First Congregational Church of Hamilton
Exalting His Glory
Enjoying His Fellowship
Proclaiming His Name
November 2017 Newsletter
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. - Psalm 9:1-2
This psalm begins with thanksgiving and ends with a call for God to intercede again on behalf of His people. Notice that the thanksgiving is with the whole heart even as the psalmist is crying out for God's intervention. Sometimes we may feel like we can't give thanks in the midst of difficult or trying circumstances, but this psalm models a pattern of full-hearted thanksgiving which turns to a dependent cry for God to act again on behalf of His people.
We have much to be thankful for as a church and this month will be full of opportunities to join together in thanksgiving and also in seeking the Lord for strength and direction. We want to continue to do both of these activities together. So please plan to join us in worship week by week, for the Annual Meeting on Monday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m. and the Thanksgiving Eve service on November 22 at 7:00 p.m.
As we wait for next steps as a church, let's not wait to give thanks to God for all of his wonderful deeds.
All God's Best,
Pastor of Congregational Life
Love Gives Campaign
Last Sunday, Treasurer, Vicki Best, and Stewardship Committee Chair, Jim Beville, on behalf of the Stewardship Committee, made an announcement about an unexpected, exciting, and God-orchestrated opportunity that presented itself a couple of weeks ago. Vicki was approached by an enthusiastic family in our congregation who was interested in partnering with us and strategically positioning us to move forward with boldness, determination and conviction. To that end, they have committed an anonymous matching pledge of up to $50K to be used towards ending the year strong and entering next year in a solid financial position.
We were completely awed - not only by their generosity and unselfish sharing of their God given resources - but more importantly, by their bold, strategic and visionary gift. We think it speaks volumes to their unwavering commitment to this church and despite experiencing some challenging days, trusting in God's future plans for us as a body of believers. God calls us all to live lives of joyful generosity and Matthew 9:21 tells us that "Giving allows us to store up treasures in Heaven rather than here on the earth."
In studying that verse as well as other passages on giving, Kevin Rich, a member of the Stewardship Committee, came up with a simple but profound theme of "Love Gives" for our matching campaign. Our hope and desire is that this unique opportunity - that of generous givers pooling their resources for greater impact - will unlock more grateful hearts to participate.
The "Love Gives" Campaign is a two-month impact challenge. Between now and December 31, our goal is to raise $50K from you, those closest to the heart of our mission. Not IF but WHEN we do (Yes, we're that confident!), that amount will be doubled to $100K. In fact, we are delighted to inform you we already have 100% participation from the Elders, Stewardship Committee, pastors and staff who have pledged $23K toward our goal. Please note that the "Love Gives" Campaign is a financial challenge over and above your regular tithes and offerings. The funds collected will be split on a pro-rata basis between the operating and mission budgets.
To participate, kindly complete a pledge card and put it in the offering plate or you may simply write "Love Gives" in the memo section of your check to earmark your designated gift toward this campaign.
We are so excited to see how God will use this amazing opportunity for His glory!
If you have any questions, please contact the following individuals:
Saturday, November 4 ~ 9:00 a.m. to 12:00noon
This Saturday we will hold the first of two fall work days (the other is December 2). There are many reasons for you to be there, including working alongside our 4th grade Sunday School kids! One of their teachers actually came up with a list entitled -
"Top Ten Reasons 4th Graders Should Come to the Serve and Play on 11.4.17"!
Here are a couple of those reasons
- You'll probably get to see lots of flannel. Your Dads actually call each other the night before to coordinate their old flannel shirts and worn out baseball hats. Bonus points are given if you see someone chewing on a piece of straw or overhear them discussing the advantage of a garden rake vs a yard rake.
- You're going to sleep really well on Saturday night. Or the blisters will keep you up. It will be either one or the other.
- If you don't come, then we'll dump the leaves in your yard.
As always it promises to be a great time of fellowship, along with plenty of food and drinks and there might be a sighting of John Szatkowski! If you have any questions, contact Phil Best at, firstname.lastname@example.org
Missions Emphasis Week Survey
We thank the Missions Committee for a wonderful week of programming. As they reflect on the week, the committee would appreciate your feedback through this BRIEF online survey. Thank you for your participation.
LaVida Thank You
Thank you FCCH for your support of the La Vida Center ministry. God's provision and faithfulness was very evident in all the programs this past summer, both in the Adirondacks and on the Wenham campus. The Adventure Camp staff were able to reflect God's love and truth to almost 700 campers from across the North Shore and also employed 16 high school CITs who were deeply encouraged in their faith in Christ. The ADK wilderness program which serves high school and college students now includes the Compass program, the Summit Theological Study Center and some special trips for Chinese students both in the US and in China. Please continue to pray
for God's guidance as La Vida develops a strategic plan for the future.
Director of La Vida Center
for Outdoor Education and Leadership
Home Mission Groups
Home Missions Groups have begun meeting.
We are working through Tim Keller's book
and continuing our work at Blueberry Hill Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center as well as Amirah House. In addition, we are exploring how we can serve in a various prison and aftercare ministries. Suzanne Soffa shared a bit about her work with Amirah House at the Missions Emphasis Week dinner. We hope many others will come and participate in these groups in the years ahead.
Coming together to serve in Jesus' name is what Home Mission Groups are all about. If you missed signing up in October, there is good news. We will open up sign ups again in January for new groups! Please keep those involved in your prayers as they represent our church and serve at the various ministry sites.
Sunday Dinners in November
Sunday Dinners will be held November 12
These informal gatherings provide an easy way for people to make connections in our congregation, whether you have been attending FCCH for years or came for the first time this week. The time and the location of Sunday Dinners will vary each meeting.
RSVP below for the November 12 Sunday Dinners
Sunday Dinners involve a shared meal, brief discussion, and prayer time. Please invite newcomers and visitors, and feel free to drop in if you haven't attended in the past. Sunday Dinners will be meeting in Topsfield/Ipswich, Hamilton, and Beverly. More hosts are needed, particularly in Beverly.
Save the date: Sunday Dinner ~ December 3
Front Porch Stories
Youth Ministry Needs & News
- We Want Your Smelly Old Pumpkins! It's almost that time of year for our high schoolers to smash pumpkins for a little mid-semester stress relief! If you have medium or large pumpkins (carved, painted, or not), consider donating them to the youth ministry in early November! The "smash" takes place on Tuesday, November 7--so we need all pumpkins before that date. Please leave them on the Wigglesworth-Cutler porch or in front of the Barn. Thanks in advance!
Cooks Needed for Youth Network Breakfast Thursday, November 30
Calling all early risers! Did you know that our church is connected to a local network of part-time, full-time, and bi-vocational youth workers from all over the North Shore? Help Rich Obenschain, Chelsea Erickson, and leaders from First Pres and Our Savior Lutheran encourage other area youth workers through a time of fellowship and prayer. We are looking for 2-3 people to prepare breakfast for area youth workers at FCCH on Thursday morning, November 30 for a 6:30-8:00 a.m. event. Please contact Pastor Chelsea if you are interested in helping.
- Youth Facilities Updates! We have been updating our youth spaces, including a new paint job in the Cafe and in Room 11 (where our Middle School Sunday School classes meet) and some really fun updates in the Barn! Jane Johnson, Joanne Lynch, and Summer Intern Ciana Creighton organized the space this summer. Then Ryan Lynch completed his Eagle Scout project with mentoring from Tom Marcotte this fall. Together they built and painted a beautiful new shelving unit for our youth library collection with help from some other youth group and Boy Scouts members. In addition, they painted our counter units, adding wheels and doors to each unit, and they painted risers in our music area and an unsightly part of the ceiling. Huge thanks to Ryan and to Tom for their work!
Important Dates in November
Thursday, November 2
Craft Prep, 9:00 a.m., Café
Friday, November 3
MS Girls Youth Event,
7:00 p.m., Heritage Hall
Lifebridge Meal & Bible Study,
Salem, 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 4
Church Work Day, 9:00 a.m.,
4th Grade Pizza & Games,
Noon, Heritage Hall
Sunday, November 5
Tuesday, November 7
All Teacher-Leader Enrichment
with Liz & Doug Babbitt,
7:00 p.m., Chapel
High School Youth Pumpkin Smash,
6:45 p.m., Ministry Center Lawn
Sunday, November 12
Hamilton, Beverly, Topsfield
Monday, November 13
FCCH Annual Meeting,
7:30 p.m., Heritage Hall
Prayer time begins at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, November 17
Family Board Game Night,
Sponsored by Men's Ministry,
6:00 p.m., Heritage Hall
Saturday, November 18
Front Porch Stories,
7:00 p.m., Barn
Sunday, November 19
Operation Christmas Child
Packing Party, Heritage Hall
Wednesday, November 22
Thanksgiving Eve Service,
Thursday, November 30
Youth Network Breakfast
Meeting, 6:30 a.m.,
New Date! Student-Parent Volunteer Lunch Sunday, November 5
Middle and High school students and their parents are invited to Lunch on Sunday, November 5 at 12:15-2:00 p.m. in the Café. Come and hear how you and your students can participate in children's ministries as a buddy for younger children. Opportunities are open in Nursery through God's House as well as at special seasonal events. Serve in childcare, classroom assistant, musician or singer, or all of the above! Students may serve once a month or on dates of your choosing. Come and find out more, and enjoy lunch on us! Hosted by Christine, Kathy and Pastor Chelsea.
Early Childhood Director
Elementary Children's Director
Looking Ahead to the Women's Winter Workshop
Mark your calendars now to attend this year's Winter Workshop Saturday, December 2 starting at 9:00 a.m. We have the opportunity to make decorative greens for your home or for a gift. And for those who love home-made gifts, we have several choices for you to make, including the ever popular stamping projects. All the crafts and greens will be pictured on the church website on November 20 and you can sign up in the Fellow
ship Foyer under the sanctuary on November 19 and 26. We look forward to having you join us this year.
Soup-er Supper "Build Your Passion for Prayer" Summary
On October 6, we met to learn more about some prayer methods we can practice to improve our "conversations" with God. The Women's Leadership Team shared some honest stories about how they have worked on their prayer life. Each woman ended with a scripture passage as a prayer.
- Sharon Carlson ~ Practicing listening to God. She has experienced times of clear direction and God showing her His presence in her life. She also had help slowing down when she injured her arm and had to go through six weeks of recovery and six months of rehab! All the busyness of her life was on hold and she saw how she could say no. Her prayer passage was Psalm 51:8-19.
- Kathy Szatkowski ~ Praying with a prayer partner. Her longing for someone to pray with overcame her fear of asking someone to pray with her. Over the past 14 years they have gotten to know one another and prayed through many life situations with one another and strengthened one another's walk with God. Her prayer passage was Matthew 18:19.
- Krisie Brown ~ Praying in the Holy Spirt. She shared how she experienced praying in tongues shortly after she became a believer. She was in a prayer session at her church when she received this gift and has been practicing using it in her prayer life. Often when she is finished praying she would have words welling up in her from the Spirit with continued prayers. Her prayer passage was Romans 8:26-27.
- Kelly Lestage ~ Creating a consistent prayer routine. God is helping her to become a morning person as she is setting aside a special time to ask God to order the steps of her day. After praying she has a short devotional and this sets her day in the right direction. She also uses her commute to work for extra prayer for the various needs. Her prayer passage was Psalm 63:1-3.
- Sue Whalen ~ Practicing the presence of God. The imperfect pray-er and the imperfect prayer. She has journaled, and had set prayer times. Right now in her life she prays wherever and whenever she gets a spare moment. She prays often when she is listening to Christian music. Some days are a struggle, but she is working toward continual growth. Her prayer passage was Ephesians 1:17-19.
- Carolyn Cassidy ~ Praying at a time and a place and the struggle of staying focused. She has discovered praying at her noon meal works best. She uses lists with special days for special topics to help her stay on task. She also has learned to pray right away when she opens prayer chain requests. Her prayer passage was Philippians 1:9-11.
- Margot Rox ~ 3 quick suggestions. Praying scripture, taking a passage of scripture and after reading it, pray your thoughts and responses to what the passage is about. Breath prayers, repeating a simple short prayer to use when words escape you. Margot's is "Help me walk in the light of your presence O Lord." And Christian prayer apps. She finds the app PrayerMate very helpful to keep her focused on prayer for family, friends, and the world. Margot's prayer passage was Ephesians 3:14-15.
The women who attended had an opportunity to share some other ways they have found helpful to build their prayer lives and many said they practiced several of the suggestions given by our team.
We will be planning an evening of praise and worship and will be giving you an opportunity to share how God has made himself known to you in this year through your time with Him in prayer and also to share answers to prayer from the year. We would love for you to participate in this time of celebration with us on Monday, May 21. Pick up a prayer journal to keep track of your prayers and bring them with you to our Salad Supper!
Let's Pray Now Prayer Journals
At our Soup-er Supper we made available a new prayer journal, another great way to improve your prayer time. In an effort to make this a strong year of praying for our ourselves, our church, our community and the world, we created prayer journals for you to take and use. Each one comes in your choice of six colors with a matching pen and pouches for other notes you may wish to keep. We have imprinted the slogan of our year of prayer, "Let's Pray Now" along with part of Philippians 4:6 on the front and hope you will join us in making an effort to journal your prayers and initiate opportunities to pray with one another. Please let me know if you would like one.
Director of Women's Ministry
- Youth Sunday School Classes (9:45-10:45 every Sunday!)
6th Graders meet in Room 11 on the first floor of the Ministry Center
7th & 8th Graders meet in the Café (adjacent to the Ministry Center kitchen)
High Schoolers meet in the Barn starting September 17.
High School Youth Group (Tuesdays, 6:45-8:30 p.m.)
Join us for a break from the daily grind with games, food, friends, and conversation about authentic faith!
Tuesday, November 7 it's the Great Pumpkin Smash
- Middle School Youth Group (Wednesdays, 6:45-8:30 p.m.) The best night of the week is at it again! 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and their friends are invited to join us every Wednesday night. Don't miss all the high-energy games, worship, teaching, and small group breakouts as we talk this year about Encounters with Jesus.
Middle School Girls' Overnight (Friday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m.)
6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls are invited to join us for an overnight at church Friday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 a.m. the next day! Please bring $5 and a snack to share! Bagels will be provided for breakfast so that girls can go straight to their Saturday morning activities. In the past we have encouraged girls to invite their friends, but this overnight will be focused on deepening community among girls in our church and those already attending Sunday School or Youth Group. We hope your daughter can come!
*Middle School Guys, stay tuned for an event just for you--coming soon!
- Save the Date for High School/Middle School Winter Retreat! BIG NEWS! FCC Hamilton Youth Ministry is collaborating with three other churches to rent out our OWN weekend of Deep Freeze at Berea! The dates are January 26-28, and we want your student to make plans to join us. More details coming soon!
Follow FCCH Youth!
FCCH Youth is on social media! Follow us on Instagram and Twitter at FCCH_Youth for event updates and more!
This FCCH Newsletter is e-mailed on a monthly basis. If you would like to submit information for inclusion in the next edition, please e-mail Cece Gough at email@example.com.