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Celebrating ‘Seasonings’: New book by veteran preacher and poet, Allen ‘Mick’ Comstock
04-12-2024 10:51 AM

By TINKY WEISBLAT

I was thrilled to learn last year that Haley’s of Athol was planning to publish “Seasonings,” a book of prayers by Allen “Mick” Comstock of Shelburne Falls. Mick has been a minister for more than 50 years, many of those years in Franklin County. In...

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Faith Matters: How to still the muddy waters of overthinking: Clarity, peace and God can be found in the quiet spaces
04-12-2024 10:43 AM

By THE REV. CINDY LAJOY

Have you ever walked through a season of your life where, no matter how hard you tried, you were unable to see your way through to the “other side?” Maybe you have been anxious for months about a major decision you need to make, but despite your...


Faith Matters: ‘A place where there is no man’: A call to realize that we are the ones we have been waiting for
04-05-2024 1:30 PM

By JASPER LAPIENSKI

“In a place where there is no man, strive to be a man.” (Avot 2:6)If you take just the second half of this statement, it sounds uncomfortably familiar: Be a man. We hear that a lot these days. Real men don’t cry; be a man. Shoulder the burden. Do your...


Faith Matters: Never-ending love is the message of Easter: As Jesus’ disciples of today, spreading this love is our mission
03-29-2024 12:23 PM

By THE REV. DR. CANDI ASHENDEN

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and many little children in our towns will wake up to discover that the Easter Bunny has arrived while they slept and hidden real and/or plastic-colored eggs around their living rooms or yards, perhaps along with some little...


Faith Matters: Recommended for ages birth to resurrection: God’s love in inclusive of all
03-22-2024 10:06 AM

By STEVE DAMON

‘I’d like to invite the young and the young-at-heart to come on up,” I bellow as I skip, jog, crawl, roll, saunter, or … whatever … up to the United Church of Bernardston alter, every Sunday morning at approximately 10:50 in the morning, 9:50 during...


Faith Matters: Supporting life after jail: St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ashfield hosts ‘Moving Forward: From Incarceration to Community’ April 13
03-15-2024 3:24 PM

By HETTY STARTUP

There are many citations about prison fellowship and ministry in the Bible, including the Psalms, the Book of Isaiah and perhaps most well-known, chapter 25 of Matthew’s gospel.At St. John’s Episcopal Church this spring, the teachings are being taken...


Faith Matters: All are welcome at Open Table: One effort to nurture respectful conversation among those who may see the world differently
03-09-2024 7:00 AM

By JAN FLASKA

I often ask the students I teach to tell me which fruit was forbidden by God in the Garden of Eden. A quick, abrupt answer is speculative: “Apple!” A thoughtful answer obligates us to read the source, which states that it is not specified. Now the...


Faith Matters: Covenant as an art: How caring for others puts us in touch with God’s love
03-01-2024 11:34 AM

By THE REV. JAMES KOYAMA

I’d like to share a recent experience with you and what it says to me about being part of the church in our world. Quite recently, one of our members passed away. He was a man beloved by many, who I came to know near the end of his life.When we...


Finding God everywhere: Pastor Peter Stilla of the First Congregational Church in Hadley pens new book about Christian Universalism
02-23-2024 1:50 PM

By TINKY WEISBLAT

Peter Stilla of Deerfield has had multiple careers. For much of his life, he was a journalist. This work included stints doing editorial work at the Greenfield Recorder and its sister paper, the Daily Hampshire Gazette.In 2000, he decided to attend...


Faith Matters: Celebrate love by sharing love: Loving one another means everyone, not just one special person
02-09-2024 12:53 PM

By THE REV. LINDA M. RHINEHART NEAS

In a few days, people around the world will spend billions of dollars on cards, candy, jewelry, flowers, and a night on the town to prove their love and affection to a special someone. I may be wrong, but I think St. Valentine is rolling over in his...


Faith Matters: God is not Google: God’s gifts require patience in an often impatient world
02-02-2024 12:03 PM

By THE REV. CINDY LAJOY

Have you ever wondered why God sometimes leads us on what seems like a long and winding road, just to end up mere steps from where you started? Have you ever asked God to answer your prayers in a hurry, only to find yourself waiting for a response for...


Faith Matters: The gospel according to baseball: It is never too late for each of us to have a great 9th inning
01-19-2024 11:36 AM

By BISHOP DOUG FISHER

As you are reading this column, we are 35 days away from the official start of Major League Baseball’s Spring Training.So it is only fitting that I begin this column with a couple of inspirational baseball stories.Growing up in the 1960s, like many...


Faith Matters: A call for community: Only in community can we fulfill God’s plan for the church
01-12-2024 11:29 AM

By PASTOR MARK E. ELLIS

One of my favorite movies is “Castaway,” a dramatic, Robinson Crusoe-type tale about one man’s survival on a desert island. Tom Hanks plays FedEx executive Chuck Nolan, who boards a FedEx plane to attend a business meeting in Malaysia. Over the...


Faith Matters: Cultivating deep reverence for the Earth
05-12-2023 4:27 PM

By HETTY STARTUP

What do you see when you look at a rock? Perhaps it’s on the sidewalk, by the ocean or in a garden? Do you wonder how it got there? What is its story? Maybe rocks are not your thing. But as late April’s Earth Day celebrations have now passed, I...


Faith Matters: Apocalypse now? Reflecting on the dissolution of our community and church centers
02-20-2023 7:24 PM

By ALLEN COMSTOCK

This is certainly a time when something is ending and something is beginning. It’s easier to see what’s ending than what’s beginning. How you see what’s ending probably depends on where and when you began.My first memory was V-J Day (the day on which...


Faith Matters: The welcoming heart: Your deepest heart is a “golden door”
02-17-2023 3:15 PM

By GURUJIMA

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’Emma Lazarus poem - Statue of Liberty pedestal,...


Faith Matters: The return of light in our darkest hours
02-03-2023 4:40 PM

By RABBI ANDREA COHEN KIENER

Yes, it’s cold and grey and snowy. It’s February! The cruelest month. But more and more, slowly, slowly, we are beginning to register that the sun is rising earlier and riding higher in the sky. Sunset is holding on a few minutes later each and every...


Faith Matters: Prostration on the pitch: Does God care who wins the game?
01-27-2023 3:50 PM

By JAN FLASKA

The joy of football – global, that is, not American – found its spiritual home in Qatar for one month this winter. Few celebratory storylines were as gripping as Morocco’s run to the semifinals. When that former French colony stood on the pitch facing...


Faith Matters: A tale of two funerals
01-20-2023 3:54 PM

By JANET KEYES

In 2022 our church had two special funerals for deceased members.First there was Tom. I did not know Tom very well, but my husband knew him as a high school classmate, and later as a customer and friend of ours. Tom was a lifelong bachelor in his...


Faith Matters: Pondering accounts of weather in the Bible
01-13-2023 4:02 PM

By BRETT REITENBACH

From Dec. 23 to 27, parts of Buffalo, New York, received a stunning 50 inches of snow along with wind gusts of at least 70 mph. One didn’t have to travel too many miles away from there to see drastically smaller accumulations due to the localized...


Faith Matters: The Magi’s gifts to a king
01-06-2023 6:09 PM

By THE REV. FATHER ROBERT M. KOERBER

“On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother; and they knelt down and paid Him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11) The final piece of the story of...

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