Dear friends in Christ,
I hope you’re all doing well this week and enjoying some of the lovely weather. Thank you to everyone who dropped off soup/groceries and for everyone who offered to help last week when I was sick. I’m back to work and so far recovering fairly well. I’m still dealing with some fatigue and some sinus things as COVID and my allergies form an unfortunate alliance. But, I’ll be back in action this coming Sunday, Pentecost.
Middlebury Memorial Day Parade Sunday 5/28 5pm the Green
This Sunday afternoon is the Middlebury Memorial Day parade. We’ll have the church building open so our restrooms are available to everyone gathered on the Green. I hope to see many of you!
Lions Club Memorial Day Service: Sunday 5/28, 12pm Middlebury Cemetery
The Lions Club are hosting their annual service honoring our war dead and departed veterans on Sunday 12pm. I will likely see some of you at that service as well!
Meet Our Sabbatical Pastor: Sunday, June 4th
On Sunday, June 4th, we’ll be welcoming Chris Cole, who will be providing the majority of the pastoral and worship coverage when I’m on sabbatical. Chris will be participating in worship, and we’ll have a nice coffee hour where everyone can introduce themselves. Chris is a senior deacon at the First Congregational Church of Watertown, and he’s beginning the United Church of Christ ordination process. He’s already completed some coursework. His current career is as the executive director of a nonprofit in New Haven. A more complete bio was in the May issue of Church Life. A traditional part of preparation for ministry is opportunities for practical experience working at a church, and I’m excited for us to have the opportunity to help a student as he discerns a call to ministry. Chris will preach and lead worship 9 Sundays this summer, and he will be available for pastoral emergencies and some pastoral care each week. Chris’s first Sunday will be July 9th.
The Rev. Shannan Hudgins will preach, lead worship, and provide pastoral coverage for when Chris has vacation. Shannan and I serve on the Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School Alumni Board together, and she is a full time hospice chaplain. Shannan will be at MCC July 2nd, August 20th, August 27th, and September 3rd.
My sabbatical is from June 26th to September 25th. I’ve attached a calendar of who is preaching when and providing coverage. We’ll send out info on how to be in touch with Chris and Shannan at a later date.
Vacation Bible School Registration is Live!
Vacation Bible School is back this summer at MCC, and registration is now open! Join us for “Hero Hotline”, June 19-23rd. To register a child (K-6th), go to: https://middleburycc.breezechms.com/form/VBS2023.
To register a counselor (7th-college), please go to: https://middleburycc.breezechms.com/form/VBSCounselor2023.
If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering, please contact Valerie at email@example.com.
Strawberry Festival: June 11th 3-7pm
Strawberry Festival is scheduled for Sunday, June 11th from 3-7pm. We’ll have strawberry shortcake. food, games, raffle baskets, and a book sale! Mark your calendars!
Raffle Basket Items Needed
Well we need some of your items you’d like to recycle for our raffle baskets that we are putting together for the Strawberry Festival. The themes are: Date Night, Baking to Your Hearts Content, Kids Summer Fun, Beach Time, Christmas in June, Garden Delight, and Margarita Salsa Night. So if you are getting rid of that pasta maker you never used or garden tools, Christmas ornaments, extra spatulas, rolling pins, bread bowls, Frisbees, beach balls, buckets, tickets to a restaurant you haven’t used, etc. we would love to have them to incorporate in our baskets. So please let us know what you have that you think would work well in these baskets. Look out for signup sheets on the bulletin board by the kitchen. Thank you from the Mission Board.
Confirmation Class 2023-2024
This coming program year, we will have a confirmation class for 8th graders and up. We’ll start up in October when I return from sabbatical, and we’re looking to have confirmation on Celebration Sunday in 2024, which should be June 16th, 2024.
Charles P. Luckey Scholarship: Deadline May 31st
The application for the Charles P. Luckey Scholarship is available and is on our website:
Scholarships are open to any high school student entering their freshman year of college that is a member of Middlebury Congregational Church and will be attending an accredited college or university.
All applications must be postmarked by May 31, 2023.
Interim Faith Formation Coordinator Position Posted
As many of you are aware, Valerie Beard, our Faith Formation Coordinator, is stepping down at the end of this school year. Church leadership has decided to search for an Interim Faith Formation Coordinator for the 2023-2024 program year, and there is possibility that person may be eligible for the permanent position. We’re beginning a search for that position which is open to people outside of MCC and people affiliated with MCC. The job posting is available here: https://www.middleburyucc.org/job-openings-at-middlebury-congregational-church/
This Sunday is Pentecost, when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Often Pentecost is considered the birthday of the Church. We will have cake at coffee hour. On the first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to speak many languages, foreshadowing the Church’s global mission and future diversity. So, we have a number of people from our church who will read the scripture lesson in various languages so we can get a sense of what things might have sounded like on Pentecost.
One of the interesting aspects of the Holy Spirit is in Hebrew the word for spirit is a feminine noun, and in Greek it’s a gender neutral noun. The Spirit in mentioned in scripture a lot in relation to creation and bringing life. So, many people, including scholars, see the Holy Spirit as feminine. For this week leading up to Pentecost, I thought I’d share a poem by Joyce Rupp that goes with some of that imagery, which we don’t tend to experience as much in our more traditional setting:
“inside each of us” by Joyce Rupp
“inside each of us
spirit of freedom
in the rooms
of our heart
that are closed
dark and cluttered
in the spaces
where negative feelings
have built barricades
and stock-piled weapons
in the corners
where we still
do not believe
in our goodness
inside each of us
spirit of freedom
she will lift light feet
and make glad songs
on the day
we open the door of ego
and let enemies