Weekly Newsletter
Week of June 2nd - June 8th
Gilead Congregational Church, UCC

Meetings and Services this week:

Wednesday, June 3rd:
-7:00 p.m. Live Stream Wednesday Evening Music and Prayer on Gilead Church Facebook Page
-7:30 p.m. Technology Committee on Zoom

Thursday, June 4th:
-7:00 p.m. Deacons on Zoom

Sunday, June 7th:
-10:00 a.m. Sunday Worship Service with Communion Live Streamed on Gilead Church Facebook Page
-11:00 a.m. Coffee Hour on Zoom
-1:00 p.m. Pinwheel Parade

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.
Pr ior 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.

We will also be sharing Holy Communion together. Before the time of the service, you’re invited to prepare some bread, a slice or a small loaf of any kind of bread. In some parts of the world tortilla, rice cake, cassava are used as this element which is defined not as a wheat product but as the most common food of the people. Let it be something you alone or you with others in your house may break and share. Prepare a cup or cups of juice—perhaps grape or cranberry. Use whatever you have available, knowing that God makes the uncommon holy. 

On Sunday morning, set these elements in the space where you experience worship electronically with our faith community. Perhaps you want to put them on a lovely cloth or fabric that reminds you of a special time or a person deeply connected with you in the communion of saints. Perhaps you will light a candle or place a flower or plant or the photograph of someone you wish to bring into the circle of faith beside the bread and cup. 

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.

Wednesday, June 3rd at 7 p.m.

J oin 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, June 7th
Join us at 10 a.m. for our Sunday worship service with Communion.
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).

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 833 6733 6706
Password: 533193
One tap mobile
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PPP Loan

Our Board of Trustees applied for a loan through the Small Business Administration ' s Payroll Protection Program. The loan was approved and received in mid-May. The terms are that it can be used to cover costs of salaries and utilities for the eight week period after which it was received. We are thankful to have this cushion during these uncertain times. We are also grateful for the giving of our Gilead Church members and friends. Our giving continues to be strong, even in the midst of the uncertainty of these days, and for that we are very grateful. Our Board of Mission’s Hunger Action Team is working with the food banks, senior centers, schools, AHM Youth and Family Services, and town administrators to ensure that meals will continue for our communities children and families during July and August. We also want to thank Barry MacLachlan and Bob Kulow for all of their work in completing the application and seeing the process through. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Barry or speak with Pastor Denise.  
Five Item Food Drive

O ur local food bank, Hebron Interfaith Human Services (HIHS), is in need of specific food donations. Through this 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 .

Message from Stephanie Haines

May 28, 2020

Dear Gilead Family,

There is an old Yiddish proverb, “We plan, God laughs,” which expresses a truth I think everyone can relate to. At every stage of life we make plans, setting out a path before us and imagining what it will be like when we have “arrived.”

As you may be aware, this past April, I was “planning” to start a new full-time position with Village for Children and Families as their Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant. Needless to say, I found my plans changed as the coronavirus pandemic became apparent and early childhood centers, schools and programs closed across our state.

This past week, I received clearance to begin my work with the Village. I will start my new position on June 29th. In addition, I look forward to the opportunity to serve our church through the summer sharing our children’s messages and providing our summer Sunday school program, as appropriate and needed. My last Sunday will be September 6th.

I have been most grateful to have been able to carry on serving the Gilead Church during this uncertain time. While all our lives have been turned around by the coronavirus and social distancing, my commitment was and continues to be ignited to go on with doing my part to share God’s message of unity, peace, love and hope to our community, one another and beyond. We will continue to get through this together!

In love and service,

Stephanie Haines
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 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.

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 between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. this Sunday, June 7th from the Board of CE, a pinwheel to “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 .

Congratulations to our Confirmands!

Congratulations to our Confirmands! This past Sunday, May 31st, they led our service of worship and received the Rite of Confirmation. Pictured below are: Amy and Allison Aston, Alec Byrne, Gage Haines, Jared Langevin, Fernando Martins, Jason Tew, and Ryan Woods. We wish them all God's blessings on the journey of life and faith, and give thanks to God for their participation in the life of our congregation! We also want to thank their mentors (Annette Langevin, Allegra Weir, Jon Kimball, David Kline, Les Kurz, Brian Byrne, Jeff Haines and Tim Fellman) who supported them. And special thanks to Nathalie Peltier-Horton for once again co-teaching our class with Pastor Denise.
Successful Cow Mingle Fundraiser

Thank you to all those who supported our Confirmation Class and the Cow Mingle Fundraiser to benefit Foodshare. The big event took place at Mapleleaf farm. Congratulations  to the Cohen family (pictured below are Karen and Sarah Cohen) who were the lucky winners! Our appreciation goes out to all those who purchased a time slot and supported the important work Foodshare is doing in these days to feed and support our neighbors. To date we have raised $2,040. Please know your generosity and support means so much to us!
Virtual Walk for Water
A virtual walk will be held on Saturday, June 13, 2020, as the final event in a multi-year fundraising project to raise $15,000 to drill a well that will provide clean water for drinking and sanitation to a peaceful village in the Republic of South Sudan. Suggested donation to register for the event is $20 and the first 25 registrants will receive a free water bottle with their registration. All other registrants will receive a sticker when they register. For a $25 donation, register for the walk and get a free t-shirt. Contact Sarah Cohen (sarah.cohen@rhamschools.org) or visit https://bit.ly/2XoRmii to register. Thank you for your support!!

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.

Puzzle Swap

Thanks to our Fellowship Committee and to all who supported our puzzle swap this past Saturday, May 30th. Pictured below, in case you don't recognize them with their face masks on, is Judy Brandi and Penny Besmond.
Lord's Bounty II Cookbooks

Our Gilead Church Lord's Bounty II Cookbooks are here and our Women's Fellowship is offering them for sale. If you missed their drive through sale this past Sunday, please contact Margaret Gibbs at 860-384-4327, if you'd like to purchase one. Margaret is willing to deliver! 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!
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 Weeder Needed for August 23rd!

Thanks so much to everyone who signed up to help weed our Church grounds and the Garden of Remembrance. We only have one week-August 23rd-that hasn't been claimed. It usually doesn't take more than an hour to weed. Please consider signing up for this one and only remaining week. You can come and do the weeding around the Church and Garden of Remembrance any time during 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!
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:

Foodshare Extends Drive-thru Food Distribution at Rentschler Field
Distribution dates:
·        Weekdays - Today through Friday, May 29; and continues
·        Weekdays - Monday, June 1 through Tuesday, June 30.
Distribution times:
·        8:30 am to 12:00 noon;
·        Gates will close at Noon;
·        Shorter wait time between 9:30 am and 11:30 am.
Distribution address: 
·        615 Silver Lane, East Hartford, CT 06118 – Silver Lane entrance.
Important information:
·        One allocation of food per car per day
·        Open to ALL – no ID needed nor income requirements.
Local Grab & Go Food Distributions
There are over 60 local Mobile Foodshare sites currently operating across Greater Hartford with distributions of free produce  every other week , and over 200 local food pantries and meal programs in Greater Hartford. Please take advantage of these programs. Here is how to find them.
  • Mobile Foodshare is an outdoor pantry-on-wheels, to find a site near you please text “FOODSHARE” to 85511 or go to www.foodshare.org/mobile.
  • To find a food pantry, community kitchen and other resources near you, call 2-1-1 or go to https://www.211ct.org/.
Volunteer & Donations
If you are interested in volunteering or would like to donate to help Foodshare continue to serve our neighbors please visit  www.foodshare.org
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.

Administrative Assistant Office Hours 

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

Scripture Reading and Prayer for the Week
Matthew 28: 16-20

Holy, holy, holy God, you love us by calling us into life.  You love us by giving us the breath of your Spirit.  You love us by journeying with us always.  Help us to journey with each other in love and peace.  Holy One, send your Spirit to us, that we may be empowered to follow and to serve you in the world. In the name of Jesus Christ, 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).