Greetings! My name is Stephen Welch and I am the intentional, transitional, interim pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ of Ripon, Wisconsin. It is a joy and a thrill to be here!
I celebrate with this faith community that we truly affirm and believe that each one of us is made in the unique and beautiful image of God, and therefore EVERYONE is welcome to worship, pray, play, share, serve and be in community with one another. We embody and express our invitation by affirming that No Matter Where You Are On The Lifelong Journey of Faith, YOU Are Welcome Here. Jesus never rejected anyone; neither do we.
Former pastor, Joanna D’Agostino correctly wrote: “We are a Thinking Church. In other words, we are constantly striving towards a deeper understanding of the scriptures, church history, and what God’s intentions for our world might be … We believe in dialogue, study, prayer, and experience to help us to grasp a clearer understanding of our own relationship with the Divine.”
AND – please note that word is “and” — not “however” or “but” or “despite this” or “nevertheless” – AND as a Thinking Church, we are a church family devoted to and dedicated to Walking the Walk of faith. We are a mission community. We live the Christian faith every day. We follow in the footsteps of Jesus as we serve the needs of our neighbors in Ripon, as well as our brothers and sisters in every other part of this world.
This is an exciting and transformative moment in the life of our congregation. This is a time of a re-awakening to a new, urgent movement of relevant, justice-infused, fairness-minded, and truly righteous, loving Christianity. We seek to live out our faith in ways that share and celebrate the values of Jesus.
In this congregation, you will find an enormous diversity of theological beliefs, political beliefs, and lifestyles—and that’s exactly how we want it to be—a community of people who can’t be put in a box, so that we can serve and worship our God who cannot be placed in a box or stored on the shelf, either.
We hope you’ll come worship with us on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. In many ways, we follow a traditional worship style with beloved hymns and organ music, but with gifted choir directors and other musicians in the congregation, you will find an array of musical opportunities. No two Sundays are quite the same. Please take a minute to listen to a sermon or two on our website, and check out our Facebook page and blog.
Pastor Stephen Welch