Author Archives: smaxreisert

About smaxreisert

I'm a United Church of Christ pastor serving the small, faithful Old South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Hallowell, Maine. I was ordained in Massachusetts in 1995, moved to Maine in 1997 and have served the Hallowell church since 2005.

Diverging Prayers

The lead up to the Inauguration made me edgy and unsettled.  After what had happened on January 6, I found myself wondering quite a lot about what might transpire as we approached the big day when Joe Biden and Kamala … Continue reading

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Let There Be Light. Please, Let There Be Light.

Living, as I do, in a nice house with large windows that offer a considerable view onto a vast open section of Great Pond (one of the Belgrade Lakes in central Maine), I have a familiar relationship with light.  Now … Continue reading

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Reflections on Christmas in a Strange, Strange Year

In the midst of pandemic, a divided country, and the prospect of a Patriots-less NFL playoff season, it’s hard to know how to think about Christmas.  On the one hand, keeping things as close to normal is appealing.  Church gatherings … Continue reading

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Days of Our Nine Lives

At Old South, Advent season is also budget season.  Budget season coincides with preparation for our annual meeting that is held every year at the end of January.  On many occasions over the course of my long tenure at Old … Continue reading

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If a Church Falls in a Small City, Does Anyone Care?

Hallowell, Maine is a very small city in the middle of the state, just south of the capital, Augusta.  The mighty Kennebec River serves as the boundary on the eastern edge of the city that is home to about 2500 … Continue reading

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What Does the Future Hold?

Before the pandemic hit, the governing board of Old South Church had begun the slow, unwelcome business of exploring Old South’s future.  With two buildings, and a shrinking congregation, we had important questions and issues to discuss.  The questions and … Continue reading

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The Season of Woe

Four years ago, as we approached the 2016 election, I started to worry about what was happening around me, in the church I was serving, the community in which I lived, and in the wider community.  On the one hand, … Continue reading

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Is This What Happened When Churches Moved from Houses to Buildings?

At Old South, we are continuing our online existence.  Worship, meetings, gatherings, even pastoral care are all now remote, and mostly on Zoom.  Despite no community transmission of Covid in these parts, we’ve been reluctant to move to in-person gatherings.  … Continue reading

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The Toll

On a Saturday early in September, I got the call that the church matriarch was gravely ill.  On Sunday, I went to the hospital to see her and to be with her family.  On Monday, I was on the phone … Continue reading

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For Louise

Like many churches, Old South had a matriarch.  I use the past tense here, as our matriarch passed away a few days ago.  It’s a very sad time for Old South.  In the midst of the many challenges we face, … Continue reading

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