Weekly Newsletter
Week of May 19th - May 25th
Gilead Congregational Church, UCC

Meetings and Services this week:

Wednesday, May 20th:
-7:00 p.m. Live Stream Wednesday Evening Music and Prayer on Gilead Church Facebook Page
-7:30 p.m. Confirmation Class on Zoom

Thursday, May 21st:
-7:00 p.m. Technology Committee on Zoom

Saturday, May 23rd:
-11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Confirmation Sunday filming
-3:00 p.m. Garden of Remembrance Service

Sunday, May 24th:
-10:00 a.m. Live Stream Worship Service on Gilead Church Facebook Page
-11:00 a.m. Coffee Hour on Zoom
-11:00 a.m. Live Stream Cow Mingle Fundraiser from Mapleleaf Farm

God is Still Speaking
  About Us:

Reverend Dr. Denise Esslinger 
Minister of Mission and Faith Formation:
Stephanie Haines 
Minister of Music:
Danielle Hoehn
Administrative Assistant:
Sally Fritsche

Worship: 10:00 a.m.

Gathered: 1748
Meeting House: 1838
Fellowship Hall: 2008
We are an Open & Affirming Church
This Week's Live Stream Services

Join us this week for our Wednesday evening music and prayer and for Sunday worship! We'll be gathering on our Gilead Church Facebook page. In order to be a part of this service, please join our Gilead Church Facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/GCCBoardofMissions/ and tune in at the designated time.

Prior to our Sunday worship service, you are invited to send any prayer requests that you would like lifted up during the service to Pastor Denise (gcc@gileadchurch.net) by 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.

On Sunday afternoon, an audio of the service will be posted on our Church's web page (gileadchurchucc.org). Click on "Worship" on our home page and go to "Sermons" in the drop down menu to find the service. We hope these will be ways we can continue to be connected to God and with one another in these uncertain days.

Wednesday, May 20th at 7 p.m.

Join us for a time of reflection, music and prayer. In this brief time (~10 minutes), we will share with you a piece of music, its history, and a prayer.
Sunday, May 24th
Join us at 10 a.m. for our Sunday worship service.

Coffee Hour 

Join us after worship on Sunday for a virtual Coffee Hour. We'll be meeting on Zoom at 11 a.m. Bring your own coffee and we hope to see you there!

Log in information is below. If you need assistance with connecting, please let us know (gcc@gileadchurch.net or 860-228-3077).

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Summer Sunday School Volunteers
We are looking for one adult and one youth helper (age 12 or up) per Sunday to support our program this summer. Each week there will be a fun and beautifully illustrated book to share along with discussion questions and an activity or craft. Everything will be provided for you. All that is required is your presence! Please see the summer dates that need to be filled below and click on the date of your choice to sign-up. We deeply appreciate your support! If you have any questions please contact Sandy Waldo at slwvt747@gmail.com or Karen Risley at krisley@comcast.net. Thank you
Please see the summer dates that need to be filled and sign-up by clicking on this link  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0C45A4AA2EA3F94-summer
Gratitude Signs
Show your gratitude for our frontline heroes by placing a "Gratitude Sign" in your yard! Help show our heroes that they are truly appreciated. The proceeds from all sign sales, which are being coordinated by AHM Youth and Family Services, will benefit AHM as well as local food banks and associations within the communities of Andover, Columbia, Hebron and Marlborough. For more information and to order a sign, please go to: https://ahmyouth.org/fundraisers-events/gratitude-signs/

Crop Swap Continues!
Saturday, May 23, 2020 and Sunday, May 24, 2020

Bruce Langevin has been busy growing vegetables and herbs and he would like to once again share some of his plants with the congregation. This weekend's swap will feature tomatoes. He also has plants left from last weekend which may include: peppers, eggplant, swiss chard, kale, lettuce, basil, and thyme. Tables will be set up outside of the Church beginning at 9:00 a.m on Saturday, May 23rd and running through 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 24th. Plants will be labeled and Bruce encourages everyone to come and take a plant or two. Bruce requests that you either leave or return the growing container as he will reuse them. Happy gardening!
Puzzle Swap Coming Your Way!!

The Fellowship Committee is hosting a puzzle swap on Saturday, May 30th from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (rain date Monday, June 1st). We will be collecting puzzles for the swap from May 18th to May 25th. If you have puzzles you would like to swap, place them in the bin outside the church doors by the parking lot. We will sanitize the boxes and sort the puzzles to get them ready for the swap. The puzzles will be staged on tables outside on May 30th (or June 1). Browsers/swappers are requested to wear masks, practice safe distancing, and use gloves or the supplied hand sanitizer. Questions? Please contact Judy Brandi at 860-530-1584.

Cow Mingle Fundraiser
Sunday, May 24, 2020

This is your last chance to support our Confirmation Class' Cow Mingle Fundraiser coming up on Sunday, May 24th. The event will be live-streamed on Gilead Church's Facebook page starting at approximately 11 a.m. until the cow "expresses" itself. This event is taking place at Maple Leaf Farm under the expert supervision of the 2019 - 2020 Confirmation Class and Ned Ellis.

Please go to the following link to participate: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040b48aaae2aa0fb6-cowchip
Each time slot is $5 and all donations will support Foodshare who supports our local neighbors struggling with self-sufficiency during this challenging time of COVID-19. Donations can be mailed or dropped off to the Gilead Congregational Church at 672 Gilead Street, Hebron, CT. Checks should be made out to GCC with "Cow Chip/Foodshare" written in the memo line.

The winner will receive a very special trophy and bragging rights! Thank you so much for your support and generosity!  
"We Are Here for You" Concert

A group of community members, musicians, and staff from AHM Youth and Family Services and Community Voice Channel have organized   We Are Here for You! , a virtual concert to lift the spirits of our communities. That, according to AHM’s Executive Director Tressa Giordano, is what the two local organizations hope to do with the concert, which first aired on Community Voice Channel on Sunday May 17th.

We Are Here for You!  includes a number of local performers. Featured in this first concert will be the legendary folk guitarist and singer Bruce John, Accidental Harmony featuring Brin Cowette, RHAM music teacher Bailey Emerson, and Jeannie Dynan, local musicians Tom O’Connell and Charles Daniels from One Part Harmony, The Busa Brothers, vocalist and longtime AHM Summer Youth Theater Director and RHAM English teacher Mary Rose Meade, the multi-talented Sue Rivard on vocals and piano, the beautiful sounds on Ukulele from vocalist and musician Sue Way, and a special performance from world renowned West African drummer Bolokada Conde. There also will be a special footage from the 2011 cast of the AHM Summer Youth Theater along with notes of support and hope from Reverend Dr. Denise Esslinger, and AHM staff leaders Tressa Giordano and Megan Aldridge.

Music is a universal way to bring all of us together in this time of great uncertainty during the COVID-19 world pandemic. During the concert there will be moments of sharing resources that local residents can turn to if they need support systems at this time in their lives. AHM Youth and Family Services and Community Voice Channel hopes that local residents will tune in for this special uplifting concert, which will appear on Community Voice on the following dates:   May 22 at 2 PM, May 24 at 11 AM, May 28 at 7:30 PM and May 30 at 12:30 PM on Comcast HD 1070 Comcast SD 95 and 1090. It will show on Frontier SD 6013 and 6014. The concert will also air on demand and will also be available later in May on the AHM Youth and Family Services website,  www.ahmyouth.org .  

Five Item Food Drive
May 24, 2020 - June 6, 2020

O ur local food bank, Hebron Interfaith Human Services (HIHS), is in need of specific food donations. From Sunday, May 24th through Saturday, June 6th, they are asking Gilead Congregational Church members to consider donating the following items:
  • Canned Corn
  • Canned Mixed Vegetables
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • Pasta or Rice Sides
  • Jelly
There is a collection bin where you can drop off your items located outside of the church double doors, near the parking lot. Thank you for your support! If you should have any questions please contact Stephanie Haines at  stephanie.haines@hotmail.com .

Silver Lake Conference Center Cancels Summer Sessions

Silver Lake Conference Center has announced its decision to cancel the in-person summer camp ministry in 2020. Silver Lake staff members spent the last month in conversation with national and local government offices and camp professionals. They spent hours on webinars and video meetings to learn everything they can about holding camp safely in the midst of a global pandemic. Based on those conversations, along with prayerful discernment, it became clear that providing an authentic Silver Lake overnight summer program is not possible this year. 

Silver Lake will be reaching out to everyone who registered for a 2020 summer conference to determine how to move forward. They encourage each family to discern whether they are able to roll payments forward toward the 2021 summer, convert payments into donations, or whether they would prefer a refund. Silver Lake is committed to supporting our families in this difficult time and will make sure that anyone who needs a refund is able to obtain one. 

2020 - 2021 Confirmation Class Orientation
Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.

There will be a Confirmation Class orientation for our 2020-2021 class on Zoom on Sunday, May 31st from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Rev. Esslinger recently mailed a letter to our potential 9th graders and their parents inviting them to join the Zoom discussion (log in information below). All young people in 9th grade and higher are invited to join the class. 

Topic: Confirmation Class Orientation
Time: May 31, 2020 11:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Pinwheels for Hope: June 7th - 14th
Please join us in spreading the message of God’s hope!
You are invited, along with our Sunday School program, to plant a pinwheel for hope. Each child will receive, through special delivery on the afternoon of June 7th from the Board of CE, a pinwheel to write their hopes on and “plant” in their front yard. For those who are not in the Sunday School program but would like to participate, pinwheels will be available in a bucket outside of the double doors to the church, nearest the parking lot from June 7th – 14th. Please write your hopes for our world with the markers provided and then “plant” it on the front lawn of the church. We hope a sea of spinning, colorful pinwheels will be a meaningful message of God’s hope and love to our children, community and world!
If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Stephanie Haines at  stephanie.haines@hotmail.com .

People of Hope
Children's Sunday - June 14th

Hope is being able to see there is light despite all of the darkness.” - Desmond Tutu
Please join us on June 14th when we will celebrate our Sunday School program and the meaningful message of God’s hope and faithfulness. Our children will lead the worship service, share their musical gifts, and reflect on our past year together at the Gilead Church with a special “People of Hope” video montage. In addition, young people would like to take the opportunity to recognize their super Sunday School teachers and Youth Group leaders. We will also be recognizing and celebrating our High School seniors!
We hope you will join us! A link will be provided on our Gilead Congregational Facebook page to view the service on Sunday morning, June 14th. Please contact Karen Risley at  krisley@comcast.net  or Sandy Waldo at  slwvt747@gmail.com  if you should have any questions.

Lord's Bounty II Cookbooks are Here!

Our Gilead Church Lord's Bounty II Cookbooks have arrived and our Women's Fellowship will be offering them for sale at a drive through on Sunday, May 31st from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. On that day you can drive into the church parking lot, open your window with your cash or a check made payable to the Gilead Church Women's Fellowship and we will hand you a book. Please wear face masks and gloves. You can also have a cook book delivered to your home by calling Margaret Gibbs at 860-384-4327. If you share your address and where you will leave payment, she will leave you a cook book. Cook books are only $10 each and make a wonderful gift. The Women's Fellowship is very pleased with how the cookbooks came out and hope you will be too!
Rhubarb at Mapleleaf Farm

Renee and Ned Ellis invite you to stop by at Mapleleaf Farm (768 Gilead Street, Hebron) to pick and enjoy rhubarb. The rhubarb is located on the other side of the stone wall on your right as you pull in from Route 85.
Gilead Quilters Making Face Masks

Our Gilead Quilters have been busy making face masks. To date they have made and donated over 150 masks for: Gilead Church members and friends, Mt. Sinai Rehab Hospital, Foodshare, Hebron Interfaith Human Services, Journey Home, and St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry . If you don't have a face mask and would like one, please contact Sally at gcc@gileadchurch.net or by calling the Church Office at 860-228-3077. Also, the group is in need of 1/4” and/or 1/8” elastic in order to make more. If you have any elastic to donate, please let Sally know. Thank you!
Gilead Weeders Needed!

Spring has come early this year, which is a very hopeful sign! The daffodils around our church are in full bloom. As spring continues to come, so will the weeds. We are in need of weeders to help keep our Church grounds and the Garden of Remembrance looking beautiful. It usually doesn't take more than an hour to weed around both. Our sign ups this year will begin the first week in May. When you sign up for a week, you can come and do the weeding around the Church and Garden of Remembrance any time that week that works for you. Being outdoors also allows everyone to maintain physical distancing. You can sign up via the attached link https://signup.com/go/iJbecVW or you can email Phyllis Kurz at plkurz@comcast.net and she will sign you up. Thank you!
Confirmation Sunday Worship
Sunday, May 31st

On Sunday, May 31st, our Confirmation Class will be leading our worship service and receiving the Rite of Confirmation. In order to practice physical distancing, this worship service will be filmed ahead of time and will be available to watch on Sunday morning via a link posted to our Gilead Facebook Page. The theme they have chosen for this service is "Fellowship." We know this will be a special service as our young people confirm their faith even in the midst of the challenging times we are living in.
More Ideas for Practicing Faith at Home

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, parents with children at home are presented with the precious and sometimes rare opportunity to spend more time together. There are many things to be anxious about in these days and our children may feel just as anxious and uncertain as we do. What better time to draw closer to our faith? The Board of Christian Education would like to share a few articles with you that may be helpful. 
10 Spiritual Practice Ideas for Children & Youth
7 Ways Your Kids Can Connect with God

In addition, thank you for your feedback! We have heard that many of you feel that your children are spending too much time on screens in these days of home e-learning. Instead of online Sunday School classes, we will be providing a fun and quick lesson plan with a hands-on activity that will go along with our Sunday scripture reading for the week. All activities can be done easily at home or outside with a few supplies you may have on hand or that require none at all. Look to your email box weekly for these fun suggestions! Our hope is that you may find these experiences meaningful during these challenging days and that they may help you grow closer in faith together.
Please know we are here for your support and do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time. Stephanie can be reached at  stephanie.haines@hotmail.com  or (860) 228-3077.

Ways to Care

As we keep physically distant from one another, there are ways we can connect and care for our neighbors and help our community. Below are some ways you can help:
  • Our Hebron School Administrators have asked that we share and emphasize that the best thing we can do to help and support one another in these days is to stay home and stay safe. They have heard that some families continue to have play dates and/or use the town playscapes. The playscapes have been closed by the town and are not being regularly cleaned. Please practice social distancing or socialize distantly.

  • Join our Church's prayer chain. There are so many who are need of our prayers in these days. Those on our church prayer chain offer to pray daily for requests that have been made. All requests are considered confidential and are sent out via email. To join our prayer chain email our Church Office at gcc@gileadchurch.net and we will add you to our list.

  • Send us photos (gcc@gileadchurch.net) of how you are spending time in these days (gcc@gileadchurch.net). We would love to see and possibly share them in our weekly e-newsletter. Thank you!

  • Covenant Soup Kitchen is delivering meals to the Best Western (both in Willimantic) where people who are homeless have been staying. They are in need of drivers who are willing to pick up the coolers of food at the Covenant Soup Kitchen and drop them off at the Best Western. They need folks to pick up at 12:45 p.m. and drop off at 1 p.m. each day. If you would like to help, you can give Jan or Kim at the Covenant Soup Kitchen a call. The number there is 860-423-1643.

  • Foodshare has opportunities for volunteers at their mobile Foodshare sites. Volunteers pre-pack bags of food for clients which are left on tables for pick up. Social distancing is practiced and gloves are provided. Foodshare's VolunteerHub website shows which sites may need volunteers indicated by the word "Signup." Go to: https://foodshare.volunteerhub.com/?format=List&filter=3677
Resources Available 

Stress and anxiety from the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting all of us in various ways. Please know we are here to support you in any way we can and do not hesitate to reach out to Rev. Esslinger or Stephanie Haines by contacting the Church Office at 860-228-3077. In addition, our local community has resources that you may find helpful during this challenging and uncertain time.   Below are some available resources that may be helpful:

Questions about the coronavirus? Need help? Hartford HealthCare's COVID-19 Clinical Command Center hotline, staffed by healthcare professionals, is now available to the community. To reach the 24-hour hotline, call 860.972.8100 or (toll free) 833.621.0600
For the latest information about Connecticut, call 211, text CTCOVID to 898211 or visit  ct.gov/coronavirus
Our local AHM Youth & Family Services has shared useful information on ways to support yourself, children and grandchildren during the coronavirus pandemic.
To learn more, please click here: 
Virtual Calming Room:  Sometimes it can be hard to figure out how to work through difficult times. The Virtual Calming Room was designed to assist young people in locating different strategies and tools for managing their emotions.  
The State of Connecticut has launched the Talk it Out Line 1-833-258-5011, to help parents and caregivers cope with the stress and increased needs resulting from caring for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Domestic violence services are available through CT Safe Connect 24 hours a day. Call, chat and email at  www.CTSafeConnect.org  or (888) 774-2900. (Texting is temporarily unavailable.) CCADV advocates can provide counseling, safety planning, risk assessment, assistance with a restraining order application, and a safe connection to a domestic violence organization for ongoing support and services. All services are confidential, safe, free and voluntary.  
Substance abuse and addiction resources can be found through the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For substance abuse treatment 24/7 call the Access Line at 1-800-536-4086.
When social distancing and self-quarantine are needed to limit and control the spread of the disease, continued social connectedness to maintain recovery are critically important. Please visit  https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/virtual-recovery-resources.pdf  or call the Connecticut AA hotline at 1-866-783-7712.
For youth substance abuse support please contact Megan Aldridge, Clinical Director at AHM Youth & Family Services. (860) 228-9488.

During these days when we gather for worship in Spirit and not in body, as your Stewardship Committee, we wanted to share some ways that you can continue to share your offerings:

  • You can mail your offerings to the Church (672 Gilead Street, Hebron, CT 06248).

  • You can drop off your offerings and leave them in the bucket on the door of the Parish House.

  • You can set up with your bank to have checks regularly sent to the Gilead Church.

  • You can set up electronic giving, which transfers funds directly from your bank account to our Church's bank account. Please contact our Assistant Treasurer, Joan Cordier (860-228-4718), if you would like to set this up or for more information on this option.

  • You can also give through GivePlus which is a mobile app. Here are two links which have information on how you can do this:

We also realize that these are financially uncertain and stressful times for many. As a community of faith, we want to support one another and understand if there are members and friends who cannot give in these days. We want to be here for you too. Please reach out to us or to Pastor Denise if we can be a support.

Stewardship Committee: Mark and Michael Bierbaum, Lisa Cox, Charles Daniels, Lauren Henry, and Bruce Langevin.


Our Church family expresses its deepest sympathy to Laura and Darren Lessard on the recent death of Laura's mother, Doris Conway.

Also, our Church family expresses it deepest sympathy to Cathy and Mark Luddy on the recent death of Mark's mother, Pat Luddy.

Administrative Assistant Office Hours 

For the time being, our Administrative Assistant, Sally Fritsche, will be working from home. She is available for assistance via email (gcc@gileadchurch.net).

Scripture Reading and Prayer for the Week
John 17: 1-11

Beloved God, all the ends of the earth marvel at your deeds of power; we feel your presence as green and growth return to the earth; we rejoice as we remember your faithfulness and steadfast love revealed in the risen Christ.  Surround us with that faithfulness and steadfast love.  Fill us with generosity and courage so that we may be called your friends and go forth to befriend your world. We ask all these things in Jesus' name. Amen. 
Contact Info
Sally Fritsche
Administrative Assistant
672 Gilead St
Hebron, Ct  06248
Office Hours: For the time being, our Administrative Assistant, Sally Fritsche, will be working from home. She is available for assistance via email (gcc@gileadchurch.net).