Archive for Pastor’s Weekly Message – Page 2

What’s Your Story, Morning Glory?

Kindred Spirits,

Last week we began our journey into “I’ve been meaning to ask”. I found it fun to find out the different places from which we came and places we love, be they literal locations or figurative spaces. Much of the information was new to me. Perhaps, after all these years, you were surprised too. 

As I had mentioned, our experiences and places of being shape the lens through which we see the world. We are in a continual state of becoming more fully ourselves as we have new experiences and gather information. Our story is a work in progress with chapters yet to be written.

Throughout our adventure, we are invited to “come and see”. This week we use the John 1:35-51 account of the gathering of the disciples by Jesus. We hear all sorts of names for Jesus – Lamb of God, Anointed One, Teacher. It is in this part of the story that Jesus gives Simon ben-Jonah his new name – Peter the Rock.

I look forward to seeing you at 10 am on Sunday at 1130 Balclutha or on Zoom. You will have an opportunity to tell us about your name. Tell a friend!

With love,
Rev. Michael Cronin

Knowing Me, Knowing You


I pray that you had a safe and sane Fourth of July and that your furry companions were not too traumatized. I went with Rev. Jim to the Redwood City 4th of July Parade and saw Alexis and Kathryn while we cheered on the Domini-Hoskins Black History Museum float. It was a lovely 73 degrees.

By the time I got home, Karl the Fog was making his way over Mt. Davidson and Twin Peaks. The Sutro Tower laser lights show, celebrating 50 years since it went into service, did not happen – at least from our vantage point. But what has come to be a professional-level local neighborhood display was beyond spectacular. Brent put in his earplugs and hid under the bed. And I thought to myself, what I was hearing then was what Ukraine and other parts of the world  experience day-in and day-out. There are neighborhoods in our Bay Area that hear gunshots on a regular basis. Sobering.

Enough about me. What do you think about me? No, don’t answer that. LOL. What about you?

We have had the enewsletter column “Congregational Confidential” asking people to answer specific questions about their faith traditions of birth and their journey with Island United. If you haven’t participated, please consider doing so. You might have been surprised by what you didn’t know about someone in the room. Get ready for some more exploration.

This Sunday, we begin a 9-week adventure to learn more about each other with the series, “I’ve been meaning to ask…” Using the text from Genesis 2:4b-15, the location and creation of Adam and Eve within the story, we will ask the question “Where are you from?”

I look forward to embarking on this journey with you at 10 am Sunday at 1130 Balclutha or on Zoom.

Happy travels!
Rev. Michael Cronin


People of God,

June has been a month of celebrating freedom – Juneteenth, Pride. The celebration does not end. Next stop: Independence Day.

It is written in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” At the time, “all” meant WASP men and certainly not women or people of color. To this day, we still grapple with whom the “certain unalienable Rights” pertain to.

One of our icons of freedom is the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World). Originally a tribute to republicanism, through the poem “The New Colossus” written in 1883 by Emma Lazarus to raise money for the pedestal, she became a welcoming mother and a symbol of hope to the world’s downtrodden. A member of the last administration attempted to redefine what that welcome meant and restrict that welcome.

Interestingly enough, this week’s Scripture – Matthew 10:40-42 – starts with “Those who welcome you also welcome me, and those who welcome me welcome the One who sent me.” It is ironic that many who claim this to be a Christian nation are those who will deny the welcome and hospitality Jesus calls for. Building walls and denying people access are counter to Jesus’s ethos of love.

I look forward to seeing you at 10 am at 1130 Balclutha or on Zoom as we explore welcome and the righteous reward. Invite a friend!

With love,
Rev. Michael Cronin

Speak in the light

People of Freedom,

Last week, we commemorated Juneteenth, a celebration of the anniversary of the order by Major General Gordon Granger proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865. This was a full two-and-one-half years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Even as Juneteenth is celebrated, it is also a day for us to look at the work we still must do to achieve true freedom and equality for all.

This week, we observe Pride, both a celebration and a protest for LGBTQ+ lives. A parade and festival that promotes self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility as a counter to shame and social stigma. In the wake of a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills in the United States, the need for Pride celebrations is imperative. According to an ACLU update of June 9, 2023, there are 491 bills being tracked.

In Matthew 10:26-27, Jesus says, “Don’t let people intimidate you. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, and nothing is hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in darkness, speak in the light. What you hear in private, proclaim from the housetops.” And proclaim it we will; we will not be silent. For as the old ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) states, “Silence = Death”. 

Indeed, there is still much work to do to achieve true freedom and equality. Those at the intersections and in the margins demand it, and God promises it.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday at 10 am at 1130 Balclutha or on Zoom.

Excelsior! Higher, always upward!
Rev. Michael Cronin

we are family


In 1979, a big disco hit by Sister Sledge sang:

We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing

I remember singing this song as part of a Pride service, alternating “I got all my…” between sisters and brothers. Eventually, the sung lyric became “siblings” as we moved away from the binary.

Juneteenth, Pride. I think about the journey toward freedom. There is an intersectionality in these celebrations. 

Although not the same, there is a similar journey. The LGBTQ liberation movement is shaped by the Civil Rights Movement. Queer folk exist across any of the racial and social demarcations. There is work still ahead for all of us. Liberation is not just for the oppressed but for all. 

How long before the promised kin-dom of heaven is come? How long? When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was asked, “How long”, about the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice, he responded, “Not long.” He left it in a relative question.

However long it takes, let’s continue to sing songs that proclaim our familial ties as we live into the promise.

I look forward to seeing you on Balclutha or Zoom as we welcome this Sunday at 10 am “The Unofficial Mayor of Foster City” Mr. Bill Stewart as he shares a few words with us. It will be a revelation.

Get up everybody and sing!
Rev. Michael Cronin


Dear Ones,

Since March, the NAACP and a number of immigrant organizations have issued a travel advisory related to Florida’s open hostility toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign Fund (HRC) issued its first declaration since its inception forty years ago of a “state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ travelers and residents within the United States. People are living in fear for their safety and lives. Families are being uprooted.

In this valley of the shadow, it is easy to lose faith in our society and in God. But God has promised to be with us, now and always, through thick and through thin. God’s faithfulness never wanes.

We’ve seen challenging times before, and we’ll see them again. I know that during the difficult times I have experienced, it has been faith that has brought me through. That does not mean I haven’t doubted.

This week we look backward into the Gospel of Matthew and Jesus’s dining with sinners and tax collectors, healing the woman ill for twelve years, and the raising of the synagogue leader’s daughter. It is through their faith – in their reaching out and calling out for mercy – that healing is gained. We can surely use a lot of grace and mercy right now.

I look forward to seeing you this second Sunday in Pride Month as we look at Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26. Be it at 1130 Balclutha or on Zoom, see you at 10 am.

Keep the faith,
Rev. Michael Cronin


People of God,

It’s Trinity Sunday! A mysterious doctrine about how we talk about God and the person(s) of God. Whether you are clear, confused, or meh, it is part of our tradition. Within the United Church of Christ, the Nicene Creed, is one of the historical confessions of faith around which the church was formed.

However, this is not a requirement of membership to Island United. Central to the UCC polity is congregational autonomy. Although the general synod speaks to the churches, it does not speak for the churches. Self-governance gives the congregation its own authority, and the congregation thereby grants authority to leadership.

The lectionary passage chosen to celebrate this year 2023 is Matthew 28:16-20, also known as The Great Commission. In the text, Jesus tells the disciples that he has all the authority of heaven and earth and that they should go make disciples of all the nations in the name of God, The Only Begotten, and the Holy Spirit. And this has been used as the authority to colonize people in all the many ways – countries, bodies, psyches, rights, etc.

We see the many misappropriations of authority today in the politics of controlling our bodies and beings.

I invite you to join us on Sunday at 10 am at 1130 Balclutha or on Zoom. Bring a friend!

Question authority!
Rev. Michael Cronin


Tongues of Flame,

This Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost, “The Birth of the Church”. The verbal history that I received about Island United tells me that – even though Island United was formed on September 16, 1966 – we celebrate the formation of IUC as part of the historical “Birth of the Church”. The birth of a new church.

It seems fitting that the genesis of IUC is an historic gathering of denominations with different polity/language but of a shared Spirit as well as a multicultural face. The Acts of the Apostles account in chapter 2 states: “3 Something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each one. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as she enabled them.”

Much has changed in the millennia since then, which includes the nearly 60 IUC years. Or has it?

The Spirit still calls for a unity not yet fully realized. That unity is one of love and acceptance, of expansiveness. As an homage to the Trekkies: a frontier to create a new world order, a bold civilization that celebrates each other as the image of God.

I look forward to being with you and sharing the Pentecost Sunday 2023 story at 1130 Balclutha and on Zoom at 10 am. Invite a friend – an extension of the Spirit of Love and community.

Flame on!
Rev. Michael Cronin

Letting Go


When those we love leave this earthly plane, it is discombobulating. 

Swiss American psychiatrist and pioneer of studies on dying people, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote On Death and Dying, the 1969 book in which she proposed the patient-focused, death-adjustment pattern: the “Five Stages of Grief.” Those stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This is also applied to those left behind. 

The stages may also be applied to post-mortem grieving. Many like to think of it as a linear progression, but – in my experience – it’s more like bouncing a superball in a polygon. Which side and how many times are indeterminate.

With the disciples, we have journeyed through the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And now we witness the Ascension  – an acknowledgment. A final letting go and moving on. Moving on to more questions like “What’s next?” or “What do we do now?”

I look forward to looking at Acts 1:1-11 this Sunday at 10 am at 1130 Balclutha and on Zoom. 

Tell a friend!
Rev. Michael Cronin



I write to you after a full day in Sacramento. A number of us from the Birmingham, Alabama, trip gathered with Black-led California organizations to rally and have meetings with Assembly members to gather support of various bills coming before the State legislature specific to Black lives: Black lives are our lives. Many of these bills would seem to be a no-brainer, yet the need to discuss them is real. We are called to advocacy.

Jesus tells his disciples in John 14:16 that he will ask God to give them/us another Advocate to be with them forever – a support for their/our journey. And as recipients of that advocacy, we are called to be advocates for others. Micah 6:8 says:

 Listen here, mortal:
 God has already made abundantly clear
 what “good” is, and what GOD needs from you:
 simply do justice,
 love kindness,
 and humbly walk with your God.

I invite you to think aboutJohn 14:15-21 as we come to Sunday. Jesus tells us that we will not be orphaned and to keep the commandments. We know what they are. How are we doing? Are we being advocates for others as God advocates for us? In this AAPI & Jewish American Heritage Month, I also invite you to look at our advocacy action against antisemitism and anti-Asian communities.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday at 10 am at 1130 Balclutha or on Zoom. 

With love,
Rev. Michael Cronin

P.S. Bring a pic or memento that represents a mother figure to you for the altar this Sunday.