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Rick's Ramblings
  Greetings from Rev. Rick
Rick's Ramblings...
Words cannot express my gratitude for the retirement Open House we celebrated last Saturday. It was such a joy to see so many people come out to join us, for so much music making, for the laughter and the tears. The gifts you presented-a new electric ukulele and lovingly-crafted Memory Book and Book of Retirement Wishes and of course the bobblehead gifted from the Youth group (pictured to the left)- will join a pantheon of reminders of the experiences we have shared since I arrived in Flanders a little more than 13 years ago. Having members of my family come from Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. made the event that much more significant.
My heartfelt thanks to EVERYONE who had a hand in making the day truly unforgettable.
I sit here at my computer to peck out one final "Rick's Ramblings" just a few days before my final Sunday. I'm doing my best to tie up any remaining "loose ends" at the church, get out to say as many "good byes" as I can and get us ready for the moving van which arrives bright and early next Wednesday October 7. With two unsuspecting cats in the backseat, we'll be Florida bound.
While Jo and are so excited about the new adventures that lay ahead of us, we both are feeling the effects of having to say good-bye to people who have been part of our lives for so long. I take some small consolation in the fact that our word good-bye comes from the term "Godbewye" a contraction of the original English "God be with ye". It was meant as a blessing or good wish towards one's friends and loved ones in the midst of leave taking.
Since I have no doubt I will be up this way again before too long, I'm taking the long view expressed in this old hymn:
God be with you till we meet again; loving counsels guide, uphold you, with a shepherd's care enfold you: God be with you till we meet again.
God be with you till we meet again; unseen wings protecting hide you, daily manna still provide you: God be with you till we meet again.
God be with you till we meet again, when life's perils thick confound you, put unfailing arms around you: God be with you till we meet again.
Happy Trails to you until we meet again!
Rev. Rick
P.S. I hope to see as many of you as possible this Sunday for our final worship service together!
 Rev. Rick and Jo's New Address in Florida:
2990 South Fiske Blvd. Unit A-6 
Rockledge, FL. 32955
We Are STILL The Church

With the retirement of our beloved Pastor this month and being in the throes of an unprecedented global pandemic, we will undoubtedly be facing many challenges and adventures as a church family. In this time of uncertainty, the leaders of UPC want everyone to know that we are STILL the church and we WILL get through this together as we always do.   
Should you need Pastoral care or have questions or concerns regarding any area of the church, please reach out to any of the following staff, Elders or Deacons...
Church office: 973-584-8195 or
Clerk of Session, Kathy Coogen: 201-317-3350 or
Karen Brand (Spiritual Life) 
Bryan Brouhard (Buildings and Grounds) 
Ron Ernst (Buildings and Grounds)  
Janelle Foster (Christian Ed)  
Craig Heal (Stewardship)  
Dana Miller (Youth)  
Karen Monaghan (Worship and Music)  
Cindy Peach (Congregational Life) 
Suzan Preston (Mission and Outreach) 
Kyle  Ropp (Finance) 

Rick Couillou
Terry Karns  
Michael LoCascio
Mary Lee PLate
Tracy Schweighardt 
Pat Steege
Winnie Swinson
Kim Tweed
Kelly and Rhiannon Van Orden
Larue Berry's New Address

While Larue has asked people not to call her because of an unpredictable schedule, she would love to hear from her UPC friends by card. She and Charlie are currently staying with their son Shane in Clinton. That address is:  
10 Albert Drive
Clinton, NJ 08809    
UPC Returns to INDOOR worship and Sunday School 
We are indeed worshiping in the comfort of our (freshly painted with updated window treatments) Sanctuary albeit at a limited capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions. We will also continue to livestream every Sunday at 9:50am so no matter how you join us, we are always grateful to be together as a church family. 
Please remember to RSVP for each Sunday you plan on attending LIVE INDOOR worship no later than the Friday before. There will be an email sent out each Monday and a final reminder in Friday Communiques.  
Don't forget that Sunday School is also back!  We will be meeting in the Youth Garage right before the sermon each Sunday during worship. If you have any questions, please reach out to Janelle Foster at 908-380-0355 or 
Fun n Friends Nursery School
It's Back to School Time at Fun-N-Friends!
After much preparation throughout the summer, Fun-N-Friends Nursery School officially reopened on September 14th with all COVID health, safety and state guidelines in place! Our preschoolers have arrived each day, very happy to be in school! They seem very much as ease wearing their masks and washing their hands throughout the day. Our Fun-N-Friends staff work very hard, implementing tight guidelines and cleaning toys like never before! We have individualized materials in each classroom and were very fortunate to receive additional supplies from our parents. We keep our distance and find ways to greet, praise and comfort the children. It is our new "normal" for the time being. Our goal is to offer the traditional preschool experience as in past years. The process is just a bit different right now!
Parents have adapted well to our Valet drop-off and pick-up system. There is a mandatory online health screening survey each day along with temperature checks. Staff and children wear masks and wash their hands to the tune of the Alphabet song! It is astonishing how many times we wash our hands within 2 ½ hours! Our classes are broken down into smaller groupings and are doing well social distancing from other "pods". Fun-N-Friends has managed to carry out the new rules by getting very creative! Classes are meeting outside as much as possible, so groupings can participate together - 10 feet apart! The beautiful weather has been a blessing and we are taking full advantage of it!
Our School Motto is "Be Kind, Caring and Safe!" I am very proud of our preschoolers, parents and staff! After just two weeks of school, we have all managed to adjust to our new system while being pleasant, mindful of others and very cautious! October has quickly arrived, we look forward to a great school year.
We ask that you try to avoid visiting the Christian Ed wing Monday thru Thursday 8:30-3:30.  Your cooperation will help the school adhere to the State Guidelines below. 
Some of our State Guidelines in place during this time of COVID:
  • Health Screening questions
  • Temperature check (100.4 or higher will be denied entry)
  • Masks are required
  • All classrooms, tables, toys and high touch surfaces must be cleaned & disinfected daily
  • Parents are not permitted inside the school during operating hours
  • Visitors are not permitted inside the school end of the building during operating hours
  • School hours are 8:30 - 3:30 Monday through Thursday
  • Please do not to enter through the preschool entrance (CE door) while we are in school
*This is to minimize close contact with children and staff (exceptions are state & emergency personnel)
In order to maintain small groupings, we do have classrooms outside of the kitchen an also in the multi-purpose room
Thank You!
Shirley Keegan, Director
Fun-N-Friends Nursery School
Poetry Corner
We're All In This Together
(Argaille A. Di Matteo 10/1/20)
"We're all in this together," we've said since months ago
When a no-name, no-life virus drove our lives from "Fast" to "Slow."
And at that slower tempo, when we all "sheltered in place,"
Technology sparked a fire that buzzed through time and space.
People sang from balconies in countries far and near,
As social media outreach linked us all in times of fear.
"We're all in this together," a newfound clarion call
Inspired "essential workers" to pull us through it all.
And now, as we are rising, discovering brand new ways
To live, to work, to congregate, in May, our Pastor says
"I'm going to retire October of this Fall.
I needed to announce it, to heed my clarion call
To move into New Chapter, myself, also with my wife.
To Florida we're going to start a brand new life."
For him, it was so painful to share those simple words
At a time in the midst of uncertainty when, mostly, what we heard
Was "We're all in this together," a salve of hope and breadth.
Now UPC would navigate new uncharted days in Faith.
We'd gone from indoor Worship to pre-videotaped online.
With help from our great Tech Team, our Pastor's message did shine
The light of Holy Scripture, accompanied by Worship Team
In singing, or instrumental, though surreal it did seem.
We segued to Pavilion and live broadcast from outdoors
In June, starting the Summer with Worship on a grassy floor.
Yet, still our Pastor led us, not just in Worship there,
But during the weeks from curbside, visiting members everywhere,
At homes, or take-outs, or hospitals without skipping a beat.
Rev. Rick drove, walked, phoned, texted, emailed, "Zoomed" us all in our "retreat."
And now we're in the last week, "home stretch" for his departing.
Having worshipped together outside, now inside we are starting
In newly painted Sanctuary with new light-filtering shades
In "social distancing," masked, new Worship, a commitment we have made.
"We're all in this together" has taken on new meaning
As we have met and gathered, toward new horizons we are leaning.
Our elders, young adults and youth, parents, children are aspiring
To new adventures in school and work, in daily Life, Faith firing
Our minds, hearts, souls to life again in newfound strength, resolve,
As "We're all in this together" buoys us up, problems to solve.
Our beloved Pastor now is leaving after 13 years
Of being part of our Church Family, walking with us through joys and tears.
We now embark on Adventure, searching for new Pastor in Fall weather,
A time of Change and Letting Go,
In Faith we'll know
"We're all in this together."

Farewell, Rev. Rick
Dearest Rev. Rick, 
Thank you for your years of dedicated leadership and friendship. You will be missed greatly and thought of often with a smile. Always remember that a church is not a building you go to, it is a family you belong to, and you will always be a cherished member of this family.  
May the Lord, mighty God,
bless and keep you forever,
grant you peace, perfect peace,
courage in every endeavor.  
Lift your eyes and see God's face,
feel God's grace surround you.
May the Lord, mighty God,
bless and keep you forever.  
With gratitude, love and best wishes always,
Your Family at United Presbyterian Church, Flanders 

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