The First Congregational Church of Greenwich
July Worship Schedule
Dear Members and Friends of First Congregational Church,
For the past two years, I have been blessed to serve as your Associate Pastor and Director of Middle School Ministries. My life and sense of call to parish ministry have been enriched and affirmed by time shared with young and old in the congregation: on retreats, doing mission work, exploring our faith in Bible studies, celebrating community at special events, playing games and most of all worshiping with you. Along the way, I have felt ministered to and educated by the gifted and generous staff who never ceases to amaze me with their creativity and endurance in the midst of so many changes.
Over the past two months, I have been overwhelmed by two great loves: love for you and love for my son, David. The former has flourished from joys and challenges over the past two years. The magnitude of the latter has caught me unexpectedly with its fullness, complexity, potential, and joy. I cannot do justice to both, simultaneously. It would be bittersweet for me to make Solomon's decision to split my devotion to my child and my church in half; therefore, I will be leaving you at the end of July.
I believe God called me to you at an important and challenging time in the life of the church; God called me to help lead and minister with you through the many changes that were taking place. You shared the Gospel with me-the good news that family is of utmost importance. Our families-immediate, extended, and adopted-are those relationships in which we practice the majority of our hospitality and self-sacrifice and where we share in the fruits of joy and pain. I have witnessed how you love and value all of the children among us. How could I not be utterly affected by such a compelling Gospel!
At this stage in my family's life, I believe God is calling me to the rewarding yet challenging full-time vocation of parenting. As difficult as it is to leave this faith community, I am exceedingly grateful for the relationships and work with you that have changed my life and helped in my formation as a minister.
The Lord says through the prophet Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (29:11). I trust this promise for you and for me. I am leaving you at an exciting and hope-filled moment because God's plan for you is already unfolding in the dynamic leadership of the clergy, staff and laity.
In the next month, I hope to say my personal good-byes to those who are present. Know that I will pray for you always and will await news of how faithfully you are living out the love of Christ in Old Greenwich and to the greater reaches of God's good creation.
Grace and Peace to you all,
If you are like us, you are experiencing many emotions as we receive the news of Ashley Grant leaving us at the end of July.
- joy for the meaningful times we have shared together over the past two years
- gratitude for the blessing of Ashley's ministry among us
- appreciation for her guidance of and faith formation of our middle high youth
- inspiration from her wonderful sermons
- sadness at the thought of going forward without her
- excitement for what the future holds for Ashley, Adam and David as they move forward in new directions
On behalf of all of you, we express gratitude to Ashley and God for the gifts of her ministry shared so powerfully in our midst. Our memories and the touch of her presence will remain with us for a long time to come.
Wherever their lives take them, we trust that God will be with them to nurture, empower and guide. They go with our blessing and love!
During July we hope you will express your own feelings and gratitude to Ashley. Her last Sunday will be July 31. She will preach that morning and there will be a special farewell celebration following 10:00 a.m. worship. Please save this date for a time of sharing joys and best wishes together.
Plans are being made to provide coverage for Ashley's areas of responsibility as the fall approaches. The staff recently had a retreat and things are moving along well as we traverse yet another transition. There is excitement in the air as we consider the coming program year! If you have any questions, please feel free to be in touch with either one of us.
With gratitude for the past and anticipation for the future,
David D. Young
First Church/First Sunday
On Sunday, July 3, First Church will have the barrel out for our regular food collection. Summer months are always a challenge for our local food pantries, since there are very few community food drives. Families with school-age children need more food in the house when school is out. Please be generous with cereal, pb & j, macaroni & cheese and juice boxes this month and next. Look for sales! (If you'll be away during our regular collection Sundays this summer, please leave your donation at the church office whenever you think of it.)
How about joining the Kettle Quilters around the quilting frame this summer? You may not only be able to pick up some tips on quilting techniques but also on any other subject such as cooking, children, grandchildren, husbands and gardening. We are currently working on the 2006 quilt for the quilt raffle. Find us in room 203 every Monday from 9 am - 12 noon. Call Inge Thalheim for information: 203-637-9614.
Can you Give the GIFT of TIME to FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH?
Each year the Nominating Committee looks for individuals who are interested in serving our Church as officers and key committee members. While there are many other ways to serve the Church, these are some of the most valuable roles that help our Church continue to be a vibrant and successful Community of Faith. These are also great ways to get to know the clergy, staff and other members better, strengthen your faith, and serve others.
Some of the opportunities include:
• Officers of the Church (prior church service & two years of membership required)
• Committee Members
Would you like to be considered for service in
Deacons - 24 Deacons (12 women and 12 men) are the primary members of the Church Committee, which oversees the worship, programs and mission of the Church. Deacons serve Communion, read scripture, and contact shut-ins and those hospitalized.
Trustees - 15 Trustees are responsible for the physical and financial well being of the Church and its Staff. Trustees manage the annual Stewardship Campaign and the Endowment.
Outreach Committee - manages the mission and benevolence work of the Church locally, nationally and internationally, including the outreach portion of the annual Budget, as well as the Lenten Mission Offering.
Membership Committee - reaches out to those interested in understanding our church, teaching them about us, encouraging them to join as members and helping them quickly fit into the full life of the Church.
Parish Life Committee - hosts multi-generational events, including the Homecoming Picnic, Harvest Dinner, Advent Sing-for-your-Supper, and the Maundy Thursday dinner and service.
Music Committee - supports the Music Program of the Church by helping with the organization and logistics of special musical events, Sunday Afternoons Live, Christmas Eve services, Music Sunday, Noye's Fludde, and others.
Ushering Committee - recruits, trains and coordinates ushers for our worship services.
Pre-School Board - members of the church sit on the Board of the First Church Pre-School, which oversees the mission and management of the Pre-School.
The Latest on Lyme Disease
Some of the very things that make our town so beautiful, the lush land, wooded areas, and wild life, also provide a perfect habitat for ticks that can transmit disease. According to Doug Serafin, director of the Greenwich Department of Health's laboratory, "about one out of every three ticks found in our community has been found to carry the (borrelia burgdorferi) bacteria that cause Lyme disease." Connecticut has the highest incidence rate of Lyme disease, named after the town in which it was first discovered, Lyme, CT.
Thanks to groups like locally founded Time For Lyme, many people are better informed about Lyme disease today. The Greenwich Time for Lyme, an affiliate of the Lyme Disease Association, is dedicated to the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge and education pertaining to Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. The organization was formed in 1998 by a group of individuals whose family lives had been personally affected by the disease, including First Congregational's own Marney Rutherford. In addition to promoting awareness, the group serves as a resource for the most current research findings, initiates and supports efforts to prevent the spread of tick-borne illnesses, provides a support system for families affected by Lyme disease, and generates funds for testing and research.
Transmitted by the bite of a deer tick (carried by deer, mice, and birds) Lyme disease most often presents with a characteristic "bull's-eye" rash, accompanied by nonspecific symptoms such as fever, malaise, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and joint aches. Symptoms are diverse, affecting many systems of the body, and can mimic other diseases. It's important to remember that not everyone gets a rash, and the rash can present differently. Early diagnosis and adequate treatment with antibiotics, reduces risk of long term illness. While diagnostic tests can help support a diagnosis, they are often unreliable; therefore diagnosis should be made by a physician based on medical history and symptoms.
Proper Tick Removal:
In addition to working closely with Greenwich Hospital and Greenwich Department of Health to establish these tick removal protocols, Time For Lyme has developed, in partnership with the Greenwich Red Cross, a tick removal kit. The Red Cross Tick Kit, complete with magnifier attached to fine-point tweezers, as well as instructions for storage and testing, attaches to a belt loop and is available at the Greenwich Red Cross for $15.
Time For Lyme also has an active hot line and a monthly support group for people and families that suffer from Lyme disease. To find out more about Lyme disease, contact Time for Lyme at (203) 969-1333 Monday through Friday 8:00 to 2:30, or visit these web sites: www.timeforlyme.org, www.lymediseaseassociation.org, www.lymenet.org. You may also visit your Parish Nurse, who can lend you two new resource books: Lyme Disease Update: Science, Policy, and Law; and for children dealing with Lyme disease: Let's Get Well.
Stephen Ministry at First Church is proud to announce that the following individuals have completed the 50 hour training course to become Stephen Ministers: Tina Birkic, Melanie Garnett, Eileen Medvey, Karen Pacent, Angela Stevens, Marge York and Jeff Waggaman. They join current Stephen Ministers Bob Alden and Carolyn MacLea and Stephen Leaders Marty Berlin, Judy Goodchild, Carole Lang and Enid Norris.
Stephen Ministry has been an active program here at First Congregational Church for some time. Because the relationship between the Stephen Minister and the care receiver is strictly confidential, there may be many in the congregation who are unfamiliar with the program. This may be a good time to reacquaint the congregation with the possibilities of Stephen Ministry .
Stephen Ministry is a system of caring ministry in which specially trained congregation members, provide one-to-one Christian care to people who are experiencing a life challenge or crisis. Stephen Ministry was developed in 1975 by Dr. Kenneth Haughk, a pastor and clinical psychologist, who saw that he alone as pastor could not provide for all the caring ministry needs in his congregation. So he began training lay persons, called Stephen Ministers, to help provide high quality Christian care. The ministry was so successful that other churches became interested and Dr. Haughk founded the not-for-profit Stephen Ministries organization.
People sometimes may ask or think, why do we need Stephen Ministers. Don't we have pastors to provide caring ministry? The simple answer is that our pastors cannot possibly provide all the caring ministry required in a large and active church. The Stephen Minister does not replace the pastor but supplements his/her work.
As a Stephen Ministry congregation, we are part of something big. There are over 7,000 Stephen Ministry congregations from over 90 denominations worldwide. Look for more information on the Stephen Ministry program in future newsletters and a special mailing presently being prepared. You may also call the church office and be put in contact with one of the pastors or Stephen Leaders. The byword of Stephen Ministry Leaders is confidentiality.
First Congregational Church Endowment Fund
The Trustees in coordination with the Asset Management Committee and the Planned Giving Committee have documented and implemented formal investment policy objectives and guidelines for the First Church Endowment Fund. This policy statement is intended to ensure that the Fund is managed prudently and consistently over time to meet the long term goals of the church and its contributors. If you have made or are considering making a gift to the First Congregational Church Endowment Fund you may be interested in reviewing this document. Copies are available in the church office or can be mailed to your home, if requested, through Donna White at the church office. Special thanks to Gary Klingner, past trustee and current member of the Asset Management Committee, who spearheaded the effort to establish this document.
Look who stopped by!
Eric C. Smith, a member of Freeport First Parish and serving as Minister to Youth and Christian Education at Gorham First Parish visited First Congregational Church on June 3rd as he came through by bicycle on his trip to Synod in Atlanta, Georgia.
Eric is a friend to many at First Congregational Church who have volunteered at Pilgrim Lodge, the Maine Conference's equivalent to Silver Lake. However, this summer Eric is service as Vice Moderator of the UCC Synod. Riding from Gorham to Atlanta, Eric is visiting churches en route and collecting messages to be delivered to Synod. He stayed one night with Susie and Brad Craig, telling of his travels and collecting our greetings to this year's delegates as well as messages from members of our Senior Pilgrim Fellowship. We wish him well and hope the Rev. Ashley Grant and Philip Thalheim, our representatives at Synod in Atlanta, will be able to visit with him there and hear about the remainder of his trip. Should you be interested in checking on Eric's trip south (and see pictures of our church, you can look on the following website: www.maineucc.org and then click on "Follow Eric C. Smith".
Be sure to save July 12 when our UCC Missionaries in Honduras, Bruce and Linda Hanson, will be with us for a pot luck dinner, slide show and question and answer discussion regarding recent developments in Honduras. Bruce is a nurse and Linda is a pastor. They work as a great team in the mountains surrounding Pinalejo and Subirana, the villages that house our medical clinics.
Members of The First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Ministers
Services of Worship - 8 & 10 am