The Chimes Online
Federated Church of Ashland
118 Main Street
Ashland, MA 01721
|Tenth Edition||December 2012 |
|A Note of Praise!|
Join Us for a
We gather in the Church Parlor the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month at 6 PM. We have been following the Upper Room Devotional which is available at each meeting and is also available in the Church Office. No prior knowledge is required. It is informal and casual. Join us for a wonderful time of spiritual fellowship.
All Are Welcome!
The Church Office is staffed Monday-Friday mornings. Larry is in the office as usual, Monday-Thursday and is also available by phone as needed. Thank you!
As noted with the last edition of the Chimes-Online, we are testing it as a way to reach out to members and friends of the Federated Church of Ashland with current and updated news and information about what is happening in our church, some stories and reflections that might inspire you, and to take advantage of the speed and convenience of electronic media, such as email.
Your thoughts and suggestions are encouraged, and any feedback on how we might improve or even with articles of interest, are welcome.
It is hoped that we can all become more familiar with the exciting things happening in our church, maybe inspire your involvement, and provide a means by which you can share this email with your family and friends. Simply "forward" it by clicking on the link below.
Christmas Season Worship
As we have entered Advent, we have begun to make preparation for another Christmas Season.
Sunday Worship December 16th at 9:30 AM
We will be treated to a special Christmas Pageant involving the young people of our church. This narrated and acted production, along with song, will give us a glimpse of the Christmas story.
The Worship service will be followed by a special display of Nativity Crèches arranged downstairs in the former coffee house. If you have a nativity set, PLEASE consider sharing it with all of us. We ask that they be set up on Saturday, December 15th. (Time to be determined) and after Sunday's viewing you may bring them home. (Call the office or sign up after worship this week if you can share your display with us.)
Sunday Worship December 23rd at 9:30 AM
While it is still only the 4th Sunday of Advent, our Sunday Worship will be geared to Christmas itself. It is also Poinsettia Sunday and the sanctuary will be decorated with an abundance of flowers. There will be lots of carols and a glimpse of Christmas itself, which will be only two days away.
Christmas Eve Worship December 24th at 10:00 PM
This year, when the evening sky has darkened and only stars can be seen above, our church will be illuminated by candles throughout, and we will gather to give ear to and sing of the good news that Jesus Christ is born! Please consider joining us for this most special of services while we worship the Christ child and sing together on that "Silent Night".
From Larry's Desk....
Well it is official, I have now been "installed" as your "minister and teacher" according to the proclamation made during the Installation Service which we celebrated together on November 25th. It was a special celebration for this church and in my own personal life.
Although it was a little over a year ago that I arrived as your "supply pastor", and 9 months since I first came on board as your "transitional pastor", November 25th marked a turning point for us all.
My own spiritual journey and that of this church are now intertwined. Where Christ leads me, and where Christ calls you, puts us all squarely on the same road, where we now share a common journey. That journey involves a call to minister to one another.
For the outpouring of support and the many people who turned out for the installation, along with the many people who helped to make the day so special, I want to give my heartfelt thanks. From those who
helped with the food and a wonderful reception, to those members of the choir, the greeters, the ushers, the participants and all who played a role, I want you to know that you are all a reflection of a church that knows how to care for and minister to one another. It is hard for anyone to sit on the sidelines here, without feeling the impetuous to get involved.
Gods Blessing and Good Will to All!
Family Promise Metrowest
We hosted four families (4 adults and 7 children) the week of November 18th - 25th. Because it was the week of Thanksgiving, we were prepared to celebrate Thanksgiving at the church. On Monday of that week I received a phone call from Marcia, the Assistant Director of Family Promise, to tell us that the families would be with friends or family both Thursday and Friday. It was welcome news for everyone including the van driver, the volunteers at the Day Center and our church.
With great gratitude we thank the following for their help -
Dinner Preparers - Sha'arei Shalom, Sal & Roe Tocco, Melanie Conner and Pam Dunham.
Desserts - Sha'arei Shalom and Linda Iarussi
Overnight Hosting - Bill & Lois Tougas, Kathy Craib, Raman Krishnan, Tina Kingsbury, Sue Wallace, Kim Conner, Pete and Linda Russo, and Alan & Vickie Mancini.
Set up and breakdown for converting classrooms to bedrooms - Kathy Craib, Vauntina Franklin and Mark Heaton.
Sue Wallace for opening the Thrift Shop for the families Monday evening. Tayviana, age 6, was so excited to find Tigger, a stuffed animal, from Winnie the Pooh, in the toy section.
Thanks to all who donated food, and took home laundry when the week was over. It takes many volunteers to make this program a success.
Our next hosting date is the week of February 3, 2013.
Lois Tougas, Meals Coordinator
Brown Bag Sunday
The 3rd Sunday of December comes early this month, but it is timely because it gives us time to help support families with food and groceries who might otherwise go without for Christmas.
While it is inspiring how much was contributed by our church in November, in excess of 180 lbs. of food, the Deacons have extended a challenge to us all to see if we can reach 200 lbs. next week. While not always in the head-lines, the need for food and basic groceries has increased. Many here in Ashland must rely upon your generosity to feed their families. While no one lives in a manger today, poverty leaves many without basic necessities. Please be generous and show our youth next week, that taking care of one another is our call as Christians.
from the Deacons....
We have had a busy time the last couple of months. Our first order of business, after I took over as chairperson, was to address the scholarship fund. This fund gets its money from the income of the Warren Fund. This fund was given to us through the generosity of the late Henry Warren, with the stipulation that only the interest could be used. Initially it was specified for humanitarian purposes, however it has been supplying scholarships and camper-ships for our youth and young adults from the church.
Over the last few years, as we all know, interest on our investments has been minimal, so the resulting return on the invested Fund has been much lower than previous years. We have now been forced to limit scholarships to first time applicants only, who have completed at least their first semester of college. This year we have extended the deadline for applications to January 15th. We will soon have the application posted on the church's website under the Deacons Page.
Our next order of business was to update our baptismal policies to come in line with our new slogan that we are; "the all are welcome here church". Our current guidelines were much too strict and hadn't allowed a baptism in quite some time. Although we still strongly encourage membership in the church, especially for adult baptisms, it is no longer a prerequisite. In the case of infant baptism we have adopted the teachings in the Gospels of Luke, Mark and Matthew where Jesus says:
"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."
We as deacons are very excited over this change in policy and look forward to meeting with any parents looking to bring their children into the family of God. You can get a full description of these changes by clicking on the link below.
New Baptism Policy 2012
We look forward to celebrating the Advent Season with you during Sunday services culminating with our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, which will be held at 10 PM, on December 24th.
Together with you and in God's holy name, we pray for our church,
Mark Heaton, Chairperson of Deacons
"Who Has God Called"
Well our first phase of Cottage Meetings has taken place and I am happy to report that 40 members participated. In these casual meetings, people talked and shared with each other about how they first came to worship at the Federated Church of Ashland, what keeps them coming back, and then discussed some of the current ministries which touch their lives. While the notes and survey forms will be compiled and summarized after the first of the year, there has been almost unanimous consensus that the opportunity to casually meet and talk together was a worthwhile and positive experience for all who participated.
The first phase of Cottage Meetings was designed to give each of us a glimpse of the wide-ranging, and diverse variety of people, whom God has called to the Federated Church of Ashland. If you missed the first round of Cottage Meetings, there will be continuing opportunities to join in during our second phase in early 2013.
A special thanks for our "hosts": Vauntina and Andrew Franklin, Lois and Bill Tougas, Nick Paternostro and Mark Nelson, as well as thanks and gratitude to our "discussion facilitators": Sue Rieck, Melanie Conner, and Sue Rivas.
1-2 Dotty Clowes
1-4 Bruce Scotland
1-9 William MacLennan
1-11 Max Herman
1-13 Larry Iannetti
1-14 June Stephens
1-15 Bob Richards
Happy Birthday to One and All !!
A Special Welcome to New Members !
This month we welcomed two new members and celebrated a Baptism. We'd like to welcome Autumn and Jeffrey Herman, along with their son, Max Gunner Herman who joined and was baptisn on November 25th. The church welcomes the Herman family into our church family. Blessings
This newsletter is produced by:
The Federated Church of Ashland
118 Main Street, (P.O. Box 26)
Ashland, Massachusetts, 01721
Church Office is staffed Monday-Friday 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Linda Iarussi, Office Manager
Rev. Larry Iannetti, Pastor
Telephone: 508-881-1355 Office Ext. 21 Pastor Ext . 25