PREPARED TO SERVE
Prepared to Serve is a special training event sponsored by the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ that welcomes participants with workshops on a wide variety of topics. This year, Suzanne Lamport and Geoff Frank attended. Below are workshops that we attended, with links to the websites of the presenter’s organization.
Listening to the Holy Spirit
Presented by Rev. Catherine Merrill (Brookeline Community Church)
The group moved through a series of exercises to build our skills in listening to the Holy Spirit,
which were very helpful. Then, we learned a series of challenges we can make to our question, to help us receive an answer we can hear. These are all based on Ignatian discernment process.
Using Words to Scatter the Seeds of Faith
Presented by Rev. Gayle Murphy (Congregational Church of North Barnstead)
Rev. Murphy described ways to talk about God (not the church), particularly how to express our faith as part of our everyday conversations. She finished by reminding the group of how expressions of faith are like the seeds in the parable of the sower.
God's Love Triumphs over Judgement: An Introduction to Divine Mercy
Presented by Rev. Jim Howard (First Congregational Church of Hopkinton)
This was an introduction to the Roman Catholic practice of devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus. It gave a history of the practice. A booklet on prayers was provided to participants.
Dignity, Opportunity & Human Rights – Toward A Humane Immigration Policy
Presented by Eva Castillo (NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees)
Maggie Fogarty (American Friends Service Committee)
The workshop leaders described seven principles of a humane immigration policy and linked that policy to the moral values expressed by the group.
Promoting Our Church
Presented by Gerri Cannon (First Parish UCC, Somersworth)
This workshop was on building communities that extend beyond worship but that can lead to greater participation in the life of the church. A variety of church sponsored community service projects and performances were provided as examples.
Always With You: The Comfort of Spirituality in Dementia Care
Presented by Rev. Donna Vuilleumier(Smith Memorial Church, UCC, Hillsborough)
Rev. Vuilleumier described four stages of dementia. For each stage, she discussed typical symptoms, emotional reactions of the sufferers and their families, and good ways of interacting with them.
Under Party Lines: (Re)Considering Theology and our Common Life Together
Presented by Rev. Shayna Appel (All Souls U. U. Church)
Rev. Chris Owens (https://www.whatingods.com/)
This was a conversation about the disintegration of spheres of human activity over the last 50 years. The result is that religion no longer provides a moral compass for the other spheres of human activity. This gave us a way to bring back ethics and morality into the public discourse.
As people of faith, we have the power to speak of our faith values and to vote them. This is not the time for a tepid faith. We need to speak out, and live out our faith in the public sphere.
First Church’s library has re-opened! Yeah! After considerable “renovation” we now have a selection of books we hope will cover everyone’s interests…or maybe even inspire new ones! The important thing is, though, IT IS THERE TO BE USED!! Directions on how to take books out and back in are clearly on display! There is a special table -- in case you haven’t yet noticed --where books are highlighted. And we hope to do a monthly review of one of the books – contributions highly encouraged!
Finally, if you have any suggestions for improvement or use of the library, don’t hesitate to speak up!!
Shortly after the Sunday service, First Church in Jaffrey held its annual meeting. Carol Hess, Sylvia Hamilton, and Janet Grant were re-elected as Moderator, Clerk, and Treasurer. A plan to rotate membership on the board of Trustees was approved. Gwen Gundlach and Sylvia Hamilton continued as Trustees through 2020, Ken Campbell and Jane Jontz will continue as Trustees through 2021, and Sam Greene and Tom Warren will serve as Trustees through 2022. The Annual Report was accepted and noted for the positive changes happening at First Church. The 2019 financial status of the church was reported and the fact that a significant portion of the 2019 endowment withdrawal will support the 2020 budget, which was approved. The revised Bylaws were discussed and further action on them was approved by the congregation. Appreciation was expressed for all the work of the Bylaws team.
CELEBRATING GENE'S 15 YEARS
OF MUSIC MINISTRY
On Sunday January 5, Ken Campbell honored Gene Faxon for a "decade and a half" of "lifting our spirits and leading us in leading us in glorious hymns and songs of faith. As a singer, a choir conductor and a musician playing the Wessel organ, the Warfield Baldwin piano, your harpsichord, accordion and recorder, you have taught us about other musical expressions of faith. We treasure Eve and Dami and the non-family musicians you have brought us. We thank you for the library of music that you have assembled. Your dedication to First Church and to your craft makes us very grateful for your presence on Sunday."