This page is updated every Wednesday for the upcoming week. If you’re here on Monday or Tuesday and it seems “outdated”, we invite you to check back in at that time.
Worship with Us this Sunday,
December 24, 2017
First Sunday after Christmas
(and New Year’s Eve!)
A Greeting from Our Pastor
Most people think of Christmas as a single day event. But in the church, our celebration of Christ’s birth lasts almost two whole weeks after December 25th (twelve days to be precise). After all, something as momentous and awe-inspiring as God’s boundless love becoming incarnate in a person like you or me is just too big to contain within the span of only one day. Besides, there are far more fabulous Christmas carols to sing than can fit into our Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols service.
Join us this Sunday as along with that courageous teenaged mother Mary we continue to ponder in our hearts just what Christ’s coming means to us and to our world. We’ll have the opportunity to sing several more Christmas carols we didn’t sing this past Wednesday evening. As we have done the past six years, worship will include participative story telling that engages all ages. Fun costumes, congregational-ly created sound effects, and maybe even some spontaneous laughter will help us to experience the shepherds’ adventurous journey to Bethlehem. We’ll also take time to remember the blessings we enjoyed and the challenges we faced in 2017 so that we can reflect on what we hope to learn and how we hope to grow in 2018.
Come and celebrate the wonder of Christ’s birth. Come and discover anew the lengths God will go to be in relationship with us. Come and remember how nothing is impossible with God.
We can’t wait to see you here!
[This section updates weekly on Wednesday/Thursday.]
A Greeting from our Sunday School
First, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the 4 readers from our congregation who took part in our play this past Sunday. Judith Heilman, Mike Soyka, Allan Clifton and Linda Gregorius helped explain what was happening as the kids decorated an actual tree and our area with the trappings of Christmas and why each one represented a different thing. We had a great time presenting our little play and we certainly hope you enjoyed it.
This Sunday we will once again be suspending our regular learning in favor of a brand new (hopefully) annual tradition in our church. We will be enjoying “Poptarts and Pajamas” on Sunday, December 31st. We invite you to read more about this planned fun-filled event in the next announcement!
On Sunday, January 7, 2018 we will resume our regular curriculum and will pick up where we left off with our friend David. Only this time we’ll be talking about David and his friend Jonathan.
Your support of our program is greatly appreciated! Please sign up to be the on call 2nd adult for our classroom. Sign-up sheets are in Margaret Chapel. No experience is necessary. Just a willing heart and a ready smile.
Here is your official invitation to join us in Sunday School!! We can’t wait to see you here!!
[This section updates weekly on Wednesday/Thursday.]
Pop-tarts and Pajamas!
Did you ever wake up on a Sunday morning and wish you could just roll out of bed, jump in the car and go to church? Well, on Sunday, December 31st, our kids will have exactly that chance! The Sunday School proudly presents Pop-tarts and Pajamas! On 12/31 we will forgo our regular curriculum studies and the children are invited to wear their pajamas to church! We’ll enjoy pop-tarts and hot chocolate (or milk if the kids don’t want hot chocolate). We’ll watch a movie, talk about New Year’s and why it could be a chance for a new start or to start a new tradition and one of our children has said she’ll entertain us with “Auld Lang Syne” on her cello! It will be a relaxing fun morning! We hope you’ll make plans to be here that day!
PS – Wanna join in the fun? Adults are welcome to wear their pajamas to church that day too!
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. Another Spiritual Formation Group meets on Mondays at 7:30pm at Mona Tobey’s house.
The Monday group will NOT meet on January 1st.
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. We do invite you to read the preface (“What this book is about and how to use it”) and the introduction (“Seeking Aliveness”) in advance as it will help to orient you to what we’ll be exploring and doing together.
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.
Church Office Hours first week in January
Because New Year’s Day falls on a Monday (Rev. Heather’s & Tracy’s normal day off), the church office will be CLOSED on Tuesday, January 2nd. Normal office hours resume Wednesday, January 3rd.
Happy New Year everyone!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!
Mission Statement Adopted
By a vote of the congregation at a duly called congregational meeting following worship on Sunday, October 22nd, 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.
Join our Adult Chancel Choir!
If you have questions, please see Deb Bucher, our Interim Music Director.
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!).
Mark Your Calendars! / Save The Date
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.
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?