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THE EPISTLE

Volume 16 Issue 1 JANUARY 27, 2011

It was Yogi Bera, wasn’t it, who said “Deja


vue all over again?” Time change and yet
they don’t change and once again our
church is engaged in ways to reach out with
our story and invite those who have no
church to become part of our community of
faith. If you were in church on January 16,
you heard our interim Conference Minister,
Rita Root preach and if you came to the
I was going through some old papers the other adult forum you heard her speak to this
day and came across the bulletin for issue. There is no debate about the fact that
September 16, 1984. It was on that Sunday mainline Protestant churches have lost
that I preached my first sermon as Pastor and members. This is true here and it is true all
Teacher of First Congregational United over the country. One of the reasons for this
Church of Christ. As I looked through it, I is that we are not reproducing ourselves.
thought, “boy how times have changed!” This Mainliners have fewer children. Another
was pre-computer days, at least at First reason is that over the years children of
Church. The bulletin was mimeographed. mainline Protestants have not followed
(Who remembers a mimeograph?) As I looked through on their parent’s commitments.
at the names of those who were ushers, or Confirmation became graduation and
deacons or readers, I was reminded of some of studies tell us that for those raised in the
the “saints of days past”, who are now part of church, continued church membership and
the church triumphant. There were other involvement has not been a priority. If you
names of those who have moved away and have adult children, think about that. Are
still others of folks who are still active they active members of a United Church of
members of our church. Christ congregation, or another mainline
As I was reading the announcements (not yet Protestant church?
called “News in the Pews”), I came across the The culture also does not assume church
following: membership and involvement. The props of
another day are no more. Sunday is just one
The Church Council is looking into various more day and the church another institution
ways to increase church membership. As that is competing for time, talent and
part of this effort, we ask each of you to treasure. Often the church is put into the
come up with ideas and submit them to the position of competing with activities that
Council. draw adults, children and young people, and
to be frank, we can never win in such a
competition.
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So, then, what are we to do? Do we moan and lives; while still others will be geared to
groan and hang our heads and give up? By no those asking some of the basic questions of
means! We seek ways to reach out and invite life. We intend to have a full range of such
others to become part of a community of faith groups ready to “roll out” in September!
which is there for them in good times and bad; “Your mission, should you chose to accept
a community of faith which laughs with them it” is to get on board. Your thoughtful ideas
and cries with them; a community of faith and also your thoughtful participation in this
which seeks to hold out a message of love and new and exciting chapter of our life together
acceptance; a message of God’s grace and is crucial.
love for one and all.
Does this mean that some things may be See you in church,
different? Indeed it does. Does it mean that we
need to be open to ways of being the Church
John
of Jesus Christ which are different from past
ways? Indeed it does. Does it mean that we
may have to look at structures hinder rather
than help our mission and ministry? Indeed it
SUNDAY WORSHIP
does.
Our church is already moving into a new SCOUT SUNDAY
future, like it or not. We begin on January 22 February 6th is Scout Sunday, and the
a monthly Saturday service which we are Scouts, parents and leaders from our Troop
calling “Saturday Live”. This monthly 5:00 207 will be joining us for the 9:30 AM
PM service will be an opportunity for those service. Please welcome them!
who may be out of town or otherwise engaged
on a Sunday to worship on Saturday. The
other dates are: March 5; April 2; May 7
and June 4. There will be no one format for
these services, but rather, we will worship in
different ways. Do you know a friend who is
seeking a church, but may be uncomfortable
beginning on a Sunday, this might be an OUR WORSHIP TOGETHER
alternative. Reach out and invite. DURING THE SEASON OF
Your membership committee has been hard at
EPIPHANY
work seeking ever new ways to tell our story.
Two things are crucial as we move forward:
use of technology and small groups. We will January 23: “Basics”
as a congregation seek to make good use of Focus Scripture: I Corinthians 1:10-18
the technology we have both in telling our
story and in communicating with our existing
members. We also know that many are January 30: “Awaiting Further
seeking a small group in which they can Instructions”
connect with others. Some of these groups Focus Scriptures: Micah 6:1-8; Matthew
will be gathered around common interests: 5:1-12
golf, fishing, and other such things. Still
others will be centered on a topic of interest February 6: “What are you?”
for those seeking to deepen their spiritual Focus Scripture: Matthew 5:13-20
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be posted soon on the rolling bulletin board
in Fellowship Hall. Small group meetings
February 13: will begin the week of March 6.
“The Law Reads”
Focus Scriptures: In addition, as part of this Lenten program,
Deuteronomy 30:15- members of the First Congregational UCC
20; Matthew 5:21-37 will be encouraged to participate in a
mission project designed to help us
strengthen our faith as we make a difference
February 20:
in the world. More details about this
“Be Perfect?” mission project will be released soon. Stay
Focus Scriptures: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; tuned!
Matthew 5:38-48

February 27: “Every little thing is gonna be


all right”
Focus Scripture: Matthew 6:24-34

BOARDS AND COMMITTEES


UPDATES
EVENING CIRCLE
COMING SOON….LENTEN
Evening Circle will gather together on
PROJECT 2011 Monday, February 7th at 7 PM in Fellowship
Hall. Our guest speaker will be Suzanne
Soon it will be time to turn our attention once Feather from MVP Health Care discussing
again to Lent and how we will observe this “Life is a ball”-- the importance of humor.
season – as an individual and as a Please join us. New members are always
congregation. Mark your calendars for a welcome. Any questions, give Norma
Lenten Kick-Off event on Sunday evening, Harrington or Carol Moran a call.
Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. You will have the
opportunity to join a small group of 10-20 MORNING CIRCLE MEETS
people to meet weekly for study, spiritual
growth and deepening the sense of community Morning Circle will meet on Tuesday Feb.
within the church. The groups will study the 8th at 10 AM. Rev. Cedarleaf will lead a
gospel and how it is lived out in all of life. discussion about the book "Mountains
Through a curriculum called, “Gospel in Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder.
Life,” participants will focus on how the Please feel free to attend whether you have
gospel can be lived first in one’s heart, then in read the book or not. New members are
one’s community, and finally out into the always welcome.
world. Sign-ups for various small groups will
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CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
SURVEY RESULTS
In September, approximately 35 surveys were sent
to church families with children in our Christian
education program. The survey was intended to
gauge interest in changing the time of church
school offerings for preschool and elementary
school children. Only five surveys were returned.
Of these, 4 of the 5 indicated they were content
with the timing of current offerings. The CE
Board concluded that this is not a “hot button”
issue for our families and voted to keep the
offerings at their current time of approximately
10:50 – 11:35 a.m. Missions Corner
THANKS!!
Even though we have all probably had enough
of winter, there is still plenty of winter to come.
To all who donated food, money and/or helped
The work of Missions goes on despite the
deliver the Christmas baskets this year, we say
winter.
THANK YOU! This year we were able to help
nine families have a brighter Christmas because
This month the focus of Missions Corner is on
you cared enough to help.
Advent House with our liaison to Advent
House, Eileen Slocum, contributing the
Don Eaton, Board of Missions
following information.

THANKS SO MUCH! For those of you who do not know about Advent
House, it is a hospice care home which provides
Thank you to everyone that purchased the
for the many physical, emotional and spiritual
Delta Sonic Gift Cards for stocking stuffers. needs of the dying. Anyone who has been
We profited $380.00 which will go to the medically determined to be in the last three
church's general budget. months of life can be admitted for free to one of
Nan & Bernie Notar the two beds at Advent House. Preference for
admission is given to those who can no longer
be cared for at home.
BOARD OF DEACONS’ THANKS!
The Board of Deacons wants to thank Advent House provides a home-like setting for
everyone who attended the Children’s Musical terminally ill patients and their family and
program and the Advent Dinner on December friends. The patient is encouraged to participate
4, 2010. The musical performance was great in determining what would most enhance his or
and the food was delicious. We want to give a her quality of life. Advent House also continues
very special THANKS to all of you who support of the family through the grieving
stayed after the dinner to put away the tables process.
and chairs. It certainly made the clean-up
Advent House is always looking for volunteers
work much faster and easier. HAPPY NEW
since it operates seven days a week, 24 hours a
YEAR. day. Volunteers, who enable this ministry to
continue, perform such tasks as bedside care,
5 THE EPISTLE
property maintenance, clinical help, public
relations and fund-raising. People who volunteer FAMILY NEWS
at Advent House find it a rewarding experience.

Advent House provides volunteer training on a CHRISTIAN ED CLASSES


regular basis. If you feel that you could give Note: There will be no Christian Ed for kids
Advent House a few hours a week on a regular
on Feb 20 and 27 due to school break.
basis, you can get more information about
becoming an Advent House volunteer by calling
(585) 223-6112 or e-mail Advent House at
theadventhouse@yahoo.com.
NEWS FROM OUR YOUTH
On other fronts, we are looking for someone or
some people to take over the commitment to our
local Community Dinners. Community Dinners
are offered to our Perinton neighbors in need SENIOR VALENTINE
every Sunday of the month in one of five churches LUNCHEON
in Perinton. Our church has committed to serving
a Community Dinner in any month in which there February 6th
is a fifth Sunday. Responsibilities include
obtaining volunteers, food preparation, food
Junior and Senior
distribution (both in-house and take-outs), and High students are
clean-up on that fifth Sunday. This is a very invited to
rewarding endeavor. If you are interested in participate in the
helping our church in this endeavor, feel free to
call me at (585) 388-1355 or e-mail me at annual Valentine
vantiq@frontiernet.net. Luncheon. You
will be preparing
In our Missions meetings we have been discussing
and serving lunch to the senior
how we can bring our message to the congregation
in a more direct format. We have decided on a citizens of our congregation. The
“Missions Moment” during the service. On preparation begins at 9:30 am and you
dedicated Sundays, we will invite the executive should be finished cleaning up by 2
director (or stand-in) of the agencies we support to
make a five-minute presentation to the
pm. Please see the sign-up sheet on
congregation. Following the service, the director the bulletin board. You need to sign
would join us in our Adult Education Class. Our up to work and to bring some of the
first proposed Missions Moment is tentatively supplies. This event is a lot of fun for
scheduled for Sunday, February 13th when we plan
on hosting the Director of Safe Journey (a shelter you and is very enjoyable to the
for battered women here in Perinton). During the people you serve.
month of May we plan on inviting the director of
Advent House. We anticipate hosting two
directors in the fall.

Stay warm this winter!


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VOLUNTEER & COMMUNITY
OPPORTUNITIES

BAMNS OPEN HOUSES


Bertha Agor Memorial Nursery School is
having two open houses to introduce their
teachers and their programs to families with
young children. Please stop by the church and
chat with the BAMNS staff. Dates for the Open
Houses are:
January 31, 2011 from 5 – 7 PM
March 22, 2011 from 5 – 7 PM

ADVENT HOUSE EVENTS


Annual Dinner Dance & Auction
March 25, 2011, 6 PM AN INVITATION TO FIRST CHURCH
Casa Larga Vineyards WOMEN
Call Advent House for reservations, The women of the Sisterhood of Temple B’rith
223-6112 Kodesh invite the women of First Church to
their annual Interfaith Event on Wednesday,
March 23 at 11:00 AM at Temple B’rith
Kodesh, 2131 Elmwood Avenue.
Save the Date! The program begins at 11:00 AM and is
Advent House Golf Tournament entitled: “Interfaith Education, Past, Present,
September 16, 2011 at Noon Future. The speakers are Daan Braverman,
Victor Hills Golf Course President of Nazareth College and Dr.
Muhammad Shafiq, Professor of Islamic and
Call Advent House for reservations, Religious Studies at Nazareth.
223-6112
Please bring your own non-meat lunch. Fruit,
dessert and beverages will be provided. The
program is free, but please make a reservation
by emailing wrj@tbk.org or phoning, 244-7060
x233.
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OUR CHURCH FAMILY

Our Christian sympathy is extended to Joan and


Tom Bigelow on the passing of Joan’s sister,
Carol Ellison on
December 18,
2010.

Our condolences
are extended to
Sandy and Ted
Good on the recent CONGRATULATIONS AND BEST
death of Sandy’s
WISHES TO:
father, David Del
Nero of Rhode
Island on Erica Harper, on her new business, Harper
December 18, Danesh LLC.
2010.
Steve Hoover, who becomes chief
Our sympathy is executive officer of PARC, which is
extended to Sally Forgensi and Martha Holmes Xerox’s Palo Alto California research
and their families on the recent death of their center. We will miss the Hoover family who
father, Harry Schwartz on December 24, 2010. A have been active members of First Church
service was held on for him on January 8, 2011 in for many years. Steve begins his new duties
Cassadaga, New York.
February 1 and Vicky and the rest of the
family will finish out the school year here.

THANK YOU!

Dear First Church friends:

Once again, Jean and I thank you for your


love, support and caring expressed in your
generous Christmas gift. Over the years we
have worked together in our common ministry
of speaking God’s gracious word of love to
one and all. Each one of you has been an
important part of our common life together.
Once again thanks for being who and what WELCOME TO THE NEW ARRIVAL!
you are individually and what we are together Mike and Nora Root welcomed a new grandson,
for God’s glory. John Patrick Novak, on January 8, 2011. He is
the son Kate and Terry Novak. They live in
Herkimer, NY.
Faithfully,
John
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EPISTLE A PRAYER FOR THE BEGINNING OF THE


DEADLINE IS DAY
3 PM
FEBRUARY O Lord, grant me to meet the coming
17TH day in peace.
Help me in all things to rely upon thy
holy will.
In every hour of the day reveal thy will
to me.
Bless my dealings with all who surround
me.
Teach me to treat all that come to me
throughout the day with peace of soul,
and the firm conviction thy will governs
all.
In all my deeds and words guide my
thoughts and feelings.
In unforeseen events let me not forget
that all are sent by thee.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely,
without embittering or embarrassing
others.
Give me the strength to bear the fatigue
of the coming day and all it shall bring.
Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray
thou thyself in me. Amen.
-Russian Orthodox Metropolitan,
Moscow, 1000 C.E.