A Word from DS Laura Merrill- 01/24/22

The first month of this new year is nearly gone, and here we still are. I know better than to make resolutions anymore, but we often still hope for something to shift as the calendar turns. I’m not sure that hopeful shift has happened exactly, with Covid deaths and teachers and healthcare folks worn past…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill- 01/07/22

I’m not sure why, but this season I’ve been dogged by the post-Magi, post-Epiphany story of Herod, known as the Slaughter of the Innocents (Matthew 2:16-18). The immensity of the evil that raised its head as soon as Jesus was born was a sign of all that was to come for him. It’s a sign…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 12/20/21

December 20, 2021 As I write this Monday morning, with all four Advent candles finally lit, I’m thinking about incarnation. The masterful theological statement of John 1 approaches in the lectionary, and the high, holy day or night of Christmas will retell the tale of the God of the cosmos putting on the tiniest, tenderest…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill- 12.02.21

I’m not sure there’s a more multi-layered time than the cusp between November and December, especially for those of us in the church. The image of Christ as King overlaps with Thanksgiving, and I always see in my mind the image of a king in velvet robes and jeweled crown at the head of the…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 10/28/21

As we approach our observance of All Saints’ Day, I cannot help but reflect on the memorial service held for Larry Howard at Laurel Heights UMC last Saturday. It was one of those occasions that was hard to line up and make happen in my calendar but was absolutely the right place to be. I…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 10/15/21

October is Pastor Appreciation Month—yay! I do often wonder at this sort of observance. Some national days or months seem unnecessary, like National Donut Day, or Ice Cream Appreciation Month. Those can only have been dreamed up by the people selling donuts and ice cream, because really? We need a month or a day or…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 10/1/21

At our district professionals meeting this week, Bishop Schnase shared a description of our collective responses to traumatic events, a description that some of us heard last year from Rev. John Thornburg of TMF. These apply to events like hurricanes and 9-11, as well as to our more extended pandemic. The stages of response or…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 09.17.21

Friends: As I write this, I’m about to drive to the fourth of four social gatherings I’ve held with clergy this month–2 for coffee, and 2 for happy hour. My hope was that we would have relaxed, non-agenda time to be together. Some preachers have met each other for the first time, and others have…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 09.03.21

As a part of returning to the DS role this summer, I participated in what those of us in the biz affectionately call “DS Charm School,” but what is actually a time of orientation. It was online and included new DSs and other leaders from across the country. Despite my joking that I was having…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill – 7/22/21

My first newsletter article as Capital District Superintendent! Where do I begin? I’ll start with gratitude for being back in my hometown after 34 years away, in a wonderful parsonage, near my mother and many other family members. I’m glad beyond words for friends who have helped me pack and unpack. I’m grateful to be…Read More »