Dear friends in Christ,
I hope you’re all doing well this week. Thank you to all our Scouts for joining us this past Sunday. I’ve attached a picture of the scouts from troops 5 and 6 (thank you for the picture!) Also thank you to everyone who helped make Valentines! We were able to give 45 Valentines to the seniors at the Watermark in Southbury. We have a number of things going on in the church this week:
Turkey/Syria Earthquake Relief Aid
The United Church of Christ has issued an appeal asking for funds to support recovery and relief efforts for the people in Turkey and Syria devastated by the recent earthquakes. The UCC and its predecessor organizations and partners have a long history in the area. The link to the appeal and to donate is here:
This Saturday 2/11@8:30am: Church Planning Breakfast:
On Saturday, 2/11, we are having a breakfast to plan for the coming year and talk about what our priorities are as a church. People from all aspects of the church are welcome to come; this is for anyone in the church who wants to be involved!
Souper Bowl Sunday: 2/12
Mark your calendars! The Mission Board is again going to sell soups for Souper Bowl Sunday on February 12th. We will have a variety of soups to sell for $6.00 a pint. If anyone wants to make their specialty to contribute to our fundraiser it would be greatly appreciated and you can get the pint containers in the kitchen. We are expecting a coconut curry lentil, best tomato soup ever, Lasagna soup, chicken soup and others. Last year we had a sell out so we are hoping for the same this year!
Lenten Devotional Calendar
Our Faith Formation team has put together a devotional calendar for Lent with service, donation, and devotion options to help us observe Lent. The calendar is attached, and we will have copies available on Sunday.
Open & Affirming Winter Book Discussion
As part of our Open and Affirming process, we’re reading : Unclobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality by Colby Martin. Martin is a straight, evangelical pastor who changed his mind about LGBTQ people and the church. The book is part memoir of his journey of changing his mind and the impacts it had on his career and family, and the other part of the book is breaking down the common scripture passages people use to claim homosexuality is a sin or to exclude LGBTQ people from the church.
Dates for discussion are scheduled in the conference room for:
Wednesday, 2/15/23@7pm: Chapters 9-10
Jumpin’ Jambalaya: 2/21
Come on by to get your locally famous spicy bowl of goodness.
When: Fat Tuesday February 21, 2023 5:00-6:30
Where: MCC Social Hall (Pick up orders in kitchen)
Tickets: $8.00 per order
Our menu is straight from Bourbon Street: a steaming bowl of jambalaya, a side of rice, zydeco music and that feel good feeling of eating New Orleans food!
Advance orders are recommended.
We will prepare a few extras but don’t get left out in the cold! Please call the church office to leave a message with your pre-orders at 203-758-2671, or email Ellen at email@example.com.
You can also order and pay by credit card here (small additional processing fee applied for credit card orders) https://middleburycc.breezechms.com/form/2bbdc2
Ash Wednesday Service: 2/22@7pm
Last year, the First Congregational Church of Watertown invited us to join them for their Ash Wednesday service, and I was the guest preacher. This year we’re going to try it again, but instead, we will have an Ash Wednesday service at 7pm on 2/22 at MCC, and Watertown’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Cindy Carr, will be preaching.
Vote for MCC: Ion Bank Foundation Community Awards
For those with ION Bank accounts, you can vote for MCC to receive money! Keep in mind that for joint bank accounts each person on the account may vote. We’re listed in the Religion category. The link to vote is here: https://cap.ionbank.com/CAP/CAP.aspx
Tell your friends, too!
Sock-it-to-Homelessness: We are collecting new and gently used socks, including mismatched socks, for Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries. Socks are the most needed item of clothing for people experiencing homelessness. Donations can be left in the white bin near the Multiplication Table at the front of the sanctuary.
Mitten Line: We are collecting new and gently used hats, gloves, and scarves for GWIM. Donations can be left on the clothesline in the Social Hall.
Before the pandemic, I had a very consistent daily devotion reading time. Once the pandemic started, it threw off all my routines, and even now with things more “normal” than ever, my devotional reading has stayed stuck in inconsistency. I’ll read a whole book one day and then nothing for another stretch of days. One of the things I’m looking forward to with Lent is an opportunity to work on restarting a more balanced devotional reading routine.
One of the devotional books in my inconsistent reading rotation has daily readings from one of my favorite theologians, Karl Barth. This was the section I read today: “This much is certain, that we have no theological right to set any sort of limit to the loving-kindness of God which has appeared in Jesus Christ. Our theological duty is to see and understand it as being still greater than we had seen before.”
One of the things I appreciate about Barth is his emphasis on God’s power and freedom. Often we human being like things to fit into neat categories, of good and bad, in and out. We often to try fit God and God’s actions into those same sorts of categories. That quote by Barth is all about how God’s capacity for love far exceeds anything we’re capable of imagining. If we as human beings say this or that group of people cannot be saved, we have imposed our own limits on God, who is not bound by our understanding.
Essentially, the quote is an invitation to imagine what’s possible with God. And, as we look towards our planning breakfast this Saturday morning, imagining what’s possible with God seems like the perfect sort of mindset for the week.