I spend a fair amount of time in my car commuting back and forth to Vermont Law School. Usually, unless I need the quiet, I listen to either Vermont or New Hampshire Public Radio, depending on reception. Recently, both VPR and NHPR were doing their fall pledge drive, which, while I understand its necessity, is just irritating.
Last month, our Elders discussed our fall pledge campaign for the church. Without exactly saying it, several of the Elders hinted that making the campaign a drawn out process can get, well, irritating. I found myself of two minds during that discussion. The constant reminding, prodding, and urging faithful and generous pledges from our church members and friends wouldn’t get irritating if people would just give information to us in a timely way! I hate the long worry over whether we’ll have enough money to do all the things we are committed to doing in our church. It starts in November and lasts until February! On the other hand, talking, thinking, and praying about the way we all manage our wealth, how we make decisions about its dispersal, and realigning our priorities is something that I actually love doing, since I believe money – the accumulation of it and the struggle for it – is the greatest stumbling block to faithful Christian discipleship.
So, here it is, in November, short and sweet. We are a richly blessed church, both in our heritage and in our future. We are, as I often like to say, hitting on all pistons. We actively pursue justice. We practice mercy. We love our many children and take responsibility for their faith formation. We watch out for our elders and continually look for ways to enhance their dignity and independence. We appreciate the importance of excellent music in all our endeavors - stimulating, soothing, challenging and meditative music. We know that a warm, safe, beautiful, and accessible building, from sanctuary to boiler room, restroom to classroom, is a treasure worth sharing. We take seriously Jesus’ teaching about the Word, and try to make all our words readily available. We are deeply grateful for our denomination’s heritage and mission goals and we support it generously, as we should.
Have I missed anything? Just this – our members, all of them, are responsible for all those things I listed – every single one of them. And so we need your financial support. And we need you to be prompt in telling us your plans for giving to our church in 2012. And we need you to bump your giving up a notch or two, because we have more, not less to do. And the world needs more, not less from us.
Warren and I tithe to the church. We’ve told you that before. We believe charitable giving over our tithe is just that – over our tithe. That means we give 10% of what we earn in a year to the church. We do it automatically, without thinking – the first 10%, every month. As a result, our household conversations about money are only about how we choose to spend the rest of our money. And those conversations are interesting and occasionally difficult. But we decided, a long time ago, that our giving to the church will never be a difficult conversation between us.
So, dearhearts, we need you to pledge your very best to the church, and we need you to do it as soon as you receive your pledge letter from our church president Tom Wilson. That will be soon. We would like ALL your pledges in by Thanksgiving. That would be a blessing.
Love to us all ~ Carla
Worship Schedule for November
Unless otherwise noted, Sunday worship is in the sanctuary at 10:00 AM.
November 6 All Saints Sunday
Carla Bailey, preaching
Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13
November 13 Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Carla Bailey, preaching
Judges 4:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30
November 20 Thanksgiving Sunday
Carla Bailey, preaching
Ezekiel 34:11-16; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46
November 27 First Sunday of Advent
Carla Bailey, preaching
Isaiah 64:1-9; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37
All Saints Celebration ~ Sunday, November 6
The festival of Hallowe’en and All Saints Day is based on a combination of the Christian commemoration of the departed faithful (All Saints’ Day) with the Christian Celtic feast celebrating the end of summer and the Celtic New Year, Samhain. The Ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped – that the veil between life and death was at its thinnest. This belief has many forms, including many American Indian tribes that celebrate the Day of the Dead at the end of the harvest season. Pope Gregory IV, seeking to “Christianize” pagans, native tribes, the Celts and all manner of myth-believers, pulled the many traditions together into All Saints Eve, or All Hallowed Eve, or Hallowe’en, with a celebration of the saints of the church on November 1st.
In our church, we celebrate All Saints’ Day on the first Sunday following November 1st by remembering and honoring those members who have died in this previous year and acknowledging the many personal losses we have all experienced over the year. On November 6th, we will be remembering Bill McBride, Bill Crooker, Margaret Funkhouser, Pete Gardner, and Harold Ripley. In our memorial prayers you are invited to acknowledge your bereavements. In doing so, we hold before our loving and compassionate God, all our sorrows and hopes. Please worship with us that day.
Masland Chapel Rededication
Many of our church members participated in the renovation of the beautiful Masland Chapel, walls, floor, windows, hallway. We expect the new furnishing to arrive the week of November 14th. In celebration of all who worked so hard to beautify that worship space, and to dedicate its use to the glory of God, all are invited to a service of rededication on Sunday, November 20 – Thanksgiving Sunday!
Watch for more announcements about the celebration of rededication.
from Our Church President ~ Tom Wilson
I look forward to the Children’s Moment in our service. All those bright and good-looking kids come forward and listen attentively to Rob Grabill’s straightforward and uncluttered message. And he often has such clever props. I suspect that there is an occasional Sunday when the message geared for children stays with us longer than the adult message that Carla has carefully and thoughtfully prepared for us.
I’ve been thinking about what the Bible says about children. In the Old Testament we often have the image of God as the Father and the disobedient Israelis as his children. Think of the story of The Flood when God decided to wipe the slate clean and start over. Think of the Golden Calf and God’s anger at his “children” for worshipping an idol. Isaiah says “…and a little child shall lead them.” But that passage is in the middle of a text that talks about the ideal time when all the preying and preyed upon creatures will be allied.
In the New Testament I find some apparent contradictions about children. When his disciples ask Jesus: “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus responds (Matthew 18:3): “Except ye turn and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Then in the middle of the well-known chapter on love, in I Corinthians 13, Paul tells us: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things.” So what is it to be? Are we to become as little children as Jesus recommends? Or should we follow Paul’s advice when he tells us: “Hey, it’s time to grow up.”
As a pediatrician, I spent my professional life working with children and their parents. Like teachers, we pediatricians come to appreciate the wonders of observing babies and children and teenagers as they progress and go through the stages of growth and development. Sometime after I had been in practice for a while, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with the recommendation that we help parents by giving them some “anticipatory guidance” at each visit. (Benjamin Spock’s books had been doing it for years.) We might tell a mother of a boy who had just turned three that some of the quick temper, stubbornness and impulsiveness of the “Terrible Twos” would abate. On the other hand, she shouldn’t be frightened by the wild imagination and pretending that is part of the play of many three-year-olds. And a challenging time in counseling parents is those teen years. Where is that delicate balancing point between allowing some independence and setting some limits and rules?
“Regressive empathy” was something I recommended to parents sometimes because it was something I found helpful in dealing with my own children. The idea was to think back and try to remember what your feelings were at certain stages of your own childhood. Were you especially anxious on the first day of school? Were you ever treated unkindly by someone you thought of as a friend? Without “regressive empathy” it is easy to think of children as “childish” and needing discipline and punishment. Remember being told: “children should be seen but not heard?” Or: “spare the rod and spoil the child.”
Shakespeare paints a rather unhappy picture of children, at least as expressed by melancholy Jaques in As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII. It is the “All the world’s a stage” speech in which he describes seven stages of life. “At first the infant mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school.” Personally I like to think more positively and happily about children. Working with them and their parents all these years has been very rewarding for me.
My father was a distinguished historian and scholar who earned a number of honorary degrees. I remember someone asking him once what was the most important thing that he had accomplished in his life. He responded that being a father was number one. I have to agree with him.
Religious Education Update ~ Rob Grabill
Among the most enjoyable responsibilities of my position at CDDC is attending the Annual Meeting of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ. On Saturday, October 22nd, I joined Jean and Bob Keene, Elaine and Howard Rawnsley, Brian Edwards, and John McBride in representing CCDC at the 210th Annual Meeting of the Conference. It was a privilege for us to be a part of this important aspect of our church’s work.
The structure of the United Church of Christ depends first and foremost on individual congregations. The autonomy of individual churches is a cornerstone of the denomination. Yet at the same time, all of these individual congregations derive strength, support and direction from the larger groupings: Associations, Conferences and the UCC as a whole, which comes together as a body every two years when it meets as a Synod, as it did last July in Tampa, Florida. Each organizational grouping has significant responsibilities. The local associations have the sole authority to authorize ministers. Local churches do the calling of pastors, but pastors must receive their standing, licensed or ordained, from the association. As I have reported earlier, on Sunday, October 30 I will be officially recognized as a Member in Discernment at the Annual Meeting of the Grafton-Orange Association, the association of which CCDC is a member.
Local associations are organized into conferences, which for the most part are geographical. Some are statewide, as with those in the six New England states. Some, particularly in the western part of the country, are regional. Some states have multiple distinct conferences including Pennsylvania, home of the Reformed church, one of our UCC ”streams”. Most conferences have fulltime staffs, and do a lot of heavy lifting to support their congregations and pastors. The New Hampshire Conference, for instance, is currently working on thirty pastoral transitions (searches, interims, etc.). State conferences serve as the critical link between the UCC national office in Cleveland and all of the local congregations.
The Annual Meeting was held this year at the Grappone Center on Concord, a conveniently located conference center that seems to be a good fit for the new one-day configuration of the NH Conference’s annual get-togethers. It was a full day! The 300 or so delegates, guests and exhibitors convened at 9:00 a.m. and stayed until 7:30 p.m., packing-in a full day of meetings, breakout sessions, meals, worship and networking. The excellent organization of the day kept things moving at a fast pace. We spent most of our time together in the Banquet Hall, voting on the annual budget and several resolutions, electing a slate of nearly 100 Conference Leaders (including Brian Edwards to the Finance Committee), honoring a slew of folks for their many contributions to our collective work, and spending a good amount of time in worship.
The Annual Meeting theme, “Imagine What’s Possible” had been deftly woven into presentations and worship throughout the day and, by golly, it was pretty inspiring. Over the course of the day we saw seven video presentations about what some of our local churches had done after imagining what might be possible to make a difference in the lives of their congregations and communities. We heard several presentations from high school students, there as Youth Delegates, and we were reminded how inspiring it is to see capable young people taking leadership roles. We are so fortunate at CCDC to have that happening in our midst!
It was not all sunshine at the meeting. Membership at the local, state and national levels of the UCC is declining. Budgets are shrinking. After agonizing deliberation, the budget which was adopted was one without the Conference subsidy for Campus Ministry at UNH, Plymouth and Keene. This was discussed at considerable length, and accepted with sadness. Campus ministry will continue at these schools, but it will be wounded by both the absence of financial resources and the symbolic departure of Conference support. Please come find me to talk about the dynamics of this and the importance of campus ministry. We have a unique opportunity to be part of campus ministry here, and are fortunate to work within a framework where campus ministry at Dartmouth is well supported by the Tucker Foundation, as well as by local churches.
We left the Annual Meeting with a renewed appreciation for the challenges facing UCC churches in New Hampshire and throughout the country and fully appreciating the blessings of our vital church community at CCDC. We are proud of the many types of support that we give the NH Conference, and have found new energy to continue our walk in God’s ways.
from Our Parish Nurse ~ Ann Bradley
Have you been reading in the news lately about the “silver tsunami” about to come to the state of New Hampshire? A study from the NH Center for Public Policy Studies points to the Baby Boomers who are now in their 50s and 60s and the fact that as they age, there will be increased financial pressure that will lead to fewer resources to care for the elderly. The report points to the need to look long-term at how to deal with the elderly receiving care at home and in nursing homes. This pressure will also be present in neighboring Vermont. Vermont has the 2nd oldest population in the country while New Hampshire has the 4th oldest. The concern here in the Upper Valley is currently being addressed by a couple of different groups. First of all, there is a Geriatric Program Committee at DHMC. The 3 parish nurses in this area were invited to meet with that group to talk about parish nursing as a model for geriatric care and support. Secondly, an invitation has been sent out to a broad number of health care providers (parish nurses included) to join an ongoing discussion group that considers the needs of seniors in the Upper Valley. This group is called Upper Valley Elder Care Forum. The title of the first meeting is “Elder care is moving back to the community”. The impetus for this group comes from the DMS Dept. of Community and Family Medicine. If you would like more information about this or would like to attend, give me a call or send me an e-mail. I would be happy to talk further.
Along those lines, I think our church community is rich with examples of people caring for others. I see this in many informal as well as formal ways. CCDC Cares is a good example of the formal way that we as a church help to meet some short term needs of elders and others. Our CCDC Cares group has an incredible opportunity to engage in a truly meaningful ministry—as they willingly serve you and each other in concrete everyday tasks when you ask for that help. They give willingly of their time, gifts and talents. I see you serving each other, also, in many other ways outside of CCDC Cares—visiting in time of need, preparing meals for others, providing rides, etc. Perhaps there are those among you who may not feel you have any abilities or talents to contribute. Harold Koenig in his book on pastoral care urges us all to look at our unique, God-given gifts and talents for the time, age and situation we are in. There is potential in every situation for people of faith to serve God and bring about a greater good, even if it is just a grateful smile to a friend or caretaker who has lent a hand or provided help. What we all need to be mindful of is being able to recognize the mutuality of meaning, purpose, and joy in the reciprocity of caring and being cared for.
The next meeting of CCDC Cares will be on Monday, November 14 at 12:30 in Sanborn Room. Our speaker this month will be Nancy Pessia from Bayada Nurses who will be talking about Hospice Care. If you are interested in hearing more about the concepts of Hospice care or if you have ever thought you might want to be a Hospice volunteer, this is a good opportunity to learn more. You are welcome to come even if you have not been part of the CCDC Cares group. November is National Hospice Month.
While the Powerful Tools for Caregivers sessions did not take place because of low enrollment, be aware that there is a Caregivers support group, which meets every 3rd Wednesday at the Center for Elder Services in Lebanon. That is the office of Grafton County Senior Citizens Council on 10 Campbell St. near the CCBA. Call Jane Conklin at 448-1557 if you would like to attend.
A Bereavement support group, “Handling the Holidays After You’ve Had a Loss”, is scheduled at the Lake Sunapee VNA and Hospice just off Exit 12, 107 Newport Road, New London before you get into the center of New London. The schedule is: Nov. 8, 5:00-6:30, Nov. 15, 2:00-3:30, Dec. 6, 5:00-6:30, Dec. 13, 2:00-3:30.
There is no charge and participants are welcome at one or all sessions. To register, call Meg Ames at 526-4077.
CROP Hunger Walk Update – A GREAT Success! ~ Peter Bensen
“Love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” 1 John 3.18
Thanks to so many of you for generously supporting my efforts to coordinate this year’s CROP Hunger Walk. CCDC had twice as many walkers as last year (26) and our congregation raised the most money. We baked some delicious cookies too. While walkers haven’t turned in all their donations yet, we’re projecting a fund raising total of about $9,000. Hanover High School athletes turned out in remarkable numbers (42 to be exact). The soccer boys alone raised close to $2,000.
Organizing the CROP walk has been a good and worthwhile experience for me. I would not have been able to do it without the help of Kendra, Rob, my mom, and my dad. We walked because they walk and our efforts will help improve the lives of others. Please mark your calendars for next year’s walk, Sunday, October 7.
News from Board of Deacons for Outreach ~ Susan Weeks
The CROP Walk was our first project of the new year and it was a resounding success under the leadership of Peter Bensen. Thank you all for participating in the walk and your generous donations.
Many of you will not soon forget the efforts this past June to collect, sort and ship items to Glen View Church in Harare, Zimbabwe. The container arrived safely and items were distributed to the congregation of our sister church on Sunday, October 9. Photos are posted on our bulletin board. It was a long journey with much work but so well worth the effort! Thank you again to all who helped in this endeavor.
Upcoming dates to keep in mind: Our Holiday Card project for troops overseas will start on November 13. We will have packets of 5 cards available for you to either sign at church or bring home and return. Our deadline for completion is the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We do not have a final number yet (last year we sent over 900!) but it looks very promising that this number will be lower as many of our men and women will be home for the holidays this year. The Holiday Giving Tree will also be set up in the Batchelder Lounge on November 13 and again on November 20. Carletta Nevers is spearheading our efforts this year.
Lastly, we hope that many of you attended the Second Hour on October 30 and will be participating in the “Mission 1” efforts led by Kay Torrey and Stephanie Chestnut.
We welcome your input and observations. The Board meets on the second Monday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at the church if you would like us to place an item on our agenda for discussion.
Giving Tree 2011: One of our really fun annual events will take place following the services on November 13 and 20. Deacons from the Board of Outreach will be collecting tags from the Giving Tree from members of the congregation. For those of you new to our church, the LISTEN center supplies us with a list of families from the local area and their “gift” requests for the holiday. Our church school children create colorful tags with information of each family’s needs and these tags are placed on the Giving Tree so members of our congregation can select one (or more!) gifts to purchase. Deadline for returning gifts to the church is Monday, November 28 which will give us time to sort, wrap and transport the gifts back to LISTEN for distribution.
CCDC Reads ~ Ray Sears
The CCDC Reads Group met on September 19 to discuss The Social Animal by New York Times columnist David Brooks. We had a lively wide ranging discussion about several topics covered in the book, including the importance of the subconscious mind, the role of non-verbal communications, and learning in both the conscious and subconscious minds in forming who we are. Many of the mental phenomena once regarded as miraculous are now well understood at least in principle. Having barely scratched the surface of many important topics, we agree to continue the discussions two weeks later on October 3 when we again held a lively discussion.
We will next meet on November 13 to discuss the book Speaking Christian by Marcus Borg. Borg discusses how the language we use in religious discourse has evolved over centuries and through translation to convey meanings much different from original intentions of authors. This has allowed development of multiple understandings of our sacred texts and traditions, heavily influenced by differing cultural assumptions. Borg argues that we must recover original meanings to allow communication between Christians of differing backgrounds. Everyone is welcome to participate in CCDC Reads!
Overseas Mission Partnership ~ June Russell
In recent weeks, the Prayer Calendar inserts included with your Sunday worship bulletins have been giving you information about the beginning of the overseas mission movement in the United States. During the two years from 2010 to 2012, it is observing its bicentennial. The following bits add to this story, there are lots more!
One afternoon in 1806, five Williams College students met for their regular prayer discussion and conversation about ways they could answer God’s calling. Their talk was interrupted by a sudden thunderstorm and they were driven to take shelter under a haystack in the field where they had been walking. While there, they continued together in prayer and pledged themselves as volunteers for a mission to the “heathen” world.
On June 28, 1810, four of the young men, by then students at Andover Theological Seminary, asked the evangelical clergy of Massachusetts to send them abroad as missionaries. That was something never before done on this continent. They struck a spark! Massachusetts and Connecticut Congregationalists voted to establish the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the first organized foreign mission agency in North America. In February 1812, less than two years later, eight young missionaries were appointed.
The newly married Judsons and Newells sailed from Salem, Massachusetts and the Notts, with Gordon Hall and Luther Rice, left from Philadelphia, all bound for India. It was not a pleasant voyage, nor was their greeting from the East India Company, which did not relish the idea of the “natives” over whom they ruled with such profitability, being exposed to the new ideas which the missionaries might bring. The Newells sought a new field on the island of Mauritus in the Indian Ocean. However, the nineteen-year-old Harriet Newell’s baby died at sea and she herself died soon after landing, the first of many American Board Missionaries who were to give up their lives in service of the Gospel.
Before long, however, the young people persisted and found a foothold in Bombay, where the first American mission station overseas was established in 1813. It was followed in a few years by a mission in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and in 1823 by the establishment there of Jaffna College.
By the year 1893, a mission was established in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Despite many difficulties, the missionaries started schools and churches which today are part of the now independent United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe. Through the efforts of the New Hampshire UCC Conference, our congregation has a special partnership with the Glen View Church in Harare.
Today Global Ministries, the shared mission program of UCC Wider Church Ministries and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) supports 125 overseas staff in 70 countries and works with 279 mutual partnerships, sharing God’s love and gifts with people around the world.