February 2020  
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Judea Weekly eNews - Thank you for helping!

Judea Weekly eNews - Thank you for helping!

Hi all,

Proud to be ONA    

     Check out the rainbow that appeared on the Meeting House front steps!  Yes indeed, we are now officially an Open and Affirming congregation.  Even if you were not able to be with us for the homecoming celebrations, including mixing of the waters, I trust your hearts were with us as we made this statement of welcome to all - no matter what color of the rainbow you represent.

     Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far for the emergency cleanup buckets!  The response has been wonderful and is beyond my expectations.  We are now up to 22 buckets and our donation cut-off is not until Monday the 18th.  I would love it if we could gather even more!  If you have not already contributed, you can still donate or plan to help us in the assembly on Friday, Sept 22.  The time is not yet determined so please let me know if you are interested in helping.  The time we do it will be determined by availability of the majority of those willing to help.  If you prefer to make it a special activity for your family at home, you can obtain the supplies and assemble the kit yourself, then just drop it off at the church office and we will deliver with the others.  You can find the links in the announcement on the right.

     Sunday begins our faith practice of Stewardship with a focus on the environment.  Pastor Cheryl will talk about what it means in the Bible when it says we were given "dominion" over the earth.  Do you remember that passage in Genesis?  Have you thought about it?  Or do you just take for granted there is fresh water, air and energy to burn?   Come spend a peaceful and rejeuvenating hour with us.  Trish Grinnell and Kate Vengrove will lend their beautiful voices to the musical offerings, and Carrie Loyd will have some great lessons for the Sunday Schoolers on the topic, too.  Then share some fellowship and refreshment afterward.  Phil Farmer has even given a title to his coffee hour:  "Everything Apple!"  While we are all enjoying that, some of the high school teens will be meeting for Teen Talk with Emelie and Mike. 

     Speaking of peace and rejeuvenation, did you know about the two new meditation sessions Pastor Cheryl is offering on Friday at 5 pm and Saturday morning at 9?  Just twenty minutes is all you need to recharge or get your day started on the right foot.  If you don't know how to meditate but would like to learn, she will teach you.  Or if you know someone who meditates or might like to learn, pass the info on to them.

     Adult study of "The Jesus Fatwah" began tonight in the parlor at 7 pm.  The morning group will begin next Wednesday, September 20 at 10:30 am.  It is not too late to join.  Just contact Pastor Cheryl.

     That about covers the week ahead.  I hope to see you at church this Sunday!

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


Emergency Clean-Up Buckets for Disaster Relief- You can help!

    In addition to the devastation in South Texas and Louisiana by Hurricane Harvey, hurricane Irma has caused significant damage in Southeastern US. And hurricane season has just begun.

   Church World Services, as part of their disaster response, distributes emergency clean-up kits that contain an assortment of supplies needed by individuals and families for clean-up after a storm.  The kits they had on hand have already been distributed and CWS and the United Church of Christ have made an urgent appeal for more. 

     We have undertaken the task of building as many of these as we can gather funds for, assemble materials and deliver kits to the collection depot in Meriden by September 28th.  We have already met the minimum needed for a matching grant from the United Church of Christ for another $250 and have tripled our original target of 7 buckets.  Each cleaning bucket costs $75 to assemble.   We are seeking donations to help us make even more.  We have extended our deadline for donations to September 18.  

     We are also in need of people to help with assembly on September 22, time to be determined.  If you can help with assembly, please contact the church office by phone or email

     Donations may be made on our secure online giving page entering your amount into the field marked "Disaster Relief".  Checks should be made out to FCC and please include "CWS" or "Buckets" in the memo line and send to:  First Congregational Church, PO Box 1285, Washington, CT  06793.  Please donate whatever you can as soon as you can.

If you would like to see what a kit looks like and what is included, you can view an assembly video here.  And here is a list of all materials included in case you want to purchase supplies and build your own kit to donate.

Click here for a downloadable flyer with the info you need.

Free Family and Youth Concert - St. Anthony Danbury-9/23

St. Anthony Catholic Church, Danbury, CT presents

Full Armor Band

in a Family & Youth Concert
Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 7:30 pm in the Church

Free admission, donations welcome!
For more details, click here to download their flyer.

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).

View some excerpts from the program - click here!

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 14.  (Date postponed from Sept 7.)

If you prefer the day, there will be a morning group that will meet Wednesdays 10:30-12:00, starting on Sept 20 (postponed from Sept 13).

NEW! 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.

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.

TeenTalk resumes September 17

This group for high schoolers meets once a month at 11 am in the Parish House Youth Room to gather and Teen Talkdiscuss the ways in which they can not only get involved in the church, but also let their faith get involved in their lives outside of the church.  Pot luck lunch, too!

This group is open to new members in September and January.  If you are interested in participating, please contact Emelie Samuelson. EmelieBurl@gmail.com  or 203-405-6710.

Retreat for Women at Silver Lake - Sept 29-30

Regaining our Centers, Listening for the Still Small Voice of Love.

Open to all women, the annual retreat sponsored by the CT Women of the UCC, will feature Rev. Lee Ireland and Rev. Cheryl Caronna as leaders.

Where:  Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon, CT

When:  Sept 29-30, from 4 pm to 4 pm.

Cost:  $135 - includes 3 delicious meals, a bed for the night, and endless walks in the beauty of Silver Lake. 

Registration deadline:  Sept 20

For registration and additional info, click 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.

We’ve sent packages to Kalli and the Wagonmasters in March and June.  They’ll be heading home in November.

Our Soldier for Friday September 15, 2017

Kalli J. Swenson
Attn: Any Soldier®
TF Wagonmasters
APO AE 09354

Soldier's Title: Commander
Added here: 24 February 2017
Expected to leave Afghanistan: 04 Nov 2017
Contact for approx number of Males: 54, Females: 15
Unit is from: North Dakota

16 Aug 2017:
Good afternoon,

Yes, our mission changes periodically and we are spread out throughout the theater. The care packages that come in get forwarded out to various locations. We have a few months left in theater, so our end date for packages should be October 1st, in order for packages to still get to us.

We sure appreciate everyone's support. It has been a crazy ride - but we're all doing well. Thank you again!

Kalli J. Swenson

13 Jun 2017:
Good evening!

I'm happy to say that from March-June we've received around 130 packages! Each Soldier has received two. So a great, big huge thank you for everyone's support and thoughtfulness! 
Snacks have been the biggest hit. It's getting hotter outside, so dry goods like chips, crackers, cookies, and M&Ms are easy to receive. Also, the small peanut-butter packs (like Jif-to-Go) have come in super handy. 
Shave cream for men goes quickly and, of course there can never be too much coffee. I've encouraged the receivers of the packages to write back - so I hope notes have been making their way back to the great people who sent them. Lastly, I sure appreciate those who have been annotating whether or not the package is meant for a female or male.

24 Feb 2017:
There is a PX, but it is very limited. It supplies only the basics. These are some of the needs: 
- Travel-size toothpastes (any kind, but for sensitive teeth is needed)
- Spray-on sunscreen SPF 30 or higher
- Playtex & Kotex brand tampons (there is Tampax only here)
- Face wipes 
- Vitamin C stuff. We're surrounded by people from other countries, so even with certain vaccines, Soldiers still get sick. Soldiers also get sick if they aren't sleeping well. (Airborne, EmergenC, or vitamins)
- Pocket-size hand sanitizers (for the same reasons as stated above)
- Coffee sweeteners like Splenda (we have plain sugar)
- Alcohol wipes to disinfect our helmets and other gear from all the sweat and oil. 
- Single-use lubricating eye drops

Laundry - for some the service is provided, for others, they do their own. We go through a lot of:
- Tide/Gain Laundry Pods
- Dryer Sheets

Cleaning - everything is under a constant layer of thin dust. We use a lot of:
- Swiffer dusters & refills
- Swiffer dry & wet floor refills
- Clorox wipes

We get lots and lots of hard candy sent to us, but we go through chewing gum the most.

A lot of us fly and travel around the country. Breakfast or cereal/granola bars are very handy, because we almost always end up skipping a meal.

Easy snacks/treats to pack and share include:
- Licorice (red, black, chocolate)
- Peanut M&M's (they hold up better in the heat for whatever reason)
- Pop-tarts
- Single-pack cookies and crackers
- Flavored pretzels
- Fruit snacks (Gushers, Fruit Roll-ups, etc.)

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


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

Joyful Birth - Natural Birthing Class at Valley Spirit

Even if you are not pregant or considering it, you may know someone who is.  This natural birthing class is taught by Donna Cassidy, MDiv, RN. 

She covers natural birth, breathing techniques, nutrition and exercise, health of mother and baby, and bonding with the baby. 

WHEN:  Saturday, Oct 14 and Sunday, Oct 15, 1:30 - 4:30 PM
WHERE:  Valley Spirit Wellness Center

Download flyer.  Or call 860-619-2788 for more information.

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.


Volunteer Assistants Needed for Sunday School and Childcare

Would you be willing to assist in the Sunday nursery or Sunday school room a few times a year or every so often?
Please contact Carrie Loyd and let her know how you would like to help. 

For the safety, faith formation, and fun of our children, we need to have two responsible adults or an adult and a teen in each of the two rooms every Sunday.  We are looking for one “second” person for each week. 

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