Dear Friends and Members of our First Congregational Church,
Perhaps it’s a bit of affective memory of sorts, but when the cool breeze of the early mornings is followed by open-window days, I get rather excited about fall and the old “back to school” feel. The change of season always seems to bring a renewal of energy, an awareness of the gentle rhythms of life wrought by the hand of God, and new possibilities in the days to come.
For us at church, September always sees a renewal of programing. We’re getting set for a nice Rally Day in just a few days’ time (September 10th), and that will not only see the return of the choir, but also the reception of a few additional new members into church as well as a fine welcome back luncheon of heroes and fine sides. Oh, and as a reminder, I’ll note that you’re invited to bring a side or sweet to share. There’s a sign-up sheet posted on the kitchen door.
Fall here also brings the excitement of our annual Riverhead Country Fair. In the past, it’s been a big day of sales and such, but this year we have something special and even easier to do! The Country Fair, always held on the Sunday before Columbus Day, this year is October 8th. We’ll begin as we usually do, with a brief outdoor prayer service at 8:00am in the front garden, and then we’ll be hosting the “Alice Summerville Memorial Quilt Show” in our sanctuary. The sanctuary will be adorned with beautiful north fork quilts from Alice’s friends and colleagues, and we’ll even raffle off a lovely Alice Summerville quilt. It should prove a great way to meet more of our neighbors and to welcome people inside our stunning sanctuary which always is a surprise to the first timers.
Adult Bible Study classes are also set to resume. As usual, they’ll be held Friday mornings from 10:00-11:00 in our Fellowship Hall. Rather than studying the Hebrew Scriptures, which we’ve been doing for a while, we’ll turn the eyes of the heart onto the pages of the New Testament as we delve into Mark’s gospel. You needn’t have attended any of our previous classes to enjoy and learn, and it’s sure to be of interest to Bible veteran and newbies alike. First class is Friday, September 15th, if or when you can’t make the classes in person, you can
join us on Zoom. Please give them some prayerful consideration.
Some notes of celebration and thanks are also due. With thanks to lots of regular donations and a wonderful group of volunteers, our Thrift Shop has been doing remarkable well. Thanks to all who have been pitching in! And if you’ve yet to try a shift, give some thought to that as many find it a fine time of fellowship and service.
Also, big thanks to both Allan and Nancy Repp. Allan has the gardens looking remarkably good and has been terrifically dedicated to their upkeep. Nancy, as chair of the board of Trustees, has been attending to a host of duties and always seems to have her eyes and hands on all that’s important, including keeping her husband happy and engaged. Thank you, thank you, and well done all around. Thanks, too, to George for his wonderful music, to the choir who add much to our worship, and to all who have been reading, ushering, and hosting coffee hour. I will note that we have a rather immediate need of more coffee hour hosts, as the sign-up sheet on the kitchen door has plenty of room for names.
Even in this season of hurricanes and fires, of continued war and violence and political rancor, we do well to take stock in what we’ve got here, to celebrate life with a smile and a welcoming embrace, and to give God thanks in all things. God is good and is leading us in bright hope.
Sure hope to see you in church. Blessings to you this day,
Please update your Zoom information for the church. This is a link for both Sunday Worship and Friday Bible Study. When you can’t make it in-person, you can join us online:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 885 1493 9172
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kFRvvORoU
It has been a fairly quiet summer with no joint meeting in July. Finances continue to be stable. Many thanks to our Thrift Shop workers who continue to do all it takes to keep a steady flow of shoppers. The income from thrift shop sales is a great help with our expenses.
Barbara Parsons has trained with Lorraine and is filling in as our bookkeeper. Lorraine is on vacation for the month of August and part of September. Our thanks to Marguerite Volonts who will substitute for George our music director while he travels in September.
A withdrawal of $26,000.00 from the Fairley account was made to pay for the work on the parsonage basement. Members voted earlier this year to approve this expenditure. The Fairly account can only be used to pay for parsonage expenses and repairs. In order to approve additional funds for this project, a Congregational Meeting has been called for after church on September 17,
~Nancy Repp (Chair)
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS
The past few months have required a few repairs to our buildings. The air conditioner in the church kitchen required a fairly major rehab costing $900.00. It is now working fine. Unfortunately, one of the benches in our church gardens was damaged and has been replaced. We hope to dedicate the bench to Alice Summerville in the near future. Gutter repairs have been completed at a cost of $600.00. The goal is to fix damaged gutters and re-route some on the church office building away from the church to prevent future flooding in the basement. Members of the Presbyterian Church who worship in our building on Saturday evenings painted the ceiling and upper portion of the Parish Hall. Their members hope to have the bottom portion painted before September. Some of their members also cleaned and organized the Sunday School rooms upstairs.
The gardens continue to flourish with many nice comments from people on the streets. This summer the sewer line from our kitchen had to be cleaned with some minor repairs to prevent backup and leaking into the basement area. At some point in the future, we have a refrigerator and other large items to remove from the basement areas. We are looking to find someone to do the heavy lifting and depose of the items. Work continues on the parsonage basement. The 70-year-old walls and footings have extensive damage and it is quite an undertaking to complete the process.
PR & EVANGELISM
The summer months are quiet around FCCR. Many people are away and events are put on hold until the fall. We are hoping to have a RallyDay to signal the beginning of an exciting church season. Details will follow. There are some things that do continue in spite of vacations and summer obligations. The form to have the bells rung in honor or remembrance are located on the table at the back of the sanctuary. The name of the person you are remembering will be printed in our Sunday bulletin and listed in the Beacon Light. Pastor Sean has reinstated Healing Prayer into our worship service the second Sunday of the month. While we are no longer advertising in the Giving Corner of the News Review, we hope Pastor or any member or friend would consider writing a Guest Spot in the newspaper. Possible topics could be, What it means to be Open and Affirming, Homelessness in Riverhead or Practical ways to take care of the earth-Climate Change action. While public relations revolves around activities and events, evangelism is an ongoing responsibility of all of us. If you have an idea or suggestion to enhance our church's attendance or enrich our relationship with God or make church more meaningful to you, please speak to a member of the Committee: Sandy Gruner, Nancy Repp, Melinda Topping and Jane Kulesa. Thank you.
This summer’s worship services have provided wonderful music for everyone in attendance. George Moravec
has played for us throughout the summer, and he has also arranged for special music on many of the Sundays over the last few weeks. His main source for finding people to add their gifts to our worship has been from both new and some long-standing members of our choir, not only with special solos, but with talent on both violin and guitar.
In regard to the choir, there is good news as the choir returns from the summer break on September 10th. As mentioned previously, George has been with us continuously through the summer, so it’s now time for him to have a well-deserved vacation starting in September. On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, Marguerite Volonts will be filling in as music director. She will be playing for us that Sunday and one of her students will provide us with special music. On September 10th and the 17th, she will be leading the choir in George’s absence, and it will be fun to work with her on those Sundays.
George will be back with us on the 24th and he has already planned out some of the music through the fall. These include new anthems for the choir along with many beautiful favorite. Our church is fortunate to have wonderful musicians in both George and Marguerite, who share their talents with us each week.
~Melinda Topping, Music Committee
This Committee is charged with meeting with the Pastor at least twice a year or whenever necessary. Its mission is to act as a liaison between the minister and the congregation, hoping to extinguish sparks of complaints or concerns before they ignite and spread. Their mission is also to hear compliments and to spread positive feedback about our church to each other and the community at large. If you have questions, concerns, or compliments, please speak to a member of the Committee: Sandy Gruner, Jane Joerchel, Dee Martin and Gloria Foley. We hope to be meeting in September to work on a formal covenant between Pastor Sean and the Congregation. We look forward to hearing from you.
Alice Summerville Memorial Quilt Show
Plans are in place to hold an Alice Summerville Memorial Quilt Show to be held on Sunday, October 8 in the Sanctuary. The front doors of the church will be open for people to enter free of charge during the Riverhead Harvest Festival and feast their eyes on the beautiful quilts on display.
At one of the last board meetings Alice attended before her passing, she mentioned that she wanted to hold another quilt show. So, during her memorial service, we mentioned this to several of her quilting friends requesting their help in organizing a show. The Eastern Long Island Quilter Guild enthusiastically stepped forward, recalling in fond memory, the last show that Alice had in our Sanctuary.
In addition to several of Alice’s quilts being on display, one will be raffled off at the event. Guild members will also display their favorite pieces which will turn the Sanctuary into a spectacular montage of colors and geometric magic.
The show will be open from 10 am to 3 pm. We are looking for a few volunteers to either sell raffle tickets in the outer lobby or just be host or hostesses for a few hours. Please let either Marion M. or Nancy know if you
are willing to share some time with us for this beautiful event and memorial for Alice.
~ Marion Maino & Nancy Repp
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