CCH Congregator Weekly May 24, 2019

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Our New York Brothers and Sisters

This past weekend I had the opportunity, with our delegate Jane Madden-Koch, to attend the annual meeting of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ. We are one of 252 UCC churches across New York State. Every year delegates from these churches gather for inspiration, to consider the conference budget and to elect officers to represent us. As a member of the conference board I also attend quarterly meetings to help guide the conference in its work for our churches.

As always, the best part of the meeting for me is seeing the diverse and faithful members of the many churches across our state. From the Long Island suburbs, to metro NYC, to upstate farm communities  we represent the varied regions and cultures of our state. It is a fascinating picture.

This year's conference was filled with good news. First, the President and General Minister of our denomination, the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, was the keynote speaker. He is a dynamic speaker and has a strong vision for our future.

Second, the conference finances are looking up. Three years ago the conference minister, the Rev. David Gaewski, predicted that we would spend down all of our reserves in three years without significant changes. David has led us through changes, including reduced staff, more diverse fund-raising, and, most importantly, the creation of the Reformed Association. This body allows churches in the Reformed Church of America who are seeking a more inclusive denomination to have dual-standing in the United Church of Christ. All of these have led to a much better financial standing for the conference.

There are, of course, still great concerns for the future as churches shrink and become more reliant on part-time clergy positions. Also, the rise in hate groups around the country is a threat to the UCC's inclusive stance toward a more pluralistic culture. Overall, though, our denomination remains a beacon of welcome and a voice for justice for God's creation and all God's people.

Thank you to Jane for so ably representing us (and Stephen for coming along)! 

See you in church,
Pastor Mark

Gardeners Needed

Each summer our church grows vegetables to donate to the Northport Food Pantry. The church school does much of the planting, but we need volunteer gardeners to weed and harvest each week. It only requires an hour or two and it a great way to introduce children to vegetable gardens. We ask members to sign up for a week in the summer. The sign-up sheet in on the church bulletin board.

Joys and Concerns

Patti DiGregorio emails to request prayers for her sister, Donna Allen, who is under hospice care for lung cancer. Patti is now taking care of her in her home. Good news from Patti is that she is expecting her fist grandchild this next month. It is great to stay in contact with our far-flung friends.

We will be holding a memorial service for Brian Bilyk on Friday, June 7, at the church. It will probably be late morning, but watch for more details.

Bring Deposit Bottles and Cans to Church

Riley Fitzsimmons is collecting deposit bottles and cans at the church as part of her Girl Scout silver project. Please bring clean deposit recyclables and place them in the garbage can behind the curtain in the Fellowship Hall. This fundraiser is part of her effort to raise enough money to replace the Peace and Plenty refrigerator in the church pantry.

Upcoming Events    

               Sunday, May 26
               Intergenerational Worship Service at 10:00 AM
               Fellowship Hour at 11:00 AM: Steve & Marianne Tremoli
               Tuesday, May 28
               Pease and Plenty Lunch Program at 6:30 PM
               Fellowship Hall Committee at 7:30 PM
               Thursday, May 30
               Bell Choir at 6:00 PM
               Choir Rehearsal at 7:30 PM
               Sunday, June 2
               Church School Sunday at 10:00 AM
               Fellowship Hour at 11:00 AM: Rudaitis Family
               Confirmation Class at 11:30 AM
               Monday, June 3
               Pease and Plenty Lunch Program at 6:30 PM
               Diaconate Committee at 7:00 PM
               Tuesday, June 4
               Council Meeting at 7:30 PM
               Thursday, June 6
               Bell Choir at 6:00 PM
               Choir Rehearsal at 7:30 PM

A yoga class is being offered to all adult church members on Tuesdays from 4:00-5:00 pm in the Sanctuary. Bonnie and Kristin bring their long-standing love of yoga and their instructor Marie Cruz to the CCH community. Yoga offers many positive benefits to the body, mind and spirit through the practice of meditation and mindfulness. As another busy holiday season approaches, yoga can help us find the balance we all  seek. The class is $20.00 per session. For more details call Bonnie or Kristin at 516.922.9525 or Sue at the Church office.

Worship Calendar

Part 1 of Pastor Mark's sermon on "The Good Funeral" can be found here on the church website. 

May 26: Memorial Day Weekend: The Good Funeral II
What is the future of funerals? How do we learn from the best of the past to be better caretakers of our loved ones? Pastor Mark is seeking to understand the church's role in funerals and memorial services. What works? What is most needed? He welcomes responses and ideas from his sermons.

June 2: Church School Sunday
We will be led in worship by the children of our church as we honor their teachers and celebrate their year in church school.

June 9: Confirmation/Communion Sunday
Join us as we welcome ten confirmands into membership in our church. We also celebrate communion with this on this Pentecost Sunday.

June is Food Pantry Month

The Congregational Church of Huntington, UCC, is congregation of the month at the Northport Food Pantry for June. This means that we will make a special push to collect donations and also to provide voluneers at the pantry. If you are available on Monday-Thursday, from 10-noon, you may sign up to volunteer at the pantry–it is located in the First Presbyterian Church, Northport. Or you can help us sort food each week after worship. Watch for the Outreach Ministry to hand out grocery bags with a needed shopping list in the coming weeks.

Pastor's Book Group

One of the most pressing issues of our time is the rise of hate groups and white supremacists. The next book of the Pastor's book group tackles this concern. Eli Saslow, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist for the Washington Post has written the story of a prominent white-supremist, Derek Black (his godfather was David Duke), who has a change of heart and repudiates his racist upbringing in a prominent op-ed in the New York Times. The book is “Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist,” by Eli Saslow.

This is a fascinating account of the world of white supremacists, but, even more so, how Black was able to change. The ability to overcome prejudice is a critical issue in our country right now and this book should stir lots of discussion. We will hold our next meeting on Tuesday, June 11, at Jane Madden-Koch's home.

Volunteers Needed
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:   Peace and Plenty meets every Monday at 6:30 PM to prepare food for children at need in Huntington.  You are invited to help make sandwiches and prepare snacks for children in Huntington. They are also in need of donations of lunch meats and cheeses, fruit and healthy snacks.

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The Congregational Church of Huntington

30 Washington Drive

Centerport, NY 11721

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