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Dear Friends in Christ,

Surprise! It snowed! In Rochester we could expect snow by Halloween (in fact, my children often went trick-or-treating with their winter jackets over their costumes!) but I didn’t expect this in Providence. Still, the first snow holds a special magic in my heart. The world is covered in white and the ugliness of brown and mud is covered. For those moments while it’s falling I am transported to a place of hope and beauty. It’s especially magical when you don’t have to go out in it!

This early snow reminds me, though, that December is not far off. We will need to plan for Advent via Zoom. Since it is the practice in the churches I have served, I am assuming that here, too, you ask different families to light the candles in the Advent wreath along with a special reading. My thoughts on how to do this are to have the family who is lighting the candle and doing the reading to have candles and a wreath at home and you will share with us that way. Please be thinking now if you are able to do this at home. We are going to need four families to volunteer to be our candle lighters and readers. If I don’t hear from people by mid-November, I will start calling everyone! Let’s use a broad definition of “family”, too, and acknowledge that families come in all sizes. An older couple, a group of people living together, parents with children; these are all welcome.

During Advent, I am accustomed to leading a service for the “Longest Night.” This service recognizes that the Christmas season can encompass more feelings than joy. For those who are facing a Christmas without a loved one or any kind of loss often find it comforting to have a place where they can worship in Advent being able to express their grief. Details on the when and where and how of this service will be shared when they are known!

We are living in a time that feels strange and challenging. It’s important to recognize that the living of these days can feel exhausting—even if we feel we haven’t done anything. Perhaps we don’t have an obvious loss before us to bring on feelings of sadness. However, the most obvious losses I can think of are such things as not being able to worship together, not being able to celebrate Advent in our Sanctuary, not hearing all the music that this season celebrates. In other words, we may not recognize that we are experiencing feelings of grief because we think that there is nothing we have to feel sad about. Yet, in the face of this invisible threat, ignoring our feelings of sadness may not be the most honest way to confront the reality of where we are. 

For our Bible study this upcoming Tuesday, 3 November, everyone is invited to bring with them a verse(s) from scripture which give(s) them hope. We will have an open and honest discussion about what is going on with each of us as chaos surrounds us. If you wish to join us, let me know and I will make sure you are on the email list for sending out the Zoom link. If all you want is company on a night that will bring anxiety, we hope you will attend. In difficult times it is always good to have a community of faith to which one can turn.

This communication with you feels disjointed but I think it is because that is how I feel. How will we go on in the face of a pandemic that only seems to be worsening? When will we be able to resume our routines that we followed before March? What will life be like after the election? Even as we trek, reluctantly, perhaps, into Advent, are we able to see the light that awaits us on Christmas Eve? What will Christ entering the world this particular year mean? There is much to ponder. 

I am thankful that I am in this community of faith as I ponder these matters with you. As we celebrate All Saint’s Day with communion this Sunday, we can envision the saints who have gone before us and those who surround us today. We are not alone. We are safe here. God is with us. Thanks be to God.




In grace and peace,
Deb

 
Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 AM Sunday morning!
All Saints Sunday Worship with Communion
November 1 @ 10am via Zoom


Welcome to online worship with PPC. If there's a problem with zoom, check your email for backup plans. Please have Communion elements (bread and juice) ready for celebrating the Lord's Supper.
Click here to open/download the worship bulletin and hymns:
Bulletin
 
Receiving of offerings continues to be important to sustain our church community. While it is missing from our order of worship, we hope you will continue to give online or with a check mailed to the church (500 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906) as you are able. Thank you!

We invite you to stay online after worship for our virtual coffee hour.

Transcripts and audio recordings of recent sermons can be found on our website here. Audio recordings of older sermons are available here.

 
A Lesson in Humility (Mt 23:1-12)
Click here for a printable children's bulletin based on this week's Scripture.
Worship Leader Signup

We need more worship leaders! Please prayerfully consider signing up for a Sunday (or more). To sign up, click the button below and we will be in contact with you. If you have never been a worship leader before and would like to learn more, or have any other questions, contact Jill Moles at (401) 241-9812.

Bible Study Tuesday 11/3

For our discussion on Tuesday, everyone is invited to bring a verse(s) from scripture which gives them hope. If you wish to join us, let Pastor Deb know (revdeb02@gmail.com) and she will send you the Zoom link. If all you want is company on a night that brings anxiety, we hope you will attend. In difficult times it is good to have a community of faith to which we can turn.
PPC Book/Discussion Group: 11/7

Our next meeting will be Saturday, November 7, from 10:30am-12noon (see Zoom link below). We decided that we’d like to share and discuss several things together: 
  • Debriefing the election, particularly our thoughts, feelings, and questions
  • What are our hopes and dreams for the next 4 years? How might we live in hope in the context of whoever wins the presidential election? 
  • What can we do? How can we continue to engage in practical action and advocacy for justice, regardless of the election outcome? 
To help us consider hope and action in the midst of great struggle, we’d like read 2 speeches from Frederick Douglass (choose one if you don’t have time to read both): We’re so grateful for this community space to share, learn, and discuss these important questions!

To join the Zoom meeting:
Youth Group Fall Festival Postponed

Given the weather forecast, along with the rising number of covid cases and more limited gathering restrictions, we are going to postpone our fall festival that was scheduled for Sunday. In the upcoming weeks we will consider ways we can continue to gather – either in smaller outdoor groups or online.

Something You Can Do

The PPC book group has decided to make financial contributions to a college scholarship fund for high school grads in RI, a fund long supported by Millie Nichols. Because of the pandemic this year their usual fundraising events cannot take place. We invite you to join us in supporting this scholarship. Beyond the dollars you give, a donation would be a significant expression of caring and relationship, and a concrete sign that we mean it when we say Black Lives Matter. Please send your check to: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc PAC, PO Box 40175 , Providence, RI 02940. In the memo line, put "Scholarship/PPC/bookgrp/Nichols."

Reminder: We Want to Hear from You

We are still collecting stories and feedback from as many people in our congregation as possible to gain a better understanding of what draws us to this church community. What about your life in this church has been meaningful to you? If there are areas of concern for you, include those also. We are trying to envision a future for this congregation that is satisfying and helps us grow spiritually. Your contribution will help Session as they consider our next steps. Send your feedback to Pastor Deb at revdeb02@gmail.com.

Also, please help us update our church directory by emailing your contact info (name, street address, email, phone/text numbers) to Monica VanderBaan at monicavanderbaan@gmail.com or to Pastor Deb at revdeb02@gmail.com. It just takes a minute and it is so helpful for keeping us connected!

Election day is Tuesday, November 3
Continuing Opportunities & Needs

Please contact the leaders listed below if you are interested in getting involved in any of these ongoing opportunities for fellowship and service:
Resources

If you or someone you know needs help, contact your assigned deacon if possible, or otherwise contact deacon Matt Harrison at morattico@gmail.com or 401-340-9444 and he will coordinate care.

If you have a prayer request or would like to be included in the prayer chain, call/text Suzanne Affigne at (401) 523-4907 or email her at smclouthaffigne@gmail.com.

Milton has put together some helpful tips for using Zoom – read them here and here.

Our presbytery's website (psne.org) and our denomination’s website (pcusa.org) are great resources for information about our faith, connecting with the larger faith community, and opportunities for action.

You may continue to reach the church by phone message (401-861-1136) or email (provpresri@verizon.net), both checked daily. Pastor Deb Packard may be reached at revdeb02@gmail.com.

 
Submitted by Marianne Harrison, Tech & Communications Committee

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