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Dear Friends in Christ,

Happy New Year! Our hopes for this new year are high – we want to be able to visit with friends and family in person safely. We want to receive the vaccination and we hope that people will take seriously the dictates to wear a mask in public. I think we all probably also have a wait and see attitude. 

Your church leadership has shown patience and fortitude in staying the course and continuing with our Zoom worship services. In this way, everyone is safe and no one has to have inner conflict about whether or not to attend. I applaud the Session for its courage shown in making this decision to continue our virtual worshiping.

Another decision the Session has made is to declare ourselves to be a Matthew 25 church. We have now joined many other churches throughout the nation in publicly making this declaration. We have received materials from the denomination about what this decision means for us and ways that we can carry through on becoming such a place.

GA, in 2018, voted to encourage our congregations to take this step toward radical and fearless discipleship. Three goals were identified as the focus of this decision. They are:
  1. Building congregational vitality by challenging people and congregations to deepen their faith and get actively and joyfully engaged with their community and the world.
  2. Dismantling structural racism by advocating and acting to break down the systems, practices and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias, prejudice and oppression of people of color.
  3. Eradicating systemic poverty by working to change laws, policies, plans and structures in our society that perpetuate economic exploitation of people who are poor.
These do seem like big goals. Session will be exploring ways we can expand our mission ministries so that they reflect these three foci. What are we doing to feed the hungry in this community? What steps are we taking to dismantle structural racism? How do we change systems? This is going to take the dedication of all of us. We need people who are willing to write letters, work in soup kitchens, visit those in prison. What programs do we have that will lead us to having a vibrant ministry among those in need in our city and state? Who is willing to jump in and get something started? I’ve heard it said that a fire without air is like a church without mission. We don’t need to re-invent the wheel – there are already many programs in existence that we can consider working with.

I want to thank all of those who were a part of bringing our virtual Christmas pageant to life. All of you who took parts were awesome! In front of our eyes, you showed us the story of the love that arrived on Christmas Eve in the shape of a baby. Harrison Fisher deserves a big shout-out for editing and putting together the video. The music, the acting, the creativity that was on display for all of us to enjoy was truly wonderful. 

Thanks to Jo Fisher for putting together the gingerbread church and then dismantling it for consumption for those who might want some.

I am so blessed to have been called here – even in this time of social isolation and pandemic. Slowly, I have begun to get to know you, if only one at a time, but I have experienced the gift that this congregation is. You are caring, kind, and gracious. It has been hard to accomplish some of the interim ministry tasks because we can’t get together in person. Hopefully, as 2021 begins, Session and I will find ideas that can help the process of your looking at yourselves and determining who you are and where you might like to go. While the process has been slowed down because of the pandemic, there will be a time when a PNC (Pastoral Nominating Committee) is formed. In the meantime, let us continue together to care for one another and find ways that we can be a blessing in our neighborhood, our city and our state.

May we all know God’s comfort and grace in the coming months,

Deb
Sunday Worship

While our church is on break from regular Zoom worship we are pleased to join our Presbytery again this Sunday for virtual worship led by Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo.

January 3 Epiphany Worship Service
with the Sacrament of Communion

WORSHIP BULLETIN

SERMON TEXT

Video of Complete Worship Service

This service will also premiere live on the Presbytery of Southern New England's YouTube and Facebook pages on 1/3 at 9:30am.

Sunday school will not meet this week.

There will be a PPC coffee hour at 11:00 am (timed to follow the service assuming a 10am worship video start time):
If there are any questions, please contact Pastor Deb (revdeb02@gmail.com) or Milton (mjliu1029@gmail.com) and we will be happy to guide you through the steps for joining in worship and coffee hour.

Offerings are gratefully received online or with a check mailed to the church. Thank you!

Our regular PPC worship services will resume on January 10th with a new Zoom worship link for 2021, which will be sent out in next week's Publicist.
Youth Group

Our next Zoom activity is this Sunday, January 3rd @ 4:30pm. 

Youth group activities take place on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. Contact Jo Fisher at 617-893-0865 or jo.evonne.fisher@gmail.com with any questions or suggestions.
Tuesday Night Bible Study

Will resume on Tuesday, January 19th. The theme is yet to be determined!
Stewardship – a note from Pastor Deb

Our stewardship campaign will look different this year. You have proven to be a congregation that has continued to give in spite of the fact that we can’t meet in person. As you consider what your giving will look like in the coming year, please consider that the bills and the work of the staff continue to be in need of financial support. As we consider different options for mission, we will need people to volunteer their time and talent to help us identify where we want to pledge our hearts.

We give thanks for those who are willingly giving of their time and talent to insure that we have a youth and children’s fellowship and Sunday school. What a blessing this is!

One issue that will need resolving is the black mold that has been identified in the downstairs. We are still seeking an inspector who can come and look at the problem and help us determine what the best solution will be for solving it. Black mold is a serious issue and we want to make sure that it is taken care of in the best way possible. If you can recommend a professional mold inspector, that would be most helpful!
Sankofa New Year Activity

This family activity, shared by Gina Bae, is an opportunity to reflect on meaningful moments from the past year so that those experiences can enlighten us in the new year. It is inspired by Sankofa, which literally means to "go back and get it" in the Twi language of Ghana, and is associated with the symbol of a bird with its head turned backward, taking an egg from its back.

For this activity, each family member looks back on their year and finds/produces one object, drawing, poem or song that captures a memory they have from 2020. The family then shares their objects/memories, thinking and talking together about how God was present in these events.

Thanks to Gina for sharing this Sankofa-inspired activity to help us see God's work in our lives and highlight the importance of looking backward to help us in moving forward.
Resources
Submitted by Marianne Harrison, Tech & Communications Committee

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