News & Views ~ June 2011
The warm weather and the end of the school term have launched me into a reading frenzy - so many novels – so few lazy afternoons! I’ve started in on some great serial mysteries – William Kent Krueger, Steve Hamilton, Margaret Maron. But the books I’ve just finished that are haunting me are The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Set in a far future time, North America has become Panem, with a viciously shallow Capitol and thirteen surrounding districts. Seventy-five years before the story begins, the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games.” Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old hunter, volunteers to represent District 12 in the Games, to spare her young sister. And so the terrible story begins.
The Hunger Games is a sample of dystopian literature – stories from a futuristic society that has degraded into a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian (Wikipedia). “Dystopias usually feature different kinds of repressive social control systems, a lack or total absence of individual freedoms and expressions and constant states of warfare or violence. A dystopian society is also often characterized by widespread poverty and brutal political controls such as a large military-like police.” Other dystopian novels you may know include Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and of course, George Orwell’s 1984.
I have to pace myself when I read dystopian novels because they burrow deep into my psyche and visit my dreams for years after. The more possible the premise, the more troubled I get. I still think of a scene from The Handmaid’s Tale every time I use a credit card that doesn’t go through the first time it’s run, even though I first read the book more than twenty years ago. I know some scenes from The Hunger Games are going to haunt me for a long, long time. Why is that, I wonder?
Ernie Drown gave me a book recently, The Unthinkable, Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why, by Amanda Ripley. A journalist for Time magazine, she became interested in the topic when she interviewed and wrote about survivors from the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11. Her book is fascinating reading. Her purpose “is to answer two simple questions – what happens to us in the midst of a disaster and why do some of us do so much better than others? Our disaster personalities are more complex and ancient than we think.”
I’ve wondered. I’ve wondered about Holocaust survivors, especially those who actually lived in concentration camps. I’ve wondered about what I would do in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear explosion in, say, Chicago or Los Angeles. I’ve wondered what happens to the sense of security of people whose homes were blown away in Missouri, or carried away by the floods in Mississippi, or leveled by the fires in California. I’ve wondered what kind of survivor I would be were I Katniss’ mother in District 12 of Panem. Most of all, I’ve wondered what happens to religion after disasters. Does it help? Does it make people more resilient? Or does it feel like just one more broken promise to those who know the terrain of violated security, safety, and well-being? It gives new meaning to the word sanctuary, doesn’t it?
Well, dark thoughts on an otherwise gorgeous Spring day… I hope you take time to do some good reading over the next few summer months. Inside this News and Views are some recommendations from our church library, and I’m always happy to make suggestions. I’m wild about Julia Spencer-Fleming, Louise Penny, John Sandford, Anne Lamott, Louise Erdrich, Gregory Maguire, Jonathan Franzen, Nevada Barr…….
Love and happy reading to us all - Carla
Worship Schedule for June
Unless otherwise noted, Sunday worship begins in the Sanctuary at 10:00 AM
June 5 Seventh Sunday of Easter
Acts 1:6-14; 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11
June 11 Vespers Service at 5:30 PM
Acts 2:1-21; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13; John 20:19-23
June 12 NO Sunday Worship due to Dartmouth Commencement
June 19 Trinity Sunday
Carla Bailey, preaching
Congregational Meeting following worship
Genesis 1:1-2:4a; 2 Corinthians 12:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20
June 26 Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Carla Bailey, preaching
Genesis 22:1-4; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42
Congratulations to Celeste Wilhelm and Tom Dakai, who were married on Saturday, May 28. Celeste is a member of CCDC and shares her talents with us in the chancel choir and on the Board of Elders. Best wishes for a long and happy marriage!
Rob Grabill participated in the wedding ceremony for his son, Robert Grabill and his new bride, Emma Rhodes, who were married in Charleston, South Carolina. Best wishes to the happy couple!
Three upcoming summer weddings: Kendra Olson and Casey Maynard, July 4; Julie Edwards and Jim McDonald, August 6; Stephanie Chesnut and Drew Coombs, August 13.
And congratulations and welcome to our newest members who were recently confirmed: Katie Aman, Marina Barry, Liam Cook, Liza Goss, Sarah McPeek, Kelsey Smith, Kay Torrey and Josh Wallace.
A memorial service for Ray Eusden will be held in our sanctuary on Sunday, June 5 at 2:00 PM. Ray was a past member of CCDC. Please keep his wife, Priscilla, and all his family and loved ones in your prayers during this difficult time.
from Our Church President ~ Tom Wilson
When I became President of the Board of Elders, Carla Bailey told me I was expected to contribute to News and Views each month, and that I was allowed free rein on whatever I wanted to say. I thought to myself, if she can have “My Bailiwick”, I can have “Tomfoolery”. Then I told myself to try and be a little more dignified. After all, I am now an octogenarian, and I am the eldest Elder we have on the Board.
On the Sunday after Easter, we heard from the 20th chapter of John about Thomas, the disciple who was not present the first time the risen Jesus appeared and stood in the midst of the disciples. Thomas expressed his doubts as to whether it really was Jesus whom the other disciples had seen. Then eight days later Jesus again appeared to the disciples and Thomas was there. Jesus urged Thomas to come and see and touch the wounds in his hands and in his side. Thus Thomas the Doubter became Thomas the Believer. Jesus then said to Thomas: “Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Incidentally, the other three gospels do not tell this story, nor do they even mention the disciple Thomas.
In my family and among some of my friends I am thought of as a skeptic, and I am sometimes called “Doubting Thomas”. It happens that Thomas is my middle name, so perhaps it is appropriate that Doubting become my first name instead of Frederick. I certainly feel a kinship with the biblical Thomas. I too feel more comfortable if I have proof. It bothers me a little that Jesus blessed those who had not seen and yet believed. The term “blind faith” comes to mind. I think that history shows us frequent incidents where unquestioning and misguided faith has led people in the wrong direction. The mass suicide of over 900 people in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978 is just one example.
“The Scientific Method” has characterized our approach to studying the universe and life since the 17th century. One observes, measures, and experiments. Then one is in a position to formulate a hypothesis and to test it and modify it according to the evidence. In school I liked science classes, and then in college as a pre-medical student I took Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. Of course, scientific training continues in medical school. My professor of physiology was an eminent investigator from Austria. I can still hear his thick German accent when he would challenge us by saying: “Ya. But vat is the evidence for vat you say.”
I sit in on a pediatric conference once a week at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. I marvel at the advances that have been made in medicine in the 56 years since I graduated from medical school. The young men and women now a days are being trained in “evidence based practice”. That means they are taught not to embark on any tests or treatments unless there is good scientific evidence that there are true benefits and that they outweigh any risks involved. It means that some of our past medical practices should be approached skeptically and re-examined to be sure they are truly what is best for the patient.
So I think doubting is good. Even in our Covenant we say to God we want “to walk together in all your ways as you reveal yourself to us.” Jesus revealed his wounds to Thomas in order to overcome Thomas’s doubts. We are committed to walk with God, but we expect some sign, some evidence to justify that journey. Doubt has been described as a status between belief and disbelief. I think of doubting as a method of scientific inquiry. Also I see it as a way of approaching and working out our religious beliefs. ~ Doubting Thomas Wilson
Religious Education Update ~ Rob Grabill
Although the program year at church “closes” on June 19th with the end of our regular church school classes and our recognition of our wonderful teachers and volunteers, it seems as though we are in year-round mode more than ever. Our summer church school classes have been particularly well attended the past several summers, and we are anticipating a continuation of this trend. Gail McPeek will be overseeing Summer Church School again this year, and I will be around much more regularly than in past summers, thanks to changes in my schedule. If you are interested in teaching this summer and have not done so before, we would love to have you give it a try, and can provide all of the support necessary to make this a valuable experience for you and for the children. Talk to us!
This final News and Views of the program year usually provides an opportunity for a look back at the many event which have transpired and a look forward to the fall. I will do most of this summarizing in my year-end report to the congregation which will be distributed on line prior to the Annual Meeting, and concentrate more fully on the final week spent by the Confirmation class leading up to Confirmation Sunday on May 15th.
The eight-member Confirmation class has met regularly since the fall, learning about this church and its history, the UCC and its programs and polity. We have studied belief systems and world religions. The class members have discussed issues of faith and belief with each other and with their mentors, and participated in a number of service projects, including the Community Dinners. They have eaten together, sung together, and established some significant chemistry as a group.
Their last weekend before Confirmation was spent in an intense 48-hour immersion and learning experience at the Heifer International Overlook Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts. From Friday evening through Sunday morning, the group learned a great deal about world hunger and how Heifer is working to help families and communities all over the globe develop the self-sufficiency to fight this fundamental cause of misery and instability.
Overlook Farm has been operating as an educational center for over 30 years, and several other CCDC groups have been there before. This was my third time there, and I was so impressed at how the educational programming has evolved. The farm is a large working farm, full of sheep, goats, and a wide variety of other animals, including (or course) heifers, yaks, water buffalo and pigs. As student groups have always done in the past, we did a number of farm chores, most of them fun. Everyone had a chance to milk a goat, and several of the group did some bottle-feeding of baby goats. We herded goats and sheep out to pasture, which meant carrying the straggling baby lambs and goats. They are very vocal during times like this!
What was relatively new, and very challenging, was the carefully facilitated experience of living like a family in poverty. The group bought and bartered for their food at a “market”, prepared three meager meals over a fire, lived and slept in a rustic building (it rained that night!), and talked through several prepared scenarios that gave them a first-hand look at the daily stresses of living in poverty. Chaperone Heather Benson and I watched in admiration as the class members confronted discomfort and challenge with good humor, intelligence and concern for each other. We witnessed a transcendent moment: After supper on Saturday night, sitting around the fire, hungry, unshowered and uncomfortable, the group conversed and made some attempts to sing. Without prompting, the final and most successful song was “Teach Me Your Way”, the anthem that most of them had learned by heart and would be singing the following Sunday at Confirmation. Who knows if the tears that came to our eyes were from the smoke of a dying fire or from witnessing a true moment of grace?
We made it through a relatively sleepless night, did our Sunday morning farm chores, had a valuable debriefing session, and were then “released” to being ourselves. The group showered, cleaned up, and headed home with not just a new commitment to being agents to for ending world hunger, but also with an appreciation for each other that can only come from sharing adversity and overcoming it. A week later, dressed to the nines and contributing to Sunday Worship in many ways, the class accepted responsibility for becoming covenant members of the congregation, and took a large step closer to adulthood. It has been an honor to be part of this process.
As I mentioned earlier, a good deal of time at the end of a program year is spent planning for the next one. Among the many programs being planned is next year’s Confirmation Class, which promises to be different in many respects but no less fulfilling for all who participate. Stay tuned for details on all that we are planning for adult education, campus ministry, church school, youth groups, and yes, Confirmation. We’ll see many of you all summer long!
from Our Parish Nurse ~ Ann Bradley
On a beautiful Saturday morning in early May, several CCDC Cares members and other parishioners took time out to provide a Day of Service to fellow parishioners. Volunteers cleared brush, cut up wood, stacked wood, moved furniture, did some raking, some gardening and some cleaning. All in all, it was a successful day. Fun and camaraderie were enjoyed by both the helpers and the helpees. The CCDC Cares committee will be meeting in early June to wrap up the year and in particular, to talk about the Day of Service and suggestions for the future. If you have any input into what might be useful to this committee, do be in touch, and of course, we invite anyone to participate in the meetings and the work of the group. At this final meeting, there will be a slideshow of the day. I am sure the slide show will be shown at other times, also. CCDC Cares will continue over the summer, so let us know if you need a hand anytime and we will try to be of help.
Tai chi classes will be on hiatus over the summer. Classes will resume in the Fall if there continues to be interest. If you would like the opportunity to try another simple form of Tai Chi, come to Sanborn Room on Thursday, June 2nd from 9:30 to 12:00. Instructor Richard Reoch will present a workshop in which he will guide the group through the calming motions of Golden Ball tai chi. This special form of Tai Chi can be done either sitting or standing and promotes balance, flexibility, stamina, serenity and focus. This class is open to everybody, regardless of age or ability. There will be a $10 charge.
Have a great summer! Help to keep everyone safe and healthy by avoiding insect bites and practicing safety in the sun and around fireworks and water.
Hamilton Library Happenings ~ Jean Keene
Thinking about summer reading and a more relaxed schedule? There are a wide variety of biographies in the Hamilton Library about some very interesting people, several titles which can be enjoyed by both adults and younger readers.
William Sloan Coffin, Jr. by Warren Goldstein. There is also a Public Television DVD, “American Prophet” which is a documentary of Rev. Coffin as he speaks to his friends Arthur Miller, James Carroll, Susannah Heschel and Robert and Sally Benton about his “lover’s quarrel with America” with messages on faith, politics and hope.
Other biographies are: Muhammad, written by Karen Armstrong and Paul, written by Edgar J. Goodspeed.
Several World War II autobiographies are The Hiding Place, and In My Father’s House, which were written by Corrie ten Boom. We also have a copy of The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.
Zlata’s Diary by Zlata Filipovic is a story of an 11 year old girl who lived in Sarajevo at the start of the war there in 1991. This book has been called a modern day Anne Frank story.
Other autobiographies are by: Harry Emerson Fosdick, Rosa Parks, My Story, The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong, Memoirs by Elie Wiesel and An American Requiem by James Carroll
Come spend some time in the Library this summer meeting interesting new friends.
Mark your calendars!
Church Picnic ~ Sept. 11 ~ Storr’s Pond
WIDEN YOUR HORIZONS FROM YOUR OWN HOME!
Consider becoming a Friendship Family for a Dartmouth International Student.
Look for more information in the September edition of News and Views.
from the Board of Deacons for Outreach
Father’s Day Cards for BLANKETS+ Program
Again this year, CCDC Board of Outreach will be selling Father’s Day Cards to support the Blankets + program of Church World Service. Blankets+ is a special mission opportunity for all ages. Some 8,000 congregations and groups across the U.S. hold CWS Blankets+ events, providing funds to help people in need around the world, including the U.S. This year Father’s Day falls on Sunday, June 19.
On May 29 and June 5 during the coffee hour, please stop by our table to purchase cards for $5 each and read additional information about this important mission. Cards will also be available in the church office. Please make checks payable to “CCDC”. Thank you for your continuing support!
CALL TO ACTION FOR ZIMBABWE!
A wonderful opportunity to help our friends in Zimbabwe has recently been brought to our attention. The UCC First Congregational Church of Wakefield in Sanbornville, NH (also a member of the Ukama Partnership) is organizing the collection of items to be sent via a shipping container to Zimbabwe. This shipping container will be loaded with our donations in Rochester, NH. Members of the Board of Outreach will start collecting donations from the “Priority Items” list; store them here at the Church; then box up and label everything and deliver to Rochester on Friday, June 24. We will be accepting donations here until Sunday, June 19 and no later! We need VOLUNTEERS from the congregation to help collect, sort, pack, label, and deliver. There will be lots of details to work out but we are up for the challenge! If you have immediate questions, please call Susan Weeks at 252.6967 or by email at . We Can Do It!
Please donate any of these items for Zimbabwe by June 19.
FOR THE HOSPITALS:
• Pain relievers – ibuprofen, aspirin, tylenol
• Gauze bandages
• Antibiotic ointment
• Anti diarrhea medication
• Cough/cold medication
• Vitamins (children & adult)
• Infant formula (powdered)
• Toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap
• Sanitary pads
• Petroleum jelly
FOR THE SCHOOLS
• Student notebooks
• Library books
• Textbooks (math, science, reading)
• Paper for institutional use
• Office supplies, paper, envelopes
• Pencils, pens, erasers (used are fine)
• Pencil sharpeners (not electric)
• Art supplies; musical instruments
• Tote bags for teachers
• Playground toys (soccer balls, jump ropes, volleyballs, etc.)
• Saws (hand or electric)
• Basic tools (hammers, screwdrivers, etc.)
• Nails and Screws (any size or variety)
• Planes for carpentry
• Bedding (sheets & blankets)
• Adult bicycles
• Basic books on cooking/sewing
• Portable sewing machines
• Sewing supplies
• Adaptor plugs and voltage converters
(Good, clean condition, please. No stains or tears.)
• Gently worn clothing for children and infants
• Sneakers, shoes in GREAT condition
• Rain coats, windbreakers, fleece, med. weight jackets
• Sweaters, jerseys, socks for adults/children
• New underwear
• Bras gently worn or new
• Clergy gowns and shirts
• Men’s suits
Generators and hospital equipment in good working condition are highly in demand. We are paying by volume, not by weight.