by the Rev. David E. Pattee
The dictionary says that a deposition is “a testimony under oath,” which is not unlike what you’re getting from me when I offer a DEPosition, a sharing of what I see and understand from where I am… with a label that begins with the initials of my name, David Edward Pattee.
- November 1, 2018
A stanza from a favorite hymn has been churning in my mind over the last few weeks.
Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore;
Let the search for your salvation be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, serving you whom we adore.
[Henry Emerson Fosdic, 1903]
Times such as these strain our wisdom and courage. How do we live powerfully in the love of Christ who transforms evil with good?
The killing of people gathered for worship in Pittsburgh last Saturday, October 27, was an occasion for profound grief; that it appears to have been a hate crime fuelled by a rising tide of hatefulness in our country makes it especially troubling.
Even where we are not sure how to effect the change we would make, we can make a difference for the better, bearing witness to the love we trust, giving voice to God’s care for those who suffer, giving encouragement to those who bring heal- ing and hope.
Leaders of the United Church of Christ have invited all of us who are members
of the UCC to send messages of love and support to Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, to be attentive to our Jewish brothers and sisters wherever we can find or make opportunity, and to be steadfast in prayer for all who are touched by hate and violence, that they may come to know justice and peace, and that we may all be healed.
Tree of Life Synagogue
5898 Wilkins Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Rev. David E. Pattee, Senior Pastor
- May 31, 2018
Service of Healing, June 20
One of my favorite pundits wrote, “The aim of Christianity is not to make us more func- tional neurotics, but to call us into sanity.” Indeed, the ministry of Jesus Christ was
not to tinker with a corrupted status quo but, by radical love, to fundamentally reorient and heal our relationship with God and neighbor, in body, mind and spirit. Christian healing is always focused in these relationships, and it is not a fix but a transforma- tion: from falsehood to truth, from despair to hope, from fear to trust, from sickness to health. You are called and invited to join, on June 20, at 7:00 p.m., in our sanctuary, for a service of healing, praying for ourselves and others, praying to be transformed. (see Romans 12:1 ff)
If your impression of Christian healing services comes from flipping through the chan- nels on cable television, please try to let that go! I don’t expect us to be shouting, or fainting, or carrying on; but we will, through scripture, music and reflection, attend to God’s Holy Spirit, opening ourselves to transformation, seeking healing for ourselves, our families and communities, and our world.
June 20 will be the first of what are planned as quarterly services of healing occurring on or near the solstices and equinoxes. After June 20, the next healing services are scheduled for September 19 and December 19.
Rev. David Pattee, senior pastor
- November 1, 2017
It’s a curious mix we’re given to enjoy at this time of year. With the world around us getting darker
and colder, we have some of our grandest celebrations in November.
On the first Sunday of the month we keep the Feast of All Saints with a service of Holy Communion that includes prayers of remembrance for those who have died in the last year, and special music offered by our artist-in-residence, Chris Siebold.
Pastor Emeritus Bill Nagy will be the preacher on November 12 when we will also welcome back Josh Kuipers, associate pastor, returning from parental leave.
November 19 will be a great occasion of Thanksgiving, with traditional hymns and lots of seasonal music, as we praise God from whom all blessings flow, and dedicate financial pledges to support the mission and ministry of our church in 2018.
Join us in the curious mix of our faith, remembering the past with gratitude, turning to the promise of our future.
I’ll see you in church.
The Rev. David Pattee, senior pastor
- Music Search Updates
Learning late in June that our director of music would be retiring at the end of the month, the personnel committee moved quickly to organize a search for new staff in our ministry of music and authorized me to secure guest musical leaders for the first months of the interim period.
Recent work of the staffing strategies task force was used to develop a job description that included three major roles: 1) A minister of music who works as creative partner and organizer with pastors, lay leaders, and other music makers; 2) A conductor who directs the church’s musical ensembles; and 3) An organist/pianist who leads hymns and other service music, accompanies ensembles and is available for weddings and funerals. These roles together make a half-time (20 hours per week) job with a fairly attractive salary. We would be happy to find someone who is excellent in all three areas, but we also made it clear in the announcement of our search that the roles could be separated into smaller jobs, that we were open to the possibility of a conductor who wasn’t an organist, or an organist/pianist who wasn’t necessarily strong as a conductor.
As it has for other part-time positions, the personnel committee took responsibility for the music search but also asked four members of the congregation to serve as consultants, joining the pastors in reviewing promising applicants. The consultants are Jim McCullough, Lori Tschetter, Laura Herra, and Tony Giamberdino. The opening has been posted on the CUCC website and with the employment listings of the United Church of Christ and the American Guild of Organists. Also, personal appeals for assistance with the search were sent to established church musicians in the area, a couple of whom have already been very helpful in our finding guest leaders for the interim.
With a new program year beginning in September, there is natural concern for what’s happening in the music search and whether it’s happening fast enough. Everyone is eager for more definition and clarity, but please keep in mind that these musical leadership roles are key positions in our ministry that we should be very deliberate and prayerful about filling. The departure of our previous director happened suddenly and just ten weeks ago, and the market for church musicians at the standard of excellence we seek is very competitive. It may take a while to make the right connection(s.)
In the meantime, the interim has been good for us. Guest musicians, Chris Siebold, Nancy Sen, Stephanie Spolum, Robert Vanderschaaf, Larry Dieffenbach and Mary Thomas have been excellent and very much appreciated. We’ve made new friends and experienced new energy in music making with them. Members of our congregation, Tony Giamberdino, Trish Thompson, Scott and Miki Powell and Jim McCullough have stepped up to make music and to offer other kinds of leadership that strengthen our ministry no matter how the staff roles are finally arranged.
Everyone is eager for more definition and clarity, and you can help! Very often, desirable prospects for positions like these are found through personal connection. (Somebody knows somebody who knows a great church musician who is thinking about moving.) Your network of personal acquaintance might help us to make that connection. Keep your ears open, and where you recognize any possibility at all, don’t hesitate to talk about the exciting things happening at your church and the openings in its music ministry, directing people to find more information at www.CUCCstc.org.
The Rev. David E. Pattee, Senior Pastor
- June 29, 2017
Early in June, I received a note from a lady who described herself as an older and long-
time member of the church. She expressed concern about coming forward to receive Holy Communion by intinction at the front of the sanctuary (“not a fan”), but she also shared her appreciation for the Communion service on June 4, with loaf and cup being served at the front of the sanctuary where the floor is level, with no need to go up the stairs to the chancel. That arrangement, she said, “was a piece of cake.”
Indeed, some things were changed for June 4. To make room for the bells on the chancel, we removed our regular Communion table, and placed a smaller one on the sanctuary floor right in front of the chancel steps.
What didn’t change was the place where we actually served Communion. When we ask you to come forward to receive, we always serve on the level part of the sanctuary floor, and never ask you to come up the stairs to the chancel.
I can’t be sure about everything that was done before I got here, but I am absolutely sure
that since January 2015 we have not asked you to come up the chancel steps to receive Communion. We have always come down to serve where the floor is level. Also, we ask ush- ers to help us identify those who prefer to remain seated so that we can go to them.
Please know that as we plan for worship services filled with Spirit and creativity, accessibility is always a primary concern. We’re thinking about older people and children and everybody in between, those who move easily and those who don’t.
Please continue to send in suggestions and share concerns. It is good and helpful to hear from you. Your comments bring to the attention of church leaders things that otherwise might be missed. Just leave a note in the church office or send an e-mail to me, david.pattee@ CUCCstc.org.
Grace and peace to you.
The Rev. David Patee, senior pastor
- May 25, 2017
DEPosition: All together now…
This summer, I am excited for us to be continuing an approach to Sunday mornings that we’re calling Whole Body worship.
Whenever we do something new, fun, engaging with “kids” in worship (which is more and more) I’ll hear from lots of people who are “not kids” that they really enjoyed it and thought it was valuable for every- one! I also hear from more than a few of our younger families with children that they cherish the inter- generational reach of this congregation. They appreciate being in a mix of stories and styles of Christian faith and community. All of which suggests that we are at our best as we find ways to be together in relationship to God and one another as a Whole Body.
It’s for all the ages of our Whole Body. During the 9:30 service, child care will be available for infants through Pre-K, but Sunday School is suspended, and everyone is invited to join for worship in the sanc- tuary.
It appeals to the variety of senses in our Whole Body. We’re aiming for a fuller range of expression in worship – more story and drama, more movement, different kinds of music and other arts that we can enjoy in praise of God.
It recognizes that there are various parts to our Whole Body. We’re trying to be more engaging and interactive, and a little shorter than has been our standard in the past. It’s perfectly OK to dress casually for comfort.
The invitation to join in the whole body experience also includes those who previously attended 8:30 a.m. services on Sunday. After extensive conversations in the worship committee, church leaders have decided to discontinue the 8:30 a.m. service.
I’ll see you in church.
- April 27, 2017
DEPosition: by the Rev. David Pattee, senior pastor
Last Sunday I wished a “Happy Easter” to a member of our church who had been out of town several weeks.
He smiled and answered, “Thanks, but it’s a little late isn’t it?”
Is it ever too late to share a “Happy Easter?”
The season of Easter runs for 50 days until Pentecost. Easter Sunday is just the beginning of the season, but it is even more true and to the point to say that every Sunday is Easter. Every Sunday is a celebration of creation and recreation, a celebration of the resurrection of life in Jesus Christ.
The month of May is filled with Easter events. On the 7th we have Confirmation and Communion. On the 14th we have Mother’s Day and a special service led by our puppet ministry. On the 21st we have Baccalaureate with a celebration of our graduates.
And, on May 28th, the Seventh Sunday of Easter, we will tell again the story of Jesus’ ascension, welcome the summer, and remember those who have given “the last full measure of devotion” in service to this country.
I’ll see you in church.
- November 16, 2016
This Sunday in worship we celebrate the harvest and give thanks to God for the abundance of blessing we enjoy, dedicating pledges to the financial support of our church for the coming year, 2017. If you haven’t already sent in your pledge, I encourage you to bring it with you this Sunday so that your commitment can be included in our prayers of thanksgiving and consecration.
The 9:30 service will be really fun this Sunday, with a special guest, Chris Siebold, joining our chancel choir and Dennis Beiermann, music director, to lead us in original arrangements of favorite seasonal hymns. For the last several years, Chris was house guitarist for A Prairie Home Companion, and regular accompanist for Garrison Keillor. He continues as a professional touring musician, and has worked with a variety of popular artists and bands, including Brad Paisley, Chris Thile, Nickle Creek, and Bela Fleck of the Flecktones. From 2011-2015, he was music director for Willow Creek, Chicago.
Rev. David E. Pattee, Senior Pastor
- October 27, 2016
This moment is thick with anxiety… worry, frustration, anger… a sense of dis-ease in the present and in what the future may hold. Polls find that a large majority of Americans believe our country is on the wrong track.
This is not new. We’ve found ourselves in such moment’s many times before.
A long time ago, I decided to fight back, not resorting to the force of domination that only produces more anxiety and dis-ease, but employing what Paul called “the weapons of righteousness.”
Conventional wisdom holds that the ends justify the means, but the greater truth is that the means shape the ends.
Christians fight back by speaking the truth in love as God gives us light to see the truth. We work together in charity for our neighbors and extending hospitality to the stranger. We live in the disciplines of prayer and worship, with peace in our hearts, confident that as we take the risks to serve justice and make peace in the world, God is with us.
A long time ago, I decided to take a stand in the Good News of Jesus Christ and, with the community of Christ’s followers, to fight back against the forces of discord and domination. We fight back against the settling of scores between winners and losers in a new paradigm of transforming lives.
In the face of so much anxiety, I invite you to engage your church. Come to organize and train with us for fighting back with the weapons of righteousness
Rev. David Pattee, Senior Pastor
- October 6, 2016
It’s a curious mix we’re given to enjoy at this time of year. Just as the season turns darker and cooler, we enjoy some of our most lustrous celebrations. A Hallowe’en of demons and heroes tricking and treating through the night is followed by a day of thanksgiving for all the saints, remembering especially those who have most recently gone to their reward.
Sunday, October 30, we’ll mark the 499th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, remembering and renewing the revolution that gave birth to our movement of Protestant Christianity with a festive worship service in which we receive new members.
November 6 will be our Memorial Sunday, keeping the Feast of All Saints with a service of Holy Communion that includes prayers of remembrance for those who have died in the last year.
It is a curious mix we’re given to enjoy. Be a part of it as we gather in the light that shines through the darkness, the life that reaches beyond death, the love that would shape our future whatever our past.
I’ll see you in church.
- August 4, 2016
Here are four good reasons why I am having my picture taken for the church’s new directory, and why I hope you’ll do the same.
1. It’s an easy way for you to help build community. Your picture in the congregational directory helps everyone to learn names and make connections. It’s especially useful for newcomers (especially me!) trying to navigate their way through a sea of new faces, and for long time members who want to identify and get to know the new folks.
2. It’s a powerful act of solidarity, a way of claiming and being claimed by this community. The appearance of your photos says to others in the church, and to those who are looking at us from outside, “Yes, I belong here, and I am a part of the mission and ministry of this church.”
3. Every once in a while, you should have a nice photo made to share with the people who love you, a picture that will be cherished by those who don’t get to see you every day. Capture an image of this moment in your life with your spouse or partner, with your pet(s), with kids who are growing up fast and may be moving away before long.
4. We’re doing this in the later summer and early fall. You’ve been outside, probably exercising more, probably eating better. You look good! This is the best time of year to have your picture taken!
I’ll be hanging around the church for most of the photo sessions, hoping to see you.
The Rev. David Pattee, senior pastor
- July 7, 2016
In some ways, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been with you for six months. It seems like I just got here, and there are still so many things that feel new.
In other ways, though they may be few, these first months have been intense, and I am craving some time away for rest and play. So, I’m off to Oregon and family there, with excursions to visit friends in Door County and in Los Angeles also planned before I return to a regular schedule here at the church on August 1.
While I’m gone, Pat Kitner will continue to be available to you for pastoral care concerns and will be the preacher on July 17, 24 and 31. Bill Nagy will preach on July 10, and will be available as back-up to Pat for pastoral care, should the need arise.
It is a joy to be settled with you, and to be confident and relaxed in taking time off, knowing that you will be well served and cared for while I’m gone.
In case you’re wondering, Sugar will be at home in Geneva, with a young friend (biped) moving in to take care of her for the month.
Grace and peace,