June 2018 Belfry Newsletter


Dear friends,

Have you ever thought of yourself as an apologist?  I can almost hear you say, “a what?” This word comes from the Greek, “apologia”, which means to defend oneself or to speak in return or rebuttal.” It was used to describe philosophers such as Plato and Socrates who loved to choose topics to debate. Later, Christian evangelists used this form of debating to get out the new “philosophy” of Christianity. Sometimes they made their “apology” in the courtroom, or in the town square as Paul did. The goal of defending through speech was to both explain a Christian’s behavior – for example, why someone did not swear an oath to the Emperor, OR to offer a “teaching moment” with a potential faith convert.

In the First Epistle of Peter, are these words: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Peter implies that making a “defense of our faith” is not a burden or an act of pride, but simply a task that God gives us. To rephrase, we might use Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s query, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Through the remainder of her poem by this title, Browning proceeds to give her apologia – her numbered reasons, as to exactly why she loves her beloved.

The modern day worship setting, which is the usual means of gathering the faithful, does not allow for many opportunities to give evidence of the reasons for the hope that is in us – except, perhaps, for the sermon.  This reality can have the consequence of leaving many Christians feeling vulnerable and unprepared when someone asks, outright, “Why do you believe that? Give me your reasons.” It also dampens enthusiasm for becoming a church school teacher if someone is asked to teach.  They respond, “How can I teach someone else, what I haven’t really figured out for myself what I believe?”

To the end of creating modern-day apologists, our Summer Spirit Sessions (Monday evenings at 7PM and Wednesday noontimes) will be a means of discovering some twentieth century apologists – ordinary folks who have spent time thinking about and reasoning out in their hearts and minds why they believe what they believe about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Evil, Justice, Grace, Forgiveness and so much more.  Our hope is that these 5 sessions which look at how others made their defenses of hope, will give us confidence to compose our own defenses of faith on the last evening (August 22).

The beauty of this process of being able to defend what we hold most dear is to realize that we now know much else. For example, if your hope lies in the belief that every soul is created by God and belongs to God, you also have discovered how you must act in relation to this sacred soul in yourself and in others. You might conclude that you need to honor the sacred in another by working at forgiving a long-held family grudge; by serving at a veteran’s facility, or an elderly day site; or by standing vigil in Concord as a witness to legislation that you believe might succeed in putting out the God light in someone’s soul by its passage. To become an apologist is, perhaps, to know better how to love God, love ourselves and love our neighbor, and isn’t that the quintessential task for every believer?

Happy “Apologizing”, Rev. Deb


Lectionary Readings and Sermons for June, July and August

June 17                                                                                                                                                                                              Ezekiel 17:22-24 and Mark 4:26-3                                                                                                                                              “From Small Beginnings”

June 24

Anniversary of the United Church of Christ                                                                                                                                    Preacher: Diane Mix

July 1                                                                                                                                                                                                        Psalm 130 and Mark 5: 21-34

“Can Suffering be Healed?”

July 8                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ezekiel 2:1-5 and Mark 6:6b-13

“Sent with Power”

July 15                                                                                                                                                                                   Psalm 85:8-13 and Ephesians 1:3-14

“Chosen, Destined and Gathered Up”

July 22                                                                                                                                                                                          Samuel 7:1-14a and Ephesians 2:11-22                                                                                                                                  “God with us wherever we are”

July 29                                                                                                                                                                              

John 6:1-14 and Ephesians 3:14-21

“The Abundance of Love”


August 5, 12, 19 and 26 we will focus in worship on Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John.  This is the “bread” chapter that begins with the feeding of the 5,000 and ends with a spirited discussion of what happens when we eat this bread of life ourselves. Do you believe we really live forever?

Congratulations to our Confirmands and to those who decided to join the church.  What a pleasure to have worked with 8 young adults this year, 5 of whom were ready to join the church as new members. We celebrate your study, your growing faith and the vibrant community service projects you have accomplished.

Congratulations to the many graduates who were recognized June 3 and June 10 in our worship bulletin. Your church family is very proud of you and wishes you all best going foward into next year’s adventures!

Memorial Day Worship and Celebration – A huge thank you to the three speakers, Doug Ramsay, David Weatherby and Tracy Emerick, all of whom gave us thoughtful, provocative and powerful stories that shared the “why” and “what” of Memorial Day remembrances.  Thank you, too, for the willingness of all living veterans to share their service branch and rank and for those who brought in photos of those veterans who died during or since their years of service.

School and Blanket Sunday – Church World Service Mission

This year, Church World Service has done away with its simple tool kits and the cost of a warm blanket is $10 rather than $5. So, if you would like to honor or remember a mother or father during May and June by donating a warm blanket for use in a crisis or emergency situation somewhere in the world – or would like to sponsor a child at school with a kit (instead of a tool kit) we have set up the website ( under the GIVE menu so that is possible.  Cards are also available in the narthex (front hall) of the church if you wish to use one of the CWS cards to let your parent know of your gift. This Sunday, Father’s Day, is the last Sunday to give to this CSW Mission project.

The Summer Camping Schedule at Horton Center UCC Summer Camp is on the bulletin board.

Don’t forget to check out the fabulous camp options for adults, children, teens and grandparents.


From the Music Director – Sunday mornings from 9-10AM beginning on June 17th will be so much more inviting and inspiring with the addition of vocal and instrumental music from church members and friends. Please look for the sign up sheet in the robing room off the sanctuary or call the church office (603-926-2837) or email us at: if you want to sing or play during worship.  We welcome any interested singers of any ability, from grade 6 through adult, to join us.  For accompaniment, contact Jennifer at or call 603-770-8736.

Do you knit, crochet or want to learn or refresh your skills?
Join us on Mondays – 2:00 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. For more information, call 603-926-2837.
BOOK CLUBSMeet on Tuesday, June 19th at 7:00pm.  The women’s selection this month is “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery and the men are reading “Bread and Roses” by Bruce Watson.  Everyone welcome!  Join us and bring a friend.
YOGA CLASSES – Yoga by donation classes continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 am in the Chapel.  Everyone is welcome!
Summer 2018 Family Activities

June 11-16:

Sand Sculpting Competition, Hampton Beach.

June 15:

Parents Night Out at Exeter YMCA, Linden Street, Exeter.  6:30-9 p.m.,  also June 20 and August 17

June 16:

Fireworks at Hampton Beach, special celebration for Sand Sculpting Competition.  9:30 p.m.

June 23:

Free Tinkergarten Trial Class, Wentworth Coolidge Mansion Grounds, Portsmouth.  10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.


Online giving is here! 40% of our FCC pledgers are already giving online! And, the number is growing every week.  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.  Online givers are welcome to use the “Giving Cards” to place in the offering plates.  Cards are always available in the Narthex and on the Info Bulletin Boards downstairs.



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



Last night was Scholarship Night for Hampton’s High School. Elaine Manix did a Fantastic job presenting the George “Connie” Manix memorial scholarship to a young lady with a very bright future. Good luck Shelley Graff on a job well done.
Thank you to the community of Hampton and beyond for making this possible, without your continuous support this does not happen. I’m truly blessed to have the support of so many wonderful friends.

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


Year at a Glance


June 11/13 Summer Spirit Session begins – Henri Nouwen – A voice for God

17 9AM Worship Hour Begins

June 25/27 Summer Spirit Session Two – Amanda Berry Smith, African American preacher from PA


4 Independence Day/office closed

July 9 and 11 Spirit Session Three

July 14 – LOBSTER BAKE – $20pp for Boiled Lobster with chowder, cole slaw, corn on the cob and homemade pie, Tickets are $10 for those who want all the fixin’s with a hamburger, hotdog or sausage.  Tickets are limited so call the church office 926-2837 to reserve or go to the website and click on Giving where you can purchase your ticket there.

July 23 and 25 Spirit Session Four

August 6 and 8 Spirit Session Five

August 20 and 22 Spirit Session 6 Our Own Voices