Pastor’s Message

Welcome to the United Church of Bristol!  We are a church located at a literal crossroad, on top of a hill.  In many ways, these two realities point to a deeper truth about our congregation: we are a place where paths meet, traditions blend, and spirits bond, in love, service and worship.

The United Church of Bristol has, for many years, been deeply blessed by the sojourners who have made their spiritual home on the hill.  Whether you search, hunger, ask, pray or rejoice, there is a place for you at the table.

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Pastor’s Letter

Pastor’s Message

“Pray that the church will worship God in spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24 Are New Year’s resolutions still “a thing”?  In some respects, the start of a new year seems as good of a time as any for a little introspection followed by a fresh start.  It might be a good reminder that taking inventory of ourselves and our actions can lead to some important discoveries – areas where we’d like to grow; behaviors or attitudes that we can leave behind – as we work towards becoming the best version of the person God made us to be.  A therapist and author that I enjoy reading, Nedra Glover Tawwab, posed some helpful questions to ask ourselves as we head into 2024.  I’ve picked three (out of the nine) to share. 1: “What beliefs or opinions have I changed this year?”  While I’m not sure our beliefs necessarily change, per se, having an opinion that can adapt to new information seems like an important thing. In fact, our beliefs and opinions can grow; they can deepen and broaden. The more we learn about others and their experiences; the more we commit ourselves to being Christian siblings; the more we tend to see our opinions expand. Therefore, it would not be a moral ineptitude for us to see these changes, but rather, an opening of our hearts and minds. I’d like to imagine that God would be pleased, knowing that we are still able to bear witness in meaningful and real ways.

2: “What boundaries do I need to set or adjust to avoid similar issues in the future?” Healthy boundaries are a wonderful thing. When implemented properly, they can help avoid a host of larger issues. If we are seeing patterns in our lives that disrupt our process of growth, or sustaining healthy and mutually beneficial relationships, a loving boundary can be a useful tool. God wants us to live in right relationship with ourselves and with each other, and good relationships have (spoken or even unspoken) boundaries.

3: “Which relationships are important to me, and how can I nurture them in the upcoming year?”  Always a good check-in question to ask.  Making sure our priorities align with what matters most to us is a good way to ensure we are using our gift of time to nourish the garden we want most to grow.  I imagine that our work together this year might be centered around the health and growth of our Church – both UCB and the Christian Church in this world.  All three questions might then be applied, as we consider our church’s long history and begin to imagine its legacy. The world has surely changed around this little church on the hill – how has our church changed? What issues do we see ourselves facing, and do we have healthy boundaries? Perhaps a question that will see many differing responses: “What is important to us going forward, and how can we use our gifts to nurture those missions?” Each of us has a baptismal obligation to support the mission of the Church in this world. As we move into 2024, maybe we might take some time and use a bit of prophetic imagination to picture a vibrant, healthy future for our beloved UCB. For we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love God, and have been called according to God’s purpose. Peace,

Pastor Cydney Badger

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders, and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6-7

Season’s Greetings! As we approach the Advent season, I want to take a moment to reflect on the profound message of hope that it brings into our lives.  Advent is a time of anticipation, a season where we prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and eagerly await the promise of peace and joy.  In the midst of the challenges and uncertainties that surround us, this message of hope is more relevant than ever.  Hope is important: it is a powerful and transformative force, and it is at the very core of the Christmas story.  The world was in chaos, longing for a Savior, and God’s assurance of hope was personified in the birth of Jesus.  The Messiah would teach us how to live in community with one another; how to honor God by loving each other with a just love; the importance of welcoming the immigrant and the stranger, caring for the widow, and reconciling the lost. T hose who needed salvation the most would find it through the Prince of Peace.  This hope was not just for a specific time and place; it is a hope that extends to all of us, no matter where we are on our journey of faith.  In this season of Advent, let us embrace hope as a guiding light in our lives – not as a knee-jerk response of toxic positivity, but as stewards of the message; as students of the Word.  The candle of hope that we light on the Advent wreath reminds us that no matter how stark our circumstances may seem, a glimmer of light illuminates the way and leads us through.  This hope is not wishful thinking; it is a confident expectation and knowing that God is with us, that God cares for us, and that God is still at work in this very messy world.  This season, may we be a beacon of hope to those around us. Let us share the hope we find in Christ’s birth with others with our acts of kindness and expressions of warmth, especially with those who are struggling, feeling lost, or in need of a word of encouragement. By doing so, we are fulfilling our calling as disciples of Christ and sharing the transformative power of hope.  I look forward to sharing the hope, peace, joy and love of the Season with you.

Peace, Pastor Cydney

Pastor’s Letter
He has told you, O mortal, what is good, and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God? –Micah 6:8
Hi friends! My name is Cydney Badger, and I am your new pastor! If I look familiar, it’s for good reason – my family and I became members of UCB in late 2019. We loved the extravagant welcoming nature of this congregation; and the sense of
close-knit community that you all maintain so very well. Shortly after we joined, I took my first call, pastoring the Lakeville United Church of Christ. We did many of the same things this church did with Pastor Sue, which is to say: we made it through COVID with as much grace and grit as we possibly could muster. It gives me great joy to be back at the United Church of Bristol, serving as your pastor. I am really enjoying learning about you as individuals and as a congregation. Your goal to be a “hub” of the community really resonates with me; and from what I’ve witnessed in the first month of our time together, this church is doing a great job of doing just that! We’ve had Bristol Day, where we worshiped in the valley church; and the scholarship awards given by the Reverend Richard Gilbert, where we had the honor of interacting with two of the larger community’s families. As I’m writing this, Vacation Bible School is in full swing! It’s always incredible to see this church transform itself to the places of the past. Through it all, the welcoming, nurturing nature of this faith community has had a chance to really shine! Looking forward, it is a goal of mine to be able to attend meetings for every group and committee of this church – something that will take the entire summer. In fact, as tempting as it is to want to get to know each and every one of you as quickly as possible, good things take time. For now, there’s a sheet in the social hall where you can tell me about your favorite hymns – we can learn a lot about each other through music! You can always email me and share your thoughts – I promise to be a safe space. And if phones are your thing, you can call or text me, too. And since reaching out can be difficult, I’ll start here, by asking some questions: How long have you been with this church? What are your favorite things about this faith community? What are some areas of growth that you’d like to work on together – either as a body of Christ, or personally? You can tell me about your favorite flower, or something you saw the other day that made you feel like God was nearby. We can celebrate the good, and of course, if you need me, I’ll be here for the not-so-good, too. I have faith that we are here because God called us to be the United Church of Bristol; and that together with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can and will do great things – one kind, humble step at a time. Peace, Pastor Cydney

Pastor;s Letter July 16 2023
Pastor’s Sermon July 9 2023
Pastor’s Letter – June, 2016
Pastor’s Letter – April, 2016
Pastor’s Letter – February, 2016
Pastor’s Letter – December, 2015
Pastor’s Letter – October, 2015
Pastor’s Letter – August, 2015
Pastor’s Letter – June, 2015
Pastor’s Letter – April, 2015
Pastor’s Letter – February, 2015
Pastor’s Letter – December, 2014
Pastor’s Letter – October, 2014
Pastor’s Letter – August, 2014
Pastor’s Letter – June, 2014
Pastor’s Letter – April, 2014
Pastor’s Letter – February, 2014
Pastor’s Letter – December, 2013
Pastor’s Letter – October, 2013
Pastor’s Letter – July, 2013
Pastor’s Letter – June, 2013
Pastor’s Letter – April, 2013
Pastor’s Letter – February, 2013
Pastor’s Letter – December, 2012
Pastor’s Letter – October, 2012
Pastor’s Letter – September, 2012
Pastor’s Letter – August, 2012

Pastor’s Letter – July, 2012
Pastor’s Letter – June, 2012
Pastor’s Letter – May, 2012