Weekly Newsletter
Week of November 18th - November 24th
Gilead Congregational Church, UCC

Meetings and Services this week:

Wednesday, November 18th:
-9:30 a.m. Bible Study on Zoom
-10:30 a.m. Wednesday Morning Book Group

Saturday, November 21st:
-1:00 p.m. Wedding of Jessica Huhn and Shane Richardson

Sunday, November 22nd:
-10:00 a.m. Sunday Worship Service live-streamed on our Gilead Church Facebook Page
-Angel Tag Gifts Due
-12:30 p.m. Youth Group
God is Still Speaking
 About Us:

Reverend Dr. Denise Esslinger  
Minister of Music:
Danielle Hoehn

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, November 22nd

This Sunday, November 22nd, we will worship at 10:00 a.m. via live stream only. Our Board of Deacons has made the decision, given the rising Covid-19 cases in our town and state, that we will return to live-streaming only of our worship services for now. They will continue to monitor the case numbers weekly.

You can connect with our service on our Gilead Church Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/GileadChurchUCC. Following the service, it will be posted to the site, so you can view it at any time.

Stewardship Season
During worship this past Sunday, November 15th, we heard Stephanie Haines' share about the mission work of our congregation and how it has planted seeds of hope in our community and in our lives too.

If you missed it or would like to see it again, here's a link to it:

Thanks to everyone who has already returned their 2021 "Planting Seeds of Hope" pledge card. If you haven't yet, we ask you to return it to the church as soon as you can. 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

Christmas Angel Gift Tags
Due by this Sunday, November 22nd

Thanks to everyone who took an Angel Tag. All Angel Tag gifts should be returned by this Sunday, November 22nd in a gift bag with tissue paper and with the Christmas angel tag attached (gift wrapping is prohibited by DCF security). You may leave gifts on the covered porch of the Parish House at your convenience prior to Sunday. If you have any questions or issues with returning your gift before Sunday, please feel free to call the Church Office (860-228-3077).

Thank you for your continued support of the Christmas Angel Tag mission for the special children and youth in the DCF system!

Youth Group News
Sunday, November 22nd

On Sunday, November 22nd, in the afternoon, our Youth Group will be delivering Thanksgiving baskets for Hebron Interfaith Human Services and then will be joining in a time of socially distanced and face mask wearing fellowship. Watch for more details in our Youth Group email distribution. You can also reach out to Mrs. Cohen, Mrs. Byrne, or Pastor Denise for more info.

Board of Missions Opening Prayer

Lynn Lukach offered this prayer at the opening of our Board of Missions meeting on Sunday, November 15th:

Loving God, thank you for bringing us together and being present with us today.
We thank you for the leadership and guidance of our pastor
and the church family that supports our efforts.

Heavenly Father these are challenging and uncertain times.
We, your children, sometimes feel like leaves scattered by the wind,
blowing here and there never exactly sure where we are going or where we will land.

Watch over us we pray and keep our church faithful and strong,
that we might continue to be your hands and your light, to be Seeds of Hope in our world.

Guide our Missions team today.
Help us use our gifts and talents,
our good intentions to serve You
by serving our community and greater world.

Give us patience and wisdom to make a difference.
Let our motivation be driven by love, compassion, generosity and faith.
Humbly we thank you.

Advent Devotionals
The Season of Advent begins on Sunday, November 29th. In keeping with our church theme for the year, "Planting Seeds of Hope," we have "Hope-Full Living" Advent devotionals that are available for you to pick up in tub next to our Little Lending Library by the double doors to the Church from the parking lot. If it would be helpful to have one delivered, please contact the Church Office at 860-228-3077 or at gcc@gileadchurch.net. It is our hope and prayer that these devotionals will be meaningful as we watch, wait, and prepare for Jesus' birth.

Advent in a Box

Our Board of Christian Education is putting together Advent boxes for all of our church families. The boxes will include an Advent wreath and devotional for families to use each week during Advent. It will also include other crafts, stories and ideas for making this season holy and special. Boxes will be available for pick up in plastic tubs outside the church beginning next Wednesday, November 25th. Advent begins on Sunday, November 29th. Each box will have a family name on the outside so you'll know which one to take. Any boxes not picked up will be delivered to families the week of November 30th. Please feel free to reach out to Karen Risley or Sandy Waldo, who Co-Chair our Board of Christian Education, with any questions.

Introducing our GCC YouTube Channel!

GCC now has a YouTube channel filled with video’s from our weekly service, sermons, stewardship and special events.  In the coming weeks we will be live streaming the worship service simultaneously to YouTube and Facebook. Please go to our channel page and click on subscribe.  Contact Lisa Cox at coxlm@comcast.netwith questions.

Hebron Food Pantry - Reverse Advent Calendar

During the season of Advent, Hebron Interfaith Human Services, invites you to fill a box or a bag each day with items that are needed by those they serve. The suggested dates and items are below. The calendar begins a little early and ends a little early so you have time to drop off your collection at the food bank before Christmas. Feel free to call them 860-228-1681 with any questions.
Holiday Pies to Support HELO

It is that time of year again! Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner and who doesn't love homemade pies? We will be making apple and pumpkin pies to order for anyone who is interested. You can pick up curbside following worship on any of the following Sundays: November 22nd, November 29th, December 13th and December 20th or request a different date if needed. Pies will also be available for pick up on Wednesday, November 25th between 12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday, December 23rd with the time to be determined. If you do not want a pie, but would like to make a donation, all proceeds will support HELO, an orphanage in Les Cayes, Haiti. Please make checks payable to HELO. If you have any questions, please contact Amy Destiné at (860) 462-0919 or email at pvault1459@gmail.com. (Here is a google form to complete or you can see Amy Destiné to sign up. Pies for HELO)

New Member Gatherings on Zoom

On Sunday, December 6th at 12:30 p.m., we invite anyone interested in exploring membership with the Gilead Church to join us for a Zoom new member orientation meeting. This will be a time when our Deacons and Rev. Esslinger will share information on the Gilead Church. If you are interested in attending this meeting, please contact the Church Office at 860-228-3077 or at gcc@gileadchurch.net.

On Wednesday, December 9th at 7:00 p.m. new members will join on Zoom.  The ceremony will be recorded and the recording will be shared during worship on Sunday, December 13th.

Minister of Music Search

We are sorry to share that news that Danielle Hoehn submitted her resignation on October 25th. Given the times we are living in and the limits placed on our Choirs and worship services, it has not turned out to be the position she felt called to. We wish her God's blessings. She will be with us through Christmas Eve.

Starting in January, Carol Geyer will be 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).

We have also formed a Minister of Music Search Committee. Carolyn McConnell has offered to serve 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). Thank you!

AHM 2020 First Annual Online Holiday Auction

AHM Youth and Family Services has launched its first ever online holiday auction. Since holding a charity auction in person presents too many problems during the pandemic, the AHM Board of Directors and staff are hosting this virtual fundraiser instead.

AHM is a local public charity that helps people of all ages from the towns of Andover, Columbia, Hebron, and Marlborough through programs and services such as school and community based counseling, wellness events, a family resource center, project graduation, juvenile review board, recovery support groups, mentoring for children and teens, summer youth theater, youth worker programs for seniors and so much more.

The AHM auction features nearly 50 items, including a wine making experience, dining gift cards, vacation packages to Cape Cod and Newport, a CT Teachers Retirement Planning package, gifts for children, families, and pets, a cord of firewood, paintings, automotive services, a wine trail experience, camping items, a drone, gift cards to local businesses, jewelry and so much more.

To start your bidding, please visit the website page at:

Additional questions or inquiries can be directed to Joel Rosenberg, at AHM, Joelr@ahmyouth.org or at 860-228-9488.

Fall Work Day

Our Trustees would like to thank everyone who came out to spruce up the Church grounds this past Saturday, November 14th.
Electronic Giving Options

Electronic Fund Transfer Option (EFT)
We have an arrangement with VANCO to provide an EFT payment option.  This secure electronic giving method will allow you to transfer money to the Gilead Congregational Church from your checking or savings account at regular intervals. There is a nominal fee associated with this option.
Online Giving (New!) & Mobile App
Gilead Congregational Church has SECURE online giving through VANCO. Here you can make one-time or recurring donations using your debit card, credit card, checking account or savings account. It is fast and easy! 

Go to the Gilead Church Website and click on “Giving” from the main menu and you will be directed to additional information and a link to the VANCO webpage where you can make your donation.  https://www.gileadchurchucc.org/ 

To make a donation via a mobile application from your phone or tablet, download the application called “Give Plus” and search for Gilead Congregational Church. Here you can make one-time or recurring donations using your debit card, credit card, checking account or savings account. 

Note: there are fees associated with these options, some of which can be offset by the donor.
Facebook Donate Button (New!)
GCC now has a Donate Button on our Facebook page that allows you to make a donation directly from Facebook using the payment option of your choice.  You will receive a receipt from Facebook. 
Donations made through Facebook will be included on giving statements for those who are in our Church Windows tracking system and will be applied toward their annual pledge.

All of the VANCO giving options will be included on your yearly church giving statement. The Facebook Donate button option requires the donor to keep a receipt for tax purposes. 

Please contact the Church Office at 860-228-3077 with any questions or to setup an EFT payment option.
Sunday School Program

This past Sunday, November 15th, our Board of Christian Education offered a Sunday school opportunity for children and youth during our 10 a.m. worship service. The program included a special keepsake turkey project and a story about being thankful.
Christmas Luminarias
Successful Puzzle, CD and DVD Swap!

The Fellowship Committee hosted another puzzle, CD and DVD swap this past Saturday, November 14th. Thanks to Penny Besmond and Judy & Lee Brandi for all of their help and coordination.
Gilead Helping Hands (GHH)

Members of Gilead Helping Hands recently painted an entry ramp into Donna Smith's home. They enjoyed a beautiful day while working hard and social distancing.
Garden of Remembrance - Mowers Needed

The Garden of Remembrance Committee has openings for mowers and trimmers for the 2021 season, which runs from May through October. The specific need is for interested parties to be available 2-3 weeks (one day per week) throughout the season. Little to no experience is necessary. Introduction to the equipment will be provided by Jack Hooker. The average time to mow and trim is less than one and a half hours. Compensation is in the form of self-satisfaction knowing that you have contributed to the serenity and tranquility of the garden while honoring those who have been interred. The GORC is an equal opportunity provider. Questions may be directed to either Jack Hooker or Harvey Desruisseaux.

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 exploring and discussing the book of Exodus. The book of Exodus, the second book in the Bible, is about the people of God’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt, their wandering in the wilderness on their way to the promised land, and God’s presence with them. It is a relevant and appropriate book for the times we are living in, which can sometimes feel like wilderness times. 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). 

Lord's Bounty II Cookbooks

Our Women's Fellowship continues to sell copies of their Gilead Church Lord's Bounty II Cookbooks. If you'd like a copy, please contact Margaret Gibbs at 860-384-4327. She will deliver! Cook books are only $10 each and make a wonderful gift. Checks can made payable to Gilead Church Women’s Fellowship.

Foodshare's Turkey+30
Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and no matter how different things look right now, some things haven’t changed. Foodshare is continuing our Turkey and Thirty campaign - providing Thanksgiving meals and raising funds to fight hunger year-round. In an effort to keep everyone safe we made a few updates:

  • To preserve our collective safety, we have suspended in-person turkey collection drives this year. Instead, Foodshare has purchased some turkeys in advance to meet our clients’ needs.
  • Community members will be able to donate to Foodshare online to support the purchase of a turkey (or more!) for a neighbor in need. Your monetary gift will help Foodshare achieve our goal; to provide thousands of families with the food they need on Thanksgiving and beyond.
  • By sharing this news with your network you can double or triple your impact for this year’s Turkey and Thirty campaign!

Please click on the following link:
to make your Turkey and Thirty donation and to learn more. We are so grateful for your partnership!
Foodshare's Drive-Thru Food Distribution - November Schedule 

Foodshare is continuing its large scale emergency food distribution at Rentschler Field in East Hartford for the seventh month. This distribution site alone has served over 200,000 households and has provided over five million meals.

“Heading into the winter months we will continue our operation at Rentschler Field two days per week. We are grateful for all of the community support, which will allow us to stay open at Rentschler Field through November so we can continue to address the high demand for food assistance we are seeing in our community,” said Jason Jakubowski, President and CEO of Foodshare
November Distribution Dates:
Thursday 11/19 • Wednesday 11/25
8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Tuesday, 11/24 and Thanksgiving, Thursday 11/26

615 Silver Lane, East Hartford, CT 06118
Silver Lane entrance; gates will close at 12:00 PM

One allocation of food per car to ensure that we have enough food for everyone.
This emergency distribution at Rentschler Field is in addition to Foodshare’s ongoing efforts to provide food to a network of over 260 pantries, community kitchens, and Mobile Foodshare sites throughout the region.

Community members can access help through the following:

Mobile Foodshare: An outdoor pantry-on-wheels, to find a site near you please text “FOODSHARE” to 85511 or go towww.foodshare.org/mobile

Food Pantries: To find a food pantry and other resources near you, call 2-1-1 or go to www.211ct.org
Church Office Hours and Protocols 

Sally, our Church’s Administrative Assistant, is in the Church Office on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. She will continue to work from home on Tuesday 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. Denise will generally be in the Church Office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings although her schedule varies with meetings and visits. Please feel free to call or email her at the Church Office if you’d like to set up a meeting.  

Thank Yous

Dear Denise,

Bob and I want to thank you and the Gilead Church family very much for your prayers, thoughts and cards as well as phone calls during this time. They have brought us great comfort while we grieve the loss of Jayden. We are blessed to have you and our Church family here to support us.

With Love and Peace,

Bob & Susan Raiola


Dear Friends:

On behalf of the Columbia/Gilead/Andover CROP Hunger Walk, it's my privilege to share with you the enclosed check for $638.75.

This contribution to your work represents the commitment and compassion of CROP Hunger Walk volunteers, walkers, and donors, and is presented in recognition of the outstanding work you're doing to help stop hunger and poverty in your community.

Each year some 2,000 communities across the United States reach out in partnership to poor and hungry people, here and in many countries around the world. And they take advantage of an option unique to CROP Hunger Walks -- they elect to share up to 25 percent of what they raise with effective local hunger-fighting agencies such as yours. Last year more than $4 million went to local agencies to help alleviate hunger and poverty in the United States.

The Columbia/Gilead/Andover CROP Hunger Walk Committee has indicated its desire to earmark a
portion of its income for your work; this check reflects that portion of the CROP Hunger Walk income to date.

Thank you and God bless you for all you are doing in your community to help those in need.

Yours in Partnership,

Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO
Church World Service
Scripture Reading and Prayer for the Week
Matthew 13: 24-32

Loving God, we come in thanksgiving, knowing that all that we are and all that we have is a gift from you.  Teach us to recognize our time and resources as precious gifts, which need to be nurtured, used and shared.  Help us to live in the light of Christ's love, that we may be joyful and generous disciples, eager to share from the bounty you have provided. 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 Monday and Wednesday mornings from 8:00 a.m. - Noon. She will be working from home on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:00 a.m. - noon.. She is available for assistance via email (gcc@gileadchurch.net).