Announcements

Events in the church building are cancelled for now.

The church is not the building, however! It is us, the people, and we are still here and going strong!

 We are creating new ways to be in community with one another, live streaming our worship services, holding Zoom gatherings,

and supporting vulnerable neighbors in new ways; so stay tuned as the days unfold and new ministries are born.

If you have ideas or become aware of needs, please be in touch!

Our pastor, church ministry staff, boards, and committees continue to meet (virtually) and are working hard to keep us connected.

 

Lenten Creation Care Calendar: Our Lenten Creation Care Calendar is on our website.  Many of the activities would be wonderful ways to get outside and try something new while social distancing or keeping the stir-crazies at bay while self-quarantining. As you try things, pleas post a picture on our Facebook page and let us know what you are doing to help our environment!

Livestreaming Sunday Worship:  Behold! We are doing a new thing! Our Sunday worship streams live on Sunday mornings at 10 am on our website and Facebook live. It is also recorded and posted in both places. There’s a link on the home page under “Worship” > “Sermon Podcasts.”

Please click the link below to join us this Sunday at 10 a.m.

On the web:   https://zoom.us/j/150637958?pwd=dVhHQmtGQk5PczN4b2NsRXR2MmRHUT09

                        Password: 692407

By iPhone:     US: +13126266799,,150637958#  or +16465588656,,150637958#

By phone:

    Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

        US: +1 312 626 6799  or +1 646 558 8656  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 9128

            or +1 253 215 8782  or +1 301 715 8592

    Webinar ID: 150 637 958

    Password: 692407

    International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/ag5coYpmM

Wednesday Night Vespers:  If you missed it, here’s the link to Heather’s Wednesday night vespers.  She will do this each Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. live on Facebook.  They will be posted to the church website on Thursdays for those who don’t have access to Facebook and will be shared in the all church email:  https://www.facebook.com/2328743987405660/videos/843931922738316/

Altar Flowers:  Since we have moved to online services, we are not doing altar flowers.  If you signed up for flowers and would like Heather to say something during her prayer (like what you would have put in the bulletin dedication), she’s happy to do that.  Just email her at harcovitch@gmail.com to let her know.

A Weekly Word from Pastor Heather…

There is a prayer poem that I love and have come to include in worship each Lent. It is possible that I wrote it, but it is more likely that I came upon it somewhere in another pastor’s liturgy. I may have tweaked it along the way, or it may be in its original form. I don’t know. It has become a part of my lenten prayer landscape, and a part of me in a way that I can no longer recall or distinguish its origins.

This year, our lenten worship is not structured in the ways or location we have come to expect; our prayers have changed with our location. The wilderness we thought we were entering has become wilder than we imagined as we first stepped in. That is the magic, and the danger, of wilderness. If it is truly wild, it is unknowable until we experience it…in this way, perhaps this year’s lenten wilderness is the most authentic we have experienced, in my lifetime, anyway. The way is winding and uncertain. The wind is blowing where it will, obscuring familiar tracks, revealing hidden truths and needs, opening fresh paths yet unknown.

Wilderness has a way of stripping us down to our bare bones. Pushing us to see what we are really made of, and how we see and support one another. Wilderness calls our bluffs and offers us a freedom that can be impossible to experience anywhere else. This is exhalating for some, devastating for others, lifegiving, terrifying, confusing…one thing it is for certain, is life-changing.

The rabbis say the great prophets must have a spirit of wilderness in order to receive the truest, deepest wisdom of the Torah. Embracing the spirit and the teaching of the wilderness is a heady step toward opening our lives to the power of the Spirit and what she can do to make what seemed impossible possible, to bring true miracles to life.

How do we do this, then? We are learning together. Each of us is discovering a piece. It can be daunting, at times it is scary. It can feel overwhelming. We don’t yet know the way.

One thing we can know, even at the outset, is that we are in it together. We are not alone. The same Spirit that spoke to Jesus at his baptism, as we read at the outset of Lent, invited Jesus into the wilderness. That Spirit is with us now. Loving and guiding us. Here is my beloved lenten prayer. I share it with you, and hope it will nourish and guide you:

You Are God’s Beloved.

Throughout life’s journeying
Throughout your wandering
Through mistakes
Missteps
Misunderstanding
Missed opportunities
Moments hopelessness…

Never forget that it was the Spirit that drove Jesus

Into the wilderness

And the angels that surrounded and supported him

All the time
All the way
You are God’s beloved
You are never alone
You are never forgotten
The Spirit of God is with you

Always.

Much love and God’s blessings on the way,

Heather

Music Notes from Linda

Hello beloved NMCC friends!!

As we all prepare to worship together ( but at a distance) for our third Sunday, I know I can speak for each member of our choir when I say that we REALLY  miss singing with you at church !  Music ministers so tenderly to our souls — both as listeners AND as singers… and with both beautiful notes AND special words…

One of our very favorite anthems over the past several years has been “How Can I Keep From Singing.”  Maybe you recall our singing it?

It was the title of our first CD which we produced way back in 2006 and was the final song on that album.

   “ My life goes on in endless song, above earth’s lamentations

      I hear the real, though far off hymn that hails a new creation.

 Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear its music ringing, It sounds an echo in my soul….how can I keep from singing?

      What though the tempest loudly roars, I hear the truth — it liveth!

      And though the darkness round me close, songs in the night it giveth.

 Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear its music ringing,

  It sounds an echo in my soul… how can I keep from singing?”

As I read this text, it speaks to me of these somewhat surreal days in which we find ourselves…and I find consolation in the words — and even more so, if I listen to the music which Bradley Ellingboe composed to go with it.

If you own our first CD, you can actually listen to OUR OWN CHOIR sing it to you!

If not, click the link below and imagine Ann playing her wonderful violin instead of the flute ?? ?? ??…     Close your eyes and let it wash over you … and imagine that

we are all around you singing it — just for you ??.

Blessings and much love to each of you….  I am hugging you in my heart!

Linda

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odm6LUKTIcQ

Message from Sue Timony-Hall: Losses and Gratitude:  In my conversations with families over the past several days, I am aware that we are all struggling with a sense of grief and other difficult emotions in response to our daily lives changing so drastically and so quickly. The question, for me, is how do we help our kids and teens own and process their emotions while encouraging resilience? I happened upon this article from The Fuller Institute that offers up ways to share our feelings, sit with them, and process as a family while also engaging in gratitude along the way. Check it out.:  https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/naming-loss-and-gratitude-with-young-people

Message from John Dorhauer:   Heather wanted to share with you this Pastoral Message in a Time of Pandemic from the UCC Conference of Ministers:   https://www.ucc.org/news_commentary_a_pastoral_letter_in_a_time_of_pandemic_03262020

New Members’ Class is Going Virtual! We have a wonderful crop of new members who will be joining us soon, and it’s not too late to add your name. The class will be virtual, and we think it will be fun and inspiring. Make sure the office has your name and contact info before March 27th to join. Members of this class will have bragging rights to joining on the same day as Pastor Heather and Barb! Please let Heather or the church office know you’re interested.

Book Discussion Group – April 28, 7:00 p.m.:    Our new book is “The River of Fire” by Helen Prejean.  You may know her as the author of “Dead Man Walking,” made in to a movie, starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon.  Our discussion will be held on Tuesday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. by Zoom.  Please stay tuned for potential further updates on the mode, time, and date.

Breakfast at Columbus House:  NMCC served our last breakfast at Columbus House breakfast on March 14, 2 days before the kitchen was closed to volunteer preparation, thanks for Peter Meier and his team.   March 28 was a different story.   With your help, we delivered eggs, bread/spread, OJ, potatoes and sausages for 80-100 people to the kitchen staff on Thursday, March 26!   While we knew volunteers are not allowed onsite to prepare the food, little did we anticipate the challenge of finding everything needed with one trip to a grocery store.

Thanks to Dawn Barber, who has not only been to the Wilderness with me where Jesus walked and prayed, joined me (on socially distanced separate trips) in channeling the power of prayer in our search.   Though we encountered per-item store limits on eggs, empty shelves and high prices, we finally scored the last 3 gallons of OJ Thursday morning.    The kitchen staff met me in the parking lot for the transfer later that afternoon.

We have yet to perfect our loaves and fishes skills but are confident we can continue to support this ministry, one meal at a time, with your help.  If you are able, it’s easy to donate online (forward a copy of your receipt to the Office so we can match your  donation is intended for Columbus House).  Or you may mail a check to the office.

Columbus House is opening additional seasonal locations to spread out their clients so they can improve social distancing and keep clients and New Haven safer.   Clients may now stay in during the day, which means they also could use financial help to provide lunch for those who do, and we’d like to support them with your donations.  Volunteer food/meals are a vital part of one of the many pieces it takes to keep Columbus House running.

Many thanks for your help!
Roberta Hanlon, NMCC Columbus House Champion

Congregational Life Ministry Team:  The Congregational Life Ministry Team was pleased to organize a series of Pot Luck Gatherings over the winter entitled, “Kindling Spirit Winter Gatherings”.   For some it meant rekindling old friendships; for others, it meant learning something new about someone, and for others it meant making a new friend.

A theme we heard many times in these gatherings was justice.  To continue in the spirt of reflecting on justice, we were planning a potluck in the Fellowship Hall after Easter.  In light of social distancing, however, we are exploring ways to have a virtual gathering using a TED Talk on justice as a discussion starter.  Look for further information on this.  The mission of the Congregational Life Ministry Team is to sponsor gatherings to strengthen our bonds of fellowship.  If you’re interested in joining the Congregational Life Ministry Team, you can speak with Ken Nichols or Jim Farrales or email the office at Office@northmadisoncc.org and someone from the team will be in contact with you.  If you have ideas for virtual gatherings, please share those, too!

Have you “liked” us on Facebook?:  Help to get the word out about what you love about our church! Especially right now, as people are searching Facebook and the internet to find places of community, comfort, and meaning, your “likes,” reviews, and “check-ins” on our FB page can help our visibility. Invite your friends to like us, too—and share an invitation to one of our virtual worship services or gatherings.  You never know who may be looking for a welcoming church home as Easter approaches, or whom you may inspire!

An Opportunity to Help with Our Virtual and Video Ministries:  We record worship each Sunday and broadcast on local TV. We also post the sermon and other bits of the worship service online. This is continuing as we move to virtual worship. We can use help now with identifying virtual platforms, music-sharing apps, and editing programs—have you got any ideas? Please let Pastor Heather or the church office know! Our learning curve is steep, but we’re climbing! We’d love your (or your child’s!) expertise.

Another Way You Can Serve NMCC – Treasurer:  Are you looking for a new way to serve NMCC?  Has God gifted you in the area of finance or accounting?  NMCC is looking for a new Treasurer.  As an officer of the church, the Treasurer must be a member in good standing and have a general understanding of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

Your time and talents will be needed at least 2 hours per week to review timesheets, sign paychecks and checks, review A/R for coding and proper documentation, and read and address the Treasurer’s email.  An additional 2-4 hours per month would be invested in reviewing bank reconciliation reports and the general ledger (including income and expenses) and preparing monthly reports and meetings with the Board of Finance and the Executive Committee.  At year end, the Treasurer prepares annual financial reports and works with the Board of Finance in developing annual budgets with each of the Teams/Committees and Boards, and with the Audit Committee in carrying out an annual audit.  If you are interested or would like to learn more please contact John Gallops, Chair of the Board of finance, jgallops@aol.com.

– This Month In Worship! 

Our theme for Lent is Caring for Creation as we journey with Jesus into the wilderness. Each Sunday service centers on an element of Creation with opportunities to focus our Lenten practice and prayer. This Sunday 3/22 is UN World Water Day. Next Sunday 3/29 will focus on Dark Sky and Energy.

Looking Ahead~Mark Your Calendars: 

4/5 Palm Sunday Virtual Celebration

4/9 Maundy Thursday Virtual Gathering

4/10 Good Friday Blues and Tenebrae Virtual Service –you don’t want to miss! 7:00 p.m.

Virtual Prayer Vigil:  April 10 at 8:00 p.m. – April 12 at 6:00 a.m. Easter Morning

4/12    6:30 a.m. Easter Sunrise Resurrection Celebration among the Saints

                          in our Summer Hill Cemetery

            6:30 a.m. Easter Sunrise Resurrection Celebration at the Shoreline

                        with First Congregational at Madison Beach Hotel

4/12 Easter 10:00 a.m. Worship location or virtual worship to be announced

4/22 Earth Day 50th Anniversary Celebration at 7:00 p.m. pending confirmation