November Bell Buoy

Contents

Scarecrow Fun at the Fair!

Dear WCC Friends,

As I look out my office window, I can see the creative 
and clever scarecrows created by local community groups for our 2nd Annual Westbrook Harvest Fair (Oct. 19). We were so blessed to have wonderful weather this year and a great response from
congregation and community.

The spirit of friendship and neighborhood was abundant: from the laughter of children in the bouncy house, to the strains for local musicians singing and playing from the gazebo on the Green and all the homemade, lovingly crafted, generously donated goods and goodies to purchase or partake in.

Thank you to all who made it happen, especially the leadership
team (Kim, Karen, Becki, Charlie, Beth, Mome, Heather, Janet,
Mairi, Sharynn, Bob), and all who cooked, set up, cleaned up, attended, donated, volunteered! We earned approximately $4,000
between all our booths and activities.

And more than that, we created a way for members and
neighbors to “connect through love and service,” we lived out
our mission! We brought young and old, friends and strangers,
familiar and unfamiliar faces together for a time of fun, food and fellowship. I think God was smiling on us as we brought smiles to others’ faces… and continue to do with creative and clever
scarecrows keeping vigil over the Westbrook Green and sharing
the spirit of community with every passerby.

Grace&Peace, Rev. Jan


Here at Westbrook Congregational Church – UCC, you and I share a particular way of being Christian and being church. We are not alone. The early Christian movement was known internally as well as to its persecutors as the Way (Acts 9). The life of faith is a way of being human, a way of interpreting, a way of practicing, a way of living.

  • The wisdom tradition of the faith often spoke of the Way. God watches over the way of the righteous. Psalm 1:6
  • The prophetic tradition of the faith also refers to faith as a Way. Prepare the way of our God, make straight in the desert a highway for our God … Isaiah 40
  • Jesus refers to himself and his commitment to a cruciform Way of life as, “I am the way ….” John 14:6
  • Paul advising the early church in Corinth being torn asunder with division counsels that in the way of love, he would show them “a more excellent way.” I Corinthians 12:31

Over the coming weeks you are invited to reflect on this shared way and how we individually and collectively are stewards of this way. In addition to weekly reflections and testimonies, leading up to Commitment Sunday, November 17, you are all invited to gather in small groups to share our dreams and hopes for “the way” ahead. Join us today, November 3 at the Davis home in Madison, the Renshaw home in Old Saybrook, or on November 10 at the Hansen’s home in Ivoryton, all being held from 4-6 p.m. Please consider yourself heartily invited. Sign up today in Fellowship hall! We will have refreshments and discussion about “the way” we want to be, grow, live and serve. I also invite you to be in prayer about your participation, for those in our church who are leading this campaign and for the ministries we will make possible.

Our participation is the opportunity for us, the community and our faith to evolve and remain vibrant. Westbrook Congregational Church UCC represents:

  • a way of being church,
  • a way of practicing one’s faith,
  • a way of interpreting received texts and the times in which we live,
  • a way of articulating “the hope that is within us,”
  • a way of intellectual honesty and courage,
  • a way of creating a new eco-system for the church,
  • a way of sustaining a movement not a moment,
  • a way of doing justice, seeking peace and building community.

Join us in giving to create and maintain this distinctive way of being faithful, of being Westbrook Congregational Church, UCC.

Let me show you a more excellent way… I Corinthians 12:31

Paul Davis (pedserv@aol.com; 586-243-0184)

CALL TO ORGANIZATIONAL ROUND TABLE on Adult Faith Formation/Small Groups (AFF/SG) after worship on Sunday, November 3. All people interested in participating in any kind of AFF/SG are asked to come give voice to your hopes and wishes, out of which we will come away with the outline of AFF/SG plans for the year to come.

It’s been a blessed and busy October
for our FAITH FORMATION programs at WCC!

Things have been loud, messy, and fun upstairs in the Sunday school classrooms. I am so grateful for the enthusiasm, grace, love and time contributed by our amazing new Sunday school teaching team: Martha Gallentine, Liz Perrone-Grey, Annie Demiris, Kris Dahl, and Tom Laird! They have been doing a wonderful job bringing the Bible stories to life for our kids! This past month, we have been learning stories from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, including those of faith heroes Moses, David, Ruth, and Naomi. 

Our new formation class for middle school students, Pathways, had its first meeting, during which we learned about prayer. Our 4th through 8th graders have really special spiritual gifts and I was very impressed with the richness of our conversation, as well as the spirited and eloquent prayers that they shared. We are blessed to have these kids! 

Our middle schoolers also met for their monthly youth group meeting (SYNC). We met at Incarnation Center in Ivoryton, where we took a walk through the beautiful fall foliage, and learned about the forest’s rich history from one of Incarnation Center’s guides, Phil. It was a fun and informative meeting! 

High School Youth Group has also been keeping busy this month, volunteering at the Children’s Games tent a the Harvest Fair, participating in our music themed worship service, and meeting together to for prayer and fellowship. 

We are still looking for Family Faith Formation help to accomplish our goals for this Church year. Sign up sheets are in Fellowship Hall. Please take a look and see if you can help in any of the following areas: PreK/K Sunday School Teachers, Family Ministry Taskforce, Event Volunteers,Messy Church  Team, SYNC Volunteers,Family Ministry Publicity, or Church Family Lunch Angels. These are very specific opportunities for your giving of your time and talent in manageable increments, and being fed by fellowship with others. For answers to any questions please contact Mairi (mairigrahamshaw@gmail.com). This Family Faith Formation effort is a living example of a Mission-focused church.

Looking forward to next month, we have a lot going on and we hope to see you there! 

Pathways Middle School Formation – November 3 – During Worship
Adult Faith Formation Interest Meeting – November 3 – after worship 
SYNC November meeting – November 17 – 5-7 PM at WCC


Life is what happens while you are making plans, and what I learned.

For months, your Stephen Ministry team had been making plans for the speaker about Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease, which was held on Sunday, October 6th. On the prior Friday evening, I personally had a medical emergency which ended up with my hospitalization. Our church showed me how everyone came together to make the event as special as had been planned.  There are many wonderful people in our church that you can always count on. That is what a church is all about, whether it is to help a member or our community. I truly felt loved by my church and grateful.

Thank you,
Norma Nielsen, Stephen Minister Leader

The Season of Advent is historically celebrated as four weeks of holy reflection and inner/outer preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. In ancient church practice, Advent was a penitential season, akin to Lent; but in recent times the focus has shifted from penance to prayer, pondering like Mary what the angel’s promise might mean for us.

First Sunday of Advent, December 1:
Candle of Hope

This Sunday we will begin the season of Advent with a traditional “Hanging of the Greens” in worship. All WCC households are invited to bring in a Christmas tree ornament from home that is primarily blue or purple in color (label them with your family name if you want them returned). Worship will be followed by an Advent Workshop after worship. After a simple lunch of soup and bread, we’ll be led in making homemade Christmas tree ornaments called “Chrismons,” short for “Christ’s monograph” (symbols that represent the names and roles of Jesus), to take home and to decorate our sanctuary trees.

Second Sunday of Advent, December 8:
Candle of Peace

This Sunday we will hang the Chrismons that were made the previous Sunday on our sanctuary Christmas tree during worship. Poinsettias will begin to appear in the sanctuary and continue growing in number as we move closer to Christmas.

Third Sunday of Advent, December 15:
Candle of Joy

This Sunday we will bless and dedicate our Creche silhouettes that adorn our front lawn before we place them outside the remainder of Advent and through the twelve days of Christmas (January 6).

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 22:
Candle of Love

This Sunday we conclude our Advent observance and pivot towards the arrival of the Baby in the manger. The service will close with a good, old-fashioned Christmas Carol sing. Again, a soup and bread lunch will be offered following worship after which we’ll take our well-rehearsed carols out on the road to members and friends at home out in the community.

Christmas Eve, December 24:
5:00 Family Service
7:00 Lessons and Carols with Choir
11:00 Lessons and Carols with Communion


Sunday, December 29 (the 5

This Sunday we will begin the season of Advent with a traditional “Hanging of the Greens” in worship. All WCC households are invited to bring in a Christmas tree ornament from home that is primarily blue or purple in color (label them with your family name if you want them returned). Worship will be followed by an Advent Workshop after worship. After a simple lunch of soup and bread, we’ll be led in making homemade Christmas tree ornaments called “Chrismons,” short for “Christ’s monograph” (symbols that represent the names and roles of Jesus), to take home and to decorate our sanctuary trees.

Second Sunday of Advent, December 8:
Candle of Peace

This Sunday we will hang the Chrismons that were made the previous Sunday on our sanctuary Christmas tree during worship. Poinsettias will begin to appear in the sanctuary and continue growing in number as we move closer to Christmas.

Third Sunday of Advent, December 15:
Candle of Joy

This Sunday we will bless and dedicate our Creche silhouettes that adorn our front lawn before we place them outside the remainder of Advent and through the twelve days of Christmas (January 6).

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 22:
Candle of Love

This Sunday we conclude our Advent observance and pivot towards the arrival of the Baby in the manger. The service will close with a good, old-fashioned Christmas Carol sing. Again, a soup and bread lunch will be offered following worship after which we’ll take our well-rehearsed carols out on the road to members and friends at home out in the community.

Christmas Eve, December 24:
5:00 Family Service
7:00 Lessons and Carols with Choir
11:00 Lessons and Carols with Communion


Sunday, December 29 (the 5th day of Christmas):
We continue our celebration of the 12 days of Christmas with carols and stories and proclamation of the Word made flesh.

Sunday, January 5, 2020 – Observance of the Feast of Epiphany
We join the magi as they arrive in Bethlehem bearing gifts for “the one born king of the Jews.”


Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving Celebration:This year the Interfaith Thanksgiving service will be held on Sunday, November 24, at 4:00 pm at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (55 E Kings Hwy, Chester). Clergy, musicians and congregations from the Valley Shore area are very warmly invited. There is traditionally a combined choir which offers a few musical selections, as well as readings, prayers and a message of gratitude and hope for people of many faith traditions gathered to give thanks to God together.

Led by the Mission Committee, our church will once again be collecting Christmas gifts for low income children.
 
The “Giving Tree” will be set up in Fellowship Hall and a Mission Committee representative will be there to register your choice of ornament(s) on the following Sundays: NOVEMBER 17, NOVEMBER 24, and DECEMBER 1.
 
Please make sure all selected ornaments are registered with a committee member. We ask that you return gifts unwrapped, but include wrapping paper or a gift bag, ribbon and blank gift tag.  Please attach the ornament to your unwrapped gift so that it can be easily removed.
 
Please return all gifts by the DECEMBER 8 deadline.
 
Financial donations are always welcome to ensure that every person represented by an ornament receives a gift. Checks may be written out to the church, with Giving Tree in the memo line.
 
Thank you for helping to make this Christmas so very special for less fortunate children. God Bless You!
 

Friday Night Live!

Due to the dates that Thanksgiving and Christmas fall on this year, our next Friday Night Live event will be held on Friday, December 6th in place of the regular November and December dates. We will be making and decorating gingerbread houses, and celebrating the season with music and refreshments.  As always, the evening starts with our Community Meal at 6:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend and we hope to see you there!

Saturday, December 7th
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

 We hope you’ll come to the Ladies Society Christmas Bazaar, a fun and festive event held in Fellowship Hall. Stop by for lunch, check out our Bake Sale, and browse our White Elephant room. Various crafters will have their items for sale. Please call or email the church office if you would like a vendor application.

We are asking for donations of baked goods. These items can be dropped off anytime on Friday, December 6th between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., as well as on Saturday morning. Please package them ready to sell.

Thank you and we hope to see you there!

If you would like to share or donate a poinsettia to decorate our sanctuary for the Christmas Season, please fill out and return this form between Sunday, November 17th and Sunday, December 8thPoinsettias will be displayed beginning on December 8th and added throughout the month of December. 
Name_________________________________________
Phone__________________________________________
Number of poinsettias ($12.00 each)__________________

Please make checks payable to Westbrook Congregational Church and return no later than December 8th to the Church Office, or place in the offering plate.

Your dedication as you wish it to appear in the bulletin:
__________________________________________________
__________________________________________________
__________________________________________________

Please circle one of the following options:

  • I will pick up my poinsettia after the last Christmas Eve service (11:00 PM) or on December 27th.
  • I wish to donate my poinsettia to a homebound Church member.

Meditate With Nurse Lyn

Faith Community Nursing
MEDITATION GROUP WITH NURSE LYN
Don’t let the thought of meditating the right way add

 to your stress. You don’t have to “clear your mind” as people often think. If you choose to, you can attend meditation groups like mine! But you can also practice meditation easily on your own. Of course, it is easier to learn from a professional and then do it on your own, but the important thing is to practice meditation. It is good for reducing stress and wonderful for increasing mindfulness.

There is no right or wrong way to meditate, really! – just effective and ineffective methods. What works for one person may not necessarily work for you.  So, try different kinds of meditation. One thing which ordinarily is universally helpful is “meditation music.” This is usually a specialty orchestral mix which has no particular melody to distract you, but its countenance serves to inherently and inexplicably relax you. (It may also have “nature sounds” like birds, waterfalls, wind, rain, etc.)

Many folks build meditation into their daily routine. For example, they may do it morning and evening or before and after work or just at bedtime or only upon awakening. Some use it to fall asleep because it so relaxes them.  But all you really need is a few minutes of quality time for meditation.

Here are some ways you can practice meditation on your own, whenever you choose:

  • BREATHE DEEPLY – Take 3 deep breathes – holding for a couple seconds and releasing slowly. Breathing is a natural function.
But when you take a breath deeply and release it slowly, it cleanses your lungs and increases oxygen flow into them and into your bloodstream, and consequentially throughout your entire body. Focus all your attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling the oxygen flowing through your organs. Breathe deeply and slowly. If your mind wanders, gently return your mind to your breathing.
  • SCAN YOUR BODY – Focus your attention on your head, then your neck, then your shoulders, then your chest. Tighten the muscles in each area, then release and relax them. Become aware of your abdomen, your arms, your hands and do the same thing there. Next concentrate on your buttocks, thighs, calves, feet and again, tighten and relax. Combine this body scan with the breathing and remind yourself you are safe, warm and comfortable now.
  • IMAGINE A SAFE PLACE – Imagine a tranquil forest or a sunny beach. Imagine your bed or your favorite chair.  Imagine anything in your past or present life that makes you feel safe and warm and comfortable. This is a good way to begin to relax wherever you are when you feel anxious or stressed. Combining the breathing with this will usually quickly bring you down and allow you to de-stress.
  • PRAY – Prayer is the best known and most widely practiced example of meditation. You can pray using your own words or read prayers written by others. Our local library and bookstore have a huge selection of journals and examples of prayers and prophetic verses. Or “google” the internet for examples. Ask your Faith Community Nurse (that would be me – smile), the pastor or Maire about possible resources.
  • MUSIC – In addition to the “meditation music” mentioned earlier, you can also listen to sacred music, spoken words, hymns or any music you find relaxing or inspiring.
  • FOCUS YOUR LOVE, SPIRITUALITY AND GRATITUDE – During your meditation, you can bring your focus to a sacred image, or just think about Jesus, or the Holy Spirit and using your imagination, weave the feelings of love that you receive from them into your thoughts and/or into your “safe place”. Keep your thoughts to the Holiness you feel in God’s presence whether it is greatest during sacrament or prayer or when you have a “God sighting” or something else.

MOST OF ALL – Remember to look for our group meditation meeting date in the bulletin. If you’d like to learn more or improve what you’re already doing, please join us! You and your friends are always welcome to join at any time. Please call, text, email or sin up on my bulletin board outside Rev. Jan’s office. (860) 510-3922 or lyn.posner@icloud.com.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Sept. 2019

HEALING PRAYER

Rev. Jan and our Deacons will offer personal, one-on-one Healing Prayer after worship on Sunday, November 17th. If you would care to receive healing prayer with the option of laying on of hands and anointing with oil for yourself or another, please join us after worship.

Senior Youth Group (grades 9-12) meets Sundays from 5-7 PM. For those high school students interested in our 2020 Mission Trip, we will be having a mission trip interest meeting on November 3. We will be traveling to Imperial, PA in June 2020. We will hold regular meetings on November 10th, 17th and 24th. Please talk to Mairi or Sean for more information. 

Would you like to make a joyful noise to the Lord?
If so, think about joining our Handbell Choir. We meet each Sunday after church from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. Experience is not necessary, just the desire to praise the Lord with bells and the ability to count to four! If you have any questions, please call David Carey at (860) 399-8993 or email him at amusicianis@gmail.comWe are looking for ringers to join us for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

All Church Lunch on Sunday, November 10th following worship. Every second Sunday of the month lunch will be offered after worship on a donation basis with opportunity to stay a while and visit with neighbors and new friends. Gluten free and vegetarian options will be provided. Let’s stick around once a month and enjoy the company of all ages and All Church Lunch!

Wanted: All Knitters, Experienced or Beginners

We are forming a Prayer Shawl Ministry and would love to add some new members. Our next meeting will be held on Monday, November 4th at 10:00 AM at the church. This is a wonderful way to get to know church members and to connect while engaged in a common interest. Beginners are welcome! Please contact Dorie Pease if you are interested at (860) 662-5087.

HELPING HANDS NETWORK
Are you experiencing stress?

Either “happy” stress, such as a new baby, or painful stress, such as illness or bereavement? Do you need a ride to church? Do you need a ride to an appointment? Are you in need of a meal? Maybe you could use help with some light errands being run for you.

Help is here if you need it!  Helping Hands Volunteers are available to help. If you would like to volunteer or request help from the Helping Hands Network, please see Rev. Jan or contact the church office at (860) 399-9367.