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Rick's Ramblings
Greetings from Rev. Rick

Rick's Ramblings...
Another year is in the books. And this time around closing out another decade with it. An eventful second decade of the 21st century is now history.
What are your thoughts and feelings about it?
Personally, it was a decade of mainly ups, with a few downs.  
During those ten years my daughter Michelle moved her family to Memphis, at the time pregnant with her third child. And a year and half ago gave birth to her fourth child - now two girls and two boys.  
Over these years our oldest Sarah, received her PhD in Biology and Biochemistry from Boston University and began her teaching career in the Boston area. During that decade our son Tim graduated from The College of New Jersey and moved with his girlfriend to Delaware so she could pursue her own PhD in Organic Chemistry at UDel. This past summer they relocated to San Diego so she could pursue a Post-Doc Fellowship at the prestigious Scripps Institute. And last Spring Tim and Kristen (finally!) got engaged and are planning an August 2021 wedding at a beautiful facility overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Over these last ten years my wife Jo worked for and then left a large non-profit in Elizabeth to become the Executive Director of a Crisis Hotline. After four years getting that struggling organization back on its feet, she was lured back to her earlier non-profit, now as Development Director, only to lose that job last Spring. She is now in process of building a consulting practice, based on her considerable experience in non-profit fundraising and grant writing. I'm hoping she'll turn a profit sometime this year!
It's certainly been an eventful decade at UPC as well, with a healthy share of both ups and downs. Over these years we've done a lot of work to spruce up our property and make it more inviting; we created a Memorial Scattering Garden, added at least one shed for storage purposes and this past summer re-tiled the CE Wing, with considerable help from Fun n Friends.
As happens over any significant period of time, we lost some good folks through passing away, moving away or drifting away and gained new friends who are now indelible members of the UPC, Flanders family. We have continued our annual traditions of Summer VBS, Fall Apple Festival, Palm Sunday Seder Dinner and December Christmas Pageant and this past summer held our first ever Flanders Fest Music Festival. We've added a Fall Blessing of the Backpacks and of the Animals too. Along the way we celebrated 50th and 60th anniversaries as well as the 40th anniversary of Music Director/Impresario extraordinaire Argaille Dimatteo. This past year Kolleen Adams retired as long-time director of Fun n Friends, which remains strong under the leadership of Shirley Keegan and the finest crew of teachers and assistants.  
The congregation even managed to squeak in a 10th anniversary celebration for me. Over these years we have expanded the musical vocabulary of our congregation, adding regular Barbershop numbers and a variety of vocal and instrumental presentations. Newsong, our worship band which I put together not long after arriving at UPC remains a regular part of our worship music "rotation". The musical "mix" we put together over the course of any given month is one of the things I most prize about our church's worship. Oh, and did I mention the large screens which now enhance our worship every week?
And as we move into 2020 I'd be remiss not to mention the great staff with whom I have the privilege of interacting with every week - Youth Coordinator Denise Bouvier, Music Director Argaille, Administrative Assistant Danielle Friedman and Receptionist/Bookkeeper Bev Brouhard. I am also grateful for the fine job Jackie Thompson continues to do in cleaning the church each weekend prior to Sunday worship.
As church members have come and gone, so have folks on our leadership teams of Session, Deacons and other church committees/teams. I am so grateful for the passion, energy, imagination and time so many of our members put into the work of planning, problem-solving, organizing and caring for the UPC flock. Thus, we sing, "I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together".
What lies ahead for 2020? Prognostications are always iffy. A November Presidential election will suck up much of the oxygen from about the middle of the year onward; along the way we'll be caught up in a messy impeachment process sure to divide our republic even more than it already is. Beyond a few certainties, the future is wide-open. And we'll have an important role to play in how it unfolds...
As we march through this year, let us live up to the claim on our currency; let us trust in God for ourselves, our families, our congregation, our communities, our nation and its leaders, and this planet our one and only home.
Rev. Rick

2020 Diamonds in the Rough Pledge Campaign
On the heels of our 60th anniversary celebration in 2019, it's not too late to get your pledge card in for our work and worship in 2020. Session will be finalizing our budget at its January meeting and we need every pledge to help us set as accurate a budget as possible. Every pledge counts. Your pledge counts. With a strong finish to 2019, let us each do our part to begin this New Year on solid footing. Extra pledge cards are available on the table in the back of the sanctuary. Thanks for the part each of us plays in the ongoing sustainability of UPC, Flanders, entering our 61st year and beyond!
Fellowship Time
Join us in the Christian Education Wing for hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate every Sunday after our worship service. Light refreshments will be served as we enjoy the fellowship of others.
2020 UPC Directory
The UPC Directory of Members and Friends will be updated in February. Please take a look at the most recent listing for your family and provide the office with your current information. Many phone numbers and email addresses have changed. Most of us no longer use (or even HAVE) a landline anymore, so it would be helpful if we had your cell phone number available. 
Email updates to Danielle by clicking here 
Thank You from UPC's Staff
The UPC Staff would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who contributed to our very generous Christmas gifts. We all feel blessed to be part of such a loving and faithful church family and we wish you all a happy and healthy 2020!  
With Love,
Rev Rick, Denise, Danielle, Argaille, Bev and Jackie
UPC Men's Fellowship
Food for Thought:  
"Life is God's gift. How you live it is your gift to God, yourself and others."
The UPC Men's Fellowship Ministry meets Thursdays 7:30-9pm in the UPC Library. We welcome you to join your Christian brothers as we strive to grow personally and spiritually on our faith journey through bible study. Questions can be directed to Gerry Rose, Fellowship Facilitator.

On Sunday, February 2, 2020, the Deacons will be having their third annual Super Bowl Desserts and Dips Sale. Please sign up on the poster in the hallway if you are able to contribute an item for this sale. Thank you for supporting the work of the Deacons.








COST $40

Contact Karen Brand






Musical Opportunities

HELP! HELP! Our Chancel Choir needs you! 
Our Tenor and Bass each need more guys to round out their voices!
Our Alto needs other wonderful voices as well!
Our Sopranos welcome new voices to round out theirs!

Contact Argaille at 862-242-9304 or any of our Chancel Choir members if you'd like to join us in singing for one or more Sunday services, or for upcoming Lenten/Easter services. Or for Barbershop or duos or trios.

Our 2020 Vision is to expand the Chancel Choir sound in Worship.
Remember, "the singing person prays twice."

Chancel Choir rehearses on Thursday evenings at 6:30-7:40 p.m.
We sing at first and third Sundays of the month.

YOUNG Ringers will start up again making a "joyful noise"
on the last Sundays of the month, 9:00- 9:30 a.m. in the Choir Room, beginning last Sunday in January!

Interested young persons age 7-12yrs. are invited to come join our first rehearsal, Sunday January 26th!

Ringing fun, friends, and music learning welcome you in Young Ringers!
Come be a Dingaling! Join us to ring!

Poetry for the New Year
(Argaille A. Di Matteo 1/1/20)
It's January now! What next, O Creator?
Christmas fun has passed. My steam radiator
Is hissing and spewing, "More Winter, my Dear".
To what Holiday festivities can I now draw near?
The trees, stalwart, standing just outside my door
Seem to be whispering, "There's much, much more
To Life in the Winter. Just see with new eyes,
And soon you'll discover many a surprise!"
The gray clouds chime in, "We clouds are a'dancing,
Laden with snow. Like horses we're prancing.
But just right above us is pure, bright Blue Sky.
And right above Sky, stars and planets whizz by,
Saluting the Sun in all of Its glory,
Each galaxy, universe, part of Creation's Story."
I ponder, reflect as the snowflakes float down,
With white cloak a'covering trees, house and ground.
What message comes thru from the bright Christmas cheer?
'Tis the birth of the Christ Child that now draws me near.
Like warmth from a fire, whose embers still thrive,
Christ's simple, pure Birth radiates Peace, Love, Life.
This is what I'll carry with me all Winter long,
And Spring, Summer, Fall, I'll remember Love's song.
The Song of Creation, yes, God's Life-filled Gift.
And the Song of the Christ Child my spirit shall lift.
Allow it to lift you and your loved ones too
In this bright New Year with Its Bright New View.
Let God's Love be born in you again and again.
While Winter's snow, ice, frozen ground and cold wind
Remind us that Peace, Love, Goodwill towards All
Begins warm within us as we heed the Call
Of all of the seasons o'er all of the Earth.
The "Joy to the World" of Christ's simple Birth!

United Presbyterian Church, Flanders | (973) 584-8195 ||
58 Drakesdale Road
Flanders, NJ 07836