Beginning Sunday, November 1, we will be worshiping using Zoom. The weather has turned colder so it is no longer feasible to worship outdoors. Please see Mary's Weekly Greeting email for connection or call in information (or call anyone who receives the email for the information). The service will be recorded and posted to our YouTube site as soon as it is available and a link to the recording will posted here. Worship Sunday January 10
UCC national leaders condemn insurrection in racist takeover of the U.S. Capitol
We at the First Congregational Church of Stoughton, an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ, strive to offer all people the same extravagant, unconditional welcome that Jesus embodied and to live lives that prioritize the gospel values of peace, justice, and love of neighbor.
As followers of Jesus we are deeply disturbed by the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and grieve the violence, trauma, and loss of life that took place there last week. We publicly condemn the sins of racism and anti-semitism and the heresies of white supremacy and Christian nationalism that are so deeply ingrained in the fabric of our society. We deplore the actions of the rioters and insurrectionists who were proclaiming Jesus as their Lord and Savior and who were carrying Bibles and holding “Jesus Saves” signs. There was nothing Christlike in any of these displays.
We at UCC Stoughton are committed to doing the work necessary to help move our country toward the shalom that we believe God envisions for us all. We are inspired in this task by the words of the prophet Micah, who calls us to go forth to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God'' and we invite you to join us in this work of love.
Blessings and peace to you as we ring in the New Year! I pray that your hearts and homes will be filled throughout the year with the love and joy of Emmanuel, God- with-us.
I am hopeful that 2021 will be a year of healing as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. After so many months of heartbreak and loss, it’s encouraging that vaccines are now being administered to our health care workers and others who
are at high risk of contracting the virus. Let us continue to pray for the families of all who have died from COVID-19, for those who are suffering from it now, and for the effectiveness of the vaccine. May the day come soon when this devastating virus will be contained.
As we wait for that time to arrive - and it will - let’s do whatever we can to cultivate hope and optimism in our lives. Log in to Zoom on Sunday mornings to worship with people who love you. Call in to our Wednesday morning prayer time - the 30 minutes you set aside to be with God will change your day for the better. If you feel down or discouraged, send a card to someone who might be lonely or make a donation to our church’s Needy Persons Fund or to the Stoughton Food Pantry Foundation. Whenever we do something to help others it can also have a positive effect on our own lives. And fresh air is restorative, so try to get outside and breathe deeply whenever you can, even if it’s just for a few minutes. The season of winter is full of God’s glory and will invigorate you.
I am grateful for each of you and pray for God’s blessings to be upon you and those you love in this New Year. May 2021 bring peace and hope to each of us and may our church continue to be a place where we are strengthened in our call to follow Jesus.
With every blessing of the New Year, Pastor Mary
Have You Sent in Your Pledge?
A message from The Trustees
It seems like years since we were last able to meet. We trust this letter finds you all healthy and happy. The good news is, with the recent approval of a vaccine we may soon be able to, once again, gather non-virtually.
As you can imagine, the good work of our church has been, to a degree, slowed but, nevertheless, it continues. Within the first half of the upcoming year, we pray that society opens and our role in Stoughton’s, as well as the wider community, expands to pre-pandemic levels.
This cannot happen without your help. We recently completed our Stewardship campaign and we appreciate all that pledged. However, to date, we have only received approximately half our usual offerings. Without your continued support, the work of the church will be severely impacted. If you have simply forgotten, we ask that you return your pledge form as soon as you can. If you have lost your form, please contact the church office for another (see contact information at the bottom of this message). If due to the pandemic your financial situation has changed, any amount helps, and know that you will be in our prayers.
Remember, there are a couple of ways you can continue to honor your pledge and continue your support:
Write a check:First Congregational Church of Stoughton 76 Pierce Street Stoughton, MA 02072 ATTN: Offering Clerk
Pay Online:Follow this link to the Church website: http://www.uccstoughton.org/ Click on the Online Giving option
Click on the Contribute Securely Online Now Button.
Fill in the boxes as directed. (This, by the way, is an excellent way to ensure that your support continues year round...not just in these trying times.)
Please return a pledge card whether you pay by check or donate online. We need to know your pledge amount in order to present an accurate 2021 budget at the Annual Budget Meeting on January 31.
We need your help and we pray you can see your way to the continued support of our church. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact any of the church officers. Blessings and a very Happy New Year.
Annual Budget Meeting Sunday, January 31, 2021
ALL MEMBERS, PLEASE PLAN ON ATTENDING
(A quorum of 16 is needed to approve the budget)
In keeping with the requirements in the Church By-laws, a congregation-wide meeting will be held on Sunday January 31, 2021 at 10:45 AM after worship.
The focus of the meeting will be a review of the church’s financial position and consideration of the proposed budget for 2021.
- Opening Prayer
3. Consideration of the 2021 budget as presented by the Board of Trustees.
Due to continuing COVID-19 safety restrictions against in-person gatherings, this Annual Budget Meeting will be held online via Zoom.
Information on how to connect to the meeting, either by computer or by phone, will be sent out in Pastor
Mary’s weekly emails and published in the January 2021 Link.
Copies of the Proposed 2021 budget and 2020 Financial Status Report will be emailed to all members for review by Sunday, January 17, 2021.
Members without email access may request a copy be sent by U.S. mail by contacting the Church Moderator, Marcia Olson at 781-344-9547 no later than Sunday, January 17, 2021.
UCC Stoughton is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Sunday Worship/Annual Budget Meeting
Time: January 31, 2021 10:00 AM for worship and 10:45 AM for the Annual Budget Meeting
We are very blessed
A huge thank you goes out to Ginny Gibson for providing music for our Advent worship services, and to John Baglole and Russ Clough for their technical assistance with worship. We once again thank Marcia Olson for her continued and successful efforts in selling Attic Treasures and Knitted Goods on Facebook Marketplace. Marcia has been assisted by Stephanie Clough, and has raised over $7600 for our church. We thank the members of our mask ministry for resuming their work to help keep our community safe, and Maurine Upton for her faithfulness in collecting and redeeming bottles and cans to help support the work of our church. We are very blessed!
Wednesday Phone Prayer Service
Pastor Mary will be hosting a brief prayer service by way of a conference call each Wednesday morning at 10:00 until we are able to resume our in-person gatherings. Dial 1-857-444-0744 and when prompted, enter conference code 817429. There will be a scripture reading and time for the sharing of our prayer concerns.
ATTIC TREASURES ONLINE
Don’t miss out!
We have been posting selected donations to Attic Treasures on Facebook Marketplace - and you can shop now! Go to Facebook Marketplace and type Marcia Olson in the Search Marketplace box. Check back frequently as items will be posted throughout the summer. And many of them are snatched up quickly! https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/109554902404443/
Over these past 7 months as we have tried to navigate in a virtual world, communicating mostly by email, text messages and Zoom meetings, it is easy to lose track of regular work schedules as one day blends into the next with no clear boundaries between work and home life. And that is certainly true of our pastor. Church Council would like to remind the congregation that Pastor Mary’s contract with the church calls for a 3/4 work schedule. Pastor Mary has gone above and beyond her contracted hours as she has worked to help our church stay together as a worshiping community in this “new normal.” We are, of course, very grateful for her dedication to our church and we encourage her to take the time off she has earned to rest, recharge and spend time with her family. And we must do our part by respecting her “off” time. Pastor Mary will continue to lead worship on Sundays, except when she is on vacation or study leave, and will attend board and committee meetings as needed. She will always be available in the event of an emergency but her response to non-urgent matters may not be immediate. We ask that you keep Pastor Mary in your prayers.
Socks for Outdoor Church: The weather is getting colder and the street outreach ministry of The Outdoor Church in Cambridge is greatly in need of warm, weatherproof socks for the homeless in Harvard and Central Squares in Cambridge. We will be collecting new socks for both men and women over the next two months. Please contact Marcia Olson (firstname.lastname@example.org | 781-344-9547) if you have some to donate or you can drop them off at the church office.
CHURCH FAIR POSTPONED UNTIL SPRING 2021
We have been diligently following news of the latest COVID-19 guidelines issued by our state, local, and public health officials in hopes we would be able to safely hold an outdoor church fair in September. Unfortunately there has been an uptick in the state’s positivity rate and Governor Baker has restricted outside gatherings to no more than 50 people. Safety has to be our top concern, so we decided to postpone our outside church fair until next spring. The date will be decided early in the new year. While this is disappointing as the church fair is our largest fundraiser, there is still much we can do to hold some of our activities online and prepare for the spring fair as well.
Here’s how you can help:
DONATE: Do you have some Stoughton-themed items or a gift card to a local Stoughton eatery, let Leanne Kerman know so she can stuff the Stoughton Raffle Basket for the spring. Have you been knitting (mittens, scarves, hats, blankets)? Tell Maurine Upton and Susan Hill. We will be trying to sell some items online and that mitten tree will still need some trimming! Do you need to make room for more baubles in your jewelry box and have some jewelry to donate? Marcia Olson or Donna Connor will gladly accept it. And Marcia Olson will happily take the Attic Treasures you have unearthed while being stuck at home during quarantine throughout the fall and winter. Email Marcia at email@example.com or call 781-344-9547 to make arrangements for drop off.
Ways to stay connected:
Sunday Online Worship at 10:00 AM. Cold weather has now arrived and we have transitioned to online worship via Zoom. You also have the option to call in to the Zoom worship services instead of joining online if that is easier for you. The link to join the live online Zoom service as well as other information can be found in Pastor Mary’s weekly Friday email. If you do not get this weekly mailing contact the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Portions of the online service will be recorded and posted to our YouTube site as soon as it is available and a link to the recording will posted on the church website. If you have any questions or concerns about this service or our plans to reopen the church building, please contact Pastor Mary at 774-571-7307. More details about worship will be communicated via Constant Contact, email, and our Facebook page.
On Wednesday mornings at 10:00 AM Pastor Mary leads a 30-minute conference call Prayer Service. Dial 1- 253-215-8782 and when prompted, enter conference code 862 2469 5175. There is a scripture reading and a time for the sharing of our prayer concerns. This weekly gathering is open to all, so if you have a friend who might find this opportunity helpful, please share the information.
Pastor Mary has set up a private Facebook group called UCC Stoughton Prayer. No one sees the posts except group members, so it is a safe place to share your prayer requests, pray for others in our community, or just vent. If you have a Facebook account and would like to join the group let Pastor Mary know.
Also remember to check our church Facebook page and church website (http://www.uccstoughton.org/).
Church Council has been meeting on the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:00 pm via Zoom. These meetings are open to everyone, not just Council members. If you would like to attend, please contact Pastor Mary and she will send you the link to the meeting. If you prefer to call in by telephone, dial 1-646-876-9923 and enter Meeting ID: 837 8927 2962
Food Pantry Collection
Stoughton Food Pantries Due to the pandemic, there are many people in our own community who are in need of food assistance. If you are looking for practical ways to help your neighbors, please consider making a monetary donation to the Stoughton Food Pantries.
To donate by credit card:
Food Pantry Foundation of Stoughton
To donate by check please mail to:
Food Pantry Foundation of Stoughton
- Box 757 Stoughton, MA 02072
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Although we cannot yet meet in person, we encourage you all to continue to knit prayer shawls for those who need to feel God’s loving care wrapped around them. You can also work on knit goods for the church fair.
February 17 (Wed): Mainspring House: This is this next date we are scheduled to provide dinner for Brockton’s homeless shelter. Although we cannot serve dinner due the pandemic, food donations are still needed. If you can make a casserole or make a monetary donation to defray the cost of salad and dessert, please contact Anita Keenan email@example.com (781-244-7742). It’s a busy time of year so you can make your casserole early and pop it in the downstairs church freezer any time before Sunday, Feb 14. Contact Anita if you need a foil baking pan and recipe or to arrange drop off.
As we are experiencing another surge in COVID-19 infections now that the cold weather has arrived and we spend more time indoors, the need for face masks is greater than ever. The Mask Ministry team has started making masks again and have been distributing them to the Outdoor Church of Cambridge, Father Bill’s and Mainspring House, the local Red Cross and Soupman of Brockton. There is plenty of fabric and elastic at the church if you are interested in joining our team. Please contact Marcia Olson (firstname.lastname@example.org | 781-344-9547) to find out how you can help.
10:00 AM in the Sanctuary
After worship in the
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