The First Congregational Church of Greenwich
This is a time of year that is
made bright by tradition. From our scripture lessons with their words of
prophecy announcing the birth of a child in Bethlehem, of the line of David, a
branch of the tree of Jesse to new traditions begun in recent years there are
many events which include the familiar. Whether you have been a member of First
Church for thirty years or are just contemplating membership this year I hope
that you will join us as we make our Advent pilgrimage to the manger.
As I look at the month of December I look forward to participating in the Church
School's Advent Craft Fair and the Women's Fellowship Wreath Making early in the
month. I always look forward to Messiah rehearsals - don't worry, John and Mark,
I will sing very quietly. On December 8th this year's Confirmation Class will
honor a tradition which now spans a quarter century. They will hold a bake sale
at coffee hour that day to benefit their Christmas service project. They will
buy Christmas plants and visit senior members of the congregation. These members
share stories of what Christmas was like at First Church in earlier days with
our young people. If you are over 65 and would like to take part, please give me
a call. This year we have over 30 young people, so we need lots of senior
After I buy a Christmas tree on
the front lawn on December 15th I hope to see many of you at the Christmas
Supper and Sing hosted by the Parish Life Committee. Check the flyer which is in
this Meetinghouse Monthly for details. Last year this new tradition began with a
great Carol Sing following a soup and bread supper. Homemade Christmas Cookies
were shared as dessert. It was like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. It
also required very little advanced preparation and was a nurturing event for all
Another wonderful part of the
month of December is the chance to welcome home our College Pilgrim Fellowship.
The SPF and the CPF will hold their traditional Christmas Progressive Dinner and
Caroling Party on Friday evening, December 20th beginning at 5:30 in the Youth
Room. This event requires reservations as we divide into groups and visit homes
in the area. Please call me if you would like to come. The evening will conclude
with our annual Christmas Auction grab bag.
And then it will be Christmas
Eve!! But more about that later,
December Worship Schedule
|Sunday, December 1
8 am &10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Sally Colegrove
“Grace and Peace”
Sunday, December 8
8 am &10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Susan M. Craig
“Comfort My People”
Sunday, December 15
8 am &10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Thomas L Stiers
“Wrapped in Joy”
Sunday, December 22
9:15 am Pastor’s Class
11 am Rev. Thomas L. Stiers
Sunday, December 29
10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Susan M. Craig
“Joy to the World”
Sunday, January 5, 2003
8 am & 10 am in the Meetinghouse
Rev. Sally Colegrove
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.
You may e-mail your articles to:
Happenings Around the Church
Save the Date!!!
Joseph is coming to town.
The SPF is proud to announce that their production of Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat will be presented January 23 - 26, 2003. Carolyn Paulus is
musical director, Mark Swicegood is accompanist, Sally Colegrove is stage
director. There are over forty in the cast which is led by two Joseph's - Tom
Oppedisano and Jay Anderson and four narrators - Nicole Pacent, Julia Barber,
Ginni Kimberlin and YoYo Zhang. Tickets will be on sale at January coffee hours
and in the Church Office beginning on January 6th.
First Church is returning to
Honduras in 2003
The Christian Outreach Committee and the Senior Pilgrim Fellowship are
sponsoring a trip to San Pedro Sula and the rural villages of Northwestern
Honduras from February 13 - 19, 2003. During this trip the group will take part
in the dedication of the new clinic in Subirana and will visit the clinic in
Pinalejo and the medical hostels in the city of San Pedro Sula which have been
built by our International Mission Offerings in the last six years. There are
still a few places available if members of the congregation would like to join
the group. For more information contact Sally Colegrove at the Church Office
637-1791 ext. 15.
A Letter to the First Church Family
Dear First Church Family,
Don and I wish to express our greatest appreciation for all the loving concern
you have shown to us during the past six weeks. The visits and phone calls from
the clergy, Dee Coover and members of the Congregation have been most helpful to
us. Your prayers have given us strength to endure all the difficulties we have
encountered. The flowers have been beautiful. We cannot thank you enough.
Connie and Don Walton
Filling in the Gaps
In October the Church School began the process of seeking a new Church School
Coordinator. In November after hearing from many of you who were interested we
have hired a "Coordinator Team." During that time many of you stepped forward to
lend a hand or answer a phone call with a "yes, happily." As a result, our fall
season has been a time of high energy and much learning which leads us with much
excitement and anticipation into the season of Advent. Special thanks go to
Jenny Lepoutre and Catharine Sotzing for filling in wherever needed and with
wondrous dependability during the interim.
Effective November 20th we have hired Rosemary Lamie and Jenny Lepoutre as our
Church School Coordinators. Rosemary will be working ¾ time and Jenny ¼ filling
the position formerly held by Lynne Lehman. We are very excited to have them
both on board and believe that moving this position into a shared status will
lend the flexibility needed to create the optimum possible for our children and
Rosemary Lamie has been a member of First Church for a number of years, taught
in our Church School and most recently served as part of our Church School Task
Force. Rosemary has two children, Anna and Michael, who have been part of our
In addition to being the mother of two middle school young people, Rosemary
brings with her an extensive background in the area of Social Services, child
advocacy, and an ability to network with numerous community services responding
to the needs and problem-solving of numerous child concerns.
Jenny Lepoutre comes to us with a long history at First Church. Growing up at
First Church, Jenny and her husband Clem were married here in 1988. They have
raised their three sons, Daniel, Michael and T.J. here as part of the Church
School and the Junior Pilgrim Fellowship. Jenny has been active at First Church
as a Deacon, member of the Chancel Choir, Music Committee, and Outdoor
Ministries Committee assisting especially with the All Church Retreat. Beyond
First Church Jenny has worked as a Special Education teacher for Cooperative
Educational Services in Trumbull, CT. We look forward to welcoming her as part
of our staff.
We welcome Rosemary and Jenny as part of our First Church team committed to
raising our children in faith, and supporting our families through the numerous
aspects where parenting and our lives together as church family intertwine. This
season of Advent is one of high anticipation - of all that God brings into our
lives, past and present. As your family finds its way into the season of Advent,
do stop by the Undercroft and greet them.
A Prayer for Christmas
Written by our First Grade Class in 1996
We pray for peace.
We hope for Jesus to come back.
We ask for food for the hungry.
We wish the world to be safe.
We pray that sick people get well for Christmas. Amen
Friends Helping Friends
Christmas will be here soon, and the thoughts of gifts come to mind. Among the
gifts that the holiday season may call to mind are the gifts or talents given to
us by our Creator. Paul, one of the Lord's apostles, tells us in Romans 12:6-8
that "…we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God
gives us…if it is to serve, then we are to serve others…if it is to encourage,
then we should do so…." Surely this scripture must be the mission of our Friends
Helping Friends ministry.
Among the "gifts" Friends Helping Friends volunteers donate is the gift of their
time. A short visit to an individual who is disabled by surgery or illness, or
recently-widowed, or driving someone to an appointment, or perhaps baking fresh
bread for a family with a new baby are some of the offerings made by First
Church members who contribute to this group. Other tasks include giving
assistance with the completion of medical forms or shopping for folks who are
homebound. Still another gift could be a visit on the phone to someone who needs
cheering up --- all of these gifts are so appreciated, and so caring.
How about you? Do you have a small amount of "time" to offer to another First
Church member? As Parish Nurse, I am looking for volunteers of all ages for the
Friends Helping Friends ministry. How wonderful it would be to have a "visit
team" of a parent and their son or daughter make and deliver some Christmas
cookies to a senior member who is homebound! Or perhaps a pair of high school
students to help a new mother by babysitting a toddler in the same home. Please
call me and tell me how you can contribute to the Friends ministry. In this
month that we commemorate the birth of Christ Jesus, let us reach out to "our
Contact me at (203) 637-1791 ext. 21 on Sundays, Wednesdays and Tuesday
mornings, or simply leave a message. I will enjoy returning your call.
Weddings at First Church
June 14, 2002
Dianna Sarah Truss-Rakip to Joseph Theo Santora, Jr.
June 22, 2002
Frances Jean Unrine to Robert Mauro
June 29, 2002
Linda Drake Kreutzer to jan Paardecamp
July 20, 2002
Elizabeth Ann Mendelsohn to Andrew Douglas Tauber
August 17, 2002
Jennifer Ann Smith to David Grohusko
September 8, 2002
Imelda Mandasari Harjono to Michael Changmin Moon
September 21, 2002
Gabriele Gaensslen to Michael James Linahan
September 28, 2002
Janine Ann Perri to Stephen Paul Hodgkins
October 5, 2002
Nina Elizabeth Reichborn to John Kurt Setten
October 18, 2002
Kristen Malmberg to Eugene Lee
October 19, 2002
Samantha Leigh Bistany to Thomas Henry King
December 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 December offerings are:
December 1: Maryan Ainsworth, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art will make a
presentation in the Daniels Center.
December 15: Senior Deacon Robin Loughman discusses information regarding church
Get Your Messiah Tickets!!
Tickets for this year's
presentation of Part I of Handel's great oratorio Messiah and the "Hallelujah"
chorus will be available to the congregation at coffee hour on December 1 & 8.
Beginning Monday, December 9, the tickets will be available to the general
public in the church office.
The performances will be Saturday and Sunday, December 21 & 22, at 4:00 p.m.
each day. Soloists this year will be soprano Cheryl Hill, mezzo-soprano Sharon
Gordon, tenor Terry Beaurline and baritone Gregory Gardner. The twenty-piece
chamber orchestra will include Dorothy Happel as concertmistress, our own Mary
Costanza as continuo cellist and David Johnson at the harpsichord. Many of the
orchestra members have been playing for us for many years. For them, as for many
in the congregation, it just wouldn't be Christmas without First Church's
Messiah. If it's not already one of your family's holiday traditions, consider
starting this year.
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!
The Really Final (?) 2003 Sunday
Afternoons Live Schedule
Since last month's Meetinghouse
Monthly, one change had to be made in the SAL schedule. We apologize and trust
that it will remain as printed here:
January 12 Sharon Gordon, mezzo-soprano, Beth Palmer, piano
January 19 Constantin Popescu and friends performing on historically important
January 26 The Joyce DiCamillo Trio, jazz
with support from the
CONNECTICUT COMMISSION ON THE ARTS
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 NO CONCERT
March 2 Rautenberg-Saathoff Duo, violin and piano
March 9 Maryly Culpepper, flute, Dan Culpepper, French horn, Brian Krinke,
violin, Jenny Undercofler, piano
Mark Swicegood Returns from Paris
Our associate organist Mark
Swicegood returned on November 18th from two weeks in Paris where he competed in
the Fourth International Competition of the City of Paris. Mark was the first
American in the history of the competition to enter the finals in organ
interpretation. He was the only non-French organist among this year's four
finalists. Though several of the jurors expressed their disappointment that he
had not placed, Mark was awarded Honorable Mention. (In the end the judges
decided not to award the first prize.)
The various rounds of the competition were held in different venues around the
City. Mark competed on seven different instruments including those at the Royal
Chapel at Versailles, La Madeleine, Ste. Clothilde (where both Franck and
Langlais were organists) and St. Eustache. Among the jurors and audience members
were several who have invited Mark back to France and Holland for concerts in
We can be very proud of Mark Swicegood who performed so admirably on such an
important international stage!
The Parish Life Committee presents
We Gather Together for Christmas
A Christmas Supper and Sing
Soup and Bread Supper Cristmas Caroling
Bring Your Christmas Cookies All Ages Welcome Fellowship for All
Sunday, December 15th
Our evening begins at 5:00 and concludes by 8:00. We will begin with a simple
soup and bread, cheese and fruit supper with Christmas Cookies for dessert.
Please bring about a dozen Christmas Cookies!!! Then we will move to the
Meetinghouse for an old fashioned Christmas Carol Sing. Please return this form
to the Church Office.
Reservation form A Christmas Supper and
Sing - Dec. 15th.
______________________________ Number of people attending ______
A donation of $2 per adult and $1
per young person will help us with the cost of the soup and the paper goods.
There will be baskets for your offering at the door.
Solve your holiday and baby gift
Annual Christmas Sale of Fine
Sunday, December 15th - Coffee Hour
Uniquely patterned adult & children sweaters
Infant sweater sets and baby blankets
Adult & child hat, mitten and scarf sets
and, of course,
Traditional Balkan slipper socks
Sponsored by the Connecticut Friends of Bosnia