Weekly Newsletter
Week of May 12th - May 18th
Gilead Congregational Church, UCC

Meetings and Services this week:

Wednesday, May 12th:
-8:45 a.m. Hunger Action Team
-9:30 a.m. Bible Study
-10:30 a.m. Book Discussion Group

Thursday, May 13th:
-7:00 p.m. Trustees

Sunday, May 16th:
-10:00 a.m. Worship Service in the Garden of Remembrance and live-streamed on our Gilead Church Facebook Page and YouTube
God is Still Speaking
 About Us:

Reverend Dr. Denise Esslinger  
Minister of Music:
Andrey Stolyarov

Minister of Communication and Technology:
Lisa Cox
Interim Administrative Assistant:
Tonya Maurer

Worship: 10:00 a.m. in the Garden of Remembrance on our Gilead Church Facebook Page and YouTube Channel

Gathered: 1748
Meeting House: 1838
Fellowship Hall: 2008
We are an Open & Affirming Church
Sunday Worship Services
This Sunday, May 16th, we will be worshipping outside in our Garden of Remembrance, weather permitting. Our hope is that being outside will feel safer, as well as allow as many people who would like to attend in-person to join us since we can spread out in the field beyond the garden. We still ask you to sign up, so we can keep a list of those present, if ever needed, for contact tracing purposes. We invite people to bring your own chairs.

At the Deacon's meeting last week, our safety protocols were updated and we now invite the gathered community to join in our prayers and singing. We continue to require face masks and social distancing. Safety protocols are detailed below. Know our Deacons will continue to closely monitor public health recommendations and update our protocols as soon as we safely can.

If weather should be inclement, we will move inside. An email will be sent at least an hour prior to the service time and posted on Facebook notifying everyone. If we move inside, people are invited to join us for worship inside, but seating will be limited due to social distancing. If needed, additional seats will be available in the Fellowship Hall.

Know that we’ll continue to live-stream services on our Facebook page and YouTube for those who prefer to stay home. Information on how to connect on-line is provided in the block below. 

Use the button below if you would like to join us in person for our 10 a.m. worship service this Sunday, May 16th:
Our Deacons have prepared the following outdoor protocols for us to follow for worship in our Garden of Remembrance:
1)  Outdoor worship in the Garden of Remembrance will not be limited to any number of people, but we’ll be following this safety protocol, including wearing masks and social distancing. 
2) All are asked to enter the Garden via the main (arbor) entrance. Those attending will be asked to sign up prior and will checked in by an usher. If you are unable to sign up prior, you will be asked to share your name and contact number with the usher prior to being seated. This is to keep an accurate record of people in attendance, if needed, for contact tracing. An usher will then walk you (at a distance) to your space to sit and will provide hand sanitizer, if desired, prior to entering the worship area.
3) Participants are asked NOT to attend if they have any flu-like symptoms or if anyone in the household has tested positive for COVID-19. 

4) Please bring your own chairs or blankets. Face masks are required for the entire service and will be provided if needed.  Participants must remain 6-10 feet apart from non-family members at all times.
5) After the service, you are asked to exit the garden either via the parking lot side of the garden or the arbor entryway, continuing to maintain 6-10 feet from non-family members.  
6) The congregation is invited to join in the prayers and the singing while masked. No Communion or offering plates will be shared or passed during the service. On Communion Sundays (first Sundays of the month), you are asked to bring your own Communion. Deacons will provide Communion packets for those who desire them. A basket will be available at the entrance to the Garden for offerings. There will also be no Sunday school or coffee hour.
7) The worship bulletin will be emailed prior to the service. Please feel free to print out your own copy of the service. A limited number of bulletins will be available at the service as well. These should be taken home after the service.
8) If severely inclement weather is expected, notification will be sent via email and on our Facebook page at least one hour prior to the scheduled service time.
9) We will continue to live-stream our service on Facebook or YouTube for those who prefer to stay home or for when there is inclement weather.
10) Bathrooms available if necessary. 
11) Our Board of Christian Education is planning some opportunities for our young people during worship. Watch for more information on these. 
If you have any questions about these protocols, please reach out to one of our Deacons (Amy Destine, Todd Helweg, Jon Kimball (Chair), David Kline, Jim Ledbetter, Lynn Lukach, Ginny Miller, Teresa Olio, and Margot Sheehan) or speak with Pastor Denise.

Live Streaming of Services Continues

We will continue to live stream our worship services at 10:00 a.m.

You can join us live on either YouTube or Facebook. You will also be able to view the video’s on either platform after the service. Please use one of the links below to access to our Live Stream:

  1. Gilead Church YouTube Link
  2. Gilead Church Facebook Page
Rhubarb is ready!

All are welcome to stop by the Maple Leaf Farm to pick Rhubarb! There is plenty for all! Just drive up, park, pick and go!

Pastoral Transition Update

The Interim Minister Selection Committee has completed all interviews and is in the process of discernment and negotiation. We are looking forward to a completion of the hiring process in the near future and will announce the results as soon as possible. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support.

If anyone has questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact either Jon Kimball or Ginny Miller who are serving as Co-chairs of our Interim Minister Selection Committee.

Conversations on Denise's Retirement

You’re invited to join in a time of conversation about what it means for us, as members and friends of the Gilead Church, and our relationship with Pastor Denise following her retirement at the end of June. Serving as a Pastor is a unique position and responsibility, and there are ethical considerations and boundaries for her and for us that we all need to be aware. On Denise’s last Sunday, June 27th, both she and the congregation will be asked to make promises to adhere to these boundaries for the health and well-being of the Gilead Church. 

Rev. Dr. Sharon Ledbetter, who is a member of the Gilead Church, and served as the Pastor of the Lebanon Congregational Church for 25 years before her retirement, will be leading these conversations, sharing her experiences, as well as answering any questions you may have. 

Two gatherings are being offered so as many people as would like can attend. While you’re welcome to attend both gatherings, one should give you the background and information you need. The gatherings will be held on Sundays, May 16th and May 23rd after our 10 a.m. worship service. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Rev. Ledbetter or call the Church Office (860-228-3077). We hope these conversations will be helpful as we prepare for this time of transition ahead.

Celebrating Denise's 22 SEASONS OF LOVE on June 13th

Join us in person, Sunday, June 13th from 2 - 4 p.m., under the “Big Tent” to honor Pastor Denise and wish her well as she enters a new season of her life.
Bring your own lawn chairs (if able) and enjoy reconnecting with our amazing church family. Festivities will include light refreshments, an ice cream truck, lawn games, card making station and a best of all... a Denise “Roast and Toast,” hosted by our very own Bruce Langevin. 
So we know how many people to expect, please use the button below if you will be joining the celebration, or contact Heather Summerer (hjsummerer@sbcglobal.net or 860-463-6487).
If you would like to contribute to a gift from the Congregation and Friends, please send your contribution electronically via Paypal to @kylebmcclaine or by check payable to Katie McClaine, 860 Gilead Street, Hebron, CT 06248.

We also invite you to send cards, which will be collected and given to Denise at the in-person celebration. Please mail to Rev. Dr. Denise Esslinger, c/o Becky Cook, 99 Jennifer Dr, Hebron, CT 06248.

If you have additional questions, please reach out to Annette Langevin at thelangevins@comcast.net or 860-228-1313.

Little Lending Library

We invite you to check out our Little Lending Library. Our library is filled with books for children and adults that celebrate diversity, empathy, kindness and racial understanding. It's a wonderful opportunity for families to read together and maybe open up conversations about children that are from families different from their own. A reminder we are all God's children.

Hope you get a chance to enjoy our library.
Willing Weeders

Please consider signing up to weed the Church grounds and the Garden of Remembrance starting in May and running through September. It generally takes about an hour to do both the Garden and Church Grounds. Please use the button below to sign up:
If you have any questions, please contact Diane Desruisseaux at 860-858-6189 or Phyllis Kurz at 860-228-2469. Thank you!
Bible Study on Zoom

Our weekly Bible study, led be Rev. Bob Woodward, meets on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom.  All are invited and welcome to join this discussion and study. Come when you can!

This week the group will start discussions about 1st Kings 16 (Elisha) and 2nd Kings 13 (Elijah).  

Use the below button to join the zoom meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday mornings: 
If you have any questions or need assistance connecting with Zoom, please contact our Church Office (gcc@gileadchurch.net or 860-228-3077). 

Wednesday Morning Book Discussion Group

Our Wednesday Morning Book Discussion Group meets on Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. If you have interest in joining or any questions on this discussion group, please contact Sandy Hooker at 860-228-9856.

Helping Hands are Available

It has been a windy spring! As a result, many yards have more branches and debris in them than in the past. Gilead Helping Hands (GHH) can offer assistance to church members who can use some help with their spring cleanup chores. If you are interested please send an email to Leslie.kurz78@gmail.com or call 860-416-7884.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update and Information

The state is currently currently offering the vaccine to:

  • Individuals 16 years of age and older

The state has an online registration tool for people to register and schedule vaccination appointments: Click to Schedule a Vaccine Appointment  

For the most up to date information, please go to the following link:
CT’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line (call for vaccination scheduling) is: 877-918-2224
·        Open 7 days a week from 8:00 am – 8:00pm.
·        Language assistance is available for those who need it
·        Deaf or hard-of-hearing can access the Vaccine Appointment Assist Line by dialing 7-1-1

If you need any assistance in arranging to get it—either with help scheduling a time on line or needing transport—please contact the Church Office at 860-228-3077 or at gcc@gileadchurch.net.
Silver Lake Summer Camp

Details and registration for Silver Lake's summer conference season are available at www.silverlakect.org along with downloads of the forms needed for registration.  Also, our Women's Fellowship has once again agreed to pay the $150 deposit for any young person from our congregation who would like to attend Silver Lake. Please speak with Margaret Gibbs (860-384-4327) if you would like to take our Women's Fellowship up on their offer.

Scripture Readings and Prayer for the Week
Luke 10: 25-37

God of love and compassion, you call us to be people of compassion too: to experience in our living the lives of others, to laugh with their joys and cry with their sorrows.  Speak to us again, this day, your words of love and remind us again of what it means to be a neighbor. Amen.
Contact Info
Tonya Maurer
Interim Administrative Assistant
672 Gilead St
Hebron, Ct  06248
860-228-3077 or gcc@gileadchurch.net
Parish House Office Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until Noon