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
The great poet, translator, and pastor of 29 years, Reverend Eugene Peterson was once asked if he had any advice for people trying to choose a church to go to. He replied: “…go to the closest church where you live, and the smallest. And if after six months it’s just not working, go to the next smallest.”
Today’s world seems, in so many ways, to measure success in terms of global and big – but here is a refreshing suggestion that something that is modest and in our midst may be meaningful precisely because it is modest and in our midst. I love the part of the services on Sunday morning when we pray for our neighbors, family and friends whose troubles we carry in our hearts. Where else, but in church, do we publically acknowledge our common need, our care, and our concern. Sure, we also pray for people suffering in distant lands, and for our leaders to act with wisdom – but this is all done from a deep center of gravity, in this place, and in this community. This, it seems to me, is both profoundly beautiful and incredibly important.
I also welcome the way Peterson’s comment takes something commonly assumed to be a problem and turns it into a virtue. There is no end to the hand-wringing that mainline Protestant denominations are doing about the dwindling number of people in the pews – and, to be sure, it is a matter of concern, but it’s worth considering that there is also some real value to being small. We don’t have to be a packed urban church or an arena-style suburban mega-church to be successful at learning the lessons of the gospel and trying to live in a way that acts out the love of God.
Local and small feels great to me.
In the last few days I’ve had several conversations in my office with members of the congregation who have stopped by. Each conversation was long and very meaningful. Today, as the day grew old and the evening came on, the sunlight painted my office at UCJ the color of wine, and we had to turn the light on to finish our long talk. This is one great advantage to a small church – each of you could come, if you liked, and talk with me for as long as you like. How wonderful! I’d love that.
Consider yourself invited.
As I write this, I can hear snippets of news coverage coming from the other room – stories about President Obama saying farewell, about the inauguration that is about to happen, and the protests that are to follow. We live in a strange and disorienting moment in American history. Let’s be local. Let’s be small. Let’s support each other as we try to figure out what it means to be a Christian – to love – in a time like this.
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.”
For the first two years of my life, I lived in Chiang-Mai, Thailand. We were in northern Thailand because my father was a missionary there. He also taught Christian theology in the Seminary. At the time of my birth, my father was in the process of writing a book that was to become his most well-known work – a book called Waterbuffalo Theology. Since I was too young to remember Thailand, and since my father was such an exquisite writer, I will let him take over. So, please accept this excerpt from Waterbuffalo as my installment that describes Thailand, the land of my birth.
About five minutes’ walk from the back gate of our theological seminary there is a rustic open-air cremation site. Often I watch funeral processions passing by my office window. Long before they appear I hear them. Sorrowful tunes emanating from bamboo flutes and coarse gongs of several pitches draw me to put down my pen and join them in their walk to the cemetery…
The coffin, decorated with colorful tropical flowers, is placed upon a wagon. Between the flag-carriers and the relatives and close friends of the deceased who pull the wagon walks a group of saffron-robed monks. The mourners squat on the grass while the monks chant sacred Pali sentences in a melody harmonious with the surrounding stillness of nature. The face of the dead is washed with coconut-water which, it is said, will beautify his appearance when he is reborn into the world.
An old man sets fire to the pyre. People immediately gather around the cremation platform to throw their flowers onto the coffin. They turn and walk away. The monks, too, have vanished… When the people have deserted the site, I hear birds singing, frogs croaking and mosquitoes humming. After the people have vanished, waterbuffaloes wallow languidly in the warm black mud as though nothing had happened…
As the black smoke trails and fades away in the groves of bamboos and among the tops of the coconut palms, the dead man has gone home to nature. From benevolent nature to benevolent nature –he returned. The silence of the universe is not terrifying. It is, rather, a benign expression of the tranquility to which man, after some years of precarious existence, is destined to return.
Koyama, Kōsuke. Waterbuffalo Theology. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1974. Print. 27-29.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR MODERATOR
What a privilege and honor to be voted in as moderator of The United Church of Jaffrey!
I am deeply humbled by this appointment and pray I am as capable as Ken Bacon was over the past few years. I look forward to working with Sarah Ellis as Vice Moderator!
It is such an exciting time for our beloved church with our new settled pastor and a renewed energy that has come over us recently. I encourage everyone to share any and all ideas in which you would like to engage our congregation and community in the future. As always, I have quite a few and encourage us all to bring forth our passion for our ministries in Christ’s name.
Let us always hold in our hearts and minds our mission statement: “To Grow our Christian Faith Through Acts of Love Toward All.”
February 5 Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Lay Reader: Bob Dunn
Lectionary: Isaiah 58 : 1-9a, (9b-12) | Psalm 112 : 1-9 (10) | 1 Corinthians 2 :1-12, (13-16) | Matthew 5 : 13-20
February 12 Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Lay Reader: Deb Weissman
Lectionary: Deuteronomy 30 :15-20 | Psalm 119 : 1-8 | 1 Corinthians 3 : 1-9 | Matthew 5 : 21-37
February 19 Seventh Sunday after Epiphany
Lay Reader: Sarah Ellis
Lectionary: Leviticus 19 : 1-2, 9-1 | Psalm 119 : 33-40 | 1 Corinthians 3 : 10-11, 16-2 | Matthew 5 : 38-48
February 26 Last Sunday after Epiphany: Transfiguration
Lay Reader: Liz Littlefield
Lectionary: Exodus 24 : 12-18 | Psalm 2 | 2 Peter 1 : 16-21 | Matthew 17 : 1-9
BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES
2 - Estelle O'Neil
4 - Phoenix O’Neil
7 - Peggy Despres
13 - Nikki O’Neil
18 - Angelo Sawyer
22 – Kourtney Hagstrom
22 - Nicolle Tenters
VISION TASK FORCE
Coordinator: Bob Dunn 532-6139
Walking in the Light of Jesus
In the face of great human need, “the church” remains one of the world’s richest institutions. The fact that so many of it’s financial resources, and much of it’s attention are spent on enrichment and self image, at the expense of the poor and all those who really need our help, is a sad testament to the church’s priorities and a powerful rebuke of Jesus’ radical generosity to the poor and outcast.
One of our most important “Visions” at UCJ is to become “the” faith-based community leader in reaching out to all those in need, being there in friendship, instilling hope in their hearts and creating awareness and understanding of Christian values.
We have done some commendable work in our “out-reach” to the community and continue to keep our eyes, ears and hearts open for God’s calling to always serve and help the marginalized.
Sometimes we (the church) tend to forget where our priorities lie and our “Visions” seem to revert back to a thing of the past. We should never loose sight of our “Visions,” for they are, in and of themselves, the very Light that guides us in Jesus’ footsteps.
TRUST AND CARE
Coordinator: Archie Coll
We have had the tile from the Mildred Cutter Memorial Hall tested and found it has 2% asbestos so it would have to be removed by
a Hazmat company. We are getting quotes from two companies.
JUSTICE AND PEACE
Coordinators: Sandi Carland: 532-6263 | Owen Houghton: 532-6970
We have not met recently but are still communicating and hope to meet with Pastor Mark in Feb. to regroup and see where we are going in this new year.
We have discovered some available funds and hope to be able to help out some of our previous missions to which we’ve been unable to donate.
We helped host the 3rd Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event. It was highly successful with excellent speakers, music, awards, and a full house. We are looking forward to 2017 with a positive and hopeful attitude and pray that all Americans will do the same.
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
FLOWERS FOR THE ALTAR
Openings for altar flowers for the rest of
the year include: February 12 & 19; March 5, 12 & 26; April 2, 23 & 30; May 21 & 28; June 11, 18 & 25; July 2, 9, 16 & 23; August 6, 13, 20 & 27; September 3, 10, 17 & 24; October 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29; November 5, 12 & 26; December 3, 10 & 17.
The flower sign-up board is in the narthex or contact Pat Cournoyer – Phone: 532-7922; or
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