The First Congregational Church of Greenwich

Meetinghouse Monthly

April 1, 2002         Patty Kolb, Editor        http://www.fccog.org

The Members of The First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Ministers
Thomas L. Stiers, Senior Pastor
Sally Colegrove, Senior Associate Pastor
Susan M. Craig, Associate Pastor
John Stansell, Director of Music, Senior Organist
Mark Swicegood, Associate Organist/Director
Carolyn Diamond, Associate Musician
Dr. Joyce Baker, Missionary in Honduras
Dr. Reniery España, Dir. of Medical Services, AIEH
Sunday Services of Worship—8 am & 10 am
Church School—10 am
Nursery Care provided during the 10 am Service.
The 10 am Service is broadcast live
on WGCH 1490 am Radio.

The Pastor’s Column
A Season of Joy

Dear Friends,
We have celebrated so many wonderful occasions together in the last few weeks, some happy, some nostalgic, some victorious, all joyful. Joy does not always mean happy. We were not happy when we said good-bye to James Ebert on March 17, but we were filled with joy for him that he has such a great new job at Yale Divinity School. It was with great joy that we looked back on our six-year partnership with AIEH and the people of northwestern Honduras. The Walk through Holy Week, which we experienced as Palm Saturday, is not happy, yet it is full of the joy of faith as is all of Holy Week itself. We are truly Easter people. The joy of the resurrection informs all that we do, even on Good Friday, as we say good-bye to a friend.
Now we carry that joy, that Easter spirit, into April. April for me always means the trip to H.O.M.E. Co-op in Maine with the SPF. This is our 16th trip in April. We will live and work at H.O.M.E. from April 14-20. This is the Spring vacation for our public school young people and we always have a few private school folk who are allowed to bring work and come along as an enrichment of their academic programs.
This April is special, however. On April 12, I am flying to Nashville, Tenn. to do the wedding of Lee Watkins. Lee was an active member of our confirmation class and SPF back in the 1980’s. But my first association with Lee was also my first job. When I was in ninth grade I was hired by his parents as their mother’s helper for the summer. Lee was three years old. The plot thickens, however, because Lee’s mother, Jean, a member of the Chancel Choir and Handbell Ringers, was one of my first baby sitters when I was under one year of age. It is a great joy to be able to marry Lee and Molly.
I hope all of you have a very joyous April.

Members of the Senior Pilgrim Fellowship carried the cross to the beach on Good Friday.

April Worship Schedule

Sunday, April 7
8 & 10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Catherine Garlid
Chaplain, Greenwich Hospital
“Good Enough Believers”

Sunday, April 14
8 &10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Susan M. Craig
“I want to be sure you understand”

Sunday, April 21
8 & 10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Dr. Thomas L. Stiers
“Abundant Life”

Sunday, April 28
8 & 10 am in the Meetinghouse
Dr. Thomas L. Stiers
“Heart Trouble”

Rummage Room Needs Donations!
Help! Help! Help!

  • Donations at Rummage are very low! Please think of us as you do your spring cleaning.
  • On our wish list: end tables, treadmill, small ecru doilies, boy’s navy blazer, size 12-14, cassette player, spring clothes, wedding dresses. We hope every one had a very happy Easter!
  • To all our volunteers, remember to mark your calendar for our breakfast on April 9 at 9 am in the Auditorium.

Checked Our Web Site?
Have you seen our website recently? It is now updated several times per week with sermon reprints, the latest issue of Meetinghouse Monthly and Meetinghouse Minute (especially useful if, like many Stamford and out-of-town readers, your bulk-rate mail is delivered slowly). If you listen to the radio broadcast of the service, you can find the bulletin and calendar on the website each Sunday. The address is www.fccog.org

Considering College?
The good colleges are getting fussier as more and more quality students apply. Where do you fit in? Talk with our own Mary Leinbach, an experienced and respected college consultant. Her $200 charge goes to the First Church College Loan Fund and is tax deductible. You can reach her at 531-9434.

Report from Our Senior Deacon Travelers

"For all that has been-Thanks!
For all that shall be-Yes!"
Dag Hammarskjöld

April 2002

Dear Friends,

The past few months proved rich in introspection and resourcefulness for First Church. As commonly happens in trying times, important priorities surface, and ours was no exception.

Our recent financial shortfall brought into sharp focus the activities and programs many hold dear-admittedly not always to the same degree. Thanks to your renewed generosity and the hard work of our pastors and Budget Committee, we now have a balanced budget and the green light to make some important strides in the coming year.

Pastoral Staffing

The Church Committee has approved the creation of a "Pastoral Staffing Committee" to research clergy and member needs related to a fourth pastor. Their homework will involve an all-church survey, interviews with other "like" churches, and what promises to be an interesting update of our own church profile. In May, a joint session of the Church Committee and Trustees will hear their findings and recommendations. We are grateful for the leadership of co-chairs Rufus Winton and Chuck Wheelock, the counsel of Dr. Tom Stiers, and the service of committee members Frosty Friedman, Jan Gelb, Judy Goodchild, Debbie LaCivita, Rick Nelli, Barbara Norrgard, David Robbins, Aaron Sinay and Sarah Thalheim during this initial phase.


The debate over our endowment (how we have used it, and how we will protect it and grow it) reflects an earnest desire to ensure First Church's financial health for future generations. While our new budget provides a step in the right direction to replenish the amounts borrowed in the past, I'm pleased to announce an endowment fundraiser in the offing. More on that at a future date.

Safe Church

The sexual abuse scandals rocking our nation highlight the need for every religious institution to formally tackle this issue without delay. Thanks to Making Our Churches Safe for All, a United Church of Christ program, First Church and other congregations throughout the state will soon receive training and materials to create appropriate policies aimed at preventing sexual abuse and dealing with allegations should they arise.

Town Meeting

Finally, I'd like to invite all of you to a Town Meeting to be scheduled on a Sunday afternoon this month in the Auditorium. Enjoy a beverage and plan to stay awhile to hear the latest on what our committees are doing and ask questions of your clergy and lay leaders. If the format works, we'll continue these meetings periodically, as it's important for everyone's voice to be heard.
Warm regards,

Robin Loughman
Senior Deacon

People, Places & Things

Rebuilding Stamford/Greenwich
Rebuilding Together Stamford/ Greenwich (formerly Christmas in April) needs volunteers for both Preparation Day (Saturday, April 20) and Rebuilding Saturday, April 27, 8 am – 5 pm. Location: Stamford. To sign up for this very rewarding day, please call Paul Pacent (637-5800) or Diane Kretschmann (625-9726), visit our website (fccog.org), or sign up in Coffee Hour.

Concerted-ed Effort
Concert-ed Effort is a series of concerts intended to benefit blind jazz pianist and Riverside resident Stuart Hemingway, who is recovering from a stroke. The first of the concerts will take place on Sunday, April 28, 4-5:30 pm in the First Church Auditorium. It will feature the jazz group of Matt Whyte, guitar; Tod Hedrick, bass; and Jake Seligman, David Burrows, and Jessica Laufer, piano. Admission is $15; refreshments at 3:30 pm, cabaret seating. Information: (203) 637-1051

2002 Interfaith Conference
A program on “Women in the Bible & the Qur’an” will take place during the 2002 Interfaith Conference, April 18, 7 - 9:30 pm at the UConn, Stamford Auditorium. It is co-sponsored by the Center for Judaic & Middle Eastern Studies, UConn, Stamford, and the Council of Churches & Synagogues. Registration forms are available in the Church Office.

Adult Education in April
In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote that “all things work together for good to those that love God.” (Romans 8:28). How can this be if the things that are happening are negative or distressing? How can the resources of biblical faith enhance our physical and emotional well-being? How can life experience make faith more alive?

Through 30+ years as a practicing pastoral psychotherapist, Dr. David Norris has realized the importance of bringing one’s faith and one’s life into dialogue as part of the healing process. He will offer some of the insights and tools he has acquired in his years of work.
The sessions will take place on Mondays, April 22 and 29, at 7:30 pm in the Lounge. Please join us as David shares some of what he has learned in his three decades of specialized ministry. Please indicate your interest by calling the Church Office to sign up.

Farewell Dinner Thanks
If you were one of the 210 people who bid farewell to James Ebert on St. Patrick’s Day, you know how much hard work went into the dinner and what a success it was. Many, many thanks to Dinner Chair Debbie LaCivita; Decorations Chair Sarah Thalheim & family, David Robbins, Betsy Kreuter, Eileen Houseknecht, Sally Brim, Cyndy Anderson, Rick Nelli, Karen Pacent, Kathy Fraser, Renata Lovallo, Susan Gilbert, Lois Berlin and members of the SPF, JPF and Pastors’ Class for making this an evening to remember! If your name has been omitted from this list, please know that your efforts are appreciated. James writes:

I just wanted to thank you for the incredible party on Sunday night. It was truly a wonderful outpouring of good will. You've made my time at First Church a rich and meaningful experience. The gifts for the restaurant, the theater, the photo album, the Celtic fare, the words spoken and written touched me deeply. And thank you for the spirit of support and, most of all, the spirit of laughter. I am not sure I could have gotten through it without the many occasions to laugh together. Grace and peace,


New JPF Leader Appointed
Long-time church member Jen McCalley, daughter of Sue and Stuart, has been named to replace James Ebert as leader of the Junior Pilgrim Fellowship. Jen is a graduate of Vanderbilt and a former MTV staffer.
Long-time church member Jen McCalley, daughter of Sue and Stuart, has been named to replace James Ebert as leader of the Junior Pilgrim Fellowship. Jen is a graduate of Vanderbilt and a former MTV staffer.

Quilt Raffle in Progress
Designed and created by the Kettle Quilters, this year’s unique red, white and blue queen-sized quilt features a “Grandma’s Fan” pattern. It will be on display in the Rummage Room window and at Coffee Hour on April 21 and 28. You may purchase tickets for $2 each in the Church Office, at The Rummage Room, or at Coffee Hour. The lucky winner will be selected at the Women’s Fellowship Spring Luncheon on Wedneseday, May 1. It is not necessary to be at the drawing to win. The proceeds from this major Women’s Fellowship fund-raiser help support many worthy organizations.

Senior Deacon’s Report Correction
Just as this issue went to press, the Church Committee granted the Pastoral Staffing Committee more time to complete its charge. The joint session of the Church Committee and Trustees, originally planned for May, will be rescheduled at a later date.

Women’s Fellowship Events

Women’s Fellowship Bus Trip
Tour of the Museum of the American Indian and
Lunch at Fraunces Tavern
Tuesday, April 23 8:45 am to 4:30 pm

Please join us as we plan our annual bus trip, this year to historic lower Manhattan. We will visit the Museum of the American Indian (a Smithsonian Institution), for the exhibit “Spirit Capture: Native Americans and the Photographic Image” and other displays. From there, we will progress to the Fraunces Tavern for lunch and a tour of its small museum celebrating the life of General George Washington.
The cost of the trip (including lunch) is $35 per person. Scholarships are available; contact Susie Craig at the Church Office. To help us in planning this trip, please fill out the form below and return to the Church Office no later than April 16. You must enclose your check with the form. Guests are welcome. There are no cancellations; if you cannot attend, you may ask someone to substitute for you.\

Menu: Arugula salad, choice of entrees: Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Breast of Chicken Dijonnaise or Vegetarian Pasta; rolls& bread, an American dessert, coffee, tea. Liquor and wine are extra.
Clothing: comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Rain gear, if necessary.

Menu Choice:
(Please write in the number for each selection, including your guests.)

Grilled Atlantic_ _ _ _ _ _

Salmon Chicken_ _ _ _ _ _

Dijonnaise Vegetarian Pasta_ _ _ _ _ _

Name(s):_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Telephone_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Walking Choice:

_ _ _ _ _ will walk the 3 short blocks from the Museum to the Tavern.

_ _ _ _ _ will require a bus ride from the Museum to the Tavern

_ _ _ _ _ will be able to walk around the block to the bus pick-up area after lunch for the ride back to the church parking lot

Make checks payable to Women’s Fellowship and mail to First Congregational Church, 108 Sound Beach Ave., Old Greenwich , CT 06870 or drop off in the Women’s Fellowship box in the Church Office.

Women’s Fellowship May Luncheon
Wednesday, May 1 Noon to 2:30 pm
For our annual end-of-the-year luncheon, we will be treated to a demonstration of faux-painting by local artist Lisa Eisenman of Lisa’s Studio. You have seen her work all over Old Greenwich, most notably in The Rummage Room. The technique she will demonstrate at the May luncheon will be “sky-painting” and she says, “Everyone can do this!” She will also demonstrate flower arranging and some lucky winner will go home with the arrangement.
The luncheon will take place in the Auditorium and the meal will be provided by a local caterer. Further details and a registration form will follow in the April 15 Meetinghouse Minute and in the announcement sheet in the church bulletin. But mark your calendars now and plan to join us for this very entertaining event.

April Calendar

Special Events
7 11:15 AM Second Hour, "Health Screening" by Parish Nurse Dee Coover, Lounge
9 9:00 AM Rummage Room Volunteer Thank You Breakfast, Auditorium
17 9:00 AM Lifeline Health Screening, Pre-school (see Parish Nurse column for details)
22, 29 7:30 PM Adult Education, pastoral counselor David Norris, Lounge
28 11:15 AM Second Hour, Parish Nurse Dee Coover, Lounge
4:00 PM Concert-ed Effort, benefit concert for Stuart Hemingway, Auditorium
Committee Meetings
8 12:00 PM Rummage Room Committee, Lounge
15 1:00 PM Stephen Ministers, Lounge
16 7:30 PM Stephen Ministers, Lounge
21 11:15 AM Christian Outreach Committee, Lounge
24 7:30 PM Board of Trustees, Lounge
Weekly Events
Sunday 11:15 AM Cherub Choir rehearsal, Room 104
Youth Choir rehearsal, Choir Room
2:00 PM Grief Support, Lounge (not on 4/14)
5:00 PM JPF, Room 103
7:00 PM SPF, Room 103
Tuesday 7:00 PM Confirmation class (not on 4/16)
Wednesday 5:00 PM Children’s Choir rehearsal, Choir Room
6:00 PM Children’s Choir Pizza Supper, Room 303
Thursday 9:30 AM Hats Off, Lounge
7:30 PM Chancel Choir rehearsal, Choir Room

Weddings at First Church

May 5, 2001
Hayden Ann Holden and David Anthony McHale

May 12, 2001
Theresa Bonnie Knight and John Daniel Phillips
Kristen Louise Blasberg and Joshua Seth Grossman

May 19, 2001
Virginia P. Bonsal and Jeffrey T. Nickell

June 2, 2001
Karen Neary and Pierangelo Filini

June 9, 2001
Suzanne Elizabeth Krause and Donald Lee Thomas, Jr.

June 10, 2001
Janet Lynanne Savage and Ryan David Murphey

June 16, 2001
Suzanne Stewart Schutz and John Jay McCloy, III

June 23, 2001
Bomi Kim and Jimmy Jun Ki Kenneth Kim

June 30, 2001
Mindy Andersen and Ivan Carlsen

July 6, 2001
Rosanne Frattaroli and Perry Angelo Fabricatore, Sr.

July 28, 2001
Jane Ellen Hudson and Robert Scott Finch

The copy deadline for the Meetinghouse Monthly is the 15th of the previous month. The issue should arrive in homes by the first Sunday of the month. Deadline for the Meetinghouse Minute is the first of the month, to arrive in homes by the third Sunday of the month.

From the Parish Nurse

Ever wonder about suddenly feeling dizzy or having a very bad headache? Or, do you know of a friend or someone close to you who have experienced such symptoms? Perhaps not. You need to be aware, however, that these symptoms can be an indication of an impending stroke. They require immediate attention. Stroke is the #1 cause of nursing home admissions each year, and the #3 cause of deaths among women in the United States.

Even though these statistics sound alarming, strokes can be prevented. Some of the interventions for prevention include: consuming a diet that is wel- balanced and limited in the amount of salt, sugar, and additives, walking or other exercise 30 minutes three to five times/week, not smoking, good control of blood pressure-that is, keeping your blood pressure values less than 140/90, total cholesterol levels less than 180 mg/dl. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, particularly having an irregular heart rate can significantly increase one's risk for stroke or heart attack.

Screening to detect changes in your circulatory (vascular) system also is considered as a means of prevention. Screening by definition is a preliminary procedure to detect the most characteristic sign or symptom of a disorder or condition that needs further investigation (Moses' Medical Dictionary, 2000). Changes in your blood vessels, i.e., build up of plaque in the arteries, or alterations in the volume of blood flow can be detected easily by Doppler ultrasound technology - this is a simple, non-invasive type of screening for stroke and other vascular abnormalities. With screening, you can learn whether or not you are at risk for stroke - blood pressure and cholesterol values do not provide sufficient information for vascular assessment.

In commemoration of Stroke Prevention Month, the Wellness Committee along with the Parish Nurse have arranged to have screenings for stroke, vascular disorders, and osteoporosis on Wednesday, April 17, from 9 am to 5 pm on site at First Congregational Church. Pre-registration is required - by calling 1-800-407-4557 any time between 8AM and 11PM EST. Please note: there is a nominal cost for the screening tests, which is not covered by Medicare or by the Wellness Committee budget. Also note: there are a limited number of appointment times for individual screenings--walk-ins cannot be accommodated. For further details regarding information fliers, cost, and description of the screening procedures, please contact your Parish Nurse.

Dee will present a Second Hour describing the screening in detail on Sunday, April 7, at 11:15 am in the Lounge.

Dee Coover, R.N.,
Parish Nurse
Available at First Church
Sunday & Wednesday
8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Tuesday 8 am to 12:30 pm
203-637-1791 x21

On Inclusiveness
Discussion on Inclusivity Encouraged

The Inclusiveness Task Force was established by our Church Committee in 2000. This move was prompted in part by a UCC call for all churches to explore these matters following several nationally publicized acts of extreme violence against homosexuals. Many at First Church consider that we are already a fully welcoming and inclusive church congregation and that our Mission and Vision Statements currently express a welcoming and open position. Others feel we can do more to encourage diversity in our congregation.

The Task Force continues its exploration of how we as a congregation can make our welcoming church more effective in reaching out to all who wish to worship with us. There will be an open forum to discuss these matters on Monday, May 13, at 7:30 pm in the Lounge. At that meeting, two openly gay men, one of whom is a deacon at Center Church (UCC) in Hartford, will take part in the discussion. We will welcome all comments and suggestions as we explore our Vision 2000 Statement in the context of an explicit inclusiveness position for First Church. Please join us for this important presentation.

April Birthdays

1 Russell Pruner 10 Bobbi Hanson 20 Kenneth Bonnet
Alison Cumming Andrea Fossum Timothy Coleman
Karen Sayers 11 Warren Dennison 21 Penny Lehman
Luke Crihfield Mary Hunt Hannah Hoffman
2 Bing Vernet Susan Stanley Caroline Kolb
Rusty Lewis Amy Morgan 22 Emily Hunt
Ginny Breismeister William Dakin 23 Michael Bacon
Gretchen Rollins Peter McHugh 24 Mary Wyatt
James Ebert Thomas Oppedisano Ronald Blasberg
3 Dana Dolloff Monty Yort, Jr. 25 Eleanor Mawhinney
Paul O'Gorman 12 Lynn O'Gorman Todd Ives
Gregg Primo Jane Haviland Allison Arsenault
Cliff Anderson Nora Houseknecht 26 Miram Buckland
Elizabeth Mendelsohn 13 Marga DeNatale James Sotzing
Virginia Stewart Auddy Brooks Pamela Speer
Abigail Sawyer Philip Carrone Laura Erickson
4 Ann Robinson Kristina Berlin 27 William Schmitt
Jay Anderson Lauren Petrizzi Ginny Allen
Cole Janelli Ian Toogood Henry Hartwell
5 Betsy Sandberg Matthew Klingner 28 Phyllis Palmer
Elizabeth Goodchild 14 Jane Cumming Ann Sawyer
Rachel Blandori Stephanie Joy Woodman Suzanne DeVilliers
Elizabeth Seibert Gillian Faith Woodman Kyle Kim-e
Karl Gifford Caroline McLennan Gordon Johnson
6 William Vanneman 15 Suzanne McCue 29 Jan Ruxton
Judith Gordon Jennifer McCue Lynn Woodman
Carole Lang Sara DeFazio Patrice Anibal
Carol Pollack 16 John Gelb 30 Charles Sweatt
Christopher Sotzing Douglas Bacon David Ayres
Todd Schongalla Kara Donahue Roger Jones
Ginni Kimberlin Donald Haviland Anna Bonnell
Kaela Buggy Devin McDonald Jordy Liebowitz
7 Peggy Beecher 17 Ryan Hoster Colin Crihfield
Kimberly Pacent Ted Davis Claire G. Henry
8 Chang Wachsman Jillian Fryback Cameron Pitt-DelChristo
William Catchpole Alexi Stafford
Sara Anna Perelli-Minetti Blake Newcomer
Kelsey McHugh 18 Scott Tagliarino
Malcolm Joung Margaret Dempsey
9 Nancy Wolff Larry White
Skyler Serenbetz David Fraser
Sarah Briggs 19 Robert Ferry
Ryerson Burdick Steven Standish
Eric Schay
Henry Wheelock
Cara Ann Menges