Dear friends in Christ,
The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) was September 27 this year. The Christian New Year (starts the first Sunday of Advent) was November 27. The Romans set the one that starts around now. Haven’t we already said Happy New Year enough? Isn’t God making all things new already?
Still, January (named after Janus — a god with two faces) means doorways, new beginnings, or an entrance, and it does give us a chance to continue Jesus’ new life and fresh start. Plus, Christmastide lasts until Epiphany or January 6, so the light and life are spreading. And don’t get me started on why there are three different dates for Christmas—that’s a different note.
This note is to celebrate some wonderful new beginnings at NHCC.
As the month begins we’ll welcome two new colleagues in the office. You may know that our administrator left us for health reasons back in June, and a good search took time. But it has been a good search, and now we’ll be in great shape.
Yoko Bryden, well-known to some of our members and leaders already, will assume the duties of building manager. Yoko and Rich have three children in our Confirmation program (well, one is a graduate), and she is an accomplished chef in significant demand. She leads some educational and cultural programs in our kitchen, and she knows how to manage schedules, projects, and buildings. She will start early in the month and be a great addition to our ministry.
Sarah Coffman is a specialist in early music, a professional singer (at a neighboring, church), a teacher, and organizer. She will take on the duties of office administrator, and lead communication, document production, and staff support. As it turns out she is a graduate of the same college in Wisconsin as our Deacon co-chair, and now settled nearby in Brighton. She grew up in church in Oak Park, Illinois, and brings familiarity and vision for the seasons ahead. She starts right away.
We may not see either of them regularly in worship, but please welcome them to an exciting era in the Highlands.
But there’s more: As you plan your January, please join us for special preachers and music on Sundays. In addition, set aside time on the 22nd and 29th for important after-hour conversations. On January 22 the Reverend Matt Carriker will preach and lead an after-hour conversation. He and I went to Israel/Palestine together some years ago, and he’s a wonderful speaker. Then on January 29 we have a return visit from a joyful and charismatic leader, the Reverend June Cooper, Theologian in the City at Old South Church, Boston. She will preach and offer an after-hour program.
Finally, new life, new beginnings and the assembly to face the new challenges, the new complexities, and the new call of our Christian life. So, happy new life, together.