Archive for March, 2016

ONA Opportunity

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

It may be hard to believe it but 4 years ago we took the momentous step to declare ourselves an Open and Affirming congregation.  Since that date we have maintained an attitude befitting that stance but sometimes I think that we are still in a mode similar to that of the disciples shortly after Jesus’s death and resurrection, one of hiding and praying.

As part of our commitment to ONA we should take every opportunity to make a difference.  Just such an opportunity has arisen: a chance to let our legislators know that we honor the dignity of transgender persons.  We can do so by writing to our state representative and senator to encourage them to vote in favor of  SB 735/HB 1577, legislation that would extend non-discrimination protections to transgender Bay Staters in public places like movie theaters, sports stadiums and shopping malls.  (The letter which I sent to State Senator Joan Lovely and to State Representative Brad Hill is accessible via this link.  Please feel free to use it as is or modify it as you see fit.)

The ONA Ministry Team of the UCC is also asking us to join Freedom Massachusetts’s Faith Weekend of Action on April 9-10 by praying and taking action for this legislation to succeed and become the law of the Commonwealth.

The disciples took only 50 days to emerge from their shelter and, infused with the Holy Spirit, break out to proclaim the message and teachings of their Lord.  We are well beyond those 50 days but it is never too late for us to make our thoughts known and to take action on behalf of the marginalized people of this Commonwealth.

Please take the time to lend your support.

John Szymanski

CCT Launching a New Initiative called Community Groups!!

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

The Congregational Church of Topsfield is ready to launch a new initiative called Community Groups!  Community groups will meet for a social gathering 3-4 times a year, with the specific purpose of expanding our community, fostering fellowship and offering support to fellow group members.  It is through personal relationships that we can minister to one another and create a true compassionate community.

Often when we come to church on Sunday morning, we smile and say hello to many people, some of whom we only see on Sunday morning, some we may not know at all, and still others with whom we have developed strong social connections. As is human nature we tend to gravitate toward this latter group during coffee hour.  Through our community groups we hope to grow in fellowship with those who may or may not be in our established church social or interest group so that everyone in our midst feels connected to the greater church.  This will be especially helpful for new members of the church.

Our community groups are made up of church members and/or friends of the church who typically live in a geographic neighborhood, although this is not always the case.  There will be no proselytizing at these meetings, just a few icebreakers or easy fun questions to encourage us to get to know each other.  We hope that as we get to know one another, we will feel comfortable to reach out in times of need; for example, when needing a ride to a doctor’s appointment, or a wellness check during a severe weather incident.

We divided the church membership and friends into nine community groups, each having a host to organize group gatherings.  You will hear from your host within the next several weeks with information about your community group and where and when the first gathering will be.  Let us all step out of our comfort zone just a bit to meet our neighbors and participate in these community groups.

If your host has not contacted you by the end of April, please contact either Beccy Knowles or Dolly McIlvaine to make sure we have your correct contact information and that you are assigned to a group.

In peace,

Beccy Knowles                         Dolly McIlvaine
978-317-5599                           978-790-2635

Bookbag Ministry for the Children of Syria

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

The Board of Missions and Outreach is partnering with St John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms, MA. in a school supply collection for the Children of Syria. We are collecting desperately needed school supplies for Syrian refugee children.

Items being collected are:

Paper Clip


Colored Pencils

Lined & Plain Paper
Staples and Staplers

Colored Paper

For more information contact:

Cathy Imboden at mission&

St. John’s has partnered for this mission with NuDay Syria.

NuDay Syria focuses on women with no male breadwinners and their families.  Many find themselves in dire circumstances, with few options to safeguard their children and themselves with dignity.  NuDay Syria sends aid into Syria and bordering countries, keeping mothers and their priorities and needs in mind.

Groceries for Good-Items Needed!

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Top Cupboard Pantry Needs

The items below are needed and can be dropped off in the bin at Emerson Center or brought directly to Trinity before 3 p.m. on weekdays.

Thanks for your donations!

Anne Barrett
Board of Community & Communications

regular coffee/decaf, regular tea (not fancy)
Paper Towels
Toilet Paper

Deodorant, Shampoo
Antibiotic Ointment

Laundry Detergent
Canned Carrots
Mixed Vegetables

Sliced Beets
Canned Chicken
Canned Ham

Mayonnaise, Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Salt
Peanut Butter
Canned Fruit

Beans of all kinds-kidney, black beans, chick peas
Baked Bean
Jar  pasta/tomato sauce

Third Annual Grow Spring! EXPO

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Third Annual  Grow Spring! EXPO

Free and Open to the Public

A celebration of local agriculture, horticulture, and environmental preservation, returns to Topsfield on March 19th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Held at the Emerson Center and the Gould Barn, this year’s event is sponsored by the Topsfield Garden Club, the Topsfield Historical Society and the Essex Agricultural Society.
Approximately 45 exhibitors and vendors representing agricultural, horticultural, artisan and preservation groups from Topsfield and surrounding communities will be on hand to demonstrate their wares and handle questions.

Grow Spring! Expo is an opportunity to meet – in one place – gardeners, growers, farmers, environmentalists, and a host of others to celebrate spring and all of its opportunities.  From worm-farming to composting and beekeeping to seed-saving, there will be something for everybody interested in ecology, healthy food, beautiful flowers, and the many organizations promoting sustainability.
A growing list of vendors will be offering natural products and artisanal crafts.  A blacksmith will fire up his forge for demonstrations and a mycologist will be showing how to grow shitake mushrooms.

The Expo hall in the Emerson Center is free and open to the public.  In the historic Gould Barn, soup, sandwiches and pastries will be available for sale.  Ipswich Ale and Mill River Winery will provide beer and wine tastings for a modest fee.
For additional information visit Tritown Garden Clubs or contact the Topsfield Garden Club at

Holy Week/Easter Service Schedule

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Palm Sunday, March 20th,
Worship – 9:30 a.m.
L&S Pancake Breakfast- to follow in the Emerson Center fellowship hall.

Holy Tuesday, March 22nd,
Worship -noon
Meeting house
Luncheon to follow in the Emerson Center fellowship hall

Maundy Thursday & Tenebrae, March 24th,
Worship- 7 p.m.
Meeting house

Easter Sunrise Service, March 27th
Worship- 6 a.m.
Wildlife Sanctuary
87 Perkins Row, Topsfield

Easter Sunday Service, March 27th
Worship- 9:30 a.m.
Easter Egg Hunt after the service

Holy Week Ecumenical Worship Services at 12 p.m.
Monday, March 21 – Friday, March 25

Monday, March 21
Location: St. Rose
Homily: Martin Riekert

Tuesday, March 22
Location: CCoT
Homily:  Laura Gronberg
Wednesday, March 23
Location:  First Church Boxford
Homily: Larry Schell

Thursday, March 24
Location:  Middleton Cong.
Homily: Rolan DeLoach

Friday, March 25
Location: Trinity Episcopal
Homily: Johanna Barrett

Missions and Outreach sponsors Easter Offering

Thursday, March 17th, 2016


March 2016
Dear Church Family,
During the Lenten season, it is the custom of our church to hold a special offering intended to help those in need. This year the Board of Mission and Outreach has chosen the following two recipients:
A ministry of the United Church of Christ, 7 other Christian denominations, and Church World Service, One Great Hour of Sharing donations are at work changing lives locally and in 138 countries around the world. In the United States, this offering provides disaster relief when earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados and other acts of nature hit our soil. Internationally, the funds are used not only for disaster relief, but also for health care, education, and agricultural development and advocacy programs. It is also used to support missionaries and refugees.
We are partnering with our children and youth to support RIM North Shore Cluster. The offering will go directly to support the current family (Father, Mother, and son) living in Beverly as they work toward rebuilding their lives in the U.S. More information on RIM can be found at )
Your gift will be split between these two organizations unless you specify otherwise on your check. Thank you in advance for your generous offering, which can be made using the Easter envelope provided in your pledge packet or special envelopes in the church pews.
The Board of Mission and Outreach
Jim Barnes
Sue Blanchard
John Burgess

Cathy Imboden
Cathy Szymanski
Karen Trevenen

Guido Voss
Pam Warren
Claudia Worth