Happenings May 19, 2020
A message from the Moderator
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
  ~ Jeremiah 29:7
Dear Friends,
With Pastor Jill on partial sabbatical, she asked me to compose a piece for Happenings regarding Governor Baker’s recent announcement about reopening of houses of worship.

The above scripture and quoted excerpts are taken from a SNEUCC blog post on May 15th: “This is a time unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetimes…. We have had moments of creative ingenuity and moments of overwhelming exhaustion.   

We entered it in chaos, we plan to move through it with intention. 
We’re not reopening. Because we never closed.  
We have engaged ministry in new ways.  We will move forward in new ways.   

[In response to the Governor’s announcement, Old Parish will follow the SNEUCC Conference 4-phase opening approach] tied to local conditions and the guidance of local government and health care professionals.

The way forward won’t be linear. Based on these phases and the current trends we believe in-person worship in buildings will need to be suspended through at least the end of the summer. ” 

Pastor Jill and Council continue to monitor and discuss the situation as well as our innovative worship practices to ensure that we are effectively reaching and serving our parishioners and friends.

If you have questions or concerns, please be in touch, 229-8980 or via email: jhannum01257@gmail.com .

Be safe, be well and with blessings,
Julie Hannum, Moderator 
Between May 18-31 Pastor Jill will be away. Rev. Jen Bloesch supported by Julie Hannum will guide Sunday Zoom worship as usual.  The Zoom link and the bulletin will be emailed to you by Julie. Please contact her if you have never been to one of our Zoom worships before.
Pastor Erik Karas will be available during Pastor Jill's absence to provide emergency pastoral support at 413-248-1231
Cocktails and Coffee
Julie Hannum is hosting OPC Coffee/Cocktail Hour on Wed, May 20 at 5 p.m. via Zoom. If you've attended in the past, Julie has your email from Pastor Jill and will send a Zoom invitation. If you have not attended in the past and want to check it out, email her at  jhannum01257@gmail.com .
Summer Internships for 14 - 16 year-olds
RIP Medical Debt
The power to eradicate medical debt at pennies on the dollar.

With every $100 raised through RIP Medical Debt, $10,000 in medical debt is eliminated. This means that from our gifts alone, $80,000 in medical debt has been forgiven for families who would never have been able to pay what they owed. We are accomplishing this feat by working together with New York-based nonprofit, RIP Medical Debt, the same organization that worked with Chicago area churches to erase $5.3 million in debt and with St. Louis area churches to erase $12.9 million there.

We celebrate the decision of our Missions Committee to send $700 from its budget to support the RIP Medical Debt ripmedicaldebt.org to buy up and forgive massive debt in some of the neediest Southern New England communities.
Thank you!
Thank you for your support of the church.
Our expenses continue and so do our important ministries.
Offerings to the church are welcome by mail:
PO Box 387, Sheffield, MA 01257
Or, you may set up direct deposit with your bank.
No matter how you contribute, we thank you!
Don't forget to call this week!
School Family Meals are from The Marketplace ! These excellent Family Meals are prepared right across the street on Elm Court, then delivered to and distributed through the Southern Berkshire Regional School District. The meals feed a family of four and go to those families who need them most. Our goal is to send these nutritious weekend meals to 60 families every Friday. So far, we have been able to do this, but we need to sustain the program. Please help.

  • To get involved is call the Marketplace today at 413-248-5040 (ext 2)
  • Order a School Family Meal and pay over the phone. (about $26 with tax.)

Meals for Elders continues on Saturdays through May and perhaps beyond.
John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant prepares and packages delicious dinners which are picked up by the Sheffield Council on Aging staff, then distributed and delivered by teams of volunteers from Sheffield's Senior Center, Sheffield's Town Hall and our three downtown Sheffield churches (Christ Trinity, Our Lady and Old Parish).
Sheffield Farmers' Market - May 29th!
The Sheffield Farmers’ Market, opening May 29th, will be following all applicable CDC rules and guidelines. We are committed to running the market in some capacity, and are exploring exciting new and safe ways for people to shop. Please stay tuned and join our email list for updates on our season, and how we will continue to be a food access point for our community! Connect to the market website below.
Food Assistance Is Available
If your access to good nutritious food has recently changed, and you live within the five towns of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, please know that we are here to help. Our program operates out of Old Parish Church and is using a CoVid-19 safety protocol. Open Monday mornings. It's easy to sign up, just call ahead of time:
229-2624
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.
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We are an Open and Affirming Congregation
of The United Church of Christ

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