Welcome

 

Whoever you are,

wherever you are on life's journey, you are welcome here!

 

Business Office Hours

Tues. - Fri.: 9am - 2pm

Our Mission

 

We strive to apply Jesus’ teaching by recognizing that every individual is a child of God and we welcome all to join us on our faith journey in providing guidance, love, and hope to our community and the world in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

Visit Us

 

 

993 Main Street, P.O. Box 165

 

South Windsor, CT 06074

(860) 528-7992

firstchurchsw@gmail.com

Follow Us on Facebook at First Congregational Church of South Windsor

 

 

Business Office Hours -

Tues - Fri. 9am-2pm

Worship Services

Due to Coronavirus concerns, there will be no worship, no chuch school and no events until the social distancing protocol has been lifted. The church office will also be closed. We are closely monitoring the fluid situation and will re-assess as needed. Rev. Nina will be available should any need arise. Please call the church office at (860) 528-7992 and your call will be returned as soon as possible. Email will also be monitored. 

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A Message from Pastor Nina – April 4, 2020

Greetings and Peace of Christ to All:

First Congregational Church of South Windsor hopes this finds you coping as best you can, whatever your personal situation or context is at the moment. We, at First Congregational Church of South Windsor, want you to know we are here for you. As most of you know, we are offering several ways to be in community as church: Email, our website, Facebook and personal calls, outreach, prayer sharing, and general neighborly check-ins.

Below, please find information that we pray will be helpful:

WORSHIP: Services continue to be offered on the online platform, ‘Zoom.’ Sundays, at 10:00 a.m. along with any added services.

You do not have to have your own ‘Zoom’ account to join in. As long as emails are registered with the Church Office, you will be included in the ‘Zoom’ email invitation for each service.

Should you know of someone who wishes to join, please have them send their contact information, including email address, full name, physical address, etc., to firstchurchsw@gmail.com. They will be added to our eblast list.

Below is a listing for Holy Week Worship via ‘Zoom:’

April 5, 2020, Palm Sunday*

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.:   Zoom Etiquette Help Session

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Worship

*Contact precautions preclude distribution of palms. We can use our own ‘palms’ as we imagine being in the crowds hailing Jesus’ procession.

 

April 9, 2020 – Maundy Thursday – 7:00 p.m. “Reflections on the Shadows”

This will be a brief time of scripture readings and reflection via ‘Zoom.’

 

April 10, 2020 – Good Friday – No Zoom Service.

This is a good opportunity to find a Bible, actually hold it in your hands and read Luke 23:1-56 aloud to your family or to yourself and reflect on “The Seven Last Words of Jesus” (see below).

 

 

April 12, 2020 – Easter Sunday – 10:00 a.m. Worship Via ‘Zoom’

The joy of Christ’s resurrection will not be impeded by any earthly powers or inability to be in a house of worship. It is good to remember that there was a simple tomb, a woman named Mary Magdalene and a stone rolled away. Christ will be risen this day! Christ will be risen, indeed!

 

Wednesday Mornings, “Chapel Chat” with Rev. Nina – 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

How are you doing? Join this shared time to talk, laugh, cry, hope and lose some solitude or gain some community in search of God’s presence.

 

OUTREACH: Our Care Team is established and will be reaching out via phone to all of you, so expect some phone check-ins throughout the duration. The Care Team is also delivering hardcopies of services, newsletters and other materials to those who are not online or are homebound. Should you know of anyone who could use this outreach, please contact the church at firstchurchsw@gmail.com or leave a message on the church phone: 860-528-7992.

Ernest Hemingway said something about how the world can break all of us, and ultimately, leave us stronger in the broken places. Humanity seems quite broken enough already, but we place our hope in God to give us the strength and courage to see us through this COVID-19 pandemic together, so that we may heal into new strength and life and remember what is truly important – to love one another as we love ourselves.

Easter blessings,

The Rev. Nina Barlow Schmid

THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF JESUS

(All scriptures taken from the New Revised Standard Version)

 

Luke 23:34  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”

 

Luke 23:43 “Truly, I tell you today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

John 19:26-27 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”

 

Matthew 27:45-46  “And about three o’clock Jesu cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why  have you forsaken me?”

 

John 19:28  “After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.”

 

John 19:29-30 “A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

 

Luke 23:46 – “Then, Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.”

 

 

(All scriptures taken from the New Revised Standard Version)

Helpful Links:

https://www.ucc.org/daily_devotional  

Daily Reflections by UCC Ministers and Staff

 

https://henrinouwen.org/resources/daily-meditation/ 

Reflections by the late Henri Nouwen - Theologian, Writer and Humanitarian

 

https://media.ed.ac.uk/media/t/0_qyagxlej 

12 Minute Tai Chi opportunity given by the Rev. Ali Newell, wife of John Phillp Newell, Celtic Theolgian, from the Edingburgh Botanical Gardens

A Message from Your Pastor, Rev. Nina - Saturday Evening, March 14, 2020

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 

Greeting Friends:

We are doing a new thing - not having worship at church! And, I’m guessing that this new thing is making you feel a little unsettled – I know it feels that way for me. Not that this hasn’t ever happened to us before. Weather-related events have caused some lost Sundays, few and far between. But this – this Coronavirus ‘thing’ – feels different.

This time, we are at the mercy of a situation that makes us uncertain. We don’t know for sure where or when it will all end. We feel uncertain, too, about what exactly we might experience individually or collectively. We are really just beginning to learn to cope. But we must have faith that we shall.

We need to remember that even though we do not know the outcome, and we fear for the health and well-being of all, we are in this together. God made us to be in relationship with each other, to be partners. Genesis tells us so.

I am writing to you as your minister and pastor to reassure you of God’s mercy and grace. I am writing to offer you some spiritual sustenance and encourage you all to take advantage of this prolonged period of ‘Sabbath’ – that is rest; rest from normal routines, rest from running from place to place to ‘get’ things, regular work routines, school schedules, traveling, major sports events, gathering in all its forms.

We aren’t being offered just one day of rest – Sunday – we are being offered a prolonged Sabbath - one that will take some getting used to. With all the challenges this health event brings with it, it is also providing an opportunity to slow us down and make us rest – and help us remember the truly important and genuine things in life – God’s creation: nature and each other. In my estimation, this could be experienced as a much-needed chance to re-frame our hearts, minds and spirits.

Yes, it is hard. It’s hard not even being able to go to the library, movies, restaurant, out with friends, or whatever the case may be. But, we can ‘do’ hard. With God’s help, anything is possible.

I encourage you to take this time to do the things that so often get set aside because we are so ‘busy’: get outside more – luckily, the weather is turning! Hike, bike, walk on the beach, play outside, sit under a tree, do those gardening and landscaping tasks around the yard that always have to get done on your days off. Start that exercise routine, meditate, read those books you’ve got piled up, play on the computer (but not too much!) and listen to some music. Clean the garage! Get ready for that tag sale! Start a Monopoly tournament! Parents – you can spend more time with your kids! Kids – you can spend more time with your parents!

One really very important thing to do is to call friends and family; the elderly neighbor who lives alone or the person who just had surgery and can’t get out. Take them some groceries and leave them on the doorstep. Talk on the phone and commiserate – misery loves company! Calm someone’s fears; offer some light conversation or humor. Be present. Ask yourself: What can I do to help someone within the recommended Coronavirus boundaries? We need each other.

Please check your emails, our website at www.firstchurchsw.org and Facebook page over the next two weeks. You will be hearing from me from time to time as we ride the wave of this pernicious virus, adapt, and learn new things together.  

However, first and foremost, I encourage you to take this time to get closer to God. With much of what we normally do in a day restricted, we are allowed precious time to reflect, contemplate and pray.

Although we shall miss each other tomorrow in worship, this week at book group, at meetings and craft group, archives and lunch bunch, in the meantime, I offer you the attached words and prayers to bring you comfort and closer to God.

Here is an essential truth: you can worship God without being in the church, which, truly, is what we are intended to do. “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey” you are welcome in God’s house – God’s world.

The Israelites worshipped God in the desert. They did not always have their temple. And when they didn’t, it really threw them into a state of confusion, just like this has for us.

What a timely season to be wandering our own worship wilderness – Lent. As Jesus wandered for 40 days and 40 nights so long ago, we have the precious opportunity before us to explore and contemplate this new thing. Let us do so together in heart, mind and spirit, before God.

I invite all of us to read the attached prayers tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. so that we may be in prayer together, just like every Sunday. May you find these words from the Book of Common Prayer comforting in these days. God be with you.

Daily Devotion from the Book of Common Prayer* to be Read at 10:00 A.M.

 

From Psalm 51

Open my lips, O Lord, *
    and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, *
    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence *
    and take not your holy Spirit from me.
Give me the joy of your saving help again *
    and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

A Reading

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.


1 Peter 1:3

A period of silence may follow.

Prayers may be offered for ourselves and others.

The Lord's Prayer

The Collect

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought
us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty
power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by
adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your
purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

*Extracts from The Book of Common Prayer, the rights in which are vested in the Crown, are reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press. BCP 1662

Weather & Emergency Cancellations

WORSHIP SERVICE AND EVENT CANCELLATIONS

If the weather is threatening, you can check for cancellation notices of our events, including Sunday morning worship service and church school, by watching WFSB TV (CBS-Channel) or listening to WTIC (1080 AM). Notices are also posted on both the websites for WFSB news and the WTIC Storm Center. Generally, a decision to cancel worship will be made on Sunday morning around 7 a.m. Every effort will be made to update the church answering machine and send out an email-blast. If you know of anyone who does not use email, please share the information in another way.

CORONAVIRUS ANNOUNCEMENT – MARCH 13, 2020

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Philippians 4:67; “The Message”

 

Good Morning, Members and Friends,

      Most of you are aware that the onset of the Coronavirus has become a health concern worthy of our most judicious attention, not only for our own personal health and the health of those in our charge, but for the common good of others – loving our neighbor as ourselves.

     Cancellations of schools, state and local government activities and services, commerce, and yes, religious institution and houses of worship events are among the many entities affected. All are being asked to assist the greater community effort in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.

      Yesterday, March 12, along with many other governmental and secular organizations, the United Church of Christ Southern New England Conference recommended that all churches close for two weeks. In that light and taking many factors into consideration, I am writing to you today to advise you that the decision has been made to curtail all previously scheduled activities at the church through Saturday, March 28. This includes worship on the 15th and 22nd. Church School classes are also cancelled. Towards the end of the two-week period, church leadership will be reassessing the situation going forward.

     Please be assured that this decision has been made with much discernment by your church leadership team, and not lightly. Though not a popular decision perhaps, it is a necessary one. This is something we can do to help. It’s the least we can do.

     The Business Office will also be closed. Carrie Morse, Administrative Assistant will be working remotely. Please do not ‘stop by’ the Church to see how things are going. The idea is to limit contact. The fluid situation will be monitored daily, along with the phones and email. Should you have a pastoral concern, please, as always, call the office at 860-528-7992 and leave a message for Rev. Nina, or contact her directly at 860-235-8835. 

     Committee Chairs: Please contact the members of your committees to ensure they have received this information. Also, we will be calling members who are not on email, but if you think of anyone yourselves, please give them a courtesy call. Multiple calls are better than none.

Newsletter Contributors: Please continue to email your articles by the deadline of March 15th.

    Everyone: Please stay tuned for additional emails, website and Facebook posts, phone messages and written communications as are deemed necessary or spiritually supportive. Again, share information with neighbors and friends who may not be ‘connected’ electronically.

     Please know that your church is not deserting you, but offering itself to the world as a loving congregation in support of stemming this tide.

     Realizing that this is the season of Lent, it is particularly appropriate to reflect upon what Jesus’ journey to the cross means to us, as always, and particularly in this context as we navigate our way through this challenging time. You are not alone. We are in this together. Let not your hearts be troubled.

Thank you for your cooperation, understanding, patience and prayers for all.

In hope in Christ,

Rev. Nina

https://www.uccfiles.com/pdf/Coronavirus-and-the-Church-Bulletin.pdf 

OUR HISTORIC CHURCH SEEKS INCLUSIVENESS AND VOTES TO WELCOME ALL!

First Congregational Church of South Windsor wants the world to know that we have begun a new journey! First Congregational Church of South Windsor is now an Open and Affirming church community! On January 26, 2020, the historic congregation committed to what is surely one of the most important decisions made in our storied, 325+ year history. What exactly does this mean? This means that:

We seek to widen our expression of God’s Love by becoming a place of inclusiveness, diversity, and unconditional love that inspires all individuals in our community regardless of race, culture, age, ability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.


We strive to apply Jesus’ teaching by recognizing that every individual is a child of God and we welcome all to join us on our faith journey in providing guidance, love, and hope to our community and the world in the spirit of Jesus Christ.


Come, join us! “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!” Worship Services on Sunday mornings at 10:00 am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 26: Ash Wednesday Service

 6:30 p.m. Metzger Chapel

Followed by “Fat Wednesday” Pancakes

 

Lenten Sundays

Sunday, March 1:   Seeking At-One-Ment

 

Sunday, March 8:   Seeking Voice

 

Sunday, March 15:   Seeking Mindfulness

 

Sunday, March 22:   Seeking Courage

 

Sunday, March 29:   Seeking Embodiment

 

Passion Week

Sunday, April 5:   Palm Sunday

Seeking Passion 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, April 9:  Maundy Thursday

Service of Tenebrae and Communion

7:00 p.m.

Friday, April 10: Good Friday

Silent Meditation and Prayer

12 Noon – 3:00 p.m.

EASTER SUNDAY SERVICE

Sunday, April 12:  Easter Sunday

         Seeking Reconciliation and Joy

10:00 a.m.

Easter Egg Hunt Following Worship on Front Lawn 11:00 a.m.

(No Sunday School)

 

Accessibility

Lift, Large print bulletins, Hearing devices

 

Lenten Sundays – March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5

10:00 a.m. Worship

“Seeking Easter” is the theme for our six Sundays in Lent, culminating on Easter Sunday (April 12). Together we shall seek Easter through finding “At-One-Ment,” Voice, Mindfulness, Courage, Embodiment, Passion, Reconciliation and Joy. How do we make things right with God, our neighbors, and ourselves as exemplified in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Seeking through mindful, daily practices brings Christ’s journey to the cross and the seminal events of Passion Week to the forefront of our everyday lives. In addition, weekly bulletins will include a devotional insert titled, “Letting Go,” with devotions for each day of the coming week.

 

 

“HOW DO WE TALK TO EACH OTHER?” – LENTEN SOUP-SUPPER SERIES
6:30 p.m. Wednesdays: March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 1

Programs begin at 7:00 p.m.

We are pleased to announce the 2020 soup/supper series. The awareness that all people possess visible and invisible uniqueness is essential for the enactment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We all have moments of uncertainty when we meet people unfamiliar to us. The 2020 series will focus on encouraging openness and unconditional welcome to all in a world full of misunderstanding and apprehension. All programs will include Q&A sessions.

 

This year's presenters are:

 

March 4 -   Ms. Diane Archambault, OT - "Autism"

March 11 - Mr. Tom Burr, National Alliance on Mental Illness - "Stigma of Mental Illness"

March 18 - Mr. Elliot Altomare, Organizational Consultant - "LGBTQ+ Dialogue"

March 25 – Ms. Rennie Polk, American School of the Deaf

April 1 - "Kinky Boots" - The Movie and Discussion 

 

Please join us for a communal meal and a widening of our appreciation of all of humanity.

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." - Matthew 22:39

 First Church:

All material copyright First Congregational Church of South Windsor.

First Congregational Church of South Windsor

Voice: 860-528-7992    Email: firstchurchsw@gmail.com

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