The First Congregational Church of Royal Oak is celebrating its 175th year as a
worshipping parish and community involved people. I feel lucky to be a
part of this. Thank you.
Early Congregationalism preferred clear glass for church windows. The stained
glass type were more expensive, of course, but the more important reason was
that clear glass let worshippers recognize the beauty of God’s created world,
and if there were something visible as wrong, go out and do something to correct
it. However, our sanctuary windows of varied shades of blue are very calming
to the spirit. And we do continue to work to make life better in this world,
local and distant. Usually we do our caring expeditions quietly. There is a
lot of love and fun, and probably more success, by that method.
I was raised in Congregationalism. It is a type that, like our nearly five hundred
years of ancestry, calls the building “the meeting house” and says that “the church”
is the gathered people and the spirit of them and God. There is no authoritarian
creed that all in the group are expected to agree to, but every one of us is expected
to think and grow in understanding, and to share that by listening and talking and
doing. Perhaps the most common creed is the verse from the Bible, “What does the
Lord require of us but to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your
soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength (activity): and to love
your neighbor as a person like yourself.”
We do urge people to put into writing their creed. That helps clarify what you
believe and live. Mine is: I believe that God created the world with purpose
and wisdom. I think of the world as a training place, like a gigantic school.
Our common schools prepare us for living in the adult world of greater freedom
and responsibility, and like that, I think our world prepares us for living in
God’s wider realm of peace, love and joy. It is on earth that we are
learning how to live in harmony, to love effectively, and to sift values to
learn what ideas are really good and most likely,to be eternal. Here we are
learning until the day we pass through to God’s greater realm. This helps me.
I have roots with the “Mayflower” Pilgrims of Plymouth and the “Arbella”
settlers of Boston. Both are this local church’s ancestors. Some people say
I have a New England accent but I never notice it. We had parishes in
coastal Maine and farmland Iowa and states between. The churches were
different but always with great people and fortunate experiences, and so
it is in Royal Oak. It has been a good journey, and it isn’t done yet!
We think of a minister as a person who has some special training and has duties
within the group, but always a person, like everyone else, trying to be good, wise,
loving God as Lord and Father. We sing “Blest be the tie (of love) that binds”,
“What a Friend we have in Jesus”, and “O Master, let me walk with Thee”.
Melissa helps our hearts sing. Alissa helps us communicate. Sherrie steers
us forwardly organized, and the larger group is a team that makes us
“the church” we are. I like being part of the team, and hope I can help.
God bless us. I, Charlie Hall, thank Him and you.