Happy New Year!

January 2017   | Volume 64, No. 1
News from First Congregational Church in Winchester, UCC
In This Issue

Preparing for Myanmar
Worship in January
Epiphany Celebration January 6

Upcoming Events
Congregational Meetings to Put On Your Calendar!
Purpose Forum Dinner
Youth Ski Weekend
Children and Youth Save the Dates
The Outdoor Church
Ministry Updates
Ripley Chapel and Fisk Organ Update
Innovation Fund Mini-Grant Request
Small Group Opportunities
Second Wednesday Bible Study
Ruth Group
Men's Group

For Your Contemplation
Seasons of the Spirit: More Light

We Need You!
The Little Red Wagon
Preparing for Myanmar

I depart for Myanmar on December 29, 2016, and will be back with you in worship on Sunday, January 29, 2017. As one traveler in a faithful band of eight, I am pleased to tell you that our little group has finally grown up. From a ragtag grassroots team, we have named ourselves:  Metta Partners in Myanmar. Our work has evolved over time, and while we have made plenty of mistakes, we have also learned a great deal: gaining deeper respect for the culture and ways of communities; attempting to re-connect families; and bringing education that makes a difference. Read about Jane's upcoming journey...
januaryWorship in January and Bible Study
January 8, 15, 22 and 29

In January we will worship in the Sanctuary with regular services--meaning the same style of worship we celebrate the rest of the year. On January 8, 15, 22 and 29, we will offer a Bible Study before the service from 9:00-9:45 AM in the Henry Room. Laurie Roby will lead the sessions. Bring your own coffee and enjoy it with a light breakfast snack. Read more about Epiphany, "The Season of the Weird."

Join the Wise Men in Searching for the Baby Jesus
Friday, January 6, 6:00 PM, Tucker Room

Join us for a special Epiphany Celebration! Following a potluck dinner, we will follow three Wise Men (or women, boys or girls) through the darkened church building-guided by a few battery-powered candles-to locate the star over the baby in the manger. When we find the baby we, like the Wise Men before us, will worship him. Read more about this family-friendly event...
Upcoming Events
meetingdatesCongregational Meetings to Put On Your Calendar!

On Sunday, January 8th there will be a congregational meeting to enable the renovation of the organ to proceed and to authorize the use of the funds from the gift of Jena Roy, which were received by the Church at its 2016 Annual Meeting, for the purposes of the Fisk Organ and Ripley Chapel Project. A hearing was held on December 18th for us to hear about the status of these projects and the current plans for the use of the money.

On Sunday February 5th there will be a congregational meeting to agree on the 2017 budget. There will be a budget hearing, with Q & A the previous Sunday, on January 29th .
Both congregation meetings will be held immediately after worship in the sanctuary.

-Penny Sparrow, Moderator
PFdinnerPurpose Forum Dinner 
January 25, 2017

Join the Purpose Forum for dinner on January 25! After experimenting last year with a monthly format, we decided to scale back to two to three forums per program year. What is the Purpose Forum again? Who should come?  Find out the answers to these and other burning questions...
skitripYouth Ski Trip
January 20-22, Waterville Valley, NH

Its that time of year! The ski trip is open to all middle and high school students (grades 6-12). This year we will be staying in the Town Square Condos. We have enough space for 35 people, and are still looking for 2 more adult (25+) chaperones. Find out more and sign up!
Children & Youth Save the Dates
  • Dec. 31   Deadline to sign up for High School Mission Trip
  • Feb. 3  All Church Talent Show and Baked Potato Bar
  • Feb. 17-21   Middle School Mission Trip, Philadelphia
  • Feb. 19-25  High School Mission Trip, Tuskegee, Alabama
despairFrom Despair to Hope
January 20, 7:30 PM (room TBD)

Come hear Alexander Guibault present his life story about growing up as an orphan on the streets of Guatemala City and how he maintained hope that someday he would find a family. Alex's story is one of despair and hope, and is an inspiration to all who hear it. Alex is the adopted son of friends of church member Kathy Valone. Read more... 
outdoorchurchThe Outdoor Church 
January 29
The Outdoor Church is a church for homeless men and women in Cambridge. Our church serves there when there is a 5th Sunday in the month. Together, we purchase ingredients, make sandwiches, and send them (and some fresh, new socks) with two or three congregants to Cambridge. There our members help to 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.
Able to participate this month? There are roles for all ages! Contact Lisa Loughlin. There will also be a SignUp genius form coming soon. 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
grantrequestPURPOSE FORUM 
Innovation Fund Mini-Grant Request

Need some funding for a ministry project not covered by the budget? Here's what to do:

1. Just fill out this one-page info form  
2. Ask a Ministry Team member to sign it, and 
3. Send to Carol Weir  or Linda Alexander.
4. We'll vote to approve it through the Purpose Forum.

That's it!

So far, the Innovation Fund has supported the Welcoming ministry's hospitality events and production of pew cards; expanding the Flower ministry's work; the Centering Prayer workshop; Bean Supper/Tree Lighting community outreach; and this year's mental health series based on the film Pack Up Your Sorrows by Meg Hutchinson.
ripleyRipley Chapel and Fisk Organ Update

The Music & Worship Arts initiative has had a busy fall. Your Working Group has been making progress on the goals of restoring and maintaining our Fisk Organ and remaking Ripley Chapel into a flexible, but still sacred place for a wide variety of activities. Learn more about the December hearing, the upcoming congregational vote on January 8, and view a preliminary design idea...
LTUpdateLeadership Team Update

The Leadership Team pondered this question at our December meeting: What would Jesus think of our celebration of Christmas today? We shared thoughts on how we each preserve meaning in the season personally, as well as how our joint worship can reflect the joy of Christ's arrival. This was a fitting way to transition into discussion on the care and upkeep of our historic building as its purpose in serving our mission morphs and changes. Read more...
Small Group Opportunities
biblestudySecond Wed n esday Bible Study
January 11, 7:00-8:30, Health Ministry Office

We are reading through some of the letters of Paul. We started with Galatians and are now on Ephesians. This is new territory for most of us and at a level everyone would be able to participate in. Each month's gathering is self-contained so come when you can. Come join us! 
ruthRuth Group
Sunday January 15th, 7:00 PM

The January meeting of the Ruth Group will be held at the homeof Connie Rosenberger, 32 Central Street. We will be discussing A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. All women of the church are welcome.  For more information contact Joyce Mills at 617-835-4692 .

mensgroupMen's Group 
Sunday January 8th, 7:30-9 PM, Palmer Room

All FCC men and their guests are welcome. This month's theme is renewal. We discuss matters that are personal and spiritual. Pot-luck beverages or snacks are welcome but not expected. Questions? Contact Chris Noble  
For Your Contemplation
More Light

The twelve days of Christmas end on January 6. This marks the beginning of the season of Epiphany in the Christian calendar. Epiphany means "manifestation, disclosure, or revelation." As the light continues its slow grow with each passing day for those of us in the northern hemisphere, we are invited to reflect upon ways that the Spirit is revealing an unfolding light and new growth in our own lives, day by day. Read more...
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?

Please send submissions to newsletter@fcc-winchester.org by the 20th of each month. For example, to include an article in the February issue, please submit by January 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