2016 INSIDE THIS ISSUE Chiming In…A message from Rev. Rebecca
Committee News Bells Are Ringing (Baptisms, Weddings, Deaths) Lenten Bible Study Upcoming Special Services Musica Maris Schedule What’s Happening?
The Church Bell
Chiming in… Dear Brothers and Sisters of United Congregational Church,
Happy New Year! We have been working our way through the season of Epiphany, the time in the church year between Christmas and Lent where we celebrate Jesus’ entrance into the world, the revelation of who this God made flesh IS.
“Epiphany,” which is from the Greek word for “Appearing” is all about God appearing here among us in the life and ministry of Jesus. During Epiphany we hear the stories of our God who keeps surprising us, coming in ways we never would have anticipated, to those people and places we never would have expected. And we hear in these stories who Jesus is: the one who is the Son of God and the King of Heaven, yet is born in a lowly stable with the oxen; the One whose first visitors are not high-born men with important status, but shepherds, sheep, and wacky magicians from far-off lands; the One who comes to be baptized though he does not need it, and who kneels down in an act of humility though he does not require it. And so in these stories we learn about Jesus, God-among-us. We learn that ours is a God who reverses the world order, welcomes all people into relationship with him, especially the outcasts. We learn that ours is a God who does not value riches and power, but who values humility, compassion, fellowship, and justice. Fittingly, we pause in this season of Epiphany to celebrate the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, whose faith in this God of radical inclusivity and love led him to fight for a world where all people would be treated with dignity and compassion regardless of race or religion or status or wealth. King’s vision for equality and freedom was deeply rooted in his faith in Jesus.
So in these next 4 weeks as we finish out the season of Epiphany, let us all think about how our faith impacts the way we live. How do our actions and politics, our words and prayers, our votes and our priorities reflect this God of ours? Dr. King lived and died for the causes he believed in because of his faith. What do we live for? What would we be willing to die for? How does our faith in this God of ours shape these questions?
Soon enough it will be Lent, a season of wrestling with our demons, wandering in the wilderness, and journeying to the cross with Christ. Until then, let us bask in the light and revelation of Epiphany, get to know this Jesus who has appeared among us, and ask what He is calling us to do in our church, our community, and our world.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Rebecca Floyd Marshall
~IMPORTANT~ If you have a pastoral emergency, please contact us so we can be there for you! During office hours (Tues-Friday, 9am-3pm), please call the church office at (401) 635-8472 to reach Rev. Rebecca. If you have a pastoral emergency outside of office hours, please contact Head Deacon Debbie Kelchner at 401-524-2007.
COMMITTEE NEWS For more information on any of the following committees, please contact the church office at
635-8472 or email Dawn at email@example.com
Catherine Sawoski, Youth Deacon
Since before anyone can remember, the UCC has always started their services with the inviting words, “All are welcome.” This simple phrase has drawn many to the church to take part in a community -- one where, no matter what their difference is, everyone can be accepted; and has set the Church of Christ apart from others for centuries. It remains the overarching goal to fulfill this promise to the congregation year after year; as the situations of some change drastically. This is the main motivation behind the UCCLC putting in place new measures to help those of the congregation who can’t as well as they used to and have newfound limited mobility, such as large-print bulletins being available, and a new sign being posted for newcomers about the elevator near the back entrance. The hopes are, that in accordance with the history of the church, that everyone will be able to enjoy worship with the same amount of ease and joy every week.
Located near the pulpit, some may have noticed the new hymn board announcing the number and book for each sermon. This information is always also found in the bulletin for each week, but while planning services, deacons have found the announcing of each one, as used to be done, interrupts the flow of the service. The new large print bulletins should help with this, but for ease of access for everyone, the trial board will be tested for this month, so if no problems arise, another will be added on the other side.
Although most full-time members know how to find their way to what they need, many visitors aren’t aware of features of the church that would benefit them. One example of this would be the elevators located around back, which aren’t always apparent to guests. To try to have everyone be able to get up to the service area, signs will be placed in the main foyer, so it is some of the first information able to be seen. This elevator, installed many years ago has also been vital to keeping the church a place that does not have limits for its members.
Historically, churches around the globe have always stepped up to help its congregation. When most of those going to church couldn’t afford to have an education, new ways were found so everyone could participate in services. Call and Response songs started being used in some places, so that those who couldn't read were able to sing along. Hearing aids were introduced into the services at UCCLC, so that all could hear the words of the pastor’s sermon. The core values of ‘all are welcome’ have always been present, even if it’s as simple as installing a hymn board.
Tom Schmitt, Interim Chair
I am happy to report that eight members: Jack Angell, Sue Chase, Shirley Hardison, Bob Hartnett, Sally Ann Ledbetter, Wendy Merriman, B.G. Shanklin and Nancy Thompson, have volunteered to serve as delegates to the Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ. If you are interested in serving or want more information about becoming a delegate, please contact Debbie Kelchner, Chair of the Board of Deacons.
In its December meeting, the Board of Trustees addressed and/or took action on the following:
Reviewed and acted on recommendations of the Personnel Committee (a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees) on 2016 staff compensation and contracts. The Personnel Committee also reported on its annual, year-end meetings with the staff.
Discussed the Deacons’ proposed modification to pamphlets that summarize procedures, practices and policies covering use of the church for funerals and weddings. Updated editions of those documents are expected to be published within the next few months.
Heard a report on Nominating Committee progress and discussed church procedures for electing chairs for church committees whose oversight is provided by the Boards of Trustees and Deacons. Should anyone wish to recommend a member for nomination as an officer, deacon or trustee, please contact Reverend Rebecca or Tom Schmitt (508-636-3932), interim chair of Trustees.
Reviewed status of the capital campaign (authorized by vote of the congregation last summer) to support installation of a sprinkler system for the church and to upgrade the vestry kitchen. By consensus the Trustees authorized the chair to organize and recruit volunteers who will plan for and oversee that initiative.
Bob Hartnett reviewed year-to-date financials, which through the end of November are running slightly behind 2014 but comfortably better than the 2015 budget. Bob also reported on an upsurge in Sunday collections, recent disappointing endowment performance and an upcoming independent review of church finances and the processes we use to safeguard report on and account for them.
Peter Derbyshire, chair of the Building and Grounds Committee (a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees) informed the Trustees of a possible need to re-roof the church and the estimated cost to repaint that structure. Given the complexity of our steeple, heights involved and the need to encapsulate lead paint, both projects serve as a sobering reminder of church resources required to operate and maintain the wonderful structure where we gather for worship.
Peter Derbyshire, Chair
Now that the parsonage is back up and functional, B&G has set its sights back on the Church itself.
Just before Thanksgiving, the fiberglass insulation above the sanctuary ceiling was removed. Foam insulation was sprayed to the underside of the roof system to give us a R38 insulation value. This is a huge increase over the R19 insulation that was removed. We hope to see the results in lower energy costs throughout the year.
Nest thermostats have been installed in the vestry and sanctuary. When the Wi-Fi system is up and running, they will allow for remote control and monitoring of temperature setting. At the moment, they are being operated manually.
Negotiations with Cox Communications about Thrift Shop phones and church Wi-Fi
has been concluded. Now that all the paperwork is complete, they will be installing Wi-Fi in the Church and connecting the Thrift Shop to our phone system (same number) in the coming weeks. This upgrade will open up new possibilities for us in addition to monitoring systems in the building. It will also save us a good bit of coin.
Bob Hartnett, Chair
As we begin 2016 Finance would like to remind everyone of the importance of pledging. This is the time of year that we prepare the budget for our upcoming annual meeting. With pledges being a major part of our income, you can imagine how important these figures are to the process. It is a pleasure to start off the new year knowing that we have a wonderful Pastor who not only brings new found excitement, but also is filling up the sanctuary on Sundays. While our prayers for the right Pastor have been answered, we still need the Congregation to maintain the financial health of our lovely Church.
If you have not sent in your pledge for 2016, I would like to ask you to please consider doing so now. Every pledge counts more than you realize. Thank you.
Bereavement Sadly, losing our loved ones is a part of our human experience and can be a time of great sorrow. We at the Health & Wellness Committee want to offer our knowledge and support to help our church friends and members work through this process of grieving.
We have professionally trained personnel who understand the complexity of moving onto a life that can celebrate the one who has passed and go onto live a life that is rich and full once again.
With the multitude of emotions upon us, we are impacted physically, emotionally,
cognitively socially, even
religiously maybe questioning the goodness, mercy, power and even the existence of a loving God.
If you have any questions, please contact Chair, Pam Church at 635-8472.
Bells are ringing… Passings – Members & Friends
Our sympathies to the families of:
Dorothy (Field) Dennis
December 18, 2015 (M)
John Donald Taylor
December 22, 2015 (F)
Merilyn P. Wilber
December 12, 2015 (M)
Shirley Hardison & Marsha LaPointe
COMMUNITY SHRED DAY Are you buried in old paperwork? Is your own shredder too small or broken down? Well we have a solution and tax season is the perfect time!
The Outreach Committees in partnership with The Parish Life and Outreach Committees of St. Andrews By-The-Sea will be sponsoring a community wide SHRED DAY. Residents can bring as many as five (5) boxes weighing no more than 30 pounds each. We will load your old files into a container. The container will be lifted into the truck and the contents will be shredded into confetti. You can watch your personal documents being shredded via a camera inside the truck. How cool is that!
WHEN: Saturday, March 19thTIME: 9am – 1pm
WHERE: St. Andrew’s By-The-Sea
COST: Donation of $5.00 per
box (size of a case of
Don’t worry about removing staples or paper clips.
Watch for more details in the church bulletin over the next months.
THANK YOU! We want to thank everyone who helped provide the Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets and Christmas gifts the Little Compton Food Bank was able to distribute this year. Over 40 families had all the makings for a delicious holiday dinner because of your generosity. Thank you to all who donated food, funds, and gifts under the Giving Tree. Special thanks goes out to the Youth Group who helped to assemble the Thanksgiving baskets. This is the true Spirit of the holidays.
December, it is always an extra special time to work with the children and youth. You can feel their excitement and anticipation! This year, our Advent Workshop Rotation focused on the Christmas story from Mary’s perspective – imagine her nine months of anticipation after meeting Angel Gabriel! God chose Mary! Mary, a plain ordinary farm girl chosen to be the mother of Jesus. This reminds us that God and God’s kingdom will revolve around those who TRUST in God and wait on God’s promises (ordinary folks like Mary and us – not just the rich or most educated, etc.) The story concludes: “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). During our workshop time, we played a fun “Catch Baby Jesus” demonstration game to help explain that during Advent we are to ponder, to think about Jesus’ birth over and over again, and about what God was and is doing during this season. As their arms were full of Christmas decorations, gifts, etc. the children found it hard to “catch” (appreciate and understand) Baby Jesus. The point was clearly taken.This year too, I had ordered an Advent devotional book called “The Light In The Lantern,” and tested it out with Carver. It contained daily short stories for Advent based on Mary, Joseph and the donkey’s journey to Bethlehem. That story, each evening before bed was such a blessing, for it was a daily reminder that it is Christ’s birth that we are waiting to celebrate not just Santa and the presents. I would be amiss to say that isn’t a big part of it too though. And I think we are all ok with that, because that morning as Carver opened his presents, the joy in his face filled me with a love that I know could only come from God! So, I imagine next year when Pastor Rebecca or myself ask the kids “so who are we waiting for during Advent?” there will still be the child that yells out Santa, as was the case for me this year. And who can blame them? As Lynn Parker so humorously reminded me when I saw her at Lees – they see and meet Santa in the flesh, they sit on his lap – how can little Baby Jesus compete with that? Thankfully, Proverbs 22:6 reminds us: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I hope everyone’s Christmas was full of the love, hope and joy that Jesus is meant to bring us! Happy New Year!
I hope everyone enjoyed the “Christmas Letters” themed Pageant this year. The children and youth did an amazing job as usual. I know no one can see me as I sit in front of the children directing them, but my face is filled with a grin from ear to ear and my heart with such pride. I am so grateful that this congregation fills the church on Pageant Sunday and supports and welcomes the children and youth in the way that they do. Thank-you! I want to extend a special thanks also, to Sam Ryan who co-directed the pageant with me this year. Sam has been in so many Christmas pageants over his years here at the church and his experience and help was invaluable! Sincere appreciation to all the adult helpers who too direct the children from the side pews, it takes many bodies to coordinate this special Christmas program.
The Youth Group again had their annual Christmas Party in Dec. As has become tradition, they exchanged homemade gifts. The thought and effort that they put into it was so wonderful to see. Special thanks to Louise Goodman, Aimee McGee and Lisa Moy for providing all the yummy food and treats.
This year our 5pm Family Christmas Eve service featured a new experience for the children. Special thanks to Pastor Rebecca for her fun new idea of using miniature Christmas characters to build a nativity throughout the service. It was so sweet and special to see the children bring up their chosen miniature after each accompanying reading. I believe it is an experience they are not soon to forget!
In January, the children will be focusing on prayer which is very timely as we approach the season of Lent. Hopefully, some of the prayer methods they learn will get put to good use in the coming months and beyond. During Children’s Church we examined the Lord’s Prayer to discover what we actually mean when we say the words of the Lord’s Prayer. They also learned the 5 Finger Prayer – curious what this is? Check out the Sunday School bulletin board for a description.
Upcoming workshops will focus on making pretzels; a treat created by monks to reward children for learning their prayers, they will also make a Prayer Pail as part of this cooking workshop which will be filled with table graces to use at home. In a second workshop, they will learn and experience prayer stations based on the P.A.T.H. method of prayer - an acronym for Praise, Apologize, Thanks and Help, all great things to include in any prayer. Finally children will be given memorization aids and challenged to learn The Lord’s Prayer if they don’t already know it.
At their first Youth Group meeting in January, youth experienced a guided meditation based on the Paralyzed Man scripture to help them to forget and let go of anything from the past year that was paralyzing them from moving forward in the New Year. On Jan. 24th in lieu of a meeting, the Youth Group will head off to Dudek Lanes in Warren for some duckpin bowling fun. Youth are asked to RSVP, so transportation can be arranged. Currently youth are taking orders for grinders to be delivered fresh Super Bowl Sunday morning, Feb. 7th. Please sign up in the vestry (on the vestry Hospitality closet or Sunday School bulletin board.) On Feb. 6th-7th, the youth will also be sleeping out at Amicable Church to raise awareness and donations for the homeless. If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, please make a check payable to the R.I. Coalition for the Homeless and give to any Youth Group member.
In February, the Sunday School children will begin learning the story of Zacchaeus. This story is appropriate for the season of Lent, as it was on his journey to Jerusalem that Jesus encountered Zacchaeus in the tree. Why Zacchaeus was in a tree and why was it such a big deal that Jesus chose him out of the crowd to eat with him? I challenge you to volunteer to teach or help in Sunday School to find out. I am in great need of volunteers for the month of February!
Lent begins in February. An Ash Wednesday service appropriate for both adults and youth will be held on February 10th at 6:30pm. A service more appropriate for the children will be held separately at the same time as the adult service. Also, a bible study (topical details still to be determined) will be held on three Wednesdays: Feb. 24th, Mar. 2nd and 9th from 5:45-7:15pm. Each study will start off with pizza and hospitality, followed by an hour of Lenten Study. Both a child and youth friendly bible study will be held at the same time as an adult study, so parents, children and youth can all attend together.
LENTEN STUDY For three Wednesdays in Lent, we will meet for a Lenten Study. Join us on Wednesday, Feb. 24th, Mar. 2nd and 9th, early evening. There will be opportunities offered for each age group so that parents can attend the adult program at the same time as their children and youth attend a program.
ASH WEDNESDAY: February 10th at 6:30 p.m. A meditative service of ashes with contemplative music and readings.
PALM SUNDAY: March 20th. Worship Service 10:00 a.m. with distribution of palms and the joining of new members.
MAUNDY THURSDAY SERVICE: March 24th: We will gather in the church sanctuary at 7:30 p.m. for our traditional candlelight service.
GOOD FRIDAY: March 25th.
EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE: March 27th: On Easter morning there will be a Sunrise Service held at the Town Landing at 6:30 a.m. This will be an ecumenical service with St. Andrew’s By-the-Sea. Please dress warmly.
EASTER WORSHIP SERVICE: March 27th at 10:00 a.m.: This is a celebration of New Life. Everyone is welcome. Childcare will be available in the nursery for children up to age 5. An Easter activity packet will be available for older children to use during the Worship service.
Our deadline for the
March/April Newsletter is
Friday, February 12th.
Annual Meeting ~ February 21, 2016
Following the Worship Service
Members of the United Congregational Church in Little Compton are hereby warned of the Annual Meeting of said church to be held on Sunday, February 21, 2016 in the sanctuary of the church immediately following the service.
The purpose of said meeting will be:
Approval of November 2015 Quarterly Meeting Minutes (copies are available for review on the vestry bulletin board)
Annual Report ~ Committee chair updates
Presentation of the 2015 year-end Financial Report