As I write, several waterways in the region of the Carolinas are still rising, even as Hurrican Florence is already becoming a memory. Great walls of water are also running though the land of the Philippine peoples and in China. In each place, these waters are full of danger, the dangers of debris, animal feces from overwhelmed feedlots, toxic subsances from flooded holding tanks – even radioactive substances. All of this on top of the debris of uprooted vegetation and any other manner of detritus that high winds dislodged and dumped into the rivers. “We ask ourselves, “How can we wade through this? Will victims survive without becoming gravely ill? How, when, and by whose hands did this destruction come? How will order be restored?”
Since the beginning of time, the oldest story in our human consciousness is the Flood story – the event in which the process of creation went backwards and order became chaos. The Genesis story reveals a God who is at first “determined to make an end of all flesh for the earth is filled with violence.” As it is written, “in the second month on the seventeenth day of the month of Noah’s 600th year of life, God caused the fountains of the great deep to burst forth, and the windows of the heavens to be opened and rain fell on the earth 40 days and 40 nights so that even the high mountains were covered – 15 cubits deep (22.5-30 feet) and everything on earth in whose nostrils was the breath of life, died.” The waters continued to swell on the earth for 150 days. Only the flesh aboard the ark remained.
Of course, the exact moment of the arrival of such destruction would be remembered, as would the breadth and length of such an event. Of course, God, as the prime cause or prime suspect considered responsible for the flood, would also surely be remembered with fear and trembling, with anger and disbelief. But, in truth, it was with a grieved and broken heart that God determined that a flood was the only way forward. How many of us remember back far enough in the Genesis story to the previous chapter detailing the corruption and violence, the hurt and evil God’s children had committed? They could have turned aside from their corruption but did not. Like Adam and Eve, they pointed the finger at every other source beyond themselves as the cause for the darkness and evil of the world – even unto shaking that finger in the face of God. How like us when we ask, “How could God do this to us? How could God, who is all love, cause the people such pain and suffering?”
I do not believe that the Genesis flood nor even the current floods around the globe can simply be interpreted as “signs” of a vengeful God against a sinful people. After all, God says, after the flood, “never again will I curse the ground because of human beings (even though) the inclinations of their hearts are evil from their youth.” To me, this is a remarkable passage! God basically acknowledges that the human heart will be inclined to do evil from a person’s earliest days. No world-wide flood can change a single human heart. So what changes? God’s heart changes.
God’s powerful “bowed and arrowed” ability to annihilate life is “hung out to dry in the sky” and we receive, instead, God’s covenanted presence down to the end of the generations. God gives us a loving, heartfelt presence that sits with us in our suffering; hands that hold out the instruction manual on how to survive the tumult; and the strength that is necessary to return to our ruined homes, our disrupted lives with a measure of peace in our souls. This is who God is and what God remembers in the midst of betrayal and anguish! God “forgets” our corruption that could qualify as a perfectly good reason to abandon us; hangs up the bow of punishment; and chooses against death and violence. God says, “Not that but THIS” is what I choose – the gift of forgiveness, the breath of new hope, and the steadfast grace that none deserve, but all discover as essential to beginning again.
May we not see the present-day waters of destruction and suffering around us only as “what the poor, unprepared, rif raf deserve.” May we not see these waters in terms of the billions of dollars that represent personal loss or “what is sucked out of a national budget that “hardly has enough to spare.” Whether they be the waters of Florence or the overwhelming, watery, chaotic, dislocation and fear in our lives and the lives of our neighbors; may we see, instead, opportunities to become the gracious presence of God to one another. May we see these present days as the time to put away cursing God and take up blessing God. May we share new hope and grace. May we become more like God as we stand with victims, offer material gifts, unceasing prayer and a love that declares, “I will stand with you until, together, we find the way(s) to wade through this. As we act in these ways, we might be surprised as to how very much a human heart can change! Rainbow blessings, Rev. Deb
Lectionary Readings and Sermons for October 2018
October 7 World Wide Communion Sunday
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 1:1-4; Sermon: “I’m Here with the Children God Gave Me”
October 14 Seacoast Area Crop Walk
Scripture Readings: Hebrews 4:12-16 and Mark 10:17-31, Sermon: “What Must I Do?”
October 21 – UKAMA Partnershp Day
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53:4-12; Sermon “Great Service”
October 28 Reformation/ReconciliationSunday
Scripture Readings: Psalm 126 and Mark 10:46-52; Sermon: “Take Heart”
Fall is “Greater UCC Church Month”
For anyone interesting in attending, the Rockingham Association Meeting which is the gathering of all the UCC local churches in Rockingham County, will meet in East Derry at 1:30PM for light refreshments. A business meeting follows at 2PM and an Installation of Debbie Gline Allen, as a Commissioned Educator at East Derry, First Congregational Church, UCC Parish.
ALSO: NH Conference UCC Annual Meeting will be held on October 20, in Concord, NH at the Grappone Conference Center. Don and Marcia Jenkins are the church delegates but anyone can attend as a guest. The Main speaker will be the new President of Chicago Theological Seminary and members from the Zimbabwe travel delegation will be with us for the day. The wider church is an amazing, faithful comunity involved in so many areas of education, justice seeking and innovative parish renewal projects. It’s an opportunity to “be open” to what’s beyond our sanctuary walls. Speak with Rev. Deb if you’d like to register or ask for more information.
Nursing Home Worship Services for October: Mark Wentworth October 22 and Partridge House October23. If you’d like to help, we gather at 2:15 at both places.
Cross Roads Cooking is brought to you by the Cochrane family this October – THANK YOU Julie, John and Kora. If anyone would like to help them put together the dessert and main dish for October 24th’s Cross Road’s House meal – please contact them or call the church office to be a “master chef” alongside Kora for the day.
New Members Class October 28
If you are thinking about joining the church, this is the day that was made for you! Any interested person can meet in the library at the end of the hall that runs alongside the chapel, at 11:30 and we will share our faith stories; hear a bit about the history and structure of our congregation and then offer all the opportunities you might wish to get involved, to ask questions, or to share hopes and dreams about what life might be like were you to become a part of this vibrant faith community – that is always in mission. Please feel free to call 926-2837 to let the office know you’d like to join the group and we’ll prepare a packet for you!
Seacoast Area Crop Walk Reminder – October 14, 2018, 1PM
Again this year, Team FCC will try to be good examples of Caring Stewards as we grow our team size in both numbers and in donations. If you haven’t yet decided to walk with us – there is a short but well-laid out route that is just right for moderately ambitious walkers and a longer route for those hardened hoofers for the cause. Don’t miss this chance to help those who are hungry both abroad and at home in Hampton simply by putting one foot in front of the other. We push off from Swasey Parkway in Exeter about 1PM and you are all done by 3PM at the latest. Feel free to ask a member of the Foley family OR Rev. Deb if you are interested in participating with the FCC team. You’ll be so glad you did.
From the Music Director –
Hello FCC Musicians: Chancel Choir began rehearsing on Sunday, Sept. 9th at 8:30 in the sanctuary. It’s not too late to join us (even for a trial) if you’d like to sing and make a joyful noise unto the Lord! Men – you’ll have a special anthem for Men’s Sunday, so mark your calendars for a rehearsal at 9:00 on Oct. 14th (no rehearsal on the 7th) and we’ll sing in worship on Oct. 14th. Adult bells will begin on November 25th in preparation for Advent and Christmas music. Keep on eye on the bulletin for reminders.
JINGLE BELL FAIR’S ON ITS WAY!!
FCC’s Jingle Bell Fair, Saturday, November 10th, from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., is always church wide effort! On November 1st our loyal Troop 177 with their Leaders, as well as Paul Ayles and his reliable FCC Crew, will dig out risers, move tables upstairs and down, count card tables and transport them to their respective areas, in preparation for JBF 2018 Final Set Up Day, Sunday, November 4th after church. Each year what seems a daunting task becomes much easier as we all share the work. Please plan to have a coffee after service and then join your friends in setting up tables, risers stands and so on. From Monday, the 5th, Guild Ladies and Other Volunteers will be cooking, baking, bagging candy, decorating, delivering crafts, goodies and knitted items, storing pantry necessities, shucking lobster, etc., all to support this wonderful church that does so much good in our community. So, everyone, start gearing up for the 10th! Just like a song – A-n-ti-cip-a-tion! Following is our shared overview with some important updates since the first notice.
“Mile High Apple Pies” — Now Available!
The Desrochers have done it again! Thirty are now available for purchase, still only $12.00 each!
Some are already in FCC’s Freezer. To purchase, see Maggie G., Linda R. or Janet S. at coffee hour.
Or reserve your pie with Lois for pick up later in the month (by October 25th).
Frozen, ready to bake when you are ready. What could be easier? – Or tastier?
Bakery Area Annemarie Sorrow – Chair (email@example.com)
- Annemarie will have a signup sheet at coffee hour two weeks before the Fair.
- Please label (clear description) your donations and note any allergy inducing ingredients.
- A table for deliveries will be set up in the Bakery Area by Thursday morning.
- FCC’s back door (up to office) will be open on Thursday evening, the 8th , and very early Friday morning with a table set up to receive baked goods. We prefer to take delivery of all food by Friday, if possible, as we need sufficient time for wrapping.
Cookie Walk Ruth Mason – Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- To ensure a wide variety we will be sending out a Sign Up Wizard for cookie bakers. See what new cookie you might add to the list! Fewer chocolate chip encourages more buyers!
- Please label (Name what kinds) of cookies for Tagging purposes.
- Note if nuts or any such allergy inducing ingredients were used in baking .
- Customers do ask for gluten free
Pictures with Santa and Face Painting Abbie-Jane Anderson – Chair
We look forward to Santa’s return and seeing your little ones (and some older friends) pose with him!
Have our “professional FCC face painters” create something fun that your child will love to show off!
Silent Auction Liz Webster, Don Jenkins – Chairs (Liz: email@example.com).
Call Liz at 380-2064 with any questions or if you wish to donate.
Our Team is seeking the following types of items:
- Authentic signed sports memorabilia; tickets to baseball, basketball and football games
- Certificates to restaurants; golf courses; spas; family amusement venues
- High end purses and such items are always popular
- Original Art
- The Team has a maximum limit of 16 items and appreciates donation before October 31st.
Candy Shoppe Carol and Lavinia Palmer; Crystal Hardy; Shirley Christman — Chairs
- We will have a signup sheet at coffee hour two weeks before JBF.
- Please try to wrap your donation in pretty packaging (we will supply if needed).
- Or bring your goodies early enough (Wednesday, Thursday or early Friday) for us to wrap
- Name your candy and note any allergy inducing ingredients.
Jewelry Janet Stone and Kris Sawyer – Chairs
- Join Janet’s Salt Water Taffy Challenge – Two pieces of jewelry for a piece of Taffy (Honor system!)
- MEN, want to free up or organize a bureau drawer? Unwanted, unused or unloved watches, lapel pins, rings and so on are items the Guild will be delighted to receive! (One set of cufflinks wins a taffy!)
Attic Treasures Margaret Dennett, Sharon Buck – Chairs
- Donations of wonderful Christmas decorations, gently loved, are appreciated.
- Nicer vases, platters, clocks, pitchers, angels, candlesticks and such become great gifts.
- Deliver to Maggie, Margaret, Sharon or leave outside catacombs door early in set up week, thanks!
Crafts Maggie Ginieres – Chair ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
- Krafting Krew meets in Kitchen and Hall Wednesdays (9:30 – noon) throughout October
- Crafty Cooks are trying something new this year – Ask Janet Stone about it!
- Please tell us about project(s) you are doing at home. We’d like to plan for display of your creations!
- WE CONTINUE TO SEEK SOURCES FOR BOXWOOD AND GREENS; Please leave message with Arlene during the week or see Maggie at coffee hour. Thanks!
Knitters Marilyn Ayles, Maureen Ayles – Chairs
- Come Monday afternoons to FCC’s Chapel ready to knit or crochet, or to learn how, and share fun and friendship while working for GBC and JBF. The knitters work pretty much year round.
- Knitters really appreciate new beautiful yarns (wool, acrylic, funky). To donate yarn or needles etc. please speak with Maureen Ayles, Marilyn Ayles, Jane Blunda or Linda George.
- Lee Logan Hames, since 1998 Head Honcho of the Congo Café will return again this year! Lee’s devoted volunteers are signed up once more to create chowders, lobster rolls and all those things that make us the Talk of the Town! Thank you, Lee & Company
Officially, Clean Up will start at 2:15 p.m. Volunteers should plan to arrive by 2:00 just in case they are needed.
To Our Wonderful FCC Family: Thanks to You Success Always Happens! Gracias!
The Guild Board
Fall 2018 Adult Bible Study Options. This fall we have lined up multiple options with a variety of interesting topics and formats! The Wednesday Group (Noon – 1:15 p.m.) and Monday Evening Group (7:00 – 8:15 p.m.) will be following different schedules with different studies. All are welcome–especially new participants!
Wednesday Bible Study Fall Schedule – Beginning October 10
Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle: 6 Sessions (Oct. 10, 17, 24, 31, Nov. 14, 21) The study begins as the people arrive on the edge of the Promised Land after their sojourn through the Wilderness. We’ll learn how Joshua taught his people to have faith, trust, and obedience in the great struggles and battles of the spirit–whether they happened thousands of years ago or just yesterday. (Suggested book donation: $10)
Monday Evening Bible Study Fall Schedule – Beginning October 1
The Call: The Life and Message of the Apostle Paul: 6 Sessions (Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5 – Plus a special “Dessert and Preview Night” on Sep. 17) It has been said that Paul is second only to Jesus in his impact on the establishment of the Christian church. We’ll follow the journeys of Paul, beginning with his dramatic conversion, as he spread the Gospel through modern-day Greece and Turkey. Travel to the early church sites and explore Paul’s conversations with the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. Through brief video sessions and study guide readings, come experience faith through Paul, Christ’s greatest teacher and missionary! (Suggested book donation: $8)
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, fcchampton.org, 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.
**************************************************************************** From the Computer of the Super,
I am looking forward to welcoming all the children and youth back to Sunday school on September 9th @ 10am! We have a few things to be excited about on that first day such as the pairing up of the secret pals with their adults and the presentation of the winner of the tallest sunflower challenge! Don’t forget to bring a thank you note to your Secret Pal for all their notes to you throughout the summer and definitely DON”T FORGET YOUR SUNFLOWERS TO SHOW!
Maybe we would have already hosted an “All church/ All Sunday school Welcome Back dinner” on Sept 7th by the time you see this belfry so I hope you got to attend and especially had the chance to bring a friend along to consider joining us in our SS this year! If you get this in time to attend, please come as a family and have your child bring a friend to show around the church and their SS classrooms- the more children the merrier on any given Sunday! We will host a competition dinner menu put out to the whole congregation and many activity tables for the kids to engage in. Hope to see you there!
This year we will have 4 Sunday school classes capable of teaching preschoolers up to the high school level. We hope to start up another 2 year confirmation class this year and look forward to engaging our past confirmation graduates in the Sunday school and church services.
We have many missions that the SS supports during the year: in November we pack “Operation Christmas Child” boxes, Jan through March each class decides on a project to do where all the proceeds go to “Heifer International” and all year long we collect food to fill the local pantry for “68 Hours of Hunger”! There are many other small missions that the children/youth support during the year- come to church to see what we are up to on any given day!
As always I am available to hear any comments/ideas that would improve what we do here at FCCH!
Donna Makechnie, Superintendent of Sunday school
Monday thru Thursday 9:00am to Noon Friday – Office Closed
email@example.com – Rev. Deb Knowlton
firstname.lastname@example.org – Arlene Radford
email@example.com – Jennifer Ramsay
firstname.lastname@example.org – Sally Wool
email@example.com – Donna Makechnie
firstname.lastname@example.org – 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 email@example.com
Please take the trash out after your event involving food. Dining/eating should be done in the designated areas.
Classrooms are dining/eating restricted areas. – “No food or drink”
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.”
Hampton, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Exeter, Greenland, Kensington, Rye, Seabrook, Stratham
- Bolded towns biggest users
- 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 2018-2019
2 Last Service at 9AM/Communion
3 Labor Day – Office closed
9 S.S. Starts/Secret Pals, Adult choir,
10 AM Worship
12 Adult Education starts
16 Confirmation program breakfast 8:30AM/first class
23 Communion Class, 9AM/Cross Roads Cooking
7 World-wide Communion/Stewardship starts
14 Men’s Worship Week/Operation Christmas Child Kick Off
14 Exeter Area Crop Walk – 1PM
20 Annual Meeting – NHCUCC
21 UKAMA worship/Cross Roads Cooking/Confirmation class
28 S.S Halloween Party/New Mem Class
4 Sacrament of Communion Confirmation class
10 Jingle Bell Fair
11 OCC Box blessing/New Mem join
18 Stewardship ends/ Thanksgiving boxes/Cross Roads meal
25 Thanksgiving Sunday/Creating Beloved Elders December Christmas Bags
2 First Sunday in Advent/Pageant practice/Conf. Class/Communion
9 Pageant practice
13 Tidings of Comfort service
11-13 Festival of Light Rehearsals
14 Festival of Light/Heronfield
16 Pageant – Christmas Bags
24Christmas Eve 5PM
25 Office closed
23 Cross Roads Cooking
30 No Sunday School classes
1 New Year’s/Office closed
6 Heifer Project Kickoff/Confirmation Communion/Epiphany Service – 3PM
13 Youth Sunday
20 Cross Roads House Cooking
28 Annual Reports Due
27 New members class/make Beloved Elders bags for Valentine’s day
3 Financial luncheon/Communion
10 Boy Scout Sunday/Annual Meeting of the Church/members join
17 Spirituals Sunday
24 Cross Roads House Cooking
3 Women’s Worship Week/Communion
6 Ash Wednesday service – 7PM
8 Shabbat Across America – visit to the Synagogue
10 First Sunday in Lent
17 HPI Brunch/Talent Show – 11:30AM 24 Cross Roads House Cooking
7 Sacrament of Communion Confirmation class
18 Maundy Thursday Service 7PM
19 Good Friday Service noon
21 Easter Sunrise/Festive Service 10AM
22 or 23 Cross Roads Cooking
4 Niceties & Rummage Sale
5 Communion & Tool and Blanket Fund
12 Mother’s Day
19 Children’s Day/Cross Roads Cooking
26 Special Memorial Day Service
27 Memorial Day/office closed
6 End of Year luncheon for Guild
9 Pentecost/Confirmation students join
10/12 Adult Study Ends
16 9AM Worship Hour Begins
Worship at 9AM (through 9/1)
July 4 Independence Day/office closed
September 2 Labor Day/office closed