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Archive for June 2017

ANNUAL GATHERING – – Who, What, and Why?

Dear friends,

First a quick thank you to everyone for making our big day on Sunday a success. In the afternoon, we shared worship with some residents at Casa, and then we celebrated Pentecost with special trumpet music and five different languages during our regular 5 pm worship. I’m grateful to all of you who participated and helped welcome our visitors (among the visitors were my parents, who had a blast).

In a few days, Carol, Sue Ann, Larry, Kathie, and I will journey up to Sonoma State to take part in the 2017 Annual Gathering of the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ. That’s a mouthful!

You may be wondering: what is Annual Gathering, and why is it a big deal? Annual Gathering is the chance for every church to practice an important value: the value of covenant.

You may have noticed that we privilege autonomy in the United Church of Christ. Our local leaders make our own decisions. We don’t have to deal with a lot of hierarchy, or some church leader from far off telling us what to do.

But the flipside of this independence is the freedom to seek relationship with other churches and other people. Autonomy, in other words, leads to and empowers covenant. It has always been so among our churches — when they banded together to form some of our nation’s first colleges, when they stood up against slavery, when they fought for women’s rights, when they voted to ordain the first openly gay pastor in the United States.

Over this next weekend, your representatives of First Church will join nearly a hundred other local UCC churches. We will worship God together. We will attend workshops on a variety of topics including justice, music, church administration (I’m teaching a workshop on “Poetry and Protest”!). We will vote on four proposals related to the future mission of the Conference.

It’s easy just to be independent. It’s harder, and more valuable, to seek relationships that nourish and stretch us. That’s part of why we allot funds to have our church well-represented each year at Annual Gathering.

Pray for us as we do our best to represent this body of Christ. And look forward to hearing more, once we return!

Serving with you,


Rev. Nate Klug


Today’s Newsletter


Enthusiasm, Pentecost, and Saying Thanks to Andrew

 Dear friends,

What an exciting month we have to look forward to here at First Church. As I write this, eleven of us are preparing to visit the Pacifica Institute in Sunnyvale, to learn from their Muslim community, and to share an Iftar dinner. An amazing opportunity — and you know what? It all stemmed from a conversation we struck up during the Redwood City 150th Anniversary Festival downtown.

On Sunday, June 11, at 2 pm I’ll lead a worship service at Casa de Redwood, and we’ll visit with our friends there. Then, at 5 pm, we’ll gather at First Church to celebrate Pentecost. In many ways Pentecost is my favorite of the Christian holy days, and it’s a totally modern one.

Pentecost is all about diversity, and enthusiasm. Pentecost commemorates the moment when the Holy Spirit filled the followers of Jesus, and equipped them to preach the Gospel in their own native tongues. When we say we welcome you just as you are, that’s part of what we mean.

We’ll have at least five languages represented in worship on Sunday — can you guess which ones? There will also be special trumpet music, and another unique communion table design (thanks, Joyce!) to look forward to. You’re invited to join me in wearing red, to symbolize the fire of God’s Holy Spirit.

Sunday will also be a time to say thank you to Andrew Jamieson, who has served as one of our piano accompanists for over two years. Andrew has done a terrific job leading us in song, wowing us with postludes, and showing flexibility and good humor at all times. Please let him know how much he has been appreciated.

Andrew will still fill in for us in the future, but as we grow and expand our worship experience, First Church is hiring at part-time Minister for Music. Starting in mid-June, we will no longer have a rotating cast of accompanists, but rather a single, talented, experienced individual to plan and lead our worship music. Needless to say, I’m excited about this, and I will introduce our new Minister for Music in next week’s newsletter.

This Sunday, we lift up Andrew — who, amid his many other commitments, has been there for First Church through the highs and lows of the last few years.

* * *

I mentioned we have an exciting month (and indeed summer) ahead of us. I want to end my note by giving you some highlights to look forward to.

Please mark your calendars!


June 15-18   Five of us are representing First Church at the Annual Gathering of the Northern California Nevada Conference of the UCC, held at Sonoma State.

 Sunday, June 25 During worship, we welcome seven New Members into our church family!

Sunday, July 9 Movies That Matter (“Being Mortal” with Dr. Atul Gawande), 3 pm.    Worship at 5 pm.

Sunday, July 23 Our Annual Meeting at 3 pm. Rev. Nate Klug installed during worship at 5 pm.

 Sunday, August 13 Rev. Polly Moore (College Heights UCC), guest preaching.

 Sunday, August 27 Soul Sparks class returns at 3:30 pm, with a fall series entitled “Who We Are.”    Worship at 5 pm.

Thanking God for you,


 Rev. Nate Klug


Today’s Newsletter