The First Congregational Church of Greenwich

Meetinghouse Monthly

August, 2005

Speaking Pastorally

While it is true that too much rest or idleness is not good for us, it is equally true that too much work and busyness (with no rest) are not good for us either. It has been well said,

"TAKE REST; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop."

So many people have been working so hard over the past year or two that as we have fully shifted to summer with the heat and humidity, so too, has the church cycle moved to a welcomed slower pace. Without the enormous efforts of numerous volunteers in this church, we would not be so well positioned for the future.

While we are very sad to say "Good-bye" to Ashley Grant on July 31, she along with the rest of the staff and so many of you have brought the church to a very good place in its history - poised and ready for the next season of its growth. For many, it may seem as though there has been little time for rest and taking a break. Howard Thurman in his book, The Centering Moment, shares this insight (which was used in our Call to Worship July 17):

"It is very good to turn aside from the rush and the weariness and the anxieties by which these days beset and lay siege to our moments, to rest in the presence of God."

"To rest in the presence of God" - I like that! Since we can all be prone to laziness…and at the same time can feel guilty for being lazy, the notion of resting in the presence of God does not seem like a waste of time at all. In fact, it sounds absolutely wonderful if we would be renewed and restored for producing "a bountiful crop." Our lives will have more meaning and we will be more fruitful for God if we take time to rest…to rest in the presence and love of God.

This summer take a break from the flurry of your life's activities…rest…and allow God to restore your soul (Psalm 23:3). And then be ready once again to offer your life up to God's work in the world in service through and beyond the church. Rest, but don't rest too long…rest but don't rust…and remember…there's no federal subsidy for leaving the soil of your soul dormant for the coming year!

Wishing you renewal,

August Worship Schedule

Sunday, August 7
David D. Young
Communion Served

Sunday, August 14
David D. Young

Sunday, August 21
David D. Young

Sunday, August 28
Susan M. Craig

Radio and Internet

The Sunday morning worship is broadcast live over the radio and internet.  Tune in to WGCH 1490 am Radio or log onto and click on “Listen Live.”  The Sunday morning worship order can be found on our website at

Living the Questions

Wisdom is asking the questions for which there may be no answers
-Harrell Beck

The "Living the Questions" series returns this fall.  The eight sessions begin on Sunday, September 25, 8:30-9:30 am in the church lounge.  This well-received series, begun last spring, will continue to ask participants to probe and ask questions about our faith journey.

"Living the Questions" is a combination discussion seminar and a viewing of segments of a DVD video.  The video contains a series of short comments from many of the contemporary theologians and religious commentators of our time.  After viewing the video, a general discussion follows facilitated by Marty Berlin and one of the ministerial staff.

The issues and concepts discussed in the DVDs and written material may challenge people's world view and understanding of the divine.  The seminar intends to be only a tool to open conversation, give progressively-minded Christians an opportunity to network and give them the assurance that they may not be alone in their beliefs.  "Living the Questions" seeks not to provide easy answers, but to be a resource for people who are in the midst of a life-long conversation of faith and life.

In addition to the Sunday morning seminar, we are planning to go to Round Hill Community Church on Friday, November 4 at 8:00 pm to hear a lecture by Frederick Buechner.  Buechner, parish pastor and contemporary theologian, has authored many works on religious topics and has also authored best selling fiction.  After the lecture, we plan to convene one evening the following week to discuss our experience and enjoy a light supper, time and place to be announced.

Please join us (coffee and doughnut holes provided) for any or all of the sessions, no sign-up required.  We will need to sign up for the Buechner lecture and discussion evening.

Prayer Shawl Ministry
Get Your Knitting
Needles Out

 Our plan is to knit (or crochet) beautiful shawls to give to people who are in need of healing and support. They may be experiencing severe illness, the loss of a loved one or difficulty with a life transition. Our hope is that the prayer shawl will embrace its recipient with comforting warmth and affirm our congregation’s love and support.

Drop in for more information and instruction:

Lounge Tuesday, August 16, 2 - 4 pm
Thursday, August 18, 7:30 - 9 pm

Donations of knitting needles (11,13), crochet hooks (size H), leftover yarn (Lion Brand Homespun) and money for supplies will be greatly appreciated and can be left at the church office.

Penny Lehman, 637-4585
Angela Stevens, 698-1709
Inge Thalheim, 637-9514

Noye's Fludde Personnel:
Don't Miss the Boat!

To identify ASAP:

two boy treble solo voices
(one can be changing)

three girl solo voices

solo dancers
(Raven and Dove roles)

Noah will be Tom Woodman
Mrs. Noah, Holly Sorensen
Sem, Charlie Baird

Help John Stansell fill these roles with young people from our congregation!

Call him at 637-1791, ext. 22.

Remember: "animal" rehearsals begin October 1,
performances, the weekend of November 5-6.

Homecoming Picnic
Sunday, September 11, 2005

Our theme this year is "Ready, Set, Go!"  We need volunteers for this awesome annual event that kicks off the program year for First Congregational Church.  If you have helped with the picnic in past years, we could use your expertise.  If you have willing hands and an itch for fun and fellowship, look no further.  This is also a perfect opportunity for new and newish members to get to know the community and for us to know you.

Tasks include: entertainment, decorations, food planning and purchasing, publicity, tickets, children's activities, and set-up and service.  Sign up for the Homecoming Picnic Committee in the Front Office.  Contact Anna at 637-1791 ext. 15 with your questions and ideas.

Church School Begins Homecoming Sunday

Watch your mail toward the end of August when you will receive the new handbook for our Ministry to Children and Families. Everything you need to know about Sunday mornings in the Church School will be included.

  • What our children will learn especially about "Living Our Faith Everyday"
  • Who will be teaching them
  • Where their class will meet
  • What happens when Church School does not meet
  • When are the special events
  • What choir opportunities are available for children

The Family Registration form will be included.

Just fill it out and return to the Church ASAP.


Mark Your Calendars
with these important startup dates…

Wednesday, August 31, 7:30 PM - Church School Task Force Meeting

Thursday, September 1, 7:00 PM - Teacher Training

Sunday, September 11, 9:30 AM - In person Registration
10:00 AM - Church School Begins

Sunday, September 18, 9:30 AM - Registration continues
10:00 AM - Regular Church School

Sunday, September 25, 10:00 AM - Regular Church School

Sunday, October 2, 10:00 AM - World Communion Sunday

(3rd Grade - Pastors' Class attend worship; 3's - 2nd Grade in Regular Church School)

And On the Seventh Day
by Sue Asselin, Parish Nurse

Summertime is a season for catching up . . . for rest, relaxation and recreation.  But sometimes the summer can be just as exhausting as the "busy months" that lead up to or follow this hot season filled with outdoor activity.

With longer daylight hours, more activity is crammed into early morning or evening hours, beyond the long workday.  Time management studies show that the number of hours in a "usual or routine" work week frequently exceeds 50 hours/week for many people.  Fatigue can increase even further as we spend extra hours on the job and at home, just getting ready to take time off from our usual work schedule.  In addition, hot weather temperatures can significantly slow the already fatigued bodies that we take on vacation.

Life is about balance and values.  Our Creator engineered our bodies to have periods of rest to recuperate, build bone and to repair worn tissue.  There are body processes that must have "down time" in order to prepare the mechanism to function at peak capacity when the individual is awake.  Granted, disciplining the body as athletes do, can increase endurance.  Yet, even for the best of athletes, such as a professional baseball pitcher, rest is a requirement for optimal functioning.  Using Holy Scripture as a guide for use of our physical and mental resources, familiar verses from Ecclesiastes 3 offer practical and spiritual direction: ". . .for everything, there is a season.", and ". . .everyone should eat and drink and enjoy themselves in return for all their labors -- it is a gift from God."

As Americans, most of us have not achieved a good balance between labor and rest in our lives.  This is clearly evidenced by the prevalence of serious illnesses; such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer; much earlier in our lives than our grandparents lives.  Research findings reveal that the incidence of these conditions continues to rise.  Each of these disorders can be linked to stress, sometimes from overexertion with less than adequate rest, or perhaps from a lack of a recreational outlet or exercise routine.  Together, these conditions cause the greatest number of deaths each year in the United States, and cause disability that costs Americans billions of dollars in health care expenses.

Be leery of artificial means of staying awake.  There is no substitute for sleep, so when our bodies cry out for rest, we should comply.  There are many medications that claim to extend our capabilities.  (Many have their legitimate usefulness, but are sometimes misused for their stimulating effects).  There is deep concern about the ramifications of having preparations that can stretch time commitments even further than we routinely do today.  A principle law of physics still remains the same: matter, when stretched, doesn't have the depth or capacity that it once did.  In other words, you can only stretch an elastic band just so far before it loses its original flexibility and function, and snaps.

So, in these last weeks of summer, while there is yet an opportunity . . .  take time to unwind, time to relax and renew your body and mind, and time to refresh your inner spirit.  Why not invite someone you care about to join you!

August Parish Nurse Hours:

Vacation through August 13  (my R&R)
Tuesdays and Thursdays,   9-5
Sundays August 14 and 28,   9-1

General Syond 25
A Message from Two Delegates
By M. Ashley Grant and Philip Thalheim

I had the privilege to attend the UCC General Synod in Atlanta with Ashley this past July 1-5. It was an eye-opening experience to see the great power that our denomination has as well as the enormous rifts within its membership.  I was greatly impressed by the broad cross-section of the world present at this biennial meeting; no minority group was absent and all seemed to voice their unique concerns at some point during the five days. The preaching that the hosting Southern Conference displayed was magnificent and drastically different from the typical fare at our own FCCOG (I can't recall the last time the congregation was asked for a "Hallelujah"). The array of workshops offered to those interested in learning about the future of the church and where some want to steer it was also informative

As with many of you, the hot topic of Synod was same sex marriage. This received a disproportionate amount of press coverage and sparked the most debate of all the resolutions brought before the body. As Peter Jennings probably informed you, the vote was definitely favorable. This will have far reaching effects on many congregations within the UCC, and while more people may join churches that endorse this resolution, some people and churches will also leave our denomination.

As expected, most resolutions were past by the body, and so, the UCC will now recommend to its member churches many courses of action on a variety of global issues. A complete summary of the passed resolutions and elections can be found at 

I rejoice along with Philip in reporting that the word of God was surely heard among the delegation at General Synod 25 and acted upon.  "God Is Still Speaking," the United Church of Christ's theme, evolved beyond the publicity campaign that many of us have glimpsed on television commercials or the occasional billboard along highway 95.  That which was and is intended to draw in strangers resonated among the synod as we encountered matters of faith that sounded like political statements or ethical questions or justice imperatives.  The day after Synod, I left convinced that the Holy Spirit had guided our community building and decision-making.

General Synod 25 invigorated my passion for the UCC.  Sometimes in our local church setting we lose sight of the larger body of believers, in which we participate.  We short-change the possibilities of the Gospel when our mindset is: "us"-First Congregational Church of Greenwich or First Congregational Church of Darien or of Norwalk or of Milford-against the world.  John Thomas (General Minister and President of the UCC), Bernice Powell Jackson, Andrew Young, Walter Brueggeman, William Sloan Coffin and others proclaimed the mighty connections of the UCC's Gospel action in the world.  In their forthright Gospel telling, they expressed their passion for the UCC and conviction that more is possible if we lean in and listen and go out to serve.

The 50th anniversary General Synod 2007 will be held in Hartford, CT!  There will be many opportunities for our church to participate in the fellowship, worship, and decision-making.  You can sign up to help at 2007/index.html

August Birthdays

08/01 Claire Osgood
08/01 Lindy Freeman
08/02 Mary Starkweather
08/02 Dick Trask
08/02 Alan Toy
08/02 Robin Pruner
08/02 Peter Dodd
08/02 Eric Dinmore
08/03 Peter Wall
08/03 Robert H Riley
08/03 Richard Peebles
08/03 Peter Briggs
08/03 Francis Claps
08/03 Rima Zaitoon
08/03 Margaret Reed
08/03 Christopher Koppenheffer
08/03 Nicholas Barbar
08/03 Kimberly Rogers
08/03 Hannah Koorbusch
08/04 Martha Stolley
08/04 Karen Sadik-Khan
08/04 Mary Fike
08/04 Sarah Lauridsen
08/04 Michael Lovely
08/05 William Bausch
08/05 Sara Stewart
08/05 Jeffrey Low
08/05 Samuel Glendon
08/05 Michelle Arader
08/05 Julia Wilfert
08/05 Hans Van Rhyn
08/06 Mabel Brown
08/06 Richard Fraser
08/06 Allison Chapman Bordeau
08/06 Nadia Marie Barbar
08/07 Ingeburg Boehm-Bezing
08/07 Marti Easton
08/07 Becky Ranta
08/07 Robert Stafford
08/07 Walker Brady
08/07 Jenny Liebowitz
08/07 Audrey Thalheim
08/08 Ken Kolb
08/08 Mary Grace Hicks
08/08 Marisa Goff
08/08 Riley McHugh
08/09 Hans Plickert
08/09 Stephen Bonsal
08/09 Sandra Wilson
08/09 Wendy Reynolds
08/09 Lucia Hoffman
08/09 Christina Cioffari
08/09 Bridget Condon
08/10 Richard Lewis
08/10 Rev Susan Craig
08/10 Bob Ebersole
08/10 Margaret Morrison
08/10 Charlie Van Roden
08/10 Robert Morris
08/11 Robert May
08/11 Kevin Hoffman
08/11 Albert Pappas
08/11 Adam Hanbury-Brown
08/11 Afif El-Solh
08/11 Aldo Pagani
08/12 William Cordner
08/12 Arthur Delmhorst
08/12 C. Rob Perelli-Minetti
08/12 Catherine De Villiers
08/13 Margot De Riemer
08/14 Elaine Smith
08/14 Susan Eveland
08/14 Eileen Griffin
08/14 Mary Costanza
08/14 Gregory Dempsey
08/14 Alan Schay
08/14 Eli Rose
08/14 Eliza Farriss
08/14 William Goggins
08/15 Lynn Carnegie
08/15 Gretchen Stiers
08/15 Heather Stiers
08/15 Eric Blasberg
08/15 Clayton Hardman
08/16 Lynn Friend
08/16 Franklin Lang
08/16 John Davidson
08/16 Dave Erickson
08/16 Jason Koob
08/16 Timothy Richmond
08/16 Bryce Rohrer
08/16 Gavin Molloy
08/17 Jamie Klintberg
08/17 Elizabeth Moore
08/17 Emily Moore
08/17 Mark Gaulocher
08/18 Betsy Pearson
08/18 Mildred Mulhall
08/18 John A Seel
08/18 Thayer Welch
08/19 Lucy Jinishian
08/19 Sharon Paris
08/19 Mark Kendrick
08/19 Alexander Moore
08/19 Lily Farriss
08/20 Carolyn Anderson
08/20 Glenn Hascher
08/20 Trevor Dinmore
08/21 Keith Atkins
08/21 Madelyn Perez
08/22 George Thomson
08/22 Richard Geismar
08/22 Libby Standish
08/22 Xiao-Ke Gao
08/22 Krysten Ericson
08/22 Janette Hoekstra
08/22 Christina Tholen
08/22 April Sandlock
08/22 Hannah Bacon
08/22 Cristian Perez
08/23 Lloyd Cooke
08/23 Jocelyn Buggy
08/24 George Fisk
08/24 Jacques Bulterman
08/24 Allison Reams
08/24 Catherine Garlid
08/24 Marilyn Derr
08/24 Amanda Sweet
08/24 Luke Taylor
08/25 Jane Ives
08/25 Peter Garlid
08/25 Lindsey Waggaman
08/25 Catherine Horn
08/25 Michael Horn
08/25 Lauren Pruner
08/25 Kristen Sotzing
08/25 Mirjam Hoekstra
08/25 Natalie Anibal
08/26 Howard Truss
08/26 Richard Woodman
08/26 Annette Bergh
08/26 Alexander Arnold
08/27 Mary Ann Chidsey
08/27 Gary Berner
08/27 Irene Pappas
08/27 Kristen Bates
08/27 Sarah Gordon
08/28 Thomas Mahoney
08/28 Eliza Sadler
08/28 Harrison Oztemel
08/28 Will Sawyer
08/28 Emily Harris
08/28 Ben Wurst
08/28 Ryan Stafford
08/29 Janet Blasberg
08/29 Thomas Kutzen
08/29 Maximilian Altznauer
08/30 Andrew Gregor
08/30 Jane Howland
08/30 Christopher Hartwell
08/30 Claire Reed
08/30 Bruce Atkins
08/30 YoYo Zhang-Bonnet
08/30 Alexander Pugliese
08/30 Brittany Miller
08/31 Charles Koob
08/31 Brandon Hallowell
08/31 Brady Farriss

First Church/First Sunday

On Sunday, August 7, First Church will have the barrel out for our regular food collection.  The shelves at our local food pantry are pretty empty. Please be generous this month as local families in need with children struggle more during the summer months with children around all day. Summer is always a challenge for our local food pantries, since there are very few community food drives. Most needed items are cereal, peanut butter & jelly, rice and pudding products. 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.)

The Members of The First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Ministers
David D. Young, Senior Pastor
Susan M. Craig, Senior Associate Pastor
Anna Paskausky, SPF Director
Rosemary Lamie,
Church School Coordinator
John Stansell, Director of Music, Senior Organist
Mark  Swicegood, Associate Organist/Director
Carolyn Diamond, Associate Musician
Susan Asselin, Parish Nurse
Libby White, Director of Preschool
Thomas L. Stiers and Sally Colegrove,
Pastors Emeriti

Sunday Services of Worship - 8  & 10 am
Church School - 10 am
Nursery Care provided during the
10 am Service.
The 10 am Service is broadcast live
 on WGCH 1490 am Radio.