The First Congregational Church of Greenwich
Special nature of music continues beyond Christmas
When in our music God is glorified,
How often, making music, we have found,
So has the church, in liturgy and song,
And did not Jesus sing a psalm that night
Let every instrument be tuned for praise!
Hymn text by Fred Pratt Green, 1972
Music, carols and singing have had a very special place for us during the Advent and Christmas Season. And now as we turn the corner of the New Year, we will continue to put a special emphasis on music during our worship.
The Winter Sermon Series is "Faith Notes" and we will have an opportunity to sing some of the wonderful old hymns during worship and explore their historic and relevant relationship to scripture and our lives. The sermon titles and line-ups are as follows:
Music carries so much emotional weight in our lives that it is often hard to measure its full impact in the depths of our souls. As a retired minister once observed, "A song in your heart is worth five in the hymn book." Or as someone else has stated, "A good hymn sung from the heart can provide more meaning than two hours of television."
Only you know how wonderful, older hymns touch you. But if they do, plan to be part of worship over the next few months - and together we will glorify God through our music!
Oh, and if I could, I would sing to you now…
Sunday, January 1
Sunday, January 8
Sunday, January 15
Sunday, January 22
Sunday, January 29
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 www.wgch.com and click on “Listen Live.” The Sunday morning worship order can be found on our website at www.fccog.org .
SPF Benefit Concert- January 28, 7 pm
The Senior Pilgrim Fellowship will be putting on a Benefit Concert January 28 at 7 pm in the Auditorium to both showcase the talents of members of our community and raise money for the upcoming SPF mission trips to Honduras and H.O.M.E. Co-op. We'll have a variety of performers and bands showing off their stuff- come check it out! Or, if you're disinclined to enjoy such youthful exuberance, consider making a donation to NOT come to our show! It promises to be a great showing of our youth's talent and dedication to serving those with unmet needs in this world.
Food Pantry Update
Our Harvest Sunday offering in November went a long way to fill the shelves of the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry and they are truly grateful. The pantry manager remarked as we loaded the offering that it was the greatest outpouring of generosity he had seen in a long time, especially considering that we continue to donate throughout the year.
The need continues to grow and with the coming of the New Year donations historically begin to drop. Let's not let that happen. The barrel will be out again on Sunday, January 1 for the first collection of the New Year. Any donations are great, but most needed items at this time are small jars of jam, canned beans and rice. If you can't donate on Sunday but have a chance some other time, leave the items in the church office and we will get them to the pantry.
First Church Preschool Teacher Substitutes
The First Church Preschool is recruiting caring individuals, who have experience with preschool children and are interested in being placed on the teacher substitute list. Substitutes are needed, on an on-call basis, for 3 and 4 year old classes during the morning from 8:00 to 11:30 am or 12:30 to 3:00 pm. For more information, please contact Libby White, Preschool Director at 637-5430 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
A very special opportunity for a very special person! The Rummage Room is a good sized not for profit business and as such needs a good treasurer to help keep the books, etc. Currently, Joan Johansen is in the position and is eager to train to her successor. Please prayerfully consider whether or not your skills and background make you suited for this very important community service position. Call Irene Savage at 637-0285 for more details.
From the Parish Nurse
It’s difficult to believe that another year has past. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Wellness Committee for all their hard work and support this past year. We were especially challenged when we received our supply of flu vaccine at this already very busy time of year. Yet, there they were, beside me, to hold two vaccine clinics on the last two Sundays before Christmas. What a team!
The Wellness Committee members are: Betsy Kreuter (Chair), Ginny Breismeister, Ruth Davidson, Joyce Ferris, Paul Kretschmann, Ginge Liddel, Pat Myer, Ruth Reed, and Darleyne Sandreuter. Because of them, I am able to bring you programs that enhance physical, spiritual, and emotional health. The next time you talk with one of them, please join me in thanking them for their contribution to the congregation's wellness.
They’ve been busy planning programs for the year 2006. This spring, look for these events:
Ongoing programs include blood pressure screenings nearly every Sunday, and Medicare Part D individual counseling sessions with computer access, available by appointment (call ext 21). As always, if you would like your blood pressure taken or you have any health-related concerns or questions, stop in to see me in room 203.
The members of the Wellness Committee and I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful year ahead, full of blessings and joy! We thank you for your support of the services and educational programs planned and presented by our ministry.
January Parish Nurse hours:
Three long-term committee chairmanships will end with this month's Annual Meeting. One of the people retiring is the Music Committee's Hilary Lawrence. On a committee whose job has historically been one of logistical support to the various aspects of the music program of the church, no one knows the drill better than Hilary. Her participation in Noye's Fludde since our first production in 1968, faithful devotion to the Chancel Choir, organizing the refreshments for Sunday Afternoons Live, preparing supper for the Messiah orchestra, managing the seating of the Messiah chorus, and buying for and organizing the preparation for Music Sunday, have equipped her with a vast knowledge of how things work. What a great help and comfort she has been to me over these last years. It will take a careful study of her notes, and the work of several people, to attempt to equal the efficient way in which all of these events were handled.
Hilary will be honored at the Annual Meeting this month, along with the other retiring committee chairmen. Whether or not you can be present that day, be sure to express your personal appreciation to Hilary for her vast contribution over the years. We're hopeful that she will be around for many years to come as a valuable resource in the running of musical events.
God bless you, Hilary!
Farewell to Carolyn Diamond
On Sunday morning, January 29, Carolyn Diamond will be our organist for the last time in her role as Associate Musician. We will honor her at the Coffee Hour after the service that day.
Carolyn was our regular organist for the first year of John Stansell's tenure as music director, after which she and her husband Alan reestablished a residence in their native Minneapolis and began dividing their time between there and New York City. She so loved being part of our worshipping community that she strove to establish a regular schedule of playing the organ here, allowing our resident musicians a frequent, much appreciated weekend off. Many in the congregation looked forward to her visits because of the special style she brings to the service playing. Through the Diamonds' generous contribution to the Church, her work became a de facto gift to us, and we are grateful.
The Diamond's are now in Minneapolis full time, where Carolyn has recently become interim organist at Wayzata Community Church and will have an ongoing artist-in-residence position there when the regular organist returns from sick leave. She will not be able to continue her regular visits to us. We all wish Carolyn the very best and hope that, as circumstances allow, our worship will occasionally be blessed with her fine music making in the future.
Family Focus Group
What's on your mind? If you are interested in examining the array of issues confronting today's families join one of our focus groups. These conversations are open to anyone who is intrigued by family dynamics and has opinions to share or questions to ask. A series of meeting times will be scheduled in January, February and March (details to follow). Please let Aaron Sinay know if you are interested in participating in any of these family groups.
Welcome Back to Church
School on January 8!
We welcome our children back to Church School on January 8. That Sunday we will be teaching about Epiphany, the celebration of the twelfth day of Christmas when we remember the arrival of the wise men who had followed a star, finally finding their way to Bethlehem.
As we move into the six week season of Epiphany, we will consider the continuing revelation of Jesus' identity, consider the subject of baptism, and the blessing of the Holy Spirit .
Our January Calendar
2nd graders and their parents begin their Communion exploration with a Parents Only Communion 101 class on Wednesday, January 25 with Susie Craig. Then on the following Sunday, January 29, during Church School, the children and their parents will continue participate in a workshop learning about the sacrament and making family communion banners. A special Communion Service for second graders and their families will be held on Saturday, February 4 in the Meetinghouse. Any family whose children did not have this opportunity when their child(ren) were in 2nd grade who would like to participate now should call either Susie (ext. 25) or Rosemary (ext. 20) to explore this option further. In the interest of being more accessible to our teachers as you prepare your lessons, Rosemary is available on Saturday mornings to assist your planning and gathering of materials for class. Please just call ahead before Noon on Friday if you'd like to meet or stop by to check supplies.
First Church Prepares for Honduras
January is here, and now begins a month of preparation for our 2006 trip to Honduras. In February the Senior Pilgrim Fellowship and their advisors will be leaving to not only visit our mission projects, but to roll up our sleeves and do some work. The church in Honduras has been working hard to complete the Nutrition Center that we funded, next door to the Subirana Clinic. We will be painting it, and preparing it to open this spring. In addition we will be working on their village church that is also under construction.
While there we will be living in the Subirana Medical Clinic. Dr. Russell Berdoff from Greenwich, had heard about our efforts, and has decided to join us. The Department of Medical Services of the church in Honduras is very grateful that he can come, and has scheduled a cardiac clinic to take place while we are there. We also hope to serve as couriers of medical supplies. Enclosed is the list of needed medications that we will be seeking from local medical practices and pharmacies in our area. Dental supplies are also needed. Currently, Subirana has a dentist, but she has no supplies with which to practice. For this reason, we hope that First Congregational Church can be a collection point for these needed items across the month of January.
Mid-month, our Honduras Travel Group will be helping the Church School with a Big Event in which they will learn about our mission efforts, and Jesus' teachings which call us to such actions. They, along with our Preschool, will also help make "Healthy Valentines" for us to deliver in the mountain villages outside Subirana.
Healthy Valentines translate as:
For those interested in providing needed supplies, a list of medications is included. Additional copies of this are available on the sermon rack and in the Church Office. In addition to contributions of medical supplies, we will also be purchasing MAP boxes, boxes of medicine made possible through pharmaceutical suppliers. Through this program a purchase of $400 will provide a supply of medicine valued between $5,000 and $10,000 dollars.
We look forward to everyone's support. While the Senior Pilgrim Fellowship is traveling, we really hope to do so on behalf of us all.
Christian Outreach Survey Results
The Christian Outreach Committee would like to offer many thanks to the congregation for all your participation in the Christian Outreach survey which was circulated this fall. Over the past month the Committee has had time to process the results and wanted you to know your results. They will serve as a helpful guide as the Christian Outreach Committee makes its decisions across the coming year.
In brief, there was broad concurrence in the importance of mission in our life as a congregation as regards to education, voluntarism, and allocations. General agreement was indicated with the course of allocation of outreach dollars as was appreciation of communications from the Christian Outreach Committee.
Exploring the areas of greatest concern for us as a congregation, the following ranking was created with the first named being considered most critical:
As regards to our Lenten Offering, the following areas of need were deemed most significant - first, basic human need, then medical outreach. These areas were followed by education, evangelism and missionary support. There continues support for our Lenten Offering to be divided between distant and domestic programs. In the programs taking place at a distance, there was the priority raised that the location be able to insure broad hands on participation and opportunities for visitation.
Many other thoughtful comments were made, all of which are available in the Front Office in a notebook in the library area for perusal.
Many thanks for your input.
The Christian Outreach Committee.
Growing as God’s Design
Between November 16 and December 18, First Church has received 96 additional pledges of financial support toward our 2006 Stewardship campaign. The Board of Trustees gratefully acknowledge the pledge commitments that have been received during that period (which brings the total number to 420) from the following members and friends, as well as those who wish to remain anonymous:
Christmas Tree Sales
On December 3, 612 trees were unloaded in 45 minutes by a wonderful crew of volunteers. Tree sales began immediately in earnest and by the end of the second weekend, 24 trees remained. The rapid sales were due in large part to the number of volunteers who pitched in so cheerfully to help make this sale a success. We found it particularly interesting that our week day sales (no volunteer sales people) were close to $2,000. Perhaps next year we should put an extra staff member in the front office and eliminate our volunteer sales force......just kidding. Now, all kidding aside, we wish to thank everyone who helped with the sale. Without the volunteers, this sale would not happen. We wish to extend a special thank you to Dan and Tina Videtto and Bob and Pam Speer who relieved a large burden off the co-chairman’s backs...literally.
Dr. David D. Young, Senior
Thomas L. Stiers and Sally Colegrove, Pastors Emeriti
Nursery Care provided during the 10 am Service.