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
We had a lovely service this morning (Feb. 19), and I am feeling good. The church received some good press last week from the Keene Sentinel, and I was delighted to see some new faces in the pews. I’m pleased to report that the newcomers were treated to a sweet worship service, complete with wandering toddlers in pigtails, a lovely anthem from the choir, an “Old Mother West Wind” Story, and a sermon about Desmond Tutu.
It is my earnest hope that when we grow as a church, we will grow because of who we are, and what we do best. We didn’t really put on a show this morning — we just were ourselves, and that, I think, is a beautiful thing. There is a warm and casual, kind of “family” feeling in the air in our sanctuary on Sunday mornings that is deepened when we find the solace of silence and consider the gospel in our hearts.
Imagine a place where children are allowed to be children; where older folks rely on the traditions they have leaned on for decades; where great musicians play excellent music; where neighbors receive the care of the community’s heart; where, together, we meditate on who we are, and what our God asks of us! Imagine this place nestled in the hills of New Hampshire, where the rich silence is deepened by the rustle and sweep of the downy flake, or (as today) our joy is tickled to life by the sound of the snow melting from the rooftops!
You have imagined UCJ! The United Church of Jaffrey…
Yours In Christ,
Stories from Small Mountain
In the December 2016 edition of The Pathfinder, I offered a quick biographical sketch of my life. I also promised to “fill in more of the details in later editions of Pathfinder.” Hence this series: “Stories from Small Mountain.”
I want to tell you about Singapore — the place of my first memories.
What were my first memories?
My first memory is of a hospital. I can’t remember why I was there, but I was in a crib, and there were other cribs in the room also. I remember being scared, and looking over at another child in another crib. The child was Indian, and I don’t know what was wrong with her, but she was crying, and I knew, somehow, that her suffering was worse than mine. This knowledge — that this other child’s plight was worse than my own, was my first memory.
Singapore is on the equator. If Singapore was Jaffrey, Route 124 would be the equator. Singapore is hot. For the first 8 years of my life I tried, whenever possible, to avoid wearing shoes.
I ran with a crew of local urchins who were all Malay. We called them “The Malay Guys.” The Malay Guys taught us how to knock mangoes from the trees with long bamboo poles. They taught us how to catch lizards, how to play soccer, and how to climb coconut trees. In monsoon season, we would run through the short violent bursts of afternoon rain, and when our parents were sure not to be looking, we would sit down in the deep monsoon gutters where the water would gather behind us and push us down the hill.
Singapore is in the middle of some very busy shipping lanes and trade routes, so it is a city that contains people from all over Asia. For this reason, there are four official languages in Singapore: Malay, Mandarin (Chinese), Tamil and English. The newscast on television takes a long time because each story is told in four different languages. This was the culture — or I should say cultures–where I first became aware of the world. Here, a child could awaken, before dawn, to the mysterious lilting sound of the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer. This was a place that exploded in a frenzy of fireworks and dancing dragons during the annual Chinese New Year celebrations.
The child of a Japanese man and an American woman, becoming aware of the world in Singapore — I am very much the product of cultural, religious, and ethnic plurality.
This may be one reason I fell in love with the United Church of Christ, which says: “No matter who you are, and where you are in life’s journey, you are welcome here.”
This may be one reason I fell in love with The United Church of Jaffrey — a Just Peace, Open and Affirming Church that practices radical welcome.
THOUGHTS FROM OUR MODERATOR
Whenever I begin a new commitment I find myself focused on what unique gift I can offer. Such is the case I as begin as the new Moderator here. I think what I can offer at this time is what I have endeavored to do as my New Year resolution. That is “to make wise and healthy decisions.”
Our church continues to be challenged by new, exciting, and creative opportunities. How can I encourage all of us to grab hold and go for it? As I begin gathering my thoughts for our Planning Retreat on May 6th, I hope to include some ways in which we can do just that. Blending our treasured work from the past with new energizing ideas for our future seems to be one of the key ingredients for proceeding.
I welcome all thoughts and ideas that may come to mind as you too reflect on how we can move forward in the coming year. Please call me, drop me an e-mail or text, write a letter, or leave a note in the Moderator’s mailbox. I am excited to share this journey with all of you!
March 5 First Sunday in Lent
Lay Reader: Mary-Lu’ Esposito
Genesis 2 : 15-17; 3 : 1-7
Romans 5 : 12-19
Matthew 4 : 1-11
March 12 Second Sunday in Lent
Lay Reader: Dorothy Bacon
Genesis 12 : 1-4a
Romans 4 : 1-5, 13-17
John 3 : 1-17
March 19 Third Sunday in Lent
Lay Reader: Owen Houghton
Exodus 17 : 1-7
Romans5 : 1-11
John 4 : 5-42
March 26 Fourth Sunday in Lent
Lay Reader: Cynthia Hamilton
1 Samuel 16 : 1-13
Ephesians 5 : 8-14
John 9 : 1-41
BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES
1 - Aaron Littlefield
5 - Nick Jacobetz
10 - Dorie Gillespie
10 - Jude O’Neil
13 - Alisa Sawyer
17 - Pat Cournoyer
21 - Sabastian O’Neil
23 – Tina O’Neil
24 - Ryan Ellis
31 - Lynda Baird
31 - Erin Chamberlain
31 - June Sheldon
JESUS WAS A REFUGEE
Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. It was assumed to be their home village. When it was determined that the baby Jesus had become the new ruler, according to the location of a “star, King Herod” became threatened and pronounced he would kill all boys under the age of two. This atrocity was known as “the massacre of the innocents.”
Joseph had been warned beforehand in a dream, of Herod’s intention to kill little Jesus, so the family fled to Egypt. It wasn’t until after Herod’s death that Joseph and Mary found a new place of refugee, in Nazareth of Galilee, far from Bethlehem.
Jesus’ earliest years were then, according to the Gospel of Matthew, spent as a refugee in a foreign land, and then as a displaced person in a village a long way from his family’s original homestead.
– Bob Dunn
The following excerpt is from Rev. Mark’s Sermon entitled “Immediate Importance” (January 22, 2017):
“Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.” — Matthew 4:12
When Jesus responds to John’s arrest by withdrawing to Galilee the natural assumption that we make is that Jesus himself must be concerned that the same thing might happen to him – that he might be arrested too.
In other words, Jesus’ actions are the actions of a person who is fleeing persecution.
Jesus the asylum seeker.
Jesus the refugee.
Those of you who were with us a few Sundays ago will remember that, right after Jesus was born, he was forced to run to Egypt in fear of a threat from Herod.
In this passage also, Jesus has to run.
Not once, but twice, in a handful of weeks, the gospel reminds us of Jesus Christ’s relationship to power.
Power was threatened by him.
And because of this, Jesus had to run.
This is our savior.
Someone who is, time and again, forced to flee from those who are in power…
JUSTICE AND PEACE
Sandi Carland & Owen Houghton
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) is coming up in March. You will be hearing more about it throughout the month.
Our annual Earth Day Service is coming up in April and we will celebrate it on the Sunday after Easter. A sure sign that Spring
is coming…., so keep the faith and “THINK SPRING”
FLOWERS FOR THE ALTAR
Openings for altar flowers for the rest of
the year include: March 5, 12 & 26; April 2, 23 & 30; May 21 & 28; June 11 & 18 ; July 2, 9, 16 & 23; August 6, 20 & 27; September 3, 10, 17 & 24; October 15 & 22; November 12 & 26; December 3, 10 & 17.
The flower sign-up board is in the narthex or contact Pat Cournoyer.
Triple-D is once again collecting items for Church World Service Hygiene Kits. Here is a list of items needed for the kits:
- One hand towel measuring approximately 15” x 28” to 16” x 32”
- (no fingertip, bath, dish towel or micro-fiber)
- One washcloth
- One wide-tooth comb removed from the package
- One finger nail or toe nail clipper removed from the package
- One bath size bar of soap in the wrapper
- One toothbrush in the package
- Ten standard size Band-aids
All items need to fit inside a one-gallon plastic zipper closure bag. Remove the excess air from the bag and seal before boxing. Do not add any extra items or toothpaste. A tube of extended expiration date toothpaste will be added to each Hygiene Kit just prior to its journey.
SAFETY PIN PROJECT
On Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016 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 an Open and Affirming, Just Peace 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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