APRIL 2018 Belfry Newsletter


Dear Friends,

Can it be that our festive Easter worship will have been celebrated, done and over with, almost before we can get to what comes next? It is true – by day 2 of April, Easter will be finished, and what comes next will, as usual, be a mix of the “same, old rituals” and the nudging of the Holy Spirit, who invites us to “look and listen” to all the things that God is making new, fresh, sacred and eternally beautiful.

The disciples took to the road after the news of the empty tomb – as was their habit, only this time, as brothers without Jesus, or so they thought, until he drew up beside them. Other disciples went back to fishing. That task, too, had its surprises as the risen Christ met them on the beach for a bite of fish. Old habits undertaken again and again that became new, sacred experiences.

After Easter worship, then, we can be sure that another worship follows and yet another worship as we add to the approximately 19,750 worship services First Parish Church has held since 1638. But after Easter, we can also be sure, that the Holy Spirit will nudge us and whisper, “Look here!” or “Listen to this!” What we then hear may be a familiar tune that suddenly becomes the sound of angels. What we see, may be a well-known face that suddenly reveals a person you thought you knew who now appears holy, and more precious than you have words to say.

Such was the experience of Erin White who wrote an article for the site, On Being. Erin and her wife attended a small Methodist church. During their 15 years, they had come to know Norman Baker, an 89-year old man who was a regular worshiper. Norman was a simple man, who shared small but crucial parts of his life – how grateful he was that townsfolk still celebrated his wife’s death with a lake paddle in her honor; how his son and daughter-in-law had given birth to twin daughters, how the blueberries fared and how he enjoyed the night owl’s cry.

Norman lost his life when the plane he was piloting crashed, on his way to his son’s. When people went to the paper to read his obituary, they discovered something entirely amazing – Norman had crossed 3,275 miles of ocean on a papyrus raft with the adventurer, Thor Heyerdahl. He’d summited the Matterhorn and mined for gold in Alaska. None of the church folks had ever heard these stories. So did they know Norman or not?

Erin White said, “Of course we knew Norman.” That knowing, she said, happened by way of the language of presence. They knew the sound of each other’s laughter, and the sight of their common tears. She knew the feeling of Norman’s hand in hers and how she had to bend over a bit to give him a hug. She knew what his singing voice was like and how jubilant his prayer request had been upon the birth of his twin grand-daughters. Erin and Norman had` practiced the power of being present to one another – the practice of loving well by showing up for each other. That habit of showing up had become a ritual that grew into a knowing of one another that was both holy and beautiful!

So, after Easter, as Jesus did for his disciples, we will continue the habit of loving well by showing up for one other. As we trust in the presence of the Advocate whom Christ has left us, we, too, can say, “We know one another in deep and holy ways because we speak the language of presence – a language that only the living Christ could teach us!”

Love, Rev. Deb

April Lectionary Readings and Sermons

April 1, 2018 – Easter/Sacrament of Communion

Scripture Readings: Isa 25:6-9 & Acts 10:34-43

Sermon: “The Birth of Forgiveness”

April 8 – Feast of Divine Mercy/ Orthodox Easter

Scripture Readings: Psalm 133 & John 20:19-31

Sermon “The Bearer of Peace”

April 15, Third Sunday in Easter/God’s Baby Closet Shower

Scripture Readings: Psalm 4 & Luke 24:36b-48

Sermon: “The Advocate”

April 22 Earth Day/Baptism

Scripture Readings: Psalm 23 and John 10:11-18

Sermon: “Found in the Sheepfold”

April 29 Fifth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings: John 15:1-8

Sermon – “Abiding in Love”

Hampton Historical Society – April Program

  • Thursday, April 19 @ 7:00 p.m.
    Every Picture Tells A Story: The History of the Toppan Family in Hampton
    with author Lori White Cotter
    Tuck Museum

St. Marie Joseph Retreat – April 27-29th A small band of church members and friends will be in retreat from the 27th until the 29th of April. We will be learning about the Great 50 Days of the Church Year from Easter until Pentecost.  As we are in retreat, we welcome your prayers that we might bring home new insights and ideas for the ministry of Christ through First Congregational Church.

COMING APRIL 16 & 18:  Spring Bible Study 

All Things New:  Heaven, Earth, and the Restoration of Everything You Love, by John Eldredge.  According to the Bible, heaven is not our eternal home–the New Earth is. As Jesus says in the gospel of Matthew, the next chapter of our story begins with “the renewal of all things,” by which he means the earth we love in all its beauty, our own selves, and the things that make for a rich life: music, art, food, laughter and all that we hold dear. Everything shall be renewed “when the world is made new.” Most Christians (most people for that matter) fail to look forward to their future because their view of heaven is vague, religious, and frankly boring. Hope begins when we understand that for the believer nothing is lost. Heaven is not a life in the clouds; it is not endless harp-strumming or worship-singing. Rather, the life we long for, the paradise Adam and Eve knew, is precisely the life that is coming to us. And that life is coming soon.  Join us for this breathtaking look at God’s promise!  5 Sessions, beginning April 16 & 18.  Mondays, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. or Wednesdays, Noon – 1:00 p.m.


From the Music Director – Chancel Choir, our middle school through adult choir rehearses Sunday mornings from 8:30-9:30 and sings during worship.  We welcome any interested singers of any ability, from grade 6 through adult, to join us.  You don’t have to commit to every week and you don’t have to read music.  All you need is a desire to sing and worship God through music.  If you would like further information, please contact Jennifer at or call 603-770-8736.

March 8th @6:30 pm  family entertainment by Rebecca Rule, New England story teller.  Free and open to the public.  Click on the link for more information. RESCHEDULED TO WEDNESDAY, MAY 16TH @6:30PM
April 12 Women’s Guild Business Meeting @5:15 pm followed by Women’s Guild Potluck @6:00.  There will be family entertainment open to the public @7:00 pm with Jeff Warner’s presentation of 19th century music.  Click on the link for more information.
WOMEN’S GUILD UPSCALE RUMMAGE SALE – Spring is coming!  And with it comes our Upscale Rummage Sale!  Donations may be dropped off in Fellowship Hall from Sunday, April 22nd, through Wednesday, May 2nd.  Women’s Guild members will be in Fellowship Hall to assist you each morning from 9:30 to noon during the week of the 22nd.   On Monday, April 30th we will begin to set up for the sale.  Donations may be dropped off through Wednesday morning.   Fellowship Hall will be open all week by by 9:30 a.m.

We will not be picking up, accepting or selling large furniture this year, nor will we have an outside “furniture tent”.   We will, however, happily take in smaller items such as pie tables, small bookcases, and the like that are easily portable for customers.   Lamps, sconces, small wine coolers, gargoyles, paintings and so on are most welcome as are clothes is good condition.  Handbags , scarves, belts and shoes in great condition always sell.  As always, we count on all of you to help by combing through closets and  storage areas to unearth new donations.  Together, our JBF and Upscale Rummage Sale provide the financial “cushion” FCC can count on when major (or sometimes minor) needs must be addressed.   Thank you for your consistent generosity and hard work over these many years!   May 5th, here we come!  The Women’s Guild

 CE NEWS –  Join us on Saturday April 21 for “Nothing but Noodles”, a potluck dinner sponsored by the CE Committee. Have a great Mac and cheese dish, an Italian speciality, or maybe another delicious noodle dish that you would like to share? Join us for a night of family fun and delicious food. You can sign up for bringing a noodle dish via Sign Up Genius or by directly contacting Crystal Hardy at Hope to see everyone there!!
Do you knit, crochet or want to learn or refresh your skills?
Join us on Mondays – 2:30 to 4pm in the Chapel
Our Knitting/Crocheting Team is working on the Jingle Bell Fair, prayer shawls, etc. All are welcome.
Do you have knitting needles, crochet hooks or accessories no longer in use? If so, please donate them as we are always looking for special sizes.
YOGA CLASSES – Yoga by donation classes continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 am in the Chapel.  Everyone is welcome!


Online giving is here!  Almost 25% of our FCC pledgers are already giving online!  Have you signed up?  Electronic giving is a convenient, easy option for making your regular or occasional contributions. Give anytime, anywhere using your computer, tablet or mobile device.  Make regular church offerings without writing a check or preparing envelopes.  Schedule recurring contributions so they arrive even when you can’t attend services.  FCC has partnered with Vanco Payment Services, the most highly recommended electronic giving company for churches, to offer secure e-Giving.  Giving options are available through the church website,, or by downloading the free app for your mobile device.



Monday thru Thursday 9:00am to Noon    Friday – Office Closed

CHURCH EMAILCONTACTS – Rev. Deb Knowlton – Arlene Radford – Jennifer Ramsay – Sally Wool – Donna Makechnie – John Recupero

Anyone who has a computer and would like to be able to  receive emails regarding church events should contact Arlene in the office or Katie Ells at



Friendly reminder, the church is closed on Fridays.  Please be respectful of your designated area’s cleanliness and please remove trash, if applicable. This will ensure the Services and Coffee hour on Sunday are respected.

 Save the date – Saturday, May 12th – Spring Fling Cleanup

Help us clean up our yard and building after the long stormy winter season!

Call the office to sign up 926-2837 or send an  email to

Lunch will be provided.

Thank you

John Recupero



TASC Mission

TASC   Transportation Assistance for Seacoast Citizens

Purpose:  to provide transportation for people who can’t drive, predominately elderly and disabled, to medical and other selected appts.

Some Interesting Data:

Started in 2006, TASC averages about 3,500 rides a year to include such things as dialysis, cancer treatments and other regular dr. visits

  • All volunteer drivers; currently 45
  • John Diebert, a member of our church, volunteered for many years and said “It was very gratifying to provide a service that is so critical to their lives. He made many connections with the people that he will always remember.”

Area Covered:

  • Hampton, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Exeter, Greenland, Kensington, Rye, Seabrook, Stratham
  • Bolded towns biggest users

How Funded:

  • Through social services from 6 of 9 communities
  • UCC of Exeter, Exeter Hospital, Trinity gives free space, Stratham Church and N. Hampton
  • Some Government Funding & Grants as well as Fund raising in June
  • Individual donations

How to Contact:

  • For driver volunteering or discussing needs for rides, you can call 926-9026




1 Easter Sunrise and Festive Worship

8 Sacrament of Communion

12 Women’s Guild Business Meeting @5:15 pm followed by Women’s Guild Potluck @6:00.  There will be family entertainment open to the public @7:00 pm with Jeff Warner’s presentation of 19th century music.

15 Last Confirmation Class

22 Cross Roads Cooking  

27-29 Retreat                  


5 Niceties & Rummage Sale

13 Tool and Blanket Fund Begins/Mother’s Day Service

16 Women’s Guild presents Rebecca Rule @6:30 pm – family entertainment free and open to the public.  RESCHEDULED TO WEDNESDAY, MAY 16TH @6:30PM

20 Pentecost/Children’s Day/Cross Roads Cooking

27 Special Memorial Day Service

28 Memorial Day/office closed

June 7 End of Year luncheon for Guild

10 Confirmation students join

11/13 Adult Study Ends

17 9AM Worship Hour Begins


4 Independence Day/office closed