Welcome to Henrietta United Church of Christ! As you wander around our website, you’ll get a taste of this amazing faith community, of which I am thrilled to be a part. Here’s some of what I bring to the mix:
I love worship! Our services are lively and spirit-filled, with something different each week. Our many musical groups offer various musical styles, shared from the heart. For me, the Sunday service is the high point of the week—it helps me keep body and soul in balance. After a joyful week, I treasure the chance to thank God and share my joy with the community. If I’ve had a difficult week, I count on having a time and space where I can lay my burdens down and be renewed. No matter how I’m feeling, I know there will be something there for me. Often, that something is a challenge to become involved in ministry to and with others. And when I answer that challenge, I find new energy for my journey of faith.
I love kids! Often, when I come to church in need of acceptance and love, it is a child who ministers to me with a hug or a smile or a question, drawing me out of myself and into the circle of God’s embrace. HUCC is a wonderful place for children and adults alike. Our church school is filled to overflowing each week, and our dedicated teachers treasure each child. Our youth are vibrant, with questions about life and faith, and creative ideas about how to reach out. Our parents find support here, for their day-to-day concerns and for their new ideas and initiatives. And our kids are part of it all, sharing their own unique gifts with others. From the tiniest tot to the wisest senior, we invite each person’s participation.
I love learning! The longer I live, the more I discover how much I have to learn. The church is a wonderful venue for learning, because it brings us together with people we wouldn’t otherwise know, and encourages us to share our skills and knowledge. As we look to the people of the Bible, to the great thinkers and actors of history, and to the members of our own congregation, our learning expands and grows. As we share our own insights and questions, we are drawn closer to one another and to God, who has blessed us with curiosity, a wide world to explore, and many traveling companions. With Jesus as our guide, we can journey in faith, setting fear aside, and opening ourselves to the work of God’s Spirit in us. Who knows what we might learn next?
I love hands-on service! When I’m serving a meal at Cameron Community Ministries or the Salem Nutrition Center, or walking with hundreds of people for Crop Walk, or packing up school kits for Church World Service, or building a house for Habitat for Humanity, I feel deeply connected with God and God’s people. There’s nothing quite like putting in time and effort where help is needed most! I’ve even discovered skills I didn’t know I had through the many service projects of the church. After reaching out and helping someone, I often feel as though I’ve gained even more than I’ve given.
I love the United Church of Christ! Our denomination is deeply rooted in the Christian tradition, yet faithfully open to the new insights of each generation. Because of our historical commitments to be a “united and uniting, multicultural and multiracial, accessible to all, open and affirming, justice peace church,” we have often been on the forefront of social change, welcoming those who have been excluded elsewhere into the family of God’s love and grace, and caring tenderly for God’s world. Check out the UCC website (www.ucc.org) to learn about the church that has nurtured me and ordained me as a minister of the gospel.
I would love to meet you! If you’re looking for a church home, or if you just want to chat, feel free to drop me a line or give me a call. Better yet, visit us on a Sunday and experience for yourself our unique and energetic congregation. For an hour or a lifetime, you are welcome here.
Rev. Martha Koenig Stone