Walking the Labyrinth: An Ancient Spiritual Tradition

Our labyrinth will be open for walking on the second Saturday of each month in Guptill Hall from 10:00 a.m.—Noon.

The labyrinth has been used as a spiritual tool in many cultures and religious traditions for thousands of years. Modern “pilgrims” walk labyrinths as one of many tools to enhance prayer, contemplation, meditation, and/or personal growth.

Unlike a maze, a labyrinth is not designed to confuse or bewilder. There are no blind alleys, no wrong turns. There is a single pathway leading in and out. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and you will safely get to the center and back out again. A labyrinth is a perfect symbol of our spiritual journey because life is full of twists and turns, but still we are led to the center. Throughout the walk, we rely on our faith and trust that the winding path truly leads to God, the center of our life. When we walk the labyrinth with the presence of God, even amid life’s twists and turns, we will find our way back home.

Our labyrinth is the Chartres design (above), painted on canvas.  Although they are not visible to the eye, underneath the path are written words of peace in sixteen different languages, along with the psalm prayer “Guide our feet into the way of peace.”

We hope that you will join us.

 

Vacation Bible School Registration Open

Our Vacation Bible School is a vibrant and engaging way to great summer and end the program year at First Congregational Church. Every year a different theme is chosen to highlight the scripture passage each day, along with hands-on activities reinforcing the message.

This year’s theme is Rome: Paul and the Underground Church Vacation Bible School, June 26-29, 2017, 9:00am-12:30pm (Monday – Thursday)

Age level groups starting with entering Kindergarten-5th Grade.

Click here to register!

Mission Mall Now Online

We did it! Thanks to our webmaster, Aaron Scifres, The Mission Mall, its catalog, cards, inserts and the ability to donate are now all ONLINE! It’s now possible to give anytime, anywhere–in the church office, at the Bazaar, by mail, or online.

You can check out the online Mission Mall on the church website by clicking here. Just in time for the Holly Daze Bazaar! See you there!

Pastors Visiting Patients at Maine Medical Center

Major Policy Change!

Your pastors feel strongly that visiting church members/friends at hospitals and other health care facilities is a very important ministry and priority of the church. Church members/friends most often expect and wish to be visited by their pastor. On September 1, 2015, Maine Medical Center made a major policy change which directly impacts patients in the hospital and pastors who visit them.

All the Years/Decades Before September 1, 2015: Pastors who came to the hospital could find church members/friends from a listing of newly admitted patients. Per MMC policy, based on the HIPAA Privacy Act of 1996, this is no longer possible.

From September 1, 2015 Onward: The ONLY way your pastors can know if church members/friends are hospitalized is by someone calling the church (799-3361) to let them know.

Either Cindy or Bob will be glad to visit you at Maine Medical Center/ any hospital/any healthcare facility/ or just about anywhere else. If it is not easy or possible for you to call the church, please ask a son, daughter, other family member, or friend to call the church so the pastors will know you are in the hospital, or other location. We would much rather receive many calls about the same person than no calls at all.

A Continuing Concern:

There are times when a church member/ friend may go to another location (rehabilitation hospital, nursing facility, home of a son or daughter, etc.) before returning home.

  • Your pastors gladly visit persons in any hospital, in any healthcare facility or any other location. However, we have to know where you are.
  • By policy and federal law, Maine Medical Center (and other hospitals) will not share this information. Most of our members don’t understand this.
  • As a result, your pastors “lose” members/friends at intervals because we have no idea where you have gone after leaving the hospital.
  • If you have not returned home immediately after leaving the hospital, please call the church and let us know where you are. Your pastors literally have no other way to learn your current location so they can come and visit you.

This is a major policy shift for all of us. The way that clergy were able to learn of church members in the hospital for many years pre-September 1 is gone. Example: The hospitalized church member who had not arranged a call to the church, but could say when the pastor arrived at the hospital room “I knew you would be here.” Without a call to the church, there is certainty that the pastor would not be there at all, and would have no idea that the church member was hospitalized.

We are asking for your help with all of this. Thank you!

Senior Activities

Thursday, December 3 at 1:00 p.m.—SAM meeting—Please join us with your activity ideas.

Friday, December 11, we will go to the Magic of Christmas, leaving the church at 1:00 p.m. We have a limited number of tickets so  call if you’re interested.

Stay tuned for details about our Christmas party and cookie exchange on December  17.

Thursday, January 7- SAM meeting at 1:00 p.m. in 2nd/ 3rd  grade classroom above  the church office.

 

 

The Hilltop Guild

The Hilltop Guild meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at 6:00 p.m. in Wright Pavilion.

The Guild will meet November 12 at 7:00 p.m. in Wright Pavilion.  Louise Nisbet will show us how to make a journal by creating our own covers using a  papermaking process. If you are not a member of Guild and would like to attend, you can contact Debbie Rideout at 883-4319.

 

A New Addition to Our Ministry Team

Last year we began the process of establishing a new ministry model for our church. Instead of calling another full-time associate pastor, we chose to divide the responsibilities into two part-time positions. Last summer we hired Anne Fuehrer as our Director of Children & Family Ministries. Now the Council has approved the creation of a new position: Pastor of Member Care and Visitation. This person will share with me the responsibilities of making hospital visits and calling on our homebound members, plus will oversee our lay visitation program. This is a part-time position, starting at 10 hours per week and increasing to 15 hours in a few months. Because this is a new staffing model, we will have a trial period to make sure it is what we need in the life of our congregation at this time.

We are blessed to have Rev. Bob Morse, a member of our congregation, taking on this role. For those of you who don’t know Bob, he is a retired minister, serving most recently as the Director of Pastoral Services at Maine Medical Center. The members of Council and I are all confident that Bob will be a wonderful addition to our team.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Peggy Murray, our Moderator. And please welcome Bob to this new ministry among us. –Cindy Maddox