Welcome to the April Spire!

April 2017   | Volume 64, No. 4
News from First Congregational Church in Winchester, UCC
In This Issue

Upcoming Events

Ministry Updates

Small Group Opportunities

For Your Contemplation

We Need You!
lentschedHoly Week Schedule

April 9, Palm Sunday  
9:30 AM  Interfaith Blessing of the Palms
10:00 Palm Sunday Worship Service

April 13, Maundy Thursday
7:30 PM Service of Tenebrae
9:00 All-Night Vigil begins

April 14, Good Friday  12:00 PM All-Night Vigil Closing Service

April 15, 9:30 AM Bagels and Bunnies Easter Egg Hunt

April 16, Easter Sunday
5:45 AM Sunrise Service at Wright-Locke Farm (with Yoga at 5:15)
9:00 and 11:00 AM Easter Worship Services
10:00 AM Pancake Breakfast
The Journey of Holy Week

This is an invitation to enter into the beauty of Holy Week with your community of faith. Easter is beautiful-the rising of the sun, the white lilies, the trumpeting organ, the joyous hymns, Christ's conquering of death and his resurrection to life-but there is much beauty in the dark depths of Holy Week as well. Read more...
bunniesBagels and Bunnies 
Saturday, April 15, 9:30 AM
Church lobby and front lawn

Bring your family to meet the Easter Bunny and join us for an exciting egg hunt! The Easter Bunny will be available for picture taking, and will supervise the Easter Egg Hunt at 10 AM. There will be prizes awarded at 10:30 for the finder of two special eggs. Please note that all eggs are nut-free and are not all candy. Donations are encouraged for the bagels and bunny photo-op, and all proceeds support the youth mission trips. Come for a morning of fun!
pancakesEaster Morning Pancake Breakfast
Sunday, April 16, Chidley Hall

Have pancakes at church! On Easter Morning, the youth continue their fundraising efforts for the mission trips. Beginning at 9:30 (between the 9:00 and 11:00 worship services), the church youth will host a pancake breakfast including pancakes, sausage, coffee, syrup, milk, juice-the whole works. Come, celebrate Easter, mingle with your friends, eat your fill and support both of the youth mission trips.
annualmtg177th Annual Meeting
Sunday May 7, 11:30 AM-1:30 PM

The Annual Meeting is for everyone! Please plan to attend our annual gathering of the entire congregation. Enjoy a light lunch and engage in meaningful conversations around a table with your fellow congregants in Chidley Hall immediately after worship. Read more...
Easter Flowers

You are invited to donate a chancel Easter plant as a memorial or as a gift. Plants will be distributed to our shut-ins following the worship service on Easter Sunday, April 16.
The cost of plants is $20.00 each. All orders are due by Palm Sunday, April 9.

I wish to purchase ______plants, which will be
_____In memory of_____ In honor of (please check as appropriate)

Given by______________________________________________________________

Please return this form with a check payable to First Congregational Church, with memo "flowers" to the church office, or place it in an offering plate in an envelope marked "Easter plants." Thank you!
Upcoming Events
Celebration of Service Breakfast
Sunday April 2, 8:15 AM, Chidley Hall
Sponsored by the Deacons

Do you teach, sing, knit, deliver flowers, prepare meals, serve on a ministry, organize events, think strategically about our future, volunteer for outreach programs, contribute to the offering, or greet people warmly at worship? Then you serve at our church, and we would like to honor you with a delicious breakfast, an excellent speaker and an engaging program! Read more...
Vigil Anchors Needed!
April 13, 9 PM-April 14, 12 PM

We hope that you will join us for the Maundy Thursday overnight prayer vigil and the Good Friday Noon closing service. Volunteers are needed to act as "anchors" through the night for the 15-hour vigil. Anchors hold a prayerful presence in the sanctuary, keep watch over the Christ Candle, usually in 1-hour shifts, and serve as a resource to other participants. The sign-up sheet is located in the church lobby. All are welcome to participate in the Vigil at anytime, whether or not you have volunteered to be an anchor.
youthmissionYouth Mission Trip to Philadelphia
April 17-21, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In case you missed the news, this year we will be heading to The Philadelphia Project   on our first Middle School mission trip. While there, we will be repairing houses of the elderly and helping to run an after school program for younger children. We'll leave early Monday morning and get back after dinner on Friday. If you are interested in making a financial donation to help cover any of the costs, please visit The Youth Sponsorship Page or submit a check to the church. The cost per student is $400, and the deadline to sign up is April 5th. Depending on the number of participants, we will need 2-3 chaperones, one of which must be a woman. Please prayerfully consider being a part of a trip that can change lives. Sign up here!
JazzVespersJazz Vespers
Saturday, April 22, 4:00 PM

Please join us as we honor God's creation in a jazz-filled, vibrant service celebrating Earth Day, 2017. The Jazz Singers will offer a lush close harmony rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the band will lead us in song and meditation, and the service will feature poetry and prayers-all in service to Mother Earth.  Come join us!
muslimspeakerSpecial Muslim Guest in Worship and 11th Hour Presentation
Sunday, April 30, Palmer Room

Doctor Kamal Youcef-Toumi is a professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT and a co-director of the program for Clean Water and Energy at MIT and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Besides his rich academic life, Dr. Toumi is passionate about the Quran, its disciplines, arts and sciences. During worship he will be sharing a recitation of a brief passage of the Quran related to our scripture for the morning and then at an 11th Hour Presentation (immediately following worship in the Palmer Room) he will share more in depth about the practice of Quran recitation. 
outdoorchurchThe Outdoor Church
April 30

Can you help the us this month? The Outdoor Church is a church for homeless men and women in Cambridge. Our congregation serves when there is a fifth Sunday in the month. Together, we purchase ingredients, make sandwiches, and send them (along with fresh, new socks) with two or three people to Cambridge to help serve the Outdoor Church Congregation. They don't have walls or a roof, but they do have community and spirit. 
What we need:
  • Sandwich providers: Drop off your ingredients (meats, cheeses, tuna, egg, chicken salad, PB&J) anytime before Sunday, leave in Chidley fridge and kitchen.
  • Sandwich makers: Come down after worship.
  • Sandwich givers/walkers: Join Lisa and carpool to Cambridge.
  • Socks: Drop off in the church lobby or bring them to the sanctuary on Sunday.
Can you help out? There are roles for all ages! Contact Lisa Loughlin. Thank you!
calendarChurch Calendar

When was that meeting again? Want to know what's going on, on any given day at the church? Take a look at the online church calendar.
Ministries Updates
We Did It!

The Financial Resource Ministry is delighted to report that we have not only met but slightly exceeded our 2017 pledge goal of $525,000! Thank you to all who were a part of this wonderful result. Our goal represented a 5% increase over our 2016 goal of $500,000 and we had 19 new members who pledged during the campaign. What a great endorsement of our church's ministry and outreach efforts. We thank you all for your support!
-The Financial Resources Committee (Tom Roche, Jennifer Wilson, Mike Bailey, Rebecca Beltz, and Doug Clarke)
signsSigns of the Times!

Sometimes guests, visitors, and newcomers to our church have a hard time finding their way through our lovely but labyrinthine church building. So your commissioned Signage Team is working to make our building more accessible and understandable to our guests, "welcoming all with joy" and with directions! Read more...
leadershipSpringing Ahead with the Leadership Team

Spring is always an exciting time in the life of the church, as we reflect on the year so far, and begin making plans for the coming year. There is lots of change in the air as we build on our traditions while discovering new ways to work and worship. Read more...
ripleyRipley Chapel Upcoming Decisions
April 26

The Ripley Chapel Renovation project is heating up to an important decision-making point for the congregation. You will soon receive a detailed letter in the mail to update you and also to invite you to a Purpose Forum on Wednesday, April 26 to discuss the extent of the renovation and fundraising necessary to accomplish our dreams there. At the Annual Meeting on May 6 a congregation-wide decision will be made as to how we move forward together.
Small Group Opportunities
mensgroupMen's Group 
Sunday, April 2, 7:30-9 PM 

The monthly men's group will be held at Paul Rahmeier's house, 4 Heritage Drive in Woburn. All men of the church and their guests are welcome. We discuss matters that are personal and spiritual. Pot-luck beverages or snacks are welcome but not expected.  Questions? Contact Chris Noble
ruthRuth Group
Sunday, April 23, 7 PM

The April meeting of the Ruth Group will be held at the home of Karen Roberts, 3 Kenilworth Road. Note change in date because the third Sunday of the month is Easter. We will be discussing My Brilliant Friend  by Elena Ferrante. All women of the church are welcome. For more information or transportation please email Joyce Mills or call her at 617-835-4692 .

For Your Contemplation
From Life to Death to Life Again

April continues our journey through the Lenten season, a time inviting us to deeper self-examination and spiritual introspection leading us into the events of Holy Week and Eastertide, with its shadows and light, its losses and triumphs, its grief and joy. Read more...
libraryLibrary Resources for Lent 

As you pass through the church lobby, please stop to look at the library books display on the small round table. There are many good books for your Lenten study and reflection. A few weeks before Easter, the display will change to a collection of books with an Easter theme. May these books add meaning to your Lenten journeys.
In Perpetual Spring 
By Amy Gerstler 

Gardens are also good places 
to sulk. You pass beds of 
spiky voodoo lilies
and trip over the roots 
of a sweet gum tree, 
in search of medieval 
plants whose leaves, 
when they drop off 
turn into birds 
if they fall on land, 
and colored carp if they 
plop into water. 

Suddenly the archetypal 
human desire for peace 
with every other species 
wells up in you. The lion 
and the lamb cuddling up. 
The snake and the snail, kissing. 
Even the prick of the thistle, 
queen of the weeds, revives 
your secret belief 
in perpetual spring, 
your faith that for every hurt 
there is a leaf to cure it.

We Need You!
WagonLittle Red Wagon
Please help fill up our Little Red Wagon. Nonperishable food can be left in the wagons in the church lobby or at the back of the sanctuary. Food is delivered to the Woburn Council of Social Concern. Items needed are: Baked Beans, Canned Fruit & Vegetables, Canned Lunch (Spaghettios, etc.), Canned Meat (stew, Spam, chili, etc.), Cereal (hot and cold), Condiments, Juice, Pasta Peanut Butter, Rice/Rice Mixes, Soup, Snacks (cookies, crackers, etc.), Spaghetti Sauce, Sugar-free, Low-sodium & Fat-free Foods, Tuna.
Something to share?

Congrats, you made it ALL the way to the end of the newsletter! Please send submissions to newsletter@fcc-winchester.org by the 20th of each month. For example, to include an article in the May issue, please submit by April 20. Please note that submissions may be gently edited for length and clarity, and will appear on our website. Bulletin and email blast requests should be sent to Sarah Marino, our Office Manager, at first.congregational@verizon.net by Thursday at 9:00 AM.

-Nancy Kneiss, Editor