Weekly Newsletter
Week of March 25th - March 31st
Gilead Congregational Church, UCC

Meetings and Services this week:

Sunday, March 29th:
-10:00 a.m. Live Stream Worship Service on Gilead Church Facebook Page

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: 8:30 a.m.

Worship w/Sunday School and Choir: 10:00 a.m.

Summer Worship: 
9:00 a.m.

Gathered: 1748
Meeting House: 1838
Fellowship Hall: 2008
We are an Open & Affirming Church
Lent: Week 5

Scripture: Matthew 11: 28 - 12: 8

John McCain: “Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone.”           

Rabbi Harold Kushner: “Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power…Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it.”

Federick Buechner: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Yasmin Mogahed: “Your life is nothing more than a love story. Between you and God. Nothing more. Every person, every experience, every gift, every loss, every pain is sent to your path for one reason and one reason only: to bring you back to God.”

What six words would you use to identify yourself?
Where do you think your gladness and the world's hunger meet?

Faithful Source of Life, help us to discover our purpose and grow closer to you. When our faith feels weak and feeble, undergird it with your strength and compassion. As our faith grows and develops, may it be centered on your abundant love for us and your call to love our neighbors. Amen.  
Wednesday Evening Music and Prayer

Join us tonight at 7 p.m. on our Gilead Church Facebook page 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. We hope it will sustain and strengthen you in these days.

Sunday Worship on Facebook

Join us this Sunday, March 29th at 10:00 a.m. for worship! We'll be gathering on our Gilead Church Facebook page for a live stream worship service. In order to be a part of this service, please join our Gilead Church Facebook page and tune in at 10:00 a.m. Prior to the 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.

Supporting One Another

As a community of faith, we want to support one another in these trying days. If you have a need for help with errands, could use assistance with tasks around your home or yard, or could just use a conversation, please know that we are here for you! Please contact our Church office (860-228-3077) and speak with Pastor Denise or Stephanie.

We are also working on starting an old-fashioned letter writing campaign! Our hope is to connect children and youth with any and all adult members who would like to participate. If you would like to be a part of this, whether young or older, please contact Pastor Denise to let her know (gcc@gileadchurch.net or 860-228-3077).

Ideas for Practicing Faith at Home

With all activities cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 easy, quick suggestions on how you can practice faith together at home. Please click the following link for some fun and creative ideas:  https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3Ad31086b3-514e-40a7-9e38-2642205f2b28
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 all begin to "socially distance" ourselves from one another, there are ways to care for our neighbors and help our community. Below are some ways you can help:
  • The Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic is in need of our help. They have requested the following items: Cereal, Canned Corn, Canned Carrots, Canned Peas, Canned Soup, Tuna, Ranch Salad Dressing, Italian Salad Dressing and Canned Pasta. There is a tub outside of the main Church doors labeled "Food Donations" for you to drop off your donations. The tub will be out and available every day between approximately 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

  • If you know of a neighbor or friend who could use a caring meal, Gina Marie's Restaurant in town, with 24 hour notice, is offering family meals for delivery within Hebron. You can place your order over the phone by calling 860-228-9375. Meals for a family of four cost around $30 and ordering one is a great way to support a family and also a local business at a challenging time.

  • Journey Home, an organization that our church has supported in the past is also requesting donations for their work to end homelessness in the capital region of our state. Donations can be made online at journeyhomect.org.

  • 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.


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.

Lenten Prayer Cards

If you would like a packet of our Lenten Prayer cards, which are included in our weekly e-newsletter, a tub (pictured below) is set up outside of the Church as you enter from the parking lot. The lid will be removed each morning by 8 a.m. and covered again in the evening around 5 p.m. We'll be putting out a limited number of card packets at a time and replenishing them as needed. If you happen to stop by and find there aren't any cards available, please call the Church office (860-228-3077) and we will get them to you. Also, if these times aren't convenient for you or if you would like a packet delivered, please call and we will get them to you.
Easter Memorial / Flower Order Form

Easter Flowers - Last Day to order has been extended to March 29th
_____ In lieu of plants, I would like to make a donation to the Church         
          Memorial Fund (suggested donation is $10).         
______ I would like to order a 5” pot Pansies at $5.75                
______ I would like to order a 6” pot Spring Mix at $9.75

______ I would like to order a 6” pot Tulips at $9.75

______ I would like to order a 6” pot Daffodils at $9.75

______ I would like to order a 6" pot Easter Lily at $10.75        
______ I would like to order a 6" pot Oriental Lily at $10.75

TOTAL NUMBER OF PLANTS - ________      TOTAL $ AMOUNT -________   
Please "X" one of the following:         
 Plant(s) will be picked up: ______         
 Plant(s) are being donated: ______         
(Please note: Dedications made in memory or honor of loved ones will be listed the same whether flowers are ordered or a donation is made to the  Memorial Fund.)         
Given in Honor Of: _______________________________________________________________________________           
Given in Memory Of: ________________________________________________________________________________   
Purchased by: __________________________________         
Please give order form w/payment of cash/check to Katie McClaine or send order/payment to: Katie McClaine, 860 Gilead Street, Hebron, CT 06248  (860-460-3221)       

***(Checks payable to: Gilead Congregational Church)            
*** Please provide separate payments if you are ordering both flowers and making a donation to the Memorial Fund. Thank you!         
If you have ordered Easter flowers and if we are unable to share Easter Sunday worship service in our Sanctuary, then we will make arrangements to get your flowers to you.

A Walk Through Holy Week

Our Board of Christian Education is working on creatively making our "Walk Through Holy Week" happen this year even if we cannot gather for it. Watch for more information and details about how young people will be invited to experience the week leading to Jesus' resurrection through the book, “Easter Love letters from God ” by Glenys Nellist. If you should have any questions please contact Karen Risley at  krisley@comcast.net or Sandy Waldo at slwvt747@gmail.com .  

Easter Dinner Collection Postponed

In light of recent circumstances, our Board of Missions will be providing supermarket gift cards to support local families served by the Hebron Interfaith Human Services food pantry. If you have already purchased items for our annual Easter dinner collection, they can be dropped off in the bin located outside of our Church doors nearest the parking lot between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. These items will be brought to the food bank and will be shared. Please know that we are in contact with our local food pantries and the Foodshare mobile distributors to offer our support, as needed, in these days.
In the meantime, if children in Sunday School would like to make and decorate special Easter cards, they would be appreciated and a beautiful expression of love and hope to local families in need. Please just decorate the outside with a springtime theme. We will glue a special “prayer for hope” inside. Cards can be placed inside the same bin before Thursday, April 2nd. If you should have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Stephanie Haines at  stephanie.haines@hotmail.com .  

Gilead Church Photos Needed!

Ciara Franzese is in the process of creating a video montage of photos from this year to share with the congregation on Children's Sunday, June 14th . It is always a special opportunity to reflect on our year together through a photo presentation and we hope you will share your captured memories at the Gilead Church with us! Photos can be emailed to Ciara at gileadphotos@yahoo.com or can be put on disc/flash drive and left in the bucket on the door of the Parish House. Please share your photos with Ciara on or before Sunday, May 17th. Thank you! 
Celebration for Stephanie Haines
 We are hoping and planning to have time to thank Stephanie and to celebrate her ministry among us. While we are not sure when this will be, we do invite you to join in a collection we are taking for a thank you gift. Your contributions can be given to Katie McClaine or mailed to the Church Office (672 Gilead Street, Hebron, CT 06248). Checks can be made payable to Gilead Church with “Gift for Stephanie” noted in the memo. Please speak with Pastor Denise if you have any questions.

Hartford Foundation for Public Giving - Hebron Advisory Committee

Hebron will be receiving a grant of $100,000 from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to help meet the needs of the community. Residents are needed to serve on an Advisory Committee to determine how to best use the funds.
This 7-9 member committee will represent all residents of Hebron. The Committee’s responsibilities are to identify community needs and design a grantmaking process that engages residents and ensures that the dollars awarded will have a beneficial impact on town residents. Hartford Foundation staff will provide guidance on topics such as participatory decision making, grantmaking and fund development, as needed.
Who can be on the Advisory Committee?
·       You must be a Hebron resident, age 14 or over.
·       Elected officials are not eligible.
·       Members will need to abide by a conflict of interest policy.
A selection committee was formed to establish the initial advisory committee. Members of the selection committee include Denise Esslinger, Donna Jolly, Judith Podell, Joel Rosenberg and Michele Sinkez.
Residents who want to learn more and apply to be on the Advisory Committee can visit www.hfpg.org/hebroncf . Applications are also available at Town Hall and Douglas Library. The deadline to apply has been extended to May 2nd.
If you have any questions, you can contact the selection committee at hebroncommunityfund@gmail.com
Silver Lake Conference Center

Silver Lake has announced its offerings for the summer 2020 conference season. Details and registration are available at www.silverlakect.org along with downloads of the forms needed for registration. Copies of the Silver Lake brochure are also available on the table underneath the name tags. 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.

Gilead Cooks! 

The Lord’s Bounty Volume 2 Cookbook is in great need of more recipes!!! We need 300 recipes and to date have just about half that amount. So, as you find yourself at home, during these days of social distancing, please take some time to share your favorite recipes with us.

You can send your recipes in an email to Judy Brandi at Judith_Brandi@yahoo.com.

We look forward to including your recipes in this new cookbook. We hope you will encourage your children to get involved too! And, if you have already sent us recipes, please consider sharing a few more! We look forward to your contributions to what we hope will become a much loved and famous cookbook!

5th Annual Gilead Open Golf Tournament Postponed

In light of current events, the Gilead Open Committee has decided to postpone the tournament scheduled for May 16th at Blackledge Country Club. We hope to still hold the event later this year and will communicate a new date as soon one is determined. In the meantime the Committee hopes everyone stays healthy, both physically and spiritually. 

Gilead Open Committee: Ken Cook, Lisa Cox, Harvey Desruisseaux, Tim Fellman, Glen Hadley, Lauren and David Henry, Jack Hooker and Doug Stewart.  

Congratulations to Barbara van Achterberg on becoming a great grandmother for the first time on March 18th when her granddaughter and her husband, Faith and Jonathan Good, welcomed Nathaniel. 

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
Jeremiah 29: 1-14

God of mystery and wonder, both in times of glory and praise and in times when we don't know what is going on around us, still you are God.  Remind us of your presence in all of the twists and turns of our lives, the unexpected and the routine.  Lead us to praise you and give you thanks in all times and places, in Jesus' name we pray. 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).