What am I doing with my life? What should I do with my life? I had recently moved to Cambridge after accepting a job offer at a consulting firm, and two months in I was questioning the purpose of it all. It was frustrating – neither the miraculous circumstances that had brought me here nor what was supposed to be the ‘honeymoon’ phase of starting an exciting position could push these thoughts away. I
If you watched a silent video of my life, it may have looked familiar. Kid stuff, work stuff, house stuff, church stuff, too light on the marriage stuff. Days, weeks, and weekends were full. I would fall asleep (very) early every night. Two young kids, busy job, no local family—makes sense, right? I was tired. Yep. And, I was hiding.
I remember the moment well. I had just informed my Session that I would be resigning as their Sr. Pastor to become a Boston church-planter for CTK. I had no financial support and no real idea about how to get support, and I was walking away from my job!
A few families from CTK Newton recently used their February vacation week to travel to the Dominican Republic and work with missionaries there. They helped to build a house for a widow that was taking care of her grandchildren with special needs. They also worked with orphans and taught English. It was the first trip that adults took their children to serve with them, and was a great experience for all. Here are some of their impressions from the trip.
My name is Malcolm, and I am a junior at Boston College High School. Christ the King Dorchester has completely transformed my faith in just the short year I have attended. When I was a freshman, my faith had stalled, and my relationship with God did not seem important in my life.
Recently, CTK pastors spoke of how encouraged they were to see the people in their congregations loving their neighbors. This is the first in a series of stories from various congregations, meant to encourage our church about what God is doing in our city.
December 18, 1999, four or five months late, the Downs family of eight with three pets (having left three behind) departed Winston-Salem, NC for Cambridge, MA in two vehicles. The truck with our stuff, courtesy of Jungle Aviation Relocation Services, was already on its way. Our plan was to take two days, stopping to stay with friends in the DC area for one night.
This year, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. Especially for those of us with small children, the excitement of waking up early, exchanging gifts, eating a special breakfast, and playing with new toys until mid-afternoon seems like the whole point of the day. Whether you'll be traveling or staying home in Boston, I'd like to suggest a few advantages to making worship a priority on Christmas Day.
Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Harvard University has been deeply involved with CTK from the beginning. One of our former campus ministers, Bradley Barnes, now serves CTK as the pastor in Newton. In Cambridge, we always have many Harvard undergraduate and graduate students involved in the church.
Like most of you, I awoke this morning to a flood of texts and social media posts about the results from last night's election. They ranged from extreme excitement to deep distress. Several people have already spoken to me about their genuine fear for their families, while others have written to tell me we are at the dawn of a new era of prosperity.
In the last edition of CTK Stories, I shared how Chad Baldanza, assistant pastor at CTK Jamaica Plain/Roxbury, and I enjoyed the unexpected opportunity to discuss the idea that humanity is made in the image of God with geneticists and biotech industry executives at Harvard Medical School. Incredibly, the story doesn’t end there: it continues, with God graciously providing us with opportunities to listen, as well as to speak.
On a morning early in September, with the heat index heading for 109°, an unlikely collection of geneticists, pastors, and artists gathered in the basement of the historic Enon Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. As the church’s weekly clothing closet served members of the community in the next room, the gathering discussed how recent advances in genetic technology could benefit the victims of sickle cell disease, a genetic mutation that disproportionately affects African Americans.
On Sunday, CTK Cambridge gathered after worship for an art show, to celebrate what the children learned in Children’s Worship over the past year. Children ages four through second grade explored The Story of Worship, identifying and explaining big words like Invocation, Confession, Absolution, and learning how each element supports our worship. Each part of the order of service was a three-week unit, culminating with an “art week” where the children worked collaboratively on projects depicting the theme as a creative expression of worship. You can see the complete collection of art projects here. Click on each picture for a description of the theme.
“What brought you to the area?” Invariably, that is one of the first questions asked of a newcomer on a Sunday morning. For the short-timers, this translates as “Do we have anything in common that can translate into a fast friendship?” For longer-term residents, this means “How long will you be here and is this relationship worth the investment?”
When I was in college, I was busy, distracted, fragmented, and self-sufficient. I was determined to make a name for myself in the field of architecture and was not about to let anyone hold me back. One could say I had a complex.
Brazil was first known by its native name Pindorama, then was later given the religious name Land of the Holy Cross by its Portuguese colonists, but ended up with a merely pragmatic name, based on the red dye from the brazilwood the land produced. The name of the country wouldn’t be the only thing to constantly change. In addition to its natives and one of the largest populations of African slaves in the Americas, the New Land would receive from the Old World many who were exiled for being considered “undesirable” by the crown: Jews, heretics, polygamists, thieves, murderers and even those condemned for crimes like “cutting a tree while it would still bear fruit.” There is a reason why Brazil, according to a famous phrase, “is not for beginners.”
As the opening ceremony unfolded Friday night, the history of Brazil came alive through music, visual performance and dance. All of the elements of a post-colonial nation were well represented; the indigenous past, colonization, the tragedies of the slave trade and the waves of immigrants from three other continents of the world. However, it was Brazil’s contemporary story that took center stage.
Walking in other peoples’ worlds is an example my father has set for me all my life. As an academic, his work has moved us from Colorado to Georgia to Morocco to South Carolina to Oklahoma and Indonesia. And, rather than rejecting, regretting, or even trivializing these moves, he saw them as part of my brother’s and my becoming. He was himself shaped by many people in multiple worlds throughout his own upbringing as a missionary kid, and he has carefully chosen and pursued a career in Islamic studies in order to, for a lifetime, continue to give himself to worlds and worlds.
On a warm September night in 2005, when fleeting daylight gave way early to barely settled darkness, I hitched a ride with Pastor Rick Downs and two of my friends to an event called “Dine Around Dorchester.” Megan and Paul Sonderegger had offered CTK members a chance to taste the cuisine of this richly diverse neighborhood, the largest one in Boston, and I was curious. They chose Pho 2000, a popular Vietnamese joint on Adams Street.
The past months have been a learning experience for our family. During one of my recent devotions from the Men's Devotional Bible, I read about waiting and patience. Those two words spoke to me and I have been thinking a lot about them.
Waiting is one of the hardest things we ever have to do. We wait in traffic. We wait in the doctor's office (in the waiting room!). We wait to hear news--good or bad.
For several years now it has been part of my devotional habits to read a Psalm per day. Not only do I get to go through the entire book twice a year, but it has allowed me to come to know this collection of ancient songs as a whole. I especially love how I come to many individual psalms like old friends. They feel familiar. They are comfortable, and yet they are fresh and challenging.
My name is Shadrach Jean and I have been a part of Christ the King for almost two years. Currently, I work part time and am studying Political Science at UMass Boston. The ministry of CTK has played an important role in my journey. Let me briefly tell you a little bit about myself.
I am a native Vermonter, raised in a loving family with six siblings. I recall going to a Unitarian church and Sunday school and singing in the youth choir growing up. I was dedicated at the Unitarian church as an infant, as were my siblings. I recall my grandmother reciting Bible verses to me. We attended church in our teen years and young adulthood on those “special days” of Christmas Eve, Easter, weddings, funerals and some Sundays in-between.
Last fall, I joined Boston Fellows to clear my head. On the surface, my Army career was on a great trajectory. I was getting promoted at the right time. I was working with top-notch service members in an esteemed organization with venerable values. Yet, on a deeper level, I questioned how my faith fit into the picture.
Living with two cultures under one roof causes us to chuckle, shake our heads, argue, weep, and celebrate. In this post, we would like to give you a peek into four everyday realizations from our marriage and share how our cross-cultural marriage causes us to see ministry in the Church with new eyes.
I came to Boston and Christ the King when I moved to begin seminary in 2012. Abigail and I were married in May 2013 in Washington D.C., where we had both lived for many years. Three months after our wedding, Abigail moved up to Boston with me and became a member of Christ the King. Stories like ours are common in CTK. There are many people who move up to Boston because of their husband or wife’s work or school. What makes our marriage unique at CTK is that we are one of the few cross-culture marriages at CTK Cambridge. Abigail is a Caucasian woman from Champaign, IL. I am a Chinese-American immigrant who came to the U.S. at the age of twelve.
From a very early age, I have had a tendency to narrate my life. My mom loves to tell about the time I jumped off the diving board, proclaiming, “Help, cried Sarah, as she jumped into the pool!” (My aunt, seated nearby, quipped, “Read to her much?”) As I grew a little older, I traded my broadcast-journalism for a more internal narration. I imagined myself the protagonist of the story called “Sarah’s Life” and created various scenarios in which each chapter might fit a larger whole. Looking back, I can see how the details of these stories were shaped and molded by the stories around me – in the books I read, the movies I watched, or the people I observed. Some of these influences were good and true; others began to quietly weave in seeds of false stories that fed my own pride and fears.
My wife Hannah and I have long been convinced that there is no better place for ministry, outreach, and service than the local church. Consequently, when we came to Cambridge with a desire to reach Chinese graduate students with the love of Christ, we instinctively sought for our ministry to be closely linked with the church. While that decision may seem obvious to some, it is not always common in the world of international student ministry.