Hancock UCC Weekly Messenger for January 22, 2023
Many gifts, one Spirit, one love known in many ways.
In our difference is blessing, from diversity we praise
one Giver, one Word, one Spirit, one God known in many ways,
hallowing our days. For the Giver, for the gifts, praise, praise, praise!
Upcoming meetings, events, and opportunities
Choir will practice at 9:15 Sunday morning, to prepare for future services.
Join our Sunday Worship Zoom link at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88327467219?pwd=Mis3ME4waGE1RmRBN zFXK3VUaDJXdz09
Meeting ID: 883 2746 7219 Passcode: 131738
(Posted later for viewing on Facebook and YouTube)
Our meetings are open to all. If you would like to attend a meeting, please let Vicky know and she will provide the Zoom link, or you are welcome to attend in person.
Outreach will meet on Thursday, January 19th at 4:00 pm
Council will meet on Friday, January 20th at 12:00 pm
We are bringing in new members on Sunday, February 5th at our 10:00 Worship Service.
If you are interested in becoming a member of our church please speak to Pastor TJ
or one of our Deacons for more information.
Rev. Dr. Nick Davis will lead our service on February 19th while Pastor TJ is on vacation
Liz Charles McGough, Director of Pilgrim Lodge will bring us a message on Feb. 26th
Andy Matthews and Charles Dayhoff from Loaves & Fishes will join us on March 12th
Pilgrim Lodge - Save the dates
Adult Lighten Up Loosen Up Camp (LULU)
August 7 - 11, Monday - Friday
We’ll all be ready for camp after our Church Fair weekend -
Register by the night or stay for all four nights - invite a friend or two!
Please keep the following people in your prayers this week: The family and friends of Herbie Hodgkins who died Friday, January 13; the family and friends of Kathleen Adams Ciociola who died Dec. 19th (lifelong friend of Kathy McGlinchey and her sister Patti Wotton); the family and friends of Peggy Kubach Wight who died Thursday, January 12; Judith Crowley hospitalized after a fall resulting in a broken nose and broken elbow; for a church family experiencing a mental health crisis - prayers for effective intervention and treatment and healing for all; Debbie R. recovering from MOHS surgery; Steve Crabtree in assisted-living recovering from illness; Barbara Reeve recovering from lumbar surgery; Ginger and John Cunningham; John Wood; Andrew and Tamara; Austin’s cousin Danny; Kathy’s sister Patti Wotton; Roberta Scott; Betty Johnston; Betty’s step-daughter Mollie; Margaret B; Chris Hudson’s step-father Arthur; Kenny & Joy & David; Liz & Jim; Gary Edwards; Bruce’s sister Lynn; Renata and the women she cares for; Eleanor’s step-daughter Holly; Tom & Judy’s son Andrew and his family; Cynthia; Nancy; all individuals and families experiencing addictions; all caregivers; all affected by memory loss; those living with depression and other mental health issues; all in your heart…
Starting this month, and through the cold months, we will be setting the third Sunday of the month aside to take monetary donations to augment The Minister’s Discretionary Fund (helps congregants and community members in need of financial assistance for food, fuel, etc.). If you would like to donate to this important fund, please notate it on the bottom of your check.
Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry could always use your help. If you are able to volunteer, please contact Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 207-801-0688.
January Birthdays and Anniversaries coming up:
23 Avabelle Havey
Contact Us at Union Congregational Church of Hancock:
Due to recent issues with our email account, Pastor TJ now has a new email address.
When writing to TJ, please begin using this new email address: email@example.com
TJ can be reached by cell phone at 207-323-6743 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vicky can be reached at 207-422-3100 or by email at email@example.com
Jen can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
News from local non-profit organizations
The newly-opened temporary Warming Center at Healthy Acadia's INSPIRE Center in Ellsworth (24 Church Street) is providing safety and security to our community members.
In addition to our regular 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. hours offered each night, seven days a week, effective January 14 - February 26, 2023, the Warming Center will be open
from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday,.
For questions or additional information please email email@example.com.
The BTS Center (thebtscenter.org) invites you to join them for upcoming offerings:
· On Thursday, February 2, they will host a Lament with Earth event.
· And please join them on Thursday, February 16 for a very special event with Debra Rienstra, author of Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth.
News from the Maine Conference
From our Conference Minister – Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola
January 17, 2023
Honoring our past...living our present…anticipating our future…
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
As Pastors, we take Jesus’ command to heart: to go and baptize and make disciples. Such is one sacred part of our Pastoral office. I’ll admit the next verse gives me some pause, as we pastor Congregational folks: obey? Obey what God has commanded you, Pastor? Our beloved congregations (and the entire conference) may be very quick to remind us that we are not “Herr Pastor” and do not have the ultimate word on authority and beckoning to obedience, even if we do speak in Jesus’ name.
Certainly, we are not the only ones to whom Jesus is speaking. Jesus is telling all followers of God and God’s ways to make disciples and to encourage folks to live by God’s ways. And God’s ways are the ways Jesus taught and lived: to welcome the marginalized, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, free the oppressed; to make the powerful care.
But I think I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Following Jesus and encouraging others to do likewise is the “present” part of our title above: “honoring our past…living our present…anticipating our future.” We live into the present moment by following Jesus now and here.
And yet, how we live the present is very much influenced by how we have always done things—our past practices of following. We have ideas and practices that are often based in the rich heritage of our ancestors. Jesus knew that, as he often called to mind ancestors of faith: Abraham and Moses and the Prophets. And we as Pastors and me as Conference Minister are keenly aware that living our present is greatly informed by honoring our past and the people in our past in whose footsteps we tread; the cloud of witnesses that surrounds us. I am just beginning to learn of the cloud of witnesses of our beloved Maine Conference. Being a lover of local history, I welcome my burgeoning knowledge as folks are willing to share with me.
The “anticipating our future” piece has gotten a little more challenging for all of us. Certainly, the pandemic has urged us to wonder what our future will look like in the next 5 or 10 years or more. Some churches have not survived the impact and are struggling to stay open. Almost all churches are struggling to make ends meet, including offering a livable wage for their pastors. And although we may think the pandemic is the only contributor to wondering about our future with some trepidation, the downward trend of the number of churches and size of churches has been occurring over the last 60 years.
So how do we anticipate our future? Does God have a future for us? In our churches? In the Maine Conference? Across our denomination and other denominations?
For me, the question is not “does God have a future for us?” The questions is “what is the future God has for us?” And I believe in my heart of hearts that God offers us hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11) just as God has offered hope and a future throughout the history of God’s people. When the Hebrews saw all hope vanish in exile with a destroyed Temple, God promised them hope and a future.
Not only that, but God also promises to “make all things new.” The most hopeful scripture that I have found for God’s promise of newness is found in Isaiah 43:18-19:
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
But God, if we don’t remember the former things, remember how things once were, are we dishonoring our past? I think God honors us when we honor our past, just as Jesus honored the ancestors of our faith. And yet, we have a present in which we are living that beckons us to newness of a future that “springs forth”, making “a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” What is this newness?
Can we perceive it?
My friends, this has been a long treatise to lead into an invitation to attend one of the four workshops I am facilitating: “Alive and Thrive, Any Size.” Look for registration this week and bring two or three of your lay leaders. All are hybrid. I encourage in person attendance if at all possible.
The time frame is 9am to 3pm.
Through these workshops we will indeed honor our past, live into our present, and anticipate the future God has for us, with new ideas, new ways of being church. Let’s come together and ponder, wonder, consider, and try some possible newness God has for us not only to survive but to thrive. And as we do, we hear the voice of Jesus in Matthew reverberating in our ears: “I am with you to the end of the age.”
I am partnered with you as we look together toward our future,
Also, this spring, Marisa will be offering a vitality workshop, Alive & Thrive at Any Size, at four locations around the state. The workshops focus on church vitality for the
21st century, including the topics of:
● Becoming a mission church: reaching out into the greater community
● Engaging community partners for mission
● “Right sizing” governance to prevent burn out as numbers in the pews decrease
● Creative ways for pastors and lay leaders to work together
● Reaching the unchurched and inviting them into the life of the church
Please register for one of the following events:
Hybrid options are available at the April 22 and June 10 meetings.
Questions? Contact Marisa firstname.lastname@example.org