Latest Worships

2019

                                   Jenny Slew—painting by Jillian Bemis, 2019

Silence – November 10, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

 
1. The sermon “Silence” was preached by Rebecca Pugh and Gordon Harris on Jenny Slew Sunday, November 10, to honor the legacy of veterans of the world and Jenny Slew as an 18th century heroine, who successfully fought for her freedom from slavery, through the Massachusetts court of law.
2. Silence has two meanings: Silence the noun is the blessed peace around you, in a church, in the forest, in a still calm place. Silence the verb is something imposed upon somebody when their voice is taken away. They have nearly opposite meanings in some contexts.
3. When Solomon’s temple is described in 1Kings, it is built in the blessed silence of a still place, and even the rocks are hewn before they arrive in the city.
4. Mr. William Morris was a World War Two Hero, and a deacon in Faith United Methodist Church in Staten Island, NY. He died last year at age 99. 

 

 

 

Memory and Hope – November 3, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh
 
1. Rachel Myers, who curates the oldest graveyards in the area, was doing an installation on the day of the funeral at the end of October.
2. Peter Gomes describes “thin places” in his 1996 book The Good Book.
3. The word for ark, as in box or cupboard of casket, in Hebrew is “Aron”.
4. Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun was published first in 1951.
5. “Listen more often” is a song adapted by the acappella band Sweet Honey in the Rock from the poem by Birago Diop.

 

Thou Shalt Not Kill – October 27, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

Footnotes:

1. We write letters at First Church to prisoners, and we visit, to cry out against the unjust prison system in the United States, and to align ourselves with Christ’s statement “I was in prison and you visited me”.
2. Liz McAllister was part of the Kings Bay Plowshares Project. Most of the information for this portion of the sermon comes from “Democracy Now”.
3. Lo Tirsah, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, was explained by Dr. Marc Brettler, professor at Brandeis University, as “No Killing illegitimately”.
4. “We will do it and then we will understand it” is a theological reflection on the response of the Hebrews to the 10 Commandments, in Exodus 24, described by Professor Avivah Zornberg in her book “Moses, a Human Life”, as a part of the Jewish Lives Series, Yale University Press, 2016.
5. Kari Mashos writes for the Christian Science Monitor: as we reflect on “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, to understand it as a spontaneous and guiding force within us.

 

 

Freedom – October 20, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

Footnotes:
1. “Let my People Go” is the theme of the book of Exodus.
2. Araminta Ross was born in Maryland in 1822, born into slavery.
3. Moses’ discomfort with being called by God is described by Avivah Zornberg in her book “Moses, a Human Life”, as a part of the Jewish Lives Series, Yale University Press, 2016.
4. This idea that your biggest problem is also your biggest gift is one that Zornberg describes in all of her books on the Torah.
5. Greta Thunberg, climate activist, also personifies this situation: that your handicap is your greatest strength.
6. Maimonides (1138 – 1204) is the greatest Jewish philosopher of the Medieval period. He describes Moses’ project of discovering a voice that is uniquely his, for the sake of Israel.
7. “And She Said Her Name Was Harriet Tubman” is Holly Near’s brilliant song from the 1970’s.

 

Doing the Right Thing – October 6, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

Footnotes:

  1. “The Mosquito Extermination Project” is a folk tale from India, collected by folklorist Margaret Read MacDonald and published in her book “Earthtales”.
  2. The Scripture for the sermon comes from Genesis 9, the story of Noah’s difficulties after the flood.
  3. “My Paddle’s Keen and Bright” is a round written by Margaret Embers McGee in 1910.
Creation and Equality –  September 29, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh
  1. James Weldon Johnson, 1871 – 1938, was a poet, educator, musician, lawyer, civil rights leader, ambassador, and Secretary General of the NAACP. 
  2. His poem/sermon “The Creation” is published in God’s Trombones, 1927. Republished, Random House 2018.
  3. His poem Deep in the Quiet Woodis published in Camille T. Dungy’s Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (University of Georgia Press: 2009).
  4. Lift Every Voice and Sing is a beloved anthem written by James Weldon Johnson and his brother John Rosamond Johnson, created in 1905 to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
Searching for peace –  September 15, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

 

Treasure –  August 18, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

1. This sermon is based on Matthew 6:19: “Set yourselves up for purses meant for heaven”. “For where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also”.

 
2. William Wordsworth’s sonnet, “The World is Too Much With Us, Late And Soon,” was written in 1802.
 
3. This is from Gordon Harris’ historical article, “The Women of Chebacco Build A Meetinghouse” — contributed by Charlotte Lindgren: https://historicipswich.org/2017/05/11/women-build-a-meeting-house/
 
4. “How Can I Keep From Singing”–lyrics first published in “The New York Observer”, 1868, by Pauline T.
Is Anything Unforgivable? –July 21, 2019 – led by Rev. Tom Lenhart

 

The Good Enemy – July 14, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

                                             Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh and Harvey Cox

“Mixing Religion and Politics?” – July 7, 2019 led by Dr. Harvey Cox

 

“The embarrassingly messy, awkwardly bodily,politically vulnerable, funnily real parts of our faith” – June 23, 2019 led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

 

Hello World – led by Jason Wertz  on June 16, 2019

 

Photo by Mike Densmore.
Snowy Egret on Plum Island, June 2019
Understanding – June 9, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

Footnotes:   

  1. Greta Thunberg, in Suyin Haynes’ Next Generation Leadersin Time Magazine, 2019.
  2. Pentecost in the Jewish Tradition: Jason Aronson’s Every person’s Guide To Shavuot, Www.myjewishlearning.com; retrieved June 8, 2019.
  3. Pentecost in the Christian Tradition: fromThe First Church Bible Study, Monday Mornings at 10. 1Meetinghouse Green, Ipswich MA, 01938.
  4. The Snowy Egrets Tabasco sauce man is Edward Avery McIlhenny, who was born on Avery Island, 1892.

https://www.tabasco.com/visit-avery-island/, retrieved Thursday, June 7, 2019.

  1. Spirit Of Gentlenessis by James Manley, 1975.
 

Photographer: Kerry Mackin

Hope – June 2, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

 

1. The Appalachian trail crosses several high huts in New Hampshire, and the Zealand Falls hut is open all year.

2. “When all our nights become darker than a thousand midnights let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountain of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way.”  Martin Luther King Jr., “Where Do We Go From Here”, Georgia 1967.
3. James Bell’s first work when he was a child was for the desegregation of swimming pools in South Carolina. Now he works for juvenile justice in San Francisco and across the world. From Jessica Lum’s “James Bell”, in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan 1, 2012.
4. James Bell’s portrait comes to Ipswich July 1, 2019, as a part of the Americans Who Tell The Truth project, by Robert Shetterly.
5. Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen 2019 is Rachel Perry, of New Bedford, and she has survived a concussion by listening to and playing music, and by sharing it with others. She joined the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestra concert for senior citizens, as a volunteer, at First Church in early May.
6. “Bright Morning Star” is an Appalachian mountain song, arranged by the Wailin Jennys in Winnipeg in 1998.

 

 

Tree of Life – May 26, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

Footnotes
1. Earl Shaffer wrote “Walking With Spring” in 1983, and it was published by the Menasha Ridge Press.
2. The Tree of Life as spiritual sustenance is in many places in Scripture; here we discuss it as John records it in Revelation 22.
3. Shinrin Yoku was described by the Japanese Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries in the early part of the 21st century.
4. Thoreau’s essay “Walking” was published posthumously in the Atlantic Magazine in 1862.
5. De o tino Helado, ne O Que Le Soon Wa is a song written by Rebecca from the Mohawk, “Give thanks to the trees”.

 

Discipleship – May 19, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

Footnotes:

1.The story of Julian comes from RJ Palaccio’s Auggie and Me – Three Wonder Stories, Alfred Knopf, 2015.

2.”Love will guide us”comes from Sally Rogers’s Album ‘Love Will Guide Us’- Thrushwood Press Publishing, 1985.

 

 

Hospitality – May 12, 2019 – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh

Footnotes:

1. Egg and Spoon by Gregory MaGuire was published by Candlewick Press in 2014.

2. The Road to Emmaus comes from Luke 24: 13-35, and in it, Dr. Luke describes a mystical encounter on the 7 mile road between Jerusalem and Emmaus.
3. Henri Nouwen described hospitality as “that virtue which allows us to break through the narrowness of our fears and open our home to the stranger, with the understanding that salvation comes to us in the form of a tired traveller.” Quoted in The Queer Bible Commentary, SCM Press, 2006, Rev. Robert Goss, editor.
4. “Come unto me” is my own translation of Matthew’s wisdom statement, set to music by G.F. Handel in his Messiah.

 

Trust — a message for First Church in Ipswich, May 5, 2019
Footnotes:
1. John Dominic Crossan and Sarah Crossan: the Sea of Tiberias, a talk at “The Universal Christ” conference, Albuquerque NM, March 2019
2. St. Gregory, on prayer, from “The word is Very Near You” by Martin Smith: Cowley Publicatoins: 1989.
3. Unamuno. “San Miguel Buono, Martyr”. 1939.
4. James Taylor. “You can Close Your Eyes.” 1971.

 

“Light” a sermon for Easter, Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh
Photograph by Don Paquin, Easter Sunday 2017
1. Bob Oakes, “Morning Edition”, interview with Daniel Romanchuk, April 16, 2019.
2. John Dominic Crossan, lecture, “The Universal Christ”, hosted by Richard Rohr, Albuquerque New Mexico, March 30, 2019.

 

Treasure – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on January 27, 2019

1. The notes on the ship Ada K. Damon, built in 1875 in Essex and wrecked in 1909 in Ipswich, come first from Gordon Harris’ excellent article “The Wreck of the Ada K.Damon” on the Historic Ipswich website. The wind measured 72 miles per hour on the night of the terrible storm. 
2. The notes about coal replacing the wind-filled sail, to the wreck of the ship, come from Dan MacAlpine’s “Ipswich Wreck: An Information Treasure Trove”, in the “Ipswich Chronicle”, July 22, 2015.
3. The song comes through the Folk Tradition, taught by Audi Souza at the funeral of Bob Pigeon, originally from the poem “Crossing the Bar”, by Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

Found! – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on January 20, 2019
 
1. The Hebrew word for parable is the same word as for riddle: in Roman letters it is Mashal.
2. Krister Stendahl writes of this economy of extravagance in Roots of Violence, in his chapter on Salvation as Victory.
3. Tara Westover’s lovely new book Educated gives a vivid description of her search for safety and comfort.
4. “And We Like Sheep” is from Handel’s Messiah, and Handel loved the word painting in which the voices wander, lost, all over the hillside even as the sheep did.
 
 
 
2018
 
 

Being present – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on July 29, 2018

1. Bill Powers: New Slow City (2014): Novato, California: New World Library.
2. Richard Rohr: Father Richard’s Daily Meditations. Tuesday, July 24, Real Presence. Https://cac.org.
3. All About Birds.org. The Piping Plover has 8,400 breeding individuals. Retrieved July 28, 2018.

Sin – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh  on July 22, 2018

Youth Sunday – a sermon led by our Youth Voices

Families – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on June 24, 2018

Strong Souls – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on June 17, 2018

Power – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on June 3, 2018

Suffering – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on May 27, 2018

Notes from Standing Rock – led by Ali McCormack

Up – a sermon about renewal led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on March 11, 2018

The Work goes on – An Easter Sermon, led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on April 1, 2018

Unity – led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on April 8, 2018

Damascus -God takes our bad habits, led by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh on April 29, 2018

Fences and Walls:
Scripture, from John’s gospel, in the bulletin
“He left Judea and started back to Gallee, but he had to go through Samaria…” -John 4:3

 

Wilderness: 

“He was in the wilderness 40 days, tempted by Satan, and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.” Mark 2: 12-13