March, 2018

Our Mission:

Our mission is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the love of God under the authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

A Message from Pastor Jim

Learning to “Be the Church”

The middle of March will make it five months since Lynn and I joined you. It’s been quite an adventure already! Getting to know all of you, celebrating the rich history of ACC, and planning together for our future have me very energized and grateful for the possibilities of where the Spirit will lead us.


Two of the things that attracted me to our church was the strong lay leadership that was in place, and the opportunity to partner with a congregation poised for the next chapter in its history.

That leadership serves our church in so many ways, with many people in multiple roles. One of my goals for this year is to expand the circle of folks who both help make the church function and make it a community of faith that makes a difference in our town and beyond. The new structure (stay tuned!) will give you an opportunity to participate in manageable bites, rather than a 3-year commitment. As we seek to make our church more vital, participation of members and friends in our mission and ministry and education and fellowship and service are all critical to our long term viability.

That’s what the “Be the Church” series is about. Instead of just ‘doing’ church, we must learn to “Be” the church, being in covenant not just with ourselves, but those around us and those we interact with. Sharing the Good News of Jesus, and the good news of our church. Serving not just ourselves, but our neighbors. To truly be The Light on the Hill.

So, I invite you to ask yourself, “How can I share of my talent and skills for the good of ACC and our community? How might I get involved? Where does my heart tug at me to participate?”

The more of us that carry the load, the lighter the load becomes and the farther we can bring it. I am excited for our future; and want you to have a part in it!


Pastor Jim


Here we are, moving through the season of Lent, which began with a new twist here at ACC. In addition to our traditional Ash Wednesday service, Pastor Jim “took to the streets” – rather, our circular parking lot. He took part in “Ashes to Go,” a national movement designed to reach more people who wouldn’t otherwise go to an Ash Wednesday service. That’s right – Pastor Jim administered the imposition of ashes and provided blessings to all those who drove up. And it was a success! A few people became overcome with emotion. For some, they hadn’t been to church in a very long time.

As we approach Holy Week, we pray that this Lenten season has brought you renewed hope. Jesus, as we know, understood he would be killed and knew he would be reunited with His Father and our Father in heaven. Here today, we might not know exactly where we’re going on life’s journey. There could be areas in our lives that need a closer walk with God. Perhaps an increased focus on meditation, scripture reading and prayer? Or maybe a more outward perspective could be honed, such as serving God in the world more definitively, or walking a path to heal a broken relationship. The answers, of course, are deeply personal for each of us.

As deacons, we take our responsibility seriously to help meet the needs of the spiritual life of the church. Please feel free to discuss with any deacon any issue you may have.  And if you know someone who could use a prayer, please let us know. We can make this happen anonymously, if you desire.

Moving ahead, we look forward to our next Soup Sunday, March 11. Please sign up in Lovejoy Hall to bring a soup. We can never have too many! In addition, if you haven’t already, we’d love for you to sign up to bring food and serve it one Sunday this year, during the after-service social time in Lovejoy Hall. It’s not necessary to bring a wide array of goodies – a modest, un-fancy selection is perfectly fine. The deacons can answer questions and provide help.

We’re also picking up on our video project of interviewing congregants about their lives – not just from a church standpoint but also on how world events have shaped them personally. Let us know if you’d like more detail or would like to participate.

Speaking of the deacons, we’re thrilled that Jane Goodwin is back on the diaconate! We welcome her with open arms. After several years as a deacon, Mark Miller has decided to reduce his role (which remains very important and he’s such a professional!). Thankfully, you’ll still see him run Sunday services as a deacon from time to time. Vikki Quick is now co-leading the diaconate with Shirley Reed.

In joyful service, Shirley Reed, Vikki Quick, Joe Churchman Gloria Dodge, Jeanne Elliott, Sue Goodman, Jane Goodwin, Dina Williams and Mark Miller

Note: If you’re not yet a church member and would like information to become one,

please talk to any deacon, or contact Shirley Reed at 603-362-5752 or Shirley Orio at 603-362-5519.


ABCs of Christmas

The ABCs of Christmas, which was held on December 17 was a big success! About 25 children, ages 2-17 participated. Each student reflected on and illustrated a different fact about Christmas. Their artwork was presented at the program, and each child did a great job reading out loud. The program was moving to many people in the congregation, concluding with little Johnny saying, “Happy Birthday Jesus!”


Be the Church Curriculum

After New Year’s, we began curriculum based on the UCC Be The Church initiative. The students were always one week ahead of the adults. Each week, their reflections and ideas were shared with the congregation. The teachers and students did a great job with this different approach: starting with a real-life issue and seeing how it is supported by the Bible, rather than starting with a Bible story and seeing how we can relate modern-day life to the story. Students are currently learning about Lent and Easter and preparing for their program on Palm Sunday. After Easter, we will be putting our ideas into action, as we do service projects to actually “be the church!”

Confirmation Class Underway

Confirmation class began on March 5. We have four students enrolled in the class, and we are very happy that these four have decided to deepen their knowledge and faith.

VBC Volunteers Needed

We are already thinking about summer and plans for VBC are underway.  While registration is not open yet, we are looking for a few adults who can help.  Please contact Nancy Monahan at or Patty Cole if you are interested in helping.

Horton Center Scholarships

The Christian Education Committee is excited to offer two $250.00 scholarships to attend Horton Center this summer.  Scholarship applications are due in May 1, 2018.  Click here for an application. 

CE Becomes Faith Formation

As 2018 progresses, you will start to see the words “Faith Formation” in place of “Christian Education.” To better understand what that means, please consider these three definitions, as presented in a paper on the UCC website:

  • Christian Education is understood and perceived as having to do with traditional classroom models of teaching and learning to gain “head” knowledge.
  • Spiritual Formation is understood and perceived as having to do with practices of devotion and a focus on the inner work of the soul for the purpose of attaining “heart” wisdom.
  • Faith Formation is understood and perceived as an engaged process of learning and practice integrated throughout all aspects of congregational and daily life. This definition allows for the combining of “head” and “heart” knowledge into a more holistic understanding and embodiment, rather than creating a dichotomy between these two areas.


“Forming and Transforming: Study Resources on Faith Formation for Whole Congregations.” Excerpts from Foundations, Findings, and Futures: Christian Faith Formation and Education in the United Church of Christ (2012). Accessed 12/20/2017.


Missions have been busy setting up volunteer opportunities with signup sheets available in Lovejoy Hall.


Volunteer Opportunities
Sonshine Kitchen in Derry, NH needs help running its kitchen to feed 40 people a day.  We are looking for openings in mid-March and hope you can help.


Habitat for Humanity, located in Lawrence, MA needs volunteer builders willing to work on a Saturday.  They also need volunteers in their ReStore (2+ hour shifts for clerks and cashiers who can come in on a consistent basis).  All volunteers will be properly trained.


Monetary donations have been given to Compassion International, Emmaus House, Crossroads House, Lazarus House, Kulea Childcare Villages, and Samaritan's Purse.


Be The Church
As a continuation of our Be The Church a new wall has been created in Lovejoy Hall where you can share your daily ongoing efforts that demonstrate how you are "Being the Church".  Please fill out a leaf or two and share how you help others or do things that we do outside of organized church efforts that exemplify this.  Perhaps you will inspire others.  Leaves are available for you to share these efforts/ideas.


There are new bulletin board displays in Lovejoy Hall. Please check out the Missions opportunities/ideas that can help others.


Your's in Christ, Linda Fisher, Cheryl Riehl, Jennifer Howe, Holly Weinberger


Pledge Revenue:  those funds collected from those who made an explicit pledge for the year. 


Total Budget Revenues:  those funds collected from all budget-related sources such as  Pledges, Loose Offerings, Richmond Trust, etc. This would NOT include donations specifically  earmarked for committees or savings funds. 


Total Budget Expenditures: funds spent as part of budgeted on-going operations. Does not include one-time capital spending such as a new roof or vinyl-siding a building; nor any committee spending from their savings funds. 


Peace and Blessings, 

Sheana DeBourke and Dina Williams


Definition of Vitality:  "the power giving continuance of life, present in all living things".   Wow!  That sounds a lot to me like another way to describe God.   So how can a church reflect this powerful word?  There are so many opportunities to do this, but the quality of those initiatives are more important than the quantity.  Our mission for 2018: help to create thoughtful, impactful programs and improvements that won't require tremendous internal or financial resources but prayerfully reflect the life-breathing work of His will. 

Current Initiatives:
If you haven't already done so, please consider hosting a "Dinner with the Thomas'" at your home on a date that works for you over the next few months.   We currently have a few folks who have opened their homes, and you will be invited to sign-up for a dinner of your choosing to enjoy this wonderful informal, intimate fellowship opportunity.  We hope all will participate!  Sign-up sheets are in Lovejoy Hall. 

In April, Patty Cole and several others will be offering a workshop right here at ACC called "Soul Shop: Ministering to Suicidal Desperation.", hosted and presented by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.   Soul Shop trains faith community leaders on the topic of suicide.  Patty participated in this workshop a few months ago and felt it was incredibly valuable and thought our lay leadership and local faith-leaders would benefit greatly as well.   If you feel called to participate, we encourage you to register. 

Being the Church: Growing in God's Grace!  
While the church quilt is being cleaned and repaired, you will notice the Lovejoy Hall wall is now filled with the tree and leaves for us to recognize the contributions of our congregation to our community.  Please take a few minutes to share with our church those things you do outside the church walls to honor and share how you are "Being the Church".    No names are required!

Lastly, many of our Vitality members are also integrally involved in the initiative to change the current committee infrastructure to a team approach, which also impacts our by-laws.   This warrants time, energy and focus.  This is an important initiative that is most certainly is linked to church vitality.  

What's Next:
At our first meeting in the new year, the team decided that we would regroup by taking the opportunity at the next meeting to "white board" all our church programs and initiatives currently slated for 2018, and then see where a few of the proposed CV initiatives might fit in to this calendar.   The ideas presented will be community-focused, hoping to fulfill a relevant need.   This includes a potential "Active Shooter" training, sponsored by ACC but presented by trained police professionals. Another forum to host will be one directed at the Opioid epidemic again, leveraging professionally trained, external resources to fill a community need.  We'll fill you in as more information becomes available.

Thanks for listening!  As always, ALL ARE WELCOME to our meetings or to join our email correspondence.  Any questions or suggestions, you can reach me at

Julianna Hale and the Vitality Team



Annual Goods & Services Auction

Save the Date - April 22nd

Details to follow.

Daylight Savings Time

Reminder to Spring ahead this Sunday March 11th. Set your clock one hour ahead.