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5/7/23 Weekly Messenger

Hancock UCC Weekly Messenger for May 7, 2023

“I am the Way,” the Savior said, and I would follow on, Content to know that after night shall break a glorious dawn.

“I am the Truth;” then Truth shall be a beacon light to guide My bark across the stormy sea to where still waters glide.

“I am the Life,” there is no death for me to fear, nor dread, Since by his all-atoning blood my life to his is wed.

Upcoming meetings, events, and opportunities

Choir practices Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m. All are welcome.

When the Choir goes on hiatus (soon) anyone wishing to sing or play an instrument during a service is invited to volunteer with our Music Director, Debbie Riley.

We will be receiving Holy Communion this week

and we will also be collecting non-perishable food items for

the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.

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

Deacons will meet Friday, May 12th at 12 PM in the Sanctuary and on Zoom

Outreach will meet Thursday, May 18th in the Fellowship Hall

Council will meet Friday, May 26th at 12 PM in the Fellowship Hall and on Zoom

The Sunrise Association Spring Meeting will take place on Saturday, May13th

at the Milbridge Congregational Church, UCC from 9am-12pm.

On May 13th at 2:00 pm there will be a service for Rev. Rob McCall who was the pastor at the Blue Hill Congregational Church for 28 years. All who knew Rob are welcome.

There will be a get together celebrating the life of David Wood on Sunday May 21st, 2:00 pm at Tidal Falls. Please bring sandwiches, salads, chips and/or drinks for yourselves and for others if you feel led.

David Wood's church on Cape Cod has started a Go Fund Me page to help the family out. If you would like to donate to this fund, please follow the following link.

Or if you would like to make a donation in David’s memory, make checks payable to:

Community Connections, Inc.

261 White Path, Suite 1

South Yarmouth, MA 02664-1246

This group helped him tremendously in the past.

Scholarships for Hancock residents

The Leon S. and Calista B. Thorsen Education Fund is accepting applications for funds to assist town of Hancock students or people of any age who will attend an accredited academic institution of higher education at the undergraduate or graduate level, or who will pursue learning in an accredited/certified academic or vocational program.

Applicants must be permanent legal residents of the town of Hancock who have been so for

at least the past three years (36 months).

Decisions will be based on academic achievement, personal aspirations, contributions to community, financial need, timely submission of application and supporting documents and availability of funds.

Applications must be postmarked by May 15.

Contact: or write to Thorsen Education Fund,

P.O. Box 261, Hancock, ME 04640.

Our local Loaves & Fishes food pantry is once again asking for your volunteer time. They have been extremely busy supporting customers which means they need lots of help. If you are available for any of the dates/times below please sign -up using this link.

Please check all positions for MAY but we particularly need help with

check-out on May 12,19, 26,29 and 31

Retail pick-up May 17 and 19, 24, 26 and 29

Product Processing - May 8, 12, 15, 22, 24, 26, 29 and 31

Client Assist - May 22, 26, 29 and 31

They can't run the pantry without your dedication and time and they greatly appreciate you.

Contact Us at Union Congregational Church of Hancock:

TJ can be reached by cell phone at 207-323-6743 or by email at

Vicky can be reached at 207-422-3100 or by email at

Jen can be reached by email at

During the month of May, we will be receiving the Strengthen the Church Offering. This is one of the 5 for 5 offerings supported by the Maine Conference. Conferences and the national setting equally share the gifts given by members and friends through their local congregations. The funds raised support leadership development, new churches, youth ministry, and innovation in existing congregations. By your generosity to this offering, you build up the Body of Christ. Envelopes are available in the back of the Sanctuary or notate it on your check.

May Birthdays and Anniversaries:

07: Liz Singletary, Marge Severance, Nancy Baril, Priscilla Jones

09: Jeanne Edwards

14: John Wells

16: Mary Alice Alley Freeman

18: Fran Courschene, Dick Butters

20: Dennis King

22: Brendan Bonner

23: Debbie Ehrlenbach

24: Erva Pinkham

26: Vicky Espling

29: Sally Knapp

31: John Holt, Marty Johnson

31: Clint & Eleanor Ritchie

Earth Day Reflection by Durin Chappe (reprinted with permission) For Sullivan's Earth Day clean-up, Jack and I have drawn a section along the ocean side of Highway One, from Rte. 185 to Punkinville Road. I live on Punkinville and know this section well, the low side of the highway, punctuated by steep, rip-rapped slopes. Greeting us at the east end of our section is the bleak sight of many nips, empty bottles and cans, paper plates, plastic cups with straws - the refuse of convenience stores and drive-thrus. There is a sprinkling of accidental construction debris and the usual errant hub cap. Not everything is inorganic. A little further, I find incomplete crow and partridge skeletons, still feathered, and further on, one nearly complete raccoon skeleton, There is a handwritten, penciled note from T***n to her former boyfriend, expressing measured regret and understanding that he'd moved on. It reads like a long text, sprinkled liberally with the acronym "tbh" – to be honest. Some day, these hieroglyphs too will be chiseled onto some future Rosetta Stone. There are several xeroxed sheets with recipes for different glazes – egg white, whole eggs, milk. Evidently someone taking a baking class has already committed them to memory and now wants to share them with the raccoons. Within half an hour, we left our full bags behind us for the DOT to retrieve, and started others. Every year the trash presents the same sobering reminder of our throwaway culture, the casual disregard for the environment. Perhaps because Jack is young enough to be my son, I muster all the sagacity in me, to offer that our roadsides are a telling microcosm of what all of us are doing to the planet. I wish I could be more hopeful but it's hard to deny that here we are, responsibly cleaning up after the less responsible.

We agree that our roads have become, for most people, almost an inconvenience - a stretch of real estate to get through, enroute to where we're going. It is the invisibility of the place which makes it so easy to discard a cigarette or a loaded diaper. We're not invested in anything much beyond our own backyards. Despite our reflective vests, we too seem invisible to the relentlessness of this Saturday morning traffic. We talk of the broken windows theory, how a littered roadside invites other litter, makes permissible, normalizes littering. If there are anti-littering signs in the area, I haven't seen them. A car passes, leaving a lingering plume of tobacco smoke in its wake. No surprise, given that our section is mined with scores of cigarette butts. Our pessimism dissipates like the smoke and yields to the more hopeful, satisfying work at hand - pollution which is tangible and easily

disposed of. Even after the last bit of plastic has been captured, we can see how much remains to be done. The mouths of culverts are choked with silt which only the next torrent will push aside. Downstream, older debris has already been absorbed in stream beds cross-hatched by deadfall. The rhizomes of Japanese knotweed are on the move. Yet hopeful news awaits us at the town office. Many of the volunteers have returned early and are already tucking into hotdogs and hamburgers, courtesy of Age Friendly Sullivan. The reason? Many of them report handling a lot less trash this year. After the volunteers from each town have done their thing, there remain the regular stewards of the roads – a group of men led by Andrea Gaynor, of the Golden Acres Assisted Living facility, in Hancock. As often as she can, she leads these residents, for hours and miles at a time, filling garbage bags with cans and bottles – some donated to the local grammar school - as well as with the trash we've been targeting. I say, let's follow Ms. Gaynor's example. Let's empower these men with all the trash bags they need, give them a stipend or bounty for each bag. Let's enlist them to prune the invasives and give encouragement to our iconic roadside flower, the lupine. Let's seize the opportunity to enlist all stakeholders - schoolchildren, churchgoers, inmates – and set aside our political differences, while we breathe the same air and walk the same stretch of highway. Let's spread a brand of populism which surely everyone can invest themselves in. Let's all be mindful more than one day out of the year. And maybe, like the rhizomes we seek to eradicate, our efforts will spread and produce a bit more growth every year.

Please keep the following people in your prayers this week:

Savanna’s parents, Mary Ann and Artie Smallage as they adapt to Artie’s diagnosis of ALS; also prayers that Artie recovers quickly from Covid; Mary Angela’s mother, Carolyn, in the hospital; the family and friends of Rev. Pat Butler who passed away April 29th; Mary Thomas; Ruth Dietze; Kate Winters; Dave Marden; Kenny Stratton; Joy & David & Lori; Gary & Jeanne’s grandson William; Gary Edwards; Kathy’s friend Amy Nickerson; Trudy Clark; Debbie R.; Samantha and her family; Mike and Cindy Merritt; Denny Doucette; Sandy Phippen; Renata’s sister-in-law Joanne; Coulter Huyler; Judith Crowley; Sally’s brother-in-law Jim; Cheryl and her husband Jeff; Linda; Andrew and Tamara; Austin’s cousin Danny; Bruce’s sister Lynn; Debbie Maddocks and her Aunt Linda Reed; Liz & Jim; Renata and the women she cares for; Tom & Judy’s son Andrew and his family; baby Alexander; Betty and her step-daughter Mollie; Nancy; Cynthia; Margaret B; Eleanor’s step-daughter Holly; Cathy C.; all affected by memory loss; healing prayers for a family seeking solutions to significant mental health issues; all those living with depression and other mental health issues; all grieving losses, both ancient and new; all individuals and families experiencing addictions; all caregivers; for all victims and loved ones of violence; those impacted by laws limiting reproductive justice; those experiencing food and housing insecurity; the people of Syria and Turkey; the people of Ukraine and Russia; the people of Sudan; all in your heart…

News from the Maine Conference

Our Maine Conference Social Action Committee invites us to explore this website

to educate ourselves and others about upcoming legislation regarding Tribal Sovereignty.

Why is it important? What can we do?

A Letter from Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola - our Maine Conference Minister

Transitions: the challenge and the opportunity

Transitions can be…challenging? anxiety-producing? Filled with uncertainty? All of these and more?

Transitions can also be…opportunities for regrouping, vision sharing, reconnection, sharing together hope for the future? All of these and more?

My friends, I do not have to tell all of you the transitions the churches and pastors of our Conference have been through during the last several years. And I do not have to remind you that we are still in the midst of transition:

· The pandemic is over, but how will COVID linger and affect us?

· What do we do about churches getting smaller?

· What do we do about pastors seeking full time positions and most that we can offer are part - time positions?

· How do we provide support to the Maine School of Ministry as the Dean and the Team so skillfully and with great dedication map out programs for our future pastoral leadership?

· How do we support our Pilgrim Lodge as it restarts and the Director and Team faithfully commit to a vibrant program for our children, youth and families?

· And we have a new Conference Minister—will she be, how will she be, a steady guide for us as we have had so much transition in our recent past with conference ministry? Will she be trustworthy? Will she work to understand us and our many complexities? Will she love us and partner with us into the distant future?

I would like to share with all of you some of what I shared with our pastors in the weekly Pastors’ Note:

You may have heard and seen my favorite verses from the Bible as we look forward together:

Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Yes, I have faith that God is doing a new thing. I also believe that we do not yet perceive it—in part because we are still grieving “what was in the past” when our churches were full. Yes, I have faith that God has plans for us that include hope and a bright future. and I have faith that God is intimately with us in the transition, loving us, guiding us, comforting us, challenging us.

Let’s begin by considering some possibilities of a “new thing” in our faith communities that can bring joyful hope:

· Perhaps the question for churches is not how many are in the pews on a Sunday morning. Perhaps the question is how are the folks who are in the pews reaching out beyond the four walls into the greater community as the hands and feet of Christ.

· Perhaps church isn’t just on Sunday morning. Perhaps church is every day of the week as we engage in, and we invite others to share with us, a vibrant ministry that cares for those in the greater community.

· Along with that question, is a pondering: if your church no longer existed, would the greater community notice? Would the community say “O no, we want that church to continue because the dear people are such a beacon of hope to the folks in our town or county?” Churches that are alive and thrive, any size, are those that act their faith by being the hands and feet of Jesus in the communities that surround them.

· If you believe that in order for the church to survive, that children and families must be part of the congregation, consider this: children don’t necessarily stick around after high school. And how about reaching out to folks in their 40s, 50s, 60s? Ask me about the “new evangelism” that is based on relationship building over time.

· If you believe that your church would never join with another church and/or share a pastor, take some time to reconsider. Smaller churches coming together (not necessarily to give up buildings) is a strong way for a church to be alive and thrive—and can provide an opportunity to afford a full- time pastor.

· Consider offering your sanctuary to a church that can no longer afford their building, but wish to stay together as their own faith community.

My friends, these are just a few talking points for us to engage in. And I hope we can engage together for a new vision of church in the Maine Conference, a new vision of what it means to be alive and thrive in God’s 21st century.

I love this Conference and I am fully committed to all of you for the long haul. I am committed to being the “pastor to the pastors.” I am open to conversation individually and in groups. Let’s wonder together the new things God has in store for us—with faithful hope that God holds our future.

I am your partner in Christ, Marisa

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