Joshua Stafford to become new Minister of Music

We are excited to announce that Joshua Stafford of Jacksonville, Florida, has accepted our invitation to serve as our Minister of Music. As a faith community, we will begin this journey together with Josh on Monday, March 20. Josh comes to us from Riverside Presbyterian Church where he has held the position of director of music ministries and organist since 2021. He also serves as Director of Sacred Music and Jared Jacobsen Chair for the Organist of the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. Josh will continue in his position at Chautauqua where he assists in the planning of daily worship and directs the Chautauqua Community Choir and the institution’s Motet Choir.

Josh brings exceptional gifts to our church and our music ministry. Thanks be to God for Josh! 

Rev. Joanna Samuelson Has Accepted Our Invitation

Rev. Joanna Samuelson has accepted our invitation to become our Interim Associate Minister, beginning September 25 and continuing on through September 24, 2023. The Interim position is established in such a way that should we have a full-time Associate Minister join the staff before that date, Joanna would assist in the transition and move to a new calling. She also may choose to be a candidate for the position, should she so desires. 

Rev. Samuelson brings special gifts to us as a trained interim minister in the UCC, a grief counselor, and a studied expert in transitions crisis management in church settings. God is blessing us with her continued presence on our staff, and the staff are excited by the gifts for ministry that she brings to us. 

Thanks be to God for Joanna’s stepping in and supporting First Church at this time!

We Pray for Ukraine

Ukraine has been attacked in an unprovoked assault on the sovereignty of a Democratic and free nation by a Tyrant named Putin and the forces of the Russian military. We pray for the Ukrainian people and call on President Biden, the United Nations, and the forces of NATO to stand up for the nation of Ukraine.
We offer this prayer for the people of Ukraine:
God of peace, we call upon you to be the presence of peace in this vile act and this violent assault on a people who seek peace and freedom. Surround them with your love. Protect the children, the innocent, the civilians, and the soldiers who defend their families, their homes, and their homeland in Ukraine this day and in the days to come. May we find ways to support them through prayer and protective presence during this all-out assault on sanity, sovereignty, and freedom. Be their shield and guide. Be their center in this divide. We pray this in the name of Christ our Lord, Amen.
Please read this quote from Timothy Snyder from his book On Tyranny: 21 Lessons from the 20th Century
“The president is a nationalist, which is not at all the same thing as a patriot. A nationalist encourages us to be our worst, and then tells us that we are the best. A nationalist, ‘although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge,’ wrote Orwell, tends to be ‘uninterested in what happens in the real world.’ Nationalism is relativist, since the only truth is the resentment we feel when we contemplate others. As the novelist Danilo Kiš put it, nationalism ‘has no universal values, aesthetic or ethical.’ A patriot, by contrast, wants the nation to live up to its ideals, which means asking us to be our best selves. A patriot must be concerned with the real world, which is the only place where his country can be loved and sustained. A patriot has universal values, standards by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well—and wishing that it would do better.”
Scroll to Top