Weekly Update: January 14-21, 2017

FIRST CHURCH: Weekly Update

January 14-21, 2017

Worship  Schedule

Sunday, January 15
10:00 AM  Worship
led by Rebecca Pugh

Nonviolent Extremists for Love

Liturgist: Tom Kinnare
Music: Joanne McMahon, Tom Kinnare
and The Chancel Choir
Hospitality: Chris Reif & Tom Kinnare, Bette Bailey & Mary Lou Bates

Membership at First Church

Are you interested in membership at First Church?

Join us after church this Sunday, or speak with Rebecca, for a brief class in church history, spiritual journeys,
and the United Church of Christ.

Bible Study
Mondays, 10:00 am 

Come to the Ipswich Inn for coffee and pastries and Bible Study, 10:00 am Mondays, as we study the Scriptures for Sunday’s worship.  Our next meeting is January 23 at 10:00 am.

Welcome Home Supper
Monday, 6:00 pm
Martin Luther King Day 

Come, join us in welcoming Saef, Hind, and Layth in a happy, child-friendly pot luck supper.
Please bring a dish to share.
All welcome.

Middle School Youth Group
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
6-7:30 pm 

Cookie batter, pizza and prayers:  join us in the church kitchen as we stir up cookie batter for a CureCMT4J–Talia Duff Foundation Fundraiser, and share a slice of pizza and light candles for Talia and with our many prayers.

Also, Middle School Youth Group retreat to Jackson, NH, the first weekend in February.
All welcome.

String Concert Fundraiser to CureCMT4J–

Talia Duff Foundation Fundraiser

Sunday, January 22, 2017 4:00 pm

Led by Susanne Powers and friends, with cookies baked by the youth group.  All welcome.
Free will offering will be taken at the door.

Talia is a child at the Winthrop School and a friend of First Church, living with CMT4j, which is a disease similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Work for Peace and Justice and Healing in the World
Workshop on Nonviolent Dialogue, Monday, January 16, 2017 at 1:30-3:00 pm, at First Church

String concert, Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm, at First Church to raise money for the Talia Duff foundation: CureCMT4J–Talia Duff Foundation fundraiser. All welcome.

Address homelessness.  Several homeless families will be in Ipswich this week and next, staying at the First Presbyterian Church.  Helpers and volunteers are very much needed as we work with Family Promise to support them with meals, fellowship, and tutoring.
To sign up, email Kalapi Johnson :kalapijohnson@gmail.com

Addiction Recovery in Ipswich: Fifteen angels from First Church and several other congregations and communities are standing by waiting to provide companionship, support, and kindness to addicts who might need help.  Our next meeting is Thursday night, January 12, at 8:00 pm in Rebecca’s office.

Refugee Resettlement: We will welcome a family from Iraq next week, flying here from Lebanon on Tuesday night.  They have been refugees in Lebanon for two years, and have been through the two year screening process with the United Nations. In addition, one blended family, half of whom are refugees from Uganda, are searching for a new home for four. Let Rebecca know if you want to get involved.

Collect material goods and gifts for Haiti: Partners in Development is collecting soap, wash cloths, tooth paste, and tooth brushes for Haitian relief as they seek to prevent the spread of cholera. All donations welcome.

Youth Winter Retreat
February 3-5, 2017

The Middle School Youth Group is planning a winter retreat to Jackson NH, where we will enjoy a snowy retreat for prayers, games, sledding, skiing, and snowshoeing and visiting Gail Doktor’s new UCC church. Join us for snowshoe races, sledding, skiing, and prayers!

For more information, call the church or see
Beth Viehmann.

Along The Way Coffee House

12 Meetinghouse Green
Ipswich, MA

‘The Honky-Tonk Women of Gloucester’

This weekend, January 14 at 7:00-9:00 pm

Admission: $10. at the door
or via brownpapertickets.com.
Refreshments will be available   

is now on our website:
Check it out!

This Week’s Calendar

Saturday, January 14
10:30 am ~ AA, in the Meetinghouse
7:00 pm ~ Along The Way Coffee House
‘The Honky-Tonk Women of Gloucester’

Sunday, January 15
10:00 am ~ Worship
10:15 am ~ Sunday School
11:15 am ~ Membership class in Rebecca’s office

Monday, January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
1:30-3:00 pm ~ Non-violent Communication
6:00 pm ~ Welcome Home Supper for: Saef, Hind and Layth: Join us for a child-friendly pot luck supper.  Please bring a dish to share.  All welcome.

Tuesday, January 17
12:00 pm ~ Women’s Guild potluck luncheon
7:30 pm ~ Trustees

Wednesday, January 18
6:15 pm ~ AA
7:00 pm ~ Al-Anon

Thursday, January 19
7:00 pm ~ Choir
Friday, January 20
9:00 am ~ Women’s AA

Saturday, January 21
8:30 – 11:30 am ~ Ipswich Bay Yacht Club, annual meeting in Fellowship Hall
10:30 am ~ AA

Sunday, January 22
10:00 am ~ Worship
10:15 am ~ Sunday School

Support First Church
with your pledge
We are grateful to the pledges which help the church keep the lights on and the water running. Would you like to join the team? We are collecting the last few pledge cards for the life of the church in the coming year, and cards are available in the pew pockets, or you are welcome to pledge on line.
and in Your Will
Leave a legacy that lasts, for the congregation of First Church and its outreach to the world, with a simple note in your will to leave the Church a percentage of your savings when you no longer need them. For more information, speak with the Finance Committee.

and in Your Affinity
Many members of the church who bank with TD Bank have called them to ask for a First Church link, which means that TD, as part of their charity work, gives First Church a grant once each year. This year we received $150 from TD Bank. This money comes from the bank itself, not from your account, and your account is secure. Our affinity code is AG 701.

Ministers Column

Minister’s Column…

Advent is a series of snapshots: angels visiting ordinary folks, swords forged into plowshares, shepherds praying for help, babies showing up unexpected. Every year it catches us again, coming so soon after Thanksgiving, and bringing us chances to make food for each other, to pray for each other, to see in each other the arrival of an surprise child. Zechariah was no exception to the wildness of the holy story: he prayed in the temple, but when his prayers were answered, he didn’t have context for the answer. The answer was “wait a bit,” but he said, “No”, and so the angels suspended his speech. Ever resourceful, he called for pen and parchment, which probably made things worse for his relationship with the angels.

The call of the Advent season is both to silence and to voice, and therein lies our most perfect challenge. At the beginning, this year more than ever perhaps, we, with Zechariah, find ourselves struck by stillness, and this stillness brings us to a holy place. It may be that our fear has driven us here. It may be that the Advent story is so vivid for us that we find ourselves speechless. For Zechariah, it was that he had so much doubt that the angels gave his imagination a chance to catch up to his mouth. Whether it is fear or doubt or some other inroad that brings us to a stillness before God, we are lucky if we find ourselves here. And we are luckier still if we do not call for pen and parchment, but sit with God in the quiet, listening.

In our country, people have been rushing forward with hasty speeches and busy pens, but a bit of quiet is a good thing for us, as we reflect and seek our next steps. We are lucky that our tradition has given us Advent this week. It has the potential to slow us down, seek our deep selves, seek God’s deep Self, listen.

Of course the dynamic in Advent is also to be busier, bigger, more than any other time of the year. We spend more than usual, eat and drink more than usual, worry more than usual, and suffer for it. Zechariah may be our most perfect teacher. Perhaps we, like him, can feel ourselves to be called out by the angels for our doubts and fears. Perhaps we, like him, can take on the reluctant discipline of silence. Perhaps we can even suspend the instinct of more, and ask God’s goodness to fill us instead. And in the times to come, there will be speeches, and fine essays written by pens on parchment. I, for one, as the minister, would love to see where this will go for this congregation.

But in the meantime, I invite you to the Advent stillness that is our great summoning.

Join us for prayers, for rock climbing, for a book group, for healing, for silence, for worship. I would love to see you here.

Sincerely, Rebecca Pugh