The First Congregational Church of Greenwich

Meetinghouse Monthly

May, 2003

The Pastors' Column

by Thomas L. Stiers

Dear friends:

A s I begin the month of May I am meditating on Ephesians chapter four. The author invites us "to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4: 1-3)

As we enter the beautiful month of May I want to share with you the festival services that are planned for May. The congregation is invited to Church School Recognition Sunday on May 4th. One of my favorite duties as senior pastor is to hand the Third graders their first bible. I still treasure the one given to me in 1947 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. May 11th is that special day when the confirmation class members share parts of their faith journeys with all of us. These statements reflect the seriousness and commitment that these young people have shown during the year to their training. May 18 is a celebration of the inspiration of music in our congregational life. This years' theme is "The Good News about Jesus" On May25th we honor those who have belonged to this church or a combination of churches for 50 years. This year will honor these members for their spiritual wisdom. Prayerfully I request that you put these special services of worship on your calendar for May.

As we look ahead to May 31 and June 1st I am excited about celebrating 29 years of ministry together with you. It promises to be a time of memory as we sharing the joys and concerns of those years. Saturday under the tent will be a time to poke fun at my foibles and lift up the good times. It has been quite a pilgrimage since that day when George Fisk, Helen Allen, Bob and Betsy Pearson came to listen to my sermon in North Haven, Connecticut in the spring of 1973. In the fall of that year I agreed to accept the call of the search committee to come as Associate Pastor. My first day on the job was January 4, 1974. On that day the four Stiers arrived in Old Greenwich in the middle of four inches of snow.

In October of 1976 following the retirement of Dr. Paul W. Yinger, I was elected Senior Pastor. During Thanksgiving week our family moved into 22 Shadybrook. We enjoyed our years in the parsonage. In 1989 we were able to purchase our own home.

Sunday June first will also be a special time in the Meetinghouse as I have invited former colleagues: Brigitta Remole, Bill Federici, and David Taylor to share reflections on the meaning of ministry with us. Also Dale Greene has agreed to return and share with the pastoral prayer. I am deeply appreciative to Sally Colegrove and Susie Craig for their many years of being colleagues. Several other former associates are also planning to spend the weekend with us. I am grateful that the Chancel Choir and the Youth Choir will enhance the celebration. During the course of that weekend I look forward to visiting with many of you. Of course, we will have more time together as I am continuing my ministry here until August 31.

It has been a great honor to be your pastor and serve God with you. We have attempted to follow the text in Ephesians: "To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ." (Ephesians 4: 12)

Warm regards,


May Worship Schedule

Sunday, May 4
8 am Joe McBride
10 am Recognition Sunday
Susan M. Craig

Sunday, May 11
8 am Peter Schay
10 am Confirmation Sunday
“We Know Love by This”
Sally Colegrove

Sunday, May 18
Music Sunday
“The Good News About Jesus”

Sunday, May 25
8 am and 10 am in the Meetinghouse
Heritage Sunday
“Lorimer, Mosshammer, and Daniels”
Thomas L. Stiers


A Celebration of the Ministry of
The Reverend Thomas L. Stiers


Saturday, May 31, 2003
5 - 9 pm
Tent Picnic, Church Lawn
Beverages, Hors-d’oeuvres
Catered Buffet
Entertainment, Toasting and Roasting
#
Sunday, June 1, 2003
10 am Worship Service in the Meetinghouse
11:30 am Tent Reception, Church Lawn
With More Toasting and Roasting
#
First Congregational Church of Greenwich
108 Sound Beach Avenue
Old Greenwich, CT 06870

RSVP before May 24, 203.637.1791
________________

For more information,
contact Lucy Hedrick, 203.637.1051
LucyHH@aol.com


Quilt Raffle in Progress

The intricate “Wedding Ring” quilt created by the Kettle Quilters is currently on display in the Rummage Room window and will be on display in Coffee Hour on May 4. You may purchase tickets to win this lovely work of art for $2 each at Coffee Hour or at the Rummage Room. The raffle will take place at the Women’s Fellowship Spring Luncheon on Wednesday, May 7. The winner need not be present at the drawing and will be notified by telephone. Thanks for your support.

First Church Day Camp

First Church Day Camp is open to children preschool through second grade (ages 3-8) regardless of religious affiliation. We offer 2 three-week sessions running from June 30th - July 18th for the first session, and July 21st - August 8th for the second session. Minimum registration is a 3-week session. For additional information please contact First Church Preschool office at (203) 637-5430. Those interested in Counselor in Training, CIT (entering 10th grade in fall) or Counselor (entering 12th grade in fall) positions should contact Tim Holman, Director, at (203) 637-5430.

20/30s Magical Mystery Tour

Want to get out of town and not worry about planning? Well, our Magical Mystery Tour, scheduled for June 6-8, is for you. We will head out on Friday to destinations unknown and return on Sunday. For information about this event and other 20/30s activities please contact Aaron Sinay at 637-1791 ext. 23 or aarons@fccog.org.

Search Committee Update

The Search Committee sponsored a well-attended Second Hour on Sunday, May 6. Bill Penwell, Chairman, began the meeting by recapping the Search Committee's mandate and what we have accomplished so far. This includes reviewing existing documents and the Church's Vision Statement, conversations with the staff and Sally and the on-going development of Church and Candidate Profiles. The meeting was opened up to the congregation and many thoughtful comments and questions were posed to the committee.

The Committee is completing work on the Church and Candidate Profiles and will have them available for comment from the Congregation soon. Completion of these two documents is crucial before we can consider any candidate.

Thank you for all who have written to the Search Committee. We read and value each and every letter and encourage the Congregation to continue to be part of the process.

Middle School Programs

The JPF group focuses on fellowship, service and activities for 6th, 7th and 8th graders. We meet on Sunday evenings 5-6:15 PM in the Youth Room.

Sunday, May 4 JPF @ 5:00 in the Youth Room
Special meeting to prepare for the Mystic Retreat.

May 9-10 JPF Mystic Seaport Anchor Watch Retreat. Depart Friday @ 3:45 Return Saturday @ 4:00

Heads up for May!

Remember to RSVP for Tom's Picnic Supper on May 31 and worship service Reception on June 1 before May 24. If you can help house members of the Stiers family and other visitors, please let Winkie Delmhorst (adelmhorst@aol.com) or Alice Ell (637-4094) know this. They will be cruising May Coffee Hours in search of volunteer "B&Bs." Pam Grunow (wesskum@aol.com) and Debbie Lacivita will also be in search of appetizer volunteers. Appetizers are brought to the picnic on May 31 and enjoyed before the catered buffet. Please give them your support. Thank you. Lucy Hedrick, 637.1051, or LucyHH@aol.com


MUSICAL NOTES

Do You Love Organ Music?
by John Stansell

The Pipedreams program airs weekly on Connecticut Public Radio, 88.5 FM in the Stamford/Greenwich area, Sunday evenings from 9:00 to 10:30. Award-winning host Michael Barone leads listeners on an exploration of music, instruments and performers. It's a rewarding and enriching experience every week. Pipedreams is noted for the quality and diversity of its content and presentation. (You can also listen to archived broadcasts of the program online at www.pipedreams.org .)

If you love organ music, listen to this wonderful program. When you send in your contribution to Connecticut Public Radio, be sure to mention Pipedreams, which is in some danger of being discontinued. It costs $ 4,500.00 a year to broadcast Pipedreams in Connecticut. If you REALLY love organ music, consider an extra contribution to the Hartford AGO Pipedreams Fund. Many small contributions can add up fast. Send your check to:
Treasurer, Hartford American Guild of Organists
39 Freeman Street
Hartford, CT 06114

The organists of First Church appreciate your support!


MUSIC SUNDAY 2003

THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS

Music can be its own justification, but how much greater is our need to make music when it tells THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS! On Sunday, May 18, 2003, all of the music resources of our church will join together at our ten-o'clock morning worship hour to sing, play and otherwise tell the story. Some highlights: The Chancel Choir will be joined by Gospel singer Ruby Durand, soloist at First Baptist Church in Greenwich, and in-house percussionists for Paul Halley's "Freedom Trilogy," a brilliant medley of a 16th century "Kyrie," two South African freedom songs and "Amazing Grace." The Choir will also sing one of their standards, "The Spirit of the Lord" by Edward Elgar.

The Cherub Choir under the direction of Holly Beneville will sing "Oh, How I Love Jesus." The Palmer Handbells will play an arrangement of two hymn tunes entitled "Tell the Good News" by Cynthia Dobrinsky. The Children's Choir will sing "I Am the Good Shepherd" by Dale Wood and also join with The Youth Choir in a spirited arrangement of "Jesus Loves Me" by Joel Raney. Chancel and Youth Choirs will encircle the congregation for the choral response to the benediction, as has become something of a Music Sunday tradition.

Our theme, THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS, is taken from the first lectionary lesson for the day, Acts 8:26-40, the story of the Ethiopian eunuch. John Stansell will have a few remarks about the connection between the story, the musical choices for the day, and the story's implications for life at First Church.

Strawberries, croissants and the Maypole on the lawn will put the finishing touches on this festival Sunday morning. Don't miss it!


Announcing the Thomas L. Stiers Endowed Scholarship
At Union Theological Seminary

A few years ago, members of First Church's leadership began thinking about meaningful expressions of our appreciation for the pastoral care Tom Stiers has provided in our community and ways that his contributions might continue to have a lasting impact. It was suggested, in light of the fact that the Christian Outreach Committee and the Women's Fellowship of FCCOG had made frequent financial commitments over the years to annual campaigns for seminarian scholarship support at Union Theological Seminary, that we consider an enduring commitment by endowing a scholarship in Tom Stiers' name, honoring his rich ministry, teaching and guidance. The idea enjoyed instant popularity.

Needless to say, Tom has been instrumental in forming a very active and vibrant ministry in Greenwich. And he would be the first to say he benefited greatly from his training at Union Theological Seminary. He was blessed to study preaching with Bob Seaver, George Buttrick, and Edmund Steimle and he has expressed a great sense of indebtedness for their coaching him as a preacher. Tom has long thought about appropriate ways of saying thank you for that training. Developing an endowed scholarship, one that continues to provide financial assistance for seminarians, is an appropriate and enduring honor for him and a great way for members of First Church to express our gratitude for him and his training at UTS.

As a result of the Trustees' decision to support this initiative three years ago, the Christian Outreach Committee pledged and paid $10,000 and the Women's Fellowship provided an additional $4,000 to inaugurate this effort. In recent weeks, several church families have become Charter Donors by pledging or giving gifts of $1,000 or more. The Thomas L. Stiers Endowed Scholarship Fund is now well established with a foundation of $27,000. For it to generate scholarship support and thereby help in reducing the debt burden of seminarians, it must have a principle of no less than $50,000. With plans for the celebration of Tom's ministry in Greenwich well underway, it would seem very appropriate to open this special opportunity to recognize Tom at this time. Thus it is with pleasure that we announce the Thomas L. Stiers Endowed Scholarship and we invite your participation.

If you would like to contribute to this effort, checks should be made out to First Church, designated for the UTS Thomas L. Stiers Endowed Scholarship in the memo section of the check, and mailed to Kirk Young at First Church, 108 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich, CT 06870. Stock transfers can also be arranged.

Gifts of all sizes are appropriate. It is hoped that gifts will be received by May 28, 2003 so that the total commitment to the scholarship can be announced at the weekend celebrations surrounding Tom's retirement. All gifts are fully tax-deductible and gifts made by Church members will be reflected on their annual statements produced by the Finance Office. If you have questions, Chuck Ainsworth would be happy to address them. You can call him at 203 637 1053 or e-mail him at chuck.ainsworth@ymca.net.

Goal: $50,000     Commitments to Date: $27,000


To All the Women of First Congregational Church,
Rummage Room Volunteers and Kettle Quilters


You are invited to attend our

Spring Luncheon Informal Modeling and Floral Arranging Demonstration

Wednesday, May 7, 2003 12 to 2:30 pm

First Church Auditorium

Come and bring your friends to a bountiful luncheon. The drawing for the winner of this year’s hand sewn quilt will be held at 1 pm. Then the Rummage Room will present their informal modeling. The models will display an array of treasures from our downtown store enhanced by the fine piano accompaniment of Bob Button.

Reserve Early - Space is limited.


Luncheon and Fashion Show cost is $10 per person. The deadline for reservations is April 30.




Name _________________________________ Phone ________________________________

Guests ______________________________________________________________________

Enclosed is my check payable to Women’s Fellowship in the amount of $_______ . Please place in the WF Reservation Box in the Church Office or mail to Women’s Fellowship, First Congregational Church, 108 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich, CT 06870.

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