The Good News!
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“Strangely Out of Place”
“She (Mary) wrapped him in cloths, and placed him in a manger … there was no room in the Inn” Luke 2:7b
“Did it still feel like home?” a college student was asked as she returned to campus after the mid- semester break. What once seemed so familiar can suddenly seem strange. Change forces us to adapt and can make things seem strangely out of place.
Thinking of Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem, (doing their civic duty by registering at the Town Hall to appease politicians), they found they had to muster a certain creativity, flexibility, and resourcefulness. There was no room at the Inn, so they hunkered down in a stable. Suddenly, instead of comfortable surroundings, they were in an obscure village and putting their child in a feedbox! Things were strangely out of place.
Despite their surroundings, despite their plans going awry, they not only “made the best of it” –
– they celebrated a deeply moving and memorable Christmas! Shepherds, who wondered whether it all was a bad dream, came to worship; Magi, who looked for their inspiration in the starry, starry night, came to bow down; angels, impressed by their ability to harmonize, sang gloriously. The common place – – the downright dusty digs – – the out of the ordinary – – took on eternal significance. Things were not as they should have been … they strangely turned out divine!
The Church is in the process of figuring out what we can offer for holiday worship for Thanks- giving, Advent, and Christmas Eve in a year when it is unsafe to gather. Things are not what they should be … can we still make it meaningful? Will Christmas be memorable? Will this be the year that we will extoll for many years to come? (‘do you remember the year, like none other, when …’?)
What do you think the Shepherds were thinking when they said, “Let us go … and see this thing that has happened”? When they made haste, did they have expectations that their lives would be changed forever? Did they long to experience God in a new, unusual way? This year, The Conway Village Congregational Church hopes to create a meaningful and memorable holiday season to make Christmas come alive!
As we approach Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas Eve, and the 12 -days of Christmas, we realize ‘things are not what they should be’. (Perhaps we are sharing an environment closer to the original Christmas!) The Brown Church is taking time to prepare for an unusual set of worship experiences. Perhaps this will be the most memorable Christmas of all! God is coming … make haste … Zoom off … tell everyone you meet … and then be sure to join us for Christmas!
Rev. John Hughes
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Farewell to our Minister of Music, Roger Miklos
“A celebration of Roger’s 16 years at the CVCC as church organist was held at Stonehurst Manor. The congregation is deeply appreciative of Roger’s service and dedication to the Brown Church. We give our thanks and wish him Godspeed!
Our Calling: Three Great Loves from a letter by the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ
“Three Great Loves,” a shared initiative of United Church of Christ congregations, conferences, and the national setting, engages all of us in faith-inspired work for a more just world. Together, we change lives. This initiative reflects the deep purpose, mission, and vision of our Christian movement. Our purpose arises from Jesus’ greatest commandment: we will love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength; and our neighbor as ourselves.
Many of us came to Church of Christ because of this sense of purpose, mission, and vision. But we need to ensure we do more than speak words. We make our commitment real by embracing Three Great Loves:
The love of Neighbor The love of Children The love of Creation
Over the next few weeks there will be some references to the Three Great Loves in our weekly letters and worship services. Please prayerfully consider the questions listed below on the ways you, and our
congregation, live out these Three Great Loves. If the spirit so moves you, we would appreciate your
response to any/all of these questions in the written form or through photos, or audio or video recordings.
- What is the unique contribution of our church to our community?
- What distinguishes our congregation from other congregations?
- Where do you see the love of our church changing lives?
- How has the love of our church changed your life?
- How have you been called to love through the church?
We would appreciate any responses to these questions in whichever format you choose. Please send them at your earliest convenience to the church via mail or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopefully, you will be able to make a financial commitment in support of the Brown Church and its missions. The stewardship mailing with pledge cards will be sent out about the same time as this newsletter. If you do not receive a stewardship letter and pledge card and would like one please contact the church 447-3851.
We believe an entire Christian movement that is willing to engage in an extended time of mission to serve these “Three Great Loves” can change the world. We know that your part in this mission matters – no matter where you are located or how large or small your community. Friends, the world needs our great love.
Together, our love for the world can transform it.
November Worship Schedule/Lectionary
Sunday, November 1st – Communion, All Saints Day
Daylight Savings Time
Psalm 34:1-10, 22
Scriptures: 1 John 3:1-3 Matthew 5:1-12
Sunday, November 8th
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Matthew 25:1-13
Sermon: “Being Shut Out”
Sunday, November 15th
1-11 Psalm 123
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians Matthew 25:14-30
Sermon: “Hoarding for God?”
Sunday, November 22nd – Thanksgiving Sunday
Scripture: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 Matthew 25:31-46
Sermon: “Is This a Parable or a Prophesy?”
Sunday, November 29th – 1st of Advent
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Scripture: Isaiah 64:1-9 Mark 13:24-37
Sermon: “The Sky is Falling”
CVCC’s Taste of the Fair – Take-Out Dinner and Apple Crisp Fundraiser
Thank you to all of you who volunteered your time, effort, and talents to the October take-out Dinner and Apple Crisp fundraiser for the church. A lot of hours were spent creating advertisements, promoting the event, tracking the online and telephone sales, coordi- nating volunteers, transporting apples and the crisp and dinner ingredients, peeling apples, slicing apples, com- bining ingredients, baking apple crisp, preparing and cooking dinners, serving/packaging the dinners and greeting our patrons, selling and distributing our products.
The event was a resounding success. We sold over 240 Chicken Dinners, and Apple Crisp Sales of: 29 cups, 147 pans, 32 large pans. In addition to their purchases, our patrons contributed $330 in donations. A lot of our customers were thrilled that we did the Apple Crisp this year. They thanked us profusely telling us it was the one treat that they typically purchase annually at the Fryeburg Fair that they were still able to enjoy this year.
We also want to thank those of you who although unable to volunteer, contributed to the event’s success by purchasing Dinners and/or Apple Crisp. The total (gross) income for this event sur- passed $6,000.
We were also able to donate enough pans of apple crisp to Dinner Bell for them to serve to their clientele Monday, October 12th.
Thank you for giving your time and talents to help make this event a success.
|Ellen Andreano||Jenn Henley||Louise Saxby|
|Duddie Andrews||Ella Hill||Amy Snow|
|Ed Bergeron||John Hughes||Carl Vitters|
|Kathy Bergeron||Marilyn Hughes||Dawn Vitters|
|Nancy Divine||Dotty Hunter||Caroline Ward|
|John Edgerton||Nancy Irving||Paul Weld|
|Mitzi Fitch||Laura Kenny||Sylvia Weld|
|Anne Getchell||Margaret Marshall||Donna West|
|Charlene Gray||Kim Murdoch||Brian Wiggin|
|Elly Gray||Suzanne Rancourt||Judy Workman|
|Sharrene Henderson||Mary Russo||Tom Workman|
As I began my November newsletter article for the Diaconate, I wondered what Thanksgiving would mean this year to many families with the Covid virus still a reality. Some might not have the family gathering, others might be meeting virtually. Many in need, we hope, will still be served by gracious religious and charitable organizations like our food pantry that will be wary to keep everyone
safe; but provide the food, support and friendship that is so desperately needed.
So, rather than an article about fall and food, I decided to focus on the word THANKSGIVING and its specific letters. How might I tie them to our beliefs, values and relationship with our God? What are some of the verses in the Bible that could be meaningful at Thanksgiving? I invite you to take a walk through our Lord’s holy book and find some messages that can reinforce our faith, guide us, give us strength and realize the many blessings we have been given not only at Thanksgiving, but every day. There are many more verses to choose from, but hopefully you will enjoy the Bible search on the few I have chosen.
May God bless and keep your friends and families well throughout this time and the coming days ahead!
T – Thanksgiving Psalm 100, Colossians 3:14-17
H – Harvest Galatians 6:9, Hebrews 12:11
A – Always Matthew 28:20, 1 Peter 3:15
N – Neighbors Mark 12:31, Luke 10:29-37
K – Kindness Titus 3:4-5, Romans 2:4, Galatians 5:22-23
S – Sharing Hebrews 13:15-16, Acts 2:42-47
G – Generosity 2 Corinthians 9:10, Ephesians 4:7
I – Impossible Luke 1:37, Zechariah 8:6-8
V – Valuable Job 28:17-19, Proverbs 8:10-11
I – Invisible Romans 1:20, Colossians 1:15-23
N – News 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Romans 1:16-17
G – Grace 2 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 12:15
Diaconate: Nancy Divine, Deacon of the Month; Louise Saxby, Mitzi Fitch, Holly Necochea, Judy Workman, Dawn Vitters, Suzanne Rancourt
To say that 2020 has been a challenging year would be an understatement. But through it all, the church has done remarkably well. We learned that we could still pro- vide a Sunday worship service by using the zoom meeting format. While we had a few glitches from time to time, it has brought us together. Instead of the service being put to- gether by just the minister with some thoughts by the deacons, now the service team con- sists of many of the deacons searching for music videos to align with the lectionary each week. Steve Graustein has become our IT person in a big way by setting up the meeting and monitoring it throughout the service each week. We have tried new things when I would preach to work out the bugs of a new thing so that Rev. Hughes would not have to deal with issues that could arise. Duddie Andrews has been diligently working on weekly deposits and keeping all the donations straight with the addition of PayPal deposits. Rev. Hughes has added a weekly letter describing the weekly lectionary readings. All this extra work has paid great dividends. Our $40,000.00 deficit budget for 2020 has been eliminated, thanks in part to increased giving by members and friends and help from two grants, one from the Payroll Protection Program and one from the UCC Conference.
The work that went into the Apple Crisp and Dinner this year was truly inspiration- al. The dinner served over 240 people, a record. We also sold nearly 200 ¼ pan sized pans of apple crisp and over 30 full sized pans. This was afforded to us by the work of Nancy Irving and Kim Murdoch who utilized the social media formats for advertising and ordering. Nancy Divine and her kitchen team did a tremendous job cooking. Thanks to everyone who came out and made this event the best ever.
We are nearing the time for our stewardship drive. This is the time when I ask that you ponder what you may be able to give this year to continue the work of the church.
Speaking of the work of the church, it is also that time of year when we have people com- ing off boards and need to have replacements. I have one deacon slot which is only a two – year slot that was left open because of our loss of Star this past year. There are two slots on the trustees. This is an exciting time to be on the trustees as we are working on the fu- ture needs of the church with the Capital Campaign. Thanks to Duddie for moving up as Financial Secretary, but she needs an assistant. There are only 4 slots that need to be filled. If you would like to help the church in any of these capacities, please let either Melody know or myself. On a sad note, due to the pandemic and lack of regular worship services, our Minister of Music, Roger Miklos had to retire from the service to the church to seek supplemental income. We thank him for all the years of talented service.
Our 2021 budget will have to be tweaked from what was approved in June, but the changes are minor and all in all will be about the same. Some line items will be reduced and some will be increased. While 2020 was challenging as well as rewarding, I ’m sure we will be glad to turn the page on 2020.
All God’s Blessings,
Carl F. Vitters, Moderator
From the Trustees
A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped with the take out meal, prep and dis- tribution of the apple crisp. We heard from many that they were very appreciative to get the crisp that they so look forward to at the fair.
There were some ingredients left, so a limited number of pans were made and frozen, ready to bake. These will be sold the same way early in November and distributed on the 19th. A pan of crisp can be your contribution to a Thanksgiving dinner.
We recently met with Bergeron Technical Services to prioritize the work needed on the church. This will be used in the Master Plan they are working on. If anyone has a question about the building project, please contact any Trustee.
We have had a number of requests to use the church by groups who used to use the church for meetings (AA for example). Some have been meeting outside and with the cold weather are looking to move inside. We are working on writing up a protocol to re-open the church for rental of space.
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
Even though we are not meeting as a group, things continue to move along.
The Food Pantry stays busy. Since March, we have started a new way of getting the food to the clients on Tuesdays. They no longer come into the Pantry, instead we load the food into a cart & take it out to the cli- ents. Once the volunteer is back in the Pantry, the client puts their items in their car and brings the carts back to the bottom of the ramp. Then, the volunteer sprays and cleans the cart with disinfectant outside.
We are still receiving shipments the 1st and 2nd Thursday of the month. We have increased what we are get- ting, due to the fact that we are going through more food. We are no longer able to order on-line from Dol- lar Tree, instead, we rely on the local store to help us. They have been great.
On Oct. 22nd, Charlyne, John Saxby, Paul and Sylvia went to the Ham Arena to help the Mobile Food Pantry, from the NH Food Bank in Manchester. They brought enough food for 498 families;
within the hour we were out of food! About 16 or so cars were turned away. Sign of the times!
Starting in November, things start getting really busy. Along with the regular shipments; Walmart, Food Bank and USDA, we will start organizing the Thanksgiving Baskets. Things will be done a lot different. As always, we will be asking for help, but limited due to having to social distance. The last day to reserve a basket will be November 10th, so if you know of anyone that is in need, please let Paul or Sylvia know. The Turkey’s will be picked up on the 14th. On the 20th, we will be putting the baskets together (as mentioned we will be calling for help). On the 23rd, and the 24th, we will be giving them out.
Here we go. Over the last couple of weeks, the Conway Middle School donated homemade breads and sent them to the Food Pantry along with a letter. They will be given the breads out over the next couple of weeks on Tuesday’s until they are gone. A few of the letters are on the next page. Again, a huge thank you goes to all the students at the Middle School for thinking of our Client’s .
With all of that going on, we continue to have people call or bring in items. It is a busy time, but a very rewarding time. Everyone take care, stay safe, and we will be together when all is safe. God Bless
Holiday Fair – Apple Crisp Sale
In an abundance of caution for our parishioners and our patrons, the CVCC annual Holiday Fair and accompanying dinners have been canceled for 2020. We look forward to seeing everyone at our 2021 Holiday Fair
Looking forward to the 2021 Holiday Fair, perhaps you have a craft hobby that you might consider making, creations to donate for the church to sell, or maybe you would be able to donate one of your creations to the silent, pick-a-prize auction for next year’s fair. If you own a business, you might donate an item or a gift certificate. If you are able to do any of these, please contact the church office.In an abundance of caution for our parish- ioners and our patrons, the CVCC annual Holiday Fair and accompanying dinners have been canceled for 2020. We look for- ward to seeing everyone at our 2021 Holiday Fair.
In lieu of this year’s Holiday Fair, we will have for sale a limited number of 9” x 7” Pans of our Apple Crisp ready for you to bake at home. The pans will be sold online through our website www.thebrownchurch.org or orders can be placed by calling the church but those or-
ders will not be confirmed until payment is received. Please mail checks payable to CVCC, (do not mail cash). Orders can be placed November 1 st thru 15th, until we run out of pans. The pans are fully prepared, uncooked and frozen. They make a great Thanks- giving dessert anytime, some of us enjoy Apple Crisp for breakfast. The pans will be dis- tributed at the church on Thursday November 19 th 5:00 to 7:00 PM.