Weekly Newsletter
Week of January 20th - January 26th
Gilead Congregational Church, UCC

Meetings and Services this week:

Wednesday, January 20th:
-9:30 a.m. Bible Study on Zoom
-10:30 a.m. Book Discussion Group in the Fellowship Hall
-4:00 p.m. Confirmation Class in the Fellowship Hall

Thursday, January 21st:
-7:00 p.m. Council on Zoom

Saturday, January 23rd:
-3:00 p.m. Virtual Confirmation Class Retreat

Sunday, January 24th:
-10:00 a.m. Sunday Worship Service live-streamed on our Gilead Church Facebook Page and YouTube
-11:30 a.m. Board of Missions Impoverished Children Subcommittee on Zoom

Monday, January 25th:
-7:30 p.m. Board of Christian Education on Zoom
God is Still Speaking
 About Us:

Reverend Dr. Denise Esslinger  
Interim Minister of Music:
Carol Geyer

Minister of Communication and Technology:
Lisa Cox
Administrative Assistant:
Sally Fritsche

Worship: 10:00 a.m. on Gilead Church Facebook Page

Gathered: 1748
Meeting House: 1838
Fellowship Hall: 2008
We are an Open & Affirming Church
Sunday Worship Live Streamed
Sunday, January 24th

This Sunday, January 24th we will worship at 10:00 a.m. via live stream only. We hope you will join us!

You will be able to watch us live on either YouTube or Facebook. You will also be able to view the video’s on either platform after the service. Please use one of the links below for access to our Live Stream:
YouTube link:  www.bit.ly/GileadChurchUCC Note: Please click on subscribe to be notified of future live streams or new video’s.

Rev. Dr. Denise Esslinger to Retire

Jon Kimball, Chair of our Board of Deacons, shared the following words with us at our worship service on Sunday, January 10th:

“For everything there is a season…”

In the book of Ecclesiastes we’re reminded that there are seasons in our lives in which we are called to do different things.  

As many of you now know, Pastor Denise shared with us this week that, after a period of reflection and discernment, God is calling her to another season.  She will be ending her time as the pastor at Gilead Congregational Church on June 30th of this year. Denise has served us at Gilead Church for 22 years, noting that those years have been the most meaningful and richest season of her life.  In those years together, she has shared with us times of great joy, tearful times of tender loss, as well as plenty of ordinary hours sharing how God is with us in our everyday lives.

For those of us, the flock at the Gilead Church:  The prospect of losing our beloved shepherd is sorrowful beyond words.  Denise has guided us through life’s most painful times, and celebrated life’s most joyous events, showing us that God’s love shines on us in the best and worst days of our lives. 

Denise- We’re all certainly aware of how saddening this change will be for you.  The love and caring that you have for us comes from deeply sincere, God- given love that you have for each and every one of us.   We know that it will be difficult for you to see that season pass.  But, at the same time, the pleasing image of you and Phil in your beautiful new home in Woodstock, planning the next season of your lives together is certainly a joyful image to all of us.

What’s next?  We have meetings planned with our United Church of Christ professionals to help guide us successfully through the transition process.   The process will likely involve a thoughtful self- assessment of who we are as a church and what are our needs, a search committee, and likely an interim pastor.

There is a slogan that the Gilead Church has long used: “Serving Christ and the community since 1748.”   Going forward, we need to remember that this is God’s church. We’re blessed with a great many wise, loving and capable Christians willing to make sure that the Gilead Church continues to thrive and “Serve God and the Community” for a great many years.  
COVID-19 Vaccine Update and Information

The state is entering phase 1b of the vaccine roll out. Phase 1b consists of 3 primary groups:

·         Individuals 75 years of and older
·         Front line essential workers 
·         Individuals and staff in congregate settings

The state has an online registration tool for people to register and schedule vaccination appointments –https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Vaccinations  

For the most up to date information, please go to the following link:
If you are unable to schedule an appointment on line, there is CT COVID Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 877-918-2224 which is available Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

If you need any assistance in arranging to get it—either with help scheduling a time on line or needing transport—please contact the Church Office at 860-228-3077 or at gcc@gileadchurch.net.
Pictured above is Pat and Art Austin after receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Planting Seeds of Hope" Stewardship Update
Each week, as part of our stewardship update, we'll be sharing photos of our Church members and friends from our "Planting Seeds of Hope" campaign. Pictured above is Bob Woodward.

We also want to thank everyone who has returned their 2021 "Planting Seeds of Hope" pledge card. We have received 111 pledge cards totaling $221,646. Our pledge goal is $289,282, so we still have $67,636 to go to meet our goal.

If you haven't yet returned your 2021 pledge card, we ask you to return it to the Church soon. You can mail your pledge card to the church (672 Gilead St, Hebron CT 06248) or drop it off in the bucket on the porch door of the Parish House at any time.

We give thanks always, but even more especially in these days, for the seeds you so generously plant in so many ways as part of our community of faith.   

The Stewardship Committee, 
Mark Bierbaum, Lisa Cox (Co-Chair), Charles Daniels, Lauren Henry (Co-Chair), and Bruce Langevin

Silver Lake Summer Camp

Silver Lake has announced its offerings for the summer 2021 conference season. Details and registration are available at www.silverlakect.org along with downloads of the forms needed for registration.  Also, our Women's Fellowship has once again agreed to pay the $150 deposit for any young person from our congregation who would like to attend Silver Lake. Please speak with Margaret Gibbs (860-384-4327) if you would like to take our Women's Fellowship up on their offer.

2020 Year End Giving Statements

Our Assistant Treasurer, Joan Cordier, has prepared giving statements for 2020. We hope you have received your copy. We are grateful for your financial support of the ministries of the Gilead Church, and hope this year end update will be helpful. If you have any questions about your statement, please contact Joan Cordier (860-228-4718). Thank you!
Minister of Music Search

A Minister of Music Search Committee is meeting, receiving resumes and interviewing candidates. Carolyn McConnell is serving as Chairperson. If you know of anyone who might be interested in this position, please reach out to her or to our Church Office (gcc@gileadchurch.net).

Until we find someone, Carol Geyer is serving as our Interim Minister of Music. We give thanks for Carol's gifts and her willingness to serve during the interim. That said, Carol is relatively recently retired and would like to share this interim position with someone else. If you know of anyone who might have interest, please contact Carol (carolgeyer@sbcglobal.net) or the Church Office (gcc@gileadchurch.net). Thank you!

Bible Study on Zoom

Our weekly Bible study, led be Rev. Bob Woodward, meets on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom.  The group is currently discussing Numbers. All are invited and welcome to join this discussion and study. Come when you can! To join, click on the this link at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday mornings: 

If you have any questions or need assistance connecting with Zoom, please contact our Church Office (gcc@gileadchurch.net or 860-228-3077). 

Foodshare's Drive-Thru Food Distribution - January Schedule 
Church Office Hours and Protocols 

Sally, our Church’s Administrative Assistant, is in the Church Office on Monday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. She will continue to work from home on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. If you need assistance from Sally, the best way to reach her is to contact her via email or phone (gcc@gileadchurch.net or 860-228-3077). If you need to come to the Church Office, we ask that you make every effort to contact Sally ahead of time to let her know you are coming. Face masks are required to enter the building and when you arrive, please come to the Parish House side door and knock. Sally will let you in. If you are having any symptoms (e.g. fever, sore throat, coughing, etc.) or not feeling well, we ask that you do not come. We will be happy to make other arrangements to conduct any Church business that you need. 


Our Church family expresses it deepest sympathy to Anne and Bryan Lewis on the recent death of Anne’s father, Tom Baker.


Congratulations to Daniel and Alex Birch on the birth of their daughter, Joanna Blue Birch. Joanna was born on January 18th weighing 7lbs15 oz. and 20” long. Overjoyed grandparents are Joe and Margot Sheehan.

Thank You

Thank you for making my Christmas brighter.

The swag with the huge bow attached -- the snowmen on the ribbon wearing top hats and happy grins. Also the luminaria.

I do want to thank the Youth Group for the delicious cookies. Many people know that the kitchen is not my favorite room, so I will really enjoy the treat.

Bea Stokes

Scripture Readings and Prayer for the Week
Jonah 3: 1-5, 10 and Mark 1: 14-20

Lord Jesus, we are amazed that you would call us, ordinary people, to share in your healing and redemptive mission in the world.  Help us to be attentive to your presence.  Speak to each one of us so that we may hear your particular call, and then give us courage to make a response of commitment to follow where you lead.  May we be empowered to minister faithfully in this world in Jesus' name. Amen.
Contact Info
Sally Fritsche
Administrative Assistant
672 Gilead St
Hebron, Ct  06248
Office Hours: Our Administrative Assistant, Sally Fritsche, will be in the Parish House Office on Mondaymornings from 8:00 a.m. - Noon. She will be working from home on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 8:00 a.m. - noon.. She is available for assistance via email (gcc@gileadchurch.net).