Urgent Update (COVID-19 response)

WE WILL USE THIS SPACE TO KEEP AN UPDATED LIST OF ALL SPECIAL GATHERINGS, WORSHIP INFORMATION, AND COVID-19 RELATED CHANGES.

Dear friends,

I feel like a broken record, but I can find no more accurate words than “We are living in unprecedented times.” So much has changed, is changing, or will change soon due to the corona virus COVID-19.

We have been encouraged to stay home. We are not able to worship together in person. Gatherings have been cancelled, postponed, or moved online. Our well-used building has few people coming in and out, and I no longer hear the voices of children as I work in my office. It is strange. Disorienting. And more than a little scary.

I recently preached on the Jewish people exiled in Babylon in the 6th century BCE. Although we are not in exile, and our situation is far less severe than these ancestors in the faith, many of us do feel like we’re strangers in a strange land. We, too, may wonder how we can practice our faith when so many of the things that seemed to define us are unavailable or on hold.

Of course, we know that “the church” is not the building. The church has always been the people. But how are we “the church” when we, the people, cannot gather to worship?

First, we can gather to worship—just not in person. Each Sunday I will lead worship at 10:00 from the sanctuary we all know and love. We will send it out online so that you can either tune in and participate with us in real time, or watch it later. This will be both on our Facebook page and the church website under the Worship tab.

Every weekday morning we have morning devotions at 9 a.m. Every Tuesday afternoon I have a time with children. Wednesday evening at 7pm I am leading a Zoom video conference for a time of prayer and communion. And every Thursday morning at 10:00 I will have another Zoom conference, this one just to chat with anyone who feels like connecting. These links are all below.

But what about those people who don’t have computers or who aren’t online? That has been one of my biggest worries. How do we connect with people who we cannot visit in person or via the internet? Also, how are we looking out for those most vulnerable to the effects of this disease? For starters, we have a group of people who are calling our seniors, especially those who live alone, once or twice a week to check on them. Many of them do have internet access, but we still want to check on them regularly. We also are sending hand-written notes to those who are not online.

Now, here are a few other pieces of information we would like for you to know.

* The church office is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. All office and program staff are working from home and are checking voicemails and emails. They will return your calls, though probably their phones will come up as “blocked call”

* The food pantry is still open, Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

* We can set up online video conferences to help our small groups stay connected. If  your care group, committee, or other small group wants to meet virtually, let us know and we can help make that happen.

* If you have an email address and are not receiving our Weekly Word electronic newsletter, please call or email the office right away to be added. This is the primary way we are communicating.

* Some of you have nothing to do and others of you are busier than ever. We don’t know who falls into these categories. If you have skills you’d like to put to use in the church during this time, please let us know.

* If you need anything, please call or email. We cannot say this enough. We often have people contact us to offer assistance, and we are happy to connect those people with others in need. Whether it’s medication or toilet paper you need, we are here to help!

* If you have grown children, please tell them the church is important to you, and that you are important to us. Senior citizens, please tell your children that if you get sick, we want to know. Write the church number (799-3361) and my number (400-4371) on your emergency call list so they know how to reach us.

These are, indeed, unprecedented times. But we are the church. We already know how to do the things the world needs—how to connect, how to support, how to heal, how to love. Maybe we have learned these important skills for such a time as this. We know how to be the church. We will continue to be the church together.

With love and prayers,

Pastor Cindy Maddox

Here are the links for our weekly conference calls:

Zoom link for Morning Devotionals at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday
For video conference call with your computer go to: https://zoom.us/j/394308620. With your cell phone use the app and Meeting ID: 394 308 620. To call in rather than video chat, dial 1-929-205-6099 and use meeting ID 394 308 620.

Zoom link for Tuesday Time with Children at 3:00 p.m. 
For video conference call with your computer go to: https://zoom.us/j/835020038. With your cell phone use the app and meeting ID 835 020 038. To call in rather than video chat, dial 1-929-205-6099 and use meeting ID 835 020 038. 

Zoom link for Wednesday Prayer & Praise at 7 p.m.
For video conference call with your computer go to: https://zoom.us/j/425341126. With your cell phone use the app and meeting ID 425 341 126. To call in rather than video chat, dial 1-929-205-6099 and use meeting ID 425 341 126


Zoom link for Thursday Community Office Hours at 10 a.m.
For video conference call with your computer go to: https://zoom.us/j/258573981. With your cell phone use the app and meeting ID 258 573 981. To call in rather than video chat, dial 1-929-205-6099 and use meeting ID 258 573 981


On Sunday morning at 10:00 you will find our worship here on our website under Worship, as well as on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/fccucc. The direct link to videos is www.facebook.com/pg/fccucc/videos.

If we come up with a better way, we will communicate it immediately.

Don Roy Concert — February 9, 2020 — Click here for more information

The band features Don Roy, Cindy Roy and Jay Young on fiddle, piano and bass respectively. Delivering polished, tight, pulsating sets, this trio exemplifies the driving beat of traditional music. Don Roy is firmly rooted in the Franco-American musical tradition. They have played at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and appeared with Garrison Keillor. Cindy and Don received a National Heritage Fellowship in 2018 — the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts — recognizing their artistic excellence and supporting their continuing contributions of our nation’s traditional arts heritage. The trio will be joined by three talented siblings:  Rossby (14), Elsie (12) and Oliver (10) Arnott who were special guests at the 2017-2019 Fiddle-icious concerts.

Tickets are on sale at Nonesuch Books, the church office and online at 
http://donroyfeb9.brownpapertickets.com  The cost is $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets for children 16 and under are half price.

Staffing Changes — Click Here for Details

                                                                                                                                       September 20, 2019

Dear FCCUCC Members and Friends,

As you probably know, we have been understaffed for some time. Last year we searched for a clergy person to add to our staff, but we were unable to find anyone for the part-time position we had designed. After careful and prayerful consideration, and with the help of a church consultant who spent many hours with us, the Council has determined that we need another full-time pastor on staff. The tentative title for this new position is Pastor of Faith Formation and Visitation.

The new pastor will be responsible for overseeing faith formation (what we sometimes call Christian Education) for all ages, children through adults. This individual will also be handling the bulk of our home and hospital visitation, while I will continue covering most emergency and surgery-related hospital visits. Other duties will fit the gifts and calling of the individual we find.

The following people have agreed to serve on the search committee for this new pastor: Scott Berry, Leigh Ann Higgins, Chris Keiter, Judy Magnuson, Debbie Rideout, and Carol Zechman. I also will be an active participant in this group. We are excited to begin this important work on behalf of the congregation. We will offer a commissioning of the search committee during the sanctuary worship on Sunday, October 13. Following worship that day, the Council will host a conversation in Davidson Lounge for anyone who would like more information.

A key question is, of course, how we will pay for this new position. It will not be easy, and it starts with a difficult decision that was reached after much discernment. As the new pastor’s responsibilities will include creating faith-enriching experiences for children and adults, the Council reluctantly agreed that it is necessary to eliminate the position of Director of Children and Family Ministries. Many of us have gotten to know Anne Fuehrer during her six years with us, and we will miss her. We are blessed to have experienced her care and nurture of our families, and we are thankful that she has agreed to stay on until we fill the new position or until she finds other work.

We also are nearing the end of our contracted term with Jill Saxby as our Bridge Associate. She has done good work with us, and we are grateful that she so willingly dove in to help us get on the right track and get ready for the next phase in the life of our congregation. She will continue in her current role through October.

Thank you for your consistent support of the work of this church, and for your prayers for all involved in this time of transition. With your generosity and the help of God, we will continue to live into our calling as the church on Meetinghouse Hill.

Sincerely,

Rev. Cindy Maddox, Senior Pastor

JOB DESCRIPTION:

MINISTER OF FAITH FORMATION & VISITATION

Terms of Position: This position is classified as full-time, with salary and benefits at or near conference guidelines, and is supervised by the Senior Minister.

Qualifications

The qualified candidate will possess and be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ; or be a Member in Discernment near ordination; or be a licensed minister in the UCC; or, if a member of another denomination, will hold credentials that would qualify him/her/them for such ministerial standing
  • Skills, interests, and gifts in spiritual formation for all ages
  • Creative energy and ideas
  • Successful experience working with children and youth
  • Strong organizational skills, with the ability to handle multi-faceted projects from start to finish
  • Excellent communication skills with people of all ages
  • Willingness to work in a positive, supportive way with the whole staff and congregation
  • Ability to recruit, train, empower, and inspire volunteers
  • Comfort in hospital and homebound visitation

Responsibilities

The Minister of Faith Formation & Visitation will oversee the church’s spiritual development program for all stages of life—including the current Sunday school program, youth ministry program, and adult education—in order to offer a cohesive plan of education and faith formation for all ages. This person will also spend approximately 25% of his/her/their time visiting our members who are homebound or have limited mobility, and making hospital visits.

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!