News & Views ~ October 2012
Our church staff meets together every Wednesday morning at 11. It’s about what you’d expect of a staff meeting – we go around the circle and bring up various items for discussion – computer updates, pastoral concerns, children’s activities, conflicting room use issues, calendar checks. Today we were doing our thing when Ken Gagnon, our excellent, tough, and extremely funny building manager started talking about how the critters who live around the church have discovered that the exterior shed is the ideal spot for storing up the nuts (we think they’re buckeyes or some kind of chestnuts). Ken, who is usually the quietest member of our staff, talked at length about the nuts in the shed. There are thousands of them he tells us. They’re on the shelves, in the lawnmower, stacked in the corners, and completely covering every inch of floor space. For some reason, Ken’s effusive description of the church shed full of nuts captured our attention for a few minutes, made us laugh, and lifted us up out of the routine of staff meeting details.
It’s so easy to let such simple pleasures or funny moments go by us unnoticed. It reminds me of the scene in Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple, when Shug is explaining to Miss Celie how God doesn’t want us to ignore the extraordinary in the ordinary – like the color purple. God gets mad when we just walk on by such loveliness. I don’t imagine Ken thought the thousands of nuts stashed away in the shed was particularly lovely, but his telling of it was. It made us all lift our heads and laugh at the image of squirrels and chipmunks who think they’ve found a perfect storage unit built just for them!
October is a perfect month for just such noticings. It may be a particularly bright blue sky, or the warm smell of baking apples. Perhaps an especially lovely turn of phrase will make itself known to you. When we put all our accumulated yarn out in the Batchelder Lounge (see inside “Commit to Knit”), Rob Grabill commented on how bright and warm the room looked. I think of David Baker’s poem “Neighbors in October”.
All afternoon his tractor pulls a flat wagon
with bales to the barn, then back to the waiting
chopped field. It trails a feather of smoke.
Down the block we bend with the season:
shoes to polish for a big game,
storm windows to batten or patch.
And how like a field is the whole sky now
that the maples have shed their leaves, too.
It makes us believers—stationed in groups,
leaning on rakes, looking into space. We rub blisters
over billows of leaf smoke. Or stand alone,
bagging gold for the cold days to come.
May this month of October bring you many “noticings”, lovely, funny, tender – all reminding you of the wonder of God.
Love to us all ~ Carla
Worship Schedule for October
Unless otherwise noted, Sunday worship begins in the Sanctuary at 10:00 AM
October 7 Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
World Communion Sunday
Carla Bailey, preaching
Genesis 2:18-24; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16
October 14 Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Carla Bailey, preaching
Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31
October 21 Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our New Hampshire Conference
Conference Delegates, preaching
Isaiah 53:4-12; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45
October 28 Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Carla Bailey, preaching
Jeremiah 31:7-9; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52
from Our Church President ~ Evan Smith
Well, we’re off and running with the new church year. We had our first Elders meeting the evening of September 4, and Carla asked us all, by way of self-introduction, to go around the table and answer the question: “What do I think is the purpose of the church and its ministry?” I was the only one who had a little advance notice and got to go first, so I provided a pretty conventional but comprehensive answer. Needless to say, with a large number of us around the table, it got harder and harder to give an original answer. Perhaps as a natural consequence, answers progressively became much less conventional and much more personal, as if answering an alternative question: “What is my connection to the church and its ministry?” By the end, it struck me how for so many of us, personal crisis has been one of the most important forces shaping our faith and connection to the church.
It’s not often now that I read a book not connected directly or indirectly with the business world, but a week ago when I came down with a sharp cold and spent a day mostly in bed, I reached for a copy of Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand) that Sam had gifted to me some time ago. Many of you, I’m sure, have read it and can attest to the fact that there’s nothing on the cover or in all but the last chapter to suggest that it is a book about faith – except for a small hint in the cover teaser that reads: “A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.” It turns out be a truly gripping and harrowing story of a downed airman surviving forty-seven days on a raft in the Pacific only to be captured by the Japanese and to endure two years in a progression of POW camps, suffering every possible form of degradation and suffering, with one particularly demented and demonic guard haunting both his waking and sleeping hours. I won’t ruin the story for you, but his true crisis only arrives after being liberated and returned home, and the “redemption” part comes something out the blue and is spiritually transforming from the very darkest places.
Most of our trials and personal crises, certainly mine, are truly pedestrian compared to those of Louie Zamperini (the real-life protagonist), but they still shape us profoundly. And as extensions of us, our human institutions are often also shaped and set on irreversible courses by their responses to crises. The purpose of “the church and its ministry” has no static response, but is instead itself defined by its response to the human condition.
An important challenge for us at CCDC is that, as a church relatively free of the existential crises – financial or otherwise – that so many congregations today face, we have to stretch ourselves a little more to define the purpose of our ministry and the needs and crises to which we must respond. In other words, we must shape for ourselves what is not shaped by clear crisis or circumstance. In that vein, before we fall too much into a normal routine, the Elders plan to get together for an evening in October outside of our normal meetings, to discuss what our goals, as a congregation, should be for our collective ministry as we enter a new year. We look forward to sharing our thoughts with you and soliciting yours.
Religious Education Update ~ Rob Grabill
We have settled into a familiar, happy routine with Church School this fall, and have four classrooms crackling with energy. In addition to a number of dedicated adult volunteers, we have been fortunate to have the able assistance of more than half a dozen high school students who are helping out as assistant teachers and nursery care givers. They are helping to give us the necessary ratio of adults to students, and they are wonderful, wonderful role models. Oh, and in their spare time most if not all of these busy young adults are providing the backbone for this year’s CROP Walk on Sunday, October 7th.
The Preschool class has been enlivened by the addition of a trio of bright, precocious three year-olds who have “graduated” from nursery care and proudly join the big kids. In the meantime, at the other end of the Church School food chain, I am teaching the largest class that I have ever had in over 20 years at CCDC. My 5th-8th grade class is averaging a dozen students each week. It’s an interesting mix. On a given Sunday, there is a chance of having as many as four sets of siblings around the table! We have some interesting rituals, some of them centered around snack time, but we also have maintained enough decorum to get some real learning done. As is the case with the adults downstairs, I solicit prayer requests and concerns from the students before we recite the Lord’s Prayer together. They have demonstrated so much maturity, concern for others and depth of understanding. Little do they know (until they read this and the secret is out), that the strength of those mingled voices in joint prayer is what fills my heart completely for the week ahead.
For the past two years, I have been a regular member at the monthly meetings of the New Hampshire Association of United Church Educators (AUCE), held at the Pembroke offices of the NH Conference of the UCC. We have more than two dozen members from churches large and small all over the state. Several of the more experienced church educators in the group are officers of AUCE on the regional and national levels, and one, the amazing Deb Gline Allen, is National President. The members take turns each month, leading discussions on a variety of topics, including curriculum, faith formation, youth programming, safe church policies and Confirmation. I led a roundtable discussing the latter topic last spring, and it was so well received that the NH Conference’s Committee on Congregational Life requested that we hold a joint meeting with them so that a number of the pastors in that group could participate in a dialogue about Confirmation. That meeting, also last spring, went so well that the group decided to meet again this fall to continue the conversation. I have learned a lot about Confirmation that I intend to apply to future classes, and have also been told that we are doing many things very well.
I have again resumed my studies at the Bangor Theological Seminary (BTS) in Portland, Maine, As many of you know, this the final year of operation for BTS before the degree programs are suspended, and the seminary ends two centuries of higher education for pastors, chaplains, and students of theology and religion. The Board of Trustees has commissioned a Third Century Committee to study the ways that Bangor can re-purpose itself. Carla, a former Trustee, is a part of that group. The mood at Bangor is very positive. Many of the students will be able to complete programs and graduate this spring. Others, myself included, will be able to continue towards our degrees, with several of us aiming toward the Andover Newton Theological Seminary. All of us are remaining open to God’s call to do our part in meeting the needs of those who have been served by BTS, and served by its may, many graduates.
I am also making plans to continue toward Ordination, and to that end I will be applying to the Clinical Pastoral Education program (CPE) at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. The program is a very intensive, hands-on boot camp for hospital chaplains. It covers three months, 40 hours per week, with regular weekday evenings and weekends. I am planning to take the course this summer, and expect to be humbled, stretched and strengthened by the process of learning to serve patients and their families at DHMC. More on this later, to be sure!
from Our Parish Nurse ~ Ann Bradley
Here we are well into the fall season with all its wonderful sights, smells and activities. Among those activities is remembering that flu season will soon be upon us. All people 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine as soon as possible once it is available. Influenza or flu is a highly contagious, potentially serious disease that is spread by coughing, sneezing or nasal secretions. It takes up to two weeks for protection to develop after the shot and protection lasts about a year. Your health care provider will recommend the type of vaccine you should receive, inactivated or live (flu shot) or attenuated (weakened) flu vaccine, which is sprayed into the nostrils. You will also be given detailed information about the vaccine.
Free flu vaccine clinics for all adults and children will be held from 8:00-1:00 on Sunday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, October 13 at DHMC. Enter the main entrance. Free clinics for adults only will also be held at Harvest Hill at Alice Peck Day Hospital on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 9:00-12:00 and Thursday October 11 from 4:00-6:00.
The CCDC Cares committee met recently and decided that we would follow last spring’s clean up day with a fall “get ready for winter” day. It will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 9:00-2:00. So, email with your requests for helping put away that summer furniture or leaf raking or putting up the screens and down the storm windows. You may also call the Church office if that is easier. We will set our schedule by Oct. 23 and let you know who your helper(s) will be and approximate time. Between now and then, look around for those chores that could more easily be done with an additional pair of hands.
We had a wonderful talk by Kesstan Blandin of the NH Alzheimer’s Association about latest research into this disease as well as resources available. The upshot is what we have all heard before: exercise, social interaction and a Mediterranean-style diet seem to be key to staving off dementia, as well as other chronic diseases. To get more information, do check out the articles on the credenza.
I am happy to report that we have more than 20 people in our congregation who have told me in the past few weeks that they either wish to join the group or to remain a part of CCDC Cares. Aren’t we lucky?! The group will continue to meet every other month on the 2nd Tuesday at 12:30 in Sanborn Room. Bring a lunch. Dessert and beverage provided. Usually there is also a great speaker telling us of available resources in our wonderful Upper Valley area. If you have not joined but think you might, come and check it out. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 13. Many thanks to Eileen Rawnsley who has agreed to co-chair this group with me.
Coincidentally, on the same day as this meeting, I met with Nancy Pessier of Bayada Hospice. She is interested in recruiting volunteers for their Hospice program, in particular for patients with dementia. I am sure the VNA/VNH of NHVT would appreciate volunteers for their Hospice program, also. See me if you would like more information.
As always, I am available by phone or email if you have a concern, need information or would like a visit for whatever reason.
FALL PREPARE FOR WINTER DAY
CCDC wants to help you prepare for winter!
Put away your summer furniture, stack wood, rake, Whatever you need to be ready for the cold days of winter!
You only need to let us know and we’ll match volunteers to your jobs.
Saturday, October 27th!
Hamilton Library Happenings ~ Jean Keene
Prior to a busy summer with family and friends from afar, an exciting and interesting selection of new books were ordered for the Hamilton Library for children, students, and adults. When September arrived, it took several marathon sessions to catalog and process them all. Now they are ready for you to enjoy.
This time the majority of the purchases are for children. The suggestions of these titles came from our Church School teachers and reviewers from the UCC Religious Education committees of both the NH and National conferences.
More about the new picture books in a future issue of N&V.
Now a short mention of the new adult books on our shelves.
Abraham Joshua Heschel: Essential Writings collected by his daughter, Dartmouth Professor Susanna Heschel. Reviewers note that this informative and engaging collection of Rabbi Heschel’s writings give a unique perspective on Judaism. It shows his faith, his spirit of justice and is a prophetic reflection of how the Rabbi believed religion can make the world a better place.
Women’s Lives in Biblical Times by Jennie R. Ebeling. This book of fiction is a fascinating account of the everyday life of ancient Israelite women. The author is a biblical scholar, whose research is placed in highest regard by biblical scholars throughout the world, including Dartmouth’s Professor of Religion Susan Akerman.
God’s Big Table: Nurturing Children in a Diverse World by Elizabeth Caldwell. This book is rich in stories and wonderful ideas inviting us to respect and to celebrate diversity in our families, churches and lives.
The Best Care Possible: a Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life by DHMC’s Ira Byock, MD. In this book Dr. Byock describes what good palliative care really is and what the very best care can look like.
The nook in the Batchelder Lounge is a great place to spend a bit of time catching up on the relevant magazines: Christian Century, Sojourners, and the Upper Room that you may have missed over the summer. They can be taken out for a short time as well, with the signed library cards left in the library boxes on the shelves near by.
Commit to Knit (or Crochet)
For the past several years, we’ve had a dedicated group of knitters and crocheters who have made an abundance of lovely prayer shawls. Some of you have received a prayer shawl and you know first-hand how much comfort and warmth a shawl brings with it.
Well, we’re expanding our repertoire! We have been given a large donation of yarn from Karen , owner of White River Yarns. You can see the lovely array of yarns in the Batchelder Lounge for the first few weeks of October (after which they’ll move to the shelves in the Rand Room). We hope you will join our knitting and crocheting projects. We’re making children’s sweaters to be distributed through World Vision, caps, mittens and scarves to go to the Haven and Headrest, and wool scarves to be distributed through White River Yarns for homeless veterans in the Upper Valley.
Will you help us? We have lovely yarn, lots of easy patterns, needles, hooks, and friendly support! There is no deadline – we just want to make warm things, infused with our love and prayers, for those who need them. Talk to Carla Bailey, Kendra Maynard, or Ann Bradley to get started.
Christmas Market with a Difference
It’s that time of year again…CCDC’s annual Christmas Market with a Difference! In a few short weeks, the Batchelder Lounge and Sanborn Hall will be transformed into a colorful, bustling marketplace. A mission of the Board of Outreach, proceeds from our Market are returned directly to artisans in the world’s poorest regions or to non-profit and charitable organizations making a significant impact in the lives of families in need. Last year, we raised over $63,000 for 17 non-profit/self-help groups. These groups represent women’s cooperatives that use their earnings to support themselves and their children, organizations that sponsor schools, orphanages, and group homes for the ill or abused, and organizations working on conservation and promoting sustainability.
We will have several new organizations represented this year:
Chance for Education http://chanceforeducation.org/ ~ Many of you heard Lia Heany’s presentation this summer about her trip to Tanzania and the work she has done since then to finance the education of nine students attending Uhuru Peak School, a registered English speaking primary school outside of Arusha, Tanzania. By sending these children to a private, registered school they will be presented with opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them. The biggest obstacle preventing these students from attaining a better education is their economic reality. Chance for Education seeks to provide them with the resources, which will give them access to this education in a way that does not interfere presumptuously or intrusively, but is realistic and sustainable.
Cocoa Farmers Future Initiative (CFFI) http://www.cffigrenada.org/ ~ CFFI is working to help Grenadian cocoa farmers redevelop land damaged by hurricanes in recent years and to overcome the economic impact of that damage on the local agrarian economy. The Initiative also assists women in developing a market for crafts made from native materials: specifically natural materials and spices. Proceeds help supplement family incomes in the countryside. In particular craft work can help support single mothers who may have difficulty finding employment away from the home.
Ptimoun http://www.ptimoun.com/ ~ Ptimoun (pronounced “peti-moon”) is derived from “timoun” the Haitian Creole word for children. Ptimoun’s colorful children’s toys are eco-friendly—made from natural sustainable materials. Their goal is two-fold: to provide work to artisans who have lost their livelihood after the earthquake, and to support through profits the work of Edem Foundation and its elementary school, Ecole du Village in Ile a Vache, Haiti.
Tuko Pamoja http://www.nyumbani.org/ ~ Tuko Pamoja “we are together” is an initiative started by several women who journeyed to Kenya through KEST, Kenya Educational Service Trips. There they served on behalf of Nyumbani, an international organization that consists of an orphanage, a village and a slum outreach serving a large number of HIV affected people. The program purchases crafts from single mothers in Kenya and sells them in the US. Every dollar goes back into the program to purchasing additional crafts, thus providing a market and income for the women.
I love the way our church comes together to pull off this large-scale endeavor. It takes hundreds of volunteer hours and ‘many hands make light work’. We need set-up helpers, greeters, sellers and cashiers. Also, we need soup and baked goods for our Café and for the volunteer break room. Enclosed in this issue of News and Views, and in the church bulletin you will find a volunteer sign-up sheet. Please fill it out as soon as possible, indicating when you are available and leave it in the box on the credenza in Batchelder Lounge. As you can imagine, scheduling is a complicated job and having your information in writing and early makes it easier. You can also email your availability to Cinny Benson:
Please share in this effort. Sign up to work. Come and shop. Enjoy the Market.
This year’s Market will be held: Thursday, November 1 10am-6pm
Friday, November 2 10am-6pm
Saturday, November 3 10am-1pm
In an effort to be a “green” market, we are asking for donations of clear plastic containers (with a lid) that can be used to transport soup and paper or sturdy plastic bags. There will be drop-off boxes near the office.
Thank you - Amy Tietjen Smith, Market Chair