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The First Congregational Church of Greenwich

Meetinghouse Monthly

November, 2002

The Pastors’ Column

Dear Friends:

Each year when November rolls around my thoughts move to the themes of gratitude and grace. We begin the month with a celebration of "All Saints" on November 3rd. We will remember and honor with gratitude those who have died during the past year.

November is the season of Thanksgiving, a time to be grateful for all that God has done for our family and our church and our community. The events of September 11, 2001 have changed our lives here and around the world. I believe that we are in God's hands. Because of God's grace, each of us is given a number of gifts. These gifts enable us to meet our personal and family needs. These God given gifts enable us to enrich the life of our community and the world. We as the Body of Christ make a difference each day.

During the All Church Retreat I had a small group experience that sharpened my feeling of gratitude. During the retreat the participants were divided into small groups called "ships". I felt the Holy Spirit moving in the dynamics of the retreat. The "ship" that I was assigned to was composed of six persons. One was in third grade, one was in eighth grade, one was a mother, one was a father, one was a grandmother and I was the grandfather. We were invited to share stories about our families of origin, our fishing habits, and our thoughts about the nature of God. The third grader and eighth grader became the natural leaders of our "ship." I was grateful to their parents and to our church school for their Christian formation. On the retreat I glimpsed again that First Church is a part of the Body of Christ. So I want to send you this message from my "ship" to your "ship".

I hope you will worship with us often during November. Plan to join us for the Harvest Dinner on November 17th and hear our conference minister, the Reverend Doctor Davida Foy Crabtree. She is an inspirational speaker. Please consider joining us, as we work together for good in a variety of ministries and missions here and abroad. We do our best to serve you as you prepare to answer God's call in your life.

Our new church school curriculum suggests the following thought for All Saints Sunday:

It is always good to give thanks to God
Who has created us
And never stopped loving us
God has such a great love for us
That we can call ourselves the children of God;
And indeed that is what we are:
We are God's children
Thanks be to God.

In the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

        Tom

November Worship Schedule

Sunday, November 3
8 am &10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Thomas L. Stiers
“We Have Been Made Saints”
Communion served

Sunday, November 10
8 am &10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Susan M. Craig
“Finding Hope, Keeping Faith”

Sunday, November 17
8 am &10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Sally Colegrove
“Concerning the Times”

Sunday, November 24
8 am &10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Thomas L. Stiers
“This, Then, Is How We Live”
Harvest Sunday

Happenings

Dear Friends,
Confirmation Class has begun for the new school year and we have a very large class this year. Thirty-four young people have registered for the 2003 Confirmation experience which is being taught by Rick Woodman, Rev. Susie Craig and me. The class meets on Tuesday evenings and has already considered Biblical topics, done some group building activities and has had a lengthy discussion of creation.

Creation is a subject which is covered in school in Freshman Biology classes. Our young people have many questions about what to believe. Through discussion and the use of some helpful articles by medical and scientific professionals they have a chance to form opinions which include both our Biblical story from the Book of Genesis and the Big Bang Theory. Couldn't the Big Bang have been God saying, "Let there be light"?

Throughout this year we will explore many questions of faith as our ninth graders come to adult decisions about what they believe and whether they feel ready to join First Church. It is always a pleasure and a privilege to work with the Confirmation Class. The class work hard when they come together on Tuesday evenings. This month they will also go on the first of two retreat weekends. On Nov. 1 - 3 they will go to Silver Lake Conference Center, each one accompanied by a parent, to focus on the life of Jesus Christ. The title of the retreat is Jesus of Nazareth.

While the Confirmands are considering Jesus, the Senior Pilgrim Fellowship will begin auditions and rehearsals for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" which they will perform January 23, 24 and 25. But more about that next month. Special thanks to the six SPF members who acted as our Child Care team on the All Church retreat!

Happy Fall, Stay Warm,

         Sally

The H.O.M.E. Craft Show and Sale
proudly hosted by The Senior Pilgrim Fellowship
In the Auditorium at First Church

Saturday, November 23rd
from 10:00 to 4:00
Sunday, November 24th
from 11:00 to 2:00

Quilts, jams, Christmas decorations and gifts, woolens, pottery, wooden toys, weavings, Maple syrup, sweaters, and much more.

This is the Senior Pilgrim Fellowship's sixteenth year of association with H.O.M.E. Co-op. H.O.M.E. stands for Homeworkers Organized for More Employment and is a craft co-operative working with the rural poor in Hancock County, Maine. In addition to sponsoring this annual craft show, which is H.O.M.E.'s largest, the SPF journey to Maine each April to work with the Co-op's housing program, building homes for homeless families on H.O.M.E.'s land trust.

In a recent conversation with Lucy Poulin, founder and President of H.O.M.E. we learned that donations are down this year as donors here in New England have been affected by the downturn in the economy and loss of discretionary income. But more folk are out of work and are looking to H.O.M.E.'s outreach and housing programs for help. The food bank at H.O.M.E. is empty and every bed in H.O.M.E.'s shelters are full. We hope that First Church will be generous to our old friends in their time of need and come to the craft show in addition to remembering to bring canned and non-perishable donations for the Harvest Offering.

Stewardship 2002

Interim giving statements, showing contributions received this year up to and including September 30, have been mailed out as a reminder to all those who, as of September 30, had not completed fulfillment of all of the following pledges: Stewardship 2002, Shelter Strong Capital Campaign, Finish-the-Job Capital Campaign.

Final 2002 statements will be mailed early next year to everyone who made a contribution to First Church this year. At this time, however, if the above pledges have been fulfilled - or if you have contributed but did not make a pledge - you will not be receiving an interim statement.

Call to a Special Meeting on November 17, 2002

Members of the First Congregational Church of Greenwich are hereby called to a Special Congregational Meeting on November 17, 2002 following the 10 am worship service to create and elect a Search Committee for a new Senior Pastor and conduct any other business that may properly come before the meeting.

Judy Nelli, Church Clerk

Church School Leadership Changes

Come, browse and borrow!

October 20 until Thanksgiving is a very special month for our youngest children in the Church School beginning with our Three-Year-Old Class and running through our First Grade. Each of their families will be receiving a booklet of prayers and graces as a gift from First Church. In it can be found prayer resources for the entire family. In addition, their classes will be using these prayers and graces during class time. If you have not had the opportunity before this time, this is a way to introduce prayer into your family faith traditions. You might choose to say grace before a meal, or a special prayer of thanksgiving on a special occasion. Three and Four-year olds will be learning prayers and graces in class. Then again, you might begin the practice of bedtime prayers. Our First Graders will be focusing on the Lord's Prayer. Resources for these occasions and many others will soon be coming in a Church School mailing.

In addition our children in Kindergarten and the First Grade will be introduced to the Church School Resource Center. Here a collection of Bible Stories, videos, games and more are available to be borrowed. Bible stories are some of the best literature and core teachings we can make available to our children. We also have resources for parents. Come, browse and borrow!

Hail and Farewell

The Church School has just said "Hail and Farewell" to Lynne Lehman who has ably served our children and families for nearly five years. We are pleased for Lynne as she is fulfilling a life long dream to move to Rhode Island. However, we here "at home" both feel her absence and with our children's best interests in mind are now actively looking for someone to assume Lynne's responsibilities as soon as possible.

What Is Involved?

The position of Church School Coordinator is a fulltime position that includes a day off each week, in addition to Sunday morning responsibilities. We are looking for someone who values our children and the opportunity to enable our broad ranging ministry to children and their families. This position provides the opportunity for creative planning, thought and interaction with families and teachers, as well as the everyday needs for mundane errand running and the gathering of needed materials for lessons or events. There is also room for personal initiative. It calls for someone who can be a team player to work with Susie Craig, Director of Children's Ministries, the Church School Task Force, and the staff of First Church. Should you or someone you know be interested in further exploring this possibility, please have that person contact Susie Craig at 637-1791, ext. 25.

In the Meantime

While we look for the right person for this position, the Church School Task Force, our teachers and I are committed to maintaining the same high quality of programming, teaching and worship life to which we are accustomed. To make this possible we are seeking volunteer support and part-time paid support as people are able to provide. If you would like to lend a hand and support our children, please let us know.

The Church for our children is a place that matters. It is a second home, a safe haven and a place to celebrate all the occasions of our lives. We are honored to be part of this experience for our children and their families. If you can join us in this process, you are most welcome. I look forward to hearing from you.
Faithfully,

Sally

From the Parish Nurse

THE IMPORTANCE OF"FLU" IMMUNIZATION

It's November, and once again it is time to get your flu shot! Good news for everyone! There is no restriction on influenza vaccine for the 2002-2003 flu season. This means that anyone who is 18 years of age or older can get a flu vaccine at First Church this year.

The Wellness Committee will provide 150 doses of the flu vaccine on two Sundays in November - the 17th and the 24th. There will be a sign-up sheet in the Church Office beginning Sunday, November 3rd for this event. The cost for the influenza vaccine is $15.00 for all customers. Financial aid is available to assure that all who want the vaccine are able to get immunized.

Individuals who are Medicare eligible are encouraged to get their immunization at Flu Clinics offered by the Department of Health, Town of Greenwich at one of several locations through the month of November. Please call 622-3774 for further details regarding times and clinic sites.

Getting your flu shot in November or early December is important to develop immunity against the most virulent strains of the flu before the actual flu season begins around the Holidays and into January. The vaccine for 2002-2003 contains three components: A-Moscow-like, A-New Caledonia-like, and B-Hong Kong-like strains. Please note: a flu shot will protect you only against these three identified strains of illness. Immunization may help to diminish the symptoms of other strains of flu virus, but does not offer protection from all symptoms or complications of influenza.

Immunization against the flu is very important for individuals of all ages. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, indicate that the incidence of influenza or flu during the winter of 2002 was mild to moderate. Influenza activity increased mid-January and peaked during mid-to-late February. Influenza A viruses predominated early in the season, with Influenza B viruses most frequently identified from late-March to mid-May.

Clinical signs and symptoms of uncomplicated flu include an abrupt onset of fever, muscle aches, headache, malaise, non-productive cough, sore throat and runny nose. Influenza viruses are spread from person to person primarily through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms of flu typically resolve after a limited number of days (4 to 7) for most individuals. Cough and fatigue can persist for more than two weeks following infection. Complications from flu including pneumonia, generally occur among people whose health is compromised from the presence of other conditions, e.g., lung disease, diabetes, heart conditions, and advanced age. Immunization is recommended for any person older than six months who is at risk for complications arising from influenza. Parents of infants and children - please consult your pediatrician regarding vaccination of your babies and youngsters.

For further information about the flu clinics at First Church Sunday, November 17th and Sunday, November 24th, please contact your parish Nurse at (203) 637-1791 Ext 21 Sundays, Tuesday mornings and all day Wednesdays, or leave a message.

November Second Hours

The spiritual education of adults is a priority at First Church. This lecture series offers a wide range of topics from Bible study to spiritual and physical health. Sundays, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm in the Lounge. The November offerings are:

November 3: Rufus Winton will present the findings of the Pastoral Staffing Committee.
November 10: Senior Deacon Robin Loughman will discuss what the search process for a pastor is like.
November 17: Theresa Joseph of the Junior League will present the findings of their study of Hunger Issues in Greenwich.
December 1: Maryan Ainsworth, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art will make a presentation in the Daniels Center.

DIABETES AWARENESS

Some of the upcoming events provided by the Wellness Committee and the Parish Nurse Program were introduced in last month's column. Still another event coming to First Church on November 7th - Diabetes Awareness Day -- is worth highlighting for November.
Do you know that…
• 16 million Americans have diabetes - a metabolic disorder…
• 80 to 85% of this number are below the age of 65 years…
• Statistics indicate that the incidence of diabetes is on a sharp increase -2,200 individuals are diagnosed with this condition every day…
• 95% of all individuals with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes - which is a preventable condition?

Come then to the Diabetes Awareness Program, Thursday, November 7, 2002, between 10 am and 2 pm at The First Congregational Church. The morning sessions will feature two physicians who will address the cause, treatment and management of Type 2 diabetes; also, cardiovascular complications of the disease will be discussed. In the afternoon, speakers will present dietary and exercise modifications that can help prevent the disease or modify the influence of the metabolic imbalance. Through the course of the day, the Town of Greenwich laboratory staff will provide blood glucose and blood cholesterol testing free of charge. Educational materials will be available in print from representatives from pharmaceutical and other manufacturers along with diabetes counseling and blood pressure monitoring.

The Parish Nurse Program in cooperation with Greenwich Health sponsors this screening event. Disease detection through screenings like this is a proactive way to ensure and maintain good health. Diabetes, or other conditions associated with the disorder (e.g., insulin resistance), can be reversed when detected early. Diabetes is the cause of many serious complications - death of body tissues and organs that lead to significant disability specifically…heart disease, stroke, blindness, skin breakdown, infection, poor wound healing, and kidney failure - these conditions, once established are not reversible. You owe it to yourself and the health of the community to join us on November 7th to learn more about your potential risk of developing this disorder.

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

DON'T FORGET
FLU SHOTS

Available at First Church
Sundays, November 17 & 24, 2002
in the Parish Nurse Office, Room 203, from 11:00 am until noon. Please call Dee Coover if you have any questions,

Musical Notes

SAVE THE DATE
FOR
HANDEL'S MESSIAH

The dates are set, Saturday and Sunday, December 21 & 22, at 4:00 p.m. each day, for our annual presentation of Part I of Handel's great oratorio Messiah and the "Hallelujah" chorus. Soloists this year will be soprano Cheryl Hill, mezzo-soprano Sharon Gordon, tenor Terry Beaurline and baritone Gregory Gardner. Ms. Hill comes from Danbury where she collaborated with Mark Swicegood at his former church. Ms. Gordon lives in Hamden and will also be opening our 2003 Sunday Afternoons Live series on January 12. Terry Beaurline is a long-time friend of First Church and has participated in our Messiah both as chorister and soloist. (This year he says he'll do both!!) Mr. Gardner was most recently heard here in Britten's “Rejoice in the Lamb” last Music Sunday.

Tickets will be available to the congregation at coffee hour beginning December 1 and to the general public December 9.

Swell the Chorus!! If you have choral skills, why not consider joining the chorus for Messiah. Rehearsals are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, December 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th, at 8 p.m. Registration begins at 7:30 p.m. on the 10th, but it is possible to sign up at subsequent rehearsals. Just be sure to bring $ 20.00 as a deposit for the required use of First Church's hard-bound scores. There are no auditions; everyone is welcome. The singers always have a great time. Just ask one!

Sunday Afternoons Live Schedule is Finalized

Candlelit tables in our Auditorium set the mood for our winter series of vocal, chamber music and jazz concerts. The 2003 season of Sunday Afternoons Live will celebrate the rebuilding of our Steinway concert grand piano made possible by the fund established in joyful memory of Dorothy Crabill. Refreshments are served from 3:30 PM and the performances begin at 4:00, concluding between 5:15 and 5:30 PM. There is no admission charge; a $ 10.00 donation is requested.

January 12

Sharon Gordon, mezzo-soprano, Beth Palmer, piano

January 19

Constantin Popescu and friends performing on historically important string instruments

January 26

The Joyce DiCamillo Trio, jazz

February 2

The Woodland Scholars, a cappella vocal ensemble, Larry Allen, director

February 9

Eric Comstock , pianist and cabaret singer

February 16

Duo pianists Millette Alexander & Frank Daykin

February 23

Maryly Culpepper, flute, Dan Culpepper, French horn, Brian Krinke, violin, Jenny Undercofler, piano

March 2

Rautenberg-Saathoff Duo, violin and piano

NEW ORGAN STOP!!

Mid-September a new stop was installed into our organ. The old Cymbel (a high-pitched stop with three pipes per note) in the Positiv (the part of the organ cantilevered on the right over the console and played on the bottom keyboard) was poorly voiced, hard to tune, and almost unusable. All one hundred ninety-eight pipes have been replaced with new ones which have solved those problems. The Cymbel isn't used very often but you will notice it as the extra sparkle on the last stanza of some hymns. In organ music of the Baroque period it will be used when there is a contrast between the Great (the main division of the organ cantilevered on the left) and Positiv divisions. Our gratitude goes to Frank Crabill who provided the funds for the new stop through the fund he established in joyful memory of Dorothy Crabill.

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.

Sunday, November 3
First Church - First Sunday - Food Drive

Please bring your non-perishable food donations to worship on Sunday,
November 3, or to the Church Office the week after. The supplies at our local pantries are very low. Bring some extra food if you can. Most needed items are: canned soups, cereals, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter/jelly and pasta sauces. To assist you in your shopping, we can direct you to the best bargains at our local grocery stores the week before. We’ll set up a group e-mail list to clue you in on what’s needed and where to find it. Please send your email address to wbausch@juno.com. Thank you for your generosity!

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