The First Congregational Church of Greenwich
Those who know the tradition of hymn sings here at the church on summer Sundays may well know the truth of Campbell's insight. For those unfamiliar with hymn sings, we begin some of our summer worship services with a 5-8 minute period where anyone in the congregation can call out a number from either the Pilgrim Hymnal or the New Century Hymnal and we sing a verse or two of that particular hymn and move on to another (we've never had a "bingo" but maybe this will be the summer).
We will begin our hymn sings on July 9th and continue through the month of August with the exception of August 6th (which is communion Sunday). When I think of some of the great hymns of the church, I realize how powerful music can be in the lives and faith of those who grew up singing in strong, vibrant churches. Hymns such as:
Put us in touch with reality they do! Remembrances of growing up in church, parental favorites, and loved ones departed - touch many of us deeply. And it is great fun to sing exuberantly from the heart.
Remembering the past is most helpful when it energizes us to respond fully to the present and future. Just so, it has been helpful to give people in our church the opportunity to reach out to our brothers and sisters in the Gulf coast area who are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. We knew very quickly in the aftermath that the need would be great for a long, long time. On June 18th we had a Father's Day Brunch to raise money as part of our ongoing support. And by the way, the program was music featuring the beautiful singing of "Cookie" Thomas. The over $11,000 raised will be going directly through our UCC coordinator, Alan Coe, who will be dispersing the money to members of UCC churches whose homes and lives have been uprooted.
Through our combined efforts of monetary support and prayers, we can make a difference. In the words of "Amazing Grace":
Knowing the dangers and difficulties so many are going through in our world today, let's be agents of amazing grace through our sharing and caring.
Finally, Ordinary Time!
It is always good to have summer arrive. All year we look forward to warm weather and the beauty this season brings year upon year. A change of pace renews our spirits and makes us newly aware of all that surrounds us - opportunities for rest and relaxation, time with our families, travels and simple down home time. From each perspective it is a gift.
But with the coming of summer, our church calendar also brings a gift, oftentimes not realized. For we also enter into a new season, the season of Pentecost. This season began as we remembered the coming of the Holy Spirits to the disciples gathered in that upper room in Jerusalem. It was then that they were empowered to go forth and spread Jesus teachings and welcome people into the church.
In our time, as a congregation and as individuals in the church we remember that story on Pentecost Sunday. But that special day of remembrance is then followed by the longest season of the church year.
Pentecost is with us all the way to Advent in December. In keeping with the duration of this season has come another name, and that is Ordinary Time, a period of time in our faith not tied to the stories of Advent and Christmas, or Lent and Easter - where we focus on the events of Jesus' life. Rather this is a time to focus on Jesus' teachings and practice our faith.
This summer I hope each of us can find some time to be more aware of our faith, as it touches and guides each one of us. Perhaps you will have the chance to deepen your prayer life. Perhaps the beauty of this earth will cause you to wonder at the vision of our Creator. Perhaps right in the middle of your everyday wanderings you will see one of Jesus' teachings come to life.
For us in our usually over-programmed lives, I hope these months can permit time for the sacred - in the fashion that is right for each of us.
God bless! Susie Craig
From the Quilting Frame
The 2006 Quilt has been raffled off. We are busy quilting the 2007 Raffle Quilt. It is a colorful “Double Irish Chain.” On the side, so to speak, we have been working on the 2008 Tulip Appliqué Quilt, which is kept in reds, pinks and greens and promises to be most attractive. Once this is assembled and put on the frame we will pick out fabrics from our fabric stash for a traditional “Pineapple” design quilt for 2009 (nothing like planning ahead.)
We enjoy the challenge that comes with trying out a new design and hope you and your daughters and friends will be tempted to join our group this summer. While working with us you will have a chance to learn the tricks of the trade and enjoy great fellowship. We meet every Monday, 9-12, rain or shine, summer and winter in room 203.
I can only promise that quilting in a group is a kind of group therapy and good for the soul. It gives you a chance to share your joys and sorrows, to find help and answers to many of your questions. It also makes you feel fulfilled, because you are working for a good cause. You are creating something beautiful, while you are picking up tricks of the trade for your own projects. Try it. You’ll like it.
Summer Church School Continues
For the past four weeks, our children have enjoyed creating and caring for a mini-environment in the classroom to increase their understanding of God's Creation and how to responsibly care for it. They have planted seeds, collected little crawlers, and built a beach setting. We now look forward to the second half of Summer Church School and hope that our children may have at least one opportunity to be with us. Also, Grandparents are invited to bring their visiting grandchildren, too.
Children begin with worship in
Give the GIFT of TIME to FIRST CHURCH
Each year the Nominating Committee looks for individuals who are interested in being considered to serve 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. It is also a great way to get to know the clergy, staff and other members better, strengthen your faith, and serve others.
Would you like to be considered for service in this way? Do you know of someone who might be interested, capable and available to serve our Church? If the answer to either of these questions is "YES", please speak to one of the Nominating Committee members listed below. Some of the opportunities include:
Officers of the Church (prior church service &
two years of membership required)
Deacons - 24 Deacons 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.
Church Clerk - Keeps a record of the proceedings of the church; issues letters of transfer of church membership, records the minutes of all church meetings and issues the call for church meetings.
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.
Treasurer - Disburses funds under the direction
of the Board of Trustees and renders a financial statement at the annual
Financial Secretary - Responsible for the
receipt, collection and deposit of funds received by the church, except as
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.
The Eyes Have It!
Most of us take our eyesight for granted, since we use it almost every waking moment. The local middle school students have a great awareness-raising assignment in which they blindfold themselves for a designated amount of time, in order to experience having a disability. This might do all of us some good, and would certainly provide a renewed appreciation for the gift of sight. The summer season brings with it an increased risk of certain eye injuries. Two different problems arise: sudden injuries from fireworks, and slow damage from ultraviolet (UV) light exposure.
Nationally, 2000 eye injuries are caused by fireworks each year, and 400 people lose vision in one or both eyes. According to the experts, the safest bet for enjoying fireworks, is to let the professionals handle them. In other words, attend a public fireworks display to celebrate the Fourth of July. If one night is not enough, there's always Rye Playland every Wednesday and Friday for the rest of the summer. Still, some folks just can't resist using their own fireworks, and if this is the case, here are some facts to keep in mind when deciding: Avoid bottle rockets, Roman candles, and illegal fireworks, as they account for the majority of injuries. Be very cautious with sparklers, which cause the most injuries to children under the age of five.
The sun's UV rays, well known for causing skin cancer, wrinkles and premature aging; can also cause cataracts and macular degeneration, eye conditions that can lead to blindness. During the summer, the level of UV radiation from the sun is three times that of winter. So when we're lathering on the sunscreen, we should also be putting on sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats. Not all sunglasses are created equal. It's important to wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens or the price tag. Rather, UV protection comes from a chemical added to the lens material or coated on the lens surface. Avoiding the midday sun (from 10:00 to 2:00) also helps decrease exposure and damage.
Also worthy of mention is the value of swim goggles. Chlorine can irritate the eyes, causing redness and puffiness. Lakes and ponds may have bacteria that can cause inflammation, especially for contact wearers.
As we enjoy the summer season, let's remember to take care of our eyes. With the grace of God, I pray we will behold the beauty of the earth for many years to come.
SPF ISLAND BEACH
What? A camp-out after a cookout. S'mores, sandcastle contests, flashlight tag, midnight meditation, and more…
Where? On Island Beach, a Town of Greenwich Park
When? Wed. July 12, 5 PM- Thurs., July 13, 10:30 AM
Who? SPFers and rising Freshman
Why? It's summer!!!! It's SPF!!!!
How? Return permission slip to Anna P. ASAP! Then on July 12 meet at the Arch Street Ferry Dock to depart on the 5 PM Ferry. We will leave on the first ferry, 10:30 AM, on Thursday morning (we can call parents for rides).
How much? This event is FREE- you just need to pay for the ferry, $2 with your beach card. (non-residents, we'll cover the difference).
What Else? The cook-out will be a Summer Dinner open to SPF and CPF until 7 PM, when non-campers will depart the island - but you'll stay ALL NIGHT!
Space is very limited: sign up early.
Join the SPF/CPF every Wednesday evening starting July 5th for their annual weekly Summer dinners. Contact Anna Paskausky for up to the minute details.
Reminder for the Beach Service: When the weather is unfavorable on Sunday morning a white paper is taped to the sign board in front of the church. This indicates that the service has been cancelled. If you would like to attend worship, please come later that morning to the Meetinghouse at 10:00 am.
Church Family Transitions
The Members of The First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Ministers
David D. Young, Senior Pastor
Sunday Service of Worship -