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Dear Friends in Christ,

There is a song that has been playing over and over in my mind this week after spending time at the church, looking into the nooks and crannies, the furnace and its new motors! It’s a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, “Our house is a very very fine house…” Our house, on the corner of Hope St. and New Hope, is a very very fine house. I listened to Lee tell me about the history of the architecture of our church. This building was built according to the Akron Plan, a design for churches that taught Sunday school. Our Hope Room is the prototype of this kind of church architecture which is characterized by a set of wedge-shaped classrooms that radiated from a central platform. Doors or movable partitions could be closed to separate the classes and when opened the room became one large semi-circle so that all the students could participate in an activity together. The folding doors that lead into the sanctuary would be closed as Sunday school took place and then opened to the sanctuary so that all could worship together. This design for a church was named for the city of Akron, Ohio, at a Methodist Episcopal Church which first used it. By having wedge shaped classrooms there could be a separation of the classes but they could also easily join together as one class. By 1872, this plan was adopted by many Protestant churches throughout the U.S. 

The significance of this intentional building plan for us, is that those who built this church believed in the importance of Sunday school. Many women saw the need for education for the impoverished children in Providence who worked in the mills. They believed in the need to help these children and their families be educated so that their lives might see improvement. 

This history connects so clearly to the dynamics that are visible in our church today. We believe in the importance of education in our faith. What we believe and how we live our lives in the midst of a pandemic and a city with many children who go to bed hungry matters to us. This building represents the ideals which we feel are so key to bringing justice to our community.

We are the ones who now are responsible for the care of this building. What kind of stewards will we be? While we don’t want to spend all our financial resources on a building, we are called to be good stewards and care for an old building with much history.

Lee, Sheryl, and I met with a friend of Lee’s on Thursday who is a builder/contractor. He looked at the black mold and said the first thing to do is take care of the immediate problem. We must fill a spray bottle with bleach and spray the inside of the closet and then close the door. And, making sure to wear N95 masks! That’s a simple beginning! Then, we must determine the why. Why is black mold forming? Most likely, it is the water that is seeping into that wall. That becomes a bigger problem and will take the expertise of a builder. We will be getting a bid for that work. The wall behind the piano in the Peace room is crumbling and turning into lime so that issue will also have to be addressed. It felt good, though, to hear that there is a solution and a process that will help us maintain this fine, old house.

Right now, Lee heads up the Building and Grounds committee and Sheryl is the session liaison for that committee. We are in desperate need of people who will join this committee and offer their thoughts and physical help as we start a process to reclaim our church building for use. PLEASE: if you feel at all interested or that you might be of great help by joining this committee, please prayerfully consider what you can do. Lee has agreed to host a meeting of those interested in being a part of the renovations and maintenance that need to be done. He will consider a Zoom meeting for this, but if you feel that you can mask yourself and stay socially distanced, he thinks it would be an excellent idea for you all to meet at church and do a walk-through. We hope to have this meeting in the last week of February.

If you find yourself being called to help with the maintenance and renovation of our building, you can contact Lee at leevanderbaan@gmail.com or by calling him at (803) 923-3356. Or, you may contact me at revdeb02@gmail.com or (585) 703-0987.

Old buildings of any sort are a challenge to maintain. Let’s consider how we are a part of the history of Providence, however, and recognize that we are making history, too. What will church members say one hundred years from now about us?

Peace and grace,

Deb
Sunday School

Grades 1-5: Sundays from 9:30-10:00 am. Contact Jo Fisher at 617-839-0865 if you do not have the Zoom link and wish to be added.

Youth Grades 6-12: 2nd & 4th Sundays during worship at the start of the children's sermon. A zoom link is shared at that time in the worship zoom chat, and is also emailed in advance to the group. Contact Matt at morattico@gmail.com if you wish to be added.
Worship with Communion 2/7 @ 10am via Zoom

Welcome to online worship with PPC! Please have Communion elements (bread and juice) ready for celebrating the Lord's Supper.
Click on the image below to open/download the worship bulletin and hymns.
While we are unable to pass the offering plate during worship, we hope you will continue to support the mission and ministry of the church if and as you are able—online, through your bank's bill payment system, or with a check mailed to the church (500 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906). All offerings are gratefully received. 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.
When it snows...

Like all of you homeowners, PPC is obliged to clear its sidewalks within a reasonable time. We are sometimes helped by the grounds crew of the neighboring Groden Center, but we don't presume that they will be able to help. If there is a significant snowfall and you are able to help with shoveling, please contact Dan Blackford at (401) 808-2605 or dblackford01@gmail.com, or the church at (401) 861-1136 or provpresri@verizon.net, so that efforts may be coordinated and shovels provided if needed. Thank you!
Youth Group

Youth group will meet again this Sunday at 4:30 pm. It would be great if each person could have the following items ready: (1) a roll of toilet paper, (2) five sheets of paper, (3) a writing utensil.

And for our following meeting on February 21, we're going to have a talent show! Dust off your talents, whether they be musical, artistic, theatrical, athletic, magical, whatever! We'll discuss the details at our meeting this Sunday.
Bible Study

Join us on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 5:30 pm as we read about and discuss "The Challenges to U.S. Democracy," a four week study developed by The Thoughtful Christian. This will be the 4th session of the series. Let Pastor Deb know you are interested (revdeb02@gmail.com) and she will email you the reading and Zoom link.
Book Group

The next book group gathering is Saturday, Feb. 20 from 10:30am-12noon. As we are entering into Black History Month, we decided we’d like to discuss some poetry that will be recited in two events taking place this Sunday, February 7:

1. Virtual Community Poetry Reading, 2/7
Millie invited us to attend the Langston Hughes (virtual) Community Poetry Reading this Sunday, where she will be reading a poem called Dreamer. Direct registration on the Zoom platform will be on lhughescpr.org on Sunday. Registration on Eventbrite is open now; however there is a request for a voluntary donation. Millie also suggested a few of Hughes's best known poems to read: The Negro Speaks of Rivers, Negro Mother, Let America be America Again, Dream Keeper, and Weary Blues.

2. Amanda Gorman's poem at the Super Bowl, 2/7
We’d also like to listen to and/or read the poem that Amanda Gorman will deliver this Sunday at the Super Bowl. 

If you’re not able to “attend” either event, that’s ok! We'll share the written version of these poems with you before our discussion on Feb. 20.
Notes from our PPC Financial Secretary

Providence Presbyterian Church thanks you for your faithful financial support of the church, in whatever manner you may wish to make your gift(s).

Statements of 2020 contributions (by check or cash) have been mailed. If you have made online donations, you should have received an email from “onlineservices” at the Presbyterian Foundation (January 25?) with a statement of your 2020 donations.

If you need a single statement of your contributions or if you have any question about these statements or your donations, please let me know: DBlackford01@gmail.com or 401 273-2435.

Given our present circumstances, it did not seem wise to order boxes of offering envelopes for 2021. If you would like to have them (or perhaps just a small supply of pre-addressed security envelopes), let me know. Thank you!

        —Dan Blackford
Continuing Fellowship and Service Opportunities

Contact the leaders listed below if you are interested in getting involved.
  • Youth Group (1st & 3rd Sundays of each month at 4:30-5:30): Jo Fisher 617-893-0865 or jo.evonne.fisher@gmail.com
  • Wednesday morning prayer gatherings (~8:00-8:30am via zoom)Suzanne Affigne 401-523-4907; Jill Moles 401-241-9812; Dan Blackford 401-273-2435
  • Mission and Outreach: Bipen Rai 510-499-7339 or bipenai@gmail.com
  • Nurture Committee: Kathy Cooper kathycooper@aya.yale.edu
  • Building & Grounds projects: Sheryl Mason 401-206-7839 or sgmason65@gmail.com
  • Volunteer to be a worship leader: call Jill Moles 401-241-9812 or click the button to sign up here:
Resources
Submitted by Marianne Harrison, Tech & Communications Committee

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