When I was in High School in St. Paul, MN, our school, like most MN schools, celebrated a kind of winter festival, complete with faculty-staff vs. student snowball fight, speed skating, ice sculpture, and other snow-related games. When I was a sophomore and then junior, I was too cool (so to speak) to participate in any of the activities. When I was a senior, I was president of the student government so was obliged to take a lead. Not surprisingly, I ended up enjoying the event that year. I remember those winter festivals as I watch something of a snow sculpture take shape on the Dartmouth Green as part of a winter celebration. Even at my law school, there is a week of winterfest activities. Go figure.
Even though I don’t ski or snowshoe, I actually like winter. I like the smell of winter air and the feeling of frozen nostrils and the sound of crunching snow under my boots. I love the quiet of a hard snowfall and the sight of hoarfrost. My poor husband, born and raised in Florida, will never appreciate winter’s gifts. It is, for him, something to be endured – one of the sacrifices he made when he married a Minnesotan. He now drives a school bus so he is particularly aware of forecasts and school delays, praying more fervently than even teachers and kids that there will be a snow day soon.
Winter brings fiscal challenges along with the cold. The cost of heating oil is worrisome to families trying to make it on an already tight budget and our church custodian Ken mutters regularly about how many gallons we burn at the church, while at the same time closing doors and curtains, checking the boilers, making sure the children at Toddlers Morning Out are warm. If you’re out for a winter walk, remember that you can always drop in to the church to warm up, even in the middle of one of these moonlit nights. The sanctuary is open 24/7. And though we delivered a huge bag of scarves, hats, and mittens to the Haven a few weeks ago (thank you), the need for extra warm clothes is still great. I have two scarves and a pair of mittens in process. Do you have extra sweaters to donate?
This February issue of News and Views is full of reminders of our busy winter church life. There is the call to the congregational meeting, a list of good books in our library to keep you company on a winter evening, a great report from Rob about the recent gun safety efforts we support. We’ve included an announcement about our Lenten study and worship plans and a plea to support our work in Jonestown, Mississippi, and to donate school supplies for Church World Service school kits. And we want you to be with us for worship, whenever it is possible for you to join us. Perhaps we’ll sing this wonderful winter hymn with words by Samuel Longfellow:
‘Tis winter now; the fallen snow has left the heavens all coldly clear;
Through leafless boughs the sharp winds blow, and all the earth lies dead and drear.
And yet God’s love is not withdrawn; new life within the keen air breathes;
God’s beauty paints the crimson dawn, and clothes the boughs with glittering wreaths.
And though abroad the sharp winds blow, and skies are chill, and frosts are keen,
Home closer draws its circle now, and warmer glows the light within.
O God! who gives the winter’s cold, as well as summer’s joyous rays,
Us warmly in your love enfold, and keep us through life’s wintry days.
Love to us all, Carla
Worship Schedule for February
Unless otherwise noted, Sunday worship begins in the Sanctuary at 10:00 AM
February 3 Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Carla Bailey, preaching
Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Luke 4:21-30
February 10 Transfiguration Sunday
Carla Bailey, preaching
Exodus 34:29-35; 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2; Luke 9:28-36 (37-43)
February 13 Ash Wednesday
Worship at 7:00 PM in Masland Chapel
February 17 First Sunday in Lent
Richard Crocker, preaching
Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13
February 24 Second Sunday in Lent
Rob Grabill, preaching
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 13:31-35
The Season of Lent
The Season of Lent begins early this year, with Ash Wednesday worship on Wednesday, February 13 at 7:00 pm, in Masland Chapel, led by Carla Bailey and Ernie Drown. All are welcome, of course. The service includes Communion and the imposition of ashes.
During Lent, we will conduct four Sunday afternoon meditative concerts with readings in the sanctuary. For the past few years we have held these over the noon hour on Fridays but we would like to increase attendance at these lovely events. From 4-5PM on Sundays, February 24 and March 3, 10, and 17, you are welcome to join us for a time of beautiful music and thoughtful readings.
And we are resurrecting our Wednesday soup suppers and study sessions. Ernie is teaching a four week course on the history and themes of Christian hymnody, or, you may choose to join Carla and guest presenters for a four week series on mental health issues and challenges, with Dr. Ben Nordstrom and others. We will begin each Wednesday evening with a light supper at 5:45 with class sessions beginning at 6:25. Then at 7:45 we will gather for a short time of evening prayer and conclude by 8PM. These Wednesday evening study sessions will be on February 27, and March 6, 13, and 20.
We need to know who will be joining us for the Wednesday evening suppers and classes. All are welcome, of course, and we are more than happy to provide child care if you just let us know of your need. The sign up sheets for the Wednesday evening suppers and classes will be on the bulletin board in the Batchelder Lounge.
There is no need to sign up for the Sunday concerts with readings – just come and bring friends. You’ll be glad you spent a quiet hour of music and thoughtful readings as you begin your week.
from Our Parish Nurse ~ Ann Bradley
“Five institutions hold the most promise for helping people stay healthy: home, school, church, workplace, and the Public Health Department.” These are the words of Granger Westberg in an article in the Journal of Religion and Health in 1975. Granger Westberg was a Lutheran minister. He was the first clergyman to hold joint faculty positions at the University of Chicago in both the Divinity and Medical Schools. He was a pioneer who, over a long and rich career, had broken new ground in the areas of religion, medicine and whole person health. One of his most significant contributions to the church and the community at large was the founding of the Parish Nurse Movement and then, medical clinics in churches, which provide pastoral, medical and nursing care. In the article in the Journal of Religion and Health, the point is made that “our medical centers abound with machines and computers designed to diagnose and treat whatever affects our physical being, but they pay precious little attention to our emotional and spiritual problems—again as if each does not affect the other. Thus, the two institutions most involved in dealing with human’s basic needs fail to offer care based on an understanding of the wholeness of the human.” The article goes on to say “a few insightful physicians have taken an active interest in the spiritual as well as the physical dimensions of their patients to provide them with better health care; but the numbers are small, and no significant trends of such sensitivity in medicine have emerged.”
I happen to agree with Granger Westberg’s 1975 quote. The most promise for helping people stay healthy does lie in the home, the school, the church, the workplace and the Public Health Department. However, I would also add the term “community” suggesting that resources beyond the home, school, church and workplace are of value in promoting health. The ideal would be to create a seamless continuum of care in which services could be delivered at the right time in the most appropriate setting, as a result of public/private partnerships developed among and between all entities mentioned above. These partnerships should include parish nurses and/or grassroots community organizations such as senior centers; Good Beginnings, which serves families with new babies, and aging in place initiatives whose roles, are specifically to serve to seniors and/or families.
I am a member of the DHMC Board of Overseers. Recently, the Board was asked to complete a survey asking members about our views of the challenges facing the health care delivery system. In addition, we were asked how the Overseers could become partners in creating a “Sustainable Health Care System” in the Upper Valley. I was also asked how my skills and interest were best suited to contribute to the success of the Medical Center in creating that Sustainable Health System.
I believe that in order to be financially successful in our current health care environment that hospitals must work in collaboration with community-based organizations if they are going to address the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of individuals and communities. I think this is simply an extension of what Granger Westberg had in mind almost forty years ago when he looked to address care “based on the wholeness of man.”
Remember CCDC Cares!
We have volunteers ready and able to help you with whatever chore or task you need doing. Do you need a few evening meals to get you through a period of recovery? Do you need transportation to medical appointments? How about help deciphering medical bills and payments? Or computer assistance? Or shoveling or furniture moving or changing the filter on your furnace? Or salting icy pathways?
CCDC Cares can help! Just call the church office and let us know. We WANT to help!
From the Board of Deacons for Outreach
The Church of Christ at Dartmouth College would like to replenish Church World Service stocks with school kit supplies. CWS School Kits give children in impoverished schools, refugee camps or other difficult settings some basic tools for learning. If you are not capable of getting out to shop for supplies monetary donations are acceptable. Also, several sewers are making extra bags if you just want to buy the supplies that go IN the bags. The Outreach Board will assist with packaging kits and shipping to CWS Station in Maryland. Deadline for bags Feb. 28th. Thank you for your support.
To assemble a School Kit you need
• 1-pair blunt metal scissors (rounded tip)
• Three 70-count spiral notebooks or notebooks totaling 200-210 pages. (no loose leaf or filler paper)
• 30-centimeter (12 inch) ruler
• Hand held pencil sharpener
• Large eraser
• 6-new pencils with erasers
• 1-box 24 crayons (only 24)
• 1-12"x14"x17" finished size cotton or lightweight canvas bag with cloth handles (no reusable shopping bags or backpacks) Pattern for the bag are available @ http://www.churchworldservice.org
Value: $15 Processing cost $2 per kit.
MISSISSIPPI WORK TRIP
If it’s February, it must be time for our annual work trip to Mississippi! For the 17th consecutive year, volunteers from CCDC will travel to Coahoma County in the northwest corner of Mississippi, also known as the Mississippi Delta, to work with Habitat for Humanity in one of the most impoverished places in the U.S. This year, we’re taking a few Mississippi alums and some new recruits! Carla Bailey, Rob Grabill, Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain, and Mark McPeek are the returning volunteers and newcomers are Sarah McPeek, Evan Smith, Kelsey Smith, Peggy Norbury, and Peggy’s mom Cathy Norbury.
We stay in Clarksdale at a converted convent, and work in Jonestown, MS. Our volunteers pay for their own transportation, lodging and food. The church helps with transportation while in MS, but we need your help, too.
Can you make a contribution to the purchase of building materials? Any amount makes a difference. The Mississippi Habitat Affiliates work on shoestring budgets, barely able to keep construction projects going for lack of funds. Usually, the affiliates ask volunteers to make contributions of $150 each to help pay for materials. In the past, our volunteers are generously supported by you, our CCDC members and friends. Will you consider making a contribution this year? You may make your checks payable to the church with Mississippi written on the memo line, or you may make checks out to Jonestown Habitat for Humanity – either way. The need is huge, as you know. You can help us meet that need and “accompany” us to MS!
We are also going to be taking children’s books to several of the elementary school in Coahoma County. IF you have children’s books you would like to contribute – they must be in very good condition – please bring them to the church by February 14th. Our week is February 16-23, and we need your financial and book contributions before we go, if possible,
Hamilton Library Update ~ Susan Shadford
Finding the right words to explain death to children has challenged most of us at one time or another. How do we best help a grieving child? The tragedy at Newtown has underscored the uniqueness of a child’s grief. Here are a few new titles that are now on the shelves of the Hamilton Library. They are for you: parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, neighbors, and friends. Please sign them out, take them home. We hope they help. For anyone, young or old who is missing someone they love, check out The Invisible String.
Remembering Mrs. Rossi by Amy Hest
“Eight-year-old Annie lives in a sunny apartment in Manhattan with her father. Life would be pretty good if only Annie didn’t so achingly miss her mother. When Mrs. Rossi died suddenly, she left not only Annie but also a class full of students — who pour out their hearts in a scrapbook Annie will treasure forever. With tenderness and humor, Amy Hest reveals the struggles of a father and daughter as they forge a new life together.” (grade 3-5)
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen
“Lifetimes is a moving book for children of all ages, even parents too. It lets us explain life and death in a sensitive, caring, beautiful way. Lifetimes tells us about beginnings. And about endings. And about living in between. With large, wonderful illustrations, it tells about plants. About animals. About people. It tells that dying is as much a part of living as being born. It helps us to remember. It helps us to understand.” (picture book age 5 and up)
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
A story about love, The Invisible String reassures and reaffirms for children and adults, the transcendent power of love to bind, connect and comfort. “People who love each other are always connected by a very special String, made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart, and know that you are always connected to the ones you love.” (picture book age 3 and up)
Talking About Death: Dialogue Between Parent and Child by Eric A. Grollman
“Talking about Death is a classic guide for parents helping their children through the death of a loved one. With a helpful list of dos and don’ts, an illustrated read-along dialogue, and a guide to explaining death, Grollman provides sensitive and timely advice for families coping with loss. This redesigned and updated edition explains what children at different developmental stages can and can’t understand about death; reveals why it’s crucial to be honest about death; helps you understand the way children express emotions like denial, grief, crying, anger, and guilt; and discusses children’s reactions to different kinds of death, from the death of a parent to the death of a pet.”
Knit or Crochet Chemo Caps for Kids
White River Yarns is collecting fun and creative chemo caps for children to be distributed to CHAD in March. The kids wear the hats year round, so she is asking for them to be made with soft fiber or warm-weather yarns. We have plenty of patterns and yarn to get you started. Be creative and have fun as you knit or crochet these and help bring a smile to a child’s face! A basket will be on the credenza in the Batchelder Lounge to collect completed caps. Please return all caps by March 1st. Thank you!
Religious Education Update ~ Rob Grabill
There has been a great deal of activity surrounding our congregational and community efforts in reaction to the tragedy in Newtown, CT (and the continuing, daily news of needless violence caused by guns.). Because it is instructive to see what day-to-day activity in the quest for social justice looks like, here is an anecdotal account of what has transpired since the start of the year:
We worked hard to publicize the community meeting on January 6th, and were rewarded with a turnout of close to 120 people, including six members of the current NH House of Representatives. Many from the CCDC congregation were there, but we also had people from throughout the Upper Valley. Most in the meeting expressed a desire to make state and local gun laws saner, talking about bans on assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition clips, improved background checks, limits on the ease of purchase at gun shows and on the internet. There was discussion about the importance of improving mental health programs and improving security in schools. Not everyone at the meeting was in favor of these ideas. One speaker, a police officer from a neighboring community, spoke at length about how guns could have been a solution in several historical situations. Few agreed with him, but the most important thing is that he was treated civilly, allowed to speak at great length, and not criticized or shouted down. At the very least, gatherings such as this must allow rational discourse, opposing points of view, and civility for all. This meeting passed that test.
We left that gathering and a follow-up Second Hour meeting the following week waiting for opportunities to make our voices heard, as the Biden Commission was readying its report, and the legislative session in New Hampshire was beginning. Just before church on Sunday the 17th, Carla learned that the House Criminal Justice Committee would be having a hearing the next Tuesday on House Bill 135, which would repeal the “Stand Your Ground” law, passed two years ago by the House and Senate after Governor John Lynch’s veto was overridden. This is a bad law, a dangerous law, enacted in a number of states in recent years and known as the “kill at will” law. The law expands the scope of self-defense, allowing weapon-wielding individuals in public to use deadly force when they determined they were at risk (as opposed to in their homes, which was the limitation of the existing NH law.) The law has had many unintended consequences, and has been opposed by most law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. States with Stand Your Ground laws have experienced increased numbers of homicides. Seventy percent of the individuals claiming this law as part of their self-defense after killing others are career criminals, and prosecuting them with this statute in force has become increasingly difficult. This is the law which is at the center of the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida. It is one of several pieces of legislation produced by ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council), described by the Center for Media and Democracy as an extremely conservative PAC funded heavily by large corporations, seeking to rewrite state laws to oppose unions, advance the agenda of the NRA, fight clean energy efforts, and supporting for-profit prisons. ALEC provides state legislatures with ready-made bills, and the NH House and Senate passed a number of ALEC-written bills in the last session. House Bill 135 was submitted to seek a repeal of one of the worst of these laws.
Carla announced this hearing, and we worked over the next two days to muster a group that could go to Concord and attend the hearing, with the hope that some of us could testify in favor of the bill. This was a chance to make a difference. Because we had assembled an e-mail list of the folks who had attended the January 6th meeting, and because we had the support of several legislators, who provided critical information and guidance, we were able on this very short notice to get 13 of us to Concord. This brave little delegation was vastly outnumbered by vocal supporters of the current Stand Your Ground law. The National Rifle Association sent a lobbyist to testify. There were so many people interested in giving testimony that the hearing was moved from the Legislative Office Building to Representatives Hall, home to the 400-member House. Most of the seats were filled, and we listened to testimony that eventually stretched for five hours. The bill was introduced by the House Majority Leader, a former U.S. Marshall, who carefully described the need to return to an effective law that had been in place for 41 years. The Deputy NH Attorney General testified in favor of the bill. A representative of the NH Department of Safety testified in favor. And amidst a raft of testimonies against the bill, with dire warnings of the destruction of the Second Amendment, three from our delegation provided important and eloquent testimony. The Rev. Steve Silver of the Lebanon Congregational Church, who had spoken powerfully at the CCDC meeting, once again was a powerful witness. Carla, who had rushed to the hearings from her law classes, spoke with great effectiveness. Dena Romero, who has assumed significant responsibility for helping this growing coalition of citizens hoping to protect our children by fighting for saner gun laws, spoke movingly about the fear that has caused our country to polarize, and of the need to seek solutions that get at the root of this fear. All of these insightful testimonies will be made available, and we are hoping that our mailing list will continue to grow. A simple message to the church office can make that happen!
The next steps may come fairly soon. We are working to contact all 20 members of the House Criminal Justice Committee, and any of you can join that effort. Soon, the Committee will make a decision that will forward the bill to the House with either an “Ought to Pass” or Inexpedient to Legislate” designation. Then the House as a whole will possibly vote on it, and the process may eventually lead to the Senate.
There has been a great deal of e-mail traffic in the days since the hearing, and many of the members of our ad hoc group, whether or not they made the trip to Concord, have had the opportunity to be involved. We have made the effort to expand the circle of those involved, and will continue to do our best to communicate in a timely way. We will also expand our efforts to national gun law initiatives, now that legislation has been announced by Senator Diane Feinstein. All of this advocacy is exactly what church communities ought to do when they are concerned about a situation which compels activism. Activism guided by faith and grounded in a clear understanding of the scriptural warrant for speaking prophetically is social justice in the making. This was so for their faith leaders who marched with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., for civil rights and human rights, and who have protested unjust wars, and who are gathering now to protect children and turn back the culture of violence in our society.
A FEW GOOD EVENTS COMING UP!
Sunday, February 3rd, 2:00 PM: Bishop John Shelby Spong will speak at the Bradford, VT United Church of Christ. Bishop Spong has spent a lifetime studying the Bible. “I come to this interpretive task not as an enemy of Christianity,” he says. “I am not even a disillusioned former Christian, as some of my scholar-friends identify themselves. I am a believer who knows and loves the Bible deeply. But I also recognize that parts of it have been used to undergird prejudices and to mask violence.” His lecture on February 3rd is titled “A New Christianity for a New World” and is free. Rob Grabill is organizing ride-sharing to Bradford and will facilitate a conversation here at CCDC following the lecture for those who would like to come.
Thursday, February 7, 6:30-8:30 PM: Working Toward the Sandy Hook Promise, Building a Safe and Vibrant Community. Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth is hosting this panel presentation for all in the Upper Valley who would like to participate in taking steps to become a stronger and safer community. Panel participants include Carla Bailey, NH Representative Laurie Harding, Ben Nordstrom, Director of Addiction Services at DHMC, Police Chief Nick Giaccone, and Suellen Griffin of West Central Behavioral Health, Elaine Frank, Program Director for CALM, and Pano Rodis, psychologist. Panel moderated by Steve Chapman, Director of the Boyle Community Pediatrics Program.
And in April, the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ and the Norwich Congregational Church are hosting the Rev. Dr. Diana Butler Bass for a two day event: Christianity After Religion: Exploring the 3Bs of Faith: Belief, Behavior, and Belonging. We have the registration materials for this workshop, to be held April 12-13 at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee. Friday is reserved for “authorized ministers” and Saturday is open to everyone. The cost for the Saturday event is $65, which includes lunch.