Dear Friends in the Southwest Conference,
Thank you all again for all of your support, your prayers, and your good wishes.
Our first Christmas Eve Service was a beautiful candlelight service of readings and carols. 41 people attended. When we blew out our candles after singing Silent Night, one little girl shouted, “Let’s do it again!” Her mother tells me they felt welcome here and will be coming back. Please pray with us for our church children and their families, that God will show us how to build the church they need.
In December our friends at Church of the Red Rocks UCC sent us a generous donation of $1,000, as well as their commitment to partner with us and pray for us. We are grateful for the generous donation and for their accompaniment. If you or your church would be willing to pray for us, we would be grateful for your prayers for Taos UCC.
The journey toward being a locally self-sustaining church feels long and mysterious. Yet our church launch plan seems to be unfolding as we hoped, and we hope to meet our target of 50 people in worship together when we gather for our kick-0ff Sunday, March 18th. That’s when we start to meet every Sunday. Our Conference Minister, Rev. Dr. Bill Lyons, is planning to be in worship with us, and we are hoping to greet him with a full house.
While we are still only meeting monthly for Sunday worship until March, on Wednesdays we meet for an evening study of the Sermon on the Mount, and on Sundays our growing Launch Team meets. These meetings are a time to catch up with each other by sharing the practice known as The Examen, then we pray together and pray for each other, and then figure out what we need to do each week. The meetings are a sort of “mini-church” that seem to be building leadership in our community.
Our social justice focus in December was a collaboration with Taos Initiative for Life Together and New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light for an evening called "We’re Still In," a Taos community celebration to commit our town to the Paris Climate Accords. Now we are just beginning collaboration with the Poor People’s Campaign which involves clergy and others being willing to be arrested in support of economic justice for the poor. I’ve just ordered a clergy collar for the first time in my life. Clergy-collaborator Rev. Ginna Bairby, the pastor at First Presbyterian-Taos, tells me it will look photogenic when we get arrested.
Here are a few photos from our Christmas Eve Service. The saris covering the bookshelves were lent to us by the local Hindu Temple. The silk saris made our worship space feel like the Wise Men had just come and gone.
Thank you all again for helping us launch this new faith community. We hope and pray to build a church that will provide the people of Taos with generations of UCC social justice work and general do-goodery.
Yours on the Journey,
Rev. Pamela Shepherd