Spring 2021
Happy Birthday to all members and friends 
born in the months of March, April, and May
March 4 Mark Warner
March 5 Gregory Foster
March 5 Jan Fiske
March 8 Douglas Martland
March 10 Shirley Dunlap
March 10 Ani Gaden
March 13 Judy White-Orlando
March 16 Andrea Orlando
March 17 David Palmer
March 17 Suzanne Jackson
March 17 Sarah Palmer
March 18 David Deering
March 18 Zachary Kaplan
March 23 Kate Rose
March 26 Joseph Major
March 26 Sarah Kennedy
March 28 Paul DeMille
March 28 Wally Hubley
March 31 Lynda-Lee Sheridan
March 31 Mark Meehan
April 2 Brian Quigley
April 3 Shelley Prince
April 14 Kristen Beach
April 20 James Thorne
April 22 Aiden Dyer
April 23 Becky Warner
April 24 Lisa Thorne
April 26 Howard Beach
April 26 Tina Greene
April 26 Brooke Wright
May 2 Deborah Beach
May 2 Audrey Appleby
May 3 Arianna Bacon
May 4 Christine Zbuska
May 4 Max Caffelle
May 6 Eleanor Foster
May 6 Jean Kent-Kennedy
May 12 Jenny Caffelle
May 12 Helen Duncan
May 15 Darwin Stapleton
May 17 Loretta DeGrazia
May 18 Ale Kuncaitis
May 20 Debra Ayles
May 22 John Martland
May 22 Kevin Quigley
May 22 Donna Stapleton
May 25 Jennie Maholchic
May 26 LéKai Fleming
May 27 Susan Moorhead
May 28 Beth Quigley
May 29 Daryl Warner
May 29 Michael Warner
May 29 Mark Whipple
May 30 Denise Kuncaitis
May 30 Ethel Schow
May 31 Glenn Kidder
Happy Anniversary to all members and friends celebrating in the months of 
March, April, and May

March 1 Kim and Ellen Hollon
March 11 Tony and Phyllis Andrade
March 18 Pastor Shelly and Beth
April 10 Doug and Kate Rose
April 26 David and Diane Deering
May 15 Jean Kent-Kennedy and Stephen Kennedy
May 16 Glenn Kidder and Cecelia Brosnahan
May 19 Daryl and Becky Warner
May 19 Bruce and Betsy Lusa
If we have missed listing your birthday or anniversary, we sincerely apologize. Please email the church office with this information so that we don't miss it again! 
Faithful Future Planning
for East Church
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . “—Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thanks be to God, we, the people who are East Congregational Church, have a vision and we have a mission.

Our Vision
Drawn together in the mystery of God and led by Christ, we will grow in the Spirit by engaging faith, embracing change, and seeking justice for all.

Our Mission
Building and serving community in Christ’s name.

Now, it’s time for a plan. 

Some imagine a “strategic plan” with goals, strategies, and specific objectives to carry forward, incarnate, embody, and animate our vision and mission. Some imagine a season of “scenario planning” for crafting a number of plausible, relevant, and challenging futures, each with the capacity to guide us in giving life to our mission and vision.

This is a season for Spirit-led and Spirit-fueled planning for East Church. No doubt many of us have encountered one or many versions of the following quote or notion.
If you fail to prepare,
you are preparing to fail.
No matter who said or says it, its wisdom is clear.

We also claim, as people of faith, that even though we do not know what the future holds, we know that our God in Christ holds the future. Within the prophet Jeremiah’s letters to the exiles in Babylon, and within our hearts, reside this promise, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” [Jeremiah 29:11] Yes, the future of East Church, thanks be to God, is in God’s hands, filled with hope and building and serving community in Christ’s name. 

At the same time, our role, as the followers of Jesus who presently incarnate East Church, is to be cartographers or weavers of that future together. We are the ones who draw the maps, chart the course, choose the weft, warp and patterns of, and live out, our shared future. To live out this call, in this place and in this time, is to faithfully plan together. And so we shall. 

A dedicated group of us are now beginning to look clearly and prayerfully at our East Church assets to see where we are and where we want to be in the future and then strategize actions to take now or soon to get where we believe God wants us to go. Among the assets we will examine and explore are our staff, endowment, building, organizational structure, income, expenses, and pandemic learning.

Some questions we will explore together may be: should we change committees and/or staff make-up, should we redirect focus of the budget/endowment, should we continue to renovate/invest in the building to support our congregation and building partners or should we sell the building? 

Together we are called to create a faithful strategic plan or series of equally viable scenario plans that will guide us to best support our Mission and Vision with all our assets. 

If the Spirit is moving in you to be part of this new planning team for East Church it is not too late to reach out by phone or email to Pastor Shelly or our Moderator Paul Hodlin, now.

We also give thanks to God for every one of you and your prayers of support and encouragement.
A Message From the Deacons
As you may know, one of the functions of the Deacons is to nurture the well being of the congregation, and also the greater community. We try to connect with individuals who need a little extra support, so if you know of someone who might need some, contact Pastor Shelly or one of us. 

One method of outreach in this pandemic has been partnering with our East Church Card Ministry. At Christmastime we helped to write 200 cards that were distributed to residents and front line workers at the nursing home at Marina Bay. We also created and delivered the same number recently for Valentine’s Day. After Christmas, we received a nice voicemail on the church office phone from one of the residents, who actually used to attend our church for a few years! Pastor Shelly returned this call and this man said he was very heartened to receive a card, and fondly recalled his connection with the church. He commented that many other residents and staff were also touched by the cards. Isn’t that cool? God is good! And so are his messengers.

The current Deacons are Sue M, Betsy M,(co-chairs), Brian C, Loretta D, Bill H, Ellen H, Linda M, Linda B, Mark Me. 
A Message From Our Moderator
Dear Congregants,

The East Congregational Church Phasing Forward Discernment Team met on February 9, 2021 to discuss reopening plans for our church. This group includes: Pastor Shelly, Beth Olson, Susan Moorhead, Lynn Salmonsen, Ellen Hollon, Betsy Maholchic, and Paul Hodlin. The group was first formed after a May 2021 Council meeting and is made up of our Deacon Co-Chairs, our Music Director, our Interim Director for Christian Education, our Pastor, and our Moderator. 

We convened in September 2020 to assess conditions for possibly reopening the church, met again in November to revisit the status of reopening, and again on Feb. 9. We would encourage anyone who has any thoughts, questions, or feedback for the committee to contact the committee member of your choice.

At our November meeting we set the date for our earliest reopening for March of 2021 and set the meeting date in February as a time to review the reopening in a more informed light. Indeed, there have been some encouraging trends since November in that we now have multiple vaccines and infection rates and deaths due to infection have begun to decline according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. However, there are also discouraging signs as both infections and deaths in the United States spiked in November and December. Additionally, the rollout of vaccines has been less than robust. According to a New York Times article dated February 10, 2021, citing CDC data, Massachusetts has injected 9.4% of the population with the first dosage of the Coronavirus Vaccine. Thank goodness for Rhode Island, where only 8.1% of the population has received the first vaccine, making Mass look respectable. Alaska has injected 15% of their population. According to this same article, at the current rate of injection 70% of the U.S population will be injected with both doses by September of 2021.

Pastor Shelly noted that the Catholic Churches in Milton have reopened for worship in person, requiring masks, reservations for attendance, and limited numbers. There are other examples of churches that have opened in Milton but there are many more examples of churches that continue to provide services remotely.

The Phasing Forward Committee quickly recommended that reopening the church for in person services in March would present too much risk to the congregation and the steps to address safety would alter the service too much to make the risk palatable. 

We then explored a more reasonable date for opening and came upon June 20 as a point where it might be safe to open and a date that would not disrupt planning for remote Christian Education, music, services and our annual meeting. 

We then began a discussion of ways to continue to provide remote service for those congregants who could not attend services in person. These discussions led to proposals for having a small number of people meet in person at the church to experiment with the technical aspects of a hybrid model of services. We would look, for example, at ways to assure appropriate distance for in person worshipers and camera placement for remote viewers.

It was at this point that some members of the committee shared very serious concerns about meeting in person to plan for reopening. At this point in time, only two members of the committee either have or are scheduled for their second injection. There is also unsettling news about Coronavirus mutation variants that are even more contagious. Additionally, we do not have a level of testing for the virus in our state that could rapidly identify new outbreaks in our population. Based on our current state of information we felt it was too early to confidently set a date for reopening or to set dates for rehearsing an opening.

We remain hopeful that we can reopen sometime in June provided the administration of vaccines increases dramatically and in-home testing becomes widely available. 

The Phasing Forward Discernment Team will meet again on May 11, 2021, to assess progress and reconsider CDC data and professional recommendations regarding infection, testing, and vaccination rates. 

We also look forward to hearing from you and other congregants interested and willing to share your opinions and information.
What's Happening in the Wider Community
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NOTE: Congregation Beth Shalom is receiving donations on behalf of MICA. All funds raised through this GoFundMe will go directly to support the MICA Scholarship Program Each year a cohort of Milton High School Students are selected to participate ...

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Ongoing CCTRJ Book Group - Caste: The Origins of Our...

CCTRJ Ongoing Book Group CASTE: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson This Thursday March 18, 2021 at 7PM. Come Join Us every other Thursday. We are reading one part every two weeks.

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Pilgrimage to the National Memorial for Peace and...

In Spring 2021, City Mission will lead a virtual pilgrimage to Montgomery, Alabama. The journey will explore the manifestations of historic, systemic, and individual racism and the trauma they perpetuate, and how everyone is impacted. Acknowledge ...

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Interface Referral Helpline for Milton Residents

The town of Milton has made available to all Milton residents a FREE mental health referral helpline. What does this mean? If you are struggling with Covid sadness, parenting issues, substance use, anxiety, or any other mental health issue big or ...

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UCC Issues Appeal in Response to Winter Storms - United...

The United Church of Christ is issuing an appeal to assist people affected by this year's Winter Storms. The impact of massive and intense storms is being felt across a wide swath of the United States. So far Texas has been particularly hard hit, ...

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East Church Announcements
Continued Suspension of
In-Person Gatherings at East Congregational Church
until at least June 20, 2021
At its most recent meeting, and with the approval and blessing of our Church Council, our East Church Phasing Forward Discernment Team determined that, for the health and well-being of all, we will continue to suspend the vast majority of in-person gatherings, including worship, at East Congregational Church at least until June 20, 2021.

Our Discernment Team and Church Council will continue to be in conversation on this matter and will continue to issue updates as needed.

Worship, Sunday School, meetings, and gatherings
of East Congregational Church
will continue to be held remotely via video conference
between now and at least June 20, 2021.

All other building-use partners are being notified of this policy, and all other large in-person gatherings continue to be suspended, including those of Emmaus Church. We will continue to have occasional kitchen use, and possible additional building use, by very small groups, if pre-approved on a case-by-case basis.

Our East Church Phasing Forward Discernment Team is comprised of our Moderator, Paul; Deacon Co-Chairs, Sue and Betsy; Organist and Choir Director, Lynn; Interim CE Director, Beth; At-Large Member, Ellen; and Pastor Shelly. Please feel free to reach out to anyone of us, or any Church Council Member, with any questions, concerns, or feedback you may have.

"If you would like a statement of your annual donations to East Church for 2020, please contact one of your Treasurers - Kristine H. or Janice P. Thank you. "

We continue to gather for worship digitally 
AT 10:00 AM 
and you can join us from home 
or virtually anywhere

Rebroadcasts of Worship Services
are also available 
on Milton Access Television 
Channel 9 
on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10AM 
and anytime through the Milton Access Website

Click HERE to access the latest services online at
Milton Access Television.

East Congregational Church, UCC 
(617) 698-0270 | office@eastchurch.org | www.eastchurch.org