You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us . . .

2 Corinthians 9.11

I quote Paul, at the top, because I do not want you to come to a specially called meeting (See Warning below) to talk about our budget thinking that the finance committee has bad news and wants to brow-beat you! We do not. Pledges are strong. We are only slightly behind our fairly optimistic guess of pledged income for the year. (I say “guess” even though we have a pledge drive every year, because, historically the total amount of pledged income at the end of the year exceeds the figure we have in hand at the end of the pledge drive.) This is one of the reasons for coming together to talk about the budget — our guess was a little too optimistic.

The fact of the matter is that this year has been tight on cash-flow from the beginning, and very tight in the budget. Last January, we passed a deficit budget and we wouldn’t be calling a meeting if we were simply proposing borrowing money from the trustees to make up the gap in the approved budget. Because income is several thousand dollars down from where we’d hoped to be at this 3/4 way point, we need to borrow more money. While our bylaws do not stipulate a special meeting be called, we felt it was important to share the information with you. We hope you can stay for the conversation and approval.

At the request of the Board of Finance, the membership of the Waterbury Congregational Church, UCC of Waterbury, Vermont is called to a special meeting on Sunday, October 13, following worship to see if they will approve the transfer of an additional $6,000 from the endowment to the operating budget.

CROP Hunger Walk

We’re organizing for our umpteenth CROP Hunger walk to take place on October 6. As has been our tradition, we invite local churches to walk with us and raise money with us. The slogan of the walk is, “We walk because they walk.” In other words, it’s not just about the money, but about the spirit, the solidarity, the commitment to the hungry in our community and our world. You can make a donation to this cause by finding a walker to sponsor. You can sponsor with any amount of money.

The walk begins in our church parking lot at 1 P.M. with registration just prior. Join us if you can!

Last year’s walkers heading out. . .

Back online

As one of you who received the fraudulent email last week from the church put it, “What a pain in the @#Q#$!” Indeed, that remark was more prescient than he could have known.

There is no guarantee that it will not happen again, sadly. But I have moved our DNS server to one with more security features, changed every password I could think of, put in place a temporary block on all emails going out from our originating server, and a browser validation halt on the website. Pretty much the only thing you should notice for a while is that when you visit our website you will have to wait 5 seconds. That is intended.

As far as I can tell, and consider this unsolicited free advice, when I last changed the password on our email, I was in a hurry and chose “Changeit” for a temporary password. Well, I never did. Don’t ever do that.

When I logged in to our originating server Monday evening after taking Taite on a college visiting trip, I discovered that our DKIM had been changed. DKIM is an email authentication technique that allows the receiver to check that an email was indeed send and authorized by the owner of that domain. This is done by giving the email a digital signature. Take control of the DKIM and you have control over the email. That has been corrected, and a block put on all emails leaving the server, just in case.

Thank you to all who alerted me to this matter. Now back to more important things!

Hurricane Relief

Early last week, the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas were hit directly by Hurricane Dorian, at that time a very slow moving, category 5 hurricane. Recent reports suggest that as much as 60% of the island’s housing and infrastructure is completely destroyed. Dorian remains a powerful and dangerous storm as it slides past the Carolinas, thankfully many miles offshore. It will cause extensive damage there too.

What now?!

There will be massive clean-up and restoration efforts and Church World Service and the United Church of Christ, two of our affiliate organizations, will be responding. You may give to either organization by putting a check in our offering. You can make checks out to the church and earmark it hurricane relief. We’ll credit your account with us and mail out one (or two checks in the coming weeks).

Thank you for your help.

Letters of Support Requested

A coalition of Conference Ministers is gathering in Washington D.C. in late September for an action of witness and meetings with legislators around the plight of asylum seekers and migrants at our southern border. The key focus will be speaking out against the practice of separating children from their parents and keeping children in unsafe and inhumane conditions.

We need letters from adults and children urging our leaders to end these practices. Can you help? Instructions and a sample letter can be found here: http://bit.ly/UCCNYBorderAdvocacy

The timing is tight. I need the letters by Monday Sept. 16th (Vermont Conference UCC, 36 North Main St., Randolph, VT 05060). These letters will be joined with those collected at UCC churches around the country and then hand carried by the Conference Ministers in attendance. (Alternatively, according the website letters can be mailed directly to the UCC Office in Washington D.C. by September 20. United Church of Christ, Washington D.C. Office, c/o Susanne Breen, 100 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 330, Washington, D.C., 20002.

In the face of such massive challenges on so many fronts, here is an action we can take together. We can make our voices heard not just singly or as one Church or one Conference but as an entire denomination. Be brave! The “least and the lost” need our voices in such a time as this.

Rev. Lynn Bujnak,
VT Conference Minister

Welcome Back — Fall Schedule

As for the essence of all things, it is this [Qi or energies of divinity] that is life.
Below it generates the five grains;
Above it becomes the arrayed stars.
When it floats between Heaven and Earth, we call it ghosts and spirits;
When it is stored within a person’s chest, we call that person a sage.

Inward Training, Circa 4th Century BCE

Because of our busy end of summer scheudles, our greetings and re-connections will take place over the course of the month, no doubt! It’s a beautiful and exciting thing . . . we’ll just let it happen and soak up the vitality it slowly pours back into our bones.

The first Sunday for our children’s church school will be this Sunday, September 8. Our choir will also sing for the first time since early June! Our welcome back potluck brunch will be after worship on September 15.

Other activities will be re-commencing and reconnecting early this month. Here’s a brief list:

  • Christian Ed Committee Meeting — September 3, 5 p.m.
  • Thursday evening Choir Rehearsal — September 5, 7 p.m., chapel
  • Wednesday Bible Study — September 11, 9 a.m., Peter’s Study
  • Laundry Love — Second Wednesdays of the month, September 11, 5 p.m., Waterbury Laundromat
  • Welcome Back Brunch — September 15, 11:15 a.m., Dining Room

Thank you S.T. Paving!

Last week S.T. Paving dropped off a load of left-over asphalt and filled the remaining potholes in our parking lot. . . no more broken axles!

If you see John Reynolds, the owner, please give pass along your appreciation. They used left-over material and were able to do it for us free of charge.

ST Paving Crew at work in Mid-May

Letter to Church School Parents

Dear parents,

Summer is zipping by and we will soon take a rest from church in August. The Christian Education Committee wants you to know that we are not resting completely! We are making plans for Church School in the fall and we continue the search for a new C.E. Director.

Here’s a general outline of our thoughts so far:

On September 8th, our first full Sunday back in action after summer vacation, we are going to start with a splash by leaping into the story of Noah!

In October, we plan to put Noah’s work into action by visiting and/or helping a local animal shelter.

For November, we plan to get involved with Heifer International — an organization that believes the way out of poverty is to provide the means (by providing animals) for poor communities to help themselves and then share their offspring with their neighbors. We hope to organize some bottle drives to purchase an animal for Heifer International to give away.

Approximately once a month, we will invite children to stay upstairs with everyone else in worship. That may be a communion service or a regular service with a longer children’s time and a shorter adult ‘s time. We know personally, and research bears this out, that children who worship with adults on a regular basis become more resilient, cooperative, and fully involved community members in their later years.

We will need your help to accomplish all of this. First, and most importantly, by building enthusiasm with your children for participating. Also, we are widening our search for CE director. We have advertised several times in Front Porch Forum and are now advertising statewide through the Vermont Conference Newsletter. If you know anyone who might be interested don’t hesitate to mention it. Anyone of us or Peter would be happy to have a further conversation.

Finally, On September 8th, we would like you to meet with us after church to review the details and schedule of events. We would appreciate having you sign up for one Sunday a month to do such things as:

  • lead a lesson
  • help with a car pool
  • help with a bottle drive

Have a great summer. We look forward to seeing you on September 8th!

The C.E. Committee:
Ben DeJong
Kristin Wolf
Dan Senning
Harriet Grenie

Job Opportunity

Everett Coffey is looking for a teenager who might like to earn $10 – 12 /hour for helping him clear out his attic. It would be a one day job (9 am to 3 pm or so). Lunch is on Everett. If you would like to earn a little extra cash, simply email him at ewcoffey@comcast.net.