THE BEACON LIGHT
First Congregational Church of Riverhead
An Open and Affirming United Church of Christ
103 First Street Riverhead, New York 11901
Dear Friends and Family of our First Congregational Church, November and December often make for exciting times at our church, and this year is certainly no exception. As it turns out, there is even considerably more than usual going on this time of year for the past few days have brought the winds of sweeping change with them. But thanks to God, the news is good, and the changes are sure to bring a host of blessings with them. First off, I’ll start with the most immediate. After many years of wonderful service, our beloved office manager/administrative assistant/bookkeeper and all-around helper-outer, Henza, is calling it quits. Her husband, the Rev. Dr. Anton DeWett is retiring, and the plan is to head to Florida and spend time with a son and grandson down that way. Henza, go figure, is going with. (I know, right? Imagine such a thing.) As many of you know, Anton has been serving as pastor of Old Steeple Church in Aquebogue. Their move makes for big changes for both of our churches. We took both Henza and Anton to lunch last week and celebrated their time with us with many thanks (and good food). Old Steeple will be holding a farewell gathering in their honor this Saturday, November 19th, at 4:00. Then on Sunday, our church will be worshiping at Old Steeple for Anton’s last Sunday in the pulpit. That service begins at 10:00am. That Sunday is typically our Thanksgiving Sunday as it introduces Thanksgiving week. We will still have a Thanksgiving celebration in church together, but it’ll be on Tuesday and at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church with our Riverhead Clergy Council congregations for our annual Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving. That service is at 5:00pm on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The following Sunday, Nov. 27th, we’re back in church for our First Sunday of Advent. As usual, our Advent celebrations will again see the weekly lighting of our Advent wreath, and we’ll be doing a food-action Advent calendar, with suggested donations each week for those in need. Additionally, the Second Sunday of Advent, December 4th, will see an Advent Coffee Hour with Crafts and Carols immediately following worship. It should make for good fun for all. We also have plans this Advent to do our Christmas angels with the names and needs of children in our area whose Christmas celebrations can be truly joyful with our help. More details about that will be forthcoming.We also have plans this Advent to do our Christmas angels with the names and needs of children in our area whose Christmas celebrations can be truly joyful with our help. More details about that will be forthcoming. December 11th, the third Sunday of Advent, will see the elves come out to decorate our sanctuary for Christmas. That will happen directly after our morning worship service. Please join us and lend a hand and have a laugh. Then on December 18, we have a very exciting event planned. George Moravek who was the organist at our church for many years is coming back to play an hour of his favorite Christmas arrangements on the organ. The concert will be Sunday afternoon at 4:00. This is a free concert just for your enjoyment, hopefully allowing you to spend a quiet time in the midst of the busy season. No offering will be taken. As always, our Christmas Eve Service of Carols and Candles will be on the 24th at 8:00pm in our sanctuary. Since Christmas Eve is a Saturday this year, we will not have service the following day, Sunday Christmas Day, but will give all the opportunity to enjoy their Christmas mornings at home with loved ones. Finally, I’ll note that there’s a “save the date” for Sunday January 8th, as after church will see our Annual Meeting. The hope and the prayer is that you will find some time to come celebrate and give thanks with us in church, and that you’ll even pitch in and bring some added cheer to those in need. May God bless us all with health and peace, thankful hearts and warm smiles throughout this season. See you in church, ~Pastor Sean
The trustees and deacons continue to meet jointly once a month. Working together, the church is moving forward and attendance is slowly returning to normal. Financially, thanks to our faithful members and friends
and our thriving thrift shop we are meeting all our expenses. We are extremely sorry to see our church secretary, Henza, retire to Florida but wish her the best. A new secretary will be hired and a bookkeeper has been hired. It was with deep sadness we learned of the passing of our long time thrift shop helper, Douglas. A new helper
should be in place by the time the newsletter is published.
The thrift shop has pledged money to support local organizations in need. A portion of the funds raised will be used to purchase $400.00 in food items sometime in November. The food will be donated to Open Arms CaremCenter located at the First Baptist Church of Riverhead to be distributed to families in need. Previous donationsmhave included backpacks for Maureen’s Haven, school supplies for Sister Margaret’s organization and a monetary donation to Gabriel’s Organization (to help families of overdose victims) run by the LI Council on
Alcoholism. In addition the money is used to supplement our 4 church missions. If you know of an organization which could benefit, please speak to a board member. The thrift shop members hope to continue
this tradition next year. Budget work will begin at the start of December. Please let a trustee know if you have a request for the coming year.
The ministry and mission of our church take place because of the spiritual and financial gifts of our members and friends. With your support, we provide a place to worship our God. Your donations also open our doors to 7 AA meetings each week and so Bread and More can provide 3 warm meals for the homeless and less fortunate. In addition, this year we supported several local organizations. November 13 is Stewardship Sunday and we hope you will make a pledge for the coming year. Each amount helps the trustee create a realistic fiscal estimate for the coming year. All pledges and amounts are kept confidential. Pledges should be mailed or dropped in the church offering plate by December 2. Thank you for your support.
The Christian Education offerings currently include Confirmation Class, after worship on an every-other week basis, and our Adult Bible Study. That class meets Friday mornings, from 10:00-11:00, both at the church and on Zoom, and we are poised to begin a study on Hosea beginning Friday, Sept. 16. For more information, please speak with Pastor Sean.
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS
The gardens have been cleaned and “put to bed” for the upcoming winter. Although we had an extremely hot and dry summer, the plants have flourished. Due to a day of heavy rains, our basement door swelled and
rusted. Our handyman, Javier, graciously made the repairs at no charge. Air conditioners have been serviced and cleaned and the fire extinguishers checked. A nest of yellow jackets had to be removed from our basement
and an area sealed. If you see something that needs repair, please let Pastor or Allan Repp know.
PR & EVANGELISM
Once again, we will be doing a Reverse Advent Calendar, beginning on December 1st and ending on Christmas
Eve. Each day in December, there will be a food item to add to a box. The items range from a box of cereal to a
can of green beans. The completed boxes will be donated to Sister Margaret, Open Arms Pantry or our own
soup kitchen. We will provide a list of food items in church. You can complete a box on your own, or work on
it with a friend or two. I will try to make sturdy boxes available before December 1. It has been wonderful to
see some new people in church. Please consider bringing a friend to worship with us. It would be great to have
a special coffee hour one Sunday in December to celebrate Advent. A time for fellowship and Evangelism.
Save the Date: December 18th 4-5:00
George Moravek will be playing hymns in the sanctuary
~ Melinda Topping for the committee
The Pastoral Relations Commitee met on November first. The majority of the feedback from the congregation has been positive. The Committee exists as a liaison between the Pastor and the congregation. If you have any concerns or compliments, please speak to someone on the Committee. The Committee members are Jane Kulesa, Marion, Maino, Jane Joerchel, Sandy Gruner and Pastor. We try to accentuate the positive and work on the five S's. They are: success, surprises, satisfactions, solutions and sorrows. By bringing concerns and compliments to the Committee, gossip and misinformation are kept to a minimum. We feel this is a constructive approach to conflict. We will be meeting again in December, so please consider bringing one of the S's to a Committee member.
PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY
You may not know that many of the Prayer Shawl Ministry women have moved away over the years. Although we have not been physically together, we have been meeting on Zoom since the beginning of the pandemic.
There are many prayer shawls in the church, so we are giving some to the Peconic Bay hospital again. Please feel free to take one or more to your friends and family in need of hope and comfort.
Our group consists of Barbara Parsons, Luanne Seaman, Jane Jones, Sandy Daniels, Pat Discioscia, Ginger Duvall, Lorraine DeArmitt, Marion Maino and Marion Stark. To join us on Zoom, contact Barbara Parsons. We will be happy to have you join the group.
On October 9, we had a perfect day for our dollar clothing sale at the Riverhead Country Fair. Over $600.00 was raised at the sale and over $500.00 in the thrift shop. Many thanks to all who helped to set up the tables, sort, display and sell the clothes. Shirley and Sue manned the very busy thrift shop where everything was half price. The thrift shop is always looking for volunteers especially on Saturdays. If you are interested in doing a fundraiser, please let one of our deacons or trustees know. ~ Marion Maino & Nancy Repp
BREAD AND MORE
Bread and More Kitchen continues serving takeout dinners on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 6:00. Volunteers prepare and serve the dinners each night. The number of guests has been ranging from the 50s to 70s. At this time, there is no plan to start serving dinner in the fellowship hall.
St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church of Shoreham continues to provide “take-home” peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for guests each Thursday. Beach Bakery in Westhampton and the Riverhead Stop & Shop continue to donate baked goods. Anderson’s Farm has been providing many fresh vegetables and fruits for the dinners this summer.Thanks goes out to all who make donations to Bread and More. Our guests are very appreciative of the meal received. Douglas, our long time guest will be missed.
LADIES NIGHT OUT
As this year draws to a close, we have just one more night to gather for fellowship. Instead of our traditional last Thursday of the month to meet, we will get together on December 8th at 5:30. We’ve done this for many years so that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are clear for whatever other plans we’ve made. Our group usually numbers around ten to twelve ladies, and Leslie at the Pulaski Street Grill has been most gracious in accommodating us. The food is great and the company is wonderful. Please join us if you can make it. Just contact me so I can give an approximate head count beforehand: ~Janet Sanford: 631 591 1063As fellowship. Instead of our traditional last Thursday of the month to meet, we will get together on December 8th at 5:30. We’ve done this for many years so that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are clear for whatever other plans we’ve made. Our group usually numbers around ten to twelve ladies, and Leslie at the Pulaski Street Grill has been most gracious in accommodating us. The food is great and the company is wonderful. Please join us if you can make it. Just contact me so I can give an approximate head count beforehand: ~Janet Sanford: 631 591 1063As this year draws to a close, we have just one more night to gather for fellowship. Instead of our traditional last Thursday of the month to meet, we will get together on December 8th at 5:30. We’ve done this for many years so that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are clear for whatever other plans we’ve made. Our group usually numbers around ten to twelve ladies, and Leslie at the Pulaski Street Grill has been most gracious in accommodating us. The food is great and the company is wonderful. Please join us if you can make it. Just contact me so I can give an approximate head count beforehand: ~Janet Sanford: 631 591 1063
Our Thrift Shop is still going strong three days a week. Many thanks to all of our volunteers. And additional volunteers are always welcome. It makes for a great way to spend a few hours. Come in and pick up some great Christmas finds.
Shirley Bergman & Janet Sanford
SOME CHURCH CALENDAR ITEMS
- Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday - Take out - 5:30-6:00pm: Bread & More/INN
- ALLEY CAT THRIFT SHOP: Thursday 10:00AM – 2:00PM Saturday 9:00AM-1:00PM
- Bible Study Fridays 10:00 – 11:00AM
- AA Meetings daily.
~Dec. 18 George Moravek Plays Christmas Carols 4:00-5:00
~Christmas Eve Service 8:00 (no service Christmas Day)
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