February 2020  
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Judea Weekly eNews - Advent 1 - Angels are in our Judea Journal

Judea Weekly eNews - Advent 1 - Angels are in our Judea Journal

Hi all!

     Advent is upon us!  And Angels are Among Us!  #DoNotFear!  #MoreHope.  Now as much as ever, there is need for and reason to - HOPE.  Look around for there are angels among us.  Come to church this Sunday at 10 am in the Meeting House and see what it's all about.  Come for peace, come for upliftment, come for #more hope.

     As usual, in church this month there will be beautiful music and uplifting services to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Light.  And watch for some surprises, too.  There will be an opportunity for the younger set to make beautiful music on Saturdays under the direction of Pastor Cheryl and a special ornament-making workshop led by Carrie Loyd.  Besides having fun on Saturdays in Advent, the children will sing at least once during a worship service.  Last week, the children in Sunday School made Advent wreaths for their family's use at home in preparation for this first week of Advent coming up.  If you don't participate in that tradition at home, we hope you have or create some ritual to help you experience this season more deeply.  If you haven't any good ideas on that, ask Pastor Cheryl - she'll be glad to give you some possibilities.

     I just finished the December Supplement to the Judea Journal.  Download it now.  In it, Pastor Cheryl talks about our new Advent theme, Angels Among Us.  And you will find information on a the new children/youth programs I've mentined above on Saturdays in December as well as the special services for Advent and Christmas.  In conversation with someone this past month, I discovered that it is not widely known yet that we added a new special service last year.  The Travelers' Christmas Service is on Sunday, December 17 at 5:30 pm and it is a re-creation of our traditional Christmas service, complete with a pageant and a gift of oranges (thrown) to the kids.  It is intended for all those who usually travel to someplace else for Christmas.  Last year, Jim and I got to celebrate Christmas here at our own church for the first time in 17 years!  And it was WONDERFUL!  So if you are one of "those" or if you just can't get enough of Christmas and want to attend another, join us at 5:30 on December 17.  An hors d'oevre reception will follow.

     And you will notice the announcement for SingOut!CT's Holiday Show this Sunday at 5:30 pm in the Meeting House.  Admission is free but donations are welcome.

Blessings on your week ahead.  Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!

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

PS.... Download the December Journal now!


SingOut! CT Holiday Show - Sunday, Dec 3 - 5:30 pm

Meeting House doors open at 5 pm.  Free admission; donations are welcome.

6 Kirby Road, Washington, CT

Contact SingOut!CT for more information.

Advent in 2 Minutes

Not quite sure about the relationship between Advent and Christmas? Check out Busted Halo's two-minute video that describes why we celebrate Advent and wait to celebrate Christmas:  Advent in 2 minutes

If you like this, try more content from Busted Halo, an online magazine for spiritual seekers. 

Christmas Memorials

     We are now taking orders for Christmas Memorials.  Click here for PDF form or MS Word Doc

     Remember your loved ones with a gift of food or shelter for those in need, or flowers if you prefer!  All memorials will be listed in the Christmas Eve and Travelers' Christmas bulletins and are due back no later than December 14 in order to be included in the listings for those services.  Click one of the links above and read the order form for all the details.

A Travelers' Christmas - Sun, Dec 27 - 5:30 pm

If you travel at Christmas to be with family somewhere else, and never get to celebrate Christmas Eve here in our beautiful part of the world in a classic New England Meeting House; come to the First Congregational Church of Washington on Sunday, December 17th at 5:30 pm for our early Christmas Eve with Christmas readings and carols, the lighting of candles and the traditional gift of oranges for all the children. An hors d’oeuvres reception will follow in the Parish House.

Please join us to make merry a little early and add your voice to “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World!”

Comfort and Peace Christmas Service - Fri, Dec 22 - 7:30 pm

If the holidays are difficult for you this year, please join the First Congregational Church at 6 Kirby Road in Washington, CT for a very special “Service of Comfort and Peace.” This service is especially helpful for those who, for various reasons, are struggling to get into the expected festive spirit of joy this season. The service will be held Friday evening December 22, 2017 at 7:30 PM, followed by refreshments served in the Parish House. Please join us for this very special evening.

Christmas Pageant - Sign up now!

Annual Christmas Eve Pageant

If your family plans to be at our 5:30 pm Christmas Eve service on Dec 24 (OR our new "Travelers' Christmas" on Sunday, December 17 at 5:30 pm), your kids have an opportunity to participate in the annual pageant.  We would love to have all children and youth participating in the service in some way.  If your child/ren is/are interested and you plan to be at one of the two services mentioned above, kindly let Carrie Loyd, our Sunday School teacher, know as soon as possible so we can ready the costumes and get the different parts sorted out. 

You can tell her in person on this Sunday, but better yet send her an email before you forget!

Christmas Eve Services - Dec 24

Loaves and Fishes Next Service Date - Thurs Nov 30

Our next service date for the Loaves and Fishes Hospitality Kitchen is Thursday, November 30. 

We will need all of the usual food items plus volunteers to help setup/ serve/ cleanup.  Please click here to select your volunteer option and sign up. 

If you have any questions about it, please contact Dick Connor or the church office by phone at (860) 868-0569 or by email.

Food Bank - Contribute this Week!

Eating does not have a season. Won’t you please pick up a few extra items for the cart so that those who need it can have some nutritious food or personal care items they might not be able to buy this month.  Remember, the money starts running thin towards the end of the month – before it finally runs out in that last week, or before.  Donations are especially needed NOW.  A list of items is available in the cart or online.

This month, we will direct our donations to the New Milford Food Bank. As Jeanne shared with us in church recently, they really could use coffee, baby wipes, among a few other high demand items. 

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)
Help Support this Church by Sponsoring a Pew Memorial Plaque

Our pews are mostly the same pews that were installed when this church was rebuilt in 1801.  This past winter into spring, as part of the renovations we did to repair, replace elements and generally make more beautiful our sanctuary, the pews were all removed, repaired and painted.  Some were revised to allow space for better accessibility for wheelchairs, complementing our lift that helps make the church itself more accessible and welcoming. 

To help offset some of the cost of these renovations, we are offering an opportunity to memorialize the pews for members, friends and members of the community at large who appreciate this historic building and all that it offers to us and the community.

A permanent plaque will be mounted on a pew with your personalized dedication.

Complete and return this form to the church at PO Box 1285, Washington, CT  06793.

Coffee Hour Hosts Needed - in December

We are in need of hosts for Dec 10,17,24 and 31.

Please sign up on the list in the church hall on the bulletin board, or by emailing the church office.  If you’ve never done it, but want to, ask a Deacon of the Month for some help or consult our guidelines document, available by clicking here.

Provide a care package to a family in US Virgin Islands

Adopt A Family, USVI pairs supporters with families in the US Virgin Islands who are struggling due to impacts from Hurricane Irma and Maria. It is a wonderful way to come together and remember the true meaning of giving back. 

Families in the USVI are facing difficult living situations such as having no power, no hospital, no running water. Although it will be quite some time until the community is up and running, one thing we can provide now is, HOPE! Through Adopt A Family, USVI you will have the opportunity to provide a care package for a family in need that has either individually registered, or asked for assistance through the Family Resource Center (http://frcusvi.org/)  on St. Thomas. Your support and generosity in providing care packages speaks volumes and will touch the lives of both adults and children.

To find out how you can help, go to:

http://www.adoptafamilyusvi.com/about-us/           Webpage where you can adopt a family

https://www.facebook.com/AdoptAFamilyUSVI/ Facebook page

http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/news/    For local news coverage of the recent hurricanes and their impact

Or you can contact Sue Elliott, who has kept up with the latest news of local impact from her daughter, who is living and working on the island of St. Thomas.

Adopt-a-Family USVI is a grassroots organization started to help garner support for the people in the US Virgin Islands who have been impacted.  It is not an established/rated charity but is working with the Family Resource Center on St. Thomas for distribution of supplies.   The Family Resource Center on St. Thomas is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization addressing domestic violence.

If you prefer to give to a long-established foundation, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands is another way to give.   And, of course, prayers are always welcome and much needed!

Group Meditations Fridays and Saturdays

Beginning Friday, September 8, join Pastor Cheryl for group meditation in the Parish House parlor.  Every week, you can come on Fridays at 5:00 pm and/or on Saturday mornings at 9:00 and will run until sometime in December.

***  No meditation on October 27 and 28 ***

She will be meditating and welcome anyone who would like to help deepen the experience.  Sitting with a group is easier and deeper than sitting alone.  We will check in about our practice and sit for 20-30 minutes each time.  If anyone new to meditation wants to join, she will teach. 

If you would like to be on an email list for either of those times so that you will be notified if the session is changed or cancelled, you can contact Pastor Cheryl by email.

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