Washington Association Fall Meeting

The Washington Association, which is a regional grouping of UCC churches like ours and whose main function nowadays is to offer educational and/or worship experiences, such as the combined worship services we’ve held over the years at Harwood Union High School and the Barre Opera House, will be meeting on November 6 at 1pm at the Bethany United Church of Christ in Montpelier.

The program for the meeting will feature Dr. Leslie Turpin of the School for International Training in Brattleboro speaking about refugee resettlement.  Our Vermont UCC churches passed a resolution at our full annual meeting last April to educate ourselves about the refugee situation and to support Vermont’s efforts to be home to refugees.  She will be speaking about her own experience working in a refugee camp in Cambodia in the 80’s and will talk about what it is like to be a refugee attempting to make a home in foreign land with foreign cultures, languages and religions.

You can read a copy of that resolution here.

Youth Group Leading Worship

On Sunday, October 30, our Senior High Youth Group will help to lead worship and offer ysopreflections during it on their mission trip this past June to New York City.  The group of six rising high school  sophomores and juniors and one recent graduate spent 5 days in the city working with an organization called Youth Services Opportunity Project. While with YSOP, they worked in various parts of the city, and had different jobs and different destinations each day.  These young adults met and worked with other service providers and the people they were helping to serve. They’ll have slides for us as well as a narrative to share.  I hope you’ll be there as this is also their opportunity to say thank you to your support!

New art show: Michelle Turbide in November


We are excited to announce that Michelle Turbide will be showing her work at the White Meeting House in November.  A Grand Isle artist as well as a practicing psychotherapist, Michelle creates colorful, narrative images that explore personal transformation and lived experiences using acrylic and mixed media.

In addition to sharing her paintings, Michelle will offer us two other treats:

  1. an art talk on Sunday, November 13 at noon — open to the public; and
  2. a two-hour workshop on art journaling, also on Sunday the 13th, from 1 to 3PM.  The class will be $30 and include all materials; ages high school and older, and any skill or experience levels are welcome.  To sign up, register here.

Michelle’s work will be on display from November 4th through December 1.  Admission is free.  The building is generally open Tues through Friday from 8:30A to 4:30P, and later on Wednesdays. (Still, it’s always a good idea to call 244-6606 and confirm we’re open if you’re making a special trip!)

More info. about Michelle’s work is at http://www.michelleturbidestudios.com

Solace to our Troubles

‘As long as this exists,’ I thought, ‘and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts, I cannot be unhappy.’ The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. — Anne Frank

On Monday, after everyone in my household had gone to school, I got on my bike in search of my own solace.  I usually ride in order to challenge myself physically and mentally.  This time, my choice was to ride down the River Road to Richmond and enjoy the sunshine and the cloudless skies.  Because it’s dirt, slow-going, and relatively hill-less, I never ride that way.  Monday was different.  And my ride was beautiful and helpful.

But it was not everything.  Still wounded by the simmering, suffering wounds of my own children, I felt helpless and even, I have to say, hopeless.

It was not until I set to work reflecting on what I “know” about truth, and life and God, that I was able to clear away the hopelessness and share my grief with God and embrace life again.  When Alfred North Whitehead famously wrote that “religion is what one does with one’s solitariness,” he did not mean only Anne Frank’s sense of it as in the above quotation. The solitariness in question has to do with our encounter with God in the space of what we “know” to be true about life and love and the good, wherein we make a decision to live as though that knowledge makes a difference — to live for God and to discover in that living, again, the great gift of life — that nothing, not death nor life, nor angles nor principalities, nor height nor depth, can separate us from the love of God.

I hope you’ve had some time to do some of your own processing these great questions that were thrown in our faces by this sad, sad tragedy. Even if that is the case for you, it will not be easy.  And while I look forward to being with you this Sunday to walk through some of the stuff that has helped me regain hope, I do not doubt that I will have a difficult time doing it.  To be comforted by that primal solace, which I call God, does not mean that it is any easier to speak in the face of this, or that my emotions have all gone.  They haven’t.  But I’m anxious, in a good way, nevertheless to be with you.

Take good care of one another.  See you Sunday.

Chicken Pie Supper is still on for Friday 10/14

Despite the shock and sadness this week, after some consideration, we believe it is best to go ahead with this gathering — using it as a chance to be together.  We are going to make it a by-donation event to make it easier for more people to attend and to focus on being together in this time of sorrow.

In some ways, this makes the “cook-off” aspect even more fortuitous — although hosted by the church, the meal is really being made by the community, for the community.

Thank you for your support of this event.  While the tone may not be as lighthearted and silly as we’d originally hoped, we do aspire to make it a meaningful celebration of community, love and connection —  which will hopefully bring joy to many as well. 

Food will be served from 5 to 7PM and we have 11 local restaurants donating chicken pies for your consideration!  We hope to see you there.

Hunger Mountain Daycare Moving into New Home!

Do you need a daycare facility for your children?  Know someone who does?  This advertisement comes from Susan Senning whose child currently attends and whose  husband used to attend!  She is also on the board.

Hunger Mountain Children’s Center in Waterbury is growing into a larger space and to assist with our recruitment of new families, and be more inclusive of families with lower incomes, we’ll be offering a tuition discount to families who meet financial eligibility criteria. Hunger Mountain provides high-quality child care in a STARS accredited center, at an already affordable rate.

Located on Rte. 100, but soon to be in a newly renovated building in Waterbury village for Fall ‘16. Please contact: HMCC Executive Director Amanda Olney 802.244.5544

Kid’s Cancer Bake Sale

The 4th annual Vermont Cookies for Kids Cancer Bake Sale will be next Th 10/6 at CBMS Back to School Night and 10/8  at the Alchemist Brewery.  If you would like to BAKE-a-difference please consider donating  some homemade cookies. All varieties are welcome. Please just label them with your name and the type of cookie. We would really love them for the Saturday Sale, and I would be happy to pick them up next Friday (10/7) at the Church if you are not able to drop them off to 5 Randall Street, Waterbury by Friday night. We are also accepting cash donations. Checks can be made to CFKC. Contact Madeline at 760-0611 with any questions or at drakesvt@gmail.com.  You can also donate online here.
Each day 36 American kids are diagnosed with Cancer,and it is the leading cause of death by disease in children.  Unfortunately pediatric cancer is grossly underfunded ( $.04/$1 of cancer research funds) and most treatments are not designed for adults… All money raised will be matched by the OXO Company and 100% goes to research.Please check out cookiesforkidscancer.org for more information.
Thanks for your support and being Good Cookies!
Madeline Sullivan-Drake and Laurie Flaherty

Symphony of Whales

VSO Symphony of Whales

This family friendly concert includes an introduction of the instruments and several whaleseasonally spooky selections.  The highlight of the performance is a narration with music based on the book, “A Symphony of Whales,” by Steve Schuch.  It takes its inspiration from a true story about whales stranded in the Siberian Sea, and the heroic efforts by villagers and a Russian ice-breaker to free them.  Music plays a key role in the heartwarming rescue-and audience members get to participate in a crucial decision.

Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween Costumes and there will be Halloween Treats at the end of the concert.

Sunday, October 23rd at 2:00 PM at our church.

Tickets are $20 for a family of 4

$7 for adults and $5 for kids or Senior Citizens

Tickets are available at Bridgeside Books,  Chila’s Hair Salon, and at the Congregational Church

Front Stairs Rehab

As you have undoubtedly noted. we have a new deck on the front of the church.  Actually, despite appearances, the deck is almost identical to the old one.  The old decking material had swollen to twice its original thickness and the posts and balusters suffered from so much water damage that they had changed shape and color.  Due to some design flaws, which our current carpenter, Steve James, was able to fix, the deck structure and some of the building structure had also begun to rot.

All of this required more work from our carpenter than we’d budgeted. That said, the extra work was necessary in order to prevent significantly more damage to the church building and to prevent having, in the near future, to replace not only the deck skin, but also the deck bones.

This is unfortunate, and no one likes to spend so much money on what is mostly aesthetics.  Two things need to be said.  Had we left it even another 5 years, our expenses would have been double what they were, $15,000.  And it seems to me, the finance committee and the building committee, that we cannot afford to have a rotting, ugly, and sometimes dangerous entrance to our sanctuary.

The bulk of the cost of repairing the deck/stairs was paid for from the church’s Firm Foundation, which, fortunately had a good year.  Our endowment is meant for such things, and part of our endowment is specifically reserved for capital maintenance/improvements.

Below are a few photographs I took last month during the deck demo.


Rotting threshold (underneath door) and severe water infiltration into the church’s one foundation!


Rot on both sides of the doors, hidden behind a poorly constructed post.


Rotting stair stringers — replaced with new and covered with Ice and Water Shield.


More rotting deck bones.  This is treated lumber, and under normal circumstances, used outdoors, will not rot for a generation. 

Church School News

Greetings All:
We’ll be continuing our conversation with the children about Proverbs this Sunday, and continue our work on our “shields” with Harriet…PLUS, if the weather is cooperative, we’ll take a quick hike during class to gather some items for the shields. It looks like it will be dry but cool, so have them wear walking shoes and a light jacket.
See you then!