Ministry Headlines

First Congregational Church in Winchester, UCC
Spring 2019 Vol. 66, No. 3
In This Issue
Spiritual Reflections
Eastertide: Practicing Ressurection

Ministry Updates
Ministry Team
Annual Meeting
Summer Worship
Green Congregation Task Force
Children and Youth
Health Ministry
Ruth Group

Opportunities to Serve

Spring Events at a Glance
Spiritual Reflections
Eastertide: Practicing Resurrection
We are in the season of Eastertide, the fifty days that stretch from Easter Sunday through Pentecost. In this season we are to be practicing the reality of the new life to which we have been called. Perhaps the prayer from the UCC Book of Worship says it best: “Oh God, free us from a past that we cannot change and open us to a future in which we can be changed.”  Read more...
Ministry Updates
Hello from Judy
Dear Friends,

I hope for this to be the last update from afar. Things in our household are trending steadily in the direction of the positive. I am able to walk and stand for short durations without pain. Carol’s shoulder didn’t hurt at all yesterday! Autumn has visited 3 colleges; the last one accompanied by David and Kaye Nash. 

My brother’s funeral on April 27 was a celebration and remembrance. Our California cousin was back East and able to come. I am so grateful for all the expressions of sympathy and for members of our community who came to the service. I think it was affirming for my nephew and sister-in-law. 

That corner having been turned, I am looking forward to being among you again. God has been very present to us during this time, in no small measure through your prayers. Thank you for your love and support.

In peace and love,
—Rev. Judy and family
State of the CommUnion Recap
The Annual Meeting, held on Sunday, May 5, was well-attended and included a delicious lunch, thoughtful group discussion, and a new crowd-sourced thankfulness activity. We paid tribute to our faithful moderator Penny Sparrow, recognized the hard work of our volunteers, received the Annual Report, and discussed our future as a congregation.

The highlight of the afternoon was Rev. Will's " State of the CommUnion" address, which included three groundbreaking ideas to re-energize and grow our community. Did you miss it? Want to hear it again? Listen to it here!
Calling All Preachers — Yes, that Means You!
Summer at First Congregational Church begins June 23 and we have a wonderful tradition of people from the congregation preaching each Sunday. It's a true gift to hear other voices from the pulpit and come to know one another better. The practice helps us live into our Protestant commitment to the priesthood of all believers—it's not just ordained clergy who can preach the word! Every one of us has a story to tell and often a unique understanding of scripture based upon our history and perspective. We bet you do too! Would you consider preaching this year? Available Sundays run from June 23- September 1. Reach out to our new moderator, Sarah Gallop, if you are interested. To learn more about what's involved, reach out to Sarah, Rev. Will, or Rev. Judy. Thank you for considering!
Advantages of Solar Power on our Roof
In contrast to using fossil fuels, Solar Power is highly abundant, renewable and pollution free. Economically speaking, solar power is absolutely free and available for all. In the face of increasing utility costs each year and the escalating climate crisis, the Green Congregation Taskforce recommends that our church consider installing solar panels – be it on the south-facing sanctuary pitched roof or on south-facing flat roof areas.  Read more...
Communication Changes and Fall Registration
Some exciting communication changes are in store for the Children and Youth programs. Did you miss Ben's email? Read it here.
Contemplative Retreat in Nature
Friday, May 17 & Saturday, May 18
As the woods awaken from the winter slumber, you are invited to retreat in nature. Take time to slow your pace, immerse in the sights and sounds of the woods, and through prayer and spiritual practices experience the natural world as a gateway to a deeper relationship with God. Read more…
outdoor church
The Outdoor Church Serving Opportunity
June 30
June has five Sundays in it, which means an opportunity to help the Outdoor Church! There are many ways you can make a difference! On June 30, we will receive donated ingredients, make sandwiches and send them with 2 or 3 church members to Cambridge. Read more...
Anything is Possible
May 19, 7-9 PM
Please join us as we discuss Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. All women of the church are welcome. Hosted by Mike Redding & Laurie Roby.

If in need of a ride, please contact Maryann McCall-Taylor or Kaye Nash.
Edward F. Lamson, son of Ted & Kristi Lamson of Chicago, was born Dec 7, 2018.
Hope Cary Sandak, daughter of Kate & Steve Sandak, was baptized on January 6.
Madison Brek Nordstrom, daughter of Erin & Eric Nordstrom, was baptized on February 24.
Mark Zagata and Rachel Yu were married on April 30.
In Memoriam
Isabel A. Hart died on December 24, 2018.
Alice 'Jimmie' Bonderchuk Blasi, mother of Alex Rohall, died on February 20.
Katherine Steffey, niece of Laurie Roby, died on February 23.
Jean Hunter Maintain Higgins died on February 24.
Dr. Lane Heller, father of Elizabeth Page, died on March 2.
Warren H. “Terry” Arnold III, brother of Judy Arnold, died on March 9.
Mary J. (Baxter) Barger died on March 27.
Opportunities to Serve
Spring Events at a Glance

May 5
179th Annual Meeting

May 11
Youth Outdoor Church

May 12
Mother's Day

May 17 & 18

May 18
Enka Youth Overnight

May 19

May 26
Centering Prayer Meditation

May 29
Spring Fellowship Gathering

June 8
Gay Pride Parade
Contemplative Nature Walk

June 9
All-Church Picnic
Forum Nature Walk

June 15

June 16
Father's Day
Trinity Sunday

June 23
Summer Worship starts

June 24-28
Vacation Bible School

June 30
What's Your Team Up To?

The Spire is published seasonally, six times per year: Fall (Sept-Nov), Advent/Christmas (Dec), Winter (Jan-Feb), Lent/Easter (Mar-Apr), Spring (May-June) and Summer (July-Aug).  Due dates for submissions can be found here.

The Spire features ministries updates and seasonal spiritual content. Please send your team updates to  Nancy Kneiss. Please note that content may be gently edited for length and clarity, and will appear on our website. Upcoming events and weekly email blast requests should be sent to  Sarah Marino, our Office Manager, at by Thursday at 9:00 AM. Thank you!

-Nancy Kneiss, Editor