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The Vegetable Prayer

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Rev. Max Coots “The Vegetable Prayer” (edited)

 Let us give thanks for a bounty of people.

For children who are our second planting, and though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they remember fondly where their roots are.

For generous friends with hearts as big as hubbards, and smiles as bright as blossoms;

 For feisty friends as tart as apples;

For continuous friends, who, like scallions, keep reminding us that we’ve had them;

 For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;

 For funny friends, as silly as Brussels sprouts

 And serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions;

For friends as unpretentious as cabbages and friends, like parsnips, who can be counted on to see you through the winter;

 For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time And young friends coming on as fast as radishes;

And, finally, for those friends now gone, but who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter; for this bounty of friends, we give thanks.

 For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts, and witherings;

And, finally, for those friends now gone, but who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter; for this bounty of friends, we give thanks.

Accommodating change

At our Church Committee meeting last night we addressed the present concern about the Corona virus and its effect on our church life.

With hope in our hearts, we proceed to fill the April and May Sundays with Lay lead services. Beginning in May we will meet in the Stone Church in Gilbertville. The sign out front says Trinitarian Church. It’s on Rte 32.

In June we are planning a change from potatoes. Instead of the same ole, same ole, we will go summer casual. First, we will begin with coffee, muffins and conversation. It will give us a chance to greet and chat with new folks who drop in to see what we are all about.

Then we could have a song, joys and concerns , a prayer time and a Bible reading. If the leader wishes to add to that, or have a discussion, that’s fine. This eliminates having a lay person have to come up with a “talk”. It would be helpful if our congregation would step forward and offer to take a Sunday. Call the office and leave a message and we will call you back or speak to Marguerite or Susan. See contact info page,

The other idea we tossed around was to simply put out a bowl at the coffee table and people can drop in a quarter or a buck or whatever, to defray the cost of coffee, drinks and snacks . This money does not go into the treasury but into the coffee service coffers to be used for the next week. I personally see no reason why the deacons should have to provide refreshments out of their pocket.

FYI. In the early morning, well, all day, there are wonderfully inspiring and thoughtful talks by really good Bible experts and preachers on AM 101.5. It is a local station out of Worcester. Names like Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, Dr. Jeffress, David Jeremiah. Take up exercise, enjoy your children. Make tents in the living room with card tables and blankets and have a picnic in there. Offer to run errands for a house bound neighbor. Make this time count. And say your prayers.

Feel free to comment or suggest.

Friends

Rev. Max Coots “The Vegetable Prayer” (edited)

 Let us give thanks for a bounty of people.

For children who are our second planting, and though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they remember fondly where their roots are.

For generous friends with hearts as big as hubbards, and smiles as bright as blossoms;

 For feisty friends as tart as apples;

For continuous friends, who, like scallions, keep reminding us that we’ve had them;

 For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;

 For funny friends, as silly as Brussels sprouts

 And serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions;

For friends as unpretentious as cabbages and friends, like parsnips, who can be counted on to see you through the winter;

 For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time And young friends coming on as fast as radishes;

 For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts, and witherings;

And, finally, for those friends now gone, but who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter; for this bounty of friends, we give thanks.

TPCC Annual Meeting Highlights

Officers and Tri-Parish Committee Members approved.

Moderator: Glenn Wojcik

Clerk: Heidi Jeldres

Treasurer: Jennifer Pollard

Asst. Treaurer : Forrest Morin

Tri-Parish Committee: Marguerite Crevier, Alice May Lowell, Susan Kallander, Judy Kohn, Forrest Morin, Alternates: Genevieve Stillman, Jeanne Hanson

Reports for 2019 were approve with minor corrections,

New Business:

Fair Supper–Judy Kohn volunteered to head up and is looking for volunteers to work on it. It was decided that lasagna from scratch was the desired menu and that an approved kitchen would be used to make them together on-site, details will be worked out at next TPC meeting. The membership agreed to move forward on this important community event and fund raiser for the Church.

Formation of a Visioning Committee suggested by Ginny RIch, was approved with many interested in serving. The purpose is, to make plans for moving forward, possibly with the help of a consultant.

Regarding visibility of The Church in the community, Ralph Nichols expressed the importance of getting articles into local papers often so that people in the area see a vital ministry going on here. He is willing to write articles and submit pictures to the papers if people funnel information to him.

Regarding the budget: The proposed budget was approved with the addition of $3000.00 to be added to the line for Pastor Salary, so that there are funds for some guest preachers who require a fee, and to demonstrate the church’s continued aspiration to have paid clergy.

Missions Outreach Report

The Local Assistance Fund

This past year, 2019, we provided aid to a number of individuals as they coped with issues of shelter and warmth. Support for the Local Assistance Fund comes from monthly TPCC donations, as well as, private philanthropic individuals and organizations. Referrals for assistance come through the Hardwick Food Pantry or church.

Hardwick Food Pantry

The Hardwick Food Pantry, located in the basement of the Hardwick Municipal Building on Rte 32 in Gilbertville, assists over 100 families a month. Our greatest expense is the food coupon program, in which the Hardwick Food Pantry issues coupons valued at $20.00 each which are redeemed for meat, eggs, and produce at the Hardwick Farmers Market throughout the Summer and Fall months. The Food Pantry also receives food donations from The Worcester County Food bank, local grocery stores and area collections from civic organizations, school groups, and churches. Food distribution is twice a month, once a month in summer. Support for the Food Pantry comes from TPCC donations, as well as private philanthropic individuals and organizations. Contact Liz Reilly at 413-477-6635 for assistance.

The Mustard Seed.

Every third Monday of the month a small group of dedicated souls gather at the New Braintree Town Hall to prepare a meal for The Mustard Seed Ministry in Worcester and Jeremiah’s Inn. Support for The Mustard Seed come from TPCC donations and the volunteers who perform this work.

Cancer Care Bags

This past Summer and Fall, members and friends of the Tri-Parish made re-usable tote bags and filled them with donated toiletries, hand-made hats and PICC line covers, Bibles, game books, pens and other comfort items and delivered about 20 bags to the oncology department of Mary Lane Hospital for distribution to patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Mission Christmas Tree

This year we donated our Mission Christmas Tree at the Hardwick Universalist Church with member -donated mittens, hats and scarves with were later provided to the local police and our Food Pantry for distribution to those in need.

Fellowship Dinners

We have begun holding free Fellowship Dinners at the New Braintree Church. We held two in the Fall; one hosted by Susan Kallander and Marguerite Crevier in September and one hosted by Alice May Lowell in October. Approximately 20 family, friends and neighbors enjoyed good meals and great conversation at each event. These gatherings are continuing into 2020 as potluck lunches once a month, at noon , in the winter months.

The Lay Committee Meeting

We met after church service on January 12 after coffee hour. There were 10 members who discussed who to ask to speak at our upcoming services. Marguerite offered to be the Chair as her term as Chair of The Tri Parish Committee is up this month. Susan offered to be music liaison. Ralph Nichols volunteered to be in charge of advertising. He has written up something about our church and programs to put in the local papers and the Springfield and Worcester paper. Also present for discussion was having a representative of The Heritage Bible Church in Princeton come and talk about a proposal to help us get on the right tract going forward with our church community. Perhaps even come and do a service. We agreed that we need a rebirth not a renovation . We need to start anew and re-examine our old habits and see if they really work for us. It is hard to let go of comfortable routines and buildings, etc.

I believe we need to remember that we, the community of worshippers, are the Church. We are not saved by good works. God asks us as he asked Apostle Paul; to grow in the Holy Spirit and preach that God’s righteousness is not a reward. It is a gift to those who trust in the redemptive work of Christ. Our mission is not to do good works , our mission is to be right with God. We are in the process of being more Christ-like.

As always, comments, corrections, opinions are welcome.

Susan

Nice turnout for caroling

We had a train of 6 automobiles of singers traipsing from place to place in Hardwick and New Braintree on Sunday Dec 21 after church. We were welcomed in to sing the residents’ favorite carols and that we did, with gusto.

Before that we held a tearful reception for Pastor Deb, to celebrate her time with us, and to say goodbye. Gifts were presented and Mavis Gordon sang a lovely song about God being the God of the mountains and also of the valleys. My interpretation is, He is there for us in the good times and the sad times. Pastor Deb will celebrate the Christmas Eve service as her last for us. I feel I should add that she was in a terrible auto accident last week and totaled her car. Thank God she was able to have walked away from it. We wish her a speedy and complete recovery from her bumps and bruises.

We shall continue on as a church community with various ministers and lay speakers until our Heavenly Father shows us what we should do next.

signed: Follower of Apostle Paul

An Urgent Message from Your Treasurer

We cannot move forward into our new year and continue to progress our missions without your support during this time of Stewardship. Moreover, we will be operating in a deficit in December, so please find it in your heart to contribute what you are able to help the Tri-Parish Community Church end 2019 financially stable.

What does stewardship mean? Stewardship means taking care of something. I feel that Stewardship for us is living up to our Mission statement:

The Mission of the Tri-Parish Community Church is service to God by working together to alleviate suffering and foster hope, love, and the word of Jesus Christ among our families and neighbors, here and throughout the world.

How have we done that this year?

This past year we reached out to all the residents of the communities of Gilbertville, Hardwick, and New Braintree through a donor-sponsored post card mailing highlighting the services that the Tri-Parish provides and participates in; the Deacon’s Fund for fuel and other emergency assistance, the Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen, the Gilbertville/Hardwick Food Pantry which provides redeemable coupons to the Hardwick Farmers Market, and weekly Bible Study.  In addition, members and friends of the Tri-Parish made re-usable tote bags and filled them with donated toiletries, hand-made hats and PICC line covers, Bibles, game books, pens, and other comfort items and delivered about 20 bags to the Oncology Department of Mary Lane Hospital for distribution to patients undergoing cancer treatment.  We have also begun holding free Fellowship dinners at the New Braintree Church, welcoming family, friends, and neighbors to join in a good meal and great conversation.  We are planning a Mission Tree for Advent to be decorated with member-donated mittens, hats, and scarves which will be donated to the needy before Christmas, and last but certainly not least, every Sunday, we have provided the means for worship as a congregation.

I think this was a good effort for a small congregation.  I also know that all that we did this past year would not have happened without the existence of this body of caring people – the Tri-Parish Community Church.  This, our very existence as a group of two or more gathered together, and our ability to continue forward in the new year, depends upon all of us to be good stewards of our congregation. Please help us to do just that!

Thank you,

Jennifer Pollard, Treasurer

November 20, 2019

Stewardship

Sunday, November 17,2019

After church about 20 people gathered for coffee and to discuss where we are headed without a resident pastor. There was a great talk given by our treasurer on the Tri-parish financial state of affairs. Printouts were handed out of the monthly expenses detailed under income, interest, and expenses along with a printout of the annual budget. Showing anticipated, actual and estimated year-end income and expenses, we could see how we arrived at our present financial situation.

The difference between the anticipated loose collection plate offerings and the actual year to date was way, way down .

I think it is important to point out to members and friends that in the past it has not been made clear to them how much their pledge might be, relative to the total budget.

For example: Donation per person

If 30 people gave $1666.67 annually or $32.05 weekly, we would take in $50,000 which is our budget with a part time minister.

50 people—-yr $1,000.——or $19.23 a wk =-$50,000.

100 people gave $500. a yr, —or $9.62 a wk.=-$50,000

We send out 200 monthly Heralds (newsletters). We do not get 200 pledge units. Now I appreciate that lots of us are on a fixed income so with this above information, what can you afford? You see that a small amount makes a difference.

We are entering a new phase in our Tri-parish life. We are moving forward with a new view. We have Pastor Ken Winters lined up to give communion on the first Sunday in January and inspiring lay speakers the rest of January. Ret. Naval chaplain, Pastor Winters gave us a wonderful service this summer. He is a one man band with his playing and singing and giving a stirring sermon.

Plan to start your and our new year with us on Sundays. Get into the habit of giving our Heavenly Father 45 minutes a week and visiting with a nice group of welcoming , friendly, folks afterward for coffee and conversation.

Solomon and Edison

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance. Sol. 21: 8. One can substitute diligent with persistent. Edison said, “Most of life’s failures were those who didn’t realize how close they were to success.” Cal Coolidge said, “Press on, Nothing can take the place of persistence.”

Persistence and determination alone are overwhelmingly powerful.

God promised to give Joshua the city of Jericho if he took his troops and marched around the city walls once, every day, for seven days. And on the seventh day to march around seven times and on the seventh time blow the trumpets as loud as can be. And of course you know the story, the walls came tumbling down. Imagine if Joshua, after the sixth time, said “I don’t even see a hairline fracture in the wall.” and gave up.

So let go of past failures and successes. The past ended last night. Travel in the direction you are looking.

Our Church is unique. Our people are generous, loving and deeply caring Christians. You can see that, just by example. We earnestly want the best for people. If I were new in town and looking for a church community I would check out the Tri Parish Church and I would stay. I would be looking for a place I could grow in Spirit with the freedom to express my ways to give praise to our Heavenly Father. I know because I did.

D of AP

Where do we go from here?

Oct 23: Well, the meeting was held and about 17 people came. Some find this whole scene very emotional from frustrating to stressful to terribly sad. As I see it, we need to organize some committees to meet to plan where we go in the new year- without a resident pastor. We have November and December to pull our sox up and get organized. This is Stewardship season and coincidentally this time when we find out if we have enough $$ support for anything. What do you want to do? Throw out the old laws and bylaws and start anew? Rework the existing ones? Now is the time for all to support the Church. Not just for baptisms and weddings and funerals but for all the long time members, the older members who don’t want to go to another place to worship with people from a different community. They supported this Church in the past and now we need to support it for them, for continuity.