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 If you’re here on Monday or Tuesday and it seems “outdated”, we invite you to check back in at that time.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,
Sunday, November 19th, 2017:
A Greeting from Our Pastor
In the parable we’ll hear this Sunday, Jesus describes the response of three different servants when their employer entrusts them with his property. Two of them choose to take bold risks with what they’ve received. But one decides to bury the gift he’s been given in order to keep it safe and secure from loss. Two of the servants dramatically grow and multiply the value of what they’ve received. The other’s caution and fear of his employer stifle and cover up any opportunity for him to achieve even modest growth.
This parable invites us to consider how our fears influence not only the risks we are willing to take, but also the kind of life we experience. How does our desire to play it safe limit our capacity to care deeply and profoundly about what really matters to us? What inspires us to be bold and brave, to dare something big without knowing if we will succeed or fail? Are we willing to be responsible for the use and investment of what we have been given? What is possible when we accept the high-risk venture of following Jesus?
Join us this Sunday as we explore these questions and give thanks for the astounding gifts God provides. We’ll recall Christ’s invitation to graft ourselves onto the nourishing vine of his Way of Love so that our growth is not stunted by fear and we bear good fruit. We’ll also have an opportunity to step forward in faith and trust by offering up our pledges of time, talent, and treasure for the mission God has given us. For when we dare to invest in the work of healing our hurting, fragmented world, God will yield a rich harvest of blessing and joy.
Come and see how this is exactly the kind of gamble that’s worth risking everything to gain something greater than we can even imagine.
We can’t wait to see you here!
[This section updates weekly on Wednesday/Thursday.]
A Greeting from our Sunday School:
We were a large group on Sunday! 11 children joined us for Sunday School. We’ve been talking about David for a couple of weeks now. We began with retracing the steps of our story beginning with Hannah and ending with David serving in Saul’s court as a musician.
We talked about music at length. We talked about how music can play a huge part in how we feel emotionally and how sometimes music can help us change the way we’re feeling. If we’re a bit sad, we might want to listen to some rock-n-roll (thanks Charlotte!) to help jump start our moods or if we’re happy we might want to listen to something that matches our mood like Happy! by Pharrell Williams (thanks Anjre for starting us all singing it!). We talked about how David, who knew he had been anointed as the future king, might have felt serving as a musician in king Saul’s court. Then we played a freeze dance game with some Mirimba music. Boy oh boy the kids were good at it! I was only able to catch them still dancing once or twice!
Our messy craft this time was heart window clings. We used contact paper and taped hearts to it. Then we painted over the entire paper. When the paint is dry, we’ll be able to take the cut out hearts off and put another sheet of contact paper over the top of the painted one. This way the hearts will shine through when we hang the clings on a window.
This week, Tracy will not be here for Sunday School. Our very own Angela will be leading the class. They will be talking more about David as a musician. They will be watching the next segment in our dvd series. They’ll make music using glasses filled with water and they will make musical instruments with ordinary every day items.
When Sunday School resumes on December 1, we will begin to talk about probably the best known David story, David and Goliath.
- There is no Sunday School for Sunday, November 26th.
- Rehearsals during Sunday School will begin soon for our Christmas Pageant. Large print scripts will be going home soon! Please help our littles go over their parts. They don’t need to learn them by heart, but they do need to remember how to read along so they don’t miss their lines.
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.]
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.
Please note a change for the upcoming holiday. The Thursday group will not be meeting for the next 2 weeks. They will resume meeting on Thursday, November 30th.
The Monday evening group will resume meeting on Monday, November 27th.
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.
We have begun our Fall Stewardship Campaign– a time in which we invite everyone connected to our congregation to think and pray about how we can support and expand the ministries of our church so we can make a meaningful difference in our Poughkeepsie community and change lives.
The Gospel of John reminds us that Christ is the Vine and we are the branches. When we abide in Christ and dwell in his love, we learn to grow in trust and we receive the power to bear all sorts of good fruit. (John 15:5) How might Christ be calling us to discover our capacity for fruitful giving? What sort of harvest of blessing could we yield when we dedicate a portion of our income, available time, and particular talents to the mission and ministries of this congregation?
We recently mailed all of our members and friends a stewardship letter along with a financial pledge card and letter inviting everyone to discover his/her distinctive ministry along with a time and talent pledge card. We encourage you to complete these pledge cards prayerfully and bring them with you this Sunday, November 19th which is our Thanksgiving and Stewardship Dedication Sunday.
Be sure to join us!
Thanks for making Turkey Dinner a Big Success!
Thank you! Thank you to everyone who was involved in our wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner that took place on Saturday, November 11th! Whether you prepped, chopped, roasted, baked, mashed, stirred, set-up, served, cleaned-up, sold tickets or just came and enjoyed the company and delicious food, we thank you. Without all of you, this dinner wouldn’t have been the success that it was. Thank you!!
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!
The choir has begun rehearsing again! If you like to sing, please consider joining.
- Sunday, Nov. 26: Rehearsal only
- Sunday, Dec. 10: Bethlehem Wind
- Sunday, Dec. 17: arrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High
- Sunday, Dec. 24, evening: A Little Light Was Born
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?