June/July 2024 Newsletter

Central News

June / July 2024 | Vol. 32, No. 11

Summer Worship Begins June 16 at 10 am!

Download the PDF Version of this Newsletter

A Good Word From Patrick

Hey folks, For the last few months, a thoughtful team of representatives from our Board of Deacons, Prudential Committee, Religious Education Committee, families, and volunteers have been diligently reviewing a broad assortment of candidates to join our staff as the Director of Religious Education. This role is crucial as it will be responsible for organizing and directing our ministries with children, teens, and families.

During this interim period between Directors, our families – who hold a unique and invaluable place in our church community – have been doing incredible and challenging work. They’re getting ready and out the door to attend Worship, often leading weekly classes and organizing events and picnics for the church. Beyond this significant weekly commitment, many of our families are outliers in their friend groups, being the only family they know outside of church who identify as Christian or are willing to get to church. I celebrate your strength, commitment, and resolve! You all are amazing! I am genuinely impressed by your faithfulness. I am so grateful to hear the sounds of laughter, the cries of sadness or frustration, the quiet whispers, and the scratch of crayons. I am so grateful to see artwork on prayer cards and goldfish on pews. All of this is a gift to our church and your kids. I will do all that I can to support you and your family.

And to the rest of us without kids, we have a shared responsibility. Worship is a communal project. Formation is a communal project. The adage is true: It takes a village to raise a child well. If we hope to see a thriving ministry overflowing with kids again, we must commit to being a part of the village. We may find that we grow compassion by practicing compassion, we grow love by practicing love, we develop patience by practicing patience, and we grow in grace by practicing grace. We grow in knowledge and wisdom by teaching and offering it to others. The village mindset is reciprocal, where we grow together across generations, giving and receiving, opening ourselves to the lessons we might learn from another person’s life.

We are a village together at Central. We are not yet perfect, but we are loved perfectly by a God who loves us. I’m so grateful to be in this work with you!

See you Sunday! – Patrick

Children’s Musical

On Sunday, June 9, Central’s Children’s Choir will present its annual musical: the parable of “The Builder,” words by Grace Hawthorne and music by Terry Kirkland. The melodies inspire some toe tapping, while the lyrics challenge us to consider the meaning of Jesus’ words. You’ll not only hear tips about house construction, but also learn where your true home really lies. After all, there are different ways to build a house, but only one has eternal qualities. If the three most important factors in determining a home’s desirability are location, location, and location, it shouldn’t be hard to decide where you will build your home.

The Children’s Choir has been preparing this work since Easter. Please come to Worship on June 9 – before the Church Picnic – and share in their lessons!

The Deacon’s Bench

Good News in a Blue Bag: In the first week of May, my dog June injured herself. It was nothing too serious – June forgot to put on the brakes when chasing a squirrel out of our yard and slammed into the fence. It could have been worse. She does not need surgery and should recover fully in a few months, but she needs a doggy walking boot for a while.

Having a dog in a walking boot is not easy. Miss June is in a sour mood and spends much of her day growling out the window at any neighborhood dog who dares to walk by. Her bandages and boot need to be kept clean, so we wrap a bag around her foot each time we take her outside. Newspaper bags are the perfect shape, but our supply dwindled pretty quickly. I turned to our trusty buy-nothing group and several neighbors responded.

One woman messaged me that she lived nearby, had seen me walking my sad dog, and would drop off some bags. That afternoon, bags appeared on our front porch. Her generosity did not stop there; every single day, one blue New York Times bag appears in our mailbox.

I caught a glimpse of her on the first day but was not quick enough to thank her. I have not seen her since. At first, I wanted to meet our bag fairy and thank her for taking a moment out of her day to help us. Now, I just like knowing that there is a person who thinks of my poor, sad June every morning when she picks up her newspaper. On my early morning dog walks, I smile every time I see a New York Times on a porch and wonder if that is where our wonderful bag fairy lives.

I doubt she realizes what joy her little act of kindness brings me. It is a nice reminder that even the smallest actions can have impact. At a time when the bulk of the news contained in that blue bag is bad, I now smile every time I see one. Thank you, bag fairy. – Beth Cotter

Annual Church Meeting

The 172nd Annual Church Meeting of Central Congregational Church will be held Sunday, June 2, immediately following Worship. Simply remain in the Sanctuary. On the agenda: electing officers and committee members, approving the Annual Budget, and dealing with miscellaneous business matters. Please plan on attending.

Central’s annual luncheon will follow at approximately 12:15 pm in Chapel Hall. We’ll be serving your choice of rotisserie chicken salad, tuna salad, or egg salad; fresh greens, pasta salad, rolls, and assorted beverages – with our famous strawberry shortcake for dessert. Luncheon tickets are $15 per person. The deadline for reservations was May 28, but if you would still like to attend, call the Church Office at 401-331-1960.

Church Picnic

Central’s annual Church Picnic is always a wonderful celebration of almost-summer. After Worship – during which the children and youth will offer a musical/dramatic presentation – we’ll enjoy the fresh air and warm weather as a community of faith. Please bring some tasty picnic sides or sweets – chips, fruit, salad, cookies, brownies – to share.   The Religious Education Committee will provide hotdogs, hamburgers, vegetarian burgers, and beverages! If you can volunteer to help – set up, serve, and/or clean up – please contact the Church Office.  Sunday, June 11, 12 noon, on the West Lawn.

Seeking a Church Home?

If you are looking for a church – or know someone who is – we would love to talk with you about it at our Inquirers’ Meeting. It’s very informal. You’ll meet with our senior minister, Patrick Faulhaber, and others like you who think Central may be the right church home. No commitment necessary. To join us, fill out a pew card during Sunday Worship or call the Church Office at 401-331-1960, and Patrick will get in touch.

Inquirers’ Meeting
Tuesday, October 22, 7 pm

Faith Exploration
Wednesday, October 30, 7 pm

New Member Sunday
Sunday, November 3, 10:30 am

Summer Bible Study

This summer, Claudia’s Summer Bible Study Group will explore Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians – taking on a different topic each week. Come to one session or to all of them. Contact Claudia for more information. Sundays, July 7 through Aug. 11, 9 am, in the Fireplace Room

July 7: We Are What We Are
July 14: Free to Be One in Christ
July 21: One of the Above
July 28: House Rules
August 4: Unquenchable Joy
August 11: The Heart of Joy

Wanted: Scripture Readers!

Judy Jamieson is “collecting” scripture readers for Central’s June, July, and August worship services. Let your voice ring out … once or as often as you like! Contact Judy (401-421-892 / jjamiesn@providence.edu) or the Church Office to volunteer.

Adult Sunday School

This month the Adult Sunday School will continue to explore the history of God – not only from a Christian perspective but also as seen through the lenses of Judaism and Islam. Contact Claudia with questions. Sundays, June 2 and 9, 9 am, in the Fireplace Room

Commissioning Service: Board of Deacons and Prudential Committee

Central will commission the 2024/25 Board of Deacons and Prudential Committee members at a special ceremony on Thursday, June 13, 5:45 pm. A celebratory potluck dinner immediately follows.

Toward Better Christian Politics

Central’s discussion group on the Christian response to political polarization in America uses a study/discussion guide entitled “The After Party: Toward Better Christian Politics” – developed by New York Times columnist David French. A light lunch will be served. Contact Kristin DeKuiper with questions. Sundays, June 9 and 23, 12:15 pm, in the Fireplace Room

A Reminder from the Social Committee

If you use tablecloths for your event, kindly wash and return them to the armoire in the kitchen. Thank you!

In Memoriam

Our prayers and sympathy are with the family and friends of Ann Thorndike. Requiescat in pace

From Claudia

How I used to love vacations when I was young! I still do. Back then the summer one seemed to stretch endlessly before me. As soon as school let out, my parents would pack us and the cat and the dog into the cars and head to our home for the summer. Awaiting us were long days of crabbing on the dock, rowing on the river, swimming in the ocean, lots and lots of reading (which probably doesn’t surprise you!), visits from family and friends, and just plain “being.” Summer indeed seemed endless and yet, so full.

This June my family will be traveling to the Berkshires for a short visit there and a sort of family reunion. All of my husband’s siblings and their families plan to spend a day reconnecting. Our 100-year-old matriarch will be present, reveling in the joy of being in the midst of her sons, their spouses, their children, her grandchildren, and great-grandchildren! Just immediate family – about 30 of us. Some of us haven’t seen one niece for almost 20 years. What a joy that reunion will be! We all are so looking forward to simply being together. Connecting … and reconnecting.

We do a lot of that at Central as well as in other places in our lives, don’t we? Connecting and reconnecting. We weave our threads of life with those of others in every encounter we have. And those threads that we weave together are all the stronger because they are spun by the God who created and recreates us. The One who connects with us in faith and who invites us to connect with one another through faith. And that fabric is strong indeed.

We are woven together in faith, in hope, and in love. What a joy it is to be part of the warp, those long threads, and the woof, those threads that cross the warp, as we anticipate warm summer days – worshipping together and strengthening our threads between God and each other.

Yours in love and faith – Claudia

Poetry Corner

On March 15, 2019, 51 people were murdered at their place of worship in Christchurch, New Zealand. That day, my teacher Omid Safi spoke to his class about sequoias, inspiring this poem.


That we might be like the sequoia
Who, for millennia, towers above all,
bearing witness to sunrises and springs,
holding firm through squall and storm.
Whose roots barely breach the surface of the earth,
rather – who reaches out,
grasping siblings, nestling around neighbors,
anchoring in
one another.

That we might, in mourning,
when bridges fail, when frustrations boil,
when vitriol governs and
nations deem whole peoples dispensable:
be like the sequoia.

That we might, in wonder,
As trees burst greens and scatter pinks
– making incomprehensible their months bare –
as waves lap sun-warmed sands and
birdsong carries on leafy breezes:
be like the sequoia.

That we might, as sequoia,
reach out, anchoring in
one another.

– Grace Smith


A paper written by Central member May Grant has been accepted for presentation at “The Mission and Transmission: Walking in the Congregational Way,” a virtual conference that will be held Wednesday, July 17, from 12 noon to 6 pm.

May’s paper will discuss Agnes Fenenga. Born in The Netherlands and raised in South Dakota, Fenenga (1874 to 1949) worked for 40 years as a missionary of the Congregational Church – spending 30 years in Turkey and ten in Syria.

The half-day conference is sponsored by The Theological Commission of the International Congregational Fellowship and Congregational Library & Archives. It will be hosted on the Zoom platform, so people around the world may take part. Registration is free. For more information, go to www.congregationallibrary.org/walking-congregational-way.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

Skills are skills. Knowledge is knowledge. And learning to persevere is invaluable. No one can take that away from Central’s 2024 graduates. Congratulations to:

Jack Armstrong – Boston Conservatory, Berklee School of Music
Noble Brigham – Boston University
Jackson Chambers – Franklin High School
Henry Hebb – Gordon College
John Lalli – Brown University
Madeline S. Lee – Bates College
Amelia Lynch – La Salle Academy
Thomas Lynch – La Salle Academy
Coco Maranjian – Brown University
Phoebe Maranjian – Brown University
Alex Mirrer – Yale University
Adam J. Morrissey – Suffolk University Law School
Stephen Moss – University of Michigan, School of Public Health
Sophia Mott – University of Vermont
Molly O’Hara – Pitzer College
Benjamin Thornton – Brown University
Lily Thornton – Wheeler School

Not Just Supper

Central singles will meet for a potluck dinner around the firepit at Peter Woodberry’s house. RSVP to Peter via text. Sunday, June 2, 5:30 pm

Women Gather: June

Central’s women’s group will enjoy a “field trip” to the historic Maxwell House for Spring Tea. Scones, tea sandwiches, home-baked sweets, plus wonderful fellowship and fabulous hats await. The cost is $20. Reservations are required, so please RSVP to Claudia. Saturday, June 8, 1 pm, at Maxwell House (59 Church Street, Warren)

Food for Thought Book Group

Join us for a lively discussion about “Finding Me: A Memoir,” by award-winning actor and Rhode Island native Viola Davis – who calls this book “a deep reflection on my past and a promise for my future.” Questions? Ask Claudia. Thursday, June 13, 7 pm, in the Fireplace Room

Coming up: “The Narrowboat Summer,” by Anne Youngson: Thursday, July 11, 7 pm; “The Secret Life of Sunflowers,” by Marta Molnar: Thursday, Aug. 8, 7 pm

Central Men’s Group

Open to all ages, Central Men’s Group is a monthly breakfast gathering – held on the third Thursday of each month – for fellowship and spirited conversation on topics ranging from current events and ethics to trends and shared experiences. Questions? Contact John Trevor. Thursdays, June 20 and July 18, 7:30 am, in the Fireplace Room

Fourth Thursday Book Group

This month, the Fourth Thursday Book Group will meet a week early to discuss “The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church,” by journalist, author, and professor Rachel L. Swarns. In this groundbreaking account, Swarns follows one family through nearly two centuries of indentured servitude and enslavement to uncover the harrowing origin story of the Catholic Church in the U.S. Thursday, June 20, 12:30 pm, via Zoom

Pentecost at Central

On Pentecost Sunday, May 19, Central celebrated the wonder and mystery of God, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the powerful gifts and movements of the Holy Spirit. During Children’s Time, Senior Minister Patrick Faulhaber had the kids lie on the floor of the sanctuary to locate the white dove – a universal symbol of the Holy Spirit – in the center of the cross, which is the focal point of the mural in the chancel dome. (And is almost 40 feet high!) After Worship, the congregation gathered on the West Lawn for our traditional and always joyful releasing of the doves! See the pdf newsletter for photos.

Ice Cream Sundae Sunday

I scream! You scream! We all scream for ice cream! Especially in the middle of summer. Plan to stay after Worship for our annual Ice Cream Sundae Sunday. We’ll provide the ice cream; you bring some toppings to share! Sunday, July 7, 11 am, on the West Lawn, weather permitting.

Carousel Sunday

Let’s meet after Worship at the amazing Crescent Park Carousel, a National Historic Landmark built in 1895 by the famous designer Charles Looff. Whether you ride or watch, it is a piece of Americana – and fun for children and adults alike! 
If you like, bring a snack or picnic lunch. Questions? Ask Claudia. Sunday, July 14, 11:30 am, at the Crescent Park Carousel (700 Bullocks Point Avenue, Riverside)

Women Gather: July

This month Central’s women’s fellowship will join the rest of the congregation for Carousel Sunday at Riverside’s Looff Carousel! Sunday, July 14, 11:30 am, at the Crescent Park Carousel (700 Bullocks Point Avenue, Riverside)

Ice Cream at Eskimo King

Bring the whole family! We’ll meet outside at the picnic tables, near the playground, for good conversation and ice cream. Choose from more than 200 flavors – soft or hard. RSVP to Claudia. Monday, July 22, 6 pm, at Eskimo King (29 Market Street, Swansea, Mass.) – where “Ice Cream Rules!”

Brunch at Diego’s

Let’s meet after Worship for “fresh Mexican fusion food” and fascinating conversation at this Wayland Square eatery. Check out the extensive menu (https://www.diegosprovidence.com/new-page) and RSVP to Claudia. Sunday, July 28, 11:30 am, at Diego’s (192 Wayland Avenue, Providence)

Best Wishes!

To Carole McLaughlin and Chris Neuve on their upcoming marriage on June 15, 2024!

June Events

1 Memorial Service: Dorothy Lohman 2 pm
2 Adult Sunday School 9 am
Worship 10:30 am
Church School 10:30 am
Annual Church Meeting 11:30 am
Annual Luncheon 12:30 pm
5 Amos House Volunteers 6:30 am
8 Women Gather 1 pm
9 Adult Sunday School 9 am
Worship / Children’s Musical 10:30 am
Church School 10:30 am
Annual Church Picnic 11:30 am
Better Christian Politics 12:15 pm
12 Amos House Volunteers 6:30 am
Mission & Action Committee 7:30 pm
13 Commissioning Service 5:45 pm
Food for Thought Book Group 7 pm
15 PrideFest 2024 12 noon
16 Worship 10 am
Church School 10 am
19 Amos House Volunteers 6:30 am
20 Central Men’s Group 7:30 am
Fourth Thursday Book Group 12:30 pm
23 Worship 10 am
Church School 10 am
Better Christian Politics 12:15 pm
26 Amos House Volunteers 6:30 am
30 Worship 10 am
Church School 10 am

The Church Office will be closed on Wednesday, June 19, for Juneteenth.

July Events

3 Amos House Volunteers 6:30 am
7 Summer Bible Study 9 am
Worship 10 am
Church School 10 am
Ice Cream Sundae Sunday 11 am
8 CCC Youth Mission Week
10 Amos House Volunteers 6:30 am
11 Food for Thought Book Group 7 pm
14 Summer Bible Study 9 am
Worship 10 am
Church School 10 am
Carousel Sunday 11:30 am
17 Amos House Volunteers 6:30 am
18 Central Men’s Group 7:30 am
19 Newsletter Deadline 3:30 pm
21 Summer Bible Study 9 am
Worship 10 am
Church School 10 am
22 Ice Cream at Eskimo King 6 pm
24 Amos House Volunteers 6:30 am
28 Summer Bible Study 9 am
Worship 10 am
Church 10 am
Brunch/Lunch at Diego’s 11:30 am
31 Amos House Volunteers 6:30 am

The Church Office will be closed on Thursday and Friday, July 4 and 5, for Independence Day.

Posted in Newsletters.