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2/11/24 Weekly Messenger

Hancock UCC Weekly Messenger for February 11, 2024


Beyond the church, a leper Christ takes each untouchable by hand,

Must beg the rich for crumb and crust–  we are the rich, the daily fed.


Upcoming services, meetings, events, and opportunities


Join us for Worship in our Sanctuary or on Zoom at 10:00 a.m., 

or watch the recording later on Facebook or YouTube 


Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 822 2425 2518

 Passcode: 755650



Our meetings are open to all. If you would like to attend a meeting, please let TJ or Vicky know and they will provide the Zoom link, or you are welcome to attend in person.


Deacons will meet in person and on Zoom, Friday, February 9th at 3:00 p.m.

Council will meet Friday, February 16th at 11:30 a.m. in person and on Zoom


Sacred Conversations on Gun Control – Saturday, Feb. 10th from 10:00-11:30 a.m.

at Hammond St. Congo Church in Bangor. Join Pastor TJ?


Lent begins on February 14th. All are welcome at our Ash Wednesday Service of

Soup and Prayers at Noon in our Fellowship Hall.


Lenten Study Group begins Wed. Feb. 21st

Join Pastor TJ for C.S. Lewis and the Delightful, Diabolical Daring of Lent:

A Lenten Companion to “The Screwtape Letters.”

Let TJ or Vicky know if you are interested. Start time to be determined by participants.


Pastor TJ will be on Study Week and working from Wisconsin February 19th through Feb 29th.

Gordon Thomas Ward will fill our pulpit on February 25th.


During the month of February, we will be receiving the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering. OGHS provides sources of clean water, food, education, health care, emergency relief, and rehabilitation for refugees and displaced people. This is one of the 5 for        5 offerings received by the Maine Conference. Envelopes are available at the back of the Sanctuary.


Upcoming February Birthdays and Anniversaries      

12: Xyerra Harriman       13: Amy Philio   15: David Stratton           16:  Will Stephenson

18: Sara Beth Denoncourt     21: Pat Summerer        24: Heath Hudson

25: Michael Hodgdon           27: Antonio Blasi


Please keep the following people in your prayers this week:

Prayers for the people of Lewiston and all of Maine; Prayers for the world, suffering loss and grief in Israel, Palestine, Ukraine, Russia, and so many other ongoing wars and conflicts. Prayers for Cynthia Wood’s Aunt Barbara and Sylvia Monteux, both receiving Hospice Care; Peggy Emigh; Ron & Kathy; Bob & Karen; Ruth; Sally’s sister Martha & her husband John;  Everett’s brother Darrell; Doris; Jim Snyder; Kenny Houghton; John Wood; Nancy & John & Jonas; Vicky’s brother-in-law, Buster; William; Sue Davies; Jonathan Holmes; Sue Davenport; Coulter; Austin’s cousin Danny; Liz & Jim; Debbie & Lincoln & son-in-law Aaron, daughter Ashley, and granddaughter Brielle; Kenny Stratton; Joy & David & Lori; Sandy Phippen; Betty & her step-daughter Mollie; Debbie & Hollis & Holly and Debbie’s Aunt Linda Reed; Patrice’s niece Erica; Amy Nickerson; Tom & Judy’s son Andrew & family; Prayers of strength and healing for all awaiting diagnoses and for all recovering from surgeries & procedures; Prayers for all that are unsafe, unhoused, hungry & in need of care & compassion; Prayers for all individuals and families experiencing addictions; prayers for all caregivers; and prayers for all that is in your heart…


Fat Tuesday

Pancake Supper

February 13 at 5:30 PM

Free to All

Celebrate the end of Mardi Gras

by JOINING us for the final party!


Please bring a non-perishable food for a donation to Loaves and Fishes.


Family Event, Free games, prizes, food!

First Congregational Church

State and Church Streets, Ellsworth

Sunrise Association Committee on Ministry Needs You!

Are you interested in getting to know the churches in our association a little bit better?  Curious about ministry, and the different ways that ministry happens around our association?  If so, the Committee on Ministry (COM) is seeking new members! 


The COM works with both churches and clergy in the Sunrise Association — we do outreach to churches, support congregations in times of transition, work with members-in-discernment (people who are discerning a call to ordained ministry), and attend to the care and oversight of clergy. 


We meet monthly as a full committee, and members have the chance to choose one of three sub-groups — church engagement outreach, clergy care and oversight, or members-in-discernment — for more focused involvement. 


We need both lay and clergy members - and no prior experience is needed — just curiosity, and a willingness to learn.  If this sounds like it might be of interest to you, or if you know someone who might be interested in serving, please reach out to Rev. Andi Lloyd ( or Rev. Lisa Durkee ( for more information! 


Grace and peace,


Andi and Lisa

From the Maine Conference

Restorative Practices at Camp

A Reflection from Pilgrim Lodge Director, Liz Charles McGough


Restorative: (adjective)

 “having the ability to restore health, strength, or a feeling of well-being.”

-definition from Oxford Languages


At Pilgrim Lodge this past summer, we implemented the use of Restorative Practices. For the purpose of camp, we defined Restorative Practices as: a framework for community building, tending, and community repair. The shape that took at camp was primarily in the form of talking circles. It was not a big stretch to use talking circles at camp. In fact, circles are somewhat built into the fabric of how we have always interacted at camp. It can be a challenge to come up with an icebreaker game that doesn’t begin with a prompt to go around the circle and say your name and share something about yourself. What was different this past summer, however, was the intention that we brought to the use of circles.


We were mindful to introduce circles as a way of sharing and listening that has been used by indigenous people for centuries. We articulated the purpose of using circles at camp: to get to know each other, to make sure that everyone is invited to participate, and, if necessary, to address a concern that has arisen. In this way, children and adults alike understood that there was purpose behind the format. We also shared some norms or standards for the circles:

     • Respect the talking piece: the talking piece is an invitation share, but you may always pass.

     • Speak and listen from the heart; this is a reminder to speak from the “I” perspective. It is an invitation to be vulnerable and to choose what you are ready to share.

     • Say just enough: this means share the airtime with others.

     • Stories stay, learnings leave: in order to create a space in which folks feel comfortable, we trust each other with our stories.


We used circles in abundance to create community, sending painted rocks, gnome figurines and stuffed animals around circles as talking pieces. Campers of all ages were able to understand and participate. And when we had our “ouch” moments with one another, as humans in relationship are bound to do, we already knew how to use circles to talk about what hurt. We would send a talking piece around and ask, “What happened? How did you feel? What do we need to move forward?” These questions opened up space for each person to tell the story of their own experience of what happened – identifying where intent and impact may not have matched and caused harm. Participants in the circle were invited to the vulnerability of sharing the source of their hurt, fear, or frustrations. Naming those feelings can create space for empathy and new perspectives. They were offered moments to be brave and share what they needed from one another. In many cases, it resulted in a revisiting of covenant – how we agreed to be in relationship.


I have spent a lot of time holding curiosity around the word “restorative” and the definition “having the ability to restore health, strength, or a feeling of well-being.” In our day-to-day lives, how often do we have conversations that result in the restoration of strength or a sense of wellbeing? I think about the word “restorative” in the context of what we seek to offer in a camp experience as a whole. How might taking the time to live with intention in our interactions with others, our faith, and nature be restorative for our bodies, minds and spirits? One adult camper shared in an evaluation: “My favorite part of my camp experience was ‘finding a faith community, reconnecting with God through nature. I had no idea how much I was missing this space in my life!!’” Perhaps, for her, the experience of camp was restorative.


And then there is the word “practice.” “Practice: (noun) the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it” (definition from Oxford Languages).


The experience of camp, in its best version, is not meant to be contained at camp. Ideally, it is meant to empower us to return to our homes and routines and relationships with health, strength and well-being. And maybe…hopefully, with some new ways of listening and truly hearing; some new ability to be vulnerable and to open our hearts; some greater strength to name what we need. The word practice, for me, is a beautiful reminder that the call is not to perfection, but rather an invitation to keep showing up again, and again, and again…


All are invited into the circle.


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