Crossroads for October 2016

Stewardship Report
On October 2, we will celebrate World Communion Day, when we will be receiving the Peace and Global Witness Offering (formerly the Peacemaking Offering). On this day, people are joined from all over God’s earth, looking at our world and our lives, and asking, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness? Even in my wilderness?” To which God responds and says, “Come to the table of peace.” Our support of the Peace and Global Witness Offering helps invite others to the table, both near and far. Please give generously.

World Communion Sunday
October 2 is World Communion Sunday. This year Rev. Trina and the Worship Committee are asking for your participation in this celebration in a few different ways.

First, we are looking for people to bring colorful cloths from different cultures to use on the Communion Table.
In addition, if you have a favorite bread that you bake that is unique to your culture or country of origin, please sign up in Fellowship Hall to let us know that you will bring a loaf for worship on October 2. These loaves will be placed in baskets on the Communion Table and used in the service.

Communion on World Communion Sunday will be served and received around the Table and the loaves of bread and colorful cloths will celebrate and acknowledge our unity in diversity at BPC.

In addition, the Peace and Global Witness Offering will be received during worship on October 2.

Heifer Farm Trip
The Christian Education Committee has planned a trip to Heifer Farm in Rutland, MA. We will participate in their “Seeds” program in order to learn more about Heifer’s mission to work with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth. We will visit their Global Village (where we will eat lunch) and their livestock and garden facilities.

When are we going?
Friday, November 11th
How long does the program last? Four hours, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
What is the cost? $15 per person (what a bargain!)
How will we get there? Carpool – we’ll meet in the church parking lot at 8:15 a.m. and return there about 3:15 p.m. (It takes a little over an hour to get to Rutland.)
What do we need from you? Signed permission forms and a check for $15 made out to The Presbyterian Church in Burlington.
When do we need your forms and check? Sunday, October 16th
Who is invited? Youth in 4th grade and older, including middle and high school. Adults are also welcome.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Ann McGrath at for the permission forms.

9am to 1pm
The Board of Trustees has scheduled the church’s fall cleanup for Saturday, October 15th, from 9am to 1pm with a rain date of October 22th. We encourage everyone who can make it that day to assist in sprucing up the church property, both inside and out. Please bring all the equipment you need to help, including rakes, shovels, gloves, brooms, garden tools, wheel barrels, small step ladders, window cleaner and paper towels. There will be a job for everyone, working either on the lawn and shrubbery, sprucing up the atrium or sweeping the fall debris from the play yard. We have a lot of windows to clean, both inside and out. If you don’t like doing yard work, helping out with the window cleaning will be greatly appreciated. This is a great opportunity to give a few hours of your time and maybe work with someone who you don’t know.

Pumpkin Patch Volunteers Needed
St. Marks’s Episcopal Church, 10 Saint Marks Road, Burlington, will hold their third 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 14th and Friday, October 21st. 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.

Burlington Wish Tree
People Helping People has started the planning process for the Burlington Community Wish Tree which is located at the Burlington during the month of December. The Wish Tree provides gifts for children in need in the community of Burlington. Last year the program processed over 2000 gifts for children. The Wish Tree Holiday Program, although very rewarding, is all very labor intensive and much help is needed. This year we are looking for individuals who can assist the program by picking up gifts that are collected at local businesses. These pick-ups are done during the day. We are also looking for an individual to be the Gift Pick Up Coordinator for the Mall. In additional the program is always in need of people who would like to sit at the tree during the month of December. If you would like to make a difference in your community, please contact Judy Walsh at judyw621@gmail or call 627-797-6786.

Open Our Hearts
A benefit concert for Central American asylum-seeking women and children in Massachusetts. Show your support and enjoy a great show featuring performances by The Loomers, The Blood Mountain Brothers and a special guest appearance by The Yellow Room.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
7 PM

The First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist
404 Concord Avenue
Belmont, MA
Tickets: $25.00 at the door

Food Pantry Needs
We receive donations for the Food Pantry on the 1st Sunday of each month. The donations have been dwindling. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. The Pantry is in desperate need of these items. Your help is appreciated. Our donation dates are Oct 2, Nov 6 & Dec 4. Thank you!

Introduction to Zentangle® class

The Zentangle method is an easy to learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. If you can write the letters “i c s and o” you can complete a Zentangle tile. Come and learn all about it at this class taught by Certified Zentangle Teacher Marylou Lynn The class will be Friday, October 21 at 7:00PM.

The class costs $15.00 and includes all materials needed. Class size is limited to 12 so sign up soon in Fellowship Hall or call the church at 781-272-9190.

Help set up a household for a refugee family. Fill a “Move-In Bin”

Before a refugee family departs for the US, IINE must identify and prepare an apartment for their arrival. Help IINE by collecting a bin full of household items. Items can be purchased and/or include high-quality donations. Each bin requires the following goods.

Please check sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall.

Place settings of dishes Set of Pots Pans
Mixing/serving bowls Cooking and eating utensils
Can opener Rice cooker
Cutting board Colander/strainer
Food storage containers Alarm clock
Pens, pencils, notepads, paper, etc. Light bulbs
Dish soap Kitchen/bathroom cleaner Sponges/paper towels Laundry detergent
Waste baskets Trash bags
Toilet paper Toothbrush/Toothpaste Bar soap Generic shampoo

Food Week of Action and World Food Day
October 9–17, 2016

Our faith calls us to work for a world where everyone has sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food! And where those who produce and prepare the food are fairly compensated, respected and celebrated!
When you go to the local grocery store or purchase a meal at a favorite restaurant how much do you know about how the food is grown, gathered and prepared? What is your church doing to end hunger and poverty in your community or across the globe?
These are some of the questions Presbyterians and the public are asked to consider this October during Global Food Week of Action and World Food Day. October 9-17 gives Christians and others around the world the opportunity to take action for food justice and food sovereignty.
World Food Day is celebrated every October 16 commemorating the establishment of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. Forty-two countries came together in Quebec that day and World Food Day has been celebrated ever since. Now more than 150 countries participate. In 2008, churches around the world convened through the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance to launch a week-long campaign focusing on that special day.
The global Food Week of Action (October 9-17) is an opportunity for Christians and others around the world to act together for food justice and food sovereignty. It is a special time to raise awareness about approaches that help individuals and communities develop resiliency and combat poverty. Beyond examining our food choices, we must also recognize the lingering roots of racism embedded in our food system, which was founded on slavery and plantation agriculture, and still exploits the environment and workers in the food chain. We call for societal and policy changes that bring us closer to realizing the right to food for everyone and positive transformation of the dominant system.
The Food Week of Action includes World Food Day (October 16), International Day for Rural Women (October 15), and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17).
The Presbyterian Hunger Program is asking individuals and churches to consider one of four actions during the campaign;
Support farmworkers through the boycott of Wendy’s Restaurants
Advocate for a raised minimum wage across the country
Support fair trade and oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership
End U.S. support for repression of human rights in Honduras

Creating a Culture of Hospitality

What makes you feel welcome when you visit a place for the first time? What makes you want to come back again? Think about going to a store, a restaurant, a hotel…what are some of the hallmarks of a place that will keep you coming back? A friendly, warm greeting; attentiveness to your needs without being too pushy; clear directions and signage so you could find what you needed; a clean and hospitable environment – all these things would likely make your top ten list of places to which you would want to return.

Church Leadership Consultant Thom Ranier has worked with hundreds of churches in his career and provides great insight on how to create a welcoming culture for new visitors and guests to the church. Below are fourteen things that help make a church feel welcoming. Ranier says that Genuinely Friendly Churches (GFCs) have at least eleven of the fourteen items present in their church culture:

1. They are intentional about being friendly. Warmth and friendliness are clear values of theses churches. They are articulated regularly. All organizations, including churches, naturally drift toward an inward focus unless they are otherwise intentional.

2. The leaders model warmth, humility, and friendliness. The friendliness is not contrived or phony. These leaders have prayerfully become genuinely friendly men and women.

3. The leaders are clear that genuine friendliness is more than a brief stand and greet time in a worship service. The efficacy of a stand and greet time was debated extensively on this blog. Regardless of a church’s decision in this practice, leaders in GFCs were adamant that true hospitality and friendliness extends beyond a two-minute welcome time.

4. GFCs utilize a secret guest at least twice a year. One small church of which I am aware budgets $100 a year for a secret guest. They pay the guest with a $50 gift card to come to the church and provide feedback on their experience. I call this process “looking in the mirror” because it gives the church a real opportunity to see itself as others do.

5. GFCs had a guest friendly web site. The web site typically set the tone for a guest. If it did not have obvious information for a guest, such as worship times and addresses, the guest came to the church with a more negative disposition.

6. The church has clear signage. Far too many churches lack this signage. They assume that everyone knows where everything is. First-time guests know nothing about the church or its different facilities.

7. GFCs have a well-organized greeters’ ministry. They have greeters in the parking lot, greeters in the entrances, and greeters in other strategic locations inside. Many GFCs utilize newer members in this ministry.

8. These churches have clear information places. It may be something as simple as a well-marked table manned by a member of the church. The signage points clearly to the information table, booth, or kiosk.
GFCs have clean and neat buildings. It is amazing how much a clean facility adds to the positive mood of a guest. It is equally amazing how few churches pay attention to this issue.

9. They have a guest feedback process. To the best of their ability, GFCs follow up with guests to get feedback on their experiences. They also encourage the guests to be open and frank in the feedback.
The children’s area is clearly safe and sanitary. Don’t expect young parents to return if the church does not give clear attention to this matter.

10. The majority of church members in GFCs are involved in the community. They thus exude genuine friendliness in the worship services because they are regularly connecting with non-church members other days of the week.

11. Small groups are highly intentional about reaching people beyond their own groups. Thus when these group members are in a worship service, they are already accustomed to reaching out beyond those with whom they already have relationships.

12. GFCs have new member classes that emphasize the responsibilities and expectations of church members. Members are thus more apt to look beyond their own preferences to serve others. That attitude shows up in the worship services.

Imagine that you were coming to Burlington Presbyterian Church for the first time this Sunday. How many of the following things would you experience? Where do you see room for improvement? I welcome your comments and feedback. Let’s build up a culture of hospitality in order that we may welcome others in a genuine and intentional way, as a church family.

Peace, Pastor Trina

September 2016 Crossroads

Stewardship Report

Can God spread a table in the wilderness?” —Psalm 78:19

On September 4, we enter into a 4 week Season of Peace. It will culminate on October 2, World Communion Day, when we will be receiving the Peace and Global Witness Offering (formerly the Peacemaking Offering).

Gifts to the Offering support ministries that deepen relationships between Presbyterians and inspiring peacemaking leaders as well as opportunities to learn more about some of the most difficult areas of conflict around the world. These ministries offer resources Presbyterians can use to create peace in their midst, as well as respond to cultures of violence all over the world. By sharing the money raised, the Offering allows the local congregation (25%), mid councils (25%) and ministries at the national level (50%) to deepen their commitment to the transforming work of the Spirit.

Can God spread a table in the wilderness? Our support of the Peace & Global Witness Offering helps invite others to the table, both near and far.

Please give generously.

There will be peace cards available on the table in the narthex for you to use during the Season of Peace. Peace cards provide an opportunity for families to engage in conversations about peacemaking. Sign up to receive daily reflections in your inbox by visiting and checking Path of Peace under the category of Advocacy and Social Justice.

Presbyterian Mission Agency

Safe Child Program: The Session has approved an updated version of our Safe Child Program. The goal of the Safe Child Program is to ensure that our church provides a safe place for all children and youth to benurtured in Christian faith. You may review it either by asking for a paper copy (available in the office), viewing it on our website, or asking Kathleen Stegall or Ann McGrath to e-mail it to you.

Safe Child Training will be held after church on Sunday September 11. A light lunch will be served followed by a two hour training session. Anne Boyden, a social worker, will give a presentation on recognizing child abuse, followed by a review of the Policy (Screening, Administration, and Response) by Ann McGrath and Susan McGilvray-Rivet, PhD. Child care will be provided. Please contact Ann McGrath at or 978 984-5944 so that we can plan food accordingly.

Required every three years for adults in our church who are working with children, the Safe Child training is also recommended, if not required, for members of the Response Team, Session, Trustees and anyone else in the church who is interested in understanding our policy better. There will be a sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall.

Rally Day: Sunday school for 3-year-olds through 8th graders begins with a blast on Rally Day – September 11th! We will learn about an exciting new mission project supporting the work of Heifer International. The high school class will meet Sept. 18th.

Adult Bible Study: Adult Bible Study will begin on Sunday Sept. 11 at 9:30. The study material choice will be discussed at the meeting.

Come Sing With Us!
Nancy Timmerman

All voices are welcome to sing in the BPC Chancel Choir. Regular rehearsal times are 7:30 to 9 pm on Thursdays and 10 to 10:20 am on Sunday mornings during the school year. The choir season will start with rehearsal on Thursday, September 8 and Sunday morning, September 11, 2016, the same time as the services return to 10:30 am. Regular choir members who are going to miss practice or Sunday morning need to notify the director ahead of time.

The ability to read music is not required. However, for skilled singers who need to miss practice, arrangements can be made to provide the music for individual study. We are a friendly group who sing a variety of musical styles. It should also be noted that, since the choir sings the offertory on communion Sundays and the anthem (before the Word for Children), students in the upper grades can participate, and Sunday School teachers can sometimes participate.

In addition, instrumentalists or not regular members of the choir are encouraged to provide special music (usually during the offertory), as they were during the summer months. This also needs to be coordinated.


September 18, we will celebrate being back together after all the swimming, hiking, and traveling. Lunch will be served following worship in Fellowship Hall. The menu to be determined. Please find the sign-up sheet in F.H. We really need to know how many to plan for. All are welcome.

Pumpkin Patch Volunteers Needed

St. Marks’s Episcopal Church, 10 Saint Marks Road, Burlington, will hold their third 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 14th and Friday, October 21st. 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 donations have been dwindling. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. The Pantry is in desperate need of these items. Your help is appreciated. Our donation dates are Sep 4, Oct 2, Nov 6 & Dec 4. Thank you!

Resettle Together: Local Refugee Resettlement Partnerships

The International Institute of New England one of the oldest organizations in serving immigrants in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It supports newly resettled refugees as they begin to build their lives in the United States. Each year, IINE resettles an average of 600 refugees from countries worldwide, including Burma, Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria.

There is an urgent need for IINE support before we gather again in September. IINE recently learned they will be resettling 70 people (or 13 families) between August 30th and September 15th. That is 30% of their annual caseload! Below is a list of their needs. (attached list for welcome bins too) If you, or members of your community or faith group, are able to help out – please respond by Friday August 26th at the latest, to Peter Saati and cc Cheryl Hamilton at and

Include in your response the following:

  • Name
  • Mobile phone number
  • If volunteering, date (s) and shifts (9-1pm) or (1-5pm)
  • Foreign language skills (and if willing to be on-call)
  • Any additional offers: (trucks, landlord leads, etc)
  • List of the urgent needs IINE will have during this period.

    Housing/household goods: This week, we secured 50% of the apartments in Lowell. We are still seeking the following: one bedroom (1), two bedroom (1), three bedroom (3), and four bedroom (1). If you have any landlord connections, please share. Also, we need household bins for the same apartments. If you have any near completion, we would welcome them. I have attached the list again to this email. We would also welcome donations of new pillows and sheets, and/or lightly used comforters. Donations can be dropped off at our office in Lowell with advance notice.

    Weekday Volunteers: There will be lots of activity during the surge, including setting up apartments, helping clients complete paperwork, walking families to appointments, and more. To help support our staff, we are seeking volunteers for four hour shifts from 9-1pm and 1-5pm between August 29th to September 16th. Assignments will be provided on-site based on the needs of the day, but will be manageable and done in conjunction with staff.

    Interpreters: During the surge, we very much need several additional Arabic, French, and Swahili speakers for the same volunteer shifts (9-1pm or 1-5pm). We may also need evening on-call interpreters in the same languages.

    Trucks/vans: Especially the week of the 29th, we are seeking individuals with access to trucks and/or vans to help with apartment set ups.

    Cheryl Aglio-Girelli
    Co-coordinator, Refugee Resettle Partnership
    Immigration Justice Task Force

    Everyone is Welcome

    Everyone Is Welcome

    This summer, Nelson and I made the decision to buy our first home together, after many years of renting. We are excited about moving into our new place in Framingham, and meeting our new neighbors, and getting to know the community in Elena’s new school as well. It has been a busy time, and one filled with all kinds of questions and some worries too. All this “newness” also brings with it some trepidation, as any big transition does. Will she like her school? Will we fit in? Will we find a warm welcome for our neighbors?

    It has gotten me thinking a lot about the idea of “welcome,” of hospitality. It is something that was important to Jesus, as he often talked about widening the circle of welcome. Rules of etiquette and social hierarchy dictated who was “in” and who was “out” of social circles in Jesus’ day – and it might not be that different now! Table fellowship was shared with those of similar social status to oneself, with the expectation that you would be invited in kind. It was a mutually beneficial system, reinforcing who held the status, wealth and power, and who was kept out. But Jesus said, “When you give a banquet or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14)

    As a church community, how do we widen the circle of welcome, as Jesus urges us to do? How can we be both a place of welcome for people to come, and people of welcome, who bring that spirit of inclusion into the places around us? One opportunity for us as a church family is in reaching out to new members of our surrounding communities. I have been particularly drawn to the needs of new refugee families being resettled in the Lowell area. In early September, the International Institute of New England expects to receive about 13 families, which is about 30% of their annual caseload. The IINE is in need of material supplies for furnishing new apartments, and volunteers to help the families feel comfortable in their new homes. There is an article in the newsletter detailing ways we can respond to the needs of these families.

    We have a global community right here in our small church. On World Communion Sunday, October 2nd, I would love to celebrate our global heritage by representing our various and diverse cultures in worship. If you would like to participate by bringing a type of bread that is important to your culture; bringing a cloth for the communion table; wearing clothing that represents your heritage; or sharing some music with us, please let me know by September 25th. And let us seek to be a place where everyone is welcome, and everyone is included – for that is how the Kingdom of God is!

    In God’s Love,

    Pastor Trina

    Church Founder’s Son Visits

    Two pastors
    Two pastors

    The son of one of the founders of the Presbyterian Church of Burlington came to worship with us on May 29th. Pastor Gerrit-Willem Oberman and his wife Ellen live in Stuttgart Germany, but were in the Boston area to attend his childhood friend’s wedding. Gerrit wasn’t quite sure if our church was the one he had attended until age 11 with his mother, Geertruida-Reiniera Reesik-Oberman (called “Toetie” by her friends). His mother is still living, and asked him to try to find the church and visit it.

    We had Gerrit look at the framed document in the narthex to find his mother’s name. After he found it, he said that her signature is notable for a flourish that she always makes at the end of Oberman, extending the tail of the “n” under the last name. Laughing he said, “Yes, yes, that is definitely my mother’s signature!”

    Gerrit speaks three languages (English, Dutch and German), noting that his mother came from the Netherlands and his father from Germany. His wife also speaks those languages, and Ellen had the opportunity to speak Dutch with Daisy Oey during coffee hour. Daisy had to speak Dutch in school as a child in Indonesia. Daisy was all smiles as they talked, and it was obvious that she understood everything Ellen said to her. Daisy said she was happy to have the opportunity to speak Dutch again, and Ellen noted that Daisy spoke “very well, very correct.”

    Gerrit’s current pastoral job is working with recent refugees from various countries that are living in Stuttgart. He and Pastor Trina had the opportunity to discuss his work during coffee hour.

    Finds signature of mother- founding member of our church
    Finds signature of mother- founding member of our church