February 2020  
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Judea Weekly eNews - Happy Thanksgiving!

Judea Weekly eNews - Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Friends

   Tonight is the annual community Thanksgiving service to be held at St. John's Church across the street.  Pastor Cheryl will be preaching so throw that coat on and grab a bit of peace and gratitude tonight at 7.  The church is located at 78 Green Hill Road (Rt 47).

    Thanksgiving is a time officially set aside to reflect on our many blessings if you have not already made that a daily practice.  And how lovely it is that following Thanksgiving we begin the season of Advent?  That transition is a little longer this year since Advent does not begin until December 3.  Allowing some transition time between holidays is a nice idea so we can focus on what it is really about and this Sunday, the Rev. Shannon Wall will lead a service dedicated to that transition to help you along.  Rev. Wall is filling in for Pastor Cheryl while she is away on a few vacation days.  Why don't you come to church at 10 am this Sunday in our beautiful Meeting House for some soul refreshment and upliftment for the week ahead?  The kids will be making Advent wreaths with Carrie and anyone up to age 18 is welcome to participate.  See the announcement on the right for more information.

     Why don't you use some of that transition time to think about loved ones past, loved ones or present gratitudes and submit your Christmas memorials request early this year?  The form is available on the website so you can fill out and either mail in or drop it to the office on Sunday.

     Next Thursday is our quarterly Loaves and Fishes hosting at the Hospitality House.  There was a great flurry of volunteers to provide food and serving for that last week but we are still in need of some salad, fruit and french bread.  Please check out that announcement and click through to the form to sign up to provide one of those items.

     And for the newcomers among us, our church council will be hosting an informational luncheon on Sunday, December 3 immediately following worship.  In this casual gathering over a light lunch, the council will present information about the governance process here at First Church and give you a chance to ask questions and generally understand a little better about our faith community.  The announcement on the right tells you how to reserve your space for that.

     There are also FOUR Angel Tags from the Salvation Army Angel Tree available to sponsor.  If you have not already claimed a tag, email Jean Baldwin or pick one up on Sunday (if there are any still left).  Every year our church contributes in this way to supply toys (and this year an optional clothing item) to children in Waterbury who otherwise might go without at Christmas.  Be an angel and sponsor a tag! 

     As a clarification on the tags this year:  Each tag is for a specific child and those items will go to him or her.  They are no longer doing the toy store format.  So... you get to be Santa, really.  In case you were wondering, tags with an A, B, or C after the number represent children in the same family.  The items still need to be unwrapped but can come in a gift bag, if you like.  Volunteers are still welcome to come and help on the distribution days but your "job" will be slightly different than in years past.  Bagging/packaging of gifts will be Dec 15-18 and distribution days will be December 19-21.  Please contact the church office if you are interested in helping out so we can coordinate with the Salvation Army office.  Call 860-868-0569 and leave a message with your preferred volunteer day/ time.  In years past, the volunteers planned on a day that was good for all so they could go as a group and car pool.  We will again attempt to work it that way.

May you enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving!

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


Interfaith Thanksgiving Service - Wed, Nov 22 at 7:00 PM

Please join us at this year’s Thanksgiving Community Worship Service on Wednesday, November 22 at 7:00 PM.  Pastor Cheryl will be preaching, and the service will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 78 Green Hill Road, Washington.  (Diagonally across the street from our Meeting House.) 
People of all faiths are encouraged to attend!


Advent Wreath-Making Workshop - Sunday, Nov 26

Sunday, November 26, the Sunday before Advent begins, Carrie Loyd will be leading a workshop during Sunday School.  All young people under the age of 18 are invited to come and decorate Advent Candle Wreaths to be used at home during Advent.  Candles will be included as well as a booklet with suggestions for use.  If you still have last year's wreath at home, please bring it in before Thanksgiving so we can reuse the wire frame for this year's wreath.  Siblings will work together to prepare one wreath for their family's use.  

Please let us know whether your family will be attending so that I can be sure to have enough wreath frames and decorations on hand.  If you know you have a frame at home and will be bringing that in this week, please let us know as well so we can plan accordingly.

Also, if you can join with a few parent volunteers to help organize and put away supplies after the workshop, please check the appropriate box on the registration form.

Hope to see your children there!  ~ Carrie

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.

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. 

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)
Newcomers Lunch, Sunday, Dec 3

The Church Council, along with Pastor Cheryl, would like to invite anyone new to our church, or interested in joining, to a Newcomers Lunch immediately following worship on Sunday, December 3.  The council will talk about how the church is structured and governed. 

Whether you have been attending for a while, already know this church is your church, or have only attended a few times and are unsure and have questions, this event is for you!  

Please join us for good food and good conversation, we would love to have you!    RSVP to Pastor Cheryl

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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