Blog Feed

Mini Sermon #21

Jesus’s parables should never quite be taken at face value. Of course, the beauty of these stories – these lessons – is that they can be and the reader or listener can still get meaning out of them. However, if we really want to get to the heart of a parable, we have to understand the Historical Jesus and, quite often, the world and times in which he lived. The wonderful thing about this particular parable is that its designed…

FCC to Reopen Its Doors

On Sunday, November 1st (All Saints Day) Florence Congregational Church (FCC) will resume worshipping in our sanctuary, located at 130 Pine Street. We will be following the guidelines and mandates per the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As such, face masks are to be worn at all times and social distancing will be practiced within the church to help prevent any health risk to those attending. Handsanitizer will be available at the sanctuary. Throughout September and October (except for Sunday, October 18…

Mini Sermon #20

Author: Rev. Averill Elizabeth Blackburn A quick note on Translation The NRSV reads that the laborers or workers are promised a “daily wage.” The daily wage – traditionally – was a Roman coin known as a denarius that held cultural significance. I will be referencing the denarius several times as it meant something to those working and was also a symbol of Rome. The “landowner” owns a “vineyard,” which has a very specific harvest schedule. Once the grapes spoil, they…

Mini Sermon #19

Sermon Lesson: Matthew 18:21-35 (NRSV)Psalm: Psalm 114 (NRSV) (KJV) Bible Passage (Gospel of Luke): Luke 22:54-62 (NRSV)Bible Passage (Book of Genesis): Genesis 1-2:4 (NRSV)Bible Passage (Book of Exodus): Exodus 21:23-25 (NRSV) Author: Reverend Averill Elizabeth Blackburn I know that I am sometimes a bit of a broken record. Whenever I come across a parable, many of you by now can probably tell I want to bang my head against the wall because Jesus has a tendency of being cryptic. His…

Donuts and Wine

I’m out purchasing donuts (wonderfully American) and wine (to mix with water as was traditional in first century Palestine) for virtual communion tomorrow! Looking forward to seeing everyone without masks of – albeit on my computer screen. God bless -aeb

Daily Hampshire Gazette features FCC

After giving interviews over the phone and in person over the past week, our Moderator Wayne Peereboom and Rev. Averill Elizabeth Blackburn (along with community activist Priscilla M. Ross), were featured along with FCC in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. We are pleased with continued coverage of the church and the focus given to us in our current financial situation. With God’s grace and the support of the greater community, Florence Congregational (FCC) hopes to remain here for our members and…

Mini Sermon #18

Sermon Lesson: Matthew 18:15-20 (NRSV)Alternate New Testament Lesson: Romans 13:8-14 (NRSV)Psalm: Psalm 149 (NRSV) (KJV)Other Referenced Bible Texts: Exodus 22:18 (NRSV) (KJV) Author: Reverend Averill Elizabeth Blackburn Disclaimer on Literalism I want to start off today’s mini sermon with a disclaimer because not only do we live in an age of disclaimers, but because I feel it’s important before we continue. Our text for today is a wonderful piece of historical insight into the life of the early Christian community.…

Further Zoom Instructions

How to Celebrate the Lord’s Supper Virtually When Jesus celebrated Passover two thousand years ago with his disciples, he knew that he would soon be arrested. The bread and the cup were symbols of a meal long past, but the new meaning behind these rituals were the fellowship Jesus and his followers felt with each other, along with the promises that were made that night. We, as Congregationalists, hold the communion with our fellow believers sacred, and not necessarily the…

Mini Sermon #17

Sermon Lesson: Matthew 16:21-23 (NRSV)Full Sermon Lesson: Matthew 16:21-28 (NRSV)Alternate New Testament Lesson: Romans 12:9-21 (NRSV)Psalm: Psalm 105 (NRSV) (KJV) Author: Rev. Averill Elizabeth Blackburn Our relationship to our God is the center of every major religion the human race has ever known. It is the focus point of worship, whether we are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan, or another religion entirely. We (as humans) wish to be known by the divine element. It is a potent driving force…

Mini Sermon #16

Sermon Lesson: Matthew 16:13-20 (NRSV)Alternate New Testament Lesson: Romans 12:1-8 (NRSV)Psalm: Psalm 124 (NRSV) (KJV) Sometimes, we should really count ourselves as fortunate. Now, I know this isn’t a terribly popular idea at the given moment. There are those who would have us ashamed of ourselves or our society for a multitude of reasons (really, sometimes it’s difficult just trying to keep up!) because we clearly got it all wrong to have gotten to this point. Then there are those…