Weekly News for December 22

Masks Required
Following CDC and our own guidelines at NYCC masks are again required to be worn in the church building regardless of your vaccination status.  Please keep them on for the entire time that you are in the building.  We are now holding worship service in the sanctuary with social distancing guidelines in place.  Thank you.
Join us for Worship! 
We are now worshiping in-person and online on Sunday at 9:30 am. We are now meeting in the sanctuary, and are still following CDC guidelines requiring you to be masked and socially distanced.  For those who wish to join us online via livestream please connect with us on YouTube at youtube.com/c/nyccucc.   If you would like to see the Sunday Bulletin that can be found on our website at http://nyccucc.com.  If you wish to make an offering it can be made online through Tithely at https://tithe.ly/give?c=1301940

December Advent Offerings

Christmas Eve Services
Both services will be livestreamed

December 24 at 5 pm in person.  We will celebrate outside (dress appropriately and bring a chair) .  Hear the Christmas story with lessons and carols. We will sing Silent Night with candles.

December 24 at 11 pm.  We will celebrate in the sanctuary with a service of lessons and carols and communion led by Patrick Strawbridge – thank you Patrick!  We will sing Silent Night with candles.
 Dec 26th, we will be blessed during worship by a reception of new members and the Sacrament of Baptism as Laurie and Odie Bachelder join the church and their three daughters, Emery, Avery, and Alyssa are baptized! Please make every effort to be there on this joyous Sunday!All are welcome.
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
                                                                       ~Charles Dickens
Pastor Nancy will be on vacation from December 27 through January 3. Rev. Cheryl Anderson will lead worship on January 2.  If there is a pastoral emergency please contact Lois Knight at 318-0017.

Lyn will be on vacation from December 27 – 30.  The office will be closed.
 The Missions Board is getting ready to send financial help to the folks so severely affected by the recent storms in the Midwest. If you are wanting to help please send check to NYCC and in memo line write “disaster”.   Thank you so much. It’s good to know that every penny that we send in goes directly to help the victims……nothing off the top for administrative purposes. 
News from our Vice-ModeratorALL church boards and committees are going in to the new year in need of members. Until the church finds another more effective and efficient way to run its business, make necessary decisions, keep things in order, and so on, please consider membership……on any board or committee. Chat with the Pastor or Jeanne Chadbourne (as Vice Moderator, this is my job ) for descriptions etc. 
We are also going in to the new year with quite a gap, financially, between what we need and what has been pledged. It would help so much, if you have planned to pledge but haven’t sent your card in, to do so ASAP so that we will have a better idea where we stand before the end of this year. I do know one thing for sure and that is our operating expenses have increased considerably…..fuel oil,  power, spectrum and with the church  being open more now we will really notice the difference in these bills. Jeanne Chadbourne / Financial Sec.
PS. It has been suggested that I call a few folks about their pledge. This is not a comfortable activity for me to do. Sooooo! You get my drift.
Pastoral Care Requests
For prayer requests, pastoral care or if you or someone you know is struggling in our community please contact Pastor Nancy at nyccrevnancy@gmail.com
Please keep the following people
in your prayers ~

Julie Beggs
James Black
Marion Goff  
Sandra Golonka 
Vince Golonka
Dot Hayward Kathy Mathews
Blanche Mays
Lin Tompson Murphy
Caroline RoseCindy Tompson 

NYCC elves Jeanne and Sara joined me Tuesday afternoon to hand out 36 gift bags to folks in the homeless community in Portland.  Folks were incredibly grateful really appreciating the items and the effort.  

I also was able to give out many gloves,  hats and coats out of your generosity.  Thank you so much!  Pastor Nancy 
Community Food Pantry
The first Sunday of the month has been designated as Food Pantry Collection Sunday.  We will be focusing on non food items.  Current pantry needs include:
Paper towels                     Laundry Detergent
Toilet Paper                       Dish Soap
Tissues                              Diapers
Deodorant                         Pull-ups
Shampoo                           Baby Wipes
Conditioner                        Feminine Hygien Products

Please add your donation to the grocery cart in the Gathering Space. You can donate to the cart at any time.

Our Church Mission
We support Grace Street Ministries with our time, dollars and donated clothing and products.
Pastor Jeff sent a wonderful thank you letter that is posted on the church bulletin board.
A portion of the letter is included in today’s email. 

Solstice vigil honors lives lost in homeless community
About 250 people gather in Portland’s Monument Square on the longest night of the year to remember the 51 people who experienced homelessness and died in 2021.
By RACHEL OHM Staff WriterWhen she found herself homeless and alone at Portland’s Oxford Street Shelter in 2019, Lisa Franklin was confused, lost and trying to navigate a new world.

What she wasn’t expecting was the humanity shown to her by others in the same situation.

Two new friends, Shawn and Eddie, helped her feel cared for and safe. “They would probably be described by some people in ‘regular society’ as dangerous, untrustworthy or just a couple of drunk guys,” said Franklin, 49.

“My experience was they were my guardian angels. They helped me in so many ways.”On Tuesday, Franklin remembered her two friends, who both died last year, as she spoke to a crowd of about 250 people gathered in Monument Square for the annual Portland Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil. Held every year on the winter solstice, the vigil is meant to bring attention to the challenges of homelessness and remember those who have experienced it and died.

“The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, which also means it’s the longest night of the year, especially for individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Andrew Bove, vice president of social work at Preble Street, a nonprofit human services and anti-poverty agency.

“The night time is a challenging time, especially for folks who might be sleeping in a congregate, crowded setting or who may be sleeping outside in the cold weather. It’s definitely the longest night of homelessness, and we think it’s a good opportunity to pause and reflect on the homeless community.”

‘IT’S THE WORST IT’S EVER BEEN’Fifty-one known members of the homeless population in Portland died in 2021, according to Preble Street, which sponsors the memorial vigil each year in conjunction with the city of Portland, Greater Portland Health, Maine Medical Center and Northern Light Mercy Hospital. Bove said that Preble Street gets the number of deaths from information it receives from the providers who work with the homeless and it doesn’t include homeless people from other parts of the state, such as three homeless people who died in a fire in Bangor this month.

As dusk fell outside Preble Street’s learning collaborative building Tuesday, members of the community huddled together in small groups and staff passed out candles in plastic cups. Pastor Karen Orr from Grace- Street Ministry, which works with Preble Street to deliver food and supplies to the homeless, was among the first to arrive. She said conditions for those without housing are especially tough right now.“The biggest thing is there’s nowhere for people to sleep,” Orr said. “The one shelter is filled, the hotels are filling up and there are people just sleeping out on cardboard boxes. If you drive by here at night,there are people in all the doorways just trying to stay warm. It’s crazy. It’s the worst it’s ever been.”

The 51 people memorialized at the vigil was a decrease from the 64 deaths in 2020 but remains elevated from the years before the pandemic. Between 2008 and 2019, the number of deaths each year rangedfrom 20 to 43, averaging about 31.

In her State of the City address Monday, Mayor Kate Snyder said the city’s health and human services staff are working to shelter and provide services for nearly 950 people per night on average.

In her speech, Snyder pleaded with the public to help the city fill a critical need for indoor space during the day. “The need for a place to be warm, get mail, eat a meal, possibly do some laundry and access services is critical,” she said. “Please, if you’re listening and have a physical space that could serve as a day space let us know.”

‘THE NEEDS OF THE MOMENT’On Tuesday night, the crowd lit candles and marched together to Monument Square, where they gathered around the city’s brightly lit Christmas tree to listen to a series of speakers.Courtney Pladsen, clinical director at the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, said she has been working in health care for homeless organizations for the last 11 years and she has lost more patients in the last 18 months than in all the previous years combined.

“We need people addressing the needs of the moment to provide food and belonging and shelter for people,” Pladsen said. “We need others to work towards creating better systems. We need people with lived experience leading our work. … Tonight I encourage you to acknowledge our collective grief. Share stories of those we lost. Say their names.

Tomorrow, we will get back to our work and hope and dream and work towards building a community in which we no longer need a homeless persons’ memorial day.”After the speeches, members of the crowd took turns reading aloud the names of each of the people known to have died in 2021 and lighting a candle in front of the tree in their honor. The song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” played as those who gathered stood together for a moment in solidarity.

Amy Regan Gallant, who was in the crowd, wiped away tears as people dispersed and she remembered her friend Dee Clarke, an advocate for the homeless and the founder of the organization Survivor Speak USA, which works to end sex trafficking and exploitation.

Clarke, who as a young mother had been homeless and lived in shelters, died in November.

Gallant said she tries to come to the vigil every year and it’s always beautiful, but there are always too many names to read.

“We’ll be here together until that list goes away,” she said.

Rachel Ohm — 207-791-6388 rohm@pressherald.com Twitter: @rachel_ohm
Grace Street Ministry
Calling all gloves!!!!!! you all have been unbelievably generous this fall as always. Now I am hoping that we can become the ‘glove church’.  We are in desperate need of warm gloves for men and women – both knitted and other.  I have found some at Job Lots that are not too expensive in the past.  Maybe you have another source.  Thank you in advance – I would love to be able to share with both Pastor Jeff and Pastor Karen.  Thank you, Pastor Nancy
Access worship directly on our YouTube channel (subscribe to our channel while you are there) at youtube.com/c/nyccucc

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