No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, You Are Welcome Here.

Courage to Love

Posted on 24 Oct 2021

October 24, 2021

Mark 12:28-31, John 15:9-12

Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman

This is a video slideshow sermon that can be found on FCC Bristol’s Youtube channel.

Once upon a time, there was a church community

who was called to love God and love their neighbors

by welcoming all, nurturing all,

and changing the world for the better with Christ’s love.


So with the purpose of loving God and loving their neighbor,

they took very good care of the historic buildings that God had entrusted to them

so couples could be joined in marriage blessed by family, friends and God,

so new Christians could be welcomed into the faith and family of Jesus Christ

and the lives of saints could be mourned and celebrated.


They were good stewards of their building because

they knew that here Christians

and people of all faith could gather to praise God.


And here, people would be consoled by their siblings in Christ when they were grieving And here, they would be supported when they were going through hard times

And here, they would be listened to, especially when they felt alone and in need of God’s love.


Just as their ancestors in faith did 100 years ago during a pandemic,

The church community embodied God’s love for their neighbor by welcoming others in.

They provided space for Bristol Hospital staff

And for Scout Troop 6 and Cub Scout pack 432

As well as a vaccination clinic

And the St. Vincent DePaul’s Winter Overflow, housing people safely during the coldest months of the year.


Space was not all they had to share, they also had the blessings of their time, talents, energy, and abilities…

Which they used to share the good news of God’s love with people around the world

by streaming worship and sharing Christ’s love online

As well as sending handmade cards to those who need a little sunshine in their lives.


This church community also nurtured children and youth by hosting an outstanding preschool and by providing events and resources to nurture their bodies, minds, talents, and faith journeys.

And these faithful Christians grew vegetables for those who are hungry

And they partnered with ministries like Salvation Army, Brian’s Angels, St. Vincent DePaul Homeless Shelter, Gloria Dei Lutheran, and Meals for our Neighbors at Zion Lutheran to provide meals, diapers, and resources for those who are in need.


They gathered up school supplies for Bristol children

And they blessed young people going off to the next chapter in their lives.

And counted hundreds of bottles and cans to raise money for youth to go to church and scout summer camp.


It took a lot of time however the people gave their energy gladly – for love of God and love of their neighbor.


And always they remembered that just as food feeds the body,

praise of God and connection with others feeds the mind, heart, and soul

So they continued to gather to praise God

And they continued to gather in community –

in person

and electronically,

driving by,

in the rain,

caring for one another and caring for the community and the earth.


And they were good stewards of their money by sharing it.

Spending it wisely in ways that would help others praise and love God

As well as make our world a better, more peaceful and loving place for all.


In all seasons, they continued to love God and love their neighbor.


Once upon a time, there was a church community

Who counted among their many blessings:

A historic and solidly built facility with lots of room for all people

Capable, faithful and generous Christians who shared their time and talents

And financial resources to make the world a better place with Christ’s love.


Once upon a time, there was a church community

who was called to love God and love their neighbors

by welcoming all, nurturing all,

and changing the world for the better with Christ’s love.


And we are blessed to be that church community.