Dear Sheridan,

I’m writing you this letter just to say how very impressed I am with your town, which since I arrived in September is beginning to feel like my town too. I’m the new ordained minister at First Congregational United Church of Christ. So far, I’ve enjoyed going to the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center; I’m a regular at PO News, loved the Project Schoolhouse fundraising concert, regular walks at South Park, the Christmas Stroll and just walking around looking at all Sheridan has to offer, including incredible sculptures.

I was born in Toronto, Canada, to Scottish immigrant parents. I also lived in Scotland for many years, until my husband passed away. Sheridan reminds me of Scotland with the wee shops, beautiful countryside, good people and, of course, the weather.

I attended the University of the Highlands & Islands, Highland Theological in Scotland. I was also a UCC minister in San Diego, California, for many years, and then spent a couple years as a hospice chaplain, which I found most gratifying.

You may not be familiar with the United Church of Christ, so I’ll say just a few words about who we are. We are an inclusive community, meaning that we answer God’s call to love our neighbor regardless of race, immigration status, sexual orientation, political stance or religious belief. We welcome people from a variety of religious backgrounds and also people who have no particular religious belief.

For us, this also means not having an agenda of trying to change our neighbor to be more like who we think they should be, but rather who God is calling them to be. I believe and preach about a loving God, his son, Jesus, who continues to have much to say about living a full life, and the Holy Spirit that flows between all of us. Right now, our church is pretty small…we must be missing you!

We have just entered into a partnership with our UCC church in Buffalo to educate ourselves better on the subject of social justice. Our church is very serious about issues of equality and fairness. We have no political agenda in exploring these issues but will venture to be good listeners and compassionate people who come away with new understandings.

I’m guessing you may know us best as the church that hosts the Lunch Together Soup Kitchen and has done so for decades now. Five days every week we join with other churches and caring groups in this community to feed folks in need. We feed people lunch without any agenda, only trying to put out a nutritious and delicious meal.

We are First Congregational United Church of Christ. Our Sunday service is at 11:30 a.m. We are located at 100 W. Works St. Our telephone number is (307) 672-2668. My email address is

God’s blessing.


Rev. Dr. Sheila Naismith is the minister at First Congregational United Church of Christ.