The First Congregational Church of Greenwich

Meetinghouse Monthly

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

The Pastor’s Column
Faith Is for Everybody

Dear Friends,

The messages of thanksgiving still find their way into my thoughts as the weeks are passing following Recognition Sunday. How precious has the time been that we have spent together! So much has been shared, but more importantly, so much has been blessed and grace-filled. This has been an important year in our church school and for us as a congregation. Our lives within and beyond the church have intertwined significantly. On Sundays we have celebrated our faith and worshipped together, but we have also discovered our faith is for everyday.

Now we are coming into summer, and for all the reasons stated before, I believe this summer will not be like others. We have learned to value our families, to take pride in our country, and finally understand the patriotism of our grandparents and others who have defended our country at different points of challenge. Not only has this been a different year in the world beyond First Church, it is also a new time for us as a congregation. We are anticipating - wisely with sufficient time - a period of change. This summer is our time to think and process, to take stock of what has taken place over this past year, and begin to look ahead. What, I would ask, does God have in mind for us? I look forward to asking that question and then doing more than a little listening.

As I write this letter, I am anticipating my sabbatical. It will include the opportunity to preach in Maine and participate with the H.O.M.E. Community both through our Hammer and a Nail Conference and leading a staff retreat. I also hope to represent you at the New England Conference on Mission in July. From the Sabbath side of this experience, the Craig family looks forward to time both both at home and in Maine, but will stay in touch with you through letters to the Meetinghouse Monthly.

Thank you in advance for this gift of time. It means a lot to me both personally and professionally. It is also a gift to our family. I hope that this summer provides all of us with some Sabbath time, and some listening time, as God leads all of us into a future with amazing potential.

May God be with you,

Tom Stiers

June Worship Schedule

Sunday, June 2

8 am at Greenwich Point
Rev. Dr. Thomas L. Stiers
10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Joe Neville,
UCC CT Conference
Regional Minister

Sunday, June 9

8 am at Greenwich Point
10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Dr. Thomas L. Stiers

Sunday, June 16

8 am at Greenwich Point
10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Dr. Brenda Stiers

Sunday, June 23

8 am at Greenwich Point
10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. David Spollett

Sunday, June 30

8 am at Greenwich Point
10 am in the Meetinghouse
Dr. Thomas L. Stiers

Save These Dates!!

Homecoming Sunday Worship Service and Picnic
September 15

All-Church Retreat at Silver Lake October 11-13

June 2--A Special Sunday

Sunday, June 2, will be a busy day here at First Church. In addition to the first informal beach service at 8 am, we will welcome UCC CT Conference Regional Minister Joe Neville as our guest preacher at our 10 am worship service. Next year’s new Women’s Fellowship officers will be installed during the service. At 5 pm, an interfaith Baccalaureate Service will be held in the Meetinghouse, followed by a reception in the Auditorium--all are welcome.

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.

Musical Notes

Crabill Fund News

A generous contribution to the fund established in joyful memory of Dorothy Crabill will enable three music department projects. The Steinway concert grand, which for years has been moved back and forth between the Meetinghouse and the Auditorium, and the Baldwin grand, presently in the Choir Room, are both in need of serious work. During the week of May 20th both pianos were taken to New York City where they will be restrung with new pin-blocks and undergo other restoration work as needed. When they return at the end of the summer, the Steinway will have a permanent home in the Auditorium and the Baldwin will come to the Meetinghouse for use in worship. The two pianos should then serve us for the next 25 or 30 years. The third item will be the replacing of pipework for a stop on the organ that has never sounded good. Thank you Frank Crabill for the gift that makes this work possible, and God bless you!

Sing for Your Summer!

The Chancel Choir sings every Sunday with few exceptions, including all summer. The atmosphere is casual and the vocal selections, less demanding than many sung during the regular season. This is a great opportunity for newcomers to try out the choir. We rehearse at 9:00 a.m. in the Meetinghouse, followed by coffee and cake in the Choir Room before the service. There are no auditions. Give it a try!

Et Cetera

Dr. John Stansell Away

Dr. Stansell is in Germany for two weeks performing organ concerts in various cities throughout the country.

Responsible Suburban Churches

Dr. Tom Stiers will lead our next Adult Education session on the subject of “The Responsible Suburban Church.” The meetings will take place on Mondays, June 10, 17 and 24 from 7:30 to 9 pm in his office.

Corrected Address

Betty and Harry Woodman would like their friends to know their new address: 1307 Meadow Ridge, Redding, CT, 06896.
Phone 203-544-8637

The Senior Deacon Writes...

Traditions & Transition

Dear Friends,

Back in our co-editing days, Women's Fellowship President Pat Mendelsohn and I compiled a "best of" magazine for Parents Together Newsletter's tenth anniversary. It contained past articles on some of the prime parenting topics of the day-self-esteem, trust, communication, values, stress-classic issues that had stood the test of time.

But it's the one on family rituals and traditions that keeps popping into my mind as we cycle through our church year. Overlaying the steady buzz of Christian education, outreach activities, committee meetings and socializing, is a time-tested matrix of seasonal customs that are very much a part of who we are. From Lenten introspection and Easter sunrise celebrations through spring's jam-packed calendar of Bibles, statements of faith, glorious music and heritage anniversaries, these are traditions that bring reliability and order to our church life. Like regular dinner times and special foods on your birthday, they give us a sense of belonging and identity. *

We can be particularly grateful for the comfort and camaraderie of these customs as First Church enters an historic period of transition. Our senior pastor, Tom Stiers, has announced his retirement in August 2003 after a remarkable 29-year tenure marked by steady and compassionate leadership. As the Church Committee sets the stage for naming Tom's replacement, our Pastoral Staffing Committee is wrapping up research on current staffing at First Church as well as personnel practices at comparable churches in the area. While we grapple with the issue of a fourth pastor, we are pleased to report our programs for the upcoming year are in good hands with the hiring of Aaron Sinay (see article in this issue).

Transition issues were never far from mind during our recent strategic planning session. Have you ever counted all the activities at First Church that are run by our pastors? The ones requiring a pastor in attendance? Those led solely by laity? More than 50 members of our congregation representing all age groups and interests devoted a precious Saturday morning to these very questions. The goal: to determine whether greater numbers of us could take responsibility for the programmatic life of the church and let the clergy concentrate more on pastoring. This isn't due solely to the realities of a smaller staff. Indeed, high laity participation is the mark of a healthy church and a vibrant Christian life. With a renewed focus on mentoring and leadership training, there’s no telling what we can accomplish!

As we go through the inevitable changes ahead, we'd do well to keep two things in mind: the incredible grass roots power of a committed congregation, and the importance of a sense of evolving history and cohesiveness. Dale Hoffman, author of that Parents Together article on rituals and traditions I mentioned earlier, summed it up with a little philosophy from Tevye, the milkman in Fiddler on the Roof: "Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many years … Because of our traditions, everyone here knows who he is."

Warm regards,
Robin Loughman

* Dale Hoffman's interview on the value of family rituals and traditions with behavioral expert Steven J. Wolin, MD, a psychiatrist from George Washington University School of Medicine, was first published by Parents Together Newsletter, October 1989.

Sally Colegrove’s June Schedule

June 3 - 8: Vacation
June 9 - 20: Available in the Church Office
June 21 - 29: Conducting Summer Conference at Pilgrim Lodge, UCC Camp in Maine

Volunteer Opportunity

The historical reproduction of the slave ship Amistad is in need of volunteers to perform routine repair and maintenance. It will be at Mystic Seaport from Monday, June 3, to Wednesday, June 12, and 10 people a day are needed. All skill levels and trades are welcome. Call Peter Sorensen at 860-572-2725 if you can help.

People, Places & Things

Beach Services to Begin

Our informal beach services begin Sunday, June 2, at the Queen Anne Building at Greenwich Point. Worshipers who do not have beach passes will not be charged to enter the park for worship. However, Joseph Siciliano, Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Greenwich writes: “We will not be charging for your parishoners to enter Greenwich Point for your Sunday morning service, but should they want to stay for the day they need to show a Park Pass and have a decal on their car or if a non-resident parishoner, they would have to pre-purchase a $20 Parking Sticker and a $10 Day Pass. If they are only attending the service, they only need to reference this permit to be admitted free.”

Budget To Be Discussed

On Sunday, June 9, the Board of Trustees will host a Second Hour to review the April operating budget and compare it to the budget for the church and to preview the budget for 2003. Statements will be available for review prior to the meeting--stop by the Church Office on or after June 3 to pick up a copy. The meeting will be held in the Lounge at 11:30 am and will be moderated by Trustee Dale Myer. Please join us for this important discussion.

Work Transition Group

Monday, June 3, 10, 17 and July 1, 7:30-9 pm
A work transition group has formed at First Church. It is open to anyone transitioning into new work, or those who are disillusioned with their current career. Cost $5 per session (scholarships available). The group will be facilitated by Louise Lague, MA, psychotherapist specializing in mid-life transitions. Questions/reservations, call 602-4423.

New Middle School Leader

We are pleased to announce the hiring of Aaron Sinay to take on some of James Ebert’s responsibilities. Aaron has had extensive experience with youth ministry, teaching, the UCC and lay leadership. He will be working in many areas including the Middle School youth programs, 20-30’s group, the All-Church Retreat, Parish Life committee and Christian Outreach.

He is currently active as a deacon at First Church. He has served on the national level of the UCC as a member of the Board of Directors of the Board for Homeland Ministries (BHM).

At Silver Lake Conference Center, Aaron was a counselor and dean for summer conferences with 4th through 12th grade groups. He was on the staff for nine summers. Aaron has been teaching at Greenwich Country Day School since 1999 and is also Director of the summer day camp at Innis Arden Golf Club.

We look forward to having Aaron on staff here during our busy fall program. He will begin mid-August.

Summer Church School 2002
June 2 through July 28

Our theme this year is "Favorite Bible Stories"--children 5 to 9 years old are invited to join us. Childcare will be available for younger children. We use various media to bring to life different Bible stories Children begin in Church with their families and after the Children's Sermon will proceed to the Undercroft for the remainder of the service. Parents will pick children up in the Undercroft. Dress is casual and our weekly activities will include crafts, games, music, etc.

Families are asked to help for one Sunday. We will gladly incorporate your special talents and interests. Please contact Lynne Lehman at 637-1791 ext. 20 if you can help.

We also still need help for the 2002-2003 Church School Year in the 3-year-old class, kindergarten and 5th Grade. Please consider joining our team for next fall--contact Lynne Lehman at the above number to sign up.

SPF Summer Dinners

Summer Dinners will begin on June 26th. This weekly gathering of our high school and college young people will take place each Wednesday night from 6 pm to around 7:30. We will meet at a different home each week for a picnic-style dinner and a chance to catch up with friends. If you would like to be part of the Summer Dinners for 2002 please call Sally at 637-1791 ext. 15.

SPF Lobster and Steak Picnic

The Senior Pilgrim Fellowship will hold its year-end picnic on Sunday, June 9 beginning at 4:30. This is a traditional event where we say goodbye and congratulations to our seniors and welcome home many of the College Pilgrim Fellowship. If you would like to make a reservation please call Sally at the church office.

Honoring our High School Senior
Class of 2002!

The Greenwich Fellowship of Clergy are pleased to announce that a Baccalaureate Service will be held on Sunday, June 2 at 5 pm at First Church. This service will honor all graduating seniors who are members of Greenwich houses of worship. We hope to include senior class members from all of the area schools, public and private and those of all faiths. The Fellowship of Clergy will take part in the service as will members of several local youth choirs. Carolyn Paulus will conduct, Mark Swicegood will accompany. Annie Garlid will play an instrumental prelude along with several other young musicians. Following the service, there will be a reception in the Memory Garden hosted by the Senior Pilgrim Fellowship. All are welcome!

June Calendar

Special Events
2 5:00 PM Interfaith Baccalaureate Service, Meetinghouse.
Reception follows in Auditorium.
3, 10,17 7:30 PM Work Transition Group, Lounge
6 7:30 PM New members class, Lounge
9 9:15 AM New members gather in Lounge before joining
11:15 AM Second Hour, Parish Nurse Dee Coover, Lounge
10 7:30 PM Inclusivity Panel, Lounge
Responsible Suburban Church Study Group with
Dr. Stiers, TLS Office (also 6/17, 24)
Work Transition Group, Lounge (also on 5/20)
11 6:30 PM Diabetes Presentation, Lounge (also 6/18)
18 6:30 PM Stephen Ministers Dinner, Auditorium
5:15 PM Parish Nurse Invitational, Lounge and Room 203 Committee Meetings
2 11:15 AM Members of the Prayer Chain, Room 104
3 1:00 PM Stephen Ministers, Lounge
7:30 PM Church Committee, Lounge
4 7:30 PM Membership Committee, Jan Gelb’s house
Stephen Ministers, TLS Office
9 11:15 AM Christian Outreach Committee, Lounge
10 12:00 PM Rummage Room Committee, Lounge
16 11:30 AM Nominating Committee, TLS Office
19 7:30 PM Board of Trustees, Lounge
Weekly Events
Sunday 9:00 AM Chancel Choir rehearsal, Meetinghouse

Weddings at First Church

July 28, 2001
Joanne Brennan and Ralph Anthony Arnone

August 4, 2001
Tara Lakshmi Fernando and Joseph Ernest Bishop

August 18, 2001
Leigh Alexandra Frost and David Michael Fick

August 25, 2001
Jennifer Lynne Karlen and Grant David Elliott

September 1, 2001
Danielle Chung Sook Tripp and Gavin Maupin Campbell

September 8, 2001
Lindsay Spencer Rand and Carter Gilbert McGuckin

September 14, 2001
Isabel Cristina Calderon and Stephen Albert Ibbitson

September 15, 2001
Valerie Caroline Pippert and Eugene Michael Thompson

September 29, 2001
Cynthia Lyn Andrews and Richard Steven DiPreta

September 29, 2001
Tristan Leigh Tallett and David Anthony Langhorne

October 7, 2001
Andrea Claudine Fossum and Michael St. John Atkins

October 13, 2001
Denise Marie DeNicola and Paul Conzo

October 28, 2001
Darina Randi Woods and Stephen Francis Segatore

November 10, 2001
Dorothy Dalenz Perna and John Robertson

December 1, 2001
Krista Manna Freyer and Mark Edward Mezzanotte

February 9, 2002
Dana Michelle Elter and John Gregory Oppenheimer

March 9, 2002
Lindsay Bartlett Harrison and Terrance Michael O’Brien

April 12, 2002
Suzanne Charlotte Claire Henderson and

Samuel Joseph Spano
April 27, 2002

Gillian Stuart Robertson and
James Francis Molesworth-St. Aubyn

From the Parish Nurse

Starting Over

Losses come in so many forms: loss of a loved one through death: a spouse, a grandfather, a child, a good friend or business associate. Loss comes from broken relationships, severance from a job, and moving to a new address. Acute illness or an accident can deprive one of physical and mental capacities, causing significant disability as can long-standing chronic illness.

Anyone who faces situations such as these experiences grief because by these events, their life is inextricably altered. As a result, they must change---change routines, change perceptions, change their identity to meet the challenge of a "new life". Individuals living through the grief process require changes in thinking and behaviors similar with other life-altering disciplines, for instance, choosing sobriety, keeping tight glucose control once diagnosed with diabetes, or training for a marathon run.

As a part of my Parish Nurse role, I spend time with the Grief Support Group Sunday afternoons. This experience has been rich and rewarding. Some of the insights and learning gained are worthy to be shared. The lessons are as valuable as pearls and are applicable to a variety of "change" situations.

Individuals seek help with the grief process because they are hopeful, trusting and loving. They want to change, and therefore, are willing to learn from the group members ways of coping with their sorrow. Being open with others gives them hope that they are not alone in bearing their pain and sorrow.

Grief recovery is a long process and is unique to each individual. It is important for you to take the time you need to grieve. Loss of a loved one, a favorable work situation, or physical or mental health frequently represents several levels of loss. The grieving person must provide adequate time for reflection to identify each of those losses, and work on resolving each level individually. For example, loss of a friend, lover or spouse can represent a now-absent travel companion, soul-mate, confidante, breadwinner, advocate.

Progress in grief work often is slow, and reversals can occur unpredictably. "One step forward, and two back" or "Back to square one" again” or "When will I ever feel good again?" are comments and questions frequently posed.

Achievement of goals in any venture can be thwarted by obstacles and negative events. Members of the Grief Support Group find the following analogy helpful in coping with setbacks in their recovery: Grief work is like having a skein of yarn that needs to be wrapped into a ball. Taking one end, one begins the process by wrapping the yarn around a small piece of cardboard four or five times, then turning the ball on a different axis and wrapping for another four to five times. This process is repeated until there is a large, round sphere of colored material. If, during the wrapping process, the ball slips out of your hands, chances are the ball would not completely unravel. To finish the task would merely require picking up the ball, and rewinding the length of yarn lost when the ball rolled away from you. Because there times when a sense of deep sadness returns that can cause increased anxiety or depression, be reassured that progress with recovery from your loss is not completely undone just as the "ball of yarn" did not unravel all the way! Actually, this mind picture can be applied in a whole lot of other situations that require discipline or a concentrated effort to change one's thinking or behavior to reach a desired outcome.

Other strategies for coping with grief include: prayer and reflection, taking time for oneself, being specific about your needs when family members or friends ask how they can help, and forgiveness of yourself for missed opportunities. If you have questions about any thoughts presented in this article, please consult your Parish Nurse at (203) 637-1791 x21 Sundays, Tuesday AM and all day Wednesdays.

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

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.

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, June 10, at 7:30 pm in the Lounge. The meeting will be an important precursor to the visit here on Sunday, June 23, by the Reverend. David Spollett, pastor of First Congregational Church of Fairfield, an Open and Affirming church. 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.

June Birthdays

1 John Leinbach 8 Janet Clausi 16 Brendan Loughman
Henry Guard Charlee Tufts Robert Bailey
Shirley Flierl Susan Shanks Will Bonnell
Ann Simpson Roni Widmer Susi Orbanowski
Peter Tufts Eric Larrabee Polly Barten Gordon
Virginia Bonsal Nickell Tristan Langhorne Walter Bloes
Lara Bennett Jeffrey Gregor Bradley Davis
Paul Angland Meredith McLennan Chase Newman
2 Richmond Hopkins Henry Van Roden 17 Christopher Harris
Carol Dinmore Henry Catchpole Katherine Phyfe
Susan Wilder Paige Von Der Linden 19 Maxwell Dakin
Dwight Delmhorst 9 Barbara Kneen Juliana Pugliese
Meg Savin Paul Johansen 20 Charles Baker
Mary Beth Davidson Amanda Baker Erin Menges
Ian Sotzing Chase Koorbusch Francis Claps
Ingrid Thalheim Samantha Altznauer 21 Steve Fusaro
Olivia Hartwell 10 Priscilla Meyer 22 Allison Frenz
3 Adolph Clausi Alan Chidsey 23 Donna Tagliarino
Jonathan Wilson Margaret Silsby 24 Eva Fossum
Samuel Willard 11 Erna Olson Russell Vernet
4 Barbara Gaulocher 12 Helen Simpson Selma Ash
John Stewart Persis Alden Paul Brindak
David Chidsey Donald Friedman Devon Kennedy
Sarah Fountain Ann Davidson William Dempsey
Caroline Shaw Amanda Sisley 25 Jean Watkins
Bryson Walker Olivia Brindak Nancy Fountain
Cameron Fennell Georgia Grellier Joe Rogers
5 Harlan Reynolds 13 Beverly Silliphant Heather Almy
Josiah Low III Ellen Perelli-Minetti Sarah Gordon
Joyce Nye Robert Bender 26 Frank H. Henjes, Jr.
Mary Olsson Catharine Sotzing Wynn Watkins
6 Natalie Frenz Megan Lovallo 27 Caitlin McGonagle
Lisa Cesare Lauren Lovallo Sally Sawyer
Margaret Houseknecht Timothy Lepoutre Sybren Hoekstra
Hanna Snyder Zachary Agovino Jay Winthrop
7 Turhan Tirana 14 Mary Bausch 28 Mitzi Scrivan
Joseph Mallory 15 Julie Olsson Maurice Hunt
Janet Johnson Harry Woodman Robert Wyatt
Gordon Assing Robert Carey Beth Rollins
Matthew Lonski Nancy Wisecup Irene Savage
Nancy Palamarcuik Pam Koob
Barbara Lynch Jason Bacon
Frederic Delmhorst 29 Nicholas Mosher
Olivia Berman 30 Constance Walton