Happenings July 9, 2020

The Rev. Don Remick writes:  "I had always pictured the cocoon as a kind of safe haven imagery. You get wrapped up in a safe warm protective blanket until you magically sprout wings. Somehow in that metaphor I missed something. Its goo.

You see, in that cocoon the caterpillar is not resting – safe, secure and comfortable -- waiting for wings to sprout. It's liquifying. Enzymes within the caterpillar work on the tissue. It turns into a soupy goo of organic material and DNA. From that soup the new cells and tissue of a butterfly coalesce.  Goo; you can’t become a butterfly without it. 

In every era the church, like the human soul, is called into this transformation.

The Rev. Don Remick is SNEUCC
Bridge Conference Minister
This Peace flag is available to a good home. It could be hung on a wall or used as a back drop. It is free to the first person who responds.
Bloody Marys next Wednesday
Join us for our Coffee/Cocktail Hour next Wednesday. We are going with Bloody Marys this time - spicy or not. We will take care of starting the conversation while you enjoy a Bloody Mary or Iced Coffee.
Please join our virtual get-together and see what fun we have.

Wednesdays at 5:00pm
Please email Pastor Jill if you are interested in attending.
Food equals love
The Sheffield Food Program
at Old Parish Church is feeding more hungry people each week.

Please make a small donation today
by clicking the button below.

If you know someone who could use a few extra groceries next week, please have them call 229-2624 to sign up.
Supporting the church
Tithes and offferings are always welcome by mail:
PO Box 387, Sheffield, MA 01257
You can help families adversely affected by COVID-19
There are 45 school families in our district who need our help. With more poverty and food insecurity in the five towns of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District than you might realize, COVID-19 has particularly adversely affected some of our local families. Please do what you can to support this important program by purchasing a School Family Meal this week. They run about $26.

  • Prepared by The Marketplace,
  • Order a School Family Meal and pay over the phone. (about $26 with tax.)
Local farmers and bakers
The Sheffield Farmers’ Market, in the Old Parish churchyard offers you the bounty of summer and a way to support each other. Fridays 3:00 - 6:00

Great produce, fresh jams, local flowers, cheeses, eggs, scrumptious pastries, spelt and sourdough bread, delicious take-home meals, locally raised meats, live entertainment, party boxes and extraordinary salts!

We have new and safe ways for people to shop.
Please wear your mask.
Not For Kids Only
Musical Menagerie at West Stockbridge Church
What started out as a way to help families overwhelmed by home schooling demands has turned into a unique online ministry that is available to bring joy to children across the Southern New England Conference in the days and weeks to come.
When church buildings closed because of COVID-19, the  West Stockbridge Congregational Church UCC  realized that many of their members were finding it hard to be stuck at home, unable to gather in-person for worship, fellowship or study. However,  Pastor Rev. Patty Fox   believed this new non-building experience would be especially difficult for the families who had to take on the responsibility of education at home.
In an attempt to reach out online to the children within their congregation and beyond, Fox (named appropriately) started a new online ministry known as “Pastor Patty's Musical Menagerie.” This church ministry – which is supported by the  Berkshire Association  of the United Church of Christ – focuses on the spiritual needs of children by teaching them a song, sharing a lesson, and later reviewing the song.
“My goal is to present the good news of our Christian faith in a user-friendly way through music,” said Fox. “The special twist is that I’m including the animal members of the  Gould Farm   community where I live.”
In one video, Fox plays her ukulele in front of cows while singing about the gifts of compassion, love of the earth, and for creatures big and small. In another she sings about creating love, as she is surrounded by kids (the human kind and the baby goat kind). She invites a large bunny to sing about the Spirit that helps people find their way. On Pentecost, to help celebrate the birth of the church, Pastor Patty’s menagerie included a litter of baby pigs. Alpacas (and some wasps) accompanied Fox’s lesson on calmness. Another video shows Fox singing about ‘the God who blesses us’ as her daughter performs the song in sign language and some children feed some very large pigs behind her.
Fox wrote the songs each week and tried to tie together the challenges that kids and families were facing with the characteristics and the experiences of the animals. She recorded them as live-stream Facebook videos for the public and then transferred them to YouTube . Unfortunately, she found that the quality of live stream from her rural location was disappointing, so she started simply recording and posting on YouTube. (You can watch  Pastor Patty’s videos here . )
“Originally this ministry was meant to be a stop-gap for congregations that didn’t have something in place during the COVID-19 shut-down,” explained Fox. “At this point I think it’s more likely to be useful to educators looking for unique new material whether they need it because of the shut-down or not. So I decided to put together some written materials including a one page ‘lesson’ and sheet music for each original song.” Additionally, prayer cards that have a picture of the animal friends and a special prayer for kids are available to anyone who sends her a request.
The church’s Facebook postings of the video has gathered many ‘likes’ and ‘loves’ as well as comments like “super sweet video,” “Love it and love the goat.”
One participant, Cait Graham, commented that Patty’s Musical Menagerie has been a particularly meaningful way for kids to connect with God’s messages during this time at home. “My son Brady was missing the sweet lessons and songs that chapel time provides, and thus he loved seeing Pastor Patty teaching a song and short lesson -- with a cute animal to boot,” she said. “For myself, I enjoy taking those few minutes each week to connect with the message in a new, fresh way. And I always find myself humming the tune all afternoon!”
“While many, many faith formation leaders are doing YouTube children’s messages, Patty’s is different because she writes her own songs, sings them herself, and includes a different animal each week,” said  Debbie Gline Allen , Associate for Faith Formation & Youth Ministries for the Conference. “But the most important piece is that her material is so theologically age-appropriate. And her focus is on letting the children know that God loves them, which is the teaching from the Church that kids need to hear over and over again.”
When George Floyd was murdered and as people began protesting, Fox was on lockdown at the farm and could not participate in the protests. Instead she took the opportunity to craft a song that was kid friendly and emphasized the mission of the church to stand for what’s right and care for one another.
“There are a lot of folks in the world that don’t believe they are lovable; who truly feel unworthy of love,” she said. “But the Living Christ wants to move through us to offer love to this hurting world, and as the body of Christ we are responsible for teaching our children what that looks like. That was the sentiment behind my song called ‘What Does it Mean to be People of God’. 
“I hope that by sharing a love of music, and the abiding belief that God is with us through the good and the bad, we can help our children remember that they are deeply loved!”
Follow the church (and the musical menagerie) on their  Facebook page .   You can watch Pastor Patty’s videos on  YouTube . (If you need to manually access the site, go to the YouTube channel for the West Stockbridge Congregational Church, UCC and choose the playlist for Pastor Patty's Musical Menagerie.) Just send her a message at  pastorpattyfox@gmail.com  with your name and address and she will send out one of her prayer cards.

Reprinted with permission from Southern New England Conference, UCC,  Spotlight
Help light the steeple
We would like to keep the steeple lit for a few hours every evening this summer. You can honor a loved-one or a glorious event by sending in a donation.
July is wide open and awaiting your sponsorship.
suggested amount: $25 PO Box 387 Sheffield MA 01257
Pastor Jill returns to the virtual pulpit this week.
The next church council meeting is July 21.
Old Parish Church
125 Main Street
PO Box 387
Sheffield MA 01257

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Our Identity Statement

We are a progressive Christian community where discovering God's presence, modeling Jesus' radical hospitality, and being a passionate voice for God's justice defines us.

We are an Open and Affirming Congregation
of The United Church of Christ