This coming Sunday was to be our regularly scheduled council meeting. Due to the fact that there is no pressing business and our outdoor worship, your moderator and I have decided not to meet this month. Our next meeting will be June 18.
While the argument that I made on behalf of Mary Magdalene (the putative author of the Gospel of Mary) last Sunday put some of you to sleep (!) the practical side of that sermon attracted attention by those still awake. As part of our recognition that Mother’s day is not just about one day of love, but about our service to mothers everyday, I challenged ourselves to engage in an effort called Laundry Love.
Laundry Love began as a church group working with the homeless in California after a conversation with a homeless man revealed that if he had clean clothes people might treat him like a human. Big problem. Simple solution: offer to do his laundry.
This has become a movement. I heard about it from the Barre Congregational Church who offers laundry love services and finds the need as great as you might imagine.
Deb Utton volunteered last Sunday to help get this off the ground. She and I have met and have some initial questions to answer. I will be meeting with the owner of the Waterbury Laundromat to hammer out details regarding his already positive reaction to using his facility, and the Board of Directors of the Waterbury Good Neighbor Fund have agreed to fund a trial run of Laundry Love over the summer.
On Tuesday, Eric was discharged from Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center via ambulance jet to Craig Hospital in Colorado, specializing in Traumatic Brain Injury rehabilitation. Eric and his mom, Kathy, both feel instinctively that they are in the right place.
As promised last Sunday, here’s his address in the hopes that all of Eric’s friends might cover him with their thoughts of love as the flood him with cards and other well-wishes
Last week we received a thank you letter from the national setting of the UCC, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Thank you for your gift to Our Church’s Wider Mission. We are deeply grateful for your congregation’s gift.
Your support of OCWM permits us to provide for operating expenses, equip leaders, support clergy in ministry, foster healthy and vital congregations, advocate and witness for justice, respond to disasters and tragedies, send help around the world, and preach a welcoming and open understanding of Christian faith.
Thank you for your vital support and faithful partnership. Please accept our sincere thanks and good wishes.
Director, Office of Philanthropy and Stewardship
This is indeed, one of the unsung great works of this congregation, that we send a tithe every year to OCWM. Several years ago the Church Council agreed that we would budget for this gift by totaling our pledged and loose offering from the year prior and giving 10% of that total to our denomination which does such good things in the name of a progressive, welcoming, opening Christian faith.
For the past month we’ve been holding Eric Mackey in our prayers as he deals with traumatic brain injury incurred while in a skiing accident. And for the past 2 weeks for Anisha Senning in ICU in Boston where she’s being treated for a rare infant disease called Kaposiform Hemangioendothelioma. Both Anisha and Eric have progressed enough that they have been discharged from their respective ICUs.
Eric’s mother Kathy reports that she has his bags all packed ready at a moments notice to relocated to one of 2 TBI rehab clinics the are considering. They are all anxious to leave Dartmouth and begin the long work of rehab. There will be a card shower for him when they have his new address.
Anisha is responding well to her treatment and her parents, Dan and Puja are anxious to be back at home.
We wish you all the very best.
Around the turn of the 13th century, a wealthy young man named Francis set off to war.
He lived the spirited life of a young soldier, enjoying drink and carousing and fighting, until, so the story goes, a vision drove him onto a pilgrimage to Rome where he served the poor, preached on the streets, lived with them and eventually attracted a strong following. By all accounts he was a peace-filled man, determined to be at one with all of God’s creatures. He was sainted 2 years after he died (1226) for numerous gifts he brought to the world, not the least of which was his sense that all of God’s creatures, not just humans, deserved the gospel preached to them, and should be valued as loved by God.
This next Sunday, May 21, after the tradition claimed to be instituted by St. Francis, we will hold our service outdoors, weather permitting, of course, to have a blessing of the animals. The first blessing of the animals happened like the photo above depicts: One warm afternoon early in his ministry, Francis, in the middle of throes of self-doubt, was praying to God. He caught sight of some birds by along his path and paused to speak to them as equals. He preached to them about God’s glories and all the reasons why both humans and birds should be grateful.
Well, we are grateful for the animals in our lives, and while I will not preach to the animals (I allow that the animals might better preach to us!) I will offer a blessing of gratitude for each of the critters that shows up.
So, at the usual time, come to church with your pets.
Cindy Senning and I will lead another group of 7th – 9th graders on an overnight “retreat” at Cindy’s house in the woods of Duxbury on Friday May 5 to Saturday May 6. Please keep all of us in your thoughts and prayers as we focus our attention particularly on what it means to be a pilgrim, a journeyer, in the way of love made so evident to us in Jesus.
We will gather after school to head up to Cindy’s house. Get settled in and play together a bit before dinner (home-made pizza). We’ll have the first of several pointed conversations after dinner, watch a movie about a young girl discovering her call and go to bed!
In the morning, it’s more activities and conversation about being a young person with fresh new eyes to see the world as in our care on behalf of God who has given us the gift and then a hike up the hill to a place for worship, before we return for lunch and departure!
Our confirmands are: Kaydin Durkin, Ava Thurston, Merry Smith and Julianne Young.
We have been hosting a show of beautiful paintings (and one large sculpture) by Thetford artist Carolyn Enz Hack (carolynenzhack.com). On Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6, Carolyn will be offering a talk in the sanctuary about her work and a workshop in the dining room about creativity.
On Friday, May 5th at 6:30 PM, she will be offering a free art talk about the new work she has on display — how she has been exploring ways to add a fourth dimension (time) to her 2-dimensional landscape paintings. It’s a great chance to hear about how artists develop and pursue new ideas, how they make connections between different bodies of work (in this case, her sculpture and her paintings), and how they find their unique voices.
On Saturday, May 6th, Carolyn will offer a two-hour workshop about expanding the boundaries of creative practice and developing one’s own artistic voice from 10AM to noon. This could be an exciting conversation for students/artists who are beginning to explore their own directions in their work, or those who could use a nudge to take a leap in this direction. Anyone interested in boosting their creative capacity will enjoy participating in this friendly discussion about methods, materials and practice. Cost is $15 (although I bet she would be happy to waive the cost for students if it’s a struggle in any way to cover this… Please contact the artist directly to find out more and to sign up: cenzhack)
Carolyn’s exhibit, “Town by Town,” will be up through May 7th. The show is sponsored by Meeting House Arts, a collaborative project whose goal is to provide more opportunities for local artists to show their work, and for local residents to enjoy more art.
Yes, it is time to start thinking about our first big social event and fund raiser of the year.
Here’s a note from our Strawberry chair person Tamatha Thomas-Haase.
Strawberry Supper Planning Committee Needs YOU!
Yes, that’s right. Planning for this sweet summertime event has already started and we need your help! A kick-off meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 26th at 10:30AM at the church. During this first meeting we’ll debrief the pros and cons of last year’s supper, brainstorm ways to improve the event, and create a plan for hosting the best Strawberry Supper yet.
Understanding that many are not able to make meetings during the workday, we’ll be sure to host future meetings at a better time for all. Interested in joining us? Please contact Tamatha Thomas-Haase at email@example.com and we’ll be sure to include you in the fun! Really – this function practically plans itself!
Spring, as usual, starts off slowly here in Central Vermont and then quickly shifts to summer. The Board of Business Administration, hoping to beat summer to the punch (but I think missing by a week) asks you to come to worship on April 30 dressed in work clothes, so that after a short communion service, we can dismiss ourselves to some yard work and general sprucing up.
This church is a beautiful landmark in our village and the money and work you put into it is to be commended. I hear on a regular basis of how proud Waterbury is of the way we keep this property looking good (the assumption, I believe, is that if we keep it looking good, then we are doing good too, and so we are!) Winter always takes a toll on the property, but with an hour of work, we can get it looking good again.
We hope you can join us. We’re often done in an hour or so because we have such great participation. See you Sunday!