Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.1 Thessalonians 5
Dear Friends in Christ,
October is a wonder-ful month. Of course it includes my birthday. And it celebrates our 150th birthday at NHCC. Yom Kippur is upon us: the day of atonement for our Jewish sisters and brothers. And the process of atonement is at the heart of the Christian faith, since the beginning. I am thankful for this month together, and hope and pray to be together with you every season.
In case you haven’t heard, here are some major events and missions at our church:
Sally Brickell, Melissa Dietrich, and Carol Jensen organized a joyful anniversary party on October 2, and we played bocce, ate ice cream (thank you, secret donors), and heard one of our own Confirmands in a rock band. The mayor came, and our state representative, but more importantly neighbors, members, and friends.
Amanda Ketchpaw Palés and Isabelle Draper became co-chairs of our Deacons, and starting October 9 we’ll meet our new Interim music director, Jan Zimmerman. (Deacons have responsibility for music.) Jan teaches at two local colleges and has spent some years directing adult and children’s music at a UCC church in Connecticut. She’ll be with us until June, at least.
The Parsonage Disposition Committee (one email mistakenly called it the Pastoral Disposition Committee…) completed its report, made a presentation in late September, and we have a Congregational Meeting on Sunday, October 23, to review and act on the report. After 101 years, and great appreciation for the bequest and endowment that came with it, the Spirit appears to be drawing us away from real estate ownership as a parish. We’ll be in good company: Very, very few parishes keep a parsonage these days, but invested funds for their ministry — but come October 23 to help plan.
Confirmation will start up at the convenience of the class members. If you have a child in 8th-10th grade (or someone who missed the last offering) please contact me. Unless I contact you first. We’ll run Confirmation through the fall and toward the spring.
Kitty Rieske has become chair of our Mission Committee. She is organizing meetings, reviewing commitments, and looking around at a world in need. We have not had our traditional weekly offerings in worship (to reduce what we touch and share), but we have not reduced our commitment to tithe beyond our walls. Praise God: this is scriptural, possible, and wonderful, so thank you for your gifts.
The first Sunday of October we changed to “masks optional” in worship. The choir continues to sing with masks, which is both advised and wise. And we have a requirement that our staff be vaccinated; it’s not perfect, but it is also wise and helpful. Our CHaPEL Committee (Congregational Health and Pandemic/Endemic Living) meets this month to prepare for the winter, such as we can. But for now, it’s masks optional.
Why so much news? Well, it’s a sign of our vitality and activity and spiritual commitments and joys. We have a lot to rebuild and renew after Covid—we are not the parish that we were. But we are a Reformation people, so always reforming and always new. And all these are signs of that reformation, as well and celebrations of our faith and hope in God. Because to reform best we need you and your prayers and voice and spirit. So I hope to see you soon.
P.S. Some theologians define atonement as at-one-ment, or, uniting with each other and with God.