Gifts of the Dark Wood

giftsofthedwfacebookThe season of Lent is the 40 days before Easter. In the Christian tradition, it is a season of preparation and attentiveness to our spiritual lives. This Lent, we at First Congregational United Church of Christ will journey together through the Dark Wood.

Though commonly understood as a place to be feared and avoided, the Dark Wood is the surest place to meet God. It is a place where you may feel uncertain, empty, lost, tempted, and alone. Yet these feelings—these gifts of the Dark Wood—can be your greatest assets on your journey because they invite you to probe, question, and discover. According to the ancients, you don’t need to be a saint or spiritual master to experience profound awakening. You don’t even have to be “above average.” All you really need to be is struggling.

Join us for worship at 10:30 on Sunday mornings as we discover and experience together how our failures and uncertainties can be gifts on the spiritual path. We will also gather at 6:30 PM on Wednesday evenings to discuss the book “Gifts of the Dark Wood” and learn together from interviews with contemporary teachers and theologians about the Dark Woods path. “Gifts of the Dark Wood” books will be available for purchase.


Dr. Mark Solomon Program

marksolomonMark your calendar for the first in a series of Church in Society Justice Programs,”Black Lives Matter, Moral Mondays, Mainstream Politics: 2016 African American Activism in the Context of African American History”, which will be held in our church parlor on Friday, January 29 at 7:00 pm. The talk will be presented by Dr. Mark Solomon, Professor Emeritus of History at Simmons College. The talk will be preceded by a Bring-a-dish meal at 6:00 pm. Open discussion will follow.

Dr. Solomon, an associate of the prestigious WEB Dubois Institute of African and African American History at Harvard, is an internationally known public intellectual and author, and has also been a leader of the US Peace Council and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

RSVP to Carol Lewis at or 561-346-4161 for the meal.

Forum on the Psalms Week 1



Our first Forum on Psalms is off to a GREAT start with 9 eager participants at our first meeting this past Sunday. There are a few more that will join the group next week and there are a couple members of the choir who will be join us via emails. Feel free to join in this group “virtually” by sharing your questions and observations in the section below. We meet in the parlor at 9:30 on Sunday morning with Richmond Schmidt facilitating.

We discussed the purpose of the group:

  • Engage Scripture by reading Psalms daily according to schedule
  • Become part of a group which fosters accountability to stay on task and increases our own understanding of the Scriptures from the input of others.
  • Enjoy the fellowship of sharing this journey with other seekers.

We discussed what we already knew about the book of the Psalms and this will be compared later to what we gain along the way.

Richmond shared a copy of ‘’ Read Through the Bible in a Year’’ by Tyndale Press. It is a Bible that divides all the scriptures into a schedule of daily readings for one year. We will follow this schedule for reading the Psalms. Richmond will be ordering a copy for everyone in the group. They should be here by next Sunday.

We discussed how all the Psalms can fit under one of the following categories and in many cases, some Psalms fall under a multiple of these categories:

  1. Hymns or Songs of Praise
  2. Acts of Thanksgiving
  3. Trust and Confidence in God
  4. Petitions and Laments
  5. Wisdom of God
  6. Processional Liturgies and Blessings

We learned a new word.

SUPERSCRIPTIONS: These are opening verses that are used in 116 of the Psalms. They provide ancient titles or captions as an introduction to certain Psalms. They are not part of the original manuscripts but in Hebrew versions they are numbered and in most English versions they are not. Psalm 87 is an example of this.

We identified Psalm 1:3 as our favorite verse of the week:

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.


Reading Schedule for this coming week: (January 3 to January 9, 2016)

Sunday, 3:1-8

Monday, 4:1-8

Tuesday, 5:1-12

Wednesday, 6: 1-10

Thursday, 7:1-17

Friday, 8:1-9

Saturday, 9:1-12

Bruce Linser Sings Broadway and the American Songbook

Bruce Head CroppedJoin us on Sunday January 17, 2016 at 2:00 PM for an afternoon of the music you love brilliantly performed by our own Bruce Linser accompanied by Paul Reekie on the piano. The concert will be in two acts. The first act is comprised of the songs you love from the American Songbook as made famous by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Michael Buble and others.  The second act will be some of the best of Broadway. Tickets are $20.00 for adults and free for children and students. They may be purchased from a member of the  Men’s Fellowship or online on our giving page.

In addition to being our organist and choir director, Bruce Linser teaches musical theatre and in the dean of the theatre department at Dreyfoos School of the Arts and has acted and sung his way around the country and around the world for nearly two decades.

Theatrically, he’s performed Off-Broadway in New York City, as well as regionally in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Locally he has appeared at Caldwell Theatre Company, FAU Festival Rep, GableStage, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, New Theatre, Palm Beach Dramaworks and Take Heed Theater Company.

He’s appeared on TV in “All My Children” and “The View,” and in the movies “Drop Dead Gorgeous” and “Bumping Off Burt”. Bruce has twice been a cover model for the Palm Beach Post, as the Barefoot Mailman and as the Go Guy. He also voiced a character for the animated holiday special, “The Littlest Light On The Christmas Tree”.

In addition to acting and singing, Bruce is an accomplished pianist and musical director. See more about Bruce at

Newcomer Orientation

If you are new to First Congregational United Church of Christ or would like more information regarding being a member of our church, consider joining us on January 31st from 11:45 AM until 1:30 PM for lunch and an information session about membership in First Congregational Church and the United Church of Christ. For those who would like to join our church, we will receive new members on Sunday, February 6th.