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Rick's Ramblings
  Greetings from Rev. Rick
  Rick's Ramblings...

  I sit here at my computer on     Sunday afternoon May 31, perched   on the edge of June and what lies   beyond. It is Pentecost Sunday.   Churches around the globe have   been celebrating the Church's   "birthday" in whatever ways our   current pandemic has allowed them   to do so. If you tuned in to this   morning's UPC service, we at least   managed a few red balloons and   streamers representing the tongues   of fire. And getting the Beatles' song   "Birthday" in there was kind of fun   too! It is still our birthday. We are   still the Church!

Today was also supposed to be this year's Confirmation Sunday, a reminder of how different times are across the board, including in our churches. We have pushed this year's Confirmation Sunday back to the end of June, and it will be in some modified form, held out in the Pavilion (weather permitting). It will still include our annual Confirmation Video and a brief ceremony officially inducting them into church membership. With much help from Youth Coordinator Denise Bouvier, this year's class will also have a class banner to represent their confirmation year! And since we will be live streaming by then, you will see them live and during the service give your "thumbs up" to these newly minted church members! Their confirmation is the fulfillment of the baptismal promises made on their behalf by their parents and the congregation in which they were baptized.

Along with this year's high school and college grads, I wish the grads from this year's confirmation process had been able to finish their process in more typical fashion. But, as also with those other grads, this pandemic in no way takes away from the value of what our four high school freshmen have gone through or the importance of their full membership in UPC, Flanders.

Confirmation 2020 will be memorable for me on several levels, not least of which is that is my last Confirmation class as UPC's pastor and most likely my final one as an active pastor. Apart from the 2019-2020 calendar year, I have had the joy of experiencing the confirmation process with UPC youth every year since I arrived here in July 2007. I prize the relationships I continue to have with many of our former confirmands who are now in college or have graduated and are out making their mark in the world. I am honored to have been their pastor and some sort of spiritual mentor when we shared space together at UPC, Flanders.

Such are the memories that are beginning to flood my heart as I begin my final quartet of months as UPC,'s pastor!

Keep the faith! Stay safe! Keep in touch! Pray for our nation as we gingerly feel our way towards more opening up policies and again experience the wounds created by a legal and law enforcement system that does not always treat all people equally, regardless of the color of their skin.

Grace and peace,

Rev. Rick

Church Calendar:

6/13               2nd Saturday work day 9 am
6/14               Live Stream outdoor worship begins
6/15               Session meeting with confirmation class 7 pm
6/3,17            Wednesday Nite Live Zoom Check in with Rev. Rick 7 pm
6/4,11,18,25   UPC Men's Group Zoom Bible Study 7 pm
6/7,14,21        Confirmation Zoom meetings   8 pm


Deacon's Youth Grant

PURPOSE: When children are baptized, our congregation promises to reach them the Good News of the gospel and to help strengthen their ties to God. Upon confirmation, they promise to be faithful to their church in its worship and to work and witness to our Lord Jesus Christ. In response to the promise we made and in acknowledgement of the commitment they have made to their church, the United Presbyterian Church, Flanders desires to recognize the accomplishments of the youth of our congregation. Traditionally, the Education Grant is awarded to those graduates who are confirmed members planning to continue their education following high school and who have been actively involved in the life of the church and earned the respect of others in the church. 

Must be a confirmed member of the United Presbyterian Church, Flanders 
Must be graduating high school in June 2020 
Must be involved with the life/work of this church 
Must use the grant to help defray the expenses for further education in the fall of 2020 

Fill out the attached application, answering all questions completely including a paragraph about yourself and the church. 

Return the application Friday, June 5, 2020 to: Mary Lee Plate, Deacon Moderator or 

All applications must be received by June 7, 2020


Operation Front Porch

As the weather warms and people are more comfortable going outside, Rev. Rick would like to invite himself over to visit with UPC members - on front steps, back porch, deck, etc. Or at the church or a local park or wherever people feel comfortable meeting up. If you want to get on Rick's schedule, please email or text or call him to make arrangements. He is looking forward to seeing as many UPC families as possible over these upcoming summer months!

Operation Love Tsunami
This year's confirmation process will reach its conclusion at the end of this month. We have traditionally invited church members to offer each class small gifts or handmade tokens of support through our Operation Love Tsunami gift program. As we enter the last month of the program, it is important we get our gifts in over the next several weeks. You may drop off your gift to the church or call Rev. Rick, Denise Bouvier or Bev Brouhard to swing by your home and pick up your donation. This is a small but important way we show each confirmation class that we take our baptismal vows of congregational support seriously. This year's class includes Danny Christensen, Savannah McLaughlin, Jack Notaro and Riley Trotter. We anticipate holding a modified version of Confirmation Sunday out in the Pavilion on June 28. Thanks again for your support of our fine young people as they take this important step in their faith journeys!

Wednesday Night Live Check in with Rev. Rick on Zoom
For the month of June, the weekly Wednesday Zoom Check ins with Rev. Rick will move to every other week basis - the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month, same 7 pm time. Rick understands schedules get more active in the summer months and availability may be more limited. Rick will re-evaluate the need for these Zoom Check-ins as we move into July and August.



The Deacons pantry is in need. There is a bin outside of the church doors (Entrance around back) for donations. Please keep in mind that because of animal activity all items MUST BE CANNED.

We are in need of all items but are very low on the following:


Because of the current restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to cancel our Vacation Bible School for this Summer. However, we will be continuing our virtual Sunday School lessons on google classroom.   There will be an attempt to add additional activities for each week to help give options for our children (young and seasoned alike) to have some fun during the weekdays as well!

Go to and click on the + sign in the upper right hand corner. There is an option to join a classroom, enter the code nne7ew5 to gain access. You will have access to all of the lessons so far, and then all of the new ones added each week. 

Thank you for continued support of the Sunday School and the Christian Education Program at UPC. 

In His Service,
Janelle Foster
Elder for Christian Education and Co-Superintendent of Sunday School

Dover Faith Soup Kitchen
For more than twenty years our congregation has supported the Dover Faith Soup Kitchen at Trinity Lutheran Church. On the fourth Thursday of each month our church members have prepared and served meals for an average of 90 to 100 people. Many people in many ways have helped. I am proud to say that we have never failed to meet our commitment each month, and right now is no exception. While things are very different during this Covid 19 crisis the Soup Kitchen has continued its commitment to the community. Unfortunately, they are not able to serve hot meals right now but have been providing a brown bag lunch for their clients. Our Soup Kitchen team is working hard to lend their support by preparing sandwiches that are delivered to the church in Dover for distribution on our day to serve. I would like to thank Lois Fleming, LaRue Berry and Diane Halper for all their efforts to keep this mission going. If there was a prize for sandwich making these three ladies would be at the top of the list. These ladies are a living example of how to "love and serve the Lord." Thank you for all you do for this important mission and for our church. The world is a better place because you are in it.

Poetry Corner
(Argaille a. Di Matteo 6/1/20)
June! June! You've come too soon!
I'm not ready for you, my friend.
I've been "sheltered in place,' not touching my face,
"Social distancing," masked, seems no end
To restrictions and guidelines around us.
For the world has been stopped by a virus!
We've been brought to our knees. Our own governments, if you please
Couldn't offer us swift, sure protection.
We'd left it up to them to resolve the mayhem
That flew swiftly from nation to nation!
Gratitude blossomed forth, renewed sense of self worth,
Families grew to value each other.
Day by day, week by week, for 3 months we did seek
Cures, solutions, vaccines. We've been smothered
By news items each day, as Healthcare Heroes find ways
To combat and prevent further spread.
And world wide we did find, there was little peace of mind,
As statistics showed living and dead.
With tech, social media, TV, we connected, you see,
Though sheltered in place despite weather.
Meeting neighbors in masks, as we did shopping tasks
Brought new meaning to "we're in this together."
This phrase flies above all with a clarion call
For all nations to rally as one,
To unite, all of us "Heroes", no one now is a "Zero."
New Awareness, once asleep, has begun!
When industries ceased, air pollution--once released
From our cars, buses, factories--halted.
From NASA's Space Station, photos of all nations
Show Environment clear, Air exalted
To what Life could be if we all only see
That our own Mother Earth has been crying!
Storms and floods on the rise, sunlight blocked from the skies,
Wars and squabbles and politics blaming.
June! June! You've come too soon!
For the Summer we've been dreaming of living
Has been thwarted, it's true, by the limited view
We have now, quarantined from our giving
Cheers of Hip! Hip! Hooray on a clear Summer's day
As our beaches and parks open wide
To welcome everyone for some Nature and fun.
How can this be, if we stay inside?
All is not lost. For whatever the cost,
We've learned lessons to be better people.
We have all also found that all IS Holy Ground.
Not just mosques, temples, churches with steeples.
What else are we learning as the tide is turning
And we all need to start our Re-Entry?
How can we build our trust? To survive, we all must
Open hearts, minds, and souls, for we can see
There is no room for what went before.
God is calling us all to much more.
June! June! Come on in! Sing your tune!
Our "New Normal" will be Your Melody!
We'll sing with You and each other, all sisters and brothers!
With God's help, a new World breathing free!


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