May 2017 Newsletter

CentralNEWS/May 2017

296 Angell Street Providence, RI 02906

From Rebecca

Dear Friends,

In 1928, Central Church published a little booklet, titled “A LIVING CHURCH”. Its first chapter was called “A Source of Power”. The first sentences were these:

“On one of the highest points in Providence, four blocks from Brown University, stands an ivy clad Renaissance building of yellow brick, whose twin square towers and dome of weathered copper look down in dignity upon the homes of a great residential section. No symbol of tremendous energy greets the onlooker, as does the gigantic, sky piercing chimney of a modern power plant pouring forth billowing clouds of smoke from morning till night. Yet this IS a great power plant - whose dynamic force is felt everywhere in the community. This is the plant of Central Congregational Church.”

Certainly some things have changed. The ivy is pretty much gone. Our members come from just about every town and village in the state, rather than only the East Side. And power plants no longer pour forth billowing clouds of smoke.

But our Church is still a source of power. Think about it. From this church people volunteer for Amos House breakfasts and Camp Street Ministries’ food baskets and Crossroads sandwiches. From this church, refugee families have been welcomed and set down roots, and families across the world have been helped by our partnerships with Heifer Project. From this church, people have been inspired to help others, to live in compassion, to forgive as we have been forgiven, to work in government, or business or non-profit agencies for the common good. From this church, individuals and families have given sacrificially to serve others. From this church, individuals have been baptized into Christian faith, confirmed in that Christian faith, married and commended to God’s eternal home. From this church, important questions about ethics and justice and peace have been raised, and the issues of ethics, justice and peace have progressed to better the lives of all God’s children. From this church, hope has become real in the lives of thousands.

From this church, the news has been proclaimed, year after year, decade after decade, “Christ is Risen. Alleluia!” In this glad proclamation lies our hope -- for ourselves and for God’s world. May we follow in Jesus’ footsteps and do what we can in our lives to further His mission of love and grace and healing for all. Psalm 46 reminds us, “God is our refuge and our strength.” And, as Martin Luther wrote 500 years ago, “God’s truth abideth still, God’s kingdom is forever.”

I’m glad we share this power plant of Central Congregational Church. What part of God’s strength and truth will you use for good today?

Yours, in the living Christ,



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

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


Due to health issues, the Campbell Nelsons are unable to visit in Rhode Island on May 21.  John has been diagnosed with malignant melanoma and needs to stay in Iowa for treatment.  So, our luncheon on May 21 is cancelled, and we ask for your prayers to be with the Campbell Nelson missionary family."

New Member Luncheon:  May 7

The Membership Committee invites you to join the New Member Potluck Luncheon right after the service on Sunday, May 7.  As the whole congregation turns out to welcome new members, the committee provides main dishes and others are encouraged to bring a favorite side dish, casserole, salad or dessert.  The kitchen crew will be available before church to receive your (fully or pre- cooked) food offering and warming or cooling instructions

Once again, we invite you to wear your name tag in the worship service and at the luncheon that day.  (This is another way we can make new members and visitors feel welcome.) Tables will be set up with blank tags for the convenience of those who need a temporary name tag.

Want to volunteer?  The New Member Potluck Luncheon is a great way to help out!   Whether you are a regular member of the congregation or a friend, stop at the Welcome Table in Chapel Hall during Coffee Hour before May 7 and see how easy it is to be some arms and legs (and a smile) where they are most needed in this fun church community effort

From Claudia

Although we will be back by the time you read this, it is early April as I am writing this.  Three days after Easter Janice Libby, Judy Jamieson, John Peters, Frances Munro and I will begin our pilgrimage to Germany where we will “walk” in the footsteps of Martin Luther and contemplate the 500th anniversary of the explosion of the Reformation and all that meant for the Church.

While the rumblings of reform had started over 150 years or so before Luther, most historians date the Reformation to October 31, 1517 when Luther nailed his 95 theses (or academic points for discussion) to the door of the Wittenberg church.  That set off a firestorm across Europe.  It was in some ways the “perfect storm.”  Luther’s ideas were able to be widely distributed due to the use of moveable type.  In essence, his writings went viral using what amounted to the Internet of his day.

We hope you will join your Central pilgrims at 9:00 AM in the Fireplace Room on May 7 when we will talk about our experiences in Germany.  We will be touring Mainz, Worms, Erfurt, Eisenach, Eisleben, Dresden, Leipzig, Wittenberg and Berlin.  Not only will we follow in Luther’s footsteps, but we will also pay tribute to J. S. Bach and see many other sights along the way.

As Martin Luther once said, “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”  As we travel throughout Germany this spring we take the good news of Easter with us sharing it with our fellow travelers and those we meet along the way.  Ein gesegnetes Osterfest!

Blessings for this Easter season…



Sunday, May 21
11:30 AM Chapel Hall

The Angellic Knitters will be sharing a special table with knitters and others at the Mission Lunch on May 21 as we hear about the Campbell Nelsons’ work in Timor through the UCC Global Ministries.  Please plan to join us! Questions?  Call Janice Libby or Claudia.

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.

CCC Adult Sunday School

Martin Luther Germany Trip Presentation May 7
Hildegard von Bingen May 21 & 28 (NO CLASS on 5/14)      

Fireplace Room, 9:00-10:00 AM

Hildegard von Bingen was truly a woman ahead of her time.  A visionary in every sense of the word, this famed 12th-century Benedictine nun was a Christian mystic, composer, philosopher, playwright, poet, naturalist, scientist, physician, herbalist and ecological activist.”  Come hear her story and discuss the implications of the life of a woman who influenced not only her world, but also who continues to influence

It’s Back!!!

Full Moon Labyrinth Walk
Tuesday, May 9 from 7:00-7:30 PM

Come and enjoy our brand new outdoor labyrinth (located just outside the kitchen door) under the Full Flower Moon.  Drop in between 7:00 PM and 7:30 PM on Tuesday, May 9 weather permitting to walk the labyrinth and enjoy the company of Central friends under a full moon.  Questions? Ask Claudia.

Gallery Committee

For our May exhibit, we welcome Irene Lawrence. Irene is an accomplished abstract painter who builds texture with varying thicknesses and uses richly pigmented paints to create different rhythms in her art. Ms. Lawrence grew up on Long Island and attended RISD; she now works and lives in Providence. She has exhibited widely in Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts; her work is also included in private, public, and corporate collections.

These vibrant paintings will be displayed from May 3 until the end of the month. There will not be a formal


Thursday, May 11
7:00-8:30 pm in the Fireplace Room at Central

Join us for a lively discussion of this month’s book—Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.

Looking Ahead:

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.

From Aidan


On the first Sunday of the month, Aidan leads a casual, “pop in” Bible study following worship in the Deacons’ Room.  Each study will be a stand-alone exploration of a biblical text that aims to bring us into its context while discerning together where we find God’s Word speaking to us today.  No prior study or attendance will be necessary and it is open to everyone in our community.  We will use various biblical translations and different methods to dive into our sacred and living library.


Aidan is offering a time of fellowship and conversation for our Confirmation and high school youth following worship on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sundays of the month.  We will meet in the Deacons’ Room right after worship and gather until 12:15 or 12:30. These will be informal times of conversation around a relevant topic


Sunday, May 7th

9:00 am: Confirmation Class w/ Deacon Mentors (Makepeace Room)
10:30 am: New Member Sunday
11:30 am: Pop In Bible Study (Deacons’ Room)
11:45 am: New Member Lunch (Chapel Hall)

Sunday, May 14th                  

9:00 am: Confirmation Class (Dream-makers Room)
10:30 am: Worship

Friday, May 19th                    

4:30 am: Confirmation Worship Rehearsal (Sanctuary)
6 am: Confirmation Recognition Dinner (Chapel Hall)

Sunday, May 21st                   

9:15 am: Confirmation Deacons’ Breakfast (Fireplace)
10:30 am: Confirmation Sunday Worship
11:30 am: Coffee Fellowship/Mission Lunch

Sunday, May 28th                  

10:30 am: Worship
11:30 am: Conversations with Aidan (Deacons’)
Noon: Young Adults Lunch


Looking for good reads for the backyard or the beach?  Search no more.  Take advantage of spring cleaning at Central's library!  Here's how:

Watch for the library cart at coffee after worship.  Take some intriguing titles home with you -- no payment, no return required, share with a friend.

But remember:  Please No More Donations to the Library!

Deacon’s Bench

Spring is upon us and is one of my favorite times of the year. It is a rebirth of nature.  As I look out my window and see the once dull and brittle grass becoming green and plush, I get excited with anticipation of starting my lawn mower and being outside in the warmth of the sun, saying hello to neighbors who I have not seen much of during the cold winter months.

As I see leaves and flower beds begin to bloom, it reminds me that spring is a time to reflect on our journey thus far and imagine the steps that we will take in the new year.  Hope is reborn.   It is hope that invites us to take a deeper walk with God on our journey, living in faith, facing each day and embracing its beauty. It is hope and our faith that allow us to feel God’s love within us through both joyous and difficult times.

It is with such reflection that I think of the passage “Go in Love” written by Nancy Price and Don Besig.  It was sung during the Benediction of my last church service at the Barrington Congregational Church.

“Go in love, have no fear, God will guide you, God is always near.
Go in love, take God’s hand, God will hear you and will understand.
May God’s light forever shine upon you, may full peace be always in your heart.
Go in love, face each day, God will lead you and will show the way.
Go in love and live in faith.”

Have a safe and meaningful Memorial Day.

-Bob Kaloostian

Important UCC Conference Meeting

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 will join the UCC Conferences of Connecticut and Massachusetts in holding a joint annual meeting.  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.

All are encouraged 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: 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.


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 and here

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.

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