September 2020 Newsletter

Central News

September 2020
Vol 29 No 1

From Rebecca

Dear Friends,

We are living in uncertain days. It is hard to figure out what the next days or months will look like – except that things will be different. This uncertainty makes it hard to plan or anticipate events, projects, and other initiatives. It is frustrating on many levels. But we are people of hope, and daily, we must remember this gift, for it is truly life changing.

In the New York Times, Madeleine Albright recently wrote, “It might do well for us to view these abnormal days as an opportunity to ask more of ourselves, to reflect on our relations with one another, and to think critically about improving the social, economic and political structures that shape our lives.”

We are also people of love, and there is no one who cannot be transformed by love in action. Our challenge is to find a way every day to reach out to another, to make a positive difference in her or his life.

Just a small example from my summer sabbatical: One of our calves wanted to get to her mother, but there was a gate between them. As I watched, she tentatively pushed the gate with her head. It did not budge. She tried again. It swung a bit and came back and bopped her on the nose.  She still couldn’t get through to her mother and the other big girls. She pushed harder, and that did it. She trotted forth confidently, her mother mooed gently to her, and they were together.

Uncertainty, difficulty, separation of all kinds – these affect “the cattle on a thousand hills” and all of us, God’s creatures. Hope, love, and some efforts to ask more of ourselves – in Albright’s phrase or the calf’s actions – make a difference.

I’ll be looking forward to hearing some of your stories of hope and love when we regather. In the meantime, be strong, be of good courage, and fear not, for the Lord our God is with us – wherever we are, on whatever side of the pasture gate!

– Rebecca

Regathering Sunday

On Sep. 13, at 10:30 am, Central congregants will gather for the first time since coronavirus curtailed in-person worship last March. Rebecca will preach on “The God of Love in Action.”  It’s a joyous and welcome occasion, but things will be different.

Worshippers must wear face masks and provide contact information. They may enter only from Diman Place and Angell Street doors.  Ushers will scan temperatures and direct worshippers to socially distanced seating, marked by bulletins in alternate pews. Bibles have been removed, as well as hymnals, since there can be no singing. The number of people allowed in the sanctuary will be limited.  However, Chapel Hall should safely accommodate any overflow.

The nursery will be open for children ages two and under. Older children may worship with their parents, as there will not be any Church School initially. There will be no coffee hour at this time either.

If you are unable to attend the service or don’t yet feel comfortable with larger gatherings, you can view the recorded service virtually late Sunday afternoon.

Many thanks to our Regathering Task Force – Drs. Staci Fischer, Charley Rardin and Sharon Rounds, Bill Connors, Mary Marran, and head usher/chair Frances Munro – who met throughout the summer to develop plans for a meaningful worship experience that complies with safety guidelines.


Musical Notes

Music in the time of coronavirus is tricky business, as Central’s organist and choirmaster Patrick Aiken well knows. But Patrick has been taking steps to ensure that music will continue to play a vital role in our Sunday worship services.

Of course, we will once again revel in the rich, inspiring tones of our magnificent, 456-pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ. But singing – one of the things that bring people together at birthday parties, sporting events, family gatherings, and especially in worship – is another story.

Studies indicate that singing and even humming present real risks with the current pandemic. To preclude spread of the virus through airborne droplets, singers must stand 14 feet apart. That’s not possible in our choir loft or our sanctuary. So when we gather again for worship, plan to “sing” with your heart instead of your voice. The words to hymns and anthems will be printed in the order of worship, so you can follow along with the organ.

Occasionally, a soloist or duo will sing from the choir loft, since we have sufficient space to meet safety requirements. And once or twice a month, we hope our choir will “come together” to virtually sing the Sunday anthem. We’re transforming the choir room into a studio where choir members can individually – and safely – record their parts. Then Patrick will merge the recorded voices into a joyous and glorious whole.

As our world adapts to COVID-19, so must our music-making. But please remember: Regardless of the source of the sound – live, virtual, or sung in silence – God still delights to hear our song, and we continue to lift our hearts in praise.

Church School

Tracy Baran and Pamela O’Hara are working with Claudia Demick, planning creative ways to offer our Church School program this year. They recently sent Central parents an email with a link to a short survey to ascertain their preferences. If you did not receive this email, please contact Claudia. It is vital that we have as much parental input as possible in order to move forward in the planning process.


Barbara and Barry Bayon, Claudia Demick, Caroline Patterson Inlow, and Larry Kellam have volunteered to create a strong Confirmation program for our ninth graders starting this fall. They will be reaching out to families and teens to begin planning a transitional Confirmation program that will ensure our rising high schoolers have a supportive plan in place for their Christian faith formation. For sophomores and juniors we are planning a service of Confirmation for you on October 11. Stay tuned for details about upcoming CCC Youth activities!

Regathering Parody

Social distancing got you missing church? We’ll be back together soon! Until then, Central is sending you smiles and the love of Christ in the form of a charming musical parody written and performed by the Rev. Lonnie Lacy of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Tifton, Ga. The singing and dancing minister has transformed the popular “Hamilton” song, “You’ll Be Back” (music and original lyrics by LinManuel Miranda), from King George’s threat into a joyful promise. To all who miss worship, fellowship, and – yes – Communion, just remember: we will be together soon …  better than we were before. Da da da dat daa! Just go to https://

Ushers Needed!

Central is expanding its corps of ushers to assist with the safety precautions currently required for in-person gatherings. Special training will be offered. If interested, contact the Church Office or head usher Frances Munro.

Renovated Restrooms

There have been some major changes this summer in spite of the pandemic. The renovation of Central’s downstairs bathrooms is complete!  Check them out on Regathering Sunday.

SNEUCC Annual Meeting

This virtual gathering will be another first for the new Southern New England Conference UCC. All are invited to celebrate and worship together! Register online: eventdetail/14027304. Saturday, Sep. 26, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.Central’s annual meeting – postponed from June – will be held Sunday, Oct. 4, after worship.

Annual Meeting

Central’s annual meeting – postponed from June – will be held Sunday, Oct. 4, after worship. To meet our quorum, we need at least 60 members to attend in person. However, you can also participate online. We will vote on the Nominating Committee report, as well as the 2020/21 budget. More details to come.

Inquirers’ Meeting
Wednesday, October 21, 7 pm
Faith Exploration
Tuesday, October 27, 7 pm
New Member Sunday
November 1

From Claudia

In his lovely poem called “Held,” Rob Soley writes about difficult times saying,

We carried our grief to the ocean’s edge,
sat quiet in the sand; the sorrow softened
as the waves washed over them and the
brilliance of the morning sun upon
the shimmering waters filled our hearts with wonder.

While this poem was written long before we ever heard of COVID-19, it speaks to me about our experiences over the past six months. While there is much to grieve, there have also been moments of brilliance where “shimmering waters filled our hearts with wonder.”

As we regather this month, we will experience sorrows and joys together in ways we have missed while we have been physically separated. We will experience them in our sanctuary and continue to experience them virtually in our homes. And, no matter where we are, we will never stop being this gathered church with roots on 296 Angell Street.

I think one of the wonders that our hearts have known during this time is the incredible way that people here at Central worked hard to stay connected to one another. And, we will continue to do so because that’s who we are.

From online meetings and gatherings of all kinds, to flowers delivered to porches in socially distanced ways, to phone calls and letters and cards and checking in on others and supporting them, and so much more. Through prayer and considered actions, the love of Christ is extended to others. In large and small ways, you continually reach out.

You are all shimmering waters that fill my heart with wonder at the ways you have done your part and will continue to do your part to exemplify what it means to be a community of faithful Christians. We are blessed to walk this journey to the ocean’s edge together. How grateful I am that this is so.

Love and blessings to you all, Claudia

Eagle Scouts

Central congratulates Simon Azar and Gavin Rardin, who have earned the rank of Eagle Scout, an achievement attained by only four percent of all Scouts. Simon and Gavin, members of Central’s Troop 28, were recognized for their leadership and commitment to service at a socially distanced Court of Honor on August 12.

Simon Azar with his brother Johnny and parents Bob and Sue Azar.

Gavin Rardin with his brothers Miles and Sawyer and parents Jane Sharp and Charley Rardin. 

Your Immunity

Good nutrition – always essential – is especially important during this time of COVID?19. According to Deacon Temi Sonubi, who is a licensed dietician/ nutritionist, eating a balanced diet – whole grains, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit, protein, milk, nuts, and seeds – provides essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, you can boost your immune system by also consuming foods rich in Vitamins D and C, iron, zinc, probiotics and prebiotics.

Vitamin D: leafy green vegetables, milk, fortified yogurt, fatty fish (tuna, salmon), soy, fortified orange juice, fish eggs, chicken/beef liver, egg yolks, shrimp, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, cod liver oil. Vitamin C: citrus fruit, mangoes, kiwi, berries, guava, pineapples, tomatoes, red peppers, chili peppers, apples.

Iron: spinach, fortified cereals, legumes, beans. Zinc: fish, shellfish, oysters, nuts and seeds.  Probiotics: fermented foods (yogurt, pickles, miso), apples, tofu.  Prebiotics: onions, garlic, leeks, bananas, chicory root, soybeans, sunchokes, green tea, herbs and spices.
During this time of social distancing, many Central committees and groups are meeting via Zoom or GoToMeeting. To be notified about any of the following virtual meetings, contact Claudia.

Women’s Retreat Group
The women of Central are invited to gather in solidarity to pray and check in every Saturday – until we no longer need to meet like this! Saturdays throughout September, 7 pm. 

Food for Thought Book Group

Join us for a lively discussion of “This Tender Land,” by William Kent Krueger. This magnificent novel follows four orphans on a lifechanging odyssey during the Great Depression. Thursday, Sep. 10, 7 pm.

Ph.D. Ceremony

Elize Verhoeff – who, with her husband Bart Koopman, worshipped at Central last spring while working on her doctorate at Brown University – will defend her thesis on Tuesday, Sep. 15, at 9:30 am Eastern (3:30 pm in the Netherlands). Her defense and the Ph.D. ceremony that follows will be livestreamed. The link, unknown at press time, will be available a week before the event. Contact the Church Office.

Caring & Sharing

Join women of all ages who come together in supportive fellowship and activities. This month, we are connecting virtually and sharing where we are in our lives. Thursday, Sep. 17, 7 to 8:30 pm.

Rebecca’s Book Group

We’ll discuss “Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide,” by Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Tony Horwitz. This epic adventure follows America’s greatest landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, as a young man in the 1850s, working for The New York Times as an undercover correspondent in the South. If you’d like to participate, please be in touch with Rebecca. Thursday, Sep. 24, 12:30 pm. 

September Events

Central’s virtual Worship services are broadcast on YouTube. All other meetings are held via Zoom or GoToMeeting unless otherwise indicated.

September 2 Gallery Committee 9 am
September 3 Music Committee 6:30 pm
September 5 Women’s Retreat Group 7 pm
September 6 Stewardship Committee 9 am
Worship 10:30 am
September 7 Technology Committee 7 pm
September 8 New Deacons Meeting 5 pm
Deacons Meeting 5:45 pm
September 10 Food for Thought Book Group 7 pm
September 12 Women’s Retreat Group 7 pm
September 13 Worship 10:30 am
September 15 Plant & Properties 5:45 pm
September 17 CCC Men’s Group 7 pm
Caring and Sharing 7 pm
September 19 Women’s Retreat Group 7 pm
September 20 Worship 10:30 am
September 21 Religious Education 6 pm
September 24 Rebecca’s Book Group 12:30 pm
September 26 SNEUCC Annual Meeting 8:30 am
Baptism Meeting 9 am
Women’s Retreat Group 7 pm
September 27 Worship 10:30 am
Posted in Newsletters.