Spiritual Resources

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Happiness in life flows from and is dependent upon the spiritual condition of the heart. Nurturing a vibrant spiritual life comes through practices such as prayer, reflection on Scripture, spiritual direction, and worship, to name a few. All of this occurs within the context of God’s enabling grace. We offer a variety of such practices for you to nurture your spirit.

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Explore a curated collection of brief prayers and meditations designed to nourish your soul, inspire, uplift, and guide you on your spiritual journey. Tailor your journey by selecting the prayer and day that resonate with your needs.

The UCC Daily Devotional

The Daily Devotional is a spiritually deep well to which thousands of readers are drawn each day. The overall voice of the Daily Devotional is tended by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group and supported by the staff of The Pilgrim Press.

To learn more and subscribe this wonderful resource, click below.

UCC Daily Devotional
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The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern God’s direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.

Or, follow these steps, adapted from Ignationspirituality.com:

1. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Close your eyes. Breath deeply several times. Become aware of God’s presence. Look back on the events of the day and invite the Holy Spirit to accompany you in your review. The day may seem confusing to you—a blur, a jumble, a muddle. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.

2. Review the day with gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights. Focus on the day’s gifts. Look at the work you did, the people you interacted with. What did you receive from these people? What did you give them? Pay attention to small things—the food you ate, the sights you saw, and other seemingly small pleasures. God is in the details.

3. Pay attention to your emotions. One of St. Ignatius’s great insights was that we detect the presence of the Spirit of God in the movements of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence? What is God saying through these feelings?

God will most likely show you some ways that you fell short. Make note of your regrets or sorrows. But look deeply for other implications. Does a feeling of frustration perhaps mean that God wants you consider a new direction in some area of your work? Are you concerned about a friend? Perhaps you should reach out to her in some way.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. It may involve a feeling—positive or negative. It may be a significant encounter with another person or a vivid moment of pleasure or peace. Or it may be something that seems rather insignificant. Look at it. Pray about it. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart—whether intercession, praise, repentance, or gratitude.

5. Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up. Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Apprehensive? Full of delighted anticipation? Allow these feelings to turn into prayer. Seek God’s guidance. Ask god for help and understanding. Pray for hope.

St. Ignatius encouraged people to talk to Jesus like a friend. End the Daily Examen with a conversation with Jesus. Ask forgiveness for your sins. Ask for Jesus’ help. Ask for his wisdom about the questions you have and the problems you face. Do all this in the spirit of gratitude. Your life is a gift, and it is adorned with gifts from God. End the Daily Examen with the Lord’s Prayer.

The Importance of Inclusive Language

Rachel Callahan gives a talk on why inclusive language matters. Inclusive language is a communication style that incorporates phrases and expressions that are inherently welcoming. By design, this communication style avoids assumptions that might exclude certain groups of people, even if the exclusion is unintended. Commit to diversity and inclusion in all communications, strive to use inclusive language.

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A pink handmade shawl


This ministry is responsible for delivering prayer shawls, lap robes, or in the case of a child, a fleece blanket, to members of the congregation in need as specified by one of our ministers or Faith Community Nurse. Other members of the congregation make these items, which are delivered in a gift bag with a handwritten note and a prayer for healing to their recipient. If you are interested in knitting shawls or making fleece blankets, please contact Rev. Meredith Onion at Meredith@wscongo.org or our Faith Community Nurse Jean Larson at jean@wscongo.org.


Never underestimate the power of prayer. God is listening.

As a family of faith, it is important that we support one another in any way we can. One way, of course, is praying for each other in times of need. We have in place a 16-member prayer team that will pray daily (and confidentially) for your specific needs. To submit a prayer request, please email our Faith Community Nurse, Jean Larson at jean@wscongo.org.

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The Caregiver Support Group allows caregivers to talk to others who are experiencing the same joys and challenges, who not only can empathize, but also offer valuable insights and counsel.

Our group meets in the Seim Room the 2nd Monday of each month from 1:30–3pm.

Contact Faith Community Nurse Jean Larson at jean@wscongo.org with any questions.


Called to Care is comprised of volunteers who offer compassion, time, support and prayer to other members who may no longer be able to attend church or are experiencing an illness. These visiting lay care companions do not replace visits from First Congregational Church clergy or our Faith Community Nurse, but complement the visits made by the pastoral care team. Volunteers hold these relationships and conversations in confidence. Faith Community Nurse Jean Larson and Rev. Meredith Onion are the staff liaisons. Barry Orr-Depner is the lay leader. Please contact any of these liaisons if you would like to learn more, volunteer or be matched with a companion.

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth

The Stiffler Labyrinth


Our Stiffler Labyrinth (dedicated in September 2015) is 36 feet in diameter and is an 11-circuit unicursal pattern following the design found on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France, which dates to 1201–1207.

A spiritual tool dating back to ancient times, a labyrinth offers a pathway of prayer and a walking meditation. When walking the labyrinth, be open to whatever may happen since your expectation may get in the way of your experience. Each walk is different— just as each person’s walk differs from those of others.

Please note: The labyrinth is available for private walks by appointment only. Please contact Bob Kos at bobkos@hotmail.com to schedule a time for your household to walk. 

Unlike a maze, which has tricks, obstacles, dead-ends and many differing paths, a labyrinth is a single pathway in, with the same pathway out. On a labyrinth, there are no decisions that need to be made. Its whole is always visible. A labyrinth has only one path that leads the seeker into the center and back out again. It is a blueprint for your heart and soul.

In walking our labyrinth, you will have gone 1/3 of a mile.

*The Stiffler Labyrinth is open for self-guided walks whenever Plymouth Hall is not in use. Please check the church calendar.

A Labyrinth lantern inside First Congo

Self-Guided Labyrinth Walks During Lent

The labyrinth is a spiritual tool that gives us an opportunity to pray, repent, search our souls, reflect, look inward, seek justice, and rededicate ourselves and faith in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Prior to walking the labyrinth, set an intention to focus your walk. As you enter the labyrinth release your stress, anger, or frustration. As you approach the center, quiet your mind, listen, be open, and let the spirit guide the process, as the walk draws you closer to God. Then reflect on your devotional walk as you follow the path out and reconnect with your daily life. The labyrinth may be walked throughout the 46 days of Lent, (if Plymouth Hall is not in use, please check the church calendar). Walkers may also elect to walk directly into the center if they wish.

Labyrinth Etiquette

It is suggested before you begin your walk, you set your personal environment by dropping your ‘physical baggage’ such as keys, pocket change, cell phones, and watches.

Please do not take any drinks into the labyrinth. You will pass others while walking or they may pass you; remember, they, too, are on a personal pilgrimage. Being silent helps each one with their walking and praying.

Stay in the center for as long as you like, unless there is a need to make room for those who come into the center after you, and have the same need for space.

As you walk, honor each person’s space and mutual time for prayer and meditation. Walking a labyrinth may take anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour, depending on the pace of the walker and the size of the labyrinth. You are free to walk the labyrinth at your own pace. You may pass another walker, or you may allow another walker to pass you. There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth.

Labyrinth guides are identified by the symbolic pendant they wear around their neck. They are there to answer any questions you might have and help you get the most from your walk.

Please contact Bob Kos at bobkos@hotmail.com with questions.


The Congo Cooks Meal Ministry helps us to care for one another by providing meals to members in need of help due to a hospitalization, injury, new baby, or other life challenge. Volunteers sign up on an as-needed basis to make and deliver a meal. To be added to this meal team of volunteers, please contact our Faith Community Nurse Jean Larson at Jean@wscongo.org.

An extension of the Meal Ministry is the Congo Cooks Soup Ministry which allows for us to have packaged homemade soup and bread frozen and available for our pastors and nurse to deliver when making pastoral visits.

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The sacrament of communion is a powerful and important ritual in the practice of our faith.  We recognize that many of you worship with us from home or from out of town. We hope this video communion service is an opportunity for you to bring your own bread and juice, and your open heart, to Christ’s table wherever you are — for there Christ will be also. Click below to view it.


Subscribe to our weekly podcast to hear sermons from our pastors, daily prayers, stories and reflections from our members on a variety of topics.

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Spiritual Practices

Daily Scripture Readings

Daily reading of scripture is a profound and meaningful spiritual practice.  To follow the three-year cycle of the lectionary, find the daily readings by clicking the button below.

Bodily Prayers

We often think that prayer should be offered in stillness. But incorporating our bodies in prayer can be a deep, experiential way to pray. Here are some examples (click to view):

The Body Prayer

Embodied Postures of Prayer

Walking Prayer

Take a walk through nature or your neighborhood and spend this time in prayer. Meditating on or carrying a particular scripture passage may also help. Here are some suggestions:

“Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.” Psalms 25:4-5 (NASB)

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118: 24

“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 118: 29

“Surely it is God who saves me. I will trust in him and not be afraid.” Isaiah 12: 2

Children and Youth Spiritual Practices

Invite your children to join you in developing lifelong spiritual practices. Check out some wonderful ideas here:

Virtual Lectio Divina

We are pleased to share Marv Baldwin’s virtual Lectio Divina practice with you. Marv is a long-time member of our church and is founder of Soul Journeys. If you weren’t able to join one of the Lectio Divina groups, this is still a way for you to engage in this spiritual practice throughout Lent. Thanks, Marv!