Minister's Message
Dear Friends
Our pastor is available to anyone in need of pastoral care in times of grief or when facing family or personal difficulties or questions of faith. He is available to meet with people by making arrangements through the church office. His schedule is flexible and appointments can be made mornings, afternoons and evenings. He is also available at anytime in case of emergency.
Welcome to the world of ists and isms and other simple suffixes that immedi-ately identify us as sharing some state of mind, belief, or condition with endless others. It might come as a surprise, but everyone one of us can be isolated, cate-gorized, and labeled according to someone else’s list of ists and isms. We know that we are unique persons and complex beings who are products of varied traditions, values, and experiences. But that won’t stop those who would paint the world with a broad brush in shades of ism and ist. To them you have a label and that label says everything there is to say about you:
 
   Optimist, Pessimist, Skeptic…
     Capitalist, Communist, Socialist…
      Feminist, Sexist…
        Atheist, Humanist, Materialist…
          Idealist, Pragmatist, Perfectionist…
            Racist, Pluralist…
              Republican, Democrat…
   Liberal, Conservative, Fundamentalist, Extremist…
 
One of our blessings at the Bridgewater Congregational Church is that we know each other better than to resort to categories and labels. We value each other too much to succumb to the prejudices that surround us. We have shared joys and sorrows together and been through too much together to be blind to the other’s complexity and humanity.
 
Isolation and ignorance are what drive a wedge between one person and an-other or between one people and another. Wherever people are seen only as ists and isms there will be the suspicion and fear that make fertile soil for hatred. There are those who would capitalize on ignorance and fear. We heard their dark voices this week as they tried to make the absurd claim that an insulting but obscure video could characterize all Americans and in the equally absurd claim that the violence in Bengazi, Libya could characterize all Muslims.
 
It is a blessing to know that no matter who or where we are on life’s journey, we are welcome in this church. It is a blessing to gather where we are not judged, where our story finds interested listeners, and where we are valued for the unique persons we are. It is also a blessing for us to share. It’s a way of liv-ing that can emerge wherever our use of ism and ist is kept in check and where interest in knowing another’s traditions, values, and experiences takes the place of fear born of ignorance.
 
Let’s pass along the blessing.