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,
It’s been a bit of an odd go of things for me of late. When the good doctor’s phone bounced out of his bag as he hurried across 8th Ave. and 42nd and then landed hard, crashed a bit and bounced into a puddle, it was obviously leading up to a change. He did manage to stop the traffic in both directions (if you know the intersection, you know that’s no small feat) and retrieved his phone. It was partially savable. Unreliable, but still had the connections in tack. They were just difficult to employ.
I made the appointment for both of us with the phone company which, as it happened, was running a special on trade-ins. We went in, ordered new phones, and just had to wait a week. It was that week that my computer slowly died. At first it was just a gurgling. Then it was a dismal slowdown. Then seemingly every two or three minutes, the computer would just up and quit and try to restart. The initial restart always failed. And then, once getting the thing running, I’d start the routine again. Oh, and yes, I ran the antivirus stuff, but nope. Same routine, every few minutes, and always in the middle of something. Not that that was annoying. Argh. Mind you, the computer had served me well; I was still running Windows 8. It was simply time. I ordered a new one.
When it comes time to replace your phone and your computer, I don’t recommend that you try to do it at the same time. New is often good. Too much too soon, not so much. For programs and access, there are the password challenges. The security protocol tends to be reliant on each of them. It took some doing. And password resetting. Now I worry about the new passwords I set and didn’t write down. And there was the inevitable loss. Lost contacts that need to be rebuilt, reconnected. Lost programs that need to be reinstalled. Lost files that need to be restored (or not). And then comes the search through the backup mini-drive, connectable but not easily deciphered.
About mid-challenge of all of that, I took a break. It was really more of a long weekend than a vacation, as some would say, but it worked well for me. We went to historical homes. The first was an 18th century place, a wooden farmhouse, turned tavern, turned inn, relocated, turned B&B. It was charming and did have electricity, cable TV, and memory-foam mattresses that one appreciates these days. Above all, it had a delightful host. Good mental notes taken.
The second was an early 20th century (like our church) B&B, with a mix of Victorian and Greek Rival touches. It was much like a museum. It had absolutely beautiful collectables and paintings but lacked the human touch. It also lacked security. The back porch door was wide open. We walked into the place, looked around for any signs of life, and then called the owner. Afterwards, we did as we were told: to “make ourselves at home.” I served as the welcoming one for the other clueless guests.
I share these things as we get ready to start up a new season of doing at church. We’ll examine the stuff that needs updating or changing, but we’ll also be sure not to do all at once, as new can be good, but too much too soon, not so much. The good, affable, human contact has got to build into our plans. It would be nice to get back to regular coffee hours. With thanks to a couple willing to play host, we do have one this week, and then the following week, Sunday the 18th, we have a Fellowship Brunch scheduled for which all are invited to bring something to share. I imagine we’ll have an abundance of good stuff.
We’ll return to some of the tried and true, such as Friday morning Bible Study, and will continue with our hybrid worship mode of in-person and Zoom. We’ll work on figuring out the music, likely with new hymns as well as the “old chestnuts.” We’ll introduce some new programing, some like our mission giving, we already have, and we’ll remain open for change without sacrificing the comfortable. Regarding Missions, we’ve been doing much to help our neighbors in need of late. Almost $200-worth of school supplies were donated to Sr. Margaret to help fill their backpacks for kids. And 48 brand new adult backpacks were donated to Maureen’s Haven.
And as always, we’ll rely on your input, your suggestions, as we seek to create a space that continues to be truly welcoming and where all may feel at home, and most importantly, closer to God.
As we approach autumn we hope you will return to church and worship with us again. Summer worship has been enlightening with uplifting music played and sung by our organist/pianist Dee Lavignia and spiritual sermons to brighten our days. On September 18th we invite everyone to join together and share a brunch meal following service. Bring a friend and family member to fill our pews as we worship together. Our joint boards have been working together to keep the church moving forward. Thanks to our faithful members, our thriving thrift shop and a successful yard sale we are financially strong. Many thanks to Melinda who monitors our insurance policies, Barbara and Luann for coordinating our coffee hours, Jane J.for making sure our candles remain lit, Jane K. for being our soup kitchen liaison, Jim D. for coordinating our building use by AA, Sandy and Jane for being available for Christian education and doing our bulletin boards, Janet S. for missions and Ladies Night, our Prayer Shawl Ministry, Collene for doing our newsletter, Allan for keeping our gardens beautiful, Marian M. and Jane J. for keeping open communications between Pastor and members and Shirley for keeping our thrift shop open and staffed. Thank you to our Pastor Sean for leading us spiritually and showing care and compassion when needed. Each and everyone in our church plays a role (the list is too long for here) whether you host a coffee hour, purchase flowers for our pulpit, send a card or call the infirmed, volunteer, participate on a board, donate financially, and so much more. Thank you each and all of you.
Our beloved church secretary, Henza will be moving to Florida. Her last day is November 18th. She has been invaluable and will be sorely missed. If you know of someone who would like a part-time job (approximately 6 hours per week) and is knowledgeable of Quickbooks, please let us know.
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
Our church buildings remain in good shape. Some minor repairs need to be completed but we have had a hard time finding a handyman. The gardens have been kept up and continue to grow and blossom.
PR & EVANGELISM
As we recover from the ravages of the pandemic, we begin to resume some past traditions and events. Our yard sale on Saturday, July 30, was a huge success thanks to the tireless work of members and the advertising on WLNG and the News Review. People came and people spent. The fellowship among members and friends was something we all missed. We are able to live stream worship and Bible study, bringing people near and far the ability to join us. If you need the link, please contact the church office and share it with your friends. An invitation will be mailed to you soon re: a potluck brunch after church on Sunday, September 18th. Besides the invitation to brunch, it is an invitation to bring a friend or neighbor to church that day. Evangelism is the mission of each one of us and we need to draw attention to our church and our strong community of faith.
Over the last 10 months, our church has been fortunate to have Dee Leveglia providing music on both the piano and organ for our worship service. He is an excellent musician from Mattituck and his talent has been a wonderful addition to our Sunday mornings.
He has brought some new music for us in his selections for the prelude and postlude pieces. He also has the gift of a very melodious singing voice. The addition of his occasional vocals while providing his own accompaniment adds a nice change to our worship.
Another change in the music program has been the addition of one of our church members leading the singing of the hymns from the microphone at the pulpit. The members in the congregation seem to follow along with the hymns more easily since we don’t have the vocal support of a choir at this time.
In the next few weeks, Dee will be away on vacation for the last Sunday in September and the first week of October. Also, the second Sunday will be the Riverhead County Fair and there will be a shortened Deacon’s service at 8:00 in lieu of the regular 10:00 am service. Going into the fall, we look forward to having Dee returning to begin his second year of providing us with our worship music.
~ Melinda Topping for the committee
Has your relationship with God and your church been enriched recently? If so, please let the Pastoral Relations Committee (PRC) know, so we can share your positive experience with Pastor. If your relationship with God and your church is in need of enrichment, please either contact Pastor directly or contact one of the PRC members to arrange a joint meeting with a committee member, Pastor and yourself. Don’t sit back feeling unfulfilled. Take a step to fortify your faith. The PRC continues to support Pastor though healthy and direct communication with the congregation.
PRC Members: Pastor Sean, Sandy Gruner, Jane Joerchel, Jane Kulesa, Marion Maino
Respectfully submitted, ~Marion Maino
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.
Last month, three of us (Barbara, Luanne and I) went down south to visit Jane in SC! What a thrill to be together again. Sandy, who lives close by, came to visit us as well. We were together again and actually got to hug each other after such a long time. I must say that we did not crochet, but it was wonderful to all be together. You see, that’s what has happened over the years. We have become like family. The saying says “When you give, you get so much more in return!” By giving of ourselves, crocheting so many prayer shawls over the years, we gave hope and comfort to many people, but in return we got so much love.
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.
A successful yard sale was held in July and $965.00 was raised. We were able to clear out the garage and offer some great buys to our shoppers. The thrift shop made $515.00 on the same day! Thank you to all who helped to set-up, price, sell and clean up. It was a lot of work and the help was much appreciated. On Sunday, October 9th, the Riverhead Fair will be held. We will have a $1.00 clothing sale on that day and will need help to set-up, sell and clean-up. More information to come.
~ 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. Riverhead Rotary has generously offered to purchase a new refrigerator as the one in the kitchen is no longer working. The new refrigerator should be delivered by late August. Thanks goes out to all who make donations to Bread and More. Our guests are very appreciative of the meal received.
LADIES NIGHT OUT
It is hard to believe but there are only three more Thursday nights in this year that we will gather as a group to celebrate each other, to catch up on each other’s lives, and to socialize. We will meet Sept 29th, Oct 27th, and either the 1st or the 8th of December (all Thursdays at 5:30 PM at Pulaski Street Grill.)
In August we had an all-time high number of fourteen of us gathered. With everyone’s travel plans and other commitments, we usually average about 8-10 each time. It’s a wonderful time of community and we welcome you to join us. The waitress graciously provides individual checks, so it is your choice to just have a bowl of soup or a full course meal with a cocktail.
Please call my home phone (631 591-1063) or text my cell phone (516 507-7897).
Our Alley Cat Thrift shop has continued to thrive throughout the summer months. Donations have poured in and shoppers have stopped by to see “What’s new” on our shelves and clothing racks. Most weeks we have collected close to $1,000 as our three day total!
As agreed upon a portion of our intake has been budgeted toward supporting local charitable organizations. Most recently we have provided back-to-school items for Sr. Margaret’s outreach program and backpacks for Maureen’s Haven guests. In the early fall, the plan is to have our confirmation students do some food shopping for our local food bank.
On Country Fair Day Sunday October 9th we will have a $1.00 clothing sale outside and the Thrift Shop will be open with a ½ price sale.
One of our recent shoppers had suffered a house fire in Bellport, losing almost everything. She was in her car driving, wondering where to go for some help when she heard our radio advertisement on WLNG. She came to us that morning with a $20 bill to pick out a wardrobe. We were able to give generously to provide much more than her limited budget would allow.
If you have a few hours to give, please keep the Thrift Shop in mind. We are always in need of more volunteers.
~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.
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