Happenings September 24, 2020
Giving thanks for what we DO have
Dear Friends,
In a recent UCC Daily Devotional Talitha Arnold reflects on the longings of the Israelites during their post Exodus wilderness wanderings. ‘Stirred up by the “rabble among them,” they cried out for cucumbers.’ 

“We remember the fish we had in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, and onions, and the garlic” (Numbers 11:5).   You can imagine the many ways they were longing for home. They remembered the foods that bound them together, connected them in community, united them in a common thread with their ancestors – even while living in slavery. Now two years into their wanderings what would last another thirty-eight, reality was settling in. (It was probably good the exact duration ahead of them was not known!!)

As the writer pointed out, it didn’t matter that God’s manna was sweet and abundant or that cucumbers were also a sign of slavery. That which had anchored them was gone. A feeling of being rudderless and adrift in a sea of uncertainty was overwhelming. Ah…how I long for a cucumber sandwich!

Perhaps you can identify. Back in March we thought we’d be displaced for two weeks, then it was two months, then more time was tacked on. Then we stopped putting a time limit on how long it would be until indoor public gatherings could safely occur. CDC guidelines open up possibilities, though with strict limits that bring their own uncertainties and risks. And so, we continue honoring physical distancing.

We like the Israelites cry out in our own despair and with our own longings. It may not be cucumbers (I’m rather sick of them at this point) but our longing to be together, to sit in “our” pew, hear live music, to share the joy of coffee hour. Such emotions and needs are normal and understandable. 

Yet, our global healthy crisis persists, and so we like the Israelites commit to creating a facsimile of home that is creative and safe. We’ll continue focusing on how to discover new ways of connecting with each other that are both safe for all and life-giving, even if that means the ways we formerly defined ‘home’ remain for now absent.

We will continue to bless Zoom, enjoy seeing each other’s faces as possible, catching up on each other’s lives, diving into a new book perhaps, sharing lunch at the labyrinth as weather allows, and giving thanks for what we do have, and all the blessings that surround us day after day. 

Perhaps, even enjoy a cucumber sandwich.  One day at a time.

Peace,
Jill 
Coffee Hour
Our Zoom Coffee Hours are a pretty interesting way to stay connected. Please join us next Wednesday and see how we gather, virtually.
Email Julie Hannum if you are interested.

Wednesdays at 5:00pm
What is a CROP Walk?
A CROP Walk is NOT walking in a cornfield!

This year, Christ Trinity Church and the Sheffield Food Assistance Program are joining with Trinity Episcopal Church in Limerock for their annual CROP Walk. This annual walk raises money to fight hunger around the world with 25% of what is raised helping to fund local efforts.

We are creating a Sheffield/Ashley Falls team of walkers and because of COVID you can choose to either walk on your own or you can join us on September 26th to walk with a socially distanced group from the Christ Trinity parking lot
Saturday at 10:00. Our route will be a "Charitable Five Miles" which is a little less than five government miles! If you are willing to get donations and ask for pledges and then walk, email pastorkaras@gmail.com.

Members and friends of Old Parish Church are welcome to join in. If you are unable to walk with us, you can do it virtually, on your own, at your own pace. If you simply would like to make a donation to this worldwide fund, please go to the link below. If you do walk, please send us a photo of you walking.

Learn more about the beginnings of CROP Walks: https://www.crophungerwalk.org/Static/About-Us
We give you thanks!
We are so appreciative for your tithes and offerings which support our vital ministries.

These are always welcome by mail:
PO Box 387, Sheffield MA 01257

Now, you can also give via Tithe.ly right on our website. Click the button below to get started.
Thank you to all of You!
Over the last twenty weeks, you, our generous community members, have provided $32,265 in meal sponsorships for needy families in The Southern Berkshire Regional School District. That's 1,195 meals, which is 4,780 servings of nutritious food.

Thank you!
Thank you to all of you!
Thank you to the wonderful management and staff at The Marketplace Cafe!
Thank you to the culinary team and volunteers at Mt. Everett!

The current School Family Meals program ends tomorrow, as the kids will go back to school next week, but because of your incredible generosity, we will be able to address future pandemic-caused food insecurity here in our school district. We are not sure yet what that will look like, but it is so comforting to know that you, the community members, are backing us.

For now, we are asking that you sponsor one more school family meal by calling our friends at The Marketplace Cafe. 413-248-5040 extension 2.

Thank you!
This week:
An opportunity to gather in person
On next Friday, October 2nd at noon we are gathering for a socially-distanced lunch at the labyrinth. Bring your lawn chair and a sack lunch and we will immensely enjoy seeing each other face-to-face. It looks like it might be cool on Friday, so please dress accordingly. Any questions, please contact Pastor Jill.

Sundays: Worship with us via Zoom at 10:00
Email Jill to join us:

Mondays: Sheffield Food Program: 229-2624
Wednesdays: Coffee/Cocktail Hour via Zoom 5:00
Friday: School Family Meals program
Fridays until October 9: Sheffield Farmers' Market 3:00 - 6:00
Light the Steeple

Hilda Banks Shapiro
lights the steeple
for September in memory of

Sergei Mitchell Shapiro
and
Samuel Banks Shapiro

Thank you, Hilda!


Why not illuminate the steeple for December?
Please email us and then mail in a check for $25 if you would like to
be a sponsor and shed some light on downtown Sheffield.
Super Saturday
Two Great Days of Virtual Workshops and Worship
October 24, 2020/October 31, 2020
The entire brochure is linked here:
Farmers' Market going strong through October 9th
Old Parish Church
125 Main Street
PO Box 387
Sheffield MA 01257

413-229-8173 
 office@firstuccsheffield.org 
 grahamj@firstuccsheffield.org
visit our website

Our Identity Statement

We are a progressive Christian community where discovering God's presence, modeling Jesus' radical hospitality, and being a passionate voice for God's justice defines us.

We are an Open and Affirming Congregation
of The United Church of Christ

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