CCH Congregator Weekly January 6, 2017

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To a Passionate New Year
Another new year. What is it? Oh, yeah, 2017. Hope it's better than 2016. Oh hum. Are you feeling like new year is another turn on the hamster wheel? I get it. Politics change, people come and go, life goes on. Or so it sometimes seems in the banality of middle class life.

I have begun my new year with two books that have given me a kick in the needed parts. Two autobiographies by men who grew up in 1950-60s America. They have each made amazing contributions and they couldn't be more different. Larry Brilliant and Bruce Springsteen.

The first was "Sometimes Brilliant," by Larry Brilliant. (yes, that is his name) Recommended by Bruce Rosenzweig this is the selection for our book group this month. Brilliant grew up in Detroit and studied to be a doctor. Influenced by Martin Luther King, Jr. he began to work for social justice. Then influenced by Wavy Gravy he joined the Medicine Bell Caravan that eventually led him to an ashram in the Himalayas. There his guru Maharaji told him to join the World Health Organization and they would eradicate smallpox. He did and they did. His is a spiritual journey through drugs, prayer, rituals and service. A counter culture Forrest Gump he seemed to be at all the highlights of that turned on world, and writes about it with a compassionate and objective lens of the good and the bad. Brilliant went on to found the Seva Foundation and was the first executive director of I was inspired by the possibilities of people to make such a difference in the world–they eradicated smallpox!

On Christmas morning my wife Ronnie and I each surprised the other with a copy of "Born to Run," by Bruce Springsteen. His book reads like one of his songs–unfiltered and hardcharging while revealing beauty and truth. HIs escape from childhood came from watching Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show as he revealed the alternative path of rock and roll. As a teen he was a focused, dedicated musician in the 1960s (without drugs). He taught himself to make great music that was true to his life. His music inspires me to find salvation in even he darkest  places of life.

Two very different stories from men living through the same times. What unites them is passion. Brillant's passionate spiritual search for God and to help humanity. Springsteens' passionate musical journey to be the best musician who tells the truth about his life and times. In each their passion led to hard work, sacrifice, and dedication that has changed our world.

This is the best dream of a new year. Not that we may alter some habits or diets, but may find new passion for life. This passion for me comes from the path of unity with God's spirit as found in the compassion, justice and peace of Jesus. As these two writers testify, we can't do it by ourselves. It takes a dedicated group (maybe an ashram, or a band), but we can all be there for each other to combat some of the worst diseases of our day–apathy and boredom. This is what we are about when the church is at it's best.

See you in church,
Pastor Mark

We hold Nancy Sordi and her family in our prayers over the passing of her brother, Bill.

We pray, also, for Zoe Phillips and her family over the passing of her brother, Roy.

Confirmation to Begin

Confirmation is the process by which seventh and eighth grade young people study to make the decision about joining the church. In our church we offer the program every other year for both grades together. Pastor Mark leads the class and the program will begin in early January  and conclude on Confirmation Sunday on Pentecost, June 4. Typically we start the program in the late fall, but we are trying something different this year. The program will not last as long, but will be more experiential and will require a greater commitment during that time.
There will be an introductory meeting on January 8, following worship, in order to explain the program to the young people and their parents. All seventh and eighth graders are invited to attend.

Worship Calendar

January 8: Communion Sunday
   Since Pastor Mark was gone last week we will hold our monthly communion service this week of the Baptism of Christ Sunday. Scripture: Luke 3:1-14

January 15: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday

Pastor's Book Group

"Sometimes Brilliant," by Larry Brilliant is the next selection for the pastor's book group. It is a longer book than usual, but the group isn't meeting again until January 25, 2017.

From the publisher: When a powerful mystic steps on the hand of a radical young hippie doctor from Detroit, it changes lives and the world. Sometimes Brilliant is the adventures of a philosopher, mystic, hippie, doctor, groundbreaking tech innovator, and key player in the eradication of one of the worst pandemics in human history. His story, of what happens when love, compassion and determination meet the right circumstances to effect positive change, is the kind that keeps hope and the sense of possibility alive.

“Sometimes Brilliant is a mesmerizing read—a window inside some of the most unique social and spiritual movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and the story of how people from a dozen nations came together to eradicate one of the world’s most terrible diseases. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.” (Jim Wallis, New York Times bestselling author of America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, president of Sojourners, and editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine)

Please Return Pledge Cards

Now is the time to make your faith commitment to our church for 2017. Please return all pledge cards to the church as soon as possible so that our Trustees may begin to plan a budget for next year. If you wish to email in your pledge please send it to our financial secretary, Marion Munch.

Please note: “According to recent IRS rule changes, ALL donations must be DEPOSITED by end of year in order to be deductible in the current tax year. “
Please make sure all donations for 2016 are RECEIVED at the church by the end
of day on Thursday, December 29, 2016.

Thank you for remembering the church in your will. Your bequest will help insure the future of our congregation.

Volunteers Needed

Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative (HIHI)
We are looking for more volunteers to staff the HIHI program on January 21.

Here's what we need:

 1-2 more volunteers to set up and serve. 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

 Evening Chaperones: 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

 Clean up help Sunday – 6:30-7:30 AM

 MEALS : Lunch and breakfast.

A second volunteer on dinner would be helpful too.

Northport Food Pantry
We collect food for the Northport Food pantry each week at our church. Please place donations in the box by the church office.

Peace and Plenty Food Outreach:  You are invited to help make sandwiches and prepare snacks for children in Huntington. Peace and Plenty will meets on Mondays at 6:30 PM. They are also in need of donations of lunch meats and cheeses, fruit and healthy snacks.

Cooks Needed for the Peace & Plenty program
We're looking for a few volunteers who can help us send the Tri CYA trays of
cooked food such as baked ziti, chicken and rice, pasta with meatballs or meat sauce, etc. Most children at the Tri CYA receive free breakfast and lunch at school during the school year and rely on the Tri CYA  for at least one nutritious meal. We try to support
that effort with some substantial dishes, beyond sandwiches.  Some of the food may also be sent to individuals unable to get out to food pantries and living with food
If you would like to help  please contact Anne:

"Forgive Our Debtors"

Wine and Cheese Party
Sunday, January 22, 4-6:00 PM

It's time to wipe the slate clean! Over the years, many of the services won at our benefit auctions have never been collected.  In celebration of the generosity of both donors and winning bidders, we are having a party to erase all such obligations.
·       If you are the winner of an un-collected service, admission is $10 per person.
·       All others welcome at $20 per person.
Please sign up on the bulletin board  (if you did not sign up at the 2016 auction.)
Note: If you still wish to collect your "service," please make arrangements with the donor, and join us at the party!

New CCH Website

We are thrilled to unveil the new design for our church website: It is the same address, but a totally redesigned site. Thanks to the design work of Joanna Stasuk and the web work of Doug Munch we were able to completely redo the site and it is now based on WordPress which will be an easy platform for revisions and new material. Joanna used much of the content from the previous site that was done by John Leary. The site is still a work in progress, but we wanted to make it live for Christmas. Thank you so much to Joanna and Doug for all their hard work!

Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative

The Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative provides housing for homeless people in Huntington in religious organizations throughout the winter. The need for this was highlighted recently when a homeless man died of hypothermia in Huntington Station. We will provide volunteers to run the program on three Saturday nights in 2017: January 21, February 25 and March 11. Please sign up on the signs at the church.

Donations needed for the 2016 HIHI program:
• Items for hygiene kits:
            o Disposable razors
            o Small bars of soap
            o Toothbrushes
            o Travel-sized toothpaste
            o Travel-sized shampoo
            o Combs
• New men’s socks and underwear (small/medium)
• New hats/gloves
• New or gently-used T-shirts
• New or gently-used bath towels
• Gently used men’s coats, boots and sweatshirts

There will be a box in church for donations.

Upcoming Events

                                           Calendar Announcements

Sunday, January 8

Worship Service with Communion at 10:00 AM

Church School at 10:00 AM

Fellowship Hour at 11 AM: Safer Family

Confirmation Organization Meeting at 11:30 AM

Monday, January 9

Outreach Meeting at 7:30

Tuesday, January 10

Membership Meeting at 7:30 PM

Wednesday, January 11

Diaconate Meeting at 7:30 PM

Thursday, January 12

Trustees Meeting at 7:30 PM

Sunday, January 15

Intergenerational Service at 10:00 AM

Fellowship Hour at 11 AM: Mike & Lauren Eliash

Monday, January 16

Peace & Plenty Lunch Program at 6:30 PM

Thursday, January 19

Bell Choir at 6:30 PM

Choir Rehearsal at 7:30 PM

Saturday, January 21-22

HIHI at St. Patrick’s Church begins at 5:00 PM

Sunday, January 29 at 11:30 AM
CCH Congregational Annual Meeting

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The Congregational Church of Huntington

30 Washington Drive

Centerport, NY 11721

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