May 2019 Newsletter

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Dear Friends,

Do you ever feel like one of those divers on the Olympic high board just before the plunge, in need of a pause to reflect?

Or maybe one of the jockeys (or his or her horse!) right as the gates close behind you before the Kentucky Derby?

As I take this week after Easter to reflect on the state of our world, the dreadful bombings of worshippers in Sri Lanka, the anger giving rise to terrorism beyond our imagining, and divisions upon divisions, both small and large,

it seems as though we all need at least a moment to deepen our thinking.

We need to look at ourselves and others with a multilayered understanding, to avoid any quick fixes, to challenge ourselves to meet these complexities of the world, and to live to be worthy of calling ourselves Christians.

The Lord’s Prayer is small, as fissionable as an atom, as mysterious as a Black Hole, more familiar than the Gettysburg Address, as suggestive as the Rosetta Stone, the price of wisdom above pearls, as full of potential as the tiny mustard seed.

Before the dive then, before the race, before our workaday routine, for just a moment, let us reflect on Christ’s own introduction:

“… our Father knows what you need before you ask … Pray then in this way.” Matthew 6:9–15.

As God sees us with eyes of infinite love and compassion, so may we see our fellow human beings … at least for a moment.

And maybe, just maybe, this dive will be perfect. And this race run well.

May it be so.


In Memoriam

Our prayers and sympathy are with Scott Stevenson and his family on the death of his mother, Charlotte Stevenson, March 24, 1937 – March 10, 2019.

Requiescat in pace

The Angell Society

Wednesday, May 15, 5:30–7:00 p.m.
Fireplace Room

Please join us as we launch “The Angell Society” a Celebration of ‘First Members’ and Information Reception. All Are Welcome

Refreshments will be provided.

The Angell Society honors those who have included Central in their will or other estate documents. Kindly RSVP by Monday, May 13, to Sherri Byrand, 401.331.1960 or

Need a Ride?

Let Sherri know when you RSVP that you need a ride, so we can arrange for a member to pick you up.

New Member Potluck Luncheon

Next Sunday, May 5

We should have a lovely Spring day to delight in lunch with new and old friends at Central!

The Membership Committee will provide the main dishes, but you can enliven the fare by sharing a favorite side dish, casserole, salad, or dessert.

Central’s 167th Annual Meeting & Luncheon

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Annual Meeting starts in the Sanctuary at 11:45 a.m., followed by a luncheon at 12:30 p.m.

Reservation forms are available at Central’s Office.  If you are unable to pick up a form or mail it in with payment, please call the church office at 331-1960.

Child Care will be available.

The Deacon’s Bench

By Temi Sonubi

Mystery of Prayer

There is a time in our lives that the most important thing we need in this world is for God to answer our prayers.

I wonder at times and ponder what did the Saints of old do so well that wonders and miracles were happening?

What is it that we, in this generation, have failed to do to manifest these wonders and miracles?

There are things that the people of old understood about prayers that this generation does not know.


They knew the awesomeness in prayers and prayed fervently.

The disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, because they knew once they knew how to pray, the sky was the limit.

1st Kings 18:42 – Elijah prayed that there will be no rain, and it happened, and he prayed different prayers to unlock the heavens, and it rained.

Act 4:31 – The Apostles prayed to a level that their prayers started to shake the building.

Exodus 17:8 – Moses prayed while Joshua fought. He knew God’s prevailing power is released through prayers, and they won the battle.

Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed until HIS death and warned HIS disciples to “Watch and Pray.’’

We can see the awesomeness in praying.
Prayers divided the Red Sea.
Prayers made the Sun to stand still.
Prayers never die; they incubate.
There is nothing too great or hard to pray about.
God rules the world by the prayers of HIS saints.

I pray that the power to pray will come upon us in Jesus’s name! Amen.

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 World Communion Sunday, October 6

Please speak to the Rev. Rebecca Spencer if you would like to be included in this very important part of life at Central.

Yom Hashoah Holocaust Commemoration

Wednesday, May 1, at 7:00 p.m.
Temple Emanu-El
99 Taft Avenue, Providence, RI 02906

Each year’s program is unique, but this 2019 event is special – highlighting the evening is a short documentary created by students in the University of Rhode Island film program (interviewing local survivors and legislators, plus offering their observations on why and how this particular topic became their theme).

We then honor with the Never Again Award those legislators who spearheaded the unanimous 2017 vote that requires education in Holocaust and Genocide studies, grades 7–12, throughout ALL Rhode Island schools.

In addition, there is original music from the camps for piano and violin, with survivor violinist George Gardos and renowned composer and pianist Judith Stillman, plus songs of Armenia reflecting that genocide in Turkey. Survivors and their relatives’ light memorial candles and read the names of those family members who perished.

Please join us. Questions? Ask Judy Jamieson.

Your Support of Central

Central also has an option for giving electronically: directly online through our website or through the app on your mobile phone. To make a one-time online offering or set up a regular electronic pledge, visit Central Church’s website and click on “Give” or go directly to

You can also download the mobile app through your phone. Search your app store for “”

Once you set up your account, you can also make your gifts via text message by texting “Give” and an amount to 401-239-1867.

There are offering cards in the pew racks with further information.

Thank you for your support of Central!

From Claudia

A few weeks ago, we had a crop of morels suddenly appear in our garden. Now, to have these tasty mushrooms show up was quite perplexing. Where did they come from? Are they really morels? Indeed, they were, and we have no idea where they came from. We have never, ever in the 34 years we have lived in our home seen even a single morel in our yard.

After assuring ourselves that they were indeed morels, my husband harvested them. I cooked them in butter and wine and added sugar snap peas, asparagus, shallots, and a splash of cream. They were delicious and a completely unexpected pleasure.

These incredible fungi put me in mind of the words of the Psalmist, “Taste and see that God is good. Happy are those who take refuge in God” (34:8). God is good and always surprising. The empty tomb at Easter surprises us again and again. Our risen Savior is astonishing. And, the appearances of Jesus to so many after his resurrection is nothing short of miraculous. Happy indeed are those who take refuge in such an amazing God who delights in taking us by surprise. God is very, very good.

As we enter this season of Eastertide ending on Pentecost Sunday, I have determined that I am going to look and be aware of all the delights and miracles I encounter every day. They might be as simple as morels that appear from nowhere or as amazing as the sunset that I saw on Easter Sunday. In a world that downplays the good and lifts up the bad—I am going to live into remembering that I serve Christ who is risen indeed!

Thanks be to God!



CCC Adult Sunday School

Mecca & The Hajj
May 5, 19 & 26 NO CLASS on 5/12
Fireplace Room, 9:00–10:00 a.m.

Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims, begins on May 5 this year. It is the sacred month observed with fasting from sunrise to sunset commemorating the first giving of the Quran to Muhammed.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. All who are able make this pilgrimage to Mecca once in their lives. Join us as we learn more about the faith of our Muslim neighbors.

Questions? Ask Claudia.

Wanted: Grills!

The Religious Ed Committee is looking for the donation of a couple grills  so that we may use them for church activities in warm weather.

If you would like to donate a grill, please contact Claudia.

Spiritual Companionship Group

First Thursdays from 6:00–7:00 p.m.
May 2 in the Deacons’ Room

Where is God in our lives? Spiritual companionship is a very ancient tradition. It is a way to offer ourselves a holy spaciousness by listening for God in our lives. We encounter our own inner wisdom as we seek where God is found in our daily living. Through the companionship of others, participants often find new possibilities in their spiritual life and practices. Please RSVP to Claudia.

Food for Thought Book Group

Thursday, May 9
7:00–8:30 p.m. in the Fireplace Room at Central

Join us for a lively discussion of this month’s book—Educated by Tara Westover.

“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable. Her new book, Educated … is a heartbreaking, heartwarming, best-in-years memoir about striding beyond the limitations of birth and environment into a better life.”    — USA TODAY!

Angellic Knitters

Sunday, May 19
11:30 a.m. Deacons’ Room

Whether you knit, aspire to knit, or just want to experience fellowship and participate in the blessing of the prayer shawls that are lovingly made for others! As an added bonus, if you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, we’ll teach you! Questions? Call Janice Libby or Claudia.

Summer Bible Study

Job –  by Lee A. Schott

Sundays in July and August 7/7–8/18
Fireplace Room, 9:00–9:45 a.m.

Books available for $3.00 each

This summer we will take a look at The Book of Job, perhaps the oldest book in the library of books that we call The Bible. This book explores the age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Between the prologue and epilogue to this story about Job, we find compelling Hebrew poetry about this Everyman.

Each week is a different topic:

  • Introduction, 7/7
  • Weathering the Storm, 7/14
  • So-Called Comfort, 7/21
  • Harsh Words, 7/28
  • Hearing Voices, 8/4
  • Perspective, 8/11
  • Happily (?) Ever After, 8/18

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.

Physician-assisted dying in the Netherlands

Special Presentation in Fireplace Room
Sunday, May 12, at 9:00 a.m.

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize physician-assisted dying. Since then, it has been legalized in other countries and in several of the United States too. Other states are currently considering its legalization.

Central member Dr. Bart Koopman, a medical doctor from the Netherlands, will explain the different meanings of terms like physician-assisted dying, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, and palliative care. He will give an overview of the historical and current developments in the conception and regulation of physician-assisted dying in the Netherlands. These developments are food for our thoughts about caring and suffering, life and death, independence and community.

All are invited to this presentation.

From the Gallery Committee:

Artist Reception
Friday, May 17, at 5:30 p.m.

For our May artist, the committee is proud to exhibit the colorful paintings of Michele Poirier Mazzone. Please join us on Friday, May 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to meet Michele and celebrate her art. We’ve had a great year! Thank you for supporting the committee’s work to recognize and honor our local artists.

A Celebration of Blair Maiers’ Life

Sunday, May 19, at 3 p.m. in Little Compton at South Shore Beach

Many of us remember with great affection the late Blair Maiers. Blair moved from Providence some time ago to be with his daughter in California after experiencing some health problems here.

He had requested that his ashes be scattered in the ocean in Little Compton, a place he loved to visit, usually on Sunday afternoons after church!

We are planning a celebration of Blair’s life for the afternoon of May 19 and invite all who would like to participate to join us at 3 p.m. in Little Compton.

We will begin the service at South Shore Beach, weather permitting, and end with an informal reception and lots of stories to share.

Please do let us know if you will be able to join us.

Rebecca Spencer, Caroline Patterson Inlow, Richard Denuyl

Aidan’s Corner

Confirmation Sunday
May 19 at 10:30 Worship

Please join us for a special service of worship led by our Confirmands on Sunday, May 19.

Our class will lead worship, share reflections, and covenant together as they close their first year and look ahead to year 2 of the Confirmation program.

Confirmands and families are invited to a celebratory cookout immediately following worship on the West Lawn.

New Members

Know someone interested in Central as a church home?

Inquirers’ Meeting*
Wednesday, Oct. 23

Faith Exploration*
Tuesday, Oct. 29

New Member Sunday
Nov. 3

*These meetings are held at the home of the Rev. Rebecca Spencer, 15 Taber Avenue at 7:00 p.m. For more information call Central Church at 331-1960  Or fill out a pew card to request a call from the Minister

Church School News

“For one moment quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.  God.”   – Jalal al-Din Rumi, 13th century Persian poet

There are so many things to be thankful for in this beautiful Church School year!  May seems like a perfect month to count blessings, as Rumi says, “dropping their blossoms” around us!  Blessings of all sizes and kinds:

  • the adorable, funny, curious, intelligent, and kind children we see each week
  • the loving and caring adults who give so generously their time & creativity
  • befriending classmates; meeting new friends
  • looking forward to Rev. Aidan’s Children’s Time in worship each Sunday
  • working through our nerves and shyness and enjoying each other
  • learning Tai Chi from our guest teacher Terry Cannon
  • receiving Communion in our Gathering Space on World Comm. Sunday
  • waiting till everybody has a little cup and a piece of bread before we drink/eat
  • telling the Christmas story in our pageant through words, music, & sign language
  • feeling awe in church
  • watching a play that the Peacemaker class worked on for many weeks
  • singing songs we know in Gathering Time, and learning new ones
  • walking the labyrinth outside
  • sharing highs and lows and knowing others are listening and caring
  • making Valentines and sending them to our church family elders
  • petting Shiloh the pony on a warm & sunny Palm Sunday
  • the joy – and speed! – of the Easter Egg Hunt in the Church School wing!
  • placing a prayer stone in the sand tray at Gathering Time for someone we love

Things to Remember:

Sunday, May 5:  Fourth Graders receive the gift of their own Bible, during morning worship Church School works on a special “sunflower burst”

Peace Project during class time

We continue to collect our weekly Church School offering for the following three organizations:

  1. 10 Lives Cat Rescue
  2. RI coalition for the Homeless
  3. The Ocean Project

One Egg Haiti offering project (for the entire congregation) is collected through May (please see below).

With love & gratitude,

Cathy (Clasper-Torch)

Be a Good Egg for One Egg Haiti

Central members are invited to join the Church School in a special collection for the ‘Great 50 Days’ of the Easter season (culminating in Pentecost) in which we’ll not only be recycling the dozens of plastic eggs from our Egg Hunt, but we’ll take them home and fill them with money to go to the project!

It provides school children in Haiti with much needed nutritional help, through an egg a day.

Save the Date for ONE EGG HAITI fundraiser!

“A Taste of Haiti”
Saturday, May 18, from 5 to 8 p.m.
North Farm Yacht Club: 1359 Hope Street, Bristol, RI

Featuring: Haitian food, beverages, slide show, vocalist Becky Bass with her steel pan, Haitian crafts for purchase, a 50/50 drawing, and more!

Tickets: $60 each, $100 for two. Donations are welcome if you cannot attend!

Loaves and Fishes RI Auction Fundraiser

Thursday, May 16, 6 to 9 p.m.
Rhode Island Country Club
150 Nayatt Rd., Barrington

$40, Buffet Dinner with Cash Bar

Silent Auction, 50/50 Raffle

Providing food, Promoting dignity 20,000 meals and counting. Help us serve our brothers and sisters in need.

May 2019 Calendar

Wednesday 1

10:00 a.m.        Staff meeting
7:00 p.m.         Holocaust Commemoration (Temple Emanu-El)

Thursday 2

6:00 p.m.         Spiritual Companionship Group
7:30 p.m.         Adult Choir

Saturday 4

8:00 a.m.        Scouts Pancake Breakfast

Sunday 5                

9:00 a.m.        Adult Sunday School – Mecca & The Hajj
9:15 a.m.        Confirmation Class
10:30 a.m.        Worship (with presentation of Bibles to 4th graders)
11:30 a.m.        New Member Luncheon

Monday 6

5:00 p.m.        Children’s Choir

Wednesday 8

10:00 a.m.        Staff meeting

Thursday 9

7:00 p.m.         Food for Thought : Educated by Tara Westover
7:30 p.m.         Adult Choir

Sunday 12               Mother’s Day

9:00 a.m.        Special Presentation by Dr. Bart Koopman: “Physician-Assisted Dying in the Netherlands”
9:15 a.m.        Confirmation Class
10:30 a.m.        Worship

Monday 13

5:00 p.m.         Children’s Choir

Wednesday 15     

10:00 a.m.        Staff meeting
5:30 p.m.         Angell Society Reception

Thursday 16          

7:30 a.m.        CCC Men’s Group
6:00 p.m.         Loaves and Fishes RI Auction Fundraiser (Rhode Island Country Club)
7:30 p.m.         Adult Choir

Friday 17                

5:30 p.m.         Gallery Reception

 Saturday 18

5:00 p.m.         One Egg Haiti Fundraiser: “A Taste of Haiti” (North Farm Yacht Club)


9:00 a.m.         Adult Sunday School – Mecca & The Hajj
10:30 a.m.        Worship
11.30 a.m.      Celebratory cookout for confirmation families
11:30 p.m.        Angellic Knitters
3:00 p.m.         Celebration of Life for Blair Maiers (in Little Compton)

Monday 20            

9:00 a.m.         Central Newsletter Articles Deadline
5:00 p.m.          Children’s Choir

Wednesday 22

10:00 a.m.         Staff meeting

Thursday 23          

7:30 p.m.         Adult Choir

Saturday 25

9:30 a.m.        Camp Street Ministries Food Distribution (194 Camp Street, Providence)

Sunday 26              

9:00 a.m.         Adult Sunday School – Mecca & The Hajj
10:30 a.m.        Worship

Monday 2 – MEMORIAL DAY (Office closed)

Wednesday 29

10:00 a.m.         Staff meeting

Thursday 30

12:30 p.m.         Rebecca’s Book Group: Blueprint by Nicholas A. Christakis

Sunday 2

10:30 a.m.         Worship (with Choir Recognition)
11:45 a.m.         Annual Meeting
12:30 p.m.       Luncheon

May Committee Meetings

Wednesday 1
9:30 a.m. – Gallery

Thursday 2
6:30 p.m. – Music

Sunday 5
9:00 a.m. –  Stewardship

Monday 6
7:00 p.m. – Tech

Tuesday 14
5:30 p.m. – Deacons

Wednesday 15
7:00 p.m. – Mission & Action

Sunday 19
11:45 a.m. – Membership

Tuesday 21
5:45 p.m. – Plant & Properties
7:00 p.m. – Prudential


Posted in 2019 Newsletters.