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

As I sit at my computer, Labor Day weekend is a few days away. Typically, the unofficial end of Summer and beginning of all things Fall! This time around it feels about as much like Labor Day weekend as it did Memorial Day weekend back at the end of May. These months in-between have been a Summer like none other, and what lies ahead this fall likely will be as well.

As we transition into what lies on the other side of Labor Day 2020, here at UPC we have entered the home stretch of the kind of transition that churches go through from time to time, with my retirement just a month away on World Communion Sunday October 4. Perhaps its more accurate to say that after my final Sunday, then we begin that transition - Joanne and I anticipating a move to Florida that following week and whatever lies ahead for us there. And for you continuing as the fine congregation you are, while an Interim Pastor is secured and then going through the process of calling UPC's next pastor.

I have commented several times how strange and regrettable it has been to conclude my years at UPC under these circumstances. I think we've made the best of it, particularly with the professional quality online services our worship team has been producing. And we've been able to hold our own financially in a very unstable economic environment. We've even been working at sprucing up our sanctuary while it has been dormant. But still...

At memorial services I often remind those gathered that our job is not to just remember a loved one as they were towards the end, but to celebrate what they were over the entire arc of their lifetime. I feel that way about my "baker's dozen" of years at UPC. So many wonderful experiences and great memories. So many great adventures shared with people I have come to deeply love and cherish. The way things have been these past few months only makes more valuable all we have experienced together under normal circumstances. That is uppermost in my mind. I hope you will remember our time together that way as well!.

I believe God has a good, no, a great future in store for all of us!

Grace and peace, 
Rev. Rick


UPC Returns to INDOOR worship

When this pandemic hit we began pre-recording our services in the sanctuary and putting them on social media. Then when warmer weather allowed us to do so, we began live streaming on the church's "Great Lawn". Then several weeks ago we began inviting worshipers to bring their lawn chairs and masks and join us outside, while still live streaming for those at home. 

Now the next big step in our worship during this pandemic is coming: returning to worship in our (newly painted) sanctuary on Sunday September 27.

It seems prudent to get a couple indoor services under our belts before Rev. Rick leaves us after his final Sunday on October 4. 

That way we will be better prepared for our week to week pulpit supply while an Interim Pastor Search Committee secures future pastoral services. Re-entry to our worship space will be based on local and state guidelines, as well as recommendations from the Presbytery of Newton, which has approved our re-entry plan for when we felt it appropriate to do so.

A letter will be mailed out to the congregation in a timely fashion outlining our requirements to be able to return to our beloved worship space.

In the meantime, please continue to join us outside on the Great Lawn or online through FB Live or You Tube!

Special Congregational Meeting Info
This past Sunday we held a Special Congregational meeting following our worship service. Thank you to all UPC members who joined us live and virtually. During the meeting 2 documents were approved by voting members and we wanted to make the documents available to you all for clarification. 

You can click on the documents below to view them. 


Thank You Sandwich Makers
Thank you Denise Bouvier for finding Youth Group Volunteers to make sandwiches!  Please give a big shout out of thanks to:  Rick Couillou and Robby, Dana, Drew, Alex and Lauren Miller and Hope, Liam and Lucas Bartow.  Hope Bartow also packed lunches on Thursday morning, to add:  a water bottle, chips and a banana to go with the sandwich.  We greatly appreciate all of your work.  I wish you could see the smiles on the faces of  those we have fed!  

If you can assemble 24 sandwiches on Wednesday, September 23rd, please send an email to:  Thank you!
Fun n Friends Nursery School
Visit for information regarding fall enrollment! We are making final preparations  
and making every effort to open safely!   
For questions, please email  
Poetry Corner
In all the years you've walked with us, in all the years we've walked with you,
Much Joy and Life, stress, strain and fuss have traveled the Journey with us too.
You've touched our families, been touched by them.
We've pulled together through Peace, mayhem,
Through hurricanes, snowstorms, Falls, Winters, Springs, Summers,
Through high points and low points, successes and bummers.
You've spiced up our Worship with New Song and ukes.
You've weathered the critics, the praises, rebukes
That often accompany being a Pastor,
Along with Death vigils that touch the Hereafter.
You've celebrated our weddings, our funerals, and such,
Our baptisms, confirmations, without losing touch
With all that's important, all that is real--
To love one another in God, and share how we feel.
You've given opinions and judgments, advice.
You've set down some guidelines and ofttimes, thought twice
When faced with decisions that would daunt the weak.
You've gathered among us, empowered us to seek
The best that is in us, in others as well.
Why Rev, you've sung Barbershop, Choir, played Bells!
Cavorted with our children at each VBS.
You've shepherded our troubled souls, heavy laden with stress.
You've visited our people in health centers, when
You also serenaded them with your mandolin.
You've woven much Music into our Worship Tapestry,
At picnics, Apple Festivals, and in our Community.
You've gone with us too on many Mission trips
To build homes and lives for those, who felt like a "blip
On the screen" of their lives, tattered and torn.
Because you built with them, they, WE were reborn.

You've met with the leaders of different faiths,
Who make up Mt. Olive, and created space
Whether out in our Pavilion or some new "elsewhere,"
To gather, break bread, and share our stories there.
From Dorney Park, to Weight Watchers, Bushkill Falls to Jersey Shore,
You've opened up your heart and soul to much more,
To learning and growing, to falling sometimes,
But to get back up to continue the Rhyme
Of Life lived in Jesus, joined with us each day
To craft, co-create this new Take-away
Into a New Chapter for us and for you,
To help one another to see our dreams thru.
Oh yes, Our Dear Friend, to us you're a Blessing,
Beginning to end, so don't you go stressing!
Through this wild pandemic that threw us a curve
And separated our UPC, You mustered the nerve
To lead us, to guide us in new ways of Worship,
While lockdowns and "social distancing" splintered our kinship,
But brought us together in "techie" new ways,
Pulling us all to a brand new day
That dawns for us once again, after you leave,
Re-stoking the fires of how we believe
And trust in Christ Jesus to lead us anew
To a Pastor, he or she, a "spark", just like You!
While you and Jo travel to New Life, New Dawn,
You'll live in our hearts as we carry on
The dreams, visions in God, of our "UPC Crew",
Enlivened in Christ and encouraged by You!


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