August 2017 Newsletter

CentralNEWS/August 2017

296 Angell Street, Providence,  RI 02906  401-331-1960

From Claudia

The other night I was sitting on my porch just before dusk watching an amazing part of God’s creation in my own little corner of it.  Two yellow bellied sapsuckers were taking long drinks at our hummingbird feeders.  Nearby, the hummingbirds sat on my neighbor’s clothesline watching and waiting for them to leave.  Every so often one or the other would flit by the sapsuckers not willing to get too close, but obviously wanting them gone.

I marveled at their tiny selves as they “buzzed” the sapsuckers.  What courage it takes to try to move them out of the way considering the difference in sizes!  What an amazing feat of biology each of them are in their own unique way.  I started to think about how diverse all of creation is.  Yes, there are some similarities, but birds and other creatures and humans all have our own unique characteristics and traits.

So, I got curious and here’s what I discovered.  There are over 300 species of hummingbirds worldwide with 9 of them living in North America.  They fly at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.  If humans needed the same energy required for these tiny birds we would have to eat about 1300 hamburgers and drink just over 16 gallons of water each day!

John Morton, an expert on birds says, “Were we to operate at their energy level, our hearts would beat 1260 times a minute, our body temperature would rise to 385 C and we would burst into flames.” (Vancouver Sun, 5/91)

This is utterly incredible, isn't it?  What kind of Creator could imagine such a creation?  The answer is simple.  Our Creator can and did.  “And God created…every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:21)  Each bit of creation is a miracle—including each one of you.

Thanks be to God for all creation—including amazing hummingbirds!

From Marilyn

My heartfelt thanks to you for your support through the years.  I truly enjoyed working here and am deeply touched by your kindness, love, and generosity.

The Central Congregational Church family is a very special one and I’m honored to be part of it.  You are a wonderful group of people – some of the nicest I know. I wish you well and will always cherish many happy memories of my Central years.

Love, Marilyn

Book Group

REBECCA’S  BOOK GROUP – Next meets on

Thursday, September 28, at 12:30. The book selection is Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue.  All are invited to attend this lively group.

Our Thoughts & Prayers are With

…the family and friends of Stephen Eustis, his mother, Georgia Eustis died on June 7, 2017. A Memorial Service was held at Swan Point Cemetery on June 12.

Paul Barlow, his mother, Evone Barlow, died on June 20th.

Kennon Miller, his father, Don Miller, died in May.

Ellen Barnes, her mother, Ellen Barnes, died in June.


The Sacrament of Baptism is an important part of our worship life together. In an effort to uplift our celebration of Baptisms in our community of faith, we will be offering Baptisms on the following days:

Children’s Sabbath                  October 15, 2017
Sunday after Epiphany            January 7, 2018
Easter Vigil                             March 31, 2018
Sunday after Easter                April 8, 2018

A meeting to prepare parents for Baptism will be held in our Fireplace Room at 9 am Saturday of the preceding week.  Please speak with the Rev. Rebecca Spencer if you would like to be included in this very important part of life at Central—The Sacrament of Baptism.

New Members

New Member Inquiry*
Tuesday, October 24

Faith Exploration*
Wednesday, November 1

New Member Sunday
November 5

*These meetings are held at the home of the Rev. Rebecca Spencer 15 Taber Ave at 7 pm


Tuesday, August 15 from 5:30-7:00 PM

Join us for a lively discussion of this month’s book!

August 17—Tomato Rhapsody by Adam Schell (Potluck picnic at Claudia’s home—in case of rain we will meet in the Fireplace Room at Central)

From Aidan

At the closing reflection of our youth mission trip to New York City with the Youth Service Opportunities Project we were asked to share an image or scene from our week that we hoped would stay with us in the future.  After spending four days serving at various food pantries, soup kitchens, and agencies around the city, the images that flooded my mind were the tiny spaces and small gatherings of dedicated people who were making incredible impacts in the lives of so many.  These communities were responding to the needs of those who were hungry and without shelter by using whatever resources were available to them.  In most cases, this meant that a small team of whole-hearted people gave of their time and talents to serve hundreds of people in need, often on a daily basis.  It was awe-inspiring to witness just how much love and care can be spread from small groups of people working out of even smaller spaces.

Thank you to the entire Central community for prayerfully supporting this summer’s mission trip to New York.  Your prayers, fundraising contributions, and encouragement helped make this a truly special trip for all of us.  Please join us for Youth Mission Sunday on October 8th to hear prayers and reflections from our youth about their time in NYC!


CCC Summer VBS for ALL Ages!

Tuesday, August 1—Liberia
5:30-7:30 PM

Don’t miss this opportunity to gather with friends of all ages! Our new model for Vacation Bible School will continue to “visit ” countries with missions supported by the UCC this summer. Come join us we meet on Tuesday, August 1 knowing that this VBS is for EVERYONE!!  Children AND adults of ALL ages are welcome to join in the fun!

We will gather together for food from that country in addition to a pizza supper before “taking off” each night to a far flung place where our UCC Global Mission partners live and work.  Along the way we will play games, sing, do crafts and connect with our faith.  We will end with stories and songs and s’mores around the campfire weather permitting.

Take a trip with Aidan, Cathy and Claudia as together we explore Liberia!

Friendship Fund

Thanks to our members and friends for turning in their Eastside Market receipts.  To date Central Church as received $15,489.00 for our mission partners for our participation in their Friendship Fund.

A special thank you to Suzy Pendolino who tallies our receipts and delivers them to Eastside Market.


And now these three remain:
But the greatest of these
--1st Corinthians 13:13

Greetings, Church School friends and families!

I hope summer has been a time of rejuvenation and renewal of body-mind-spirit for you, and that you've enjoyed some slower, unplugged time with family and friends!

August in the Church School wing is the time to look towards the new church year and organize our teachers and youth helpers! Our Church School program is taught collectively and run cooperatively by parents and other caring adults, who create a loving and welcoming environment where children can learn, create, question & respond to the stories of our faith and life.   Please give some prayerful consideration to teaching for a unit (fall, winter or spring) in your child's classroom!   Your help is not only greatly appreciated, but essential for creating the Beloved Community of church family we strive to be!

Just a reminder that there is childcare, for children of any age, during summer worship (10:00 a.m.).  Come on back to the nursery!  The care-givers also take the children outside to the church playground -- taking advantage of beautiful summer weather!

Hope to see many of you at our next evening of "Intergenerational VBS (Vacation Bible School)" -- where we 'travel' to a different country each time.   In July we had a delightful evening in ARMENIA, and in August look forward to LIBERIA, on Tuesday, August 1st, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. -- food, crafts, stories, campfire & s'mores!....

Faith, Hope, Love & summer blessings,

Cathy Clasper-Torch,
Director of Religious Education


Psalms by J. Clinton McCann
August 6-20
Fireplace Room Sundays 9:00-9:45 a.m.

Our summer study continues as we take a look at the sweeping content of the Book of Psalms in Immersion Bible Studies’ book by J. Clinton McCann. Each week is a different topic:

  1. Whom Can We Trust?, 8/6
  2. Marching to Zion, 8/13
  3. Establishing Justice, 8/20

Summer Calendar

August (Church office closes at 3:00 P.M. this month)


9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC, Sacrament of Communion
11:30 a.m. Brunch at Doherty’s Irish Pub      


9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC
2:30   P.M. Bell, Book and Candle at Second Story Theatre  ($20 plus a $2.00 fee)


9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC


10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC
11:30 a.m.  Rasoi Restaurant, 727 East Street, Pawtucket (Buffet at $14.95 per person)



10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC

Gathering Sunday

September 10, 2017
10:30 Worship
The Rev. Rebecca Spencer preaching

Summer Labyrinth Walk

Tuesday, August 15 from 5:30-6:30 PM

Enjoy our brand new outdoor labyrinth (located just outside the kitchen door) under a beautiful summer sky.  Drop in between 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM on Tuesday, August 15 weather permitting to walk the labyrinth and enjoy the company of Central friends.  Questions? Ask Claudia.


727 East Avenue in Pawtucket (at the end of Blackstone Boulevard)
August 27 at 11:30 AM Buffet at $14.95 per person

Join your friends from Central at this award-winning restaurant in our own backyard!  If you’ve never sampled Indian food, this is your chance to try a variety of dishes in a relaxed atmosphere.  Good food!  Good fellowship!  Who could ask for more?  Please RSVP to Claudia

Spirited Poetry Spectacular

October 22 - Save the Date!!

 Wondering if your occasional poetic thoughts could be part of a larger plan?  Join us for a unique celebration on Sunday, October 22:  Central Congregational Church UCC’s Spirited Poetry Spectacular.  Meet Rhode Island State Poet Laureate Tina Cane, who will conduct poetry classes for Church School youth.  Honor Central’s own Poet Laureate, Ilse Kramer.  Sip your coffee after worship and applaud your friends age 9 to 90 -- as they compose/recite poems about anything & everything in God’s creation.

Watch for more information in next month's newsletter, or contact Barry or Barbara Bayon.


Bell, Book and Candle

August 13 at 2:30 PM
Second Story Theatre
28 Market Street, Warren, RI

Tickets are $20 (plus a $2.00 order fee).  You are responsible for purchasing your own tickets for this outing.  Second Story Theatre is a small gem of a theater in our state and you are advised to get your tickets as soon as possible for this very special CCC outing.


Have you ever felt terribly alone?  Out of place?  Even in a crowd?  Especially in a crowd?  Perhaps most of us have felt that way at times.

But imagine that your younger, lonelier self is suddenly joined by hundreds, even thousands, who look into your eyes with friendly glances.  Imagine a still, small voice arising within loud cheering: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.”  (I John 4:7)

Central Congregational Church UCC – our church –  helped make that possible on June 17.  For 41 years the Providence Pride parade has brought humanity out of the shadows: Starting with a daylight filled with information booths & greetings, it ended with a downtown evening parade glowing from, well, Pride.

Our dozen marchers, whom I call the “tip of the spear” representing Central members, ranged from confirmands to silver-haired seniors.  As we rounded the corner past Providence City Hall, passing crowds ten deep, those excited faces seemed to illustrate Jesus’ words:  “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.“ (John 10:10).  A few blocks further up Washington Street, two young men stood on the sidewalk and waved.  One pointed to our banner and mouthed over the cheering: “Look, a Church!!”

As a first-year marcher, his discovery filled me with pride for Central Church.  For a number of the parade’s years we have represented our national denomination, The United Church of Christ.  Our coordinator Debra Moorhead remembers, “We were one of the first churches...and every year more churches have come.”  Her counterpart Stuart Haruyama has organized and encouraged both young and old.

But if you’re not sure of your own views on the LGBTQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) you’re not alone.  Last Easter I pointed out Central’s UCC certification as an “Open and Affirming” church to our visiting grandchildren.  Posting that certificate followed a long period of discussion and meditation, a process which is another source of pride for our denomination.  We continue to welcome all who worship in love and peace.

Have a safe and meaningful summer.

May Grant


342 East Avenue, Pawtucket
August 6 at 11:30 AM

Join your friends at Central for brunch!  Doherty’s has an extensive breakfast and lunch menu with lots of favorite offerings, Irish and otherwise.  Interested?  Let Claudia know so she can alert the restaurant to how many are planning to be there.


Retreat on Star Island for Women
September 15-17, 2017

Star Island is an amazing small island--part of the Isles of Shoals--10 miles off the NH coast.  It is a wonderful place with a large clapboard "hotel" dominating the island.  Walking around the entire perimeter of the island takes about 30 minutes to give you an idea of its size.  There are some wonderful and very old buildings on the island from when it was a tiny farming/fishing community. It's been inhabited since the 17th century. The picturesque small stone church is lit at night by lanterns.  All of the buildings are part of the Star Island Corporation--a retreat center operated by the Unitarian Church.  The UCC has a historic connection to the island as well.

For photos, etc. go to this link:

We are proposing to be part of a retreat called Star Women: Rock, Relax, Rejuvenate attending the 2 night option from Friday, September 15 to Sunday, September 17.  More on that here: and here

The retreat is described as "a casual retreat with a mind/body/spirit focus that encourages individuality and creative while respecting solitude.  Past workshop offerings have included singing, painting, poetry, basketry and wellness..."  There is also plenty of time to simply "be..."

We will take the 1:55 PM ferry from Portsmouth, NH on Friday (arriving at 2:55 PM on the island) and will return to Portsmouth via the 2:15 PM ferry on Sunday (arriving in Portsmouth at 3:45 PM).

We can car pool up there and chip in for gas (and perhaps parking if they charge for that these days at the ferry) for whoever is willing to drive.

The total cost for 2 nights (including all meals, your ferry ticket, and the program fee) is as follows:

  • $462 for a single room
  • $363 for a shared room

Each person will need to register themselves separately.

If you are opting for the shared room, please find a roommate—someone you know who would love the opportunity to experience "life on a Star..."

This promises to be a very special retreat in an incredibly special place.  Questions?  Ask Claudia.



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