March 2019 Crossroads

Lenten Study opportunities

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, a forty day period of prayer, reflection, and repentance leading up to Holy Week and Easter Sunday. We will have an Ash Wednesday service on March 6th, at 7 PM in the sanctuary. For anyone who would like to come early, we will have a soup supper in the front classroom beginning at 6 pm. If you would like to bring bread or a soup to share, please let Pastor Trina know.

We will be offering a Lenten study on Thursday evenings throughout Lent, beginning on March 14 through April 11, at 7 PM meeting in the front classroom. For this 5-week series, we will use the curriculum Just Eating?, which was developed by the Presbyterian Hunger Program. As part of our focus on food justice this year, set by the mission and advocacy committee, and as a hunger action congregation of the PC(USA), this seemed like a good way to reflect on how food and faith are connected in so many ways.

The study uses scripture, prayer and stories from the local and global community to explore five key aspects of our relationship with food:
the health of our bodies
the challenge of hunger
the health of the earth that provides our food
the ways we use food to extend hospitality and enrich relationships
the opportunities for action, renewal and transformation in our eating practices-as individuals and as faith communities
Come and join us for one or more sessions! If you are interested, please let Pastor Trina know ahead of time so she can have enough copies of the curriculum available.

Deacon’s Corner
The Deacons had their first meeting on February 10. They spent time getting reacquainted. Assignments will be given at the March meeting. The deacons will be focusing on an educational series to study the role of the deacon in the church.
The Emergency Fund has dwindled. There will be envelopes in the pews for donations to bring the fund back up to usable numbers. We thank you for your generosity in allowing us to be able to assist those who are dealing with difficult times.

Stewardship Report

Around the world, millions of people lack access to sustainable food sources, clean water, sanitation, education, and opportunity. The three programs supported by One Great Hour of Sharing — Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People — all work in different ways to serve individuals and communities in need. From initial disaster response to ongoing community development, their work fits together to provide people with safety, sustenance, and hope. Received on Palm Sunday, each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) helps to improve the lives of people in these challenging situations. The Offering provides us a way to share God’s love with our neighbors in need. In fact, OGHS is the single, largest way that Presbyterians come together every year to work for a better world. Please give generously
Reprinted with permission from Presbyterian mission.org/oghs

Worship
Lent begins with our traditional Ash Wednesday service on March 6 at 7 p.m. This will be a contemplative service with voluntary imposition of ashes.

In addition, for the second year, we will also reach out to our commuters and passers-by with a curbside “Ashes to Go” service. In our front driveway we will offer people the opportunity to receive the blessing of the ashes in their cars as they are heading home from work that afternoon, between 4 and 6 p.m.

A simple soup supper will be served at 6:00 for anyone who would like to come prior to the 7 p.m. service. If you would like to volunteer to help impose the ashes for any time between 4 and 6, or to bring a soup or bread for the dinner, please speak to Cathie DiCenzo, Mark Vogel or Pastor Trina.

Please remember to check often to sign up to be a worship assistant during the next few months. Communion will be served next on March 3, and again on Maundy Thursday. Elders and Deacons are reminded to sign up to help serve communion according to your availability.

Trustees Report

Safety and Security Guidelines
Fire Safety

-There is a fire alarm system in the building that is located near the second front door. Do not tamper with the box since it monitors the building for any outbreak of fire.
-If an alarm goes off, evacuate the building in an orderly fashion and move away from the building to a safe place. In each room, there is a location map on the wall to inform you where to proceed to evacuate the building. There are eight fire alarms within the building to activate and alert the fire department; sanctuary(2), front doors(2), play area door(1), fellowship hall(2) and kitchen(1).
-There are four fire extinguishers: one located near the coat rack next to the front classroom, one in the hallway near the atrium door, one near the back classroom and one in the kitchen.
-If the kitchen stove is used, make sure to turn it off and leave no items on top of the stove except for the hot water kettle.

Security

-The church has seven doors that need to be locked when exiting the building. The doors that are used most frequently are the two front doors, the playground door and the kitchen door. Make sure these doors are closed and locked when you leave.
-All windows should be closed and locked when leaving the building. The larger windows have two locks and the windows in the sanctuary have one lock.
-If the playground area is used, it is recommended that two adults supervise the activity.
-If need be, call 911 for any emergency that requires medical or police presence.

Miscellaneous

-Make sure that all lights are turned off, including the rest rooms.
-Make sure the church office door is locked.

Souper Bowl
Thank you to everyone who generously donated to the Souper Bowl of Caring. We collected 85 items of food (97.7 lbs.) and $104 to donate to the Burlington Food Pantry to help alleviate hunger in our own community!

Come Sing with Us!
We are looking for a few more voices to fill out our choir sections for the Lenten and Easter season! If you like to sing in the shower, or belt out tunes in your car, or just generally enjoy making music, join us on Sunday mornings before church, at 9:15, and sing with us! We will rehearse music for Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday as part of our regular morning rehearsals starting on March 10th (?). You are welcome to sing with us for any Sunday morning service you are available, and we can get music to you ahead of the date so you can look it over and listen at home. Singers of all ages and abilities are welcome!

We also welcome instrumentalists, so if you play a musical instrument and would like to share your talents with us during a worship service, please let Susan Larson, music director, know of your interest. Once a month, we would like to have a musician, solo, or small ensemble group play or sing the anthem during worship. Let us make a joyful noise unto God together!

Working together for literacy
Nelson Mandela once wrote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” People in Mangochi, Malawi, know this is true, as they have watched their community be transformed by the Muliko Literacy Project.
Established by Chancy and Miriam Gondwe in 2014, the Muliko Literacy Project seeks to improve the 47 percent literacy rate of the predominantly Muslim community of Mangochi. The Gondwes are community development
professionals and committed PC(USA) mission co-worker Nancy Collins, back row on left, visited with teacher Miriam Gondwe, back row on right, and students in the Muliko Literacy Project in Church of Central Africa Mangochi, Malawi. Chancy Gondwe Presbyterian members. Chancy received training from Literacy and Evangelism International in Tulsa. God gave the Gondwes a clear vision for literacy work in Mangochi, where they have used literacy as a tool for evangelism, spiritual growth and sustainable development for the people of Malawi.
The project trains volunteer teachers who want to start literacy programs. Muliko also tutors children after school, conducts child evangelism through an after-school Good News Club and operates a preschool that generates income.
When the people of St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church (SCAPC) in New Orleans heard about the literacy
project, they wanted to support it. They approached me with a unique challenge. SCAPC requested that donations go through World Mission, which works with partner churches and ecumenical organizations. Since the Muliko

Literacy Project was not a World Mission partner, I suggested that Muliko inquire about affiliating with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Blantyre Synod (with which it had ties). If the synod agreed, World Mission would be happy to send support received for the literacy project through the synod. As PC(USA) regional liaison for east central Africa, Nancy Collins assisted the congregation and the synod in working out the details of such an affiliation.
On a visit to see results of the Muliko Literacy Project in April 2017, Nancy was extremely impressed with the Gondwes and the program. She spoke with the Rev. Alex Maulana, general secretary of the CCAP Blantyre Synod. A memorandum of understanding was developed in July 2017. Now support for the literacy project can be designated for Muliko and sent through World Mission and CCAP channels.
As Presbyterians, we believe we are better together. We are a connectional church. Because Muliko is now connected to Blantyre Synod, there is a pathway for best practices of this dynamic program to be shared with the synod to plant seeds for similar connections. And, very significantly, this program is now accountable to the Malawian church, not to foreign donors, which is the case when programs from abroad are sponsored by U.S. churches directly. And because St. Charles Presbyterian Church is connected to World Mission, Nancy Collins accompanies the program, enabling us to share stories like this with the greater church and inviting us to pray for the work of Muliko. Also, as a result of this partnership, the Gondwes plan to start five additional adult literacy classes in five villages in Mangochi’s rural areas, targeting 100 people, mostly women, and impacting thousands of lives.
https://www.presbyterianmission.org/yearbook/
Debbie Braaksma, Presbyterian World Mission, Africa Area Coordinator, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Are you ready for some vegetables?
It is that time of year again. We haven’t had much of a winter, but we have had to acquire our fresh produce at the local grocery market. Vegetables and fruits that we are not quite sure where they have come from or how long they have been sitting…in a truck, in a warehouse or on a shelf. Now is the time for all of that to end. On March 4, The Farmer Dave Spring Share will begin. You can pick up fresh grown vegetable and fruit right here at the church every Monday afternoon from 4-6:30 pm. If you need more information, please see Marylou Lynn, Jane McIninch or Kathleen Stegall. New this spring is a bakery share. Fresh baked items every other week! Try it out.

2019 Walk for Hunger
The 51st annual Walk for Hunger sponsored by Project Bread is making some major changes this year. The goal is to build a movement of people passionate about ending hunger, while allowing programs to leverage their local connections to engage more walkers and raise more money at the local level.
∙Participating programs, such as People Helping People, will receive 60% of funds they raise, with the remaining 40% contributing to statewide efforts and event costs.
∙PHP is required to raise a minimum of $500 to participate in the pilot. Once the minimum is reached, 60% of all money raised (including 60% of the $500 minimum) will be granted back to agencies. For example, raise a total of $500 and receive a $300 grant or raise a total of $5,000 and receive a $3,000 grant for your anti-hunger program.
This means that instead of a BPC team, our walkers (or runners) will be walking for People Helping People. We will still gather and travel as a group, but 60% of the funds we raise will stay local to support local programs.
The Walk will be held on Sunday, May 5. This year there are more ways to participate:
New 3 mile walk
20 mile walk where you can stop at any checkpoint and get a ride back to Boston Common
5K run
Volunteer
Be a virtual walker – details of which to follow

PLEASE CONSIDER WALKING FOR PHP THIS YEAR!! To join our team and/or to pledge us, go to http://support.projectbread.org/site/TR?team_id=80616&pg=team&fr_id=1380&et=NZALZuMWznWIFUCUPS1pVA&s_tafId=59112

Questions anyone? Talk to Linda Roscoe

Food Pantry Needs
We receive donations for the Food Pantry on the 1st Sunday of each month. The Food Pantry needs donations on a continuing basis. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. Your help is appreciated. Thank you!

Life Line Screening, a leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings, will offer their affordable, non-invasive and painless health screenings at The Presbyterian Church In Burlington on 4/9/2019. Five screenings will be offered that scan for potential health problems related to: blocked arteries which is a leading cause of stroke; abdominal aortic aneurysms which can lead to a ruptured aorta; hardening of the arteries in the legs which is a strong predictor of heart disease; atrial fibrillation or irregular heart beat which is closely tied to stroke risk; and a bone density screening, for men and women, used to assess the risk of osteoporosis. Register for a Wellness Package which includes 4 vascular tests and osteoporosis screening from $149 ($139 with our member discount). All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. In order to register for this event and to receive a $10 discount off any package priced above $129, please call 1-888-653-6441 or visit http://www.lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle or text the word circle to 797979

February 2019 Crossroads

Ordination & Installation of Officers
Ordination and Installation of Officers will take place during worship on Sunday, February 10th, for our incoming Deacons, Ruling Elders and Trustees. Please make every effort to attend that Sunday if you are being installed to one of these offices.

Stewardship Report
At the Annual Meeting, Per Capita was explained. Each year the Presbytery of Boston requires member churches to pay a “Per Capita Apportionment” to support the mission and ministry of the Presbytery, Synod and the General Assembly. “Per Capita” means a certain amount to be given for each adult confirmed member of the church (children who are below confirmation age are not included.) This year’s Per Capita is $56. Two adult members in a household would each contribute $56; a family with two adult members, one confirmed youth and two younger siblings would be asked to contribute for only the three household residents who are church members. The Session invites you to use the Per Capita envelope in your envelope sets (if you use envelopes) or to use the Per Capita envelopes that can be found in the narthex. Please make checks out to the Presbyterian Church in Burlington. Every Per Capita payment received will free up money for use elsewhere in a very tight 2019 budget

Worship
It always takes many hands and voices and coordination for worship services to happen each Sunday, and creativity and participation to present the Tableaux and congregational candle lighting on Christmas Eve. Thanks to all worship assistants,
Communion servers and Brenda Flynn and her cast and crew.

In addition, during Sundays in Advent the following people graciously agreed to light a candle on the Advent wreath: Chuck and Barbara Anderson; Jay, Annelies & Adriana Araujo; Mark and Cheryl Wells; Selina Sarkodie, Christian, Bryce and Brendon Kankam.

A small group of worshippers attended the Longest Night service on December 19 appreciating the opportunity to have time to reflect, pray and sing together in the midst of the busy season.

On Sunday, December 30 Mark Vogel led a service of Lessons and Carols that gave us a chance to sing out and reflect again on the Christmas story.

Now we have entered Ordinary Time as we begin a new calendar year. Beginning on Sunday, January 13, there will be a Communion Servers sign-up sheet posted in Fellowship Hall. Elders and Deacons will have the opportunity to look at the whole year of communion services, check your calendars and sign up according to your availability. If everyone signs up for two or three Sundays we’ll have good coverage. Please check the sign-up sheet often.

For the time being, beginning in February, we will also post a sign-up sheet for weekly Worship Assistants and invite you to sign up to assist from time to time.

Trustees Report
The Board of Trustees wishes everyone a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2019. Looking back to 2018, the trustees accomplished a lot with several large undertakings and many small ones.

The restrooms were both renovated with the men’s room converted to a handicap, gender-neutral facility. The back hall was painted with four new doors installed. New windows were installed in both restrooms as well as the back classroom. A lease was signed for a new Xerox copier. The fire alarm system was inspected along with new batteries for the emergency lights. The defibrillator battery and pads were replaced. The radiators in Fellowship Hall were painted. The carpets in the Narthex and double classroom were cleaned and the hall floors and Fellowship Hall floor was cleaned and waxed. New shades were installed in the front classroom and Trina’s office. Many other small tasks were completed concerning lights, painting and heating concerns. Exterior issues were tended to with lawn care and tree removal. All the bushes were trimmed and the ramp was repaired with a partial paint job on the railings. The parking lot was striped after the front entrance to the lot was repaved.

As winter settles in, please be aware of turning the heat down and making sure all the windows and doors are locked when you leave the church.

Women’s Bible Study

Women’s Bible Study is continuing with the Horizons study called “For Everything, A Season: A Study of the Liturgical Calendar”. All women of the church are invited to join us. We meet on Thursday mornings at 9:30. See Marylou Lynn if you have any questions.

Mission

Thank you to everyone who donated to our Clean Water fund! We collected a total of $200. Through the Presbyterian Giving catalog, we are ordering a rainwater catchment system ($75), a water filter ($50), and three jerry cans ($25 each) to provide clean water in communities around the world.

On February 3rd our youth will be participating in the Souper Bowl of Caring by collecting canned food and dollars during the worship service. All donations will go to the Burlington Food Pantry.
So Bring Your Can to Church on February 3rd!

Equal Exchange
Why pay more for coffee and tea by buying from Equal Exchange?

Equal Exchange trades fairly and directly with over 40 small farmer co-operatives to bring you organic and delicious coffee, chocolate, tea and more. Our partners receive pre-harvest credit and above-market prices for their crops. This helps them invest in social programs, farm renovations, education and other essential projects. This can help reduce poverty, improve the environment and safeguard humane working conditions.

Your support helps promote a more equitable, sustainable and democratic food system.
Please look for Equal Exchange products on sale during coffee hour next on Feb 10. Mar 10, Apr 14, May 12, and Jun 9.

People Helping People

People Helping People (PHP) served 95 families with 208 children during this past holiday season. Thanks to BPC and others’ generosity, each child was provided with underwear, pajamas, a sweatshirt, 4 wishes worth up to $40 apiece as well as hats and gloves and books. Gift cards were given to 36 Burlington High School students and 76 gift cards were given to senior citizens. In addition, Market Basket gift cards were given to each family.

The next important PHP event is the wine tasting and auction to be held on Sunday, February 24 from 2 – 5 at the Cafe Escadrille restaurant in Burlington. This is the major fundraising event for PHP. Tickets will cost $50 and are limited to 150 people.

“Glory to God”
If you would like to dedicate a nameplate for a hymnal, the cost is $20 each. Checks may be made payable to the church with “hymnal bookplate” in memo. Checks can be left with the office or any choir member.

Lenten Study opportunities

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, a forty day period of prayer, reflection, and repentance leading up to Holy Week and Easter Sunday. We will have an Ash Wednesday service on March 6th, at 7 PM in the sanctuary. For anyone who would like to come early, we will have a soup supper in the front classroom beginning at 6 pm. If you would like to bring bread or a soup to share, please let Pastor Trina know.

We will be offering a Lenten study on Thursday evenings throughout Lent, beginning on March 14 through April 11, at 7 PM meeting in the front classroom. For this 5-week series, we will use the curriculum Just Eating?, which was developed by the Presbyterian Hunger Program. As part of our focus on food justice this year, set by the mission and advocacy committee, and as a hunger action congregation of the PC(USA), this seemed like a good way to reflect on how food and faith are connected in so many ways.

The study uses scripture, prayer and stories from the local and global community to explore five key aspects of our relationship with food:
the health of our bodies
the challenge of hunger
the health of the earth that provides our food
the ways we use food to extend hospitality and enrich relationships
the opportunities for action, renewal and transformation in our eating practices-as individuals and as faith communities
Come and join us for one or more sessions! If you are interested, please let Pastor Trina know ahead of time so she can have enough copies of the curriculum available.

Another opportunity for personal devotion and study is the 2019 Lenten devotional produced by Presbyterians Today. This year’s theme is “Awakening to God’s Beauty” and the magazine-style booklet is printed with full-color images of God’s amazing creation. Accompanying scripture lessons from the book of Psalms and reflection questions are included for each day of Lent. If you would like a copy, please let Pastor Trina know by February 10. The price per copy goes down based on the number ordered.

Food Pantry Needs
We receive donations for the Food Pantry on the 1st Sunday of each month. The Food Pantry needs donations on a continuing basis. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. Your help is appreciated. Thank you!

Commitments and Priorities

The beginning of a new year is a good time to re-examine our commitments and priorities. Many of us do this in our personal lives, as we set goals for the year ahead, and make new commitments to our health, our relationships, our financial well-being, or any number of other things that we want to improve upon. It is also a good time to reflect on our shared life together, and the goals and priorities we want to set for the year ahead. At its heart, the church is a community of people who are called together to join in worship of God, and to grow in relationship with God, with one another, and with the world around us. As we enter the fourth year of our journey together, I am interested to hear your thoughts on the direction you feel called as a community of faith.

As a community of faith, we must continually ask ourselves the questions:
– What kind of community of faith are we called to be?
– What kinds of activities are we called to do as a people of God?

During the annual meeting, I had intended to do the following activity as a group discussion. However, we ran short on time, and decided to postpone the discussion portion to a later date. I am including the questions in the newsletter so that you might have some time to reflect on what you would most like to see us doing as a church. What do you participate in now that you would like to continue? What are some ideas of things you wish we were able to offer?

Whether you have been part of this church for forty years, or four months – or anywhere in between! – I hope you will take some time to read through the questions below and write down some of your thoughts and responses. In my attempt to categorize things a bit, I have thought of three primary areas of our life together: Service, Study, and Support/Social.

Through service, or mission, we seek to reach out to the wider community around us, whether they are our local neighbors, or participating in larger circles of service at the regional, national, or even global level. What are some areas of service in which you would like to get involved as a church?

Through study, we seek to nurture and develop our relationship with God through reading, discussing, and sharing reflections on the scriptures and other faith-related materials (books, film, devotionals, etc), with a small group. What are some topics you would be interested in studying as a faith community?

Through support or social opportunities, we seek to develop and strengthen our relationships with others in the community – whether they are part of the church or not. These may be one-time events, or long-term small groups who meet consistently over time. How can we best support you? What kinds of support groups, or social events, would you like to participate in, or do you wish we offered?

As you reflect on these three areas, if you have specific organizations or projects in mind, please list those as well. Remember, this is a judgment-free zone – no idea is too outlandish, wacky, or impossible, so use your creativity! I look forward to hearing your visions and dreams for the Presbyterian Church in Burlington!

Peace,
Pastor Trina

Services cancelled Sunday January 20, 2019

Dear Church family,

Like many of you, I have been watching the weather reports for the pending winter storm that is forecast to hit our area on Saturday night. In consultation with the session and trustees, we have decided not to hold service on Sunday morning, January 20th. Due to the mixed weather conditions in the forecast, and the timing of the storm hitting mostly overnight and into the morning hours of Sunday, it seems that road conditions will be unsafe for much of the area. Many of us, myself included, travel a significant distance to get to church, and we don’t want to put anyone’s safety at risk.

We are making the call early, ahead of the storm, so that there is time to notify everyone of the decision. If conditions change significantly, we will still not be holding church service on Sunday morning. I will be sending out a morning prayer/reflection that you can use for your own time of worship on Sunday, or anytime over the weekend. “Sabbath was created for humans, and not humans for the Sabbath,” to paraphrase Jesus. Let this weekend be a time of rest and renewal of your spirits, and stay warm and safe at home!

Grace and peace,
Pastor Trina

Crossroads December 2018

Christmas Eve Service
A Family Tradition with Crèche, Carols and Candlelight
Monday, December 24 − 7:00 p.m.

There will be nativity tableaux vivants (or living scenes) featuring young folks in the roles of Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds and wise men. Choir and congregation will join in many carols. The service will end with a spreading of candlelight throughout the sanctuary. Pastor Trina will give a brief message. The Christmas Joy Offering will be received. This service is a wonderful way to introduce friends and neighbors to the church – and maybe to make a difference in their lives.

Every generous act of giving …is from above.
In the lead up to Christmas, many of us spend time in search of the perfect gift — the gift that communicates to friends and family how much we know and love them. We search our memories for indications of what gift might cause the faces of our loved ones to light up. We scour the stores and shops, hoping to come across the thing that will communicate a depth of love that our words cannot. As important as gifts to loved ones are, we have an opportunity to give gifts that help many people we do not know through the Christmas Joy Offering. These gifts in particular draw us back to the manger and God’s perfect gift to us — Jesus Christ.
Jesus came to live among us, bringing light into darkness, and reconciliation to God and to one another. A perfect gift from a gracious God.

During this Christmas and Advent Season, we celebrate leadership; past, present and future through support of the Christmas Joy Offering. We do so because church leaders greatly impact our lives of faith, walking with us down the path to be more like Jesus. We want those church leaders and their families who find themselves grappling with a critical financial need to have the resources they need which are provided through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions. We also support the offering to help our future leaders in the church and world, like those educated at our Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. Supporting these students helps the whole church develop leaders who reflect the wideness of God’s intended diversity.

For those supported through the Christmas Joy Offering, this help is truly a gift from above. May our gifts, and the leaders who receive them, point us always to the truth of the one whose birth we celebrate, Jesus Christ — the truly perfect gift. Please give generously.

The Season of Waiting
There are many plans and opportunities for worship during Advent, including particular ways in which many of you are invited to participate.

The Hanging of the Greens and bows will be on December 1 at 10am-12pm in anticipation of all that Advent and Christmas holds for us. Again we have an Advent Wreath at the front of the Chancel and each Sunday different members and families of our congregation will have a turn to light a new candle on the wreath.

Wednesday, December 19 at 7:00 p.m. is the time for our “Longest Night” service.
Similar to Advent services we have offered in the past couple of years, this evening will provide a different perspective and meaningful space during the holiday season, for reflection, prayer, introspection and quiet.

Brenda Flynn is again planning and directing our annual Christmas Eve Tableaux. Letters have gone out to families to recruit participants in the tableaux. Brenda has also put out the call for help with costumes, and for adults to help ‘shepherd’ (aka wrangle) the participants before and during the Tableaux. Rehearsal is scheduled for Sunday, December 23.

Also on December 23, immediately following worship, before tableaux rehearsal, the Trustees will be setting up the stable in the sanctuary for Christmas Eve. They will need and appreciate additional help with this.

The Christmas Eve Service with Tableaux and candle lighting happens on Monday evening, December 24, and is a beloved tradition at BPC.

To round out the month, Mark Vogel will be leading worship on December 30 and be leading us in a service of lessons and carols/hymns.

Fair Trade Holiday Sale

Save the date and get your Christmas gift list ready! On Saturday, December 8th from 10 – 3. You’ll have the opportunity to do your holiday shopping for a good cause. The Mission Group has invited nine not-for-profit vendors to bring their products for sale here at the church. Possible vendors include Equal Exchange, SERRV, Partners in Just Trade, Fair Trade Winds, and Mayan Hands and a range of products will be available including candles, jewelry, scarves, woodwork, embroidery, coffee, tea, and chocolate.

Proceeds will go to mission programs of the church, in addition to supporting the fair trade vendors and artisans who make the products.

Invite your friends and family, and spread the word! We’d love to see a good turnout for this event and will be looking for volunteers to help during the sale on Saturday. If you would like to help with the Holiday Sale, please contact Jane McIninch, (781) 864-9367.

Longest Night Service

“Comfort, comfort my people, says God”

There are many moments in our lives when we need comfort. There are tough times when we yearn for consolation. The suffering people who looked for the long-awaited Messiah were given a hope-filled image of God in the writings of Isaiah. It expresses the belief that no matter what happens to us, God will be there to comfort and support us.

Advent and Christmas can be a painful time for many in need of that reassurance and comfort. The constant refrain on the radio and television, in shopping malls and churches, about the happiness of the season, about getting together with family and friends, reminds many people of what they have lost or have never had. The death of a loved one, whether recent or long ago, the anguish of broken relationships, the insecurity of unemployment, the weariness of ill health, the pain of isolation – all these can make us feel very alone in the midst of the celebrating and spending. We need the space and time to acknowledge our sadness and concern; we need to know that we are not alone.
We need comfort and encouragement to live the days ahead of us.

For these reasons, we are offering a special meditative Longest Night Service, Wednesday evening December 19, at 7:00 p.m. at the church.

Come out, and join with us in sharing and hearing prayers, scripture, and music that acknowledge that God’s presence is for those who mourn, for those who struggle – and that God’s Word comes to shine light into our darkness. Everyone is welcome.

Clean Water Collection
We have counted the “Clean Water” collection and deposited about $182! Our congregation has a generous heart. During our Sunday school classes we will decide how many jerry cans and water filters we will buy through Presbyterian Giving.

Trustees Report
The fall cleanup finally occurred on November 3rd. We had a reasonable turnout, despite a little rain and wind, and a lot was done to prepare the church and grounds for winter. The fall commuter collection took place on November 13th and 14th. Thanks to Tom Hennings and Ken Dewar for braving the rain and cold respectively. We collected over $3,500 in donations with hopefully more coming in by mail.
The carpets in the Narthex and the double classroom were cleaned and the hallways and Fellowship Hall were cleaned and waxed in September. Try to keep the Narthex carpet clean by wiping your feet on the runner as you enter the church.

All the work on the restrooms are now complete with just a little paint touchup needed in the women’s room. Try to remember to turn off the lights if you are the last to leave the restrooms.

A reminder to all to close and lock any window you open and check that all doors are locked before you leave the church. A special request for parents to lock the playground door when you retrieve your children.

Women’s Bible Study

Women’s Bible Study has started a new study with the Horizons study called “For Everything, A Season: A Study of the Liturgical Calendar”. On December 13, we will be having our Holiday Brunch or Cookie Swap. All women of the church are invited to join us. We meet on Thursday mornings at 9:30. See Marylou Lynn if you have any questions.

Food Pantry Needs
We receive donations for the Food Pantry on the 1st Sunday of each month. The Food Pantry needs donations on a continuing basis. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. Your help is appreciated. Thank you!

Hanging of the Greens
Saturday, December 1
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Get in the holiday spirit with us! Join the Deacons on the first Saturday of December for the Hanging of the Greens! We will decorate the church for Advent and Christmas. Advent begins on Sunday, December 2!
Coffee & donuts will be provided.

Poinsettias
Last day to order Poinsettias will be Dec 2.
Please give your order form and money to Kathleen Stegall by December 2.
Thank you.

Mitten Drive
We are once again participating in the PJs, Sweatshirt, Mittens and Books Christmas Drive for People Helping People. This is part of the wishes for Christmas. If you would like to participate, see Anne Denier to obtain a card. PJs, Sweatshirts, Mittens and Books are to be dropped off at the church by Dec 9. Do not wrap, just attach the card to the gift. Thank you again for your continued generosity!

Songs for Cameroon
On November 17th, about 80 people from the Presbytery of Boston and from the Eliot Presbyterian Church in Lowell (Presbytery of Northern New England) gathered at the Korean Church of Boston for an afternoon of song and learning about the humanitarian crisis in Southern Cameroons. Seven church groups sang a wide range of music, and we heard an inspiring message from Elder Ruphous Takang of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Easton. We also watched a video about the deadly and devastating conflict which is ongoing in Southern Cameroons, and the oppression of the people by the government and paramilitary forces there.

We received a special offering at the event, which raised almost $3,750! A combined total of $4,296 was raised from the concert and the offering from the November 12 Presbytery Meeting, held at First Presbyterian Quincy. The offering will go to the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon (PCC) to support ministry and relief efforts for internally displaced persons and refugees from the conflict through a designated mission fund of the Presbyterian Mission Association. If you would like to make a contribution, you may do so directly through PCUSA, by going to https://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/e864103/ and clicking on the Give button.

To give by phone, call 800-872-3283. To send a check, please designate E864103 PCC in the “note” portion of the check and mail to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
Many thanks to Korean Church of Boston for hosting, and to the groups and musicians who sang at the concert:
First United Church in Cambridge
Christian Women’s Fellowship Choir of Eliot Presbyterian Church
African Fellowship Choir of Eliot Presbyterian Church
Clinton Presbyterian Church
Young Adult Praise Team of Korean Church of Boston
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
Fourth Presbyterian Church
Stephanie and David Rodriguez, Clinton Presbyterian Church
Virine Morris, Hyde Park Presbyterian Church

Stay awake, and watch

In the rush of preparations leading up to Christmas, it can be easy to lose focus on why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. While the world is full of the hustle and bustle of putting up the lights and decorations, shopping for the “perfect” gift for our loved ones, and baking, baking, baking delicious cookies and holiday treats, the church is in a different season altogether. Advent is a period of waiting, of anticipation, of looking for the coming of the Christ child into our lives once more.

The season of Advent is a reminder that our time is not our own. We like to pretend that it is; that we can manage it efficiently, plan accordingly. That by our sheer determination we can will it to bend to our needs and desires. We strive to turn it back, and for so many reasons. To re-experience time with someone we love. To relive time with someone we’ve lost. To recreate a moment in time we want to remember again or that we wish we had handled differently. We wonder if we can alter time in some way, change the course of time.

The charge to keep awake during this Advent season is not just about waiting and anticipation. It is not just about getting ready or being ready because can you ever be ready for Christ’s coming? Can we ever be ready for God entering into humanity, into our sinfulness and brokenness, into our pain and loss, into our joy, into our love, into our longing?

Ultimately, God’s entering into time disrupts time, displaces time, disorients time. Not always comfortably. Not always helpfully. Not always desirably. And never how or when expectable. Why? Because divinity took on mortality, eternity entered temporality, and love eliminated death. This, my friends, is the meaning of Advent time.

May you find space and time amidst all the preparations of the season to remember that our time is not our own. That God bursts into our lives when we least expect it, even though we have been told to “stay awake, and watch.”

Blessings of the season,

Trina

November 2018 Crossroads

Benefit Concert for Southern Cameroon
November 17, 3 – 5 pm
The Korean Church of Boston, 32 Harvard Street, Brookline MA

As the violence increases in Southern Cameroon and the refugee situation worsens, join us for a night of music to raise funds and awareness to help those in need.

Those who are interested in collaborating on efforts to help our sisters and brothers in Southern Cameroon are invited to stay for a conversation following the performances.

Worship
New Music Director, Susan Larson, has begun her service with BPC and after a bout with bronchitis was able to start playing and directing the choir in worship on Sunday, October 21. Please note that Susan will be using a corner of the back classroom as her ‘office’. She has a desk and file cabinet there and would appreciate that anyone using that room for a class or meeting respects her space and the items she keeps there. Be sure to welcome Susan and introduce yourselves. If you’ve thought about singing in the choir before, now is a great time to start – Advent and Christmas are a wonderful season for music in the church! If you’d like to ring handbells, see Judy Brunner for more information and rehearsal times.

Coming up in November, on Sunday November 18 is the annual Harvest of Offerings. You have the opportunity to bring non-perishable food items to help People Helping People provide Thanksgiving meals to families that are served by the Food Pantry in Burlington. There will be a list in the Bulletin of items to contribute. Deacons and Worship are coordinating this effort for BPC and we will need some folks, including youth, to help package up the donations to take to UCC for processing after worship on 11/18. It won’t take long if several people pitch in!

The next evening, November 19, we are hosting the annual Burlington Interfaith Thanksgiving service at 7:00 p.m. in our sanctuary. James McIninch is coordinating the refreshments following the service and asks the congregation to help provide the food. There will be a signup sheet in Fellowship Hall where you can indicate what you will bring. If you are not able to attend the service you can still help provide the food and bring it to church when you come on Sunday, 11/18. We expect a large number of our neighboring Burlington congregations to come for the service. Hospitality, Deacons and Worship are coordinating the plans and will need help with setting up, serving and cleaning up. Let us know if you can help with any of that.

Looking even farther ahead, the Worship Committee and Deacons will again coordinate the Hanging of the Greens to decorate the church for Advent on Saturday, December 1st, from 10 am to noon. Come and help us deck the halls and get in the spirit of the season!

Hanging of the Greens
Saturday, December 1
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Get in the holiday spirit with us! Join the Deacons on the first Saturday of December for the Hanging of the Greens! We will decorate the church for Advent and Christmas. Advent begins on Sunday, December 2!
Coffee & donuts will be provided.

THANKSGIVING IN-GATHERING
NOVEMBER 18TH

Each year, prior to Thanksgiving, UCC hosts a wonderful event at their church. On November 18th they will sort food, help families shop (adult volunteers only), deliver to shut-ins, vets, etc. and deliver remaining food to the Burlington Pantry.

What we need from you is the following, (no expired dates please!):
Gravy Chicken Broth Cornbread Mix
Stuffing Mix Cranberry Sauce Canned Corn
Mayonnaise

It’s only a few items, but we need many! Fresh produce and turkeys will also be purchased and given to the Burlington Families who would otherwise not have a Thanksgiving Dinner. If you would like to make a monetary donation, please make a check out to PHP (People Helping People) and bring to worship on or before November 18th.

Want to help! Call Bobbie Killilea at UCC 781-272-4547. Please note distribution to the families between 2-5pm, ADULT VOLUNTEERS ONLY! Children can help sort food noon-1:30pm.

Fair Trade Holiday Sale

Save the date and get your Christmas gift list ready! On Saturday, December 8th from 10 – 3, and after church on December 9th, you’ll have the opportunity to do your holiday shopping for a good cause. The Mission Group has invited nine not-for-profit vendors to bring their products for sale here at the church. Possible vendors include Equal Exchange, SERRV, Partners in Just Trade, Fair Trade Winds, and Mayan Hands and a range of products will be available including candles, jewelry, scarves, woodwork, embroidery, coffee, tea, and chocolate.

Proceeds will go to mission programs of the church, in addition to supporting the fair trade vendors and artisans who make the products.

Invite your friends and family, and spread the word! We’d love to see a good turnout for this event and will be looking for volunteers to help during the sale on Saturday. If you would like to help with the Holiday Sale, please contact Jane McIninch.

Deacon’s Corner
A note about the prayer chain: Part of the ministry of the deacons is to let the congregation know when there are special needs within our church family for which prayer has been requested. In an effort to ensure that those prayer requests are communicated to the wider church as quickly as possible, we have been working hard to create a digital directory that will allow us to send out one electronic communication to all who have opted to receive email notifications. We are also working on a system to notify people by telephone or text, if that is your preferred method of communication. You will receive a form requesting your preferred communication for receiving prayer chain messages. Please return this form to Kathleen in the church office to ensure that we have the most accurate and up-to-date contact information for you. Also, we encourage you to notify Pastor Trina, Jay Araujo, or Kathleen Stegall when you have a prayer concern that you would like to send out to the church-wide prayer chain. We ask that these prayer requests be used for urgent or imminent concerns, such as surgery, emergency hospitalizations, or a death in the family.

As we look toward celebrating the birth of our Lord, there are many activities coming up in the life of the church with which the Deacons will need your help!
Please join us for Hanging of the Greens on Saturday, December 1st, from 10 – noon. More information can be found later in the newsletter.

The Harvest of Offerings will be received on November 18th. A list of items is available in Crossroads and will be at church as well. We will need some volunteers to stay after church on the 18th to help sort and transport items collected to the UCC Church.

This year we will be using a sign-up website for the Wish Tree Schedule. For those that do not have access to a computer, you can let any one of the deacons, or Kathleen, know what shifts you are available and we will update the list. We will post updated lists each Sunday on the board in Fellowship Hall. We will also be sponsoring our annual Pajama and Underwear drive, cards will be available later this month.

Information about the Poinsettia Sale will also be coming soon!

As you can see your deacons are busy at work and we welcome any and all volunteers to help these events a success! Please see any deacon for more details.

Stewardship Report
Thanks to your generous contributions, our Peace and Global Witness Offering this year is $1044. Thank you one and all.
During this season of harvest and thanksgiving, we bring our offerings of time, talent, and treasure for the coming year. Stewardship packets will be available to pick up at church on Sunday, November 4th including your pledge card and your time and talent questionnaire. An online version of the time and talent form will also be available this year (thank you, Jane!). The mission and ministry of the church cannot happen without the support of all of us, from our youngest members and friends to our oldest. Your pledges help us plan our budget and mission priorities for the coming year and give us a sense of what is needed from other financial sources to meet our needs. Our annual Harvest of Offerings is on November 18th, when we will receive your pledges for the coming year along with donations of non-perishable food items for the People Helping People Burlington food pantry.