carolyn Vance thinks about her history within this widening context as we prepare for our Thanksgiving offering. May we also submit our stories to the light of God’s ongoing revelation. -Renée

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Nothing More, Nothing Less

I woke up with the word “hope.” There was no apparent reason for this. I certainly hadn’t gone to bed with hope, and today didn’t look much different. Still gray. Same pandemic, same politics. And yet. My hope is built on nothing less(and nothing more)than Jesus’ love/life/bloodand righteousness I had been feeling a bit discouraged.

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Year of the Nurse

NCF recognizes Nathan Welsh’s voice reading scripture, on the music team, and as father and spouse. My heart leaped to see his family at worship after so many months. Many times honored for his work as a surgical nurse who regularly goes above and beyond for his patients, Nathan spoke at the special commemoration of the

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Called

I was trying to explain a decision that seems, at this point, somewhat nonsensical. Or doesn’t clearly benefit our family. One of the joys of raising mature children is having conversations about a wide range of topics. Including, and especially, why we do what we do. I found myself hearkening back to the process of

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Looking & Finding

The sanctuary sat empty. Our parking lot borders a busy street, and the fire trucks are frequently active on Sunday mornings. NCF has no cemetery of green space for distanced worship. And meeting in a park never seemed quite right to me. Listening to professional recordings of our own music as I tramped through forest preserves,

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Simple, but Urgent

I almost didn’t open Richard Rohr’s email about how to get through the next few months. So many voices telling us what to do, I resist advice. Perhaps you also tire of well-intentioned messages. But Rohr’s words ring true: “Stand as a sentry at the door of your senses for these coming months, so ‘the blood-dimmed tide’ cannot make

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