As kids, it was easy for us to find out what the future would hold. We just asked the Magic 8-ball. The ball always seemed to know, although it didn’t always give a clear word for moving forward. Sometimes, the answer was downright non-committal. No telling how many times I asked a question, the same, aggravating response floated into the window: REPLY HAZY TRY AGAIN.
I’ve been alive long enough now to know that the future always looks hazy. You and I never know what will happen next. We can’t know—and not knowing can make us anxious. Knowing how everything turns out would make all the difference, but that knowledge belongs only to God. The problem is, since I don’t know what’s going to happen next, I’m inclined to forget that God does know. He sees it all from beginning to end, like a magnificent parade from above, all at once. The future belongs to him, and he determines what happens next.
We can trust him with the future, because God is always and forever the same. His holiness, his perfection, his purposes never change. Even so, that doesn’t make God predictable. He is beyond us, infinitely greater and wiser, and we’ll never figure out his ways. We know he is always going to do something good, always going to rescue and bless us. Still one thing is for sure: God will surprise us every time. He’ll always do something new, never being much for repeating himself. God loves to create and do new things— Why? Because he can.
A friend taught classes in country line dancing. She loved to teach dancing, but she had one major frustration. Whatever single dance she would teach first, that’s the dance the class would want to do all night long. Apparently, rather than learn another new dance, people would rather do the one dance they know over and over again. Forever. The problem with sticking with what we know is that all we know is past; yet we serve a God who is ever calling us forward into a new future. God says, “Do not remember the former things. Forget all that.
I am about to do something new!” ( Isaiah 43)
Are you ready for God to do something new in your life and in our lives together at church? Ready or not, if we’re going to walk with the Lord, he only leads us in one direction. Forward. This is why the church’s theme for 2019 should be Live Forward. We want to spur one another on toward living out of expectation (and not out of memory). We want to be a people released from the past and ready to receive every new thing God holds out to us in days yet to come.
I am sure that you all know by now that my time as your pastor will be ending in June of 2019. There will be many decisions that need to be made about filling my position. As someone said to me recently “Pastor Tom, I know that God already knows who our next pastor is going to be. We just have to work with God in making that decision.” I do believe this is true. Our council meeting in January will include putting together a “mini” profile of the church that can be sent to potential “interim” ministers. The bigger plan will be forming a search committee to put a full church profile together to circulate to potential permanent candidates. This is not a “quick” process. Sometimes it can take years to settle on a new permanent pastor. It is hard work, but I know that in the end, the perfect candidate is already in the wings. Please continue to pray for the church and for the leadership needed so that the Congregational Church of Putnam, continues to be a beacon of light in this community
Friends, we all need this time of spiritual recalibration, and I believe the future of our church depends on it.
After all, it’s a new year, the start of something we’ve never seen before. What does the future hold for you and me? New things. All new things. So let’s join together, as we go forward.
Yours in Christ.
\Oh, what a beautiful and glorious Advent/Christmas season we just experienced. The church was beautiful, the music was inspiring and it was wonderful to see so many people filling the church Christmas Sunday and on both Christmas Eve services. Glory to God.
It was especially spiritual and emotional as this was Pastor Tom's last Christmas with us as our Pastor.
On December 27th we ended the year with a tomato soup and grilled cheese luncheon held during the school break. We were very pleased with the turn out as we served 29 adults and children not only from our church but the community as well. Great fun and fellowship. Well worth doing again next year.
And now we look forward to a brand new year as we welcome in 2019. Can you believe it?
Faith Fellowship will be kicking off the year with a free community appreciation spaghetti supper on January 19th featuring Pastor Tom's famous pasta meat sauce. Be sure not to miss this as it is a special treat before his retirement.
In February we will be participating in the town wide Fire and Ice Winter Festival serving hot cocoa around the fire pits on our front lawn. Sure to please and warm you up.
Now that the rush of the Holiday's are over, the council will be tackling the work of revising and updating the safe church policy to address the issues of violence facing our church and community today.
The council will also begin its work of finding a replacement when Pastor Tom retires. A search committee will need to be formed as we define and set parameters as to what we want and need in a new pastor.
Working closely with our conference minister, Chuck Ericson, we will need to compile a church profile, draw up a list of perspective candidates, conduct onsite visits and interviews and in the mean time find an interim minister to fill the pulpit after June 30th.
It can be a long process, but with both Pastor Tom and Chuck’s help, and with your prayers and support, God will guide and lead us as we go through this process together.
Let's hope and pray that 2019 will be a productive, prosperous, and peaceful new year for our church, our families, our communities , and through out the world.
Happy New Year
The Congregational Church of Putnam
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm
Those Present: Bob Thompson, Jo-Anne Joslin, Tor Bates, Skip Bates, Gerry Gagne, Audrey Lombardi, Kat Dunton, Pastor Tom, Greg Biggs, Sharon Almstrom and guest Rev. Chuck Ericson.
Pastor Tom open the meeting with a prayer.
Introduction: Rev Chuck Erickson, Interim Area Minister. Chuck to the council about the future of Pastor Tom retirement and the process of his intern and replacement.
The motion was made by Jo-Anne to accept the October minutes with no changes. This motion was 2nd by Skip.
The motion was made by Tori to accept the Financial Report Budget vs. Actual, and it was 2nd by Skip.
Deacons: The sign-up board is doing well, we see a lot of new faces. There will be a baptism in December and a Funeral on November 17.
Trustees: Sink in men’s room is clogged, a plumber is needed- Hill Top was suggested. The dehumidifier in the nursery needs to be replaced.
Church usage applications: Gingerbread Dec 1, 1:00-3:00 pm
Paint Night December 1, 5:30-8:00 pm
Holiday Shopping December 8, 10:00-1:00
Movie Night, December 14. 6:00 pm
Roger Franklin December 18
Lunch in- December 27, 11:30 – Kat & Audrey
Kathy Peterson Jan 22, 2018 IHSP
Christian Ed: There has been between 5- 13 children per week in Sunday School. The children are now staying with their parents on the first Sunday of each month. This allows Kat and Angela and the children to take part in the services for a month. I have encouraged the older children to take part in what they can in the services. The children are completing their helping hand's charts. Our Christmas play will be held on December 23. On the 16 the children will have their own Christmas party.
Missions: Making donations
Faith Fellowship: See attached
Church Safe Policy- Looking into Putnam Police coming to a meeting in January 2019 to speak to the council.
Bob Wright and Bryan Badar will be covering the following:
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Sunday, January 13,2019
Sunday, February 10,2019
Sunday, March 10, 2019
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 11,2018
A motion was made by Jo-Anne to Adjourn the meeting at 8:00pm and 2nd by Greg.
Kathy Dunton Clerk.
November 11, 2018
Opening and Prayer
Sharon Thompson welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending. Myrna Paulhus opened the meeting with a prayer.
A motion was made by Myrna Paulhus to accept the Secretary’s report, 2nd by Charlie Leach,in favor, so moved.
Skip Bates presented the treasurer’s report. A motion was made by Louise Pempek to accept
the report as presented, 2nd by Myrna Paulhus, all in favor, so moved.
Harvest Fair: Jan Christy reported that the luncheon was very busy and made $1,850. Myrna Paulhus reported that all items left over were taken to the Arc and they were very grateful. She also mentioned the need for someone to take care of the money for the day and then be responsible for collecting it at the end of the day.
Myrna also said that she and Roger have organized all the banners, labeled them and rolled them up. They are in the coat room off the narthex. If you are the lead for an event, it is your responsibility to put the banner up for that event.
Halloween Stroll: Myrna reported that it was just great. New people were involved and they all wore
costumes with makeup. They monitored the wall in front so that people did not climb up and walk along it. Roger Franklin passed out the candy and Faith Fellowship provided pizza for all the volunteers that night. They had made up 1,700 bags andactually handed out 1,425 bags.
Roast Beef: Tori Bates reported that it went well. The dinner profited $1649. Louise Pempek commented that it is great to have people coming into the church for a good healthy meal.
Coffee Get Together: Audrey Lombardi reported that the first one was on Wednesday, the 7th, at 7am and4 people attended.
Large Projects – Windows: Bob Thompson is looking into the cost of replacing the windows in the conference room and bathroom.
Nut Sale: Be sure to place your order with Jo-Anne Joslin.
Wreath Sale: Audrey Lombardi reported that orders need to be in by November 18th with pick up on Sunday, November 25th
Razzle Dazzle Light Parade: It is happening. Noah’s Ark will be the theme. Kat Farnsworth will be asking the church for donation of candy. They will also hand out packets with church information.
Gingerbread Bread Houses: Will be held on December 1st at 1pm. Kat Farnsworth is organizing the event.
Paint Night: Kat Farnsworth is organizing this event. It will be held on December 1st in the evening and the event is filled to capacity.
Movie Night: December 14th at 6pm. Kat Farnsworth requested that Faith Fellowship donate Sugar cookies and hot chocolate for the night. A motion to pay for these refreshments was made by Audrey Lombardi, 2nd by Tori Bates., all in favor, so moved.
Christmas Pot Luck/Yankee Swap: Scheduled for Sunday, December 9th at 1pm
Book Sale: It is under the coat rack by the downstairs door and had one customer this month. It is a work in progress. It was suggested that a sign should be made for the price of the books and possibly moved to a bookcase by the stairs.
Appreciation Monthly Supper: First one will be serving soup on December 27th @ 1pm.
Second will be serving spaghetti on January 19th @ 5pm.
Decorating the church will be November 24 – the Saturday after Thanksgiving
Pizza will be available for volunteers.
December 9th after church
Motion to adjourn by Charlie Leach, 2nd by Bill Pearsall, all in favor, so moved.
Hello all. How would you like to broaden your musical horizons and have a lot of fun at the same time doing what you do best? We would like to invite you (and anyone else you might think would enjoy this) to attend a very special event this spring. We'd like to host a real old-fashioned shape note sing, led by a real authority on the subject! We can, and hope to, include as many singers as we can. Wouldn't it be great if we could have the choir sit in the entire balcony? What a sound that would make. The event will entail just the one day commitment on your part. There will be no rehearsals for this event. The workshop is all you get, but we're sure it will be more than enough. Anyone who has sung for Nym can attest to that. Please feel free to pass this invitation along to others; whether in a church choir, or a big chorus, or family and friends.
We will need to get an accurate estimate of the number of participants for various reasons. There may be a small fee for the dinner (Yankee Pot Roast, of course) and, as you may have realized, we've left the actual date a mystery. (???) That's because we can't decide on the only two possibilities: Mother's Day or Memorial Weekend Saturday. So we thought we could address both issues at once by asking you to please get back to our Music Director, Ted Bradley, (at this address or by phone: 860 942-4036) to let us know: 1 If you would like to attend and 2 Which date you would prefer NO LATER THAN VALENTINE'S DAY, FEB. 14!! The more, the merrier!!
Thank you. -Music Committee, First Congregational Church, Woodstock
Nym Cooke will lead a shape-note music workshop in the Woodstock Hill Church on Sunday, May ??th. Cooke, an internationally-known authority on the 3- and 4-voice musical compositions that appeared in New England's sacred tunebooks between 1770 and 1810 and in Appalachian and Southern collections thereafter, is also the director of the local community chorus Quinebaug Valley Singers. Singers attending this workshop will be expected to have either quick ears or sight-reading skills. All vocal parts are needed, with a special request for tenors, who sing the melody in this tradition. In the workshop (3-6pm, with a break midway) we'll practice 20-25 short pieces--plain tunes and fuging tunes, carols and elegies, odes and anthems--then, after sitting down to dinner together, we'll present what we've learned in an informal concert. Copies of the music will be supplied to all singers. Both workshop and concert will be enlivened by historical and musical commentary, and Cooke's magisterial and beautifully-produced anthology American Harmony (Boston: David R. Godine, 2018), with 176 shape-note compositions, 100 illustrations, and extensive composer biographies and notes on the music, will be available for sale at a special discount. (Autographs are free.)