All of us have our own personal methods of preparation for beginnings. Before I pack for a trip, I like to have ALL my laundry done, even if nothing I plan to take is in the laundry basket. The ritual of back-to-school shopping is a fun way to anticipate the beginning of a school year. Here at the church, we’ve been cleaning, planning, filling in calendar squares, and updating lists. As for me, preparing for a church program year includes quiet reflection on this question – What do my people need? There isn’t always an obvious answer and of course, the question is subject to personal misconception – What I think my people need may not be the same as what my people actually need. Still, it’s an important query before we begin a new program year.
I think few of us believe we are living in easy, rewarding, happy times. The levels of stress are very high, everywhere from the new electronic data systems at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center to the new email system at Dartmouth College, from the debt ceiling debate in Washington to the closing of businesses in the Upper Valley, from the earthquake that wiggled the east coast to the hurricane threatening to wash Cape Cod away, climate change, proposed tar sand exploitation, the Republican campaign for president, starvation in eastern Africa, even the tenth anniversary of 9/11 ~ all these combine to make us feel as if we’re being bounced around like a Styrofoam cup on a choppy ocean.
So my pondering about the question – what do my people need – has led me to a rather mundane conclusion. My people need stability, predictability, quiet, music, support, reliably good worship, kindness. In other words, my people need a good, steady church year, with opportunities to be together to learn and to serve. My people need their spirit fed with the nourishment of excellent music, safety and love for their children, fewer meetings, more leisurely times to read, sit with some tea and conversation, service programs, prayer shawls, time to pray.
At first, I couldn’t see how that would translate into Fall programming – but then it became so obvious. We need to do the usual and customary with and for one another this year in our church. So I guess we could say our church programming is summed up with the word ditto, or ibid, or same old, same old…
So please read through this News and Views carefully – it’s filled with opportunities to do all of the above. The Reading Group is recommending an excellent for the first read of the year - The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement, by David Brooks. And their next book is also excellent, Speaking Christian, Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power-And How They Can Be Restored, by Marcus Borg. We are also offering a variety of ways to be better care-givers. Music will be wonderful this fall with the first organ recital on September 18 and Ernie’s Mendelssohn course. You should consider joining one of the choirs. And plan to participate in the CROP walk. Come and make prayer shawls with us. Spend some quiet time in the sanctuary, which is open 24/7. We’re reproducing the October prayer guide we used during our capital campaign. Read those daily prayers.
I have also been thinking about starting a support group for those of us who are struggling to simplify our lives, who feel anxious about indebtedness, consumerism, time demands, and so on. It would be modeled on the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous – with step one adapted to read “We admit (confess) that we feel powerless over the temptations of a consumer culture, over our schedules, over our finances, over the demands placed upon us.” This needs a little more thought and planning, but I believe I might offer this support (not advice-giving) six-week series beginning in October.
In the mean time, come to church. I’ll meet you here.
Worship Schedule for September
Unless otherwise noted, Sunday worship begins in the Sanctuary at 10:00 AM
September 4 Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Carla Bailey, preaching
Ezekiel 33:7-11; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20
September 11 Recovenanting Sunday
Carla Bailey, preaching
Church Picnic at Storr’s Pond
Genesis 50:15-21; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35
September 18 Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Carla Bailey, preaching
Jonah 3:10-4:11; Phillipians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-16
September 25 Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Carla Bailey, preaching
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Phillipians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32
All-Church Picnic at Storrs Pond
Sunday, September 11
Welcome back to a new church year! As part of Recovenanting Sunday, everyone is invited to Storrs Pond after worship for our annual potluck picnic. It is a great way to start the year and get to know one another. Come to church that day dressed in your picnic attire. There will be great food and fellowship, plus fun games.
We will once again use Area 5 at Storrs Pond (see directions below). Hamburgers, veggie burgers, hotdogs, and drinks will be provided. You can help in the following way:
If your last name starts with the letter A through O, please bring a side dish or salad
If your last name starts with the letter P through Z, please bring a dessert
There will be sign-up sheets in both the church office and on the credenza. PLEASE indicate the number attending and your choice of grilled items; this will help us calculate the meat order. You may also email Gail McPeek () or the church office () with your information.
Directions to Area 5, Storrs Pond: Drive to the Main Entrance of Storrs Pond which is located at the end of Reservoir Road. Stay to the left and follow the road past the tennis courts, then left up the long winding hill. As you descend the hill, turn right and continue to the parking lots on both sides of the road. Parking is somewhat limited so carpooling is encouraged. If you’d like to bring a lawn chair or two, please do.
We will have the picnic, rain ☹ or shine ☺. Be on the lookout for more picnic announcements.
This annual all-church picnic is brought to you by the Boards of Deacons
for Religious Education and Congregational Life
from Our Church President ~ Tom Wilson
Greed and Compassion
A compass is an instrument that orients us and tells us which direction we should be going. Do we have a moral compass that we can use that directs our actions, our behavior? I suggest that one such compass we might use is one that indicates whether our decisions are motivated by greed or by compassion.
You guessed it. These thoughts about greed and compassion were brought to mind after following what is going on in Washington this summer. The focus has been on money and our nation’s deficit. Lost has been the consideration of the millions of unemployed, the millions who have lost their homes, the millions who cannot afford medical care, the millions who are dependent on Social Security in their old age.
In addition I have been attending some of the ILEAD summer lectures about corruption. Professor Lawrence Lessig spoke on July 6th. He teaches at Harvard Law School and directs a Center for Ethics at Harvard University. He outlined for us how money corrupts. Members of Congress need lots of money to get elected and re-elected. Special interest groups supply much of that money. There are lots of lobbyists in Washington working for special interest groups and reminding members of Congress of their indebtedness to those who funded their election efforts. It would seem from their votes that that congressman’s and congresswoman’s indebtedness is often greater than the obligations they have to the citizens who voted them into office. On top of that, in January 2010, the Supreme Court, by a 5 – 4 vote, gave to corporations the right to spend an unlimited amount of money on independent campaign expenses. Professor Lessig implied that our government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is slipping away.
Perhaps you are saying that these political matters don’t belong in our church’s News and Views. But Carla Bailey isn’t afraid to comment on these issues from the pulpit. Jesus had things to say about greed and compassion. I think our faith in his teachings make these issues relevant.
In college I took the beginning course in Psychology. In the very first lecture our professor told us that the first postulate in Psychology is that all behavior is motivated. That premise stays with me over 60 years later. We understand that there is a reason why a person behaves as he or she does. It may seem rational or irrational, but there is always a reason behind each person’s actions. Think of greedy behavior in those terms. Greed is defined as “an excessive desire to possess wealth or goods with the intention to keep it for oneself.” Squirrels instinctively store away acorns for the winter. Humans have evolved as creatures that can rationally plan for the future. We collect and store away material things. Often in our American culture, wealth is the measure of success. But at what point is this carried to an extreme and to the detriment of others? Is it not excessive when the president of a corporation makes many hundreds of times the salary of the average worker in that corporation?
Now think of compassion as a motivated behavior. Compassion is defined as “the feeling of a deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” The first part is the feeling for others. That’s empathy. It is the second part, the desire to actively help others, that is the essence of compassion. Think of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Think of the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Fred Berthold tells us that the idea expressed in the Golden Rule is found in all the major world’s religions.
Greedy behavior often seems to be motivated by selfishness. Compassionate behavior occurs when people are unselfish and are caring about others. So I suggest you try using the Greed versus Compassion scale in evaluating decisions that are being made by people. Think of it in other parts of the world, in our own national and local governments, in our neighborhoods, in our daily lives.
Religious Education Update ~ Rob Grabill
I think it’s possible to sum up the excitement of a new school year and a new program year at CCDC in two words: “pointy crayons”. No matter what your age, I think you can relate to that. We can all remember the excitement we felt when we opened a new box of crayons, whether they were the skinny eight-pack with basic colors, the bountiful 24-pack, or the almost too bountiful box with 64 crayons and a built-in sharpener. It’s not the number that excites, though. It’s the simple beauty of those perfect points, and the promise that they hold. That’s exactly what the new church program year is like: fresh, full of promise and uncertainly, and fully capable of moments of wonder even when the points have worn down a bit and it’s harder to color within the lines.
I actually bought two dozen boxes of new crayons for the younger classes a few weeks ago when I found them on sale. There is, however, a lot more activity happening in preparation for the start of classes. Our “official” opening will be on September 11th – Recovenanting Sunday. We’ll join the choir, the teachers and parents, and many other volunteers to mark the start of the program year with a simple liturgy. Most of our favorite teachers are returning for Church School, and we’re expecting quite a crowd of students! Gail McPeek has done a great job recruiting nursery workers in anticipation of a full house each Sunday in the Nursery.
Parents, you can help us with the preparations by completing the enclosed Church School registration form and returning it to the church office. We will also be sending this to you online, and you are welcome to return it by e-mail, if you prefer that method of replying to us. The more we know about your children, the better equipped we will be to serve them, and provide a meaningful faith formation experience for all ages.
Speaking of all ages, we are also well underway with planning for our Confirmation Class. We will have five students in this year’s contingent, and are eager to begin the yearlong process of exploring world religions, church history, bible basics and theology before considering covenant membership. An integral part of Confirmation classes will be several service projects that will allow the Confirmands to have hands-on experiences that will build their understanding that learning to walk in God’s ways means serving others, here in the Upper Valley and beyond. We are hoping to return to the Heifer International farm in Massachusetts in the spring, having had a transformative experience there with last year’s class.
The Religious Education Board is working hard to explore topics for adult education, both in the form of Second Hour forums after church, and longer classes on Sunday afternoons. We are finalizing plans for a six-part series this fall on Felix Mendelssohn and his sacred music. Stay tuned for details!
Our commitment to campus ministry will continue to take many forms. We have been thrilled by the number of Dartmouth students, of both the undergrad and graduate varieties, who have been attending Sunday worship and also contributing to our community life in other ways. Avery Chu ’13 did a wonderful job performing on cello a week ago, and we hope to see him again soon. We are also pleased to be hosting the Sunday night suppers in Sanborn Hall following the Christian Vespers that will be held at 5:30 in Rollins Chapel. All are encouraged to attend the Vespers service and then join us afterward for supper and conversation. Our good friend Richard Crocker, Dartmouth College Chaplain and Tucker Foundation Dean is a regular presence at these gatherings.
There’s a lot afoot this fall at CCDC, so grab your paper and pointy crayons, and get ready to join in!
from Our Parish Nurse ~ Ann Bradley
While the days of this beautiful summer are waning, let’s continue to keep one foot in that mindset even as we look ahead to an eventful year. You will hear about some offerings elsewhere, but I did want to let you know about a couple of happenings from the health and wellness side. Tai Chi with Annie Bower will start again on Wed., Sept. 7 (note change of day) in Sanborn Room from 2:30-3:30. This will be an eight-week session lasting until Oct. 26, cost $35. Both beginning and experienced students will work together (and sometimes separately) to learn the form called “tai chi for arthritis and fall prevention.” This was developed from traditional Sun style—the youngest of the four basic tai chi forms. There are clinical studies you can access which demonstrate that going slowly helps us work on our balance and coordination, breathe more deeply, relieve stress and become more aware of where we are and what we’re doing. If you’ve never taken tai chi, this is a great time to start. If you are groaning to yourself and saying, “I should”—well, just do it! It will produce health benefits for you as well as let you have an hour of fun with others. For more information, visit instructor Anne Bower’s website: http://www.annebower.com, email her at or call (802)457-2877.
On Tuesdays from 1:30-4:00 beginning September 27 and ending November 1, the program “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” will be offered at no cost here at our church in the Rand Room and will be open to our church community as well as the wider community. This program is designed to provide caregivers with the “tools” to increase their own self-care and to give them the confidence to handle difficult situations, emotions, and decisions. It will be facilitated by Carol Dustin and Jane Conklin from the Grafton County Senior Citizens Center. If you are interested in joining this group or know someone who might be, please call Jane Conklin or Carol Dustin at 448-1558 to register or for more information.
CCDC Cares has been functioning all summer with some quiet periods here and there. Volunteers have graciously provided respite care, have provided meals, have helped with some gardening chores and met various other needs of parishioners. CCDC Cares is a group of parishioners who agree to volunteer to meet short-term needs of fellow parishioners—to help with those tasks for which a second pair of hands is useful. We will start up again with a lunch on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at noon in Sanborn Room. We will have Jane Conklin and/or Carol Dustin as guest speaker(s) talking about the Powerful Tools for Caregivers sessions described above as well as the Servicelink Service Center which provides connections for helping people to live independently. Bring a sandwich. Dessert and beverage will be provided. If you have served on this group before and would like to continue, please come. Or if you are unable to come but would like to recommit to volunteer, please let me or Amy Stringer know. If you are new and might consider joining CCDC Cares, please come, or speak either to me or to Amy. We would like people to recommit to this so that our e-mail list continues to be updated and relevant.
Prayer shawl knitters will convene once again on the last Wednesday of the month (new day!), Sept. 28 in Batchelder Lounge from 12:00-1:00. If you are not a knitter or crocheter but would like to learn, there are great teachers participating. Bring your lunch or not and enjoy a fun hour of needlework and conversation. Supplies and patterns can be provided.
The need for providing meals to fellow parishioners is not particularly often, but it would be great to know of a group of you who might be willing to provide an occasional meal, as needed. The idea of how to organize this is at http://www.mealtrain.com. It is a simple way of scheduling dates, knowing meal preferences, and knowing about food allergies or special dietary considerations. If you would be willing to join such a group, please speak to me or e mail me at . I will be the keeper of the list to be used as needed. But do look at this website to see how simple the process is for both the provider and the recipient. It is a great way to give support during difficult times. Even if you are not a computer user, you can easily be part of this effort.
And finally, do mark your calendars for Monday September 26. The Schumann lecture this year will be given by Harold Koenig, MD on the role spirituality plays in our health. Dr. Koenig is renowned in the field of spirituality and aging. He is the author of several books and is the Director of the Program on Religion, Aging, and Health at Duke. The lecture will take place at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Aging Resource Center , Auditoriums E and F. No pre-registration required, but this is sure to be a standing room only event!
Hamilton Library Happenings ~ Susan Shadford
Change is Happening at Hamilton Library
The Hamilton Library’s computer system stopped working this spring and has been replaced with an internet based system that will allow for online searching of its collection. Work will begin shortly on scanning the library’s books and getting the system up and running. More information will be forthcoming once the scanning is complete. In the meantime, as always, please come browse the shelves or check the card catalog for a specific topic or title. Its a great collection! “
And speaking of books…
CCDC Reads 2011 – 2012 ~ Ray Sears
The Reading Group has selected 4 books for the 2011 – 2012 program year. Our initial discussion will be on September 18 and later discussions will be scheduled for November, January, March, and May. We will meet in June to select books for the following year. All discussions will be held following worship and will last about an hour. All are welcome, whether or not you have read the book, although we certainly hope you will read them all. The books chosen and a brief review of each are provided below. They bring powerful intertwined messages to help us understand our turbulent times.
September – The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement - David Brooks “David Brooks has written an absolutely fascinating book about how we form our emotions and character. Standing at the intersection of brain science and sociology, and writing with the wry wit of a James Thurber, he explores the unconscious mind and how it shapes the way we eat, love, live, vacation, and relate to other people.” - Walter Isaacson
November - Speaking Christian:-Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power-And How They Can Be Restored- Marcus Borg
“Modern Christians are steeped in a language so distorted that it has become a stumbling block to the religion, says internationally renowned Bible scholar Marcus J. Borg. Borg argues that Christianity’s important words, and the sacred texts and stories in which those words are embedded, have been narrowed by a modern framework …..” – Amazon.com
January – Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus – Robin Meyers “The marriage of bad theology and hypocritical behavior by the church has eroded our spiritual lives. Taking the best of biblical scholarship, Meyers recasts core Christian concepts in an effort to save Christianity from its obsession with personal salvation.” – Amazon.com
March – Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World – James Carroll “Carroll, author of the critically acclaimed Constantine’s Sword, has given us one of the broadest and most balanced accounts in recent years of the city of King David—one centered on the concept of “sacred violence” as a path to redemption, a vision long engendered by Jerusalem and all that it represents.” – Publisher’s Weekly
May – To Be Announced
Our dear friend and long-time member, Margaret Funkhouser passed away on July 20. A memorial service was held for her in Providence, RI where she had been living. Please keep her family and friends in your prayers at this time.
From the Director of Music ~ Ernie Drown
CHOIRS ARE SET TO BEGIN! First rehearsals for the Handbell Choir and Chancel Choir will be on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 5 pm and 7 pm. We NEED Sopranos and Altos in the Chancel Choir!! The music that we sing is challenging, but fun. Please consider joining us! We can always make room for a new bell ringer as well.
ORGAN RECITAL --- Organ wizard Peter Sykes from Boston will play an organ recital at the church on Sunday afternoon, September 18 at 4 pm. He’ll be playing works of Bach, Mendelssohn, the Danish Romantic composer Niels Gade, and more. Peter played the dedication recital for our organ 6 years ago (can you believe??). He returns in September to play the inaugural recital in the Ives Concert Series--which was established with funds from a final bequest in the will of our long-time member Mary Ives. The program is free; there will be a reception afterward. Don’t miss this--and plan to bring a friend.
ADULT EDUCATION FORUM: Getting to Know Mendelssohn and his Sacred Music, a series of 6 one-hour sessions at the church, led by Director of Music Ernie Drown, beginning on October 9, in the Rand Room, at 4 pm. In this series, we’ll listen to and learn to appreciate some of the many, many sacred works by this vastly-underappreciated composer. In addition to his famous oratorio “Elijah”, Mendelssohn also composed one on St. Paul, and left “Christus” unfinished at his tragically early death at the age of 38. In addition, there is a wealth of music for churches. Participants will be given audio CDs of “listening assignments” at each session. No experience necessary! But please let us know if you are planning to participate, since space is limited.
CROP HUNGER WALK ~ Sunday, October 2
When you participate in a CROP WALK, you’re:
• Supporting long-term development in some 80 countries
• Helping meet the special needs of refugees
• Assisting in disasters and famines
• Sharing some $4,000,000 annually to support local hunger fighting efforts across the U.S. Our local Walk donates 25% of funds raised to LISTEN’s Community Dinner Program and the Raven Box Food Pantry.
• Getting some exercise, too!
If you are interested in walking contact Peter Bensen, the new CROP Hunger Walk Coordinator! (802-649-1949 or ). If you would like to support the Walk by sponsoring a walker, people will be collecting pledges at Sunday morning coffee hours in mid and late September. You can always support the Walk by writing a check made out to CWS/CROP WALK and sending it to the church.
Make a difference in your community and the world.
CROP Walk or sponsor a CROP Walker.