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Worship with Us this Sunday,
April 15, 2018
Eastertide: 3rd Sunday after Easter
Greetings from Our Pastor
The Gospels agree that resurrection happened. And all four manage to convey something of the surprise, confusion, and wonder that Jesus’ disciples felt when they got the news that the tomb was empty. Luke and John maintain that some of the people who saw the risen Christ had trouble recognizing him. Others had major doubts that they could trust news that seemed too wild and preposterous to be real.
In this Sunday’s passage from Luke, we’ll hear how resurrection becomes real through eating, looking, listening, and touching wounded places. It turns out that fear and disbelief are just as likely to be our reactions when Christ shows up in our midst as joy and wonder.
Join us this Sunday as we explore some of our own responses to Christ’s resurrection. Why can it be such a struggle to remain open to the promise (and demands!) of unexpected new life? How can we come to trust, even in the midst of our doubts, that our lives and our hurting, messed-up world can be the setting for truly remarkable transformation? Where can we find the capacity to see hidden possibilities, even when they appear to contradict reasonable expectations? How can we become an Easter people, bringing hope and healing to those stuck in Good Friday pain?
Resurrection is big, bold, wildly surprising, and seriously good news. So naturally we need to sing about it, think about it, talk about it and make room to experience it on more than just one Sunday. Christ is in our midst–come and see what he has to say.
We can’t wait to see you here!
[This section updates weekly on Wednesday/Thursday.]
What’s Happening in Sunday School
Last Sunday was Easter. We celebrated Easter in Sunday in a big way! With a full class of 12 students, we began by talking about Easter and what it means and why it’s so important. Normally on a Communion Sunday our group shares their joys and concerns, something the kids really look forward to. This Sunday we did something different. We planted a Jesus Plant. We asked God to watch over our plant and we prayed over our plant, giving it our best wishes. I hope the kids look forward to seeing how much our plant has sprouted when they come in this Sunday!
Then our own Sam Clifton led our group in a special origami project. Sam directed each of us to fold small pieces of paper in very particular ways. He had everyone write their names on their individual pieces of paper. Once everyone had completed their folding, Sam took all the parts and wove them together into a 3-d sphere. Just like our class is woven together in all different parts making up on whole group, Sam wove together all of our contributions into one whole object. Thank you Sam for leading us in this very special activity!
We then moved on to our next activity. We used the tracings from each of our kids hands to make a He’s Risen magnet project. Fancy!
Then we moved on to our big activity. We made Slime! You all know that I’m big on not using stand alone activities, that each activity has a meaning and a purpose. I had promised the kids we would make Slime, but it took me several weeks to figure out how to wrap this messy project into a lesson about Easter! So when one of you asked me on Sunday what Slime had to do with Easter, I was so happy he asked me! You see, when Jesus’s body was placed into the tomb on Friday, it was broken and battered, basically in parts and pieces, like the broken hearts of the disciples who had spent so much time with Him. While in the tomb, a transformation took place. When Jesus emerged from the tomb, his body had gone through a transformation and He emerged in a different form than he had gone in. So did our Slime. We followed a recipe that combine all different parts into a bowl and through mixing and kneading on our parts, our different pieces melded together to emerge from our bowls in a totally different form from when they went in. I really hope the kids who took part in our special Sunday School program enjoyed themselves and learned something along the way.
Now that Easter has passed, we will turn our learning attention to the adult ministry of Jesus. We will begin this Sunday by learning about John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. Our class will center around water this week and next. We’ll talk about it, we’ll play with it, we’ll craft with it and we’ll even eat it! We will spend the rest of the program year learning about the adult ministry of Jesus.
Here is your official invitation to join us in Sunday School!! Join us, won’t you?[This section updates weekly on Wednesday/Thursday.]
Spiritual Formation Groups
We currently have two Spiritual Formation Groups that have begun to meet. Both groups are using Brian McLaren’s book, We Make the Road by Walking as a guide.
One Spiritual Formation Group meets on Thursdays at 12:00pm in Swartz Parlor at the church; the other Spiritual Formation Group meets on Mondays at 7:30pm at Mona Tobey’s house.
These two groups have taken a break for Lent and Easter and will resume gathering in the month of April. Stay tuned!
The Spiritual Formation Groups will follow a super simple format that is super participatory. Advanced reading before group gatherings is NOT required. You can just show up as you are.
Come and explore a faith that nourishes your deepest longings, helps you to develop unfulfilled potential, and equips you to be a part of God’s healing of the world.
If you haven’t yet done so, please prayerfully consider what you will contribute to ensure our congregation fulfills the mission God has given us in 2018. We need the distinctive gifts that you uniquely have to offer. We have mailed financial pledge cards and time and talent cards that we ask you to complete and bring with you to worship or drop them in the mail to us. If you have misplaced your pledge cards, please contact the church office during the week (845-454-2960 or email@example.com) or you can pick them up from one of our ushers on Sunday.
God has given us a mission, and we need your contributions to put it into action in 2018!
Join our Adult Chancel Choir!
If you have questions, please see Deb Bucher, our Music Director.
Remaining dates the choir is definitely singing:
- May 20 (Pentecost)
- June 17 (Last choir date of the year)
Deb is also looking for volunteers to provide special music on Sundays when the choir isn’t singing. If you’d love to share music that way, let her know (or she might ask you!).
ONA 10th Anniversary Fundraiser
Saturday, April 28, 2018
You may have noticed prior announcements from us included a (tentative) Save the Date for a “Big, Bold, and FUN” Fundraiser to commemorate our 10th anniversary of our becoming an Open and Affirming Congregation originally scheduled for Saturday, November 11, 2017. This has been MOVED to Saturday, April 28, 2018 to allow more time for preparing and planning, and so we have no fall or winter holiday (or weather) conflicts. We will be forming a steering committee for this event in order to best plan how to mark this significant anniversary in a way that builds connections with people in our wider community who don’t yet know about us. Eli Mann and Elizabeth Clifton continue to be the best points of contact on this event.
Food Donations to Dutchess Outreach
According to Feeding America,
“In 2015, 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure household, including 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children. 13 percent of households (15.8 million households) were food insecure. 5 percent of households (6.3 million households) experienced very low food security.”
What does that really mean? It means that last year there were a LOT of households that simply didn’t have enough food in their fridges, freezers and cabinets to prevent hunger.
How can we help? We can donate items to help one of our local food pantries sponsored by Dutchess Outreach. There are boxes at the front of our sanctuary. When you’re grocery shopping this coming week, could you grab one or two extra boxes of pasta? Maybe an extra jar or two of sauce? How about an an extra can or two of vegetables? Bring them to church with you and we’ll see that your donations get to Dutchess Outreach. Your donations are making a direct difference to a hungry person or family right here in Poughkeepsie.
Mission Statement Adopted (October 2017)
By a vote of the congregation at a duly called congregational meeting following worship on October 22, 2017, the following mission statement has been adopted:
The mission of First Congregational United Church of Christ is to build inclusive community, nurture disciples of Jesus, and be a blessing to our neighbors.
or as Rev. Heather invites us each Sunday to declare:
We are creators of inclusive community.
We are disciples of Jesus.
We are a blessing to our neighbors.
Coming up with our church vision is next on the agenda! Stay tuned.
Updated Congregational Photo (November 2017)!
Updated Church Photo Directory (June 2017)!
An updated church directory is available! Please contact Tracy in the church office if you need one. If you weren’t caught by Eli or Dotty this summer in order to update your contact information or photo, please feel free to reach out to either of them at any time! We are delighted to have so many fabulous new people worshiping with us and want to make sure none of our wonderful people are missing from its pages.
Coffee Hour or Fellowship Hour immediately follows most of our worship services. It provides a setting for our current members and friends to catch up with one another and it offers an opportunity for visitors to engage in conversation and see what kind of community we really are. But it’s also an expression of our commitment to the Christian practice of hospitality – of welcoming people to the table where all can find refreshment and nourishment not just of food and drink but of connection and care.
Coffee Hour can’t take place without coffee hour hosts. Hosts set up the coffee pots during worship and get the yummy stuff brewing! Then they set out the cookies or cakes or treats that will be consumed while we greet and visit with each other. Hosts are an important part of the success of this ministry!
Could you be the one to provide nourishment for body and soul that day? Food can be provided so all you’ll need to do is to physically set everything up. Please use the sign-up sheets in Margaret Chapel to sign up.
Our fellowship hour coordinators will ensure that we have sufficient supplies of coffee and paper products on hand every week. They are also looking for contributions of freezable or non-perishable food items that could be available for anyone who would like to host fellowship hour but may not have the means to shop for it. Could you be the one to provide nourishment for body and soul that day?