FIRST CHURCH NEWS
Mission Statement . . . First Church is a community of faith that is rooted and grounded in God’s love for all people. Affirming the teachings of Jesus Christ, we seek to provide a caring and open environment where diversity is welcome and all are respected as children of God. We support and encourage one another to live our faith through service to others.
GREETINGS FROM THE PASTOR
Standing at the Gates of the New Year
by Joyce Rupp
Sacred Mystery, waiting on the threshold of this new year,
you open the gates and beckon to me:
Be not wary of what awaits you as you enter the unknown terrain,
be not doubtful of your ability to grow from its joys and sorrows.
For I am with you.
I will be your Guide.
I will be your Protector.
You will never be alone.”
Guardian of this new year, I set aside my fears, worries, concerns,
I open my life to mystery, to beauty, to hospitality, to questions,
to the endless opportunity of discovering you in my relationships,
and to all the silent wisps of wonder that will draw me to your heart.
I welcome your unfailing Presence and walk with hope into this new year.
I’m in the midst of Christmas preparations, which I must put aside for a time in order to write this January newsletter article, and doing this isn’t as difficult as you might think…though it’s not because I’m in a rush to get through Christmas! Throughout the Advent season the study guide I was using, “The Redemption of Scrooge”, provided a new understanding about the notion of time. This was in large part due to the description that author Rev. Matt Rawle gives for the season of Advent. He writes, “The church gathers in the present to ponder the past for a future hope.” While he asserted that this was what happened during Advent, I’d suggest that this is always the case for faith communities. I appreciate that the new year lends itself to thinking more about the future, but how can we dream about the future without reflecting on the past, while considering our present situation. This process isn’t a linear one, but a continuous loop of thought. Gathering in the present to ponder the past for a future hope, is what we have been doing here at First Church and will continue to do as we enter into the new year. Discerning God’s vision for us, who we are called to be and what we are called to do in our community isn’t just for a season, but for a lifetime. Perhaps what makes the new year different is that it is when we affirm the work we’ve done and resolve to continue. And so, we stand at the gates of the new year, and beckon God to come! Be our guide, our companion, our strength and lead us into a future of hope!
Happy New Year! Rev. Margret
On Sunday, December 16th , approximately 35 parishioners joined together after church to sing Christmas carols and help brighten the holiday for residents at the Jerome Home. We also brought them “Jesus is the reason for the season” candy cane favors that were made by Joan Cromwell.
Many thanks to Jim Gower for choosing the carols for us to sing, providing the booklets and keeping us on key! We hope the residents enjoyed the music as much as we enjoyed singing for them.
2018 has been a very busy year at First Church. We have increased our building usage again. With a goal of $34,000.00, in rental income, we will exceed $37,000.00. The Mustard Seed Church has joined us on Sunday mornings, after our worship, in the Chapel and we’ve had more and more rentals from outside events and local groups. We continue to provide no cost or lower rates for groups in our mission network. Being busy and full is a good thing, for our budget, but it does require coordination on the part of all groups. Please make sure, when a room is needed, that you speak with Glenn or Kristine as early as possible, to record your time and date in the church office. This is critical to insure that the room is available. There is a lot that goes into balancing our available rooms. Please do not assume that rooms are open, even if a group always meets on a certain date or time. The more, we work together; we can maximize our largest asset. Thanks, Glenn Anderson
MISSIONS AND MINISTRY
January will be Soup Month. We will collect all kinds of soup for the Osgood Food Pantry and the Friendship Service Center. You may recall that on Super Bowl Sunday, the church school children used to collect money in big soup pots as members leave the sanctuary. We are going to continue what we did last year and collect CANS of soup on each Sunday during January and wrap it up on “Souper Bowl” Sunday, February 3rd. Let’s see how large a soup can pyramid we can create!
BOX TOPS . . . We will continue to collect “Box Tops” to help children at Gaffney School. These are found on various groceries and used by the schools as way to earn money to cover non-budgeted items.
We received a thank you note from UNICEF for taking part in their Trick-or-Treat campaign. Our contribution helps insure they can help save lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.
5TH ANNUAL SOCK COLLECTION
As cold weather approaches, we will begin our winter sock collection. There is a Sock Basket in the Narthex for you to place your donations in. Please note that only new socks can be accepted. Thank you!
Please remember that our prayer shawl ministry is an outreach ministry. Prayer shawls are for those in our congregation who are ill or grieving; they are also for people outside our membership. If you have a family member or friend who you think might appreciate a soft, warm symbol of God’s love, please let Rev. Margret, Lois MacFarlane or Kristine Lewko know and they will get you one. If you have time to knit, packages of yarn are available any time in the church office.
We received a heart-felt “thank you” note from a family member of someone who received one of our prayer shawls through the cancer unity at Hospital of Central CT. It brought the patient such comfort and peace that she asked to be buried with it. They were so appreciative of this ministry.
Thank you to all who have contributed to the church’s giving opportunities this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season. From cooking and card making to toys and gifts to gift cards and food . . . everyone has helped to make it a wonderful holiday for many. Thank you!
WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
Thank you to Lois MacFarlane, Joyce Furman, Carolyn McElravy and Isla Naples for baking during the month of December. Bakers are needed for late January and months following. Please sign up, in the Narthex before church or during coffee hour, to bake two welcome breads to be given out to visitors, returning members or those having difficulty in their lives. Any kind of homemade bread is appreciated, from yeast breads to sweet breads to bread from mixes.
USHERS AND READERS NEEDED
Would you like to be an Usher and/or Reader? Please sign up! Ushers and readers are needed for January. The training for ushering is easy and can be done before the service. Please pick a date or a whole month to help. We’d love to have you join us!
Yes, First Church is now on Facebook! We will be posting updates, reminders and photos of events as a way to reach out. Please check out our page, “check in” to church, “like” us and share with family and friends.
CHRISTMAS DECORATING THANKS
Hasn’t the sanctuary and church entry way looked beautiful this holiday season?! Many thanks to Glenn Anderson, Mike and Sharon Chamberlain, Mike Duncan and Don and Judy Robertson for all of their help in making it happen.
A HEART FELT THANK YOU FROM HOSPITALITY
Thank you, to those that brought food to this year’s Christmas Coffee Hour table.
Thank you, to those who have participated in the Prudence Crandall meal making.
Thank you, to the local vendors who have contributed donations for the meals.
(Best Market Newington, Big Y Plainville, BJ’s Southington, Costco, New Britain and Gnazzo’s Plainville)
Last month, the Book Club had the pleasure of welcoming Deborah Ravenwood, author of the book, Silence. Deborah is the cousin of First Church member, Jessica Soboluesky.
Deborah gave us some background as to why she wanted to write this book and then read and discussed a few chapters with us. The book takes place in New Britain during the 50’s and 60’s, so for anyone who grew up in New Britain or has been a long-time resident, it will also be a trip down memory lane.
The next book selection and meeting date will be announced soon.
FIRST CHURCH LENDING LIBRARY
Winter is here and the shelves are stocked; stop by for a book to cozy up with. They don’t need to be signed out, so please enjoy one. Thank you to all who continue to bring books in to share! If you have books you’d like to contribute, please leave them in the copy room in the church office and only donate books that you don’t want back. Thank you! Kristine
SAVE THE DATE
There will be a 2nd Hour Breakfast Concert on Sunday, January 20th, in the Sanctuary. More information will follow.
Please save the date . . . our Annual Meeting and lunch will be held on Sunday, January 27, 2019, following Worship. Annual Reports will be available two weeks before, on Sunday, January 13th, 2019. Judy Robertson, Council Secretary
First Church Chili Cook-Off!
Friday, February 1, 2019, 6:00 pm
Tickets are $5.00 each, Children under 6 are free
Price includes a sampling of the best Chili in town as well as a meal of Chili, Salad, bread and dessert.
Each ticket will be entered into a drawing for a prize!
Prizes will be awarded for:
First Church Best * Mom’s Best * Best Spiciest * Best Vegetarian
Sign-up sheets and tickets are available at Coffee Hour
Please bring a “finger” dessert to share!
INVITATION TO OUR CHAPEL
Our Chapel is open for a private moment before Sunday’s service or during the week. You are invited to come early and take a moment to thank God for a good week or for help with a challenge.
WINTER WEATHER CLOSINGS
In the case of bad weather, please watch WFSB Channel 3 or tune into WTIC am or fm or WRCH fm; for information on church closings or the cancellation of church events. The church office may close early, also, in bad weather; please call before coming in. Thank you.
JANUARY 2019 LECIONARY READINGS
Sunday, January 6th
Sunday, January 13th
Sunday January 20th
Sunday, January 27th
“Rooted and Grounded in Love.” ~Ephesians 3:17