When I am away from the church for a time, as I have been for our Mississippi work trip, I become keenly aware how much goes on in our congregation on any given day. I like to be busy, as you know, but I also appreciate retreat and rest. In fact, I’m fairly certain none of us have built enough quiet time into our lives – time to listen, to think along whatever lines our minds travel, or think of nothing much in particular, if that’s what we need – time to gaze out at the distance. It is one of the reasons I love that our sanctuary is open 24/7, and that we are providing Sunday afternoon quiet recitals during Lent. We all need to push pause from time-to-time to listen, think, and gaze. We all need to remember what really matters.
When I returned from Mississippi, I found this letter in my mailbox from a Rev. William Pender of Knoxville, Tennessee. I thought you would appreciate his words.
In the midst of doing a Lenten devotion that asked me to list significant markers in my faith pilgrimage, I found myself rummaging around in college memories of the welcome, care, and love I received at the Church of Christ. I also realized that I do not think that I have ever communicated a “thank you.” So, 36 years late, I simply want to express my gratitude. In many ways, you are a completely different congregation than you were then. However, my prayer and expectation is that your identity is still the same – the church of Jesus Christ.
I think of Jesus’ parable of the sower who cast seeds that fell on a variety of soils. I feel like the seeds you sowed in me did not fall on the hard ground, rocks, or thorns (though I have certainly had life-experiences that put me there). The seeds you planted in me have continued to produce and I am most grateful.
So, thank you for who you were in the mid 1970’s. My prayer is that you are currently sowing seeds that God will bring to fruition in future servants of Christ. And I have every confidence that you are doing so.
Rev. Pender’s letter reminded me how important it is to allow time to “rummage around in memories”. Of course we shouldn’t stay in that rummaging mode forever. Memories are important, but only insomuch as they give us direction, maybe comfort, and recognition of how God has been at work in our lives all along. His letter also reminded me how often I have let the occasion for thanks get away from me, even for longer than 36 years, regrettably. So, though this isn’t as personal as it should be, let me give thanks now:
~ to those who dug deep and found a way to increase your pledge, or who gave a gift to help with our financial shortfall, or who saw our financial shortfall as a problem we all should solve together, thank you;
~ to those of you who have found a way to apply your commitment to God’s love and justice in ways you never would have imagined before coming to this church, thank you;
~ to those who teach Church School, or who make an effort to learn the first names of our congregation’s children, thank you;
~ to those who recognize that “feeling strongly” about some things doesn’t necessarily mean being right about those things, thank you;
~ to those who trust that not being party to a decision does not mean the decision was poorly made, thank you;
~ to those who tell your friends, with pride and joy, that you are part of CCDC’s commitment to extravagant hospitality, thank you;
~ to those who occasionally catch yourself humming a phrase from last Sunday’s anthem or thinking about a point you heard in a sermon even after Sunday, thank you;
~ to those of you who absolutely know that who we are when we’re not in church needs to match who we are when we are in church, thank you; and
~ to those who thank God for every opportunity to sow seeds of love and gratitude, thank you.
Love to us all, Carla
Worship Schedule for March
Unless otherwise noted, Sunday worship begins in the Sanctuary at 10:00 AM
March 3 Third Sunday in Lent
Carla Bailey, preaching
Isaiah 55:1-9; 1 Corinthians 10:1-113; Luke 13:109
March 10 Fourth Sunday in Lent Daylight Savings Time Begins! Turn clocks ahead
Carla Bailey, preaching
Joshua 5:9-12; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
March 17 Fifth Sunday in Lent
Warren Turner, preaching
Isaiah 43:16-21; Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12:1-8
March 24 Palm Sunday
Carla Bailey, preaching
Isaiah 50:4-9a; Luke 19:28-40
March 28 Maundy Thursday
Potluck supper at 6:00 PM – Worship with Communion at our Tables Following Supper
Service of Tenebrae – 7:30 PM - Sanctuary
March 29 Good Friday
Quiet Service of Prayer – Masland Chapel at 3:00 PM
March 31 Easter Sunday
Worship Services at 9:00 and 11 AM
Breakfast – between services in Sanborn Hall
Holy Week Events
Maundy Thursday, March 28th All are invited, children and adults, to a potluck supper in Sanborn Hall at 6:00 PM with worship and communion at our tables, following the meal. Please sign up on the Batchelder Lounge bulletin board if you are planning to come for dinner. This is a meal and worship for everyone but we also have children especially in mind!
Following Communion, we will leave Sanborn Hall and move to the sanctuary for a quiet, somber, candlelight service of Tenebrae. This is a service of readings of the Passion story, this year from Luke, music and prayers. Child care will be provided for this part of the evening’s events.
Good Friday, March 29th This year, we are having a small, quiet service of prayer in Masland Chapel at 3 PM to observe the hour of Jesus’ death. We do not yet know of plans for a community Good Friday service.
Easter Day! Worship services at 9 AM and 11 AM with special music from the Heritage Brass Quintet and breakfast served between the services.
Every year we are privileged to welcome many visitors to worship on Easter Day. This year we know of two special visitors whose disabilities may lead to more than the usual joyful noise. We want you to know that all of you, your wiggly children, and all joyful noise creators are welcome to worship with us any time but on Easter, since there is no church school, they are ESPECIALLY welcome!
from Our Parish Nurse - Ann Bradley
Sometimes we either take for granted the benefits of being part of a community or we just don’t give it a lot of thought. This past couple of months has poignantly pointed out to me how fortunate I am to be part of several communities within this Upper Valley area, all of which bring meaning and depth to my life. Since I have been somewhat sidelined from many of my regular activities because of recent surgery, I have had more time to reflect on how blessed I am with friendships and caring connections. I have been revisiting the word “gratitude” and thinking how we get so busy with life, we often don’t take time to express our gratitude or appreciate how grateful we should be. While we begin to learn self-reliance from an early age and to celebrate our ability to be independent, at some point or other in all our lives, we face times when help from others can add so much to our quality of life. Yet, why are we so reluctant to reach out and ask for that help? Such has been part of my reflection during these early months of 2013. Many, many at CCDC have been part of helping me to be aware and appreciate where I live and who are my neighbors. I thank each and every one of you for your cards, phone calls, balloons, wonderful food, visits and so many other ways of reminding me that I am not alone. You are not alone either. While most of us have informal networks of support, here at CCDC, we also have CCDC Cares, a group of people willing to help out where and when needed. Just a call to me, to the Church office or an e mail to will bring help for chores, for meals or whatever the need may be. We can usually find a solution to that time when a little bit of help would ease the burdens, old or new, of daily life.
One of our parishioners also passed along a great suggestion during this past month regarding medical equipment. If you yourself have gone through illness or surgery and have a walker, crutches, or some other piece of medical equipment you might not mind loaning out to someone, I would gladly keep a list of equipment and names here. Then, when I hear of a need, I could put the person in touch with the person who has that piece of equipment to loan. If you are one of those with equipment relegated to the storage closet and wouldn’t mind loaning it out, do be in touch. I borrowed a walker, crutches and a cane from the Grafton County Senior Center, but they are cutting back on storing this equipment. Sometimes, the Lebanon Senior Center has equipment to loan, also, but our own list here could be one more resource.
The CCDC Cares group will meet for a “bring your own lunch” (dessert and beverage provided), on Tuesday, March 12 at 12:30. One item on the agenda will be Spring clean up day which will probably be in early May. So, put your thinking caps on about those spring chores you might like some help with or give me a call if you would like to be part of the “helper” crew. Date and details will follow.
Finally, there has been a group of health care professionals meeting monthly at Alice Peck Day Hospital. The group is composed of physicians and nurses from both DHMC and Alice Peck Day, Parish Nurses, Visiting Nurse Associations and Assisted Living organizations that serve our area. A purpose of this group is to provide help to elderly people as they plan ahead to inform families of important personal information and as they make transitions from hospital to home or to another facility. Forms have been developed to aid in this planning. Copies are on the credenza outside the church office or may be downloaded from the website http://www.alicepeckday.org/eldercare. So, take a look and see how you, your family and others close to you might benefit from the information on the forms.
Our dear church member Ruth Stoddard, passed away on February 7th. We will hold a memorial service for her in our sanctuary on Saturday, April 6th. Please remember Ruth’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers at this time.
Hamilton Library Update - Susan Shadford
Last month we highlighted a few new Hamilton Library books on the topic of children’s grief. This month we highlight a few more new resources on grief and also a new Robin Meyers book. Please take some time to visit Hamilton Library if you haven’t lately. It’s a lovely peaceful spot, full of books, magazines and DVD’s. See what’s new, take some time for reading this Lenten season.
Grandma’s Gloves by Cecil Castellucci
“This picture book is about a girl, her grandmother, and their shared love of gardening. Grandma and the girl enjoy puttering in the flowers and dirt, followed by tea, dessert, and good conversation. Then Grandma is hospitalized and no longer recognizes her family; still, she remembers how to tend the plants in her room, and they thrive. After Grandma’s death, the girl treasures her gardening gloves and promises to help her mother develop her own green thumb.” A story full of warmth and joy. Gr K-3
Grieving the Sudden Death of a Loved One: Guidance for When the Unthinkable Occurs (DVD)
This DVD is for anyone who has been stunned by the sudden death of a loved one. Through expert advice and personal testimony, support and encouragement for rebuilding your life are offered. This DVD does an excellent job of describing the complexities of grief brought on by a sudden death. Friends and family of someone grieving a sudden death will find this DVD helpful as well.
Helping Children Grieve (DVD)
This new DVD “offers helpful information to adults (parents and caregivers) on how to help children grieve with hope and heart. Topics covered include:
• Differences between how adults and children grieve
• How a parent can grieve and still help a child to grieve the death of a loved one.
• Three common feelings expressed by all grieving children.
• How to be authentic and tell children the truth about death”
The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus by Robin Meyers
The latest book by the author of Saving Jesus from the Church.. “The Underground Church proposes that the faithful recapture the spirit of the early church with its emphasis on what Christians do rather than what they believe. …Robin Meyers proposes that the best way to recapture the spirit of the early Christian church is to recognize that Jesus-following was and must be again subversive in the best sense of the word because the gospel taken seriously turns the world upside down.”
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Lenten Study Sessions
Continuing through March, we are hosting Sunday afternoon recitals in the sanctuary with readings. March 3 ~ Beth Hilgartner and Ernie Drown, harpsichord and recorder, readings from “For the Time Being” by W.H. Auden
March 10 ~ Jason Smoller, and Ernie Drown, oboe and organ, readings from One Hundred Wisdom Stories, edited by Margaret Silf. March 17 ~ Ernie Drown on the piano. Please join us for a time of beautiful music and thoughtful readings.
And please join us for 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 – Charles Lindner on March 6 and Steve Atkins on March 20 - for conversations about mental health issues and challenges. 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 March 6, 13, and 20.
From Our Church President - Evan Smith
My daughter, Kelsey, and I just returned from our trip to Mississippi with the team of eight from CCDC this year. We all spent the week helping to build a Habitat for Humanity home for Veronica and her three children in impoverished Jonestown, Mississippi. There’s still a stubborn residue of plaster dust and paint in our clothing, and probably in our pores, too, but we had the satisfaction of completing step 27 of the 41-step process of building a Habitat home, transforming rough sheetrock into finished painted walls, and starting to make a house a home. Members of our church also contributed nearly $3,300 to help keep the project moving towards step 41 – putting a family in a safe and decent home. Thank you!
Although CCDC’s connection with Jonestown Habitat for Humanity runs deep and long, involving dozens of church members over the years, it was my family’s first visit. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I told Carla that I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Unlike Habitat projects in our local communities, Mississippi is a world culturally removed from New England, including a charged racial history. And unlike Habitat work teams organized around college challenges (spring break alternative), CCDC teams have gone with a different sense of sustaining purpose and spiritual journey. For all who have gone, the single word “Mississippi” seems to contain a book or even library of shared experience and meaning – in service, fellowship and discovery.
Our discovery went beyond the worksite and neighborhood, as we attended a local church, met with the local Habitat Board and community members, and visited the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. Each morning before our work, we also joined together for devotions. Carla framed discussion questions around passages from three sources – Scripture, a pamphlet of poems and writings, and the Martin Luther King, Jr., letter written from his Birmingham jail cell in 1963. As we learned more about the continuing powerful legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation in the persistent vicious cycle of poverty in Jonestown and like communities, we also increasingly reflected on the role of the church, both then and now, in confronting and addressing not just poverty, but the injustices originating and perpetuating it.
Experiencing the trip not just for myself, but also through the eyes of Kelsey, and Sarah McPeek, both sophomores in Hanover High School, one passage in particular in the MLK letter caught my attention, as it relates to the relevance of the contemporary church to matters of justice that new generations sometimes see more simply and thus clearly and critically. In response to his frustrations with both the white church and the black church during the civil rights movement, he wrote:
“So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch-defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are. But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.”
That was written in 1963, some fifty years ago, and yet it feels like it could have been written yesterday, especially with the continuing generational decline of church membership across all traditional denominations. Certainly, all acknowledge the great progress in civil rights since that time; yet the legacy of racial prejudice and injustice lives on, and we confront new issues of justice in our own time, continually peeling back the layers of the onion. For our youth, often these issues seem more directly and effectively taken up in their schools or other institutions than in their churches, where such matters might be treated as uncomfortably “political”.
For me, that will perhaps be the most lasting reflection from my first Habitat trip to Mississippi, beyond the education I received, the friendships that I formed or made deeper, and the rewards of service that I experienced. That is, how do we continually muster the courage to take on and lead in the justice issues of our times, embracing the tension sometimes necessary for growth – both to the standards of the Gospel and to the simple tests of authenticity and relevance applied by each new generation?
Religious Education Update Rob Grabill
It was an honor to again be a part of CCDC’s mission trip to Mississippi to work with Habitat for Humanity. Evan Smith does a wonderful job giving his impressions elsewhere in these pages, and I want to reflect on a few of the moments as well. Our group of eight (four veterans and four rookies) took five different flights and converged on the former convent in Clarksdale that has served as the residence for Jonestown Habitat volunteers for the last five or so years. Seven of us made it by Saturday night, and were up for breakfast on Sunday morning before a trip to Cleveland, an hour south. We worshipped at the Solomon Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, where we were warmly greeted as old friends. We had the chance to introduce ourselves to the congregation during Sunday School, which takes place for both adults and children in the hour before the main service. A few of us were asked to help with worship, reading the Scripture and offering the opening prayer. One of the leading members of the congregation is the Director of the Jonestown Habitat affiliate, Carl Fuller. He’s a retired New York City police officer, who heard the call to come to Mississippi and do this work a decade ago.
Our main reason for coming to Mississippi was to help build houses, as Carla told the children during church last Sunday. As Evan Smith recounts, this week’s task was sanding, “mudding” with join compound, sanding some more, and eventually painting. It was tiring, dirty detail work, and we got a lot done. We also accomplished another crucial objective for this year’s trip when Carla arranged for Hanover High sophomores Kelsey Smith and Sarah McPeek to visit the first grade classroom of Ida White, a longstanding friend of the CCDC crew. Kelsey and Sarah took with them a big collection of books to which had been donated by several of you, in keeping with a longstanding tradition established by Bob and Jean Keene, who visited schools in the area to promote reading and dental hygiene. It was wonderful to have Kelsey and Sarah continue this work. They read several books to the children (discovering that they particularly liked Where the Wild Things Are), and it’s likely that their connection with this classroom and the school will be an ongoing one. We are planning to have Kelsey and Sarah share their experiences with the CCDC children during one of our monthly Allen Chapel services.
Another annual tradition for the Habitat trips is a potluck dinner in the Jonestown community center, and this year’s event was a particularly good one. Included in the gathering were members of the Jonestown Habitat Board of Directors and several of the families who have been the recent recipients of Habitat homes. We have gotten to know them personally, including the mother and children who will be moving into the house that we were working on this year. It was delightful to see Evan Smith and Peggy Norbury chatting comfortably with one of the new friends, an 11-year old girl who hours earlier had been working side by side with them in what will be her bedroom. One by one, we all got up and introduced ourselves, and the last to speak was our honored guest, Mayor Jones of Coahoma. He has been an educator, principal and public official in the area for 40 years, and it soon became evident that every adult member from the area gathered there had been mentored by this impressive man, who is also a close friend of Olive Jean Bailey, Carla’s mother. If it had not been for Olive Jean’s efforts in Coahoma well over 20 years ago, CCDC would not have had the opportunity to pursue this transformative mission effort. Carla first went to Mississippi 23 years ago, and has been for the last 17 in a row.
It became crystal clear that night that one of the most important elements of the trip is the mutuality of this enterprise, mentioned last week in church by Carla. Our work and our contributions are certainly valuable and valued by the citizens of Jonestown, Farrell, Sherard and Coahoma. But as any of the over 80 volunteers from our church and our community who have been there over the last two decades can tell you, we gain much more than we give. We come back from Mississippi better friends with each other, with new and deepening friendships left behind, hopefully to be renewed in another visit.
One Great Hour of Sharing - Stephanie Chesnut
2 Corinthians 9:8
“God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”
The United Church of Christ has at its core a call to transform lives - OGHS lives out that call!
Through One Great Hour of Sharing, lives are literally changed daily. Your support provides clean water, food, medicines, shelter, healthcare, education and so much more. In 2012, the OGHS offering reached $2,505,900. An additional $935 thousand was received to support relief efforts primarily in response to Hurricane Sandy. You can find OGHS on the web: http://www.ucc.org/oghs
1. What is One Great Hour of Sharing®?
One Great Hour of Sharing, as part of Our Churches Wider Mission, is the special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that carries God’s message of love and hope to people in 138 countries. The UCC works with international partners to provide sources of clean water and food, education and health care, small business micro-credit, emergency relief, and advocacy and resettlement for refugees and displaced persons. OGHS also supports domestic and international ministries for disaster preparedness and response.
2. Who participates in One Great Hour of Sharing?
OGHS is a special Lenten mission offering of the UCC, which allows our church to unite with Christians in eight other Protestant denominations to:
* Respond to disaster.
* Build sustainable communities.
* Minister to refugees.
3. How is the United Church of Christ’s offering used?
More than 60 percent of the UCC’s offering supports international development initiatives, including annual support for missionaries. Currently there are 9 OGHS supported missionaries working in disaster relief, health care, education, and agricultural development. The offering funds disaster preparedness and response, and disaster related volunteer initiatives in the U.S.
4. How can I contribute to One Great Hour of Sharing?
The OGHS special mission offering will be received on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday and may also be dropped off at the church office.
On behalf of the Outreach board, we thank you in advance for any contributions you are able to make to this important denominational offering.
Senior Center Luncheon
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to the members and friends of this congregation who assisted with the luncheon at the Black Senior Center on Tuesday, Feb. 12th. It was definitely a team effort. Thanks to those who prepared food, served, and cleaned up. We had about 60 people in attendance, and the menu received many compliments. We sincerely appreciate the willing assistance that many of you provided. Thank you again.
~ from Jan Assmus and Lee Arend
Seeds of Hope Film Premiere
Kenya Film Premier - March 6th at 7:00 pm Filene Auditorium on the Dartmouth Campus will host a fund-raising premier of the film “Seeds of Hope,” by Jordan Salvatoriello. It depicts the trip to Kenya of seven Upper Valley residents from St. Denis Parish in 2012 and their encounter with both heartening progress and aching needs there. Voluntary donations will be accepted for the Kenyan schools and other partnering institutions. Sponsored by Hearts Open to the World, along with the Catholic Graduate Students Group of Dartmouth College. Filene Auditorium is in Moore Hall located at 3 Maynard Street in Hanover (across from where the hospital used to be).