Weekly Newsletter
Week of April 28th - May 4th
Gilead Congregational Church, UCC

Meetings and Services this week:

Wednesday, April 28th:
-9:30 a.m. Bible Study on Zoom
-10:30 a.m. Book Discussion Group
-4:00 p.m. Confirmation Class

Sunday, May 2nd:
-10:00 a.m. Worship Service in the Garden of Remembrance and live-streamed on our Gilead Church Facebook Page and YouTube with activity for young people offered by our Board of CE
-11:30 a.m. Board of Missions

God is Still Speaking
 About Us:

Reverend Dr. Denise Esslinger  
Minister of Music:
Andrey Stolyarov

Minister of Communication and Technology:
Lisa Cox
Interim Administrative Assistant:
Tonya Maurer

Worship: 10:00 a.m. in the Garden of Remembrance on our Gilead Church Facebook Page and YouTube Channel

Gathered: 1748
Meeting House: 1838
Fellowship Hall: 2008
We are an Open & Affirming Church
Sunday Worship Services
This Sunday, May 2nd, we will be worshipping outside in our Garden of Remembrance, weather permitting. Our hope is that being outside will feel safer, as well as allow as many people who would like to attend in-person to join us since we can spread out in the field beyond the garden. We still ask you to sign up, so we can keep a list of those present, if ever needed, for contact tracing purposes. We invite people to bring your own chairs. We will also follow our safety protocols of requiring face masks and social distancing and invite the gathered community to join in our prayers, but not in our singing. Safety protocols are detailed below. Our Deacons will continue to closely monitor public health recommendations and update our protocols as soon as we safely can.

If weather should be inclement, we will move inside. An email will be sent at least an hour prior to the service time and posted on Facebook notifying everyone. If we move inside, people are invited to join us for worship inside, but seating will be limited due to social distancing. If needed, additional seats will be available in the Fellowship Hall.

Know that we’ll continue to live-stream services on our Facebook page and YouTube for those who prefer to stay home. Information on how to connect on-line is provided in the block below. 

If you would like to join us in person for our 10 a.m. worship service this Sunday, May 2nd, please sign up on the link below.

Our Deacons have prepared the following outdoor protocols for us to follow for worship in our Garden of Remembrance:
1)  Outdoor worship in the Garden of Remembrance will not be limited to any number of people, but we’ll be following this safety protocol, including wearing masks and social distancing. 
2) All are asked to enter the Garden via the main (arbor) entrance. Those attending will be asked to sign up prior and will checked in by an usher. If you are unable to sign up prior, you will be asked to share your name and contact number with the usher prior to being seated. This is to keep an accurate record of people in attendance, if needed, for contact tracing. An usher will then walk you (at a distance) to your space to sit and will provide hand sanitizer, if desired, prior to entering the worship area.
3) Participants are asked NOT to attend if they have any flu-like symptoms or if anyone in the household has tested positive for COVID-19. 

4) Please bring your own chairs or blankets. Face masks are required for the entire service and will be provided if needed.  Participants must remain 6-10 feet apart from non-family members at all times.
5) After the service, you are asked to exit the garden either via the parking lot side of the garden or the arbor entryway, continuing to maintain 6-10 feet from non-family members.  
6) There will be no congregational singing. Speaking the unison prayers softly while masked will be okay. No Communion or offering plates will be shared or passed during the service. On Communion Sundays (first Sundays of the month), you are asked to bring your own Communion. Deacons will provide Communion packets for those who desire them. A basket will be available at the entrance to the Garden for offerings. There will also be no Sunday school or coffee hour.
7) The worship bulletin will be emailed prior to the service. Please feel free to print out your own copy of the service. A limited number of bulletins will be available at the service as well. These should be taken home after the service.
8) If severely inclement weather is expected, notification will be sent via email and on our Facebook page at least one hour prior to the scheduled service time.
9) We will continue to live-stream our service on Facebook or YouTube for those who prefer to stay home or for when there is inclement weather.
10) Bathrooms available if necessary. 
11) Our Board of Christian Education is planning some opportunities for our young people during worship. Watch for more information on these. 
If you have any questions about these protocols, please reach out to one of our Deacons (Amy Destine, Todd Helweg, Jon Kimball (Chair), David Kline, Jim Ledbetter, Lynn Lukach, Ginny Miller, Teresa Olio, and Margot Sheehan) or speak with Pastor Denise.
Live Streaming of Services Continues

We will continue to live stream our worship services at 10:00 a.m.

You can join 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.

Sunday Planting Seeds of Hope Activity for Youth
Sunday May 2, 2021 during 10:00am worship service

The Board of Christian Education would like to invite all youth through 8th grade to join us for an IN-PERSON opportunity for fellowship and a fun activity during the 10:00 a.m. worship service this Sunday, May 2nd. Please see the following link for more information and to sign up by April 30th to ensure we have enough supplies for everyone! We hope to see many of your smiling faces! All safety protocols will be in place to ensure we have a safe and meaningful activity for our children.

If you have any questions, please contact Heather Franzese at 860-228-5276. Thank you!
Let's Celebrate Sally!

With Sally’s retirement tomorrow, our Board of Trustees will be recognizing her with a gift for her 19 years with us as our Administrative Assistant. We are so grateful for all Sally has done over the years to make the Gilead Church the friendly and well run church that we are! Given the times we are living in, Sally has requested that in lieu of a public gathering that she would enjoy receiving cards and notes from us. If you’d like to send Sally a note sharing a word of thanks and perhaps a memory too, you can send it to her home at: 46 Castlerock Lane, Bolton, CT 06043. Sally’s last day with us with be Thursday, April 29th. Thank you, Sally, for all of your years with us. We wish you God’s blessings on your retirement!

Welcome Tonya!

With Sally’s retirement Tonya Maurer has assumed responsibilities of the Interim Administrative Assistant and will be in the office Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

If you need assistance, please contact Tonya at the Church office (gcc@gileadchurch.net or 860-228-3077).

Pastoral Transition Update

The Interim Minister Selection Committee has completed initial screening of six applicants. We are scheduling four individuals for further in-person interviews over the next few weeks. All four are trained and experienced interim pastors who have the potential to effectively lead our congregation to the place where we’ll be ready to call a new settled pastor. We’re excited to be at this point and will hope to have substantive news in the near future. If anyone has questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact either Jon Kimball or Ginny Miller who are serving as Co-chairs of our Interim Minister Selection Committee.

Conversations on Denise's Retirement

You’re invited to join in a time of conversation about what it means for us, as members and friends of the Gilead Church, and our relationship with Pastor Denise following her retirement at the end of June. Serving as a Pastor is a unique position and responsibility, and there are ethical considerations and boundaries for her and for us that we all need to be aware. On Denise’s last Sunday, June 27th, both she and the congregation will be asked to make promises to adhere to these boundaries for the health and well-being of the Gilead Church. 

Rev. Dr. Sharon Ledbetter, who is a member of the Gilead Church, and served as the Pastor of the Lebanon Congregational Church for 25 years before her retirement, will be leading these conversations, sharing her experiences, as well as answering any questions you may have. 

Two gatherings are being offered so as many people as would like can attend. While you’re welcome to attend both gatherings, one should give you the background and information you need. The gatherings will be held on Sundays, May 16th and May 23rd after our 10 a.m. worship service. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Rev. Ledbetter or call the Church Office (860-228-3077). We hope these conversations will be helpful as we prepare for this time of transition ahead.
Save the Date - June 13th

Join us in person for an outdoor celebration at the Church on Sunday, June 13, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Please use the below sign-up link or contact Heather Summerer at hjsummerer@sbcglobal.net or 860-463-6487 so we know to expect you!

If you would like to contribute to a gift from the Congregation and Friends, please send your contribution electronically via Paypal to @kylebmcclaine or by check payable to Katie McClaine, 860 Gilead Street, Hebron, CT 06248.

We also invite you to send cards, which will be collected and given to Denise at the in-person celebration. Please mail to Rev. Dr. Denise Esslinger, c/o Becky Cook, 99 Jennifer Dr, Hebron, CT 06248.

If you have additional questions, please reach out to Annette Langevin at thelangevins@comcast.net or 860-228-1313.
Church World Service Blankets

Please consider honoring the special women in your life for Mother’s Day by donating to Church World Service (CWS) Blanket Ministry. Each $10 donation will provide a blanket to someone impacted by the pandemic, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and other crises including homelessness and poverty. You can donate online to https://cwsblankets.org/donate/ or in person at the outside worship services on Sundays, May 2nd or May 9th. Whether you donate on line or in person you can pick up Mother’s Day cards to send to who you are honoring at these services. Any questions please contact Phyllis Kurz, Board of Missions Committee, at 860-228-2469.

Willing Weeders

Please consider signing up to weed the Church grounds and the Garden of Remembrance starting in May and running through September. It generally takes about an hour to do both the Garden and Church Grounds. Please sign up on the below link:

If you have any questions, please contact Diane Desruisseaux at 860-858-6189 or Phyllis Kurz at 860-228-2469. Thank you!
Helping Hands for Spring Cleanups

It has been a windy winter! As a result, many yards have more branches and debris in them than in the past. Gilead Helping Hands (GHH) can offer assistance to church members who can use some help with their spring cleanup chores. If you are interested please send an email to Leslie.kurz78@gmail.com or call 860-416-7884.
Wednesday Morning Book Discussion Group

Our Wednesday Morning Book Discussion Group meets on Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall. If you have interest in joining or any questions on this discussion group, please contact Sandy Hooker at 860-228-9856.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update and Information

The state is currently currently offering the vaccine to:

  • Individuals 16 years of age and older

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:
CT’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line (call for vaccination scheduling) is: 877-918-2224
·        Open 7 days a week from 8:00 am – 8:00pm.
·        Language assistance is available for those who need it
·        Deaf or hard-of-hearing can access the Vaccine Appointment Assist Line by dialing 7-1-1

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.
Silver Lake Summer Camp

Details and registration for Silver Lake's summer conference season 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.

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 will be focusing on the story of Holy Week in the gospel of John chapters 12-21. 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). 

Scripture Readings and Prayer for the Week
John 15: 1-8 and 1 John 4: 7-21

God of love, be with us this day and plant us in the soil of your grace. Nurture us with the strength of Christ, enlighten us with the wisdom of your Spirit, and abide in us that we may abide in you and live in your love. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
Contact Info
Tonya Maurer
Interim Administrative Assistant
672 Gilead St
Hebron, Ct  06248
Office Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until noon (Parish House)