Dear friends in Christ, I hope you’re all getting the chance to enjoy some of the beautiful weather we’ve been having. There are a number of things going on in the church to highlight:
Homecoming Sunday: 9/12
This Sunday, 9/12, we’ll celebrate Homecoming Sunday and also recognize the 225th anniversary of MCC! We’ll have music, face painting, corn chowder, lobster salad rolls, and plenty more. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Sunday school also resumes on Homecoming.
Supplies for Refugees: Due Thursday 9/9
Members of our church have been in contact with some officers stationed abroad at a base currently housing Afghan refugees, and the base is poorly equipped for the needs of the women and children now there. The following supplies are needed: -Feminine hygiene products – Infant formula -Baby food -Diapers -Coloring books -Crayons -Playdough -Individually packages snacks (food that won’t melt) -Flip flops in various sizes
All supplies dropped off by/on Thursday 9/9 will be packed up and shipped
Upcoming Memorial Services
9/18 @11am in the sanctuary: Skip Northrop 9/25@11am on the Green: Bill Crutcher
Book and Bake Sale: 10/16 10am-2pm
On 10/16 we’re going to have a book and bake sale fundraiser. We’re going to need baked goods and volunteers to help make everything a success. You can sign up to volunteer or bake here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0548A4A82DABF58-book The link to the Facebook event is here: https://fb.me/e/WkKPuJYH Also, we need books to sell! We’re accepting donations of books (no encyclopedias), puzzles, CDs, and DVDs. You can bring things to the church when the church office is open M-F 9am-3pm.
20th Anniversary of 9/11
Twenty years ago on September 11th, 2001, I was in elementary school. That morning, my mom picked me up from school early to go to the dentist, and in the car, the radio station was reporting on the events unfolding in NYC. One of the things I remember most clearly about that day is I learned new word. As, we were listening to the radio, it sounded to me like the reporters were saying “tourists” had crashed into the World Trade Center, so I asked my mom why people on vacation would do something like that. That’s when I learned the word “terrorist.”
Twenty years later, for over two thirds of my life, our nation has been fighting the War on Terror, and this year marks the end of the war in Afghanistan. Seeing how our withdrawal from Afghanistan went, I have struggled, like many, to understand what these past twenty years have meant or achieved. I think as a nation we’ll be reflecting on that for some time. The awful events of 9/11 brought out the best and worst of our nation. Countless people came together to help one another, and many made the ultimate sacrifice in service of others. But, at the same time, our nation understandably was angry and wanted revenge; we went to war, and islamophobic hate crimes and murders rose in the U.S.
As we remember 9/11 this year, I pray that as a nation we can work to be our best more often and find in ourselves the will to help each other and the people whose countries, communities, and lives we’ve forever changed in the War on Terror. Looking to the future, this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer seems appropriate:
“ Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. “ Peace, Pastor Katrina
I hope you’re all staying dry this rainy day, and I hope these first couple days of the school year have gone well. There are a few things going on in the life of the church that I’d like to highlight:
Homecoming Sunday: 9/12
On September 12th, we’ll celebrate Homecoming Sunday and also recognize the 225th anniversary of MCC! We’ll have music, face painting, corn chowder, lobster salad rolls, and plenty more. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Sunday school also resumes on Homecoming.
Natural Disaster Relief: Many of you have likely seen the news regarding the severe damage done by Hurricane Ida in the South and also the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti. The United Church of Christ National Office has issued appeals asking for financial assistance to help with both of these disasters. Our church Mission Board has voted to make donations, but if you’d like to make a donation directly here is where you can.
United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries focuses on mid to long term recovery, so that’s what donations to those two appeals will go towards.
Refugees: The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan along with the Taliban takeover has precipitated refugees to arrive in the U.S. on an accelerated timetable. Those who are arriving now are people who have helped the U.S. There is an organization in New Haven, IRIS, that resettles refugees in our state. I know they’re looking for leads on housing for families as many people arrived with short notice. They also can always use funds. Our Mission Board has made a donation. Here is a link to IRIS’s website if you’d like to make a donation or get involved in the work they’re doing: https://irisct.org/
Also, thank you to everyone who donated backpacks and school supplies for Wellmore. I’ve attached a picture of everything before it was picked up last week.
Book and Bake Sale: 10/16 10am-2pm
On 10/16 we’re going to have a book and bake sale fundraiser. I’ve attached the lovely flyer made by Katie P. We’re going to need baked goods and volunteers to help make everything a success. You can sign up to volunteer or bake here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0548A4A82DABF58-book
Also, we need books to sell! We’re accepting donations of books (no encyclopedias), puzzles, CDs, and DVDs. You can bring things to the church when the church office is open M-F 9am-3pm.
As we begin a new church program year and a new school year, there’s still much more uncertainty than any of us would like about how things are going to go and what’s going to happen. This prayer from Illustrated Ministries captures some of the hope and uncertainty of this season of new beginnings:
“Loving God, Coat the year before us with miracles of your mercy and strength, and help us appreciate most of all the bedrock miracle of your presence with us in every single ordinary, sacred moment. May the changes in ourselves and our world through the pandemic bring layers of goodness we’d have never had otherwise. Lead us this school year into life-giving rhythms of grace and light, where our regular routines become the framework for worship and blessing. Amen.”
I hope you’re all doing well and managing to stay cool this week. I’m glad to be back home from vacation and back with all of you this week. I have a few things to highlight:
We’re having a confirmation class starting this fall for 8th graders and high schoolers. If your child would like to participate and you’ve not already been in contact with me, please get in touch ASAP so your child can be part of the class. I’m also going to need volunteers to be the second adult in the room during classes so we can be following good safe church procedures. (You’ll also probably learn a few things too!) If you’re interested in helping out, please let me know.
As I’m sure you all know, the Delta variant has caused cases in our state and town to rise. I just want to encourage all of you to get vaccinated if you haven’t already and also to be careful. Our church leadership is continuing to monitor the situation, but for now we’re going to stay the course with our current precautions for in person activities. So, we’ll continue to require masks for everyone for indoor worship. If you want to join us at home, we will also continue to livestream worship to our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/middleburycongregationalchurch
I had a lovely time off, and I want to thank our volunteers and staff who kept everything going while I was out. I preached at my friend’s installation in upstate NY and spent some time with him and his family. (I’ve attached a picture of the church.) I was also able to visit my college friend and her spouse in Georgia where she’s an Old Testament PhD student at Emory University. (I’ve attached a picture of the Candler School of Theology at Emory.)
I returned to the office on Tuesday. I received a lot of emails in the past few weeks, and I’m working my way through all of them as best I can. Please be in contact with me about any pastoral concerns that have come up while I’ve been away.
I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on Sunday!
You may have noticed a new look to our www.middleburyucc.org website. Our new platform and software will feature photos and videos that show and tell more about Middlebury Congregational Church, our people, and what we do as a faith community.
Our home page offers the latest news and updates in a blog format, along with a calendar of events and other information you’ll want and need, whether you’ve been a member all your life or are just learning about us. Please feel free to poke around, learn more about us, and stop by sometime for worship and fellowship!
The site is still under development as we learn more about the tools and how to use them. One of the new features that is coming is the Members Login link. This fall, we are introducing the Breeze church software system. Breeze will allow our members to use a current online directory, control their own contact information, text and email one another, and more. We’ll invite members and friends to sign up when when Breeze is fully online.
Meanwhile, thanks for checking us out. Please feel free to share your questions and comments using the “Leave a Reply” link for comments at the bottom of this post.
With the expectation that Hurricane Henri will make landfall in New England by Sunday morning service and possibly bring damaging winds, rain and possible power outages, church leadership has decided to cancel Sunday services so that everyone can remain safe and at home.
Dear friends in Christ, I hope you’re all doing well. I have some things I’d like t highlight for the coming week: Pastor’s Vacation I’m going to be on vacation from 8/2-8/23, returning to the office on 8/24. While I’m away, we will have guest preachers on those three Sundays. Pastoral coverage in case of emergencies (e.g. death, dying, serious illness or injury, etc.) has also been arranged. The Church Office, Deacons, and Church Council have the contact information for the clergy on call. If you need that info, it’s best to contact Michele Finn (Audrey’s mom) the chair of the Diaconate, Ellen Aronheim the chair of Church Council, or to contact the Church Office. For prayer requests those three Sundays, Jeanine in the church office will send out an email asking for the prayers, and she will make sure they’re given to the guest minister for worship. Eagle Project at the Church James P, a member of our church and a scout has been working on his Eagle Scout project this past weekend. I’ve attached pictures of the completed work: there’s a brand new bench looking out on the green in front of the parsonage, and the North St. side of the parsonage yard that was all torn up to install the gas lines a few years ago has been put back together, landscaped, and a screen has also been installed in front of the gas meters. So, thank you to James and to all the scouts at our church for all their work on this project and support of the church in general. Great work everyone! Renovation Updates The tile backsplash in the kitchen has been finished! I’ve attached a picture. At this point, we’re just finishing up electrical work with replacing the outlet covers, getting the ventilation fan motor operational, and then sorting out some decorations. Bob and Bill are continuing to chip (or sand) away at repairing the front of the meetinghouse. I’ve attached a picture of them both hard at work this morning. Livestream Tech Volunteers I want to give a shout out to Drew and Thomas who ran the livestream by themselves this past Sunday while John and Chris were out of town. It would be good to add a few more volunteers to the team so we can always have coverage. If you’re interested in volunteering or learning how things work, contact John D, and you can always talk to Drew and Thomas to get more info about the learning curve. General Comments This coming Sunday, the Old Testament lesson we’ll be looking at is David’s lament upon learning of the death of his son Absalom: “The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” Lamenting like this isn’t a particularly big piece of our culture or our worship in general, but our scriptures have lots of laments in them, particularly the psalms. Prayers and songs of lament are important for sometimes acknowledging grief, hurt, pain, and loss. This past week I was playing a new video game called “Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture.” The game is set in a rural English village in the 1980s that has experienced some sort of calamity where all the people from the village are missing, and the basic plot is you’re trying to piece together what happened. One of the striking things about the game was it’s got a beautiful choral soundtrack, and many of the lyrics are based on psalms. A few of the tracks were based on Psalm 13, which is a psalm of lament. I wanted to share the song because I think it does a really good job of matching a text like Palm 13 with music that expresses the longing, loss, and even hope that goes into offering a lament to God: https://youtu.be/de_UYA4P1Ik
(The rest of the soundtrack is also really lovely and on YouTube if you wanted to hear more.) I hope you all have a good week. If I don’t see you in church this coming Sunday, I’ll see you later on in August. Peace, Pastor Katrina
I hope you’re all doing well this week. I’m certainly appreciating that the humidity is lower today than in the past few days. I have a few things to highlight for this week:
John S. is Turning 100!
Please join us this Friday as we celebrate the upcoming 100th birthday of our dear friend and long-time MCC member John! Let’s all take time to shower John with love and friendship by sending him special cards of greeting and well wishes. Feel free to share your warm memories of times spent with John over the years in church, with boy scouts, during cactus club events, and much more. John’s contact information is available in the church directory. Questions: contact Michele F.
The tile in the kitchen is almost finished being installed. I’ve attached a picture of the latest progress. Additionally, Bob and Bill have started work on the front of the meetinghouse! I’ve attached a picture of the guys at work. Restoring and repainting the front of the church involves a lot of labor to be done right, so we’re extremely blessed to have two members who are willing to put the time, and really love, in to do things right so the meetinghouse will look great for years to come.
All youth in high school are eligible for confirmation class. If your high school aged child is interested, please let me know. I’m figuring out numbers and whether things work out better to run a class this program year or next.
This past weekend I was able to go on retreat with some of the other young adults in the Southern New England Conference at Killam’s Point in Branford. I’ve attached a picture. It was peaceful and really lovely to have a change of scenery and to spend some time by the Sound.
One of my favorites verses from the Psalms is from Psalm 46: “Be still and know that I am God.” It’s a good reminder that sometimes we need time to sit still and just be.