Congregational Church of Putnam

Volume 26

Pastor’s Letter

The Beacon

February, 2020

Number 2

Dear Friends:

Lent begins this year at the beginning of March. We have just one month and I have an idea I wish to share with you. What if we set ourselves a theme for Lent? I am not thinking of this as a “sermon” theme. I want it to be a theme that involves all of us. True Confession: I’ve never done this before. Two years ago I attended church during Lent with my friends, Charles and Carol. They belong to a UCC church in Princeton, New Jersey. Carol chaired the Search Committee for their new pastor and I was so impressed with the new ideas their pastor brought to the church. She had a knack for challenging everyone to really think about how they wished to grow and learn in their faith.

So here is my new idea. Let’s make our Lenten Theme for 2020 “Forgiveness”. Here are some ways for each of us to participate. You are welcome to use as many ways as you wish. You may wish to write something personal from your own experience. Perhaps you recall a time when someone forgave you or you forgave another person. Or perhaps you have struggled and been unable to forgive something or someone. You may think of a particular passage of scripture, the verse of a hymn, a scene from a play or novel, a poem, a painting, a movie. The options are wide open.

You may wish to write something and send it along to the church office. We will publish the writings that are sent to us. Perhaps you would  like to share your thoughts on “forgiveness” on Sunday morning in church. Or maybe you would like to develop a message with the children for the children’s moment. Everyone has this time in February to develop your thoughts.

When we think about our Christian faith, it seems to me that forgiving and being forgiven form a cornerstone of our faith tradition. Jesus includes it in the prayer which he taught the disciples. In his final moments on the cross, he calls out,  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

So let’s give this a try. Write something you wish to share with the church or say something some Lenten Sunday in worship. Keep a journal of your thoughts, paint a picture, take a walk everyday and think about forgiveness. Let your faith be your guide. And let’s just see how this helps us grow in our faith.

Yours in Christ’s service,



The Congregational Church of Putnam
Council Meeting Minutes
December 10, 2019


Moderator's Report
February 2020
“And This is 2020”

We are now one month into the new year of 2020. It doesn't seem possible, does it. We started off the year with the first Sunday of January being Epiphany Sunday, Three Kings Day, or Star Sunday. Pastor Kathy continued our long tradition of passing out our “star words’ for the year. We heard several members speak about their 2019 words, how they pondered it, studied it, and how they used it throughout the year. It was a very touching service.

My new Star Word for 2020 is “ Focus”. At first I was not very impressed, I had enough things that I had to be focused on already I thought. However, I later looked up the definition, studied it and then checked out how and where it was used in the bible. I then decided that what “focus” meant to me for 2020 was that I had to strive to become more focused on keeping God first and foremost in my daily life, to not let the daily task and distraction interfere with that goal. I had to make time with God a priority, to strive to read and study His word daily, and to seek His guidance in all things and know that HE is in charge. I must admit I am working on  it, I have a year!

As I reported to you last month, the council has finalized their selection for the Search Committee. They have already met with Chuck Ericson to receive orientation and guidance from the UCC. I am very pleased and impressed with their commitment and dedication to this most important aspect of our church. On January 26th a special service of Dedication and Installation was held during worship service. Immediately following coffee time the committee held their very first official meeting to start the process of selecting a settled Pastor. And so it begins. As always, I ask for your continued prayers and support for this committee, as well as for our church as we work together in this effort.

January 19th was the scheduled ice skating trip to the Norwich Ice Rink. We  had four kids and one adult skating along with several other adults watching on the sidelines. The kids and adults alike had a great time and we look forward to the ski trip coming soon.

Looking forward to other information and activities for February, Pastor  Kathy will be away on the 2nd, Bill Pearsall will leading worship. As Kathy will be back late on the 8th, Skip Bates will lead worship on the 9th. Kathy will be with us in the congregation. On February 8, the Putnam Business Association will hold its town wide Fire and Ice Winter Celebration. We will again have fire pits on the front lawn and serve hot cocoa. The cake decorating will take place in the chapel and kids activities will be in the conference room. February 11th is the regular council meeting, and on the 12th the Red Cross blood drive will be held downstairs in the dinning room. On the 25th is our annual Maundy Thursday Pancake Supper. Please be sure to check out these activities and we hop to see you there.

Audrey Lombardi

Make Note

Our Chancel and Joyful Praise Handbell Choirs have completed a very successful holiday season. The Chancel Choir continues to rehearse and perform weekly on Sunday mornings. Members of our Joyful Praise Handbell Choir were very busy during Advent. The “Merry Ringers” were a holiday sextet who performed 45 minute programs for seven area nursing homes, senior centers, and one veteran’s group. On January 10 the full choir with two additional ringers from Living Faith United Methodist Church performed a 90 minute seminar for the Learning in Retirement program at Quinebaug Valley Community College. The weather cooperated, and we were fortunate to have a large and very appreciative audience. Our ringers also performed on two Sunday mornings in Advent as well as on Christmas Eve. My thanks to all our musicians for their hard work and many extra hours of rehearsal time to prepare all the music.

Our holiday season ended with an evening honoring Deb and Charlie Leach. We shared many memories of their 32 years at our church in many capacities of service including the choirs. They have now moved to Charlottesville, Virginia. We were sad to see them go and miss them dearly, but wish them all the best in their new home and life.

Our Joyful Praise Handbell Choir is now preparing for and looking forward to the Handbell Festival on Sunday afternoon, March 8, at St. Mary Church, 57 Valley Street, Willimantic. There will be a free concert open to the public at 7:00pm. Please join us if you can.

We are looking for new choir members in both choirs. Now is the time to give us a try. April 5 at 3:00pm is the date and time of our 91st Annual Palm Sunday Concert of Sacred Music. It’s a wonderful and inspiring event involving other area church choirs. Please see me any Sunday morning or contact the church office if you are interested in participating in the Music Ministry at the Putnam Congregational Church.

Marilee Morse
Director of Music

Dear Friends,
As announced by our Church Council the members of the Pastoral Search Committee are as follows: Greg Biggs, Beth Joslin, Audrey Lombardi, (non-voting), Louise Pempek, Debby Thurston, and myself. Rev. Kathy will serve as a resource and be available to our committee as time permits. We had  a Service of Celebration and Dedication on January 26, 2020 for the work of our committee during worship.

As members of the Search Committee, we want to express our gratitude for the trust you have placed in us. This past week we concluded our orientation meeting with Rev. Chuck Ericson our Interim Regional Minister for Eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island who will work closely with us. The purpose of this letter is to share with you a brief summary of the Search and Call process of the United Church of Christ.

1) We will begin to build our “Local Church Profile” based on the Congregation Assessment Tool or CAT Survey that we recently concluded, as well as seeking your perspectives on our church and its ministry. We will have a series of small group meetings as well as one on one meetings and as a result of this listening process we will incorporate your ideas about new pastoral leadership into our profile.

2) Our vacancy will then be listed in the “UCC Employment Opportunities.”

3) Persons who have been authorized to complete a UCC Ministerial Profile will submit profiles to the committee through the Conference office.
4) Names of candidates are held in strict confidence within our committee, and we ask you to respect the essential confidentiality of this process.
5) We will share our Local Church Profile with candidates, and we will begin to follow up with persons in whom we have particular interest.

6) We will select a small number of candidates for personal interviews, following which we will make arrangements for our Search Committee members to worship with them.

7) We will invite at least two candidates back for second interviews, following which we will seek God’s guidance and prayerfully make a decision on a candidate.

8) If the candidate we recommend chooses to accept, compensation arrangements will be clarified, and a date for a “candidating Sunday” will be established.

9) You will all have an opportunity to meet the candidate (and family) that weekend in an informal setting as well as the formal worship service where the candidate will preach. A congregational meeting following the worship service will offer each member an opportunity to ask questions of the Search Committee, and to vote on the Call to our new pastor.

We are so thankful during this time for the excellent interim leadership and Christian friendship of Rev. Kathy Henry. I trust with absolute certainty, that God will guide both our candidates and the members of our Search Committee. We ask you to pray for us regularly. We are blessed with a wonderful church community, with hard work and God’s guidance, we will be blessed with a wonderful pastor to guide us as we minister in the name of Jesus Christ.

God’s Blessings to you all,
Marc “Skip” Bates
Committee Chair


Baby Sitting Course
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Cost  $45.00 per person due at time of registration
This is a non-refundable program.
This course is geared for youth, ages 11-15 years old.
Please bring your lunch, a baby doll for CPR practicing.
Please see Kat to register. 860-481-2519
Checks payable to Roseanne Palumbo

Wachusett Mountain Ski Trip
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Please sign up in the Chapel.
Any questions please see Pastor Kathy.

Scout Sunday

Join us on Sunday, February 16, 2020, as we honor the traditions of Scouting. Perhaps you grew up in Boy Scouting or Girl Scouting. Bring anything you have from you scouting days, merit badges, parts of your uniform, photos. We welcome Scout master John Ryan whose scout troop meets at St. Mary’s Church.