The Good News!
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January 2021 Newsletter
“whatever you do for the least of these…”
“Strangely Out of Place”
As we come to the end of 2020, we will have been in quarantine from March 15th through December 31st, 291 days! It has been quite a year for “The Brown Church”. Charles Dickens opens his novel, A Tale of Two Cities, with a quote:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of foolishness, it was the age of wisdom,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair …”
Charles Dickens uses the quote to contrast 2 cities, London and Paris, before and during the French Revolution, yet in our case, we could use the quote for how different individuals have responded to the Covid- 19 Pandemic. It seems as if we are witnessing thoughtful, methodical moments, at the same time, we were witnessing thoughtless reactions and chaotic stupidity.
At Conway Village Congregational Church, we chose to not react to the Pandemic by demanding our religious rights and keeping a strict ‘Separation of Church and State’. Instead, we worked with public recommendations, as well as, applied for public grants, to guarantee the health and welfare of the Mt. Washington Valley. That has always been the mission of our Church, to serve our greater community.
While we have met (and to continue to meet) virtually for worship and Bible study, we have adapted our in-person, community feeding programs to meet a heightened demand. Food insecurity is on the rise! Our pantry is a good example. We continue to accept ‘walk-ins’ (41 families which means 101 people) and ‘regular clients’ (114 families which means 273 people served), for a total of 155 families (374 people) who, because of food insecurity, are continually relying on our services. Our Thanksgiving Baskets numbered 129 for 2020; our Thanksgiving Baskets last year numbered 68.
Some people will see these numbers and say, “It’s the worst of times … the number of families who are hungry has doubled … How terrible!” Yet, at the same moment, other people reading the same figures will say, “How wonderful that the generosity and the volunteers of our Church has allowed us to serve twice as many meals in a secure, sanitary environment to guarantee the health and welfare of our Valley!”
Perhaps it is best to quote humorist, Art Buchwald, who once said:
“Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times…
It is the only time we have.”
At “The Brown Church”, we have made the best of the times (and the demands) we have been given. Whatever the future holds, we continue to hope and pray, that God will guide us to serve those who most need our assistance.
Rev. John Hughes
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Notice of Annual Meeting
TO: All Members and Friends of the Conway Village Congregational Church
The Annual Meeting of the Membership of the Conway Village Congregational Church will be held on Sunday, January 31, 2021, at approximately 11:30 am in the Fellowship Hall of the Conway Village Congregational Church after worship. Please be aware that the Annual Meeting will be conducted right after church via Zoom meeting platform. Voting will be done via roll call method. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office for the phone in information.
The purpose of this Annual Meeting will be:
- To hear reports of the officers, board and standing committees for the preceding year.
- To approve a Budget for 2021.
- To elect officers, board and standing committee members for 2021.
- To conduct any other business that may come to the floor of the meeting.
Dated at: Conway, New Hampshire, on the 22th of December 2020
Dawn Vitters, Clerk
January Worship Schedule/Lectionary
Sunday, January 3rd – Communion
Psalm 72:1-7, 12-14
Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14
Matthew 2:1-12 Sermon: “By Another Road”
Sunday, January 10th – Baptism of Jesus
Scripture: Acts 19:1-7
Sermon: “Just How were You Bathed?”
Sunday, January 17th – Epiphany 2
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20)
Sermon: “Being Recognized and then Valued”
Sunday, January 24th – Epiphany 3
Scripture: Jonah 3:1-5, 10
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Sermon: “Resting in God Alone”
Sunday, January 31st – Epiphany 4
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Sermon: “Knowledge Puffs Up but Love Builds Up”
Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year, even with this pandemic. Many of us are unable to be with love ones. While that is sad, we have the “magic” of video chats and church zoom services. Being able to see and talk to the ones we love, both friends and family helps ease the pain.
Focusing on our blessings will help us to be truly thankful. All of us on the Diaconate wish you joy and happiness.
My daughter use to run around the house singing “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”
I say AMEN
Diaconate: Louise Saxby, Mitzi Fitch, Holly Necochea, Judy Workman, Dawn Vitters, Suzanne Rancourt, Nancy Divine,
From the Trustees
. and just like that it is 2021, Happy New Year to all.
Despite the challenges presented to us here at the church, we have still been able to see each other on the Zoom Sunday services, have successful fundraisers and with the help of some Covid financial assistance and your pledges, cover expenses.
The 2021 budget has been completed and we thank all of you who sent in your pledge cards. We will re- view the budget at the virtual Annual Meeting on January 31st, after the service. We hope many of you can attend to approve the budget and committee nominations.
The 2021 Pledge Envelopes are in. We have put them in the Narthex on the table next to the side door (handicap ramp, orange door). You may pick them up Monday thru Thursdays, from 8:30 to 4PM. Ring buzzer to left of orange door to be let into church. Feel free to call the church with any questions.
We chose to do one fundraising dinner per month, for the first quarter of 2021. The first 3 take out din- ner dates are January 20th, February 17th and March 17th. A sign up for volunteering will be emailed or you can call the office to sign up.
Due to changes in his employment schedule, Gabe Necochea has resigned from the Trustees. We would like to thank him for the time he put in for the church. If anyone would like to become a Trustee, we would be glad to talk to you about serving.
Co-Chairs: Anne Getchell, Nancy Divine
Duddie Andrews, John Edgerton, Nancy Irving, Kim Murdoch, Gabe Necochea, Paul Weld
Ex-officio member Carl Vitters – Church Treasurer
Here we are into a brand-new year. 2020 was certainly a strange year!
In March it was decided to close the Food Pantry to clients coming inside. We informed the clients to stay in their cars and wait for their food to be brought to the bottom of the handicap ramp. Then, when the volunteers come back inside, the clients could get their food from the carts and load it into their cars. The volunteers would disinfect the carts outside and bring them back in and it start all over again. They would all have their masks and gloves on. Once the pantry was done for the day, anything that was touched in the pantry or the Henderson room would get sanitized.
I think what everyone misses is the contact we had with the Clients and asking how they are doing and how the family is doing. When doing something for a long time you get to know everyone.
We have had a least 1 to 3 new clients a week.
We are all hoping and praying that with a new year we will, at some point, see things going back to the old ways again, keep fingers crossed.
As you can see, we have included a list of items that we use in the pantry and the size we buy. We also except cash!
As always, the Outreach Committee is sending out a “HUGE” Thank You to all that have been right there helping. Everyone one of you are very much appreciated.
The Outreach Committee
Anne, Dawn, Charlyne, Laura, Shawn, and Sylvia