An Open & Affirming / Just Peace Church
of the United Church of Christ
54 Main St., Jaffrey, NH 03452
Our Mission: To Grow our Christian
Faith Through Acts of Love Toward All.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR MINISTER
Happy New Year everyone! When you read this, we will have made the leap to 2017 and into Epiphany. When I wrote the message below, though, I was still thinking about Advent.
One of the more puzzling characters in the Advent story is old Zechariah. Remember him? A priest in the temple, the husband of Elizabeth, and, most famously, the father of John the Baptist, Zechariah shows up in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. But all does not go smoothly for the old man. One day when Zechariah is serving in the temple, the angel Gabriel appears to him and foretells the birth of John. But Zechariah is skeptical. “How will I know that this is so?” he asks the angel, “for I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.”
The angel Gabriel doesn’t take kindly to this lack of faith. As a punishment, he takes away the old man’s ability to speak.
A mute priest.
Can you imagine? A man of God who can’t talk! That’s like a pitcher with a broken arm. If you want to give a religious person a good dose of humility, take away his or her voice. That’ll do it!
I was put in mind of all this last Sunday,
on the occasion of the annual Christmas Pageant. After the service, I rubbed shoulders with a member of the congregation, who, like me, was in the
act of surveying a particularly delicious looking bundt cake. “Wasn’t that an absolutely delightful service?” I asked her.
“Yes, it was wonderful,” she said. And then she added, “and no one can complain that they didn’t care for the sermon!”
I know she wasn’t taking a dig at my sermons. But, of course, she was right. And it made me think. Isn’t it amazing when the community itself is the sermon? This, in turn, reminds me of the famous quote (that is incorrectly attributed to St. Francis) that goes: “Preach the gospel always, and if necessary, use words.”
When we come together in church, we are creating community – and that, itself is preaching the gospel. When we find ways to support each other, and support good things in the community, we are preaching the gospel. And of course, when we light the candle of love and our children act out the great story of the birth of Jesus Christ, we are preaching the gospel – we are the gospel.
For a minister, this is an important lesson. With humility, I become mute, and discover the great gift of our children. Quiet, I learn again, the great gift of community. Stepping aside from the pulpit, I watch, in awe, as the gospel enfolds before us all.
Yours in Christ,
Stories from Small Mountain
In the December 2016 edition of the Pathfinder, Carol Naas asked me to provide a biography to share with all of you. I offered a quick biographical sketch, but also promised to “fill in more of the details in later editions of Pathfinder.” Hence “Stories from Small Mountain.” I have no intention of writing down all the details – that would be boring. Just a little gem here and there.
The shingle out in front of the church has recently been re-painted to proclaim to all passersby that “Rev. Mark Koyama” is the minister here. When I first saw the sign, I swelled with pride. I worked hard to get to this point, and this sign was a wonderful symbol of success. But I also couldn’t help wondering what a person walking by might think. After all, my surname “Koyama” is not a common one in these parts.
People often ask me “What kind of name is “Koyama?” To this question, I always say: “My father was Japanese, and my mother was American.” “Koyama” I tell people, means “small mountain” in Japanese. I once said this exact thing to a man who had some years under his belt, and he thought about it for a moment and then said, very quietly:
“Your uncle killed my brother.”
I did not deny it. It’s true. My father’s people were in the planes on December 7th (that day that shall live in infamy) and my mother’s people perished on the ships in Pearl Harbor. It’s also true that my mother’s people were in the Enola Gay, and my father’s people perished on the ground in Hiroshima. So the new name painted on
the church’s shingle, contains more than
just the familiar “Mark” and the unfamiliar “Koyama.” It also contains the history of a horrifying, merciless war.
But let me also tell you this. My father’s family was one of a very small minority of Christian families living in Tokyo during the Second World War. He was baptized into the Christian faith during the war, and the minister who performed the initiation, told my father that Jesus Christ called him to forgive everyone – even the Americans who were in the act of bombing all of Japan’s urban centers.
When Japan was defeated and American forces occupied that nation, the US Army chaplains took a collection to send a promising Japanese student to study Theology in the United States. My father, who was then a student at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, was chosen. And so, in 1950 – a mere five years after the end of the war, my father got on board the Himalaya-Maru, a freighter that was bound for Seattle.
In a way, that new name on the Church’s shingle is a name that contains the history of war. This is true. But there is another history that is also embedded there: the history of healing and reconciliation.
January 1 New Year’s Day
Lay Reader: Cynthia Hamilton
Ecclesiastes 3 : 1-13
Revelations 21 : 1-6a
Matthew 25 : 31-46
January 8 The Baptism of Christ
Lay Reader: Stan Long
Isaiah 42 : 1-9
Acts 10 : 34-43
Matthew 3 : 13-17
January 15 Second Sunday after Epiphany
Lay Reader: Carol Naas
Isaiah 49 : 1-7
Psalm 40 : 1-11
1 Corinthians 1 : 1-9
John 1 : 29-42
January 22 Third Sunday after Epiphany
Lay Reader: Tina O’Neil
Isaiah 9 : 1-4
Psalm 27 : 1, 4-9
1 Corinthians 1 : 10-18
Matthew 4 : 12-23
January 29 Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Lay Reader: Norma Sands
Micah 6 : 1-8
1 Corinthians 1 : 18-31
Matthew 5 : 1-12
BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES
A Birthday/Anniversary book is in the narthex. If you wish your birthday or anniversary notedin the Pathfinder, please add the date(s).
3 - Aubrie Hendrickson
6 - Jeremy Baird
7 - Brenda Ellis
8 - Michael O’Neil
10 - Anthony Carland
11 - Katie (Esposito) Garden
11 - Zoe Nevers
12 - Betty Jack
14 - Versigh O’Neil
16 - Rachel Littlefield
17 - Liz Littlefield
17 - Fran Ojala
24 - Archie Coll
27 - Tina Stevens
27 - Melissa Maillet
28 - John Baird
28 - Kyrah Drake
29 - Kerrigan Bergeron
31 - Richard Littlefield
12 – Tim and Maria Carbone
Chancel Guild: Liz Littlefield
Communion Leader: Tina O’Neil
Worship Assistant: Tina O’Neil
TRUST & CARE
Coordinator: Archie Coll
The new parking lot is serving us all very well, and many positive comments have been heard. Thanks for all who gave to this important project. We are now safer, the buildings stay clean longer, and our appearance to visitors
and building users is greatly enhanced. We
have 45 regular parking spots and several handicap spaces.
Several trees have been cut down at the rear side of the Mildred Cutter Memorial Hall and our BBQ pit has been taken down and will be set up in the spring further back out of the way. We can then landscape the area by the gazebo.
Now we are getting ready to replace the floor in the Mildred Cutter Memorial Hall that was installed in the late 60s. This will happen in the springtime.
We thank Jerry Elliott for his faithful service and many extras he does. Well done, Jerry.
Thank you to Bob Ballou for mowing our lawns and to Owen Houghton for trimming and weeding our property. Owen also planted the northern magnolia on our front lawn. Rev. Chris Owen was given the same kind of tree in thanks from us for his interim care of our congregation.
We are now joyfully and expectantly working with our new settled pastor, Rev. Mark Koyama.
JUSTICE AND PEACE
Sandi Carland & Owen Houghton
The National Coalition for Open and Affirming churches of the United Church of Christ advises us that we are likely to experience threats to LGBTQ rights in the coming year. In 2017, the Open and Affirming movement in the United Church of Christ will join with communities of faith throughout America to defend our freedoms. RIPPLES will be a key resource to keep you informed about campaigns, petitions and training programs. You can help spread the word. See: firstname.lastname@example.org/ripples
for more information.
President: Sarah Ellis
In November, Michelle Durant and Mary Drew presented their program “Reality-check; Live Right Now” a local program that offers drug and alcohol abuse prevention education, access to treatment and recovery services and addiction education. They were recently awarded a $125,000 5-year Drug Free Community Grant that will be applied to recruiting and training Recovery Coaches who will work in the planned new Recovery Center and School. Resources were provided for information on further public involvement and support.
The month between our November and December meetings was a busy one, resulting in a most successful and enjoyable Christmas Festival, the first Saturday of December. Our own newly settled Pastor Mark spent the day with us, greeting Festival goers, sampling Christmas treats, helping to clean-up afterwards and then, giving us the gift of terrific photos on the UCJ website. A heartfelt THANK YOU to all who worked together to create this lovely event!
Christmas has nearly arrived as this goes to press. We of Triple-D wish you all a very peaceful and healthful season and look forward to seeing you in 2017!
SAFETY PIN PROJECT
On Sunday, Nov. 20th we introduced the wearing of a safety pin as a way of stating that you are a safe ally for anyone who is discriminated against in our current national upheaval. As a Just Peace, Open and Affirming congregation, we must be an ever-present advocate for those who are not being treated as the precious creation of our loving Creator.
This is only one way to let our voices be heard. May we come together and think of a multitude of ways to stand with our brothers and sisters. Safety pins will continue to be available in the narthex.
PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY
Please join us each 3rd Thursday of the month
from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the parlor to continue
our Prayer Shawl Ministry.
OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF JAFFREY
January 11, 2017
In the Mildred Cutter Memorial Hall
Pot Luck dinner at 6:00 p.m.
(Bring a dish to share, your own table setting, and utensils
Coffee and other beverage will be provided)
Meeting is at 7:00 p.m.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. EVENT
MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2017
UCJ at 4:45 p.m.
Theme is COURAGE
The main speaker will be NH poet laureate Alice Fogel
Mark your calendars
There is a NEW UCJ Chat group hosted at Googlegroups.com. Our old group, hosted on Yahoo, will be retired. As always, the UCJ Chat group is a place where we can continue to BE the CHURCH in between worship and meetings. We post prayer requests, news of the church family, announcements of church events and happenings, requests for help at church events, our joys and concerns, and other items that we’d share with each other on Sunday mornings or church gatherings.
Deb Weissman will continue to administer UCJ Chat. If you wish to be included in the chat group, please email Deb at email@example.com with the email address you wish to use. It will be necessary for members of the old group to send her your email so that you can be invited.
Norm and Sally Soney as well as Alan and Rachel Soney have moved. Their new addresses are:
Norm and Sally Soney
Langdon Place of Dover
60 Middle Road, Apt. 102
Dover, NH 03820
Alan and Rachael Soney
126 Hollywreath Drive
Ballwin, MO 63021 (Ballwin is correct)
Sunday Worship at 10:00 a.m.
Communion is the first Sunday of each month.
Sunday School Director
Choir and Music Director
Reverend Mark Koyama
Reverend Mary-Lu' Esposito