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First Church Congregational

United Church of Christ

26 Pleasant Street

Methuen, MA 01844-3119

TEL: 978-687-1240

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"Getting Parsonal" - September 2019

How is it even possible? September is upon us already! The summer has flown past. School already has started for most of the teachers, children and youth in our congregation. For many of us, the final trip for the season will happen over the Labor Day weekend. Come Tuesday, September 3 rd , we’re all back in full swing.


My mother was a public school teacher and my father was on the faculty of a state university. My life has always organized itself around an academic calendar. Even after I finished my years of study at university and in seminary, leaving behind semesters and classes (and tests and papers!), my work and personal life has continued to be centered around the academic year. That’s because much of church life is centered around an academic year, too. We take a bit of a break for the summer, but come fall, at the same time teachers and students head back to school, the church picks up the pace for the coming year in its life and ministry the new program year begins...


Welcome Sunday is the big start-of-it-all day for us at First Church Congregational. It’s the day Sunday school starts back up with newly configured classes, with some returning teachers and (hopefully!) some new teachers, too. We’ll mark the new beginning with words of dedication and a prayer for teachers and students in worship that day, just before they head off to their first class together. Of course, when worship and Sunday school are over that day, we will hold our annual cookout on the front lawn, weather permitting. Make sure you sign up your family on the list on the bulletin board at the crossroads in the church. That way we can make sure we have enough burgers and hotdogs (including vegetarian options). When you sign up, there’s also a sheet to mark bringing a salad or a dessert, or both if you wish.


Though they have conducted interviews with several candidates, the CE Search Committee has been unable to find someone to fill our Minister for Family and Community Life position. As is the case with organist positions, there are far more CE positions open than there are candidates available to fill them. While the search committee continues to look into candidates, Cindy Mazella and I will be taking lead roles in staffing the Christian Education Committee and teachers. Cindy will coordinate curriculum, materials and supplies for Sunday mornings. I will help guide planning, curriculum development. Cindy and I will also work with the Committee, teachers and parents to discern ways to develop our program into the future. We’ve got plans in place for a lesson series on miracles, followed by a series on hunger and our response as people of faith. We’ll follow that with an Advent curriculum for December. Come January, our goal is to be ready with something new and exciting that will lead us through the spring. We’ve set ambitious goals, for sure! And are eager and excited to see what will evolve as we work on this together.


Other things will be in the works as we move through the Fall together. We’ll have our annual Ham & Bean Dinner on Saturday, October 5. Also this Fall will be a four week Adult Bible Study offered on Thursday nights from October 3 through October 24. I’ll announce the topic in the month of September, as I’ve yet to decide for sure! Most likely it will be a series on the Old Testament (also referred to as the Hebrew Bible). In November we’ll have our annual Stewardship Sundays. And before you know it, December will be here! And with it, Advent and Christmas.


I’m excited about all we have coming up through the fall, and I hope you are, too! I also hope you’ll invite your family, neighbors and friends to come and join us. There’s something really special about our community life and ministry here at First Church. It really is worth sharing!


See you in church…

- Bill


Written by Rev. William D. Ingraham

This can be found in the September 2019 Beacon