Autism Awareness

I wear a silver ring on my right hand. It is made up of linked puzzle pieces. The puzzle piece has become a symbol of autism, representing the complexity of autism spectrum disorders. I don’t wear my puzzle piece ring as a reminder of autism, however, I wear it because the linked pieces remind me that each of us, specially loved by God, is unique, and my youngest son, David, is the unique piece that completed our our family’s puzzle. David also happens to have autism.

April is Autism Awareness month, so I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce you to David and share with you some of the aspects of autism spectrum disorders that you may witness when he is at church. The saying goes, when you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism. That is, autism reveals itself in myriad ways, and like puzzle pieces, no two individuals on the spectrum are the same. So, the caveat here is that David’s behaviors and the strategies we use with him may not be the same for another individual on the spectrum.

Stimming. David almost never stops moving. Much of David’s non-stop movement during church is “stimming,” or self-stimulatory behavior.

David struggles with regulating sensory input. This means that he sometimes runs, jump, bumps into people and things, and climbs because he is seeking sensory input that he needs to regulate his body. We have techniques we use at home (rolling him up in the blanket, jumping on a trampoline, swinging from the pull up bar) that we can’t do in public. So, you may see me hold him upside down, wrap my arms around him and squeeze, or apply pressure with my hands onto his shoulders. Sometimes this will help settle him. It doesn’t always work, though. If he’s not posing a danger to himself or to others, I will let him move his body the way he needs to re-regulate himself. If his stimming behavior escalates beyond a safe level, then I will remove him.

Sometimes there is too much sensory input. In those cases, you might see David squinting at lights, putting his hands on his ears or covering his head.

Communication. David’s speech has really blossomed over the last year, but he doesn’t always respond verbally. You may see him with an iPad at church. This iPad is his dedicated speech device. It has an app on it that he can use to help him communicate. This is still a developing skill. Please don’t take it personally if he doesn’t speak to you verbally or using his device (or look at you). He usually loves to give high fives, though. And, have no fear, even though he is not responding verbally, he is a sponge soaking up everything around him. He’s always listening.

Scripting. David recites lines from movies he’s seen, songs he’s heard and books he’s read. You may hear this vocalization during church. You might even hear a screech from time to time. He’s not upset. It’s part of the script.

Eloping. It is not unusual for children on the spectrum to elope. While there are many potential reasons for this, David often runs either because he is frustrated or overwhelmed. Please, if you see David running for the door, stop him before he can get outside.

This coming summer, David will receive a highly trained service dog. Among other tasks, the dog will be trained in behavior redirection and scent tracking to find David if he wanders off. We will be bringing the service dog to church with us later this summer. This is really exciting for David, because having the dog will help David access more activities and opportunities. We can’t wait to share this new piece of the puzzle with you all!

If you are interested in learning more about autism spectrum disorders, I recommend the following resources.
National Autism Association www.nationalautismassociation.com
Asperger/Autism Network www.aane.org
The Autistic Brain, by Temple Grandin
Thinking in Pictures, by Temple Grandin
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen Year Old Boy with Autism, by Naoki Higashida
Look Me In The Eyes: My Life with Asperger’s, by John Elder Robinson
For Kids:
Rules, by Cynthia Lord
Rain, Reign, by Ann M. Martin
Erin McCoy Alarcon, Esq.

Camp Wilmot Revival

Our church has a long history with Camp Wilmot, up in Wilmot New Hampshire. Years ago, we used to go as a congregation for spiritual retreats and community building. We’ve supported Wilmot with a new freezer for the kitchen, and scholarships to welcome children who might not otherwise be able to attend.

In the last few years, many of our youth and kids have spent a week or two up in the woods, praying, singing and hoping to spot a Polar Bear dance. This last year, 11 kids BPC kids and their friends made the trip up 93 to experience faith and nature.

Now, those kids are going to bring a bit of that faith and nature back to us! On Sunday, September 29th our usual worship service is going to take on a whole energy. Some of the counselors and directors from Camp Wilmot have agreed to come and lead our kids in showing us exactly how much fun they have! Expect the music to be energetic, the message to be inspiring, and your hearts to be lifted with hope. We’ll even be taking a special offering to help send even more kids to camp.

For those kids who have been to Camp Wilmot – we’d like your help preparing for worship. The Saturday before the 28th) at 10 am we’ll be getting together in the church to run through your favorite hymns & energizers, and practice getting the congregation up and jumping!

April 2018 Crossroads

GLORY TO GOD!!

Can you finish the lines of these hymns?

– Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to Thee, ________________________________

-Lift high _______________________________________________________________

What is so remarkable about the majority of Presbyterians being able to fill in these phrases? Or, more often than not, being able to sing these hymns from memory? These examples were new hymns when the “new blue” hymnal was released in 1990. Had the blue hymnal not been adopted, these songs – and many others just as meaningful – would have not been part of our shared worship life at the Presbyterian Church of Burlington. We all love the comfort of our “old” hymns and cherish the memories they evoke of when and where we learned those hymns. They also bring to mind those people in whose presence we learned those ‘heart songs’: parents and grandparents, Sunday school teachers, choir directors, youth leaders, or with friends at summer camp. Those black dots and assortments of letters on the page, signifying notes and words, take on a life of their own when we give them breath and voice. When sung by a congregation they become worship: confession and adoration, praise and lament. Those songs become a part of our faith journey: touchstones of moments and places, struggles and joys. We love when favorites appear in various seasons of the liturgical calendar.

In 2014, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adopted a new hymnal: “Glory to God.” Its purple cover will soon be gracing our pews. Be assured, our familiar “old” blue hymnal and all our most favorite hymns will not disappear! However, we will be starting a journey of discovery with “Glory to God”, hoping to find hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs that speak to our congregation’s faith journey. The “new” purple hymnal was approved by the Session and purchased through funds from the Memorial Fund. After Easter, the Chancel Choir will begin a fund raising drive to help offset the cost of the hymnals, with all fund being returned to the Memorial Fund. For a donation of $20, a personalized bookplate will be added to a hymnal to recognize your loved one or cherished event. The bookplates will remain available until all 120 new sanctuary hymnals are inscribed! Ten large print hymnals are included in the order. If you would like a personal copy of “Glory to God” for your home use, several copies will be available for purchase for $20. Checks for donations should be made out to the Presbyterian Church of Burlington with the notation of “Hymnal bookplate” on your check’s memo line. With your donation, please CLEARLY write what you desire to have written on your bookplate. Checks and inscriptions should be given to Claudia Waite or any Chancel Choir member.

Mission & Advocacy
Our new Mission and Advocacy Committee is to identify opportunities for mission and advocacy, and communicate those opportunities to the congregation for shared service, prayer and action.

Our overall mission theme for 2018 is Poverty. Each month we plan to highlight one mission area. For the month of April our focus is on Fair Trade products. Fair trade products compensate the workers fairly and work to correct injustices in global trading.
The way we shop makes a difference.

Our church currently uses fair trade coffee during our fellowship time. We hope to make this coffee available for purchase by the congregation soon. Keep an eye on the bulletin for more information.

Also in April we will host Project Bread on April 15. Project Bread will be our focus in May, beginning with the Walk for Hunger on May 6.

If you are interested in being part of the committee, please talk to Trina or Mary Lou Lynn.

Join us!
Are you considering becoming a member of our church? Would you like to learn more about the history of our church, and of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) more broadly? What do we believe and how do we practice our faith together?

We will explore these topics in a one-session new members’ class on Sunday, April 15th. We will gather for lunch together while we get to know one another better and explore our faith journeys. If you are interested in learning more, please speak to Pastor Trina and let her know! There is no pressure to join, if you want to just come and hear more about membership in the church, that is absolutely fine. Whether you’ve been coming for a few weeks, or for a few years, you are welcome to attend the class!

Confirmation Class

Our confirmation class is off to a great start! We have nine young people in the class this year, which is wonderful! The class meeting schedule is below.

In addition to our regular meetings, we will incorporate a service project into our learning experience, and attend worship services of other denominations or faith traditions. Confirmation Sunday will be on June 10th, so mark your calendars as we celebrate welcoming these young people into full membership of the church! We are also looking for adult members to pair with each of our young people as faith mentors. Mentors should be willing to meet with their student at least once prior to Confirmation Day, and to share with them your faith journey and learn more about theirs. You will also introduce your confirmand to the congregation on Confirmation Day, June 10th. If you are interested in being a mentor, please speak to Pastor Trina – we need at least seven more people to sign up!

Living our Values
Did you know that the coffee we serve every Sunday is purchased through a Fair Trade worker-owned co-operative organization called Equal Exchange? And that Equal Exchange was founded and is based locally, in Canton, MA? As part of our revitalized Mission and Outreach efforts, we have decided to go beyond just serving the coffee here on Sunday mornings, and offer bags of coffee, tea, and other products for purchase that you can use at home on a regular basis.

So, what is Fair Trade? It is part of a movement to partner with small farmers in developing countries around the world, to provide fair prices for their crops and in turn better wages for their employees. Rather than buying coffee beans, cacao, or tea leaves from a giant middleman, Equal Exchange and other Fair Trade organizations purchase directly from the growers themselves. Equal Exchange’s mission is to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers and to demonstrate, through our success, the contribution of worker cooperatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable world.

Through partnering with Equal Exchange, small famers in Central America, South America, Africa, and Asia are able to build their own businesses to support their families and stay on their land; strengthen their local communities; and preserve and protect their natural environment through organic and sustainable farming practices.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is one of twelve interfaith partner organizations working with Equal Exchange. Started in 2001, the Presbyterian Coffee Project is a collaboration between Equal Exchange and the Presbyterian Church USA’s Enough for Everyone Program to involve more Presbyterian communities and individuals in supporting small farmers around the world. We hope you will be as excited to try these products at home as we are to be able to bring them to you at Coffee Hour! Look for the Equal Exchange table to appear at Coffee Hour within the next month!

Walk For Hunger
The annual Walk for Hunger is the largest fundraiser for Project Bread. For five decades, the Walk for Hunger has been Massachusetts’ annual state-wide effort to fund community-based anti-hunger work that ensure everyone living here has access to good food—a basic right. In 2017, through the individual fundraising efforts of Walk participants and generous supporters, Project Bread invested in 263 community food programs—including soup kitchens, food pantries, community farms and gardens, health center hunger prevention, food rescue, childhood nutrition programs, and much more—in 91 communities across the state.

For more than 30 years BPC has sent a team of walkers and raised thousands of dollars. In 2017 our team of ten raised more than $3,000. This year our team goal is $3,500. This is the first year Project Bread is implementing a $25 registration fee – they are doing this to make sure that all the funds raised by walkers and runners go directly to the cause of ending hunger in Massachusetts rather than covering the costs of putting on an event of this size safely (10,000-15,000 walkers + EMS services, policing, permits to walk through different towns, etc.)

If you’d like to walk this year – anywhere from 3.5 miles to all 20, you can register online for our team, or speak to Linda Roscoe, our team captain. To register online, visit projectbread.org/walk and click “Join a Team,” then select Burlington Presbyterian Church. Volunteers are also needed. If you’d like to be involved that way, please contact Olivia Wilker, the Volunteer Coordinator. Olivia will be able to answer any questions you might have about volunteering:

Worship Committee

The committee met on February 25 to plan for worship services in March through Easter. We have decided for the near future to meet to plan seasonally. In other words, at our next meeting in mid-April we will be planning for services and events in May and June. Before the summer we will meet to discuss services for July and August and early September. At least that’s the current plan☺. Rev. Trina and Claudia will meet more frequently to coordinate weekly scripture, music and sermons.

Worship Chair, Chuck Anderson has taken on the responsibility of scheduling worship assistants and Kathleen Stegall will continue to provide materials for assistants for each Sunday.

The highlight of March was Sunday, March 18, when Claudia and the Chancel Choir presented “In The Final Week: A Cantata for Holy Week” by John Purifoy, accompanied by pianist James Myers, with Narrators Rev. Trina and Brad Morrison. It was beautiful and moving and a treat to the ears. It was a blessing to all who were able to be in church that Sunday.

By the time this article goes to print, we will have enjoyed Palm Sunday with children’s procession with palms and an anthem sung by children and the Chancel Choir.

Holy Week includes communion on Maundy Thursday evening and a Service of Shadows, with readings on Good Friday evening. If you have not attended these services in the past, plan to make the intention to include these worship opportunities in remembering Jesus’ journey from Palm Sunday to the Cross.

Easter Sunday worship will be joyful and celebratory with special Introit, hymns and anthem sung by the Chancel Choir and accompanied by the Hand Bell Choir.

We continue to encourage everyone to participate in worship. We always need worship assistants, ushers to collect the offering, singers, soloists and communion servers.

God bless,
Jennifer Dewar

Stewardship Report
Our next program for gift giving is Pentecost.
A gift to the Pentecost Offering helps the church encourage, develop, and support its young people, and also address the needs of at-risk children. 40% of the Pentecost offering can be retained by individual congregations wanting to make an impact in the lives of young people within their own community. The remaining 60% is used to support ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency through child advocacy (10%), youth ministry (25 %) and Young Adult Volunteer opportunities (25 %):
Last year our church made a donation of $2000 for scholarships to children to attend Camp Wilmot.
Donations can be made on the day of Pentecost on May 20, 2018 or on-line at presbyterianmission.org/give/pentecost.
Thank you for your time and support for this wonderful program.
Your Stewardship Committee
Sue Hadsell, Kathleen Stegall, Jay Araujo

Be the church

What does it mean to “be the church”? I recently read a beautiful essay called “Church Is What We Create with Each Other” by Erin O. White that really captured the blessings of being a smaller church. In it, she describes how her church does announcements at the beginning of each service, which can be anything from the mundane to the joyful, as when an 89-year old member announced the birth of his twin granddaughters one Sunday. People share reminders about upcoming events in the life of the church and community, or ask for donations or volunteer help with something.

“For a long time announcements bothered me,” White says. “I thought they kept us from what mattered, that they were housekeeping, business best conducted somewhere else. Was now really the time to talk about pancake breakfasts and broadband networks? But I’ve since come to understand that yes, actually, now is the time. Because I’ve learned — over many, many years — that church isn’t about order or quiet or even ritual so much as it is about showing up. For yourself, for God, and for the people around you who need to feel — just as you do — that the blessings and burdens of being a human are not theirs to bear alone.”

Indeed, church is about showing up for one another, in many ways. In the small ways perhaps even more so than the big ones. Church is when someone picks you up and gives you a ride to church on Sunday mornings; or when someone brings a home-cooked meal to your house when you are sick. Church is sending cards or flowers; it is going to the memorial service for your loved one. Church is helping someone else’s child get a glass of juice at coffee hour; it is a phone call to make sure you are okay when you haven’t been at church for a while. Church is about sharing our joys and concerns, not just during prayer time in the service, but at other times as well.

“When you are part of a church you accept people’s offerings, even the ones you don’t necessarily want,” White goes on to say. “One week their announcements will bore you and the next week they will make you weep, and sometimes it will be the same announcements. And sometimes during a hymn they’ll start a harmony and you’ll join, and your voices will become a conversation, an expression of love between people who by many measures barely know each other at all.”

So, let’s keep showing up for each other, as we move into this Eastertide season filled with new life and new possibilities. Let’s create the church we want to be, together.

March 2018 Crossroads

Holy Week is Coming!
If you want to follow along with all the church activities easily, you can add the BPC calendar to your calendar using this link! We also post special activities on our Facebook Page.

Passion/Palm Sunday, March 25
Remembering Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to confront the power of sin and death.
10:30 a.m. Worship
In keeping with tradition, there will be a palm procession, special music,
and the dedication of our One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

Maundy Thursday, March 29
Remembering the Last Supper
“Maundy Thursday” gets its name from Jesus’ “new commandment”
(mandatum in Latin) to love one another as He has loved us.

6:15 p.m.
Family teaching supper about communion −
Gathering for all families with conversation about the sacrament.
Families are invited to remain for the service and partake of communion.

7:30 p.m.
A brief service with celebration of the Lord’s Supper—
on the night we remember Jesus’ last meal with his disciples.
Communion is served around the communion table.

Good Friday, March 30
The Day of Jesus’ Crucifixion
It is “good” Friday because, despite appearances, it is God’s Friday.

7:30 p.m.
A vigil of prayer, readings, and extinguishing of candles in the darkened sanctuary, as we reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ crucifixion, of our lives, and our world.

Easter Sunday, April 1
The Day of Resurrection

9:00 a.m.
With cries of “He is risen!” we greet one another at our annual Easter Breakfast.
Hosted by Mark and Cheryl Wells.

10:30 a.m. − ALLELUIA!
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Worship will celebrate the heart of the Good News, with jubilant music.
This is the love that overcomes death!

No Sunday School − worship will be for the whole family.
There will be child care for infants and toddlers in the Nursery.

News of our Church Family

A big thank you …
To all involved in the organizing, and achieving a fabulous Installation celebration for our new Pastor, Rev. Trina Portillo. It was truly a joyous occasion! If you missed it, check it out on YouTube. https://youtu.be/WEh4X28L1YU

Goodbye…
To our friends from the Boston Grace Presbyterian Church. They have moved on to a bigger church, the First Baptist Church in Bedford.

Curbside Ashes

To start off the season of Lent we tried a new service for the commuters, offering them curbside ashes the afternoon of Ash Wednesday. Happily a few commuters did opt to receive ashes as they picked up their cars on February 14. Pastor Trina, Claudia Waite and Ken and Jen Dewar participated in dispensing the ashes. After that outreach, we were joined by the Vogels and James Myers for a light supper of soup, chili and delicious cornbread prior to the Ash Wednesday service.

Extra Voices Needed!

During the morning service on March 18, The Chancel Choir will be singing “In The Final Week”: A Cantata for Holy Week by John Purifoy. The cantata is a musical telling of the events of the last week of Christ’s earthly ministry. Each week during our regular Thursday night choir rehearsal, 7:30 to 8:30 pm, we will dedicate the last half of rehearsal to practicing the cantata. The cantata itself consists of six pieces of music, separated by narration: total length 25 to 30 minutes.

There will be other opportunities to make music throughout Holy Week … from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday AND Easter!! I am actively seeking percussionists for an upcoming anthem, as well as youth voices for a special piece on Palm Sunday (March 25).

All voices and instrumentalists of all ages are welcome!!! If you are interested in joining in any of these musical presentations, please contact Claudia! (Or drop a comment on the page and we’ll connect you.)

Confirmation Class

Our confirmation class is off to a great start! We have eight young people in the class, and we are open to more students joining us at our next meeting. If you, or your child, is in 8th grade or above, and would like to join this year’s confirmation class, please speak to Pastor Trina before our next class on March 4th. The class meeting schedule is below.

In addition to our regular meetings, we will incorporate a service project into our learning experience, and attend worship services of other denominations or faith traditions. Confirmation Sunday will be on June 10th, so mark your calendars as we celebrate welcoming these young people into full membership of the church! We are also looking for adult members to pair with each of our young people as faith mentors. Mentors should be willing to meet with their student at least once prior to Confirmation Day, and to share with them your faith journey and learn more about theirs. You will also introduce your confirmand to the congregation on Confirmation Day. If you are interested in being a mentor, please see Pastor Trina.

Schedule – Spring 2018
Confirmation Class will meet the following Sundays from 12-1:15 pm in front classroom.
Please speak to Pastor Trina if you need to sign up
February 18
March 4
March 18
April 8
April 22
April 29 (make up session)
May 6
May 20
June 3 – meet with Session members and present statement of faith
June 10 – Confirmation Sunday

Given that we only have 7 or 8 class dates, we have a lot of material to cover in our time together. If you are going to have to miss more than 2 classes, please speak to Trina about arranging another time we can meet. There will be one make up session on April 29th.

Trustees Report
At our first meeting after the annual meeting, we decided to keep the same assignments for the coming year since the board had no new members.

As most of you know, Boston Grace Presbyterian Church, who rented our space since September 1, 2017, will be leaving at the end of February for a new home in Bedford. Since they took care of closing up on Sunday afternoon, we now must be diligent in making sure the church is secure after we leave. Please be sure to lock all windows and doors, turn all lights out (especially the rest rooms) and clean up after coffee hour. This is a responsibility of all our members, not just a few.

Christian Education
Our youth participated in the Souper Bowl of Caring on January 28th, collecting 90 items of food and $75 to donate to the Burlington Food Pantry.

On Thursday, March 29th we will hold a Communion Workshop for elementary age students and their parents, starting at 6:15 with pizza. We’ll explore the origin and meaning of the Communion Sacrament. Afterwards, all participants will be invited to stay for the Maundy Thursday worship service, which begins at 7:30, which will include the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

Parents!
All the youth of the church will be participating in the Procession of the Palms at the beginning of the service. We kindly ask that they arrive at church no later than 9:45 am on Sunday, March 25!
Mark your calendar and thank you!!

Women’s Bible Study is beginning a study of the Book of James on March 8. All women are invited to attend! Please join us on Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 11:00 am.

People Helping People
People Helping People’s holiday program was successful once again. 86 families with 185 children received gifts. Families received Market Basket gift cards and senior citizens received Target gift cards and holiday baskets. This year we reached out to folks living in senior housing to let them know the pantry is available and to give gifts.
Upcoming events for PHP are a presence at the town election in April and participation in the annual postal food drive in May.

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!

You are invited to become a member
Are you considering becoming a member of our church? Would you like to learn more about the history of our church, and of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) more broadly? What do we believe and how do we practice our faith together?

We will explore these topics in a one-session new member’s class this spring, at a date to be determined. If you are interested in learning more, please speak to Pastor Trina and let her know! There is no pressure to join, if you want to just come and hear more about membership in the church, that is absolutely fine. Whether you’ve been coming for a few weeks, or for a few years, you are welcome to attend the class!

FOURTHFEST
April 29, 2018, 2:30 to 5:30

District Hall, Boston

Fourth Fest is a chance to honor over two decades of Fourth Presbyterian Church’s service in the neighborhood of South Boston! Celebrate with us the joy of our Summer Meals Programs, our after school music and arts programming, our youth outreach and youth organizing project, our food pantry, and our many other community ministries.

We’ll have good food, a musical and magical program, a silent auction, and a live auction. Join us for the celebration!

GOIN’ GREEN
A Family FUNdraiser for the Boston YAV Program

March 17, 2018 – 4pm to 7pm

First Presbyterian Church in Needham
1458 Great Plain Avenue

Music, Games and Festive Food!
Swing and Sway with the Ipswich Jazz Band – Matthew Small, Conductor
Play games with Friends and Family
Enjoy a festive meal with a green theme
Get to know our YAVs and what they do
Wear green!
Tickets $15/single. $40/family.
$150/table sponsorship + 4 tickets

For tickets go to:
https://goo.gl/PRc2WB

Changing of the Guard at Worship Committee
Newly installed Elder, Chuck Anderson is the new chair of the committee. He will begin his duties when we meet on Sunday February 25 to make plans for the rest of Lent, Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter.

Communion will be served on Sunday, March 4 and around the Table on Maundy Thursday, March 29.

Just in case inquiring minds want to know, here is the official job description of the Worship Committee.

WORSHIP COMMITTEE PURPOSE:
To coordinate worship experiences at BPC, both weekly and special services, and recommend changes as appropriate. To support this purpose, the pastor and organist/music director are standing members of the committee.

RESPONSIBILITIES:
The committee coordinates all worship needs, including the following.

Worship assistants: Provide sign-up sheets and recruit lay members as assistants, as well as maintaining records of which members have served as worship assistants and when they served. Kathleen provides materials to the worship assistant in advance of the service.

Guest preachers: Working with the pastor, arrange for guest preachers as needed, for instance during the pastor’s vacation.

Ushers: Coordinate logistics for church services, including posting hymn numbers, lighting candles, assigning members to collect offering, counting those attending the service and recording the total, and straightening the sanctuary after the service.

Communion servers: Recruit elders and deacons to serve communion on the first Sunday each month and at special services; prepare and post diagram outlining movement and serving direction for each person; assist servers as they enter the sanctuary; maintain a list of servers and the dates they served to assure that elders and deacons have regular opportunities to serve.

Music: Working with the organist/music director, arrange any substitute or special musicians, including those needed during summer services.

Now that our new pastor is here

“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1:3-5

Dear Church,

My mother always made sure that I wrote thank you notes in a timely manner after my birthday, or Christmas, or graduation. And, although I try very hard to carry on that practice, I do not always send out notes as quickly as I should. It is not that I am not grateful for the gift, or for the thought that has gone into it, I’m just not good about getting the notes written. So, I wanted to take this opportunity in this month’s newsletter to share my deep gratitude to all of you, for making the Installation Service such a joyful and uplifting occasion. From the first introit led by Voices of Africa, to the vibrant anthem and hymn singing, to the last notes of the bagpipes, my heart was full.

So many people played a role in making the afternoon such a wonderful celebration – bringing food, singing in the choir, setting up the fellowship hall, printing bulletins, making the sanctuary look beautiful, wearing red, and just your very presence! – that I could never thank each of you enough. I want you to know that I do not take any of it for granted, and that I feel both deeply honored and humbled by the privilege of being only the third installed pastor of this congregation.

I still smile every time I think about that day, and I do give thanks to God every time I remember you, as Paul wrote to the church at Philippi. I chuckle to myself every time I hear someone say, “Now that our new pastor is here,” since I don’t feel all that new! But it reflects the new relationship we have entered into, one which allows us the ability to explore new ways of doing ministry together both here in Burlington, and in the wider church and global community. I want to hear your thoughts, dreams, and ideas for ways we can live out our faith together. I am preparing a survey of the congregation which will seek your input in the areas of music and worship, mission, and congregational care. The more input we get, the better our collective ideas will be!

As always, I welcome your phone calls, visits, or emails to share your thoughts or concerns at any time. I look forward to continuing to build relationships with you as we move forward together, sharing the gospel in our words and actions, both near and far!

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Trina

Winter Crossroads 2018

Ash Wednesday Service
February 14, 7:00 p.m.

As we prepare to enter into the season of Lent, a 40-day period of repentance leading up to Holy Week, we will mark the first day of Lent with our traditional Ash Wednesday service on February 14th at 7 pm.

In addition, we will also reach out to our commuters and passers-by with a “Curbside Ashes” service this year. 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 pm.

A simple soup supper will be served at 6:00, for anyone who would like to come prior to the 7 pm 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 Jen Dewar.

Save the Date – Communion Workshop
Thursday, March 29th, Maundy Thursday
Pastor Trina will hold a Communion Workshop for Elementary school aged children (and any other interested persons). We’ll meet at 6:15 p.m. (pizza will be served!) to learn about the sacrament of Holy Communion, what it means and how we celebrate it. Participants are then encouraged to stay for the Maundy Thursday worship service at 7:30 p.m.

Confirmation Class Information session
Calling all youth in 8th grade and above, and their parents! We will have an informational meeting about a spring confirmation class on January 28th, following worship. Please meet in the front classroom, where we will discuss the class schedule and answer your questions. The first class is scheduled to begin on February 18th, and we will meet on Sundays after worship from 12 to 1 pm. The Confirmation date will be in early June.

Please contact Pastor Trina or Ann McGrath if you have questions prior to this session.

Stewardship Report
It is my pleasure to report that the Christmas Joy offering of 2017 totaled $2013, all of which was sent to General Assembly. The proceeds will be divided evenly, 50% to provide critical financial assistance to church leaders in need, 50% will support opportunities for future leaders at Presbyterian racial ethnic schools.

Now that the new year is upon us, it is once again time to think about our Per Capita contribution. This is required by every man, woman and adult child who is a member of our church. This does not include baptized children who have not been confirmed. The exact amount for 2018 is $56 per person so please budget accordingly.

Thank you one and all!
Sue Hadsell
Elder, Stewardship Committee

Worship Update
We continue to be blessed and so grateful for Claudia Waite’s work with the Chancel Choir and for Chelsea Whittaker, James Myers and Hana Lee, who bring piano and organ music to worship each Sunday.

Looking ahead this New Year, plans are being made for the installation service for our Pastor-Elect Trina Portillo on Sunday February 4. We will have regular morning worship that day when Mark Wells will be preaching. The service of installation will be at 3:00 pm with reception and celebrating to follow. The Hospitality Committee has plans in the works so watch for signup sheets and plan to come and be a part of this special celebration.

Thank you to all who have been signing up to be worship assistant and for those who continue to participate as ushers and communion servers. Please check the worship assistant signup sheet in Fellowship Hall each Sunday to see what date is available for you to assist in worship.

February is fast approaching. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 14 and stay tuned for some new ideas for observing that day.

~ Jennifer Dewar, Worship Chair

Trustees Report
As we reviewed the past year, the trustees accomplished a lot to keep the church’s interior and exterior appearance looking acceptable to our members. We look forward to the coming year to continue our efforts to keep up the repairs and requests that we get from the members of the church. If you see anything that needs attention, inform any trustee and we will see what we can do. Please be aware of any unlocked windows and doors and be sure to check the heat when you leave. There are quite a number of outside groups who presently use or will use the church facilities in 2018. This will put added wear and tear on the physical plant as well as increased utilities expenses.

Women’s Bible Study
Women’s Bible Study began again on Thursday. January 11. We began our study on the Book of Nehemiah. All women are invited to attend! Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 11:00 am.

Souper Bowl
On February 4th many of you plan to watch the Super Bowl and chow down on tasty snacks. However, some folks in our neighborhoods can’t even afford a bowl of soup. Which is why we participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring! On Sunday, January 28th our youth will be participating with youth all over the nation in collecting shelf-stable food items and cash in order to alleviate hunger. Our collection will benefit the families who use the Burlington Food Pantry.

People Helping People
People Helping People’s holiday program was successful once again. 86 families with 185 children received gifts. Families received Market Basket gift cards and senior citizens received Target gift cards and holiday baskets. This year we reached out to folks living in senior housing to let them know the pantry is available and to give gifts.
Upcoming events for PHP are the annual wine tasting/auction on February 25, a presence at the town election in April and participation in the annual postal food drive in May.

Installation
Please join us as Rev. Trina Portillo is installed as our permanent pastor on February 4th at 3pm. The installation will be followed by a reception in Fellowship Hall. The Hospitality Committee is asking for assistance with the food for the reception. There are sign-up sheets in Fellowship Hall if you can help with light finger foods or desserts. Help is also needed with set up and cleanup. Thank you for whatever you may be able to help with. This will be an exciting day for our church!

Coats and clothes for Elm Brook Place
At about this same time a year ago we ran a coat drive for the folks at Elm Brook Place. We gathered several bags full of coats and jackets and the staff at Elm Brook was very grateful. This year we’re later getting started, but have been assured that winter coats are still welcome as are clothes in like new condition.

Please bring your donations (in new or like-new condition) to the box located in the front hallway. Deacons will collect them over the next two Sundays, ending on February 4th.

Elm Brook Place is a clubhouse program of Eliot Community Human Services. It serves men and women age 18 or older with a history of mental illness who live within the communities of: Acton, Arlington, Bedford, Boxborough, Burlington, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, Wilmington, Winchester and Woburn.
Linda Roscoe for the Deacons

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!

Immigration Fairness
On Friday, February 2nd at 7:30 pm, the Social Justice Committee and Temple Band of Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington will be hosting the Shabbat service, focused on informing congregants and guests about The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This immigration policy is a kind of administrative relief from deportation. The purpose of DACA is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation. An estimated 122 Dreamers a day are losing their DACA status, which means they are losing jobs and being exposed to arrest and deportation.

Our guest speaker, Eva Millona, is the Executive Director of MIRA, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, dedicated to helping “the Dreamers” stay in the only country they know as home. She will be helping us understand the current situation, as well as letting us know how we can help the Dreamers, for their fight is our fight (as we will explain through the service).

Where: Temple Shalom Emeth, 16 Lexington Street, Burlington
When: 7:30 PM

RSVP: If attending, please email Phyllis Neufeld at pbneufeld@gmail.com to let her know how many will attend so we know so we have accurate amounts of written information available.

If you wish to bring a dessert to the Oneg immediately following the service, please contact Ellen Finkelman at esfink29@gmail.com to let her know what you will bring (not a requirement).