Pastor Bruce Ervin
Greetings to Boise-First Congregational UCC! I am thrilled to be serving with you as your interim minister and am very much looking forward to this coming year as we engage in faithful and joyful ministry together.
As you know, I am a retired pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I also served for 20 years in the United Church of Canada. But I attended a United Church of Christ seminary (Andover Newton), worshipped in Congregational and UCC congregations when I visited my grandparents, and my home church in Chicago is now jointly affiliated with the Disciples and the UCC. So, we are at least ecclesiastical cousins, if not already siblings!
I have learned over my 40 plus years of ministry just how powerful worship can be. It’s a subtle power, because on any given Sunday it may not feel like much has happened. But as a spiritual discipline, practiced week after week and year after year, Christian worship nurtures within us a spirit of wisdom and virtue and faithfulness and binds us together in community. Therefore, worship preparation and leadership will be a major area of focus, working together with the Worship Arts Board, Jenny Jahn, the music staff, and all of you.
It is through the rituals and symbols of the liturgy, especially those that are familiar to the congregation, that we are touched by the presence of God. And the preaching of the Word is a light unto our feet as we travel down the rocky road of life. I love the notion that the preacher ought to hold the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. While that newspaper may now be accessed through some kind of electronic device, I think the image still holds. The timeless wisdom of the Word both guides and judges the affairs of this and every age. Especially in these troubled times, we need to listen to it with both our minds and our hearts.
I hope to help you do that, during both worship and a mostly weekly sermon talk back time. After church lets grab a cup of coffee and circle up some chairs and talk about what we heard, or wished we’d heard.
I also believe that, during an interim ministry, a congregation has a unique opportunity to discern the direction in which God is calling it to go. As the great New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not going to get there.” Or, to put that in more biblical language, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). Perhaps there will be opportunities to do some visioning together in the months ahead as you prepare to call your next minister.
No doubt the Holy Spirit will reveal to us other areas in which we are called to work together in this new year of 2024. It will be a journey and a joy as we move into the future as a community of faith. Thanks for inviting me to join you on this adventure.
Pastor Bruce Ervin