A Word from DS Laura Merrill 6/22/22

I am writing on the first anniversary of Juneteenth as a U.S. federal holiday and the 157th anniversary of its celebration by Black Americans. This is a holiday that embodies the tension between what we sometimes call the already and the not-yet. There is so much to celebrate, both historically and in the present, including…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill

I write following four days of training in clergy sexual ethics the week before last, for clergy across the Rio Texas Conference. Each clergy member of the conference was required to attend one of the four days. Our trainer was Becky Posey Williams, director of — for the General Commission on the Status and Role…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 04/26/2022

I’ve been so struck by Sunday’s news photos of this year’s Easter celebrations in Ukraine. The beautiful tradition of preparing eggs, bread, and other special foods for the Easter feast and bringing them to the church for a blessing, before sharing them with friends and family—this practice stirs my heart. I ponder what it means…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 04/08/2022

I remember back when I was in actual church work, I often made the decision to pick up the “Passion” part of Palm/Passion Sunday. Reading the story of the crucifixion on the Sunday before Easter was an attempt to avoid jumping from the “Hosanna” parade one Sunday to the “Alleluia” celebration the next, knowing we…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill-03/24/22

A couple of weeks ago, Rio Texas clergy gathered at Mo-Ranch in Hunt for our annual Clergy Convocation. The camp setting was gorgeous, and the agenda was designed as a retreat, with a variety of optional activities available. One of those was a zipline, and I made sure to sign up. I’ve never been on…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 03/10/22

Many of you know by now that the 2020 General Conference has been postponed again, this time to 2024. I am a member of the Commission on General Conference, the group that made this decision, and it’s a classic example of disappointing people on all parts of the spectrum. I too am disappointed. I won’t…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 02/21/22

Several weeks ago, the writer of a New York Times op-ed piece argued that, as Covid numbers drop, churches should also drop online worship. The writer stated that, while meeting online was important when we were shut down, worship is an “embodied” act, and allowing people the option to stay home to view worship on…Read More »

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 »