June 2017 Newsletter

CentralNEWS/June 2017


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

From Rebecca

Dear Friends,

It does indeed seem like yesterday that Marilyn Brown came to stay at Central for just a few

years, and it has now been 18 years of her wonderful energy, competence and thoughtful perspectives that we have been sharing -- mostly behind the scenes, as she works to make our mission possible....So many times we underestimate the significance of those who work to be sure the newsletter is printed and collated and sent, to see that events are posted on our website, to clear the calendar for an event, to let your pastor know that someone has called and is in trouble, to offer an idea for a committee organizing an outreach program, to  make a committee’s job easier by saying, “I’ll take care of that”. And Marilyn has done all of this quietly, calmly, with cheerfulness. As she has said above, she will be leaving for the new chapters of retirement, but not before, in true Marilyn form, she thoroughly trains her replacement.

And we are fortunate to have found Deborah Nigrelli, who you will find in the office now, overlapping Marilyn for a few weeks, as she learns about the intricacies of making this Central Church the place for positive energy and growth that it is. Deb is eager to come to know you, so do stop in and say hello!

We will be honoring Marilyn on Sunday, June 11, and I hope you will plan to be here! Reflecting on the gifts of administration and organization that Marilyn has brought to our church reminds me of how many different gifts God has given to each of us. Maybe your gift is a kind word to a neighbor, or finding a way to lift a stranger’s burden. Maybe you are a genius at helping others with the internet or reading books to the visually impaired, or being a Hospice Volunteer or maybe your gift is that of listening intently to another person who just needs to be heard. Perhaps your gift is in working for peace and non-violence, or social justice, or feeding those who are hungry. I hope you will take these coming weeks of summer to think about the gifts YOU can offer to church, community, country, world, and then share these generously.

Your gifts make a difference! YOU make a difference for the good in God’s world!



Thoughts and Prayers

Our thoughts & prayers are with:

Jane O’Farrell: Her mother died recently.
Janice Schmidt: Her mother, Florence, died in May.
Bob Stout: His brother, Don, died in May.
Ruth Whitford:  Her son, Ned Whitford, died in May.


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 8, 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

A Note from Marilyn

In 1999, the company I worked at for over 25 years moved their operation and I had no desire to move to Minnesota. Central Church’s ad in the Journal mentioned excellent benefits including 4 weeks of vacation. Since I was used to 4 weeks of vacation time; this was of interest to me! My plan was to work for 5 years then transition into early retirement.  Now 18 years later, I am finally planning a retirement which is no longer an early one.  I can honestly say that Central Church has been a good fit for me and is filled with good memories. My time here has been enjoyable and has gone by much too quickly thanks to the wonderful staff, members, and friends who have always given me the support needed to get things done.

A special thanks to Jack Boyce who once referred to me as a genius. If there is any ‘genius’ in me, it was because he always had the answers to my questions and to Peg for being my partner through the years.  Thanks to Rebecca and the rest of the staff for making this a very special & fun place to work.

From the beginning, you were all most helpful and you continue to be so. I have met many special people who will stay in my heart always. You truly are a kind, loving, giving group and I will miss you all!

Please join me in welcoming, Deb Nigrelli, my replacement. I know you will show her all the kindness and patience you have shown me throughout the years and welcome her into the Central Church family.


Marilyn Brown

From Claudia

This month I embark on an old, yet also new, part of the spiritual path set before me.  I have been accepted into a residency program of spiritual direction.  In case a few of you are scratching your heads and wondering, “But, don’t you do a lot of spiritual direction, Claudia?”  The answer is yes.  I do it with individuals and in group settings and I love being able to accompany people on their spiritual journeys.  This will give me an opportunity to talk about the practice of such “holy listening” with others who are doing the same and to grow together in our ministries.

Spiritually accompanying another on their faith journey is a chance to remind one another that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin).  Such an experience encompasses the wholeness of the person in their relationship with God.  Specifically, “we can see spiritual experiences as events that have a particular capacity to show us the nature and guidance of God in our souls and in life around us” (Rev. Tilden Edwards).

This summer through next summer will be times of exploration and discovery for me in a group setting.  My hope is that you are also able to take some time to explore the movement of God in your lives and to reflect on what Thomas Merton calls the “improvisation” of the Holy Spirit in all our lives.

So, wherever you find yourselves this summer I would encourage you to take some time to think about where you find God in your life.  Ask God for the grace to discern the ways that God moves in and around and with you.  You might just be surprised by the answer!

Blessings on the journey,


New Members

Please join us in welcoming our new members who united with us in membership on May 7.

Carolyn Kolesar - Providence

Carolyn, who is in management with Unidine Corp, moved from Pennsylvania 1 ½ years ago and enjoys gardening and politics. Carolyn joined Central for its faith and community and is interested in mission work and catering.

Lynne McLeod - Rumford

Lynne is a manager for the Division of Organ Transplanting at Rhode Island Hospital. She has lived in RI for 17 years and enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and exercising. Central’s choir, sermons and sense of community brought her here and she hopes to become involved with community programs and the social committee.

Jane Pretat  - Portsmouth

Jane Pretat and her family have long been members of Central and have been active participants in many different ways.  In fact, Jane was the Chairperson in the 1960s when our current organ was installed!  Jane had wished to deactivate her membership some time ago, but now wishes to be a full member once again!

Celebrate! Commemorate!

Your lifelong connections to Central with an engraved brick in the West Lawn Terrace.

Personalize your brick as you wish: with a name(s) of your choice or “In honor of a special person, family or event in your life. . . from yesterday, today, or tomorrow”.

Bricks with a three line (18 characters per line) inscription are $200. Please contact the church office if interested.


Wear RED!
Bring ACTS 2:1-13 to read in the language of your choice!

Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the heads of the Apostles instructing them to go forth into the world and preach the Gospel.  Wearing red reminds us of the flames of fire that appeared over their heads.  Reading the story of that first Pentecost in many different languages reminds us how the Apostles spoke in multiple languages that day through the power of the Holy Spirit.

To find a great list of Bible translations in other languages see https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+2&version=NRSV


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

June 8—Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

July 20—TBD (7:00-8:30 PM at Central)

August 17—TBD (5:30-7:00 PM—Potluck picnic at Claudia’s home)

Summer Labyrinth Walks

Tuesday, June 27 from 5:30-6:30 PM
Thursday, July 20 from 5:30-6:30 PM
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, June 27, July 20, and August 15 weather permitting to walk the labyrinth and enjoy the company of Central friends.  Questions? Ask Claudia.


Crescent Park Carousel Outing
700 Bullocks Point Avenue
Riverside, RI
Sunday June 25 - at 11:30 a.m.  

We’ll leave right after Coffee Hour to meet at the carousel.  Enjoy lunch with your friends from Central and go for a ride!  The Blount Clam Shack will be open for lunch (cash only) or bring a picnic lunch.  There are picnic tables to share, as well as the incredible Looff Carousel, a National Historic Landmark!

This carousel was built in 1895 by the famous designer, Charles Looff, as a showcase of his work.  Whether you ride or watch, it is a piece of Americana and a wonderful experience for ALL ages!

From Aidan:


After a commissioning service during worship on Sunday, June 25th, the WORD Summer Mission Trip Team will travel to New York City to partner with the Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP).  YSOP engages youth and adults in meaningful service opportunities through an orientation to the issues, hands-on volunteer work, and reflection.  We will be working at various locations throughout the city and staying with West End Presbyterian Church in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  Please hold us in your prayers as we serve God together and make connections with our brothers and sisters in New York.  If you would like to learn about how you can sponsor one of our youth, please contact me at aidan@centralchurch.us.


As we are reminded each time we celebrate baptism at Central, we covenant together to nurture and support God’s children in our church.  We hold them as infants, play with them as children, and share in the joy and depth of their wisdom and personalities as young people.  This spring, we celebrate and acknowledge the achievements Central youth who will be graduating from high school.  Congratulations on all that you have achieved and blessings to you on your next steps.  We are praying for you, cheering you on, and looking forward to the next time that we will welcome you home to Central!

Louisa Antonio            Moses Brown
Jack Armstrong           Barrington High School
Belle Buroker              Lincoln School
Sam Bush                    Classical High School
Jack Hogan                  LaSalle Academy
Josiah Kim                  Classical High School
William Templeton    Wheeler
Josiah Whitney           Wheeler
William Worrell          Moses Brown


Choir Recognition

At our morning worship at 10:30 on Sunday, June 4, we will recognize our choirs for their work and dedication.  We award achievement medals and ribbons to children according to the standards of the Royal School of Church music.

This year when we recognize our Adult Choir we give special thanks and recognition to our section leader Kathryne Jennings who has served since 1994…that’s 23 year tenure!  Kathryne and her husband, Paul Phillips, will be moving to California to take positions at Stanford University.  We send them off with our thanks, congratulations, and well wishes!

Oh, Jonah!

On Sunday, June 11, our Children’s Choir presents their annual musical, this year featuring “Oh Jonah” by Allen Pote and Carole McCann.

You may know the story of Jonah and the whale, but the story is about a lot more than just a whale!  Come find out the rest of the story as our Children’s Choir tells the story in drama and music that young and old alike will enjoy.


"Wait, Jesus DIED?!!!  Who's going to replace him?!!!!

Every Church School teacher has experienced 'moments' in class when a child asks a Big Question -- one that makes you take a deep breath and say a prayer before you respond! -- and what you thought you were going to do for a lesson takes a back seat to the question at hand.   These 'moments' are one of the many reasons we love to work with children!    Such questions, and conversation that follow, feel like gifts -- they are opportunities to open our hearts to one another, and share the awe and wonder of the Gospel.    We are blessed with an amazing group of teachers and high school helpers this year; whose preparation and presence make a difference each week in our children's lives.

We GIVE THANKS to these dedicated Church School TEACHERS and YOUTH HELPERS:  Amy Frazer; Jaime Lavoie; Pamela O'Hara; Beth Cotter; Julie Passafaro; Jen Cookke; Kirstin DeShaw; Amy Weigand; Liam Newberry; Harry Mazurkie; Ben Thornton; Maddie Lee; Brian Kook; Coco Maranjian; Phoebe Maranjian; Sophia Mott; Molly O'Hara; Lexi DeShaw; John Lalli;  Gavin Rardin; Josiah Whitney; Henry Hebb; Eliza Trevor; Grace Moorhead; Kathhleen O'Hara.

We recognize the 8th graders who have finished their last year of Church School and will be in Confirmation next year:  Abraham Balogun; Jonathan Baran; Sarah Gifford; Clara Kugler; Serena Lalli; Wes Heywood.   Blessings in your continued faith journey and Confirmation year ahead!

We recognize 7th grader Miles Rardin for his most amazing fundraising mission for HEIFER INTERNATIONAL.   After his passionate and articulate announcement in church this winter, $1200 was raised!   This was then 'matched' by his parents, and was matched/doubled by Heifer International.   Through Miles, and each of your generous gifts, a total of $4400 was given!!   Miles and Central Church will be recognized officially by Heifer International staffperson Liz Ellis, on Sunday, June 11th.   Our annual PICNIC, POTLUCK, GRILL will follow the Children's Choir musical during worship that morning.  A big day with lots to celebrate!!

Please mark THURSDAY, JULY 6th and TUESDAY, AUGUST 1st for our intergenerational and international evenings of VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL!!  We may be 'visiting' Liberia and Armenia this summer! We'll keep you posted!

Love & thanks be to God!


Gallery Committee

For our June show, we are pleased to present Trilogy, a collaborative exhibit of artwork created by Sarah Quinn, Evelyn Blum, and Paula Footer. These ladies have returned to artistic lives after studying, working, and raising families, and in the process, they have rediscovered the joys of visual expression. They have trained with local artists, at RISD, at the Massachusetts College of Art, and at the Decordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and now enjoy each other’s company at Hamilton House. This show promises to be colorful and inspirational!

Please join us to welcome these talented artists at the opening on Friday, June 2, from 5-7pm.

UCC Conference

Three Southern New England UCC Conferences to Hold Historic Joint Annual Meetings in June

For the first time in more than 210 years, the Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) will join the UCC Conferences of Connecticut and Massachusetts in holding joint annual meetings.  Scheduled for Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17, 2017 in Hartford, Connecticut, members of Congregational Churches in all three states are invited to gather for a shared time of learning, worshiping and decision making.

Central has eleven official voting delegates who will be attending, however all church members are encouraged and welcome to attend this historic occasion.  The meeting promises to be spiritually inspiring, with powerful worship experiences.  The General Minister of the UCC, Rev. John Dorhauer, will be a speaker.  It will be an occasion to meet UCC members from the other states, make new friends, exchange ideas and insights.  Everyone will be able to participate in a discussion of the proposed merger of the three Conferences and learn how and why this decision came about.

Registration information, meeting schedules and background information related to the proposed merger is available on the Rhode Island Conference website: ricucc.org or the websites of the Massachusetts and Connecticut UCC Conferences. The deadline for registration is June 5.  While there are events both Friday and Saturday, the most important day to attend will be Saturday if attendance on both days is not possible. The registration fee is $85 which Central will reimburse on request.  Carpooling will be arranged as necessary.

There will be an informational session on Sunday, June 11 at 9:00 a.m. in the Fireplace Room for those planning to attend and for anyone else interested in learning more about the Rhode Island Conference and the Hartford meeting.  More information about this meeting will be sent closer to June 11.


Retreat on Star Island for Women
September 15-17

Members of Caring and Sharing invite the women of Central and their friends to experience “life on a Star”—Star Island, that is.  Part of the Isles of Shoals, Star Island is a very small, picturesque and very historic island 10 miles off the coast of New Hampshire. We will be part of a retreat offered there called Star Women: Rock, Relax, Rejuvenate.  More on that here http://starwomen.weebly.com and here http://starisland.org/program/starwomen/

We will take the 1:55 PM ferry from Portsmouth, NH on Friday and will return to Portsmouth via the 2:15 PM ferry on Sunday.

We plan to car pool to NH and share the cost of gas (and perhaps parking at the ferry) for whoever is willing to drive.

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

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

Because this retreat may fill up quickly please let Claudia know asap that you want to participate and to receive registration information! Each person will need to register themselves individually for the retreat.

If you are opting for the shared room, please find a roommate either from the Caring and Sharing list (ask Martha Nielsen or Cathy Clasper-Torch if you aren’t on that list) or perhaps another woman you know who would love the opportunity to experience "life on a Star…"

This will be a very special retreat.  Questions?  Ask Claudia.

Deacon’s Bench

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Heavy burdens are those commitments that are too heavy for us to bear. They are anything that causes concern in your hearts, and every time you think of it, gives breath of worry, frustration and helplessness. Daringly impossible problems are heavy burdens. This might be sicknesses, infirmities, poverty, loss of beloved ones, joblessness, horrible yokes like limitations, or barriers preventing full joy. These are unpleasant and horrifying upon our lives. These can be daunting challenges.

At one point in life, we face all these problems, mine came early in my life. Then what do you do? PRAYER IS THE KEY!!

From my personal experience, I was able to overcome the challenges in my life through the POWER OF PRAYERS. Each time I have a problem, I turn to the Bible and use examples that relate to that specific problem and pray about it as I have been taught by my parents.

I remembered when I lost my job at the Twin Towers in New York. I cried my eyes out. I had lost my father just few years back, barely getting over it, then this? I thought that was the end of me. I thought about all the odds against me. It's not easy looking for a job in New York City. But I quickly got on my knees, prayed and asked for God's guidance, mercy, and favor. I finally decided to move and leave New York entirely. I share this experience with you because it is outstanding and powerful testimony. God knows His plan for own lives. HE is a mysterious God. I did not know the danger that was pending ahead few years to come. HE Knew everything! At times challenges can be blessings in disguise. I will be FOREVER grateful to God Almighty. 911 happened. I still cried for all the souls that were lost. Secondly, God was preparing me for a better, lifelong profession.

Brethren, let us take our trouble and burdens to God.  He knows the best for us in every situation we find ourselves. Let us have faith in Him. I pray that God give us the strength to overcome the challenges in our lives. Amen

-Temi Sonubi

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.

Pride Fest

PRIDE Fest & Parade - Saturday June 17

Get ready, Rhode Island Pride Fest is just around the corner! Every year, about 30,000 people participate in this full-day of festivities celebrating LGBTQ rights and the spirit of inclusivity here in Rhode Island. This all-ages event is a fun opportunity for Central to showcase itself as a welcoming and affirming congregation. Central will have an information booth during Pride Fest in the afternoon, and then we will march together in the Illuminated Night Parade in the evening. Please come volunteer at our booth, march in the parade, or both!

Contact Stuart Haruyama or stop by the Welcome Table during Coffee Hour for more information or to sign-up!

Membership Directory

Please let us know of any email, address, or phone number changes by June 30. We will be updating our membership directory this summer.


Psalms by J. Clinton McCann
July and August 7/2-8/20
Fireplace Room Sundays, 9:00-9:45 a.m. 

Books available for $10 each

This summer 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. The Pursuit of Happiness, 7/2
  2. Where Is God in a World of Suffering?, 7/9
  3. Faithful Complaining, 7/16
  4. A Lifestyle of Gratitude, 7/23
  5. A Lifestyle of Praise, 7/30
  6. Whom Can We Trust?, 8/6
  7. Marching to Zion, 8/13
  8. Establishing Justice, 8/20

Come to one session, or all of them using this study guide so that you can’t “get behind”!  Please see Claudia to purchase your copy.


Breakfast at Tiffany’s
July 2 at 2:30 PM

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 these very special CCC outings.

CCC Summer VBS for ALL Ages!

Thursday, July 6—Armenia
Tuesday, August 1—Liberia
5:30-7:30 PM

`We were delighted with the wonderful response in the past two years to our new model for Vacation Bible School and will continue to “visit” countries with missions supported by the UCC this summer. Come join us we meet on Tuesday, July 6 and Thursday, 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 and Armenia!


370 Richmond St. Providence
Sunday July 16 at 11:30 a.m.  

Rick’s Roadhouse features down home food that can only enhance our time of table fellowship together.  Join your Central friends for good conversation and a fabulously delicious lunch after worship!  Please RSVP to Claudia.


July 23
9:50 a.m. before Worship

Warm up your singing voices and come to church early for our summer hymn sing as we make a joyful noise to God through song!


July 30—during Coffee Hour
(Bring ice cream toppings to share)

Plan to stay for our special Ice Cream Sundae Sunday Coffee Hour on July 30!  Please bring ice cream toppings to share.  The ice cream will be provided!


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.


727 East Avenue in Pawtucket (at the end of Blackstone Boulevard)
August 21 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.

Summer Sundays and Worship Schedule 2017

Summer Worship Services are at 10:00 a.m. from June 19 through September 4

June (Church office closes at 4:00 P.M. this month)
18 9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC
25 9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC with Youth Mission Trip Commissioning
11:30 a.m. Carousel Sunday—Lunch and rides on the carousel at Crescent Park
July (Church office closes at 3:00 P.M. this month)
2 9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC
2:30 PM Breakfast at Tiffany’s at Second Story Theatre ($20 plus a $2.00 fee)
9 9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC
16 9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC
11:30 Lunch at Rick’s Roadhouse, 370 Richmond St. Providence
23 9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
9:50 a.m. Hymn Sing
10:00 a.m. Worship
30 9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC
11:00 a.m. Ice Cream Sundae Sunday! (Bring a topping to share)
August (Church office closes at 3:00 P.M. this month)
6 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
13 9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC
2:30 PM Bell, Book and Candle at Second Story Theatre ($20 plus a $2.00 fee)
20 9:00 a.m. Bible Study—Psalms (Fireplace Room)
10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC
27 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)
3 10:00 a.m. Worship at Central Congregational Church UCC
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