Weekly News for February 22

Join us for Worship!
We are worshiping in person on Sundays at 9:30 am. For those who wish to join us online 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. You can also give by text: Text “Give” to 883-751-0314.

Soup Supper @ 5:30pm
Worship @6:30 pm
Sharing supper and worship with North Yarmouth, New Gloucester and Gray Congregational Churches

Letting the Bible Read Us
Rev. Dr. Paul A. Day

“The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.” Hebrews 4:12-13

Bible reading is foundational for spiritual growth. Our worship services are built around Scripture. Many Christians practice some form of daily Bible reading. Some people may read just a single verse; others a longer section, perhaps reading through the entire Bible in a year; many use a daily devotional in print or on-line. But however we read Scriptures, God’s Word is reading us, discovers our condition, reveals our inner thoughts and motives, our actions and attitudes.

Lent is a season for being aware of how the Bible is reading us, and to intentionally submit to its analysis. We have made available the daily devotional booklet Running from Empty, produced by the United Church of Christ Stillspeaking Writers’ Group. It is an excellent tool for growing our souls during this season.

Having the “thoughts and intentions of our hearts . . . naked and laid bare to the eyes of the One to whom we must render account” seems unpleasant and intimidating. But then we remember that One is the One who loves us and always desires the best for us. And so, the writer of Hebrews goes on to point out:

“We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

We begin our corporate Lenten observances tonight (February 22) with an Ash Wednesday Service at 6:30 p.m. We are hosting our brothers and sisters from the Gray and New Gloucester Congregational churches – complete with a combined choir! Come early if you can – at 5:30 p.m. – for a simple Soup Supper and fellowship.

On the First Sunday in Lent,* February 26, we will look at how Jesus faced temptation, and how he can help us when we face temptations today. Join us in the sanctuary or on-line as you are able.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Paul

*First Sunday in Lent: Lent is a period of 40 days, remembering that Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. But Lent actually begins on Ash Wednesday – 46 days before Easter! That is because the six Sundays are in Lent but not of Lent. You see, Lent is traditionally a period of fasting, or abstinence; but Sundays are never fast days since every Sunday is a mini-Easter, celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection on the First Day of the week.

Please keep the following people in your prayers

Sandra and Vince Golonka
Dot Hayward
Wayne Malloch
Blanche Mays
Cindy Tompson

……But we’ve always done it that way !
The effort has been restarted to take a good look at the church’s Constitution and By-Laws. As they stand now, it is nearly, if not totally impossible, to stay within many of the rules and regulations as written. We started this project pre-pandemic and, of course, it was put on hold. Dr. Day has agreed to work with us as we pursue this much needed review. His background and experiences with other churches will be so appreciated. Folks have mixed feelings and ideas about this project and we need or want to hear them all. Leslie Eastman, Priscilla Brobst, Jeanne Chadbourne are meeting with Pastor Paul after church 2 Sundays a month (we are quite flexible), and we really would like you to sit with us, share your thoughts and perhaps give some of your time and concern to this effort. Simply put, many of the by-laws aren’t doable as written for our church! We know change is difficult, but we are looking forward to fresh ways of accomplishing anything that will help NYCC continue to be a viable part of our community. The only words that will raise the hair on the back of our necks are ” but we’ve always done it that way” ! Please consider joining this group …good things can happen. Jeanne

A Message from our Moderator
The following article on “Alive and Thrive at any Size” includes a list of educational sessions which are provided by Marisa Laviola, our conference minister. They cover mainline churches and the changes we are seeing in our congregations, i.e. dwindling numbers in the pews plus more. I plan to attend the April session which is on a Saturday. Is there anyone else who would like to attend with me or go to another session? Call me at 207-653-1966.

Maine Conference
United Church of Christ
This spring, Marisa will be offering a vitality workshop, Alive & Thrive at Any Size, at four locations around the state. The workshops focus on church vitality for the 21st century, including the topics of:

Becoming a mission church: reaching out into the greater community
Engaging community partners for mission
“Right-sizing” governance to prevent burnout as numbers in the pews decrease
Creative ways for pastors and lay leaders to work together
Reaching the unchurched and inviting them into the life of the church
Marisa has presented these workshops many times as ACM in Penn Central Conference. Typically, they are geared toward smaller churches that are struggling to consider their future in the 21st century. All churches are invited because all of us are struggling with this question, no matter the size.

Please register for one of the following events:
Second Christian Church in Kittery – March 18
Winthrop Congregational Church – April 22
West Parish in Bethel – May 6
Hammond St. Congregational Church in Bangor – June 10
All workshops are 9am to 3pm, bring your own lunch
Morning coffee and drinks for lunch are provided

Hybrid options are available

Questions? Contact Marisa mlaviola@maineucc.org

Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Conference Minister

March Meetings
March 5 – Diaconate will meet in Fellowship Hall following worship

March 12 – Faith Formation will meet in Fellowship Hall following worship

March 14 – Missions will meet at 7 p.m. via Zoom

March 14 – Trustees will meet at the church at 6 p.m.

March 16 – Council will meet at the church at 6:30 p.m.

Choir Rehearsal – Wednesday Nights at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday Morning at 8:30 am in the Sanctuary

Tuesday Gals meets on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall.

Men’s Club meets on the third Saturday of the month at 7:30 a.m. at Toddy Brook

Pet Place Pantry is open on the second Saturday of each month from 9:00-10:00 a.m.

NYCC Clothing Ministry

Thank you all for your generosity. Carloads of clothing have been donated and bags of gloves, hats and socks have been given out. The warm winter wear is making lives easier for those living outside and new Mainers who have arrived with next to nothing. Thank you, your generosity is astounding.

The Clothing Ministry of NYCC collects basic warm clothing and accessories to be given out by the NYCC Street Ministry or donated to Maine Needs or Preble Street. If you are so moved, please add your contribution to the boxes in the gathering space. Most needed and asked for items:
Warm Socks
Waterproof Gloves
Hand Warmers
These items will be given out with the lunches when the NYCC crew visits Portland.

If you have gently used warm coats, boots, snow pants, warm clothing, that you would like to give, please add these to the boxes, too. These items will be donated to Maine Needs or Preble Street. Questions, please ask Jeanne or Tracy.

Food Pantry

Thank you to all who donated food to for the “Soup-er” Bowl Sunday fun. The cart was filled to overflowing. The soup and other foods will help many families in Maine.

Communion Sunday has been our Sunday for food collection for local food pantries. SNAP benefits do not cover household or personal hygiene products. So, if you are moved to donate, please consider donating items like:

Shampoo and conditioner
Feminine Hygiene Products
Body Wash
Toilet Paper
Paper Towels
Laundry Detergent
Dish Soap

Canned and nonperishable food products are always needed, too.

One Great Hour of Sharing® is one of four special mission offerings of the United Church of Christ. This Lenten Offering supports the disaster, refugee, and development ministries of the United Church of Christ within Wider Church Ministries. We will take this offering on Sunday, March 19.

Access worship directly on our YouTube channel (subscribe to our channel while you are there) at youtube.com/c/nyccucc


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