Conway Village

Congregational Church

March 2024

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What is Easter to Be?


“… for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone,  for they were afraid.”       Mark 16:8


The oldest transcripts of the Gospel of Mark end at chapter 16, verse 8. The women, who are the first witnesses of resurrection, say nothing to anyone! They have purchased spices at sundown Saturday to properly anoint the body of Jesus at dawn Sunday. Performing, what turns to be a “dead” (i.e., unneeded) ritual, they run into proof of a living Christ – – they panic, they say nothing! Even the most faithful followers of Jesus fail in Mark’s eyes.

When Mark wrote his Gospel, people had been telling the story of the Risen Christ for years. People knew the story – – People knew the ending. Why does Mark leave us with a “non-ending” story? Scribes, writing his Gospel years later, could not tolerate that it ended so abruptly, so, they do what good scribes do – – they “finished” his Gospel by adding an ending (verses 9-20). Scribes need everything described, everything explained. Mark obviously did not need what the scribes needed – – Mark left the ending of the Easter story to the Holy Spirit and to his readers.

Mark’s Gospel leaves the end of the story to the reader of his Gospel. At the end of Mark, everyone and everything has failed to measure up – – Now, what?

Isn’t that where the Conway Village Church finds itself?

This Easter, we find ourselves standing at the brink of an “uncompleted story”, left with the question,

“What Should the Ending of this Easter Story Be?”

Do we compose the rest of the Gospel for ourselves as we meet the Resurrected Christ and follow? Can we write our own ending?

These profound questions are Mark.

The Answers … Ours!


Yours through Christ,

Rev. John Hughes                                                                                                             Easter 2024

Council & Building Update

Welcome March! This is the month we gain the most daylight and sunset is around 5:30.

We had a well attended Council meeting in February, held at the Conway Fire Department. We discussed the six options that were presented to the congregation at the Annual Meeting and in the last newsletter. Thank you to all who responded. Council members were asked to do research on each option. We will review these at the next meeting in March, and will be shared with all at the Special Meeting scheduled for April 21st after church. The next Council meeting is on March 20th at 4:30 and anyone can attend.

The Special Meeting in April will be after the church service. We are planning on starting the service at 9:30 that day, so that we have plenty of time to discuss the options for the church and changes to the by-laws. We hope members will attend.

The Trustees continue to monitor the finances. The first two months show a deficit. We thank all of you who are keeping up your pledges. Pledges alone do not cover the operating income of the church. We are not able to have fundraisers or collect income for building use, so the income is down. We want to thank the pantry and Dinner Bell for continuing to support the church.

On February 17th, we had a walk through at the church, open to anyone. There were 15 attendees including church members, community members, a town Selectman and the Daily Sun. We gave them a tour and discussed the challenges we have ahead of us.

The flood clean up in the crawl space resumed at the end of February. Clean Harbors removed the oil tanks and began removing the 40 tons of contaminated soil. When they arrived on the 15th, they set up a small heater outside the crawl space access. Unfortunately, it was too close to the church and started a small fire (see pictures on next page). Luckily, it was noticed early and put out quickly.

More to come, but it looks like the pantry will re-open in Conway Village in temporary space right on Main Street. Thank you Paul and Sylvia!

The church has quite a task ahead in the coming months. We will be discussing the options with church members at the Special Meeting on April 21st. Rev. Hughes recently suggested, “We need to re-imagine the Brown Church Building”. We have church service on Sundays, and two bible studies each week, the Pantry and Dinner Bell. How can we fill the space during the other times? How can the church building be used to support the operating budget? How do we create a property that supports our missions in the village in a meaningful way for the future? We are looking for feedback from both members and the community.

Anne Getchell

From the Deacon’s Bench

This is Holy ground, we’re standing on Holy ground, For the Lord is present, and where God is, is Holy… This is Holy ground, we’re standing on Holy ground, For the Lord is present, and where God is, is Holy.

For me, I hear the voice of God through music. The first Sunday that we held services at the Majestic Theater, I woke with the song Holy Ground playing in my mind. The words and music continued as I walked to church in the Majestic Theater. As I entered the theater, I felt as though I was worshiping in a grand cathedral in Europe. As the weeks have passed, that song keeps playing in my mind. I have thought about worship spaces mentioned in the Bible. Abraham worshiped on a mountain. Moses met God on Mt. Sini. As people claimed God as Their God, a tent was sewn, to be carried through the 40 years of wandering in the dessert.

David wanted to build a Temple, a house For God, but God told him that was for another to do. Solomon built that temple, which was destroyed years later, rebuilt, and destroyed again. Before that destruction, the curtain that separated the Holy of Holy’s from the temple was torn, at the time when Christ was crucified. With Christ, we could now approach God, we didn’t have to rely on a priest.

When I was going through confirmation, a group of us attended a program where we were divided into small groups, given different types of building materials, and told to build an ideal church. Some students built 4 walls and a typical sanctuary, some had the people sitting in a circle. My group tried to build a walk in nature, the place we felt closest to God. One group had Tinker Toys, and took what looked like an axel, put it on its side, and had arms reaching down from the top wheel, and arms reaching up from the bottom wheel. The leader of that group explained that church was the connection made with other people.

We, the members of the Conway Village Congregational Church, have more than King David, we have a safe building where we can meet, while we decide what to do. And, as I learned in Confirmation Class, the church is the people, supporting each other, as we join to worship God.

True, we have lost one of our most important parts of church, and that is the space that we used to minister to/with the community. While we lick our wounds, and decide what CVCC is being called to be, we need to know that we have Holy Ground, here and now, for where God is, is HOLY.

The Board of Deacons

Judy Workman, Louise Saxby, Beth Campbell, Jill Reynolds and Charles Monaghan