Archive for October, 2020

Thanksgiving Letter 2020

Friday, October 30th, 2020

 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV)

Dear Friends,

Thanksgiving is the holiday to express our gratitude for our blessings and share generously with those in need. CCOT will be collecting food again this year for our mission partner, “Citizens Inn/Haven from Hunger”.

Because of COVID-19 there will be no truck in front of the church. Instead, between November 1 and 22 you can bring shopping bags with food and place them at the entrance to the office at Emerson Center. Members of BOMO will make sure they are stored inside. We have arranged with Citizens Inn for a safe pickup before worship on Sunday November 22nd.

Please fill your shopping bags with nutritious items for those experiencing food insecurity. Suggested items are rice and rice mixes, pastas boxes, stuffing, canned green beans, cranberry sauce, canned carrots, spices/seasonings, salt and pepper, flour, baking mixes, cornbread mix, vegetable oil, salad dressing, pudding mix, honey, peanut butter, canned stews, coffee, tea, canned yams, gravy packets, graham crackers, disinfectant wipes, dish soap, kitchen trash bags, laundry detergent, toilet paper, shampoo, bars of soap, razors, feminine products, diapers, socks. For more information: citizensinn.org. The Executive Director of Citizens Inn, Corey Jackson, will update our congregation via Zoom on their efforts during a future worship service.

We have also designated Citizens Inn/Haven from Hunger as the recipient of our Thanksgiving offering; thus if you are unable to drop off food items, please contribute by mailing a check to the church office with the notation, “Thanksgiving Offering.”

 Citizens Inn/Haven from Hunger’s food pantry provides over 3,800 individuals with fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy, and canned goods. Last year, they distributed over 1.7 million lbs. of food, and have been very active in alternative ways to provide food and services in response to COVID-19. Additional information about Citizens Inn and Haven from Hunger can be found at this link: https://www.citizensinn.org/

Please join the Board of Mission and Outreach in filling the pantry to overflowing for the upcoming holiday season.

The Board of Mission and Outreach

Pam Warren, Co-chair James Barnes John Burgess         

Jackie Cassiday Kathy Hartmann, Co-chair Joe Gibbons           

Charise Nulsen       

Stewardship Message – Together in Joy

Friday, October 30th, 2020

 As we progress into fall and winter and Covid19 measures will stay with us, it will become even more important for us to find ways to stay connected and to find support within our church community.

Thanks to ZOOM and the efforts of our staff and technical team, we were quickly able to pull together a new way to have Sunday services. Since then we learned how to insert videos in our services, record our choir performances and to include an interactive children’s time.  This new way of being together actually opened the door for more members to attend who would otherwise be away or shut in at home. Our Sunday worship attendance has increased this year, especially over the summer months.

While we long to be together in person and enjoy the rich experience of a service with the organ and full choir in the meeting house, our outreach through a streamed service will stay with us long after we return to in person services.

We learned that we need to invest in a new video technology to make the streaming service compelling and manageable in a digital world. This investment will also enhance our in-person service with the ability to show videos and hymns on screens in the meeting house.

Your continued support in 2021 will help us to grow our outreach and to stay connected with each other in new and exciting ways.

The Stewardship Committee

Emerson Field News

Friday, October 30th, 2020

In our church’s ongoing endeavor for deeper spiritual meaning for each of us, a labyrinth is being installed on the Emerson Field. This is not an elaborate facility, but rather a simple introduction for our use. Those of you who have experience with a labyrinth need no introduction. For those who have not, information concerning it’s use and purpose will continue to be discussed here.

The Labyrinth

We are all on the path… exactly where we need to be. The labyrinth is a model of that path. A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. The labyrinth has long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

Duane Melling, member

Board of Deacons

Coming Soon: A New Video System!  Contributions needed!

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

In every crisis there is danger, but there is also opportunity.  COVID challenged us, but we created an amazing on-line ministry as a result of that challenge. Our Zoom ministry enabled many new people to access our services while at the same time allowing our regular attendees to stay bound together as a community.

It’s now time to move to the next exciting phase of our digital ministry!  Our existing video equipment in the Meetinghouse cannot meet the aggregate demands of Zoom, cable TV, and in-person worship.  The Board of Deacons has been asked to support this request in collaboration with our staff and technical team, to purchase a new system.  We are thrilled to report that of the approximately $12,000 needed, a few members have already pledged $6,000!!! As a result of their generosity, we only need to raise another $6,000. We are asking the congregation to pitch in and contribute whatever amount you can – no sum is too small (or too large) – to make the new video system a present reality.  We are hoping to purchase the system in the next three weeks, so your contribution is urgently needed now.  You can send a check to the office (9 East Common Street, Topsfield, MA 01983) with “video system” in the memo, or you can contribute online through Give Plus or Vanco.  For the online options, look for the “video system” choice to designate your contribution.

Thank you in advance for your generosity, and we look forward to seeing you all either in person or in the ether.

Larry Atkins, Chair, Board of Deacons

Kristin Palace, Moderator