October 2018 Crossroads

Worship Committee

We have been incredibly blessed to have Claudia Waite with us as Temporary Choir Director, leading the chancel choir and revitalizing our music program over the past year, and we are extremely grateful to her for her guidance and contributions to music at BPC during that time.

The subcommittee that has been conducting a search for a new, permanent Music Director has been hard at work for the past several months. The big news is that their hard work has resulted in the announcement made on Sunday, September 16 that BPC has a new Music Director! Her name is Susan Larson and there will be more information introducing her elsewhere in this Crossroads. Her first Sunday with us will be October 14.

During the summer several “volunteers” washed, mended and pressed the choir robes and stoles so hopefully the choir looks a little bit spruced up as we begin a new season.

We will celebrate World Communion together on Sunday, October 7 and receive communion by intinction. We would like to decorate the Communion Table with colorful cloths from different cultures and traditions. Please let Rev. Trina or Jen Dewar know if you would like to bring a cloth or length of colorful fabric to help decorate the Table on October 7.

Worship Assistants for October and November are list below. If you are available and willing to volunteer for one of the open Sundays, please contact Jennifer Dewar.

As always, we appreciate all those members who help in many ways with worship each week, including worship assistants and communion servers.

Trustees Report

As many of you can see, we had the entrance to the parking lot paved on September 20th. A paving contractor had some material left over from other jobs and gave us a good price to cover more than 2,500 square feet.
The fall cleanup date has not been determined as of this writing but should occur sometime in October or early November. We had a good turnout in the spring so we encourage everyone to plan to help your church again. The fall commuter collection will take place in November. We collected over $4,500 in donations from our spring collection.

The carpets in the Narthex and the double classroom were cleaned and the hallways and Fellowship Hall were cleaned and waxed in September. Try and keep the Narthex carpet clean by wiping your feet on the runner as you enter the church.

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.

Christian Education

This year, our Sunday school classes have a mission focus of the need for clean water after a disaster (and we’ve certainly had plenty of them recently in our own country and around the world!).
Please look for the posters that the children & youth made. We’ll have an empty water cooler placed outside the sanctuary every Sunday and we encourage you to drop your coins or a dollar in it. Our goal is to purchase water filters and jerry cans through Presbyterian Giving.

Mission Advocacy

World Food Day and Bread for the World Sunday
Two of the seven “Great Ends of the Church”, spelled out in our PC (USA) Book of Order are:
• the promotion of social righteousness; and
• the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.

October brings opportunities to help carry out these two “Great Ends”. World Food Day, October 16th, honors the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and focuses on food as a basic fundamental human right. Bread for the World Sunday, October 21st, is a time to join with thousands of other churches and houses of worship to live out God’s vision through prayers for an end to hunger, and letters to our nation’s leaders urging them to support policies that help end hunger and poverty. In the Gospel reading for the day (Mark 10:35-45) Jesus tells his disciples not to lord it over on another but to live as servants just as Jesus himself came not to be served but to serve.

We live in a wealthy nation yet 14.5% percent of US households, nearly 49 million Americans (including nearly 16 million children), struggle to put food on the table. Many Americans age 65 and over want to enjoy retirement but struggle because of food insecurity. Jesus told his disciples that, “with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10: 27). In this spirit of God-given possibility, we are invited to offer our prayers and actions for an end to hunger. During the week beginning October 14th the Church Office will be sending emails to the congregation with reflections on the problem of hunger. On the 21st we will celebrate Bread for the World Sunday with worship and prayers that will focus on hunger. After the service there will be an opportunity in Fellowship Hall to participate in an “Offering of Letters” asking Congress to invest in and protect programs that help improve the lives of men, women, and children facing hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. Computers will be available, and with the help of templates provided through links on the Bread for the World website, it will be simple to send personalized messages to our Representatives and Senators. For those unable to attend the event here is the link to access the Bread for the World website.

Churches and charities can help end hunger but can’t do it all; our government also has a part. From the law and the prophets to the words and works of Jesus, the Bible teaches that individuals and the nation’s leaders must help those who are vulnerable to feed themselves. Investments in domestic safety-net programs, such as WIC (Women, Infants & Children), SNAP (Food Stamps), free and reduced-price school meals, and tax credits for low-income workers help our neighbors move out of poverty and feed their families. In the current political environment such programs face potential decreased funding and increased restrictions. We help promote social righteousness and exhibit the Kingdom of Heaven to the world when we advocate for investments in programs that move people out of hunger and poverty.

LOVING GOD, we are grateful for your blessings to us. We pray that we may imitate Jesus in embracing service to others. We pray for those who lack food and who are without loving family and friends. We pray that our public officials may accept their responsibility for all our neighbors, both here and abroad, especially the poor and vulnerable. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Women’s Bible Study

Womens Bible Study is continuing with the Horizons study called “God’s Promise, I Am with You”. 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.

Pumpkin Patch Volunteers Needed

St. Marks’s Episcopal Church, 10 Saint Marks Road, Burlington, will hold their sixth annual Pumpkin Patch event during the month of October. Our church, along with many other churches and civic organizations, has been asked to help with the selling of pumpkins during the month. Our staffing dates are Friday, October 5th and Friday, October 19th. The patch opens at 12 noon and closes at 6pm. We need volunteers to sign up for two hours or more on each day. The hours are 12-2, 2-4 and 4-6pm. Please refer to the sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall if you can commit to helping out. A percentage of the sale proceeds go to support People Helping People. Please speak to our church coordinator, Ken Dewar, 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!

JERICHO WALK
The Burlington Area Clergy 4 Justice (BAC4Justice) is organizing monthly Jericho Walks at the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Offices in Burlington, located in The District next to the Burlington Mall. The purpose is to shed lighton the unjust ways ICE is treating undocumented immigrants and those seeking asylum.

From October-December, we are meeting on the 3rd Tuesday at 1pm (think 3-2-1) for a Jericho Walk. The dates are Oct. 16th, Nov. 20th and Dec. 18th. Please be in touch with Rev. Portillo if you have any questions, otherwise, all are invited to meet at 1000 District Ave. in Burlington to walk, pray, sing and bear witness with us.

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.

Disaster Assistance
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) urges your support for those affected by Hurricane Florence. PDA is delivering immediate aid to those impacted by Hurricane Florence on the eastern seaboard of the United States. Initial assessments suggest catastrophic destruction, but the full scope of the damage will not be known for many months.
The storm’s path is cutting across areas still recovering from Hurricane Matthew (2016). While these winds and waters have meant loss and destruction, the work of PDA might become, as the Psalmist says, “a river whose streams make glad the city of God.”
PDA is deploying teams to affected presbyteries to meet with Presbyterian and community leadership to assist in coordinating relief efforts and mucking out homes and churches. After initial needs are addressed, PDA will remain—providing spiritual emotional care and Long Term Recovery to address unmet needs of those impacted. Through your prayerful gifts we draw hope out of the chaos.
The needs for the response will be great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the “GAP”—Give. Act. Pray.
GIVE: Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR000169 which supports the church’s response to Hurricane Florence. Gifts can be made online, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check, which can be mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

Merrimack Valley Explosions
WAYS YOU CAN HELP THOSE IMPACTED BY THE GAS FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS IN THE MERRIMACK VALLEY:
Financial Donations:
Essex County Community Foundation Fund has established a dedicated fund to accept monetary donations. Donations are accepted via ECCF.org/lawrenceemergencyfund or by calling 978-777-8876.

Merrimack Valley Chamber Foundation relief fund – Please send checks made out to Merrimack Valley Chamber Foundation, 264 Essex Street, Lawrence, Ma. 01840. Include the Lawrence, Andover, North Andover Disaster Relief Fund in the memo line. 100 percent of donations received will be turned over to the relief fund.
Massachusetts Council of the United Church of Christ has set up a Gas Explosions/Fires Response & Recovery Fund.

All of these funds will go directly to responding in Massachusetts to support our clergy and churches in their own recovery efforts and those in their communities. Funds raised that exceed the amount necessary to respond fully to the gas explosions and fires will be directed towards other emergency-relief and disaster-preparedness efforts in Massachusetts. https://macucc-reg.brtapp.com/YourDonation

United Way and TD Charitable Foundation Greater Lawrence Relief Fund — United Way will make an initial distribution of $50,000 to the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay, Family Services of Merrimack Valley, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, and Lawrence CommunityWorks. To donate, visit: http://unitedwaymassbay.org/lawrencerelief

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.

We have called a pastor!

All,

Today, in a special congregational meeting, the Presbyterian Church in Burlington, by the unanimous decision of all members there assembled, voted to extend a call to Rev. Trina Portillo to be our new pastor. Everyone welcome our Pastor elect, Trina! Special thanks to Rev. Jane Wilson who acted as guest moderator, and a HUGE thank you to the Pastor Nominating Committee.

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Christmas Eve Service

A Family Tradition with Crèche, Carols and Candlelight
Sunday, 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.

Burlington Interfaith Clergy and Representative Gordon to host a Vigil

The Burlington Interfaith Clergy, together with State Representative Ken Gordon, will host a vigil Sunday June 19 from 1:30 to 2 p.m. on the Burlington town common in memory of the innocent lives that were lost in the senseless and unprovoked attack in Orlando this week. The entire community is welcome to gather as we pay tribute and remember the victims of the tragedy. We stand in solidarity with all who mourn in the spirit of caring and concern.