Congregational Church of Putnam

Volume 25

From Pastor Tom

The Beacon

December, 2018

Number 12

Pastor’s Letter

The season of Advent marks the beginning of a new church year in which we reflect anew on the meaning of the incarnation, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus for us. In the season of Advent we focus on the threefold coming of Jesus Christ to the world in the flesh, in the Word and the Sacraments, and in glory. At this time each year, we in the church should ask ourselves the same question that Martin Luther asked as he pondered the rich meaning of the Christmas story, “Why would the Lord of all the universe care enough about us mortals to take our flesh and share our woes?” [Roland Bainton (ed.), Martin Luther’s Christmas Book (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1948), 5]

We learned from our teachers in grade school that there is no such thing as a bad question. While this may be true, it is also true that some questions serve a greater purpose than others. By asking ourselves, during the season of Advent, why God would care enough about us mortals to take our flesh and share our woes, two important purposes are being served.

First, the connection between the manger and cross are brought into closer companionship. Luther would often say that the manger and the cross are made of the same wood. That is to say that they are both made by wood stained with the blood of the sin and disobedience of God’s creatures. They are also stained with the sweat and tears of our personal God who cares about his entire creation. His care is shown in his action to send his Son, Jesus and close the gap of distance and separation between him and creatures that have forgotten to hear, listen, and obey the good and holy Word of their heavenly Father.

The second purpose that is served by asking the question, “Why would the Lord of all the universe care enough about us mortals to take our flesh and share our woes?”, is that it leads us to consider all the ways in which our God comes to us. Since the season of Advent occurs during the four weeks prior to Christmas Day, it can be easy for us to focus our eyes only on the baby Jesus cradled in the manger. But if we pull back the curtains a little farther, we can bring into view all the ways that God comes to us.

Our God splits the heavens and comes down not just during the event that we celebrate one month from now on Christmas morning. The purpose of the season of Advent is not so that the church can transport itself back two thousand years ago and pretend to be first century Jews who are waiting for their Messiah to be born. We live in the twenty-first century. So let us believe more firmly the truth that God has already come to us, is continuing to come to us, and will come back to us.

We certainly take time within our congregation and within our families to celebrate God’s coming to us on Christmas morning. However, at the same time we embrace the fact that our God, who is beyond time and space, comes down to us in time and space every Sunday morning to deliver the fruit of his Son’s crucifixion and resurrection over two thousand years ago through his Word and Sacraments. He comes to us through his instruments: the water and the Word of God, the bread and the wine, and the Bible which contains all of God’s promises in Christ. In these ways, we receive Immanuel, “God with us,” now! As we live in a world where the evidence of the sin, suffering, and brokenness of creation is all too evident, we receive God’s peace on earth as he comes to us “hidden” in the Word and Sacraments. We also embrace his promise of Christ to restore his broken creation and to completely “reveal” His victory over suffering and death in His coming again to us in glory, just as He said.

The truth that God cares enough for us mortals to take on our flesh and share our woes is shown to us in the wonderful Christmas story which we eagerly wait to celebrate. But take comfort now in this truth as it is made known to you now through God’s Word and his Sacraments. As members of His church, we should equip ourselves to share this good news with others who live among us and are confused in their questioning, suffering, and despair. And as you equip yourselves this Advent season and share the reason for the hope that you have in Christ, rest assured that He is coming again soon.

In Christ,

Pastor Tom

Moderator's Report
December 2018

Well the Holidays are certainly upon us and everything is in full swing. Seems like it comes faster and earlier each year.

 November was a very busy month starting off with the annual roast beef supper on November 3rd.   It was very well attended and delicious as usual. Thank you to the Picard Family and the Bates family for heading up this great event, and to everyone else for all their hard work.

 Our newly formed Morning Coffee Group meets every Wednesday at 7:00 to 8:00 am.   We have up to 5 people  in attendance so far.  Come and join us for coffee and conversation.   The exercise group continues to meet every Monday and Thursday at 9:00 and Wednesdays at 12:00.  And as always Bible study is on Wednesday mornings at 10:30 and Thursday night's at 6:30. 

Bill and Terri hosted their annual Thanksgiving Dinner serving around 60 people again this year.  What a great and rewarding time for people who would otherwise be alone for Thanksgiving.  Thanks you Bill and Terri and everyone who helped. 

A church decorating party was held on the 24th and pizza was served after all the hard work.  The church is beautiful and ready for Advent/Christmas season.  A big thank you to everyone who turned out, the committee could not have done it alone.

The Dazzle Light Parade was the 25th and it was great to see all the excitement and our kids having so much fun.  Thank you to Kat and all who helped for putting  this together on such short notice.  It was great. 

December looks to be a busy month as well,  Saturday  the 1st is a Make Your Own Gingerbread House at 1:00 and at 5:30 is another paint night. Hope you can join in the fun. 

On the 2nd is communion and the first Sunday of Advent.  December 9th is our annual Pot Luck and Yankee Swap Christmas Party,  on the 14th  we are holding a movie night showing the "Polar Express" with cocoa and sugar cookies as well as popcorn being served.  And of course on the 24th is our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service held  at 7:00 and 11:00pm. 

During the school break  we are trying something new.  On December 27th we are hosting a tomato soup and grilled cheese luncheon.  It is a way to get the kids involved around food, activities and dare we say fellowship.  We encourage you to bring your kids and their friends as well.  We are looking forward to a great time.  Thank you Kat for another great idea. 

These are a few of the many new and exciting activities going on as well as our long time traditional favorites. Be sure to come and join in the fun  at this special time of year. 

The church council continues its work on the CAT  scan results and the safe church policy.  I was informed by the new Putnam Police Chief that an all area church meeting is in the planning for January 2019 to address the issue of gun violence in our places of worship.  We will also be setting up a meeting with him to tour our own building sometime in December looking for suggestions and additions to meet our personal needs.

At our November council meeting we met with Chuck Ericson, the Ct. Conference Area  Minister to help us absorb and digest the news of Pastor Tom's retirement and how we proceed from here.  We were all highly impressed with him and feel confident that we can work very comfortably with him.  We will certainly need his knowledge and guidance as we prepare for the changes ahead.  We will be forming a search committee in January after the busy holiday season.

As part of this transition process Tom will be taking one day a month off until his final day in June and we will be  hosting a visiting minister.    Pastor Brian Baedder will be here on December 16th to fill the pulpit.  He would also be a possible candidate for an interim minister as well.  Hopefully this will aide in a much smoother transition. 

In the past few beacon articles I talked about changes and how exciting as well as how hard they can be.  Well change is certainly  happening, and we need to reach out in prayer and support of one another as well as  to Pastor Tom.    It can be a time of discovery and growth for all of us and we wish  him the very best and know that he will be back with us one day.

"Don't cry because it's over,  smile because it happened!"

Merry Christmas,

Audrey Lombardi

The Congregational Church of Putnam
Council Minutes
Tuesday, October 11, 2018

The meeting was called to order at 6:31 pm
Those present: Audrey Lombardi, Jo-Anne Joslin, Pastor Tom, Bob Thompson, Tori Bates, Skip Bates, Sharon Almstrom, Kat Dunton
Pastor Tom open the meeting in prayer.
Committee Reports:
The motion was made by Jo-Anne to accept the September meeting minutes with a few changes. This motion was 2nd by Tori.
The motion was made by Skip to accept the Financial Report Budget vs. Actual and 2nd by Sharon.
Trustee Report:
Work was done since the last report: Windows boxes installed on-ramp, shrubs on sides of front steps pruned back, ramp door sanded, cleaned and clear coated. Next on tap is work on ramp door trim. Have contacted Bob Egan asking to inspect flashing around the tower. He will let me know when they can come.
Respectfully, Bob Thompson
Christian Ed:
We are heading into our 4th week of Sunday school. We have started with the creation of the earth. The children are enjoying the activities and the reading.  In the past four weeks, we have had ____51_____ children attend Sunday school.  We will continue to talk about the creation of the earth. In November we will be thinking about the Christmas play.
I would like to have a Holiday shopping for the children on December ___8___. The children will be able to come in and pick out six items to wrap make cards to be able to give to family or friends on Christmas.
Mission:      No report
Faith fellowship:   See attach

Old Business:
The Long Range Plan committee is working on putting the Welcome packet together.  As well as education, outreach, and communication.
New Business:
Pastor Tom has announced his retirement. June 30, 2019, will be his last day as our Pastor.
Audrey and Kathy asked the council to approve the following events:

    •Starting Wednesday, November 7, from 7:00-8:00 am Coffee and where was God in your week this week?
    •Thursday, December 27, 11:30 -1:00 pm Free lunch open to anyone. Tomato soup and Grilled Cheese.
    •Saturday, January 19, Free -Spaghetti Dinner.

Kathy has asked the council if the children take part in the first Sunday of the month services. A few parents have asked about the children participating in communion.  Children are welcome to sign up for greeters and readers.
This will begin on November 4; Pastor Tom will be visiting the Children on the 28 of October to speak to the children about communion.
A motion was made by Tori to adjourn the meeting at 7:49 pm
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Respectfully Submitted
Kathy Dunton Clerk


Beacon December 2018
“Make Note”

The holiday season is upon us - already!! In addition to all of our holiday choral and handbill music during the Advent and Christmas Season, there are a number of concerts you may wish to take advantage of. These concerts all feature members of our choirs.

Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:00pm at Plainfield High School: Plainfield Senior Chorus with Marilee Morse singing etc; admission is $5 at the door.

Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:00pm and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3:00pm at Woodstock Evangelical  Covenant Church: Concert Choir of NE Conn will present Parts 1 & 2 of Handel’s  “Messiah” with Deb Leach and Marilee Morse singing; tickets are $15 from Marilee or Deb or at the door.

Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2:00pm at the Art Museum in Worcester: Salisbury Singers Holiday Concert with Deb Leach singing; free with Museum admission.

The following Holiday Concerts by Bells of Fire Handbell Choir with Marilee Morse ringing will present the same program with no admission charge, donations accepted:
Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 1:00pm at Yantic River Inn in Norwichtown

Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1:00pm at Thames Club in New London

Monday, Dec. 10 at 10:00am at Mystic Healthcare

Friday, Dec. 14 at 2:00pm at Juniper Hill in Mansfield
Friday, Dec. 14 at 7:00pm at Central Baptist Church in Norwich

The following Holiday Concerts with our own Joyful Praise Handbell Sextet will present the same program with no admission charge:
Sunday, Dec. 16 at 1:30pm at Victoria Station Cafe on the second floor stage for Putnam Holiday shoppers
Sunday, Dec. 16 at 6:45pm at Westfield Congregational Church in Danielson for their Victorian Advent Service; arrive early for good parking

Monday, Dec. 17 at 10:30am at Westview Healthcare Center in Dayville
Monday, Dec. 17 at 2:00pm at Matulaitis Nursing Home in Putnam

Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 10:30am at Quinebaug Valley Senior Center in Brooklyn
Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 2:00pm at Ella Grasso Apartments in Putnam

Members of our Joyful Praise Handbell Sextet are Cynthia Donatelli, Roger Franklin, Deb Leach, Marilee Morse, Myrna Paulhus, and Lana Salisbury.

We will be busy!!
On behalf of the Choirs of our church's music ministry, we wish you and yours a most blessed and joyous Advent, Christmas and New Year!!

Marilee Morse
Director of Music

Congregational Church of Putnam

Name:  _____________________________________________

Telephone:  ______________________________

# of Wreaths:  ______________

$16.00 each with Red Velvet Bow

$12.00 each without bow

Total Cost:  ______________

Wreaths are double faces, 12” ring size, 21 – 24” outside spread, weight about 4 lbs.

Also available are larger wreaths.  Discuss your needs with Charlotte Picard by calling 860-779-0129.

Wreaths will be available for pick up on November 25.  Please make checks payable to Faith Fellowship.  Orders must be placed by November 18.

Thank you for your support.


Christmas Poinsettias
Help decorate our church with beautiful and meaningful plants.

Christmas poinsettias will be ordered and delivered to the church during the Advent Season.  If you wish to place an order, please complete this form and enclose your payment.
_____ # White Poinsettias  ______   x  $16.00 each  =  __________
______ # Red Poinsettias______   x  $16.00 each=    __________
Total amount enclosed, cash or check
Cash __________check # __________Total         $___________

If you wish to purchase your own poinsettias, please put your name on the pot and bring them to church during advent.  Fill out the form below and mail or return to me.
My Christmas Poinsettia is in memory/honor of:

My Christmas Poinsettia is in memory/honor of:

My Christmas Poinsettia is in memory/honor of:

My Christmas Poinsettia is in memory/honor of:

Given by  ___________________________________________________

You may mail your order to PO Box 463, Putnam, CT 06260, leave it at the church office or give your order to Audrey Lombardi.  Check should be made payable to the Congregational Church of Putnam.

Orders must be placed by December 16, 2018

2018-2019 NUT SALE

It is that time again. Yes, September is upon us and it is time for the annual nut sale to begin. I recently received this year’s information from our purveyor, Terri-Lynn.  I will be taking over the nut sales this year as Charlie has retired from this endeavor.  I can only hope to be half as good as Charlie was!

As is the case in most years, there is a significant price increase for most of the products. I have adjusted our prices to reflect these changes (see order form).

Please start to think about the upcoming season(s) and the fact that these nuts can satisfy a lot of our needs at various venues.

Thanks so much for your co-operation in the past and let’s make this year even better!

Jo-Anne Joslin
Campaign Chairman