February 2020  
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Judea Journal Sept-Oct issue is here!

Judea Journal Sept-Oct issue is here!

Dear Friends,

    Thanks to those who provided feedback in the spring, we are moving to a semi-monthly publication schedule for what has been for many years the monthly Judea Journal.  The change is a hybrid that will combine a full issue every other month and then a supplement on the "off" month to fill you in on upcoming events, special news.  Because almost every respondant indicated that Pastor Cheryl's article was of primary importance, that feature will appear in both the full Judea Journal and the alternate supplement.  The balance of other regular features is being adjusted in the hope that we can adapt to change and keep it all fresh.  The very first September-October issue is now available for you.  Download it here!

     Last Sunday, we assembled 60 school kits for Church World Services (CWS) to distribute to kids who have been displaced by some natural or manmade disaster.  When we planned to do this, we had no idea there would be need for those here in the US.  Just today, I received an email from the director of CWS asking for donations and also for school, hygiene and cleaning kits that will be directed to those devastated areas of Texas in the wake of storm Harvey.  The kits we made will be delivered to the collection depot next week but we are also accepting donations that will be combined and directed to CWS to aid those in shelters and attempting to rebuild once the waters recede.  When sending in checks, please include "CWS" or "Disaster Aid" in the memo line.  Please donate whatever you can as soon as you can.

     This Sunday is our annual joint worship service with Salem Covenant Church down at the pavilion in Washington Depot, behind the Primary School on School Street.  During that 10:30 am service, Pastors Cheryl and Linda will be Honoring our Work and Blessing of the Tools of Our Trades.  So bring along something that symbolizes the work that you do... hammer, laptop, cell phone... to be blessed.

     Then, on September 10, 10 am - Homecoming Service and Mixing of the Waters, followed by an attempt at a rainbow group portrait, and our annual "Last Gasp of Summer" picnic on the Green.  Read the announcements on the right for the details on all this.

     Regularly scheduled programming also begins next week so you will want to download and read the Journal today for all the latest. Especially note the new adult study groups starting next week, The Jesus Fatwah.  Day and evening sessions are now forming for this DVD-based study/discussion.

Blessings on your week ahead,

Karen Esslinger
First Congregational Church | admin@firstchurchwashingtonct.org | www.FirstChurchWashingtonCT.org | Calendar


UCC Condemns Racist Violence

UCC Pastoral Letter condemns racist violence in Charlottesville and demands equality for all

As a response to the violent clashes between white supremacists and counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., that left a woman dead and 19 injured, the national leadership of the United Church of Christ issued this Pastoral Letter.

Please click here to read about the church's position on this.


Blessing of Our Work Tools at the Pavilion - Sep 3 @10:30

Our annual Labor Day Sunday joint service with Salem Covenant Church will be held Sunday, September 3 at 10:30 am in the pavilion behind Washington Primary School - Rain or Shine!

Join us as we break bread with others in the greater community.  Pastor Cheryl will co-lead the service along with Rev. Linda Williams of Salem Church. 

As is now a tradition, we will be blessing the work we do and the tools we use for that for the year ahead.  Bring one of yours that is lightweight and portable - either one of the primary tools you use or something that is symbolic of that work: laptop, date book, smart phone, hammer, backpack, etc.

Adult Study-The Jesus Fatwah

     In September, we will be starting a 5-session DVD-based adult study of Islam.  Much of what passes as information about Islam is weed-like disinformation rooted in stereotype and watered by fear. In The Jesus Fatwah, Islamic and Christian scholars offer reliable information about what Muslims believe, how they live out their faith, and how we all can be about building relationships across the lines of faith.  The study features seventeen Islamic and Christian scholars, including:

  • Hans Küng (Islam: Past, Present and Future),
  • Brian McLaren (Why DidJesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?),
  • Eboo Patel (Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim),
  • Stephen Prothero (God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter), and
  • Feisal Abdul Rauf (What's Right with Islam Is What's Right with America).

We are offering two weekly sessions:

A Thursday evening group, for those who are unavailable during the day, will meet 7:00-8:30 pm, starting on Sept 7.

If you prefer the day, there will be a morning group that will meet Wednesdays 10:30-12:00, starting on Sept 13.

Celebrating in Living Color

In celebration of our status as an Open and Affirming church and also our love of the diversity of all people, like colors in a very big box of crayons, we plan to make a visual statement in the form of a rainbow portrait of everyone who attends church on Homecoming Sunday, September 10.

On that day, in addition to your sample of water from wherever you got your refreshment this summer, and your contribution to our picnic pot luck table: 

Please dress in the solid color of your choice from the rainbow.  You will appear in the photo wherever you are on the color spectrum.

We, the members of the First Congregational Church of Washington CT, believe that all people are vessels of God’s grace. We strive to be an inclusive Christian community of unconditional love and sanctuary that inspires all individuals regardless of ability, age, culture, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, race, sexual orientation, or social standing. Following Jesus’ commandment to love God and our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:28-34), we openly welcome and affirm all who wish to participate in the fellowship, leadership, and spiritual growth of our congregation and to join us as we explore the many ways that God is still speaking. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.

Donations needed for Soldier Boxes by Friday!

"The Town Hall Gang" sends two boxes to military personnel stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan every week.  One box is for personal care items and the other is for food items.  They send to a variety of troops - some with connection to people in Washington and others are total strangers.

Note: Remember that we cannot send aerosol cans so shaving cream must be in tubes.

Our Airman for Friday September 1, 2017

Jessica K. Cockshaw
Attn: Any Airman®
Unit #63303
APO AE 09319

Airman's Title: Nurse
Added here: 17 August 2017
Expected to leave Undisclosed: 01 Feb 2018
Contact for approx number of Males: 35, Females: 15
Unit is from: Composite Unit

17 Aug 2017:

I am the nurse at the 332EMDG and am also the morale liaison. We are hosting many morale events on the base and would greatly appreciate any donations (prize-like items) that we could give away at these events. We are standing up a weekly trivia night, family feud events, and many other morale events to come!

Snacks, coffee grounds, trinkets, activity items, household items, cleaning supplies, comical items, etc. are just some ideas! We are open to anything.

Every small donation is greatly appreciated by our troops!

Thank you dearly.


The team normally packs for shipment on Friday evenings upstairs in Town Hall. 

Items can be dropped off weekdays at the Town Hall in Bryant Plaza. Please place items in the upstairs room next to kitchen. 

Click here for lists of items:   General items collected every week - On-going

Contact Denise Arturi if you have any questions about the program or items in

found on a weblist of troops requesting supplies. Also, for shipping purposes, any canned food should be small.

For more information, contact Denise Arturi:  860-868-2880

Food Bank - Still Collecting Food

Food Collection

We are still accepting food contributions for the Washington-Warren Food Bank. 

Over the next several weeks, we will continue to direct our donations to Washington-Warren to help them restock their shelves.  There are a few things that they have a LOT of (pasta, beans, corn) but they are in need of other staples.  Each week, we will focus on stocking up a particular food item to help them fill their gaps - though anything on this list is welcome.  Please tell your friends about this and ask them to contribute if they can.   (PLEASE... no pasta, dried beans or corn!)

Week of 8/20 - Canned fruits (preferably not in syrup)

Week of 8/27 - Back to School!  Healthy snacks for the backpack (fruit leather, small boxed raisins, etc.)

Bring your donations to church on Sunday or they may be placed in the Parish House shopping cart any time the building is open (Monday through Friday, 9-5 pm, and Sunday mornings)

Remember the WATER! (Sunday, Sept 10)

Don't forget the water - image of dropletDon’t Forget the Water!

Over the summer, in whatever place you go to recharge (experience Sabbath), remember to save some water in a bottle.  From a lake, a stream, an ocean, or your kitchen tap!  Be sure to label it and save it in a safe spot to bring along on Recovenanting Sunday, September 10, for our annual “Mixing of the Waters” as we begin another year of exploring and celebrating Sabbath together.

Mark the date on your calendar so you don’t miss the service and also the annual “Last Gasp of Summer” picnic afterward.  ENJOY!

Last Gasp of Summer Picnic - Sunday, Sept 10

     You saved your water... or you didn't and you will be bringing tap water as a stand-in for your summer vacation location.  But have you thought about the picnic after our annual "Mixing of the Waters"? 

     Our deacons will be hosting this picnic and will have the grill fired up to cook an assortment of meat and veggie burgers and hotdogs for us.  But we all need to bring the sides, salads, snacks, and desserts for the buffet table.  So gear up for this fun event.  The Sunday Schoolers will be jumping on the water theme and breaking out the water balloons!  If you have a Sunday School-aged child you will want to make sure they dress in play clothes and bring a towel.  And you can dress in play clothes, too!  We are aiming to pull together some lawn games on the Green in addition to the time to eat and visit.

Green Fair Remembrances - A virtual tour

Tony Vengrove, our roving videographer, captured the fair on video and is now available for you!  Click here to view!

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