Weekly Newsletter
Gilead Congregational Church, UCC
Week of December 5th - December 11th         
Meetings and Services
this Week:

Wednesday, December 5th:
-9:30 a.m. Wednesday Morning Book Discussion
-6:00 p.m. Confirmation Class
-7:00 p.m. Choir

Thursday, December 6th:
-7:00 p.m. Deacons

Friday, December 7th:
-6:00 p.m. Faith and Film Series

Saturday, December 8th:
-9:00 a.m. Christmas Pageant Rehearsal

Sunday, December 9th:
-8:30 a.m. Worship Service
-10:00 a.m. Worship Service with Christmas Pageant 
-No Sunday School 
-Coffee Hour
-11:30 a.m. Youth Choir
-11:30 a.m. Board of Missions
-6:30 p.m. Youth Group Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, December 11th:    
-11:00 a.m. Foodshare's Mobile Van at Church of Hope
-11:15 a.m. Bible Study in the Music Room
-2:20 p.m. Youth Group to Colchester for Eldercare Visit
-7:30 p.m. AA Meeting  

About Us:

Reverend Dr. Denise M. Esslinger 
Minister of Mission and Faith Formation:
Stephanie Haines 
Minister of Music:
Bruce Gale
Administrative Assistant:
Sally Fritsche  

Worship: 8:30 AM
Worship w/Sunday School:  10:00 AM
Summer Worship: 
9:00 AM 

Gathered:  1748
Meeting House:  1838
Fellowship Hall:  2008


We are an Open & Affirming Church 

Ministry Quicklinks:
More About Us


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Advent and Christmas Worship Services 


December 9th-Second Sunday of Advent
Two worship services at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. with 
Christmas Pageant at 10 a.m. service
December 16th-Third Sunday of Advent
One worship service at 10 a.m. with
special music featuring our Choir and Organ

December 21st-Blue Christmas Service
A service of healing hope
Friday at 7:00 p.m. 
December 23rd-Fourth Sunday of Advent
One worship service at 10 a.m.
December 24th-Christmas Eve
One candlelight worship service at 7 p.m.
December 30th-First Sunday after Christmas
One worship service at 10 a.m. with lessons and carols

Faith and Film Series
Friday, December 7th 

Join us this Friday, December 7th at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall for our Faith and Film Series. We will gather for a potluck supper followed by watching and discussing  "The Shack" (Rated - PG-13).  After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips spirals into a deep depression that causes him to question his innermost beliefs.  Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa.  Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths that will transform his understanding of his tragedy and change his life forever. Bring a dish to share and join us!

Cheerful Giving!
2 Corinthians 9: 7

Thanks to everyone who has cheerfully made a pledge for 2019!   We currently have 114 who have made pledges totaling $237,788. Thank you!  However, we still have $41,611 to go to meet our  pledge  goal for 2019.  

If you have not yet made a 2019 pledge, we hope you will. Pledge cards can be found in each pew as well as in the front and back of the Sanctuary or by calling our Church Office (860-228-3077). Cards can be placed in the offering plate on any Sunday or returned to the Church (672 Gilead St, Hebron, CT 06248) to the attention of our Assistant Treasurer, Joan Cordier.  
Thank you for your consideration, commitment and support!

Your Stewardship Committee,
Lisa Cox (Co-Chair), Charles Daniels, Lauren Henry (Co-Chair), Bruce Langevin, and Duane Sauer      
Advent Calendars Available 
The Board of Christian Education is offering Advent Calendars outside of the Sanctuary. There are calendars for adults and youth.  May this be a season for you of growing closer to God as we celebrate Jesus' birth and the abundant gifts he offers us!  If you have any questions please speak with Susan Fredette.   
Christmas Pageant
Sunday, December 9th
Please join this Sunday, December 9th during our 10:00 a.m. worship service for our wonderful Christmas Pageant.  See the story of Jesus' birth come alive through the sweet voices and imaginations of our children. This year's pageant is titled "Just a Little Christmas!"  We are excited to have Joe Zuzel as our pageant director.  All Sunday School children are invited to participate.  We will hold a dress rehearsal on Saturday, December 8th at 9 a.m. in the Sanctuary.  Instrumentalists of all ages and abilities are needed as well.  If you play an instrument and would be willing to bless us with your talent, please contact Joe Zuzel at joezuzel@hotmail.com or Bruce Gale at bgale@snet.net .  For questions regarding the pageant please contact Stephanie Haines at stephanie.haines@hotmail.com .   
Alternate Gift Giving 
Sunday, December 9th

'Tis the season for gift giving!  This year consider starting a new family tradition by giving memorable and meaningful alternative gifts.  This Sunday, December 9th in the Fellowship Hall, before and after the 10:00 a.m. worship service, the following mission efforts will be offering opportunities to support their humanitarian efforts as a contribution in honor of those on your Christmas list:  
  • Gilead Congregational Church Mission Trip to Puerto Rico 2019 - Cristina Schoeck
  • HELO (Home Education Love Opportunity): Support for Children in Haiti Orphanage - Amy Huhn & Lexi Weir
  • Peace, Love and Art: Hope for the Children of Serapio School in Mexico - Skylar Haines
  • Water for South Sudan: Building a Well in South Sudan through the Water Project - Sarah Cohen 
Please consider stopping by their tables to learn more about their mission efforts and how your gift can make a profound difference in the lives of others! 

Christmas Bell and Mitten Tags
Due by Sunday, December 9th
Thanks to those who took a bell or mitten tag to support local agencies, including Hebron Interfaith Human Services and the Covenant Soup Kitchen, in their gift giving this holiday season. Gifts are due back by this Sunday, December 9th and can be returned to the back of the Sanctuary.  For further information please contact Stephanie Haines at 860-228-3077. Thank you!  

Holiday Pies for a Purpose 
Do you enjoy homemade pumpkin or apple pie? Are you looking for pies for the upcoming holiday? Order a delicious pie from Amy Huhn or Lexi Weir today! Proceeds will benefit HELO, a non-profit orphanage in Les Cayes, Haiti as well as Lexi Weir's second trip to Haiti. Please see Amy Huhn or Lexi Weir after church or contact Amy at 860-462-0919 or at pvault1459@gmail.com for more information.
Youth Group Babysitting
Friday, December 14th
Our Youth Group will be offering free babysitting to members and friends on Friday, December 14th from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.  The babysitting is for children ages 0 through 6th grade.  Children should have dinner before they arrive.  Snacks will be provided along with crafts and games.  Please sign up on the sheet underneath the name tags if you plan to come, but know you are welcome even if you don't sign up.  If you have any questions, please speak with Susan Parker 860-530-1134.    

5th Annual Women's Fellowship Cookie Sale
Sunday, December 16th

The 5th Annual Women's Fellowship Cookie Sale is scheduled for Sunday, December 16th immediately following the 10:00 a.m. worship service in the Fellowship Hall.  We are in need of cookie donations. For those bakers who would like to support this event, there is a sign up sheet on the table underneath the name tags.  Cookies may be brought to the church kitchen on Saturday, December 15th between 2:30-3:30 pm or prior to both services on December 16th.  Please plan to purchase cookies, sold by the pound, to support our Women's Fellowship.  If you have any questions, please speak with Pat Martin, Gayle Sylvester or Karen Voghel.  Thank you!

Advent Celebration
We began Advent this past Sunday, December 2nd following worship with homemade soups, bread, Christmas music and crafts for all ages! This Advent Celebration was a wonderful way to start the Advent season and was offered to you by our Board of Christian Education.

Christmas Caroling
Sunday, December 16th 

Please join us on Sunday, December 16th when we will be going caroling to members and friends.  We'll meet at the church at 4:00 p.m. to car pool together.  Join us at the home of Gloria and Jon Kimball (23 Chestnut Hill Road) for a time of fellowship and a potluck supper following the caroling.  If you know you are coming, please R.S.V.P. to Gloria at 860-228-3817 or via e-mail at gloriaokimball@gmail.com letting her know what you will be bringing to share and number attending. Feel free to come impromptu as well. The Kimballs will provide beverages, but you are welcome to bring your favorite if you wish. 
2019 Usher Sign Up 
Please contact Phyllis Kurz or signup online:
1) Click this link on SignUp.com: http://signup.com/go/ezSYDT
2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It's easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.com.
Note: SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact Phyllis (860-228-2469) and she can sign you up manually.

Confirmation Class and Mentors to Covenant Soup Kitchen 

Members of our 2018-2019 Confirmation Class and their mentors served the evening meal at the Covenant Soup Kitchen this past Friday, November 30th.

Hebron's Got Talent - Still Looking for Talent
Applications are being accepted for the 6th annual Hebron's Got Talent showcase which will take place on Friday February 8, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the RHAM High School Auditorium.  Ten acts will be chosen to compete for the $250 grand prize!  Talent could include singing, dancing, musicians, comedy, magic or something surprising! You do not need to be a Hebron resident to apply. Local celebrity judges including last year's winner and Bridget Oei, Miss Connecticut, will provide their feedback on each act but ultimately, the winner is selected by audience vote!  Applications can be picked up at Ted's IGA Supermarket, Hebron Parks & Recreation, AHM Youth and Family Services or the Gilead Congregational Church.  Please submit applications or contact Stephanie Haines as soon as possible. All proceeds benefit the children's scholarship programs of Hebron Parks & Recreation and AHM Youth & Family Services because every child should have the opportunity to explore and grow their own talents and abilities! Snow date is Friday, March 8th.  Please contact Stephanie Haines at 860-228-3077 with any questions.   

Blue Christmas Service
Friday, December 21st 

On Friday, December 21st at 7:00 p.m. we will have a Blue Christmas Service of comfort, healing and hope. This service provides a space and time for us to acknowledge that this season isn't always an easy or happy one. Bring your fears, pain and grief and join us for this time of prayer, reflection, singing, communion and a candle lighting ceremony. Join us in this time of worship and fellowship following the service.   

Special Mission Offering - The Christmas Fund
Sunday, December 23rd 

On Sunday, December 23rd, a special offering will be held as part of our UCC's wider mission efforts. The offering will benefit the Christmas Fund which provides financial aid to retired and active ministers and their surviving spouses and children who face overwhelming financial demands. This special gift at Christmas time reminds these "Veterans of the Cross" that they have not been forgotten and that the Church is grateful for their service. Envelopes for this offering are available in the front and back of the Sanctuary this Sunday. Thank you for your consideration. If you should have any questions regarding the fund, please, do not hesitate to contact Stephanie Haines at (860) 228-3077.   

Wednesday Morning Book Discussion Group  

The Wednesday Morning Book Discussion Group met at Sharon Ledbetter's home in Columbia last Wednesday, November 28th for a potluck brunch where a dish or ingredient needed to be mentioned in the Bible. The group is currently discussing "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee and will resume meeting on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. at the home of Judy Brown and Deena Watson (130 Charles Lane) this week. The group will not meet on Wednesday, December 26th, but will resume on Wednesday, January 2nd. All are welcome!


Our Church family expresses its deepest sympathy to the Risley family on the recent death of Ben and Becca's father, Paul.  A service to remember and celebrate Paul's life will be held at the Lebanon Congregational Church, UCC on Tuesday, December 11th at 4 p.m.
Thank You 
Dear Pastor Denise and Members and Friends of the Gilead Church, 
My sincerest and warmest thanks for all of the love and support you have given to both Mark and me over the entire course of my surgery and recovery. The love and care of the Church community has been so truly touching and meaningful during a challenging time for us, and all of the support made a huge difference for us and had such a positive impact leading up to, during, and after the surgery.  
Thank you so much for the beautiful prayer shawl especially; I wore it to the hospital the day of the surgery and in the days following (and I still wear it now), and it brought me a great deal of comfort and strength. It brings me great comfort now, as well, when I am resting and recovering during the day. And it is so gorgeous!
Thank you also for the awesome Gilead Congregational Church Ice Cream Sign -- what could be more perfect? It looks great hanging in its honorary spot in our kitchen.
I can't express how much all of the thoughtfulness and caring of the Gilead community has touched my heart and made a difference in this process. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Best regards and much love,
Kacie Hand
Thank you to Susan Porter for the beautiful Christmas wreath on the front door of the Church. The wreath is given in memory of Winthrop Henry Porter, Susan's uncle who recently passed away.

Dear Members of the Women's Fellowship,
On behalf of the AHM Board of Directors, we extend this heartfelt thank you for contributing $200 towards the Community Mental Health Fund. 
There is so much turmoil in the lives of children and families these days and there are no simple answers to resolve the many issues impacting them. Among the many obstacles facing families is an ever increasing number of mental health conditions that children are coping with today.
With your help, we at AHM are trying to do something in the short term to take away some of the burdens facing families who are coping with a mental health condition. Through the creation of the Community Mental Health Fund several years ago, we are able to help relieve even just a small portion of the financial pressures placed on families when trying to afford mental health services.
Thank you again for making AHM Youth and Family Services a charitable priority as part of your mission of giving. We extend best wishes to all of our friends at Gilead Congregational Church for a joyous, healthy and safe holiday season. Merry Christmas!
Michelle Hamilton, Executive Director and Joel Rosenberg, Director of Development
Puerto Rico Mission Trip 2019
There are still a few spots available on our upcoming mission team going to Puerto Rico, April 14 - 20, 2019. The team will be helping to rebuild and repair roofs after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Serving on a mission trip, being God's hands and feet, and getting away from the everyday bustle can be an amazing opportunity to experience God's presence. Cristina Schoeck, Mark Hand or Debbie Meincke would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the trip. A $200 deposit will be collected to finalize our mission team for the spring. Scholarships are available if needed. Please contact Cristina Schoeck at cbschoeck@gmail.com or Mark Hand at markhand73@gmail.com.  

Coffee Hour Hosts Needed
Members of the Fellowship Committee are asking members and friends to sign up for co-hosting coffee hour on Sunday mornings after our 10 a.m. service. Please consider serving as a host. You can sign up to host a coffee hour on the sign up underneath the name tags.  If you can serve as a host or have any questions, please contact Gloria Kimball (860-228-3817) or Lorraine Kreeger (860-643-4082).  Thank you!           

Upcoming Sunday Worship Servers 
Ushers for this Sunday: Karen Risley and Dave Henry
Ushers for next week: Margot and Joe Sheehan
Deacon of the Day for this morning: Margot Sheehan
Deacon of the Day for next week: Jan Andrews
Liturgist: Skylar Haines and Ginny Miller              Acolyte: Zeke Violette
Call to Worship: Ian Fagan
Coffee Hour Hosts for this morning: Cindy Brown and Karen Cohen
Coffee Hour Host for next week: Phyllis Kurz  
Greeter for this morning: Joe Sheehan
Greeter for next week: Sharon McKenna


Scripture Reading and Prayer for the Week
Luke 3: 1-18

O God, help us to be mindful of your presence.  Help us to rejoice as we wait to see your glory.  Help us to proclaim the peace you promise.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.
Contact Info
Sally Fritsche
Administrative Assistant
672 Gilead St
Hebron, Ct   06248
Office Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until noon (Parish House)