January 2017 Newsletter


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January 2017 Newsletter

TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE FLAGG ROAD UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

By vote of the Church Council, the 59th Annual Meeting of

The Flagg Road United Church of Christ

Is hereby called for

Sunday, January 29, 2017

11:15 am, in the Meetinghouse

  1. To receive and discuss reports from the officers,  boards, and committees of the church
  2. To elect officers and board members for 2017
  3. To consider and act on the proposed budget , and
  4. To present any other business suitable to come before such a meeting.

                 Jannie DesRosiers-Berman, Church Clerk

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Notes from West Mountain

Honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 15 in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s holiday we will have a guest preacher, Lynn Clapham. Some of us know Lynn as an occasional handyman serving Hartmeadow Village. However, everything is not always as it seems…

Lynn is a ‘third career’ handyman. Growing up in rural Michigan, Lynn was urged to receive further education attending college there, receiving a B.A. from Western Michigan University. He then went on to Harvard Divinity School, receiving a B.A. of Divinity and a PhD in Ancient Near East Studies from Harvard. He then taught at Earlham College in Indiana for about 20 years. Other interests led him to doing university development work first at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester and then later at Brown University. Upon retirement he chose to pursue more ‘respectable’ work doing carpentry and turning wooden bowls from raw tree trunks and the like.

Two Januaries ago, preparing for Martin Luther King Sunday I went to see the movie Selma regarding the historic march led by Dr. King, in 1965. In an email to Lynn I happened to ask him if he had seen the movie and he responded that he had not. He added in explanation that having been there for the march, he wasn’t sure he wanted to see the movie. He had traveled from Harvard Divinity to Selma with other seminarians interested in supporting movement.

Lynn will be with us to offer the sermon and for discussion over coffee and refreshments following the service. I am thrilled to have him with us without him having to bring his tools!

Peace,

Mark

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DISCUSSION GROUP UPDATE- WHITE PRIVILEGE, LET’S TALK

In keeping with the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend our group has decided to watch the movie Selma for our next session on January 15, 2017. We will air it following our “second hour” time (around 12 noon) with our guest preacher for the day,

Lynn Clapham. Whether or not you have been involved with this study you are warmly invited to come and take part. Selma is two hours and eight minutes long and we will watch in the lounge. Please bring refreshments to share.

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INTO THE NEW YEAR…

Worshipping music of this age…!

A new music initiative…collecting songs of our time that speak to us

spiritually and express our faith.

Some great minds have commented on the qualities of music:

“Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable.”

-Samuel Johnson

 “Forgive me if I don’t have the words. Maybe I can sing it and you’ll understand.”

-Ella Fitzgerald

 “Without music, life itself would be a mistake.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche 

“Remember: information is not knowledge; knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is not truth; truth is not beauty; beauty is not love; love is not music; music is best.”

 “Jazz is not dead…it just smells funny.”

Frank Zappa

What music speaks to you? What songs, sung by popular artists, poets, or rock and roll legends, provide a glimmer of the wonder of life? What songs that you know, do you find yourself wondering, “Why don’t we sing that one in church?”

Following New Year’s we will begin collecting modern songs that have meaning to us. Our hope is to create a musical collection of these songs and to go through the proper steps to be able to reproduce them to be shared in worship together. MORE TO COME!

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DISCUSSION GROUP UPDATE- WHITE PRIVILEGE, LET’S TALK

In keeping with the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend our group has decided to watch the movie Selma for our next session on January 15, 2017. We will air it following our “second hour” time (around 12 noon) with our guest preacher for the day,

Lynn Clapham. Whether or not you have been involved with this study you are warmly invited to come and take part. Selma is two hours and eight minutes long and we will watch in the lounge. Please bring refreshments to share.

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WEATHER CLOSINGS

In the event of inclement weather, please tune into channels WFSB 3 or WVIT 30 for FRUCC closing and cancellation announcements.

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BOARD OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE

January Second Mile Offering

Save the Children has been chosen as the recipient of our Second Mile Offering for January 2017. This incredible organization’s vision is for a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Their mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Save the Children was first established in 1919 and in 2015, they reached over 62 million children directly through their and their partner’s work.

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AL ASMI FAMILY UPDATE

Along with several volunteers from other organizations, there are at least seven members of our Flagg Road community who have been helping our Syrian family to adjust to a new home, country, and culture. The Al Asmi family has been in the United States for almost 8 months now, and they continue to warm the hearts of everyone who meets them.

For those who have not met them, Fadi and Eman have three beautiful children. Hamdi is in grade 3 at Metacomet School in Bloomfield and will turn 9-years old in February. He has an infectious smile that complements his charm, and he was recently named Student of the Month at his school. His teachers and classmates adore him. Farah is a funny, active 2-year old who has definite opinions about the way she wants to independently run her own life, and she is technologically more advanced than any of the volunteers who visit with her. Nour Sham (Sham for short) is now approaching 11-months old and is growing stronger and bigger every day, crawling and climbing throughout their Bloomfield apartment. Everyone in the family is learning English at an amazing pace, thanks to the ESL team who meet with them on a regular basis and the constant stream of American visitors and volunteers.

Fadi is a talented and valued pastry chef at City Steam Brewery and Café in Hartford. The managers and workers have a high level of respect for him and his work, and the head chef remarked that he works at the speed of lighting. They are appreciative of his ability to create new and tasty desserts for their menu and catering business. Those who visit the apartment are often greeted with his delicious creations.

Fadi and Eman are very grateful for the help that they are getting from everyone, and all who come are welcomed with smiles, warmth, and an enthusiasm that is invigorating. They are open to everyone’s suggestions and they love and are appreciative of the activities and opportunities that people plan for them. They have picked vegetables at the Duncaster Gardens, trick-or-treated at Hartmeadow village, attended our shrimp boil, participate with Sandy Denmead in a weekly music program for infants and toddlers, initiated play-dates, attended holiday concerts and joyously put up a small Christmas tree in their apartment. Fadi has also been interviewed by NPR and he, his family, and volunteers were featured recently in a Yahoo News segment of their series called “American Goodness” (to watch, google American Goodness: a Connecticut town that Syrian refugees can call home).

While their progress has been incredible, challenges still lie ahead. The goal of the Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Committee — of which we are a part — is to work toward total independence. For that to happen they all need to continue their strong path toward English fluency. Both Fadi and Eman will be working on getting their driver’s licenses and the acquisition of a car. Fadi may need to acquire a second job in order to support his family as the assistance is lowered. And their familiarity and comfort of being in the community needs to improve, while rhetoric regarding Syrian refugees in America continues to be in the media. And yet, if anyone can make this work, this family can. They are determined, hard-working, motivated, and their attitude is consistently positive.

At this point, volunteers are still needed. If you or someone you know would be interested in driving the family to activities, babysitting, planning a family activity or if you would like additional information, please call Marsha Lewis at 860-324-0511. Even a small act is huge and guaranteed to be rewarding, humbling, and inspirational!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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