“A spiritual family shaping a better you for creating a better world --
one loving act at a time.”
First Congregational United Church of Christ, in the heart of Paxton, is welcoming of persons who seek to be a part of a community that values love, justice, peace, and compassion in the Spirit of Christ --- regardless of age, ethnicity, religious or socio-economic background, or other aspect of our human diversity. We are people who care about people, and who come together to multiply that caring concern and solidarity in action.
If you are looking for a dedicated community of people who seek to create a spiritual home for those more concerned with practicing our values than espousing our beliefs, who want to discover ways in which to serve the local community and wider world, who are understanding of differences in faith perspectives, and who build enduring and mutually respectful relationships that nurture and inspire, then you have come to the right place.
We invite you, no matter who are or where you are on life's journey, to be a part of this family of faith-filled fellowship. We hope you will find a place here where you can learn and teach, be encouraged and encourage, and find ways in which you can make a positive difference even as you are nurtured through the ministries with which we are, and hope to be, engaged.
Welcome to this center of sacred fellowship where you never have to walk alone, where your sorrows are affirmed and your joys are celebrated, where you your mind will be challenged and your heart nourished, and where your spirit can soar.
MEET OUR NEW PASTOR!
Hello! I’m Bret Myers, and I'm excited to join the wider community of Worcester County. I look forward to getting to know each of you -- whether you are a long-time member, recent attender, or person who is looking for a place to nurture, share, and celebrate your spirituality and values with others in an inclusive and life-affirming way where we all do our part to create a better community and world.
I feel blessed to pastor to people’s hearts, encourage their souls, inspire their minds, nurture their activism, and lift their spirits. I’ve always sought to better our world and help bless relationships between people and with creation. I’m devoted to mission and outreach, education, and to the building of understanding between a diversity of people, and to creating and sustaining a healthy, just, peaceable, and loving world. I’m hoping we can work together on that mutual journey.
I’ve served ecumenically in the United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Association, and the Presbyterian Church (USA). I’ve ministered in UCC churches across the country since 2000. I come from a family of pastors, and see pastoral and prophetic ministry as engrained in me. While there may be differences of opinion and belief between congregants with little unanimity, I try to create an ethos of unity in Spirit and behavior where we all listen, speak, and act respectfully towards one another in Christian love and community. I enjoy getting to know people, and hearing their stories. We are all more alike than we are different. Wouldn’t you agree?
I’m committed to a caring, thought-provoking, inclusive, non-hierarchical, values-based worship that is welcoming to outsiders, as well as insiders, of faith; and that builds a camaraderie of character development where our actions and practices reflect our common core values. I enjoy creating sacred fellowship time that includes different preaching styles, interactive opportunities, and a variety of liturgies and messages that both inspires and motivates. Not only will I ask for prayer requests, joys, and concerns, but I will ask us to share stories of compassion and kindness to help kindle our own loving works in our daily world. I will also ask you to share your talents, passion for beauty, and other skills in ways that will bless us all.
I preach and teach from a progressive and pluralistic perspective, having found truth from many religious and philosophical sources. Challenging people to creatively think outside their conceptual frameworks, and to help them extend their compassion to all creation, are important to my ministerial vocation. I emphasize social and environmental justice, nonviolence, virtue ethics, attitudinal psychology and character counseling, spiritually-based communications, cross-cultural and interreligious cooperation, progressive Christianity, mytho-poetic scriptural understanding, and the egalitarian vision of Jesus where there is a synergy of justice, love, and peace. I’ve led workshops denominationally on some of these topics.
I went to seminary at Boston University School of Theology. I have a deep love and appreciation for the beauty of New England (serving in MA, NH, & VT), and for the thoughtful minds and helping spirits that characterize this part of the country. I love the mountains, lakes, and streams of this area, and the people who care for the beauty of the land.
I love to write pieces that spark the mind, edify the soul, encourage the spirit, and inspire the heart. Writing is one of my creative outlets and life passions – whether it be verse or prose. I’ve written many hymn lyrics to familiar tunes. Preaching, teaching, and writing help me to deepen and broaden my own faith, with the hopes that these shared contributions will help nurture collective wisdom and build relationships of trust and sustenance.
I cherish facilitating spiritual growth in small groups or book studies, and in counseling individuals, couples, and families. I strive to be a conscientious listener and suggestive advisor, nurturing people to discover their talents and loves of life, to develop them at their own pace, and to generously share their gifts with others. I seek to nourish collaborative relationships and values-enhancement; inviting people to join in a mutually edifying spiritual journey.
I have served churches of all sizes and seek to create faith families that are committed to love, peace, justice, and equality, are welcoming and loving of all persons in practice and attitude and have the desire to increase their spiritual understanding of other religions and cultures in mutual efforts of making a better world.
Alongside pastoral ministry, I have served as lecturer of philosophy, campus minister, hospice chaplain, TV interviewer & reporter of religious news, environmental educator, family service counselor, direct support provider, and other positions that have informed and extended my ministry.
I am an avid outdoorsman and environmentalist. I love sports and outdoor adventures of all sorts. I’ve traveled widely; though would love to do more! Hiking, biking, canoeing/kayaking, tennis, skiing, and camping are among my favorite activities. I love to explore the beauties of nature, cultivate respect and reverence for all living things, and share the joys and solaces of sacred places with others.
I also enjoy photography as a creative and memory-creating endeavor. I especially enjoy the performing and visual arts, museums, and events that promote cross-cultural understanding. Humor and laughter are spiritual disciplines I seek to cultivate with others. I cherish hearing heartfelt stories from others in talking about what challenges, experiences, and relationships have positively impacted their lives and have led to their own empowerment in being true to who they trust they are called to be. I enjoy being in relationships that encourage and nurture one another to be our best selves, and help us to better serve our communities and world.
This is me – heart and soul.
I hope to get to know you – heart and soul.