November & December 2018

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

An Example for Others


I have mentioned in worship once or twice that Albert Schweitzer is one my heroes. He felt God's call to go to the Africa after reading an article by Alfred Boegner entitled, "The Needs of the Congo Mission." The article included Boegner's prayer that someone "on whom the eye of God has fallen will read and be awakened to the call and say, 'Here am I.' "

Moved by Boegner's appeal, Schweitzer bowed his head and prayed, "My search is ended. I am coming."

You must understand that Schweitzer was not an ordinary person -- not even an ordinary physician. He was Principal of St. Thomas Theological College at the University of Strasbourg, a pastor, a successful author, and one of Europe's most acclaimed organists. For him to go to Africa meant leaving behind a life of fame and fortune -- removing himself from the comfortable community of which he was part -- ending the life that he had known and taking up an altogether unfamiliar life in a distant place.

But leave he did! First, he studied medicine for eight years to prepare himself for his new calling. Then he went to French Equatorial Africa, where his first hospital was a chicken coop at Lambarene. He served 2,000 patients in the first nine months. With the exception of short visits to Europe and America, he spent the rest of his life in Lambarene.

While we might admire the selflessness of such a decision, we are also tempted to ask whether it made sense. Couldn't Schweitzer have made a greater contribution by staying in Europe, where he could make full use of his marvelous gifts? Couldn't he accomplish as more by raising money for others to go to Africa?

But Schweitzer went -- left career, comfort, and friends behind -- spent the rest of his life practicing medicine in a primitive place under primitive conditions.

And God honored his call. Schweitzer's name became a household word. His example inspired countless people to follow in his footsteps -- to serve needy people in difficult places. It is impossible to estimate the full impact of Schweitzer's life work. We know only that he saved many lives -- gave renewed health to countless others -- and caused many to follow his example.

Schweitzer himself put it this way:

“Not one of us knows what effect his life produces,

and what he gives to others;

that is hidden from us and must remain so,

though we are often allowed to see some little fraction of it,

so that we may not lose courage.

The way in which power works is a mystery.”

~ Albert Schweitzer

Friends, this week I ask you to ponder the gifts and power given to you:

  • Whose example do you follow?
  • How can you serve as an example for others?


Pastor Jim


While giving thanks and exalting God for His blessings should be part of our daily routine, it is likely most true in November as we embrace the theme of Thanksgiving. Our hearts are filled with gratitude and joy – which should compel us to share God’s love with all. Let’s strive to carry this momentum into the Christmas season, beginning with Advent.

“Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise.” – Karl Rahner, 20th-century Jesuit priest

That beautiful statement is a cause for reflection, particularly as many of us start getting carried away with shopping, decorating, and all-things Christmas. Advent is such a beautiful time year for renewing our spirit of hopefulness along our journeys in faith.

As you’re aware, there are ways to affirm our connectedness through volunteering, whether you’re involved in outside pursuits or right here in church. We’re thankful for those who have given their time in ways that have been of great help to the deacons, including hosting or bringing treats for our time after fellowship; bringing delicious soups as part of our Soup Sundays (the next one is Dec. 9); greeting and offering bulletins to fellow congregants at the door; having family members serve as the acolyte during a service; reading scriptures during services; gracing the pulpit with flowers to remember loved ones; participating in our ongoing video chat project, as well as other ways both big and small. Sign-up sheets for various activities are in Lovejoy Hall. You can also speak with any of the deacons for further info or allow us to answer any questions you may have.

In closing, please keep this beloved, famous message in mind – and remind others – as we move through the Christmas season. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16.

In joyful service,

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

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.


Rally Sunday/Open House helped kick of the new Church School year. The new curriculum is underway.


  • The two younger groups, PK-grade 5, are using the Whirl Lectionary curriculum. Their lessons are based on the same readings and messages that the adults hear in church. They are enjoying the fun and meaningful videos each week. The coloring pages in the Narthex, the Children’s Message, and their Family take-home pages are all connected to the lectionary readings as well.
  • The older students, grades 6-12, have been exploring their faith through six weeks of the Nooma Video and Discussion Series. The students will then be using a six-week curriculum from the GenerationWhy curriculum. From over fifteen titles, they chose the topic they wish to focus on: Do the Right Thing: Ethics Shaped by Faith. We are thrilled that they chose to learn more about how to be a good Christian in their daily lives.


Our new inter-church youth group has begun as well. We are collaborating with three area UCC churches and are rotating through the churches. In addition to games and food, the group will do field trips and service projects. Our hope is that the students will be inspired by their connections with new friends from other churches.


Pastor Jim blesses our children recieving new Bibles and faith books.

In November, we held a kick-off meeting for those who wish to help organize a summer week-long missions trip. We will consider trips for teens only as well as trips for teens and adults. All are welcome to participate.


Faith Formation for adults continues as well. There are two different Bible studies. One group focuses the book Design of the Scriptures. The other group is trying a new lectionary-based curriculum called Seasons. Pastor Jim has started a new series on hope during the Exploring Faith on Sunday evenings.


This year, our Christmas Pageant will be intergenerational. Adults as well as children will be acting and singing. We also hope to bring the children and the adults together to work on a couple of missions projects. We look forward to the new team structure that will begin in 2019. May we all continue to grow in faith, children and adults together.



Patty Cole, Faith Formation Director


Principles of Stewardship

Life has always been organized around work. Jesus used examples of daily work repeatedly to illustrate the principles of stewardship. But work in our day is so very different than in Biblical Palestine that we have trouble seeing the connection between our lives and Stewardship.

Hugh Welchel wrote an article titled Four Principles of Biblical Stewardship, based on a commentary by Bill Peel []This is a quick overview of how the four principles of stewardship relate to our modern lives.

I.               The Principle of Ownership.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. –Psalm 24:1

In our work, we are very conscious of the fact that we do not own the things that we manage. The psalm reminds us that we do not own anything in our private lives either. We certainly know this when we plan how to pass on “our” properties to our heirs. But this applies to all things in God’s world that we touch: our home, the park, the beach, the summer cottage—and the church. In the largest sense, we are managers (stewards) of it all.

This revelation can be freeing: we may work hard, but we do not have to devote the same emotional commitment as if we were “truly” owners.

II.              The Principle of Responsibility. 

We know that just because we do not own something doesn’t mean we aren’t responsible for it. We wouldn’t last long in our job, or our home, if we didn’t assume responsibility for the continuing upkeep of what we “manage”. The entire earth is the Lord’s, and that is a huge responsibility! Fortunately, we are not responsible for all of it: just the part that we touch (which can be quite vast!). Being responsible means recognizing that our actions have effects on everything around us.

III.             The Principle of Accountability

Accountability is the flip side of Responsibility. If we are responsible for something, then we will be held accountable for it. In God’s world, Accountability has a different meaning than money or maintenance. How do we treat those around us? What do we do to ensure a good life for future generations?

IV.            The Principle of Reward

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.‑Colossians 3:23-24

Remember that God is beyond time, and God’s reward is not money or fame. So “receive an inheritance” does not refer to a reward in the distant future, but in a time that is not known to us. Being good stewards of what God has given us to manage, mean that God’s reward will appear “out of time”. One day you may look back and realize how your life has become fuller as you adopted the Principles of Stewardship. You have been rewarded, but not in the manner or time that you envisioned.

The Principles of Stewardship are a manner of perceiving the world, as God’s world. And the rewards of this new perception are infinite.

Yours in Christ,

Kay Galloway, Chair

Jennifer Howe

Pete McVay

Pastor Jim Thomas


Vikki Quick’s annual calendar/card fundraiser is underway in Lovejoy Hall after worship! Two versions of calendars are available – one dedicated entirely to photos of our church, and the other featuring various scenes and quotes. All profits go back to the church!


Calendars are $15 each and cards start at $2.00 each. Sales will continue until the end of the year or until calendars are sold out.


The Trustees are having an interesting year with many projects.  Here is this month’s list:

  • We did some repair work to the attic as they found a leak in the roof. 
  • The front porch was sanded down, and a coat of paint was put on the porch and the stairs. They should be good until next year.
  • The grease trap rotted out after many years of service and was replaced in the kitchen.
  • The Trustees did a cleanup in the Spring as it always makes the church grounds look better.
  • The middle door in Lovejoy Hall was broken in one corner and had to be replaced before winter.
  • The Trustees had a great Rally Day and it was well attended. We served Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, salad, chips and dessert.
  • We have just had the floors in kitchen, Lovejoy Hall and the bathrooms stripped and waxed which was in desperate need.

In the next few weeks, they will shampoo the rugs in the church. That should bring us into the Christmas Season. The Trustees are planning a cleanup day this fall either the second or third Saturday in November. We are waiting to let most of the leaves fall from the trees. There will be coffee and donuts served.

We all must remember that to have an active church, we need to have a staff as they are a part of the church that we need to support.


Bill Ball, Hank Reihl, Jay Goodman,  Linda Churchman, Adele Dillon


Call all Singers & Ringers - Preparing for Advent

Our ACC choirs, both singers and bell ringers, need more folks to join in and help us celebrate the Advent and the Birth of our Lord Jesus. Anyone who would like to join us from right now through Christmas Eve would not only be welcome but would be a gift of joy and comfort to the whole Congregation.  The Chancel Choir (Singers) and the Atkinson Ringers will be participating during Church Services in November and December and on Christmas Eve.  There will be a short pre-service concert starting at 10:30 Christmas Eve and the Service will start at 11 p.m.

Practices:      Chancel Choir: Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m.  We start promptly at 7:00 p.m.

                       Atkinson Ringers:  Sundays, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


See you Thursdays or Sundays (or both?)! 

Jane Goodwin 

Questions? Please email me at or call me at 603.347.5663

Currently Seeking Permanent Music Director/Organist

We are currently accepting resumes for our Music Director/Organist position! Follow the link for more information.

Please share this job description with anyone you think might be interested or know someone who might be interested. might be interested!


The 4th Sunday of each month will become a food collection day for St Anne’s food pantry. The next days are:

November 25th & December 30th

Annual Harvest Supper

The mission team is proud to announce the Harvest Supper went off well this again this year. We served 250 meals which we will send $1,200 to the NH Food Bank.  This in turn, will provide 2400 meals to those in need. Thank you to all who participated in making this a success!

Our next focus will be working with the Lion’s Club in assisting families sin need for the holidays. If you are aware of any family in need please contact the church office and Shirley Orio will be happy to take their information.

Sonshine Soup Kitchen

This year we have donated approxiatmately 90 volunteer hours at to the SonShine Soup Kitchen.  Our next volunteer  day is Tuesday, November 27th contact Cheryl Riehl if you are interested in helping.

Recent Donations

  • We have responded to the Mass explosions with a donation
  • We have responded to Hurricane Florence with a donation through Church World Services
  • We have utilized the Kinney fund to make donations to: Meals on Wheels, Community Caregivers, and Greater Salem Caregivers.

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


What Does the Light on the Hill Mean to You?

Our church has been through a lot these last few years.  After 2.5 years without a Pastor, in October, Pastor Jim celebrated his 1-year anniversary mark with us.   The congregation just voted in new by-laws.  A few months back the congregation approved the transition from a committee-based to a team-based infrastructure which goes in to effect this January 2019. 


During all this change, it makes sense to reflect on who we are as a church and what each of you – the heart of the church - needs and wants.

The Light on the Hill, Atkinson Congregation Church UCC’s Mission Statement says:

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


This fall we are exploring what that means in a practical way.  Over the next few Sundays, you will receive a bulletin insert with these questions your Church Vitality Team asks us all to ponder:

·       What does being The Light on the Hill mean to me?

·       What programs or groups could we begin to help us increase our personal discipleship?

·       In what ways could we strengthen the bond between church and community?

·       What are the significant needs in our community that our congregation could respond to?

·       What gifts do I personally bring that could have a positive impact on our community and beyond?

·       And, what things am I passionate about enough that I would participate in that mission or ministry?


Please take some time to prayerfully answer these questions.   You can write your responses on the back of the insert and drop them in the offering plate no later than November 18th.   Or, you can respond using this survey link: 

Thank you for taking the time to respond. 

Comfort Station/Yard Sale Success!  Thank you, Kathy Elliott, for leading this and all who donated.

Back in September, we opened our campus and facilities to members who were interested in hosting a yard sale table and provided a “comfort station” to the community during Yard Sale hours.   We had nearly 100 people stop by and collected about $50 in donations to the Sonshine Soup Kitchen.  Thanks to all those who generously donated the yogurt/fruit/water and to Lynn Thomas and Pastor Jim for help greeting the folks. 


Paul Nickerson Weekly Tips

Although we no longer actively participate with Paul Nickerson’s Reaching New People program, I still receive his weekly tips.   Linked here is the most recent.


A Meal with the Thomas’ – Consider Hosting

Please consider hosting an informal meal with Lynn & Jim Thomas and a few other guests. It can be a brunch, a lunch, a dinner or even a POT LUCK and ask folks to bring a dish.  You can co-host with another person or couple as well.  It’s just a nice way to meet a few others in the church with no agenda other than sharing a meal and conversation.  Please let me know (Julianna) if you are interested in hosting: 603-362-4321 or


Upcoming Christmas Tree Lighting at Atkinson Country Club – 11/29/18

Each year, Atkinson Country Club hosts a Christmas Tree lighting – a FREE EVENT to the public.

Last year, Atkinson Congregational had the opportunity to join in this wonderful event where we met lots of people and handed out over 400 “Goodie” bags to families.  We have been invited back again to participate on Thursday, 11/29/18 from 6-8pm.    In preparation, we are asking our congregation to help us stuff the goodie bags on Sunday, November 11, 2018, during fellowship hour directly following church.  We appreciate your help in advance!   If you are interested in helping us to staff the table from 6-8pm, or would like more information, contact me, Julianna Hale,   Either way – Stop by & say “Hi!” during the event.  


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



Julianna Hale and the Vitality Team


The revised bylaws reflecting the new team structure were approved at the Special Congregational Meeting on September 16, 2018.  We are excited about beginning the new team structure in January 2019.  The Nominating Committee is gearing up to fill the 29 elected positions on the slate.  The Nominating Committee will also be looking for volunteers to form various working or action groups such as handling memorial donations, stewardship campaign, flowers, scholarship, teaching church school, church vitality etc.

The elected positions are:

  • Council - Moderator, Clerk and Treasurer
  • Deaconate - 9 elected positions
  • Pastoral Relations - 2 members-at-large
  • Church Support Team - 5 elected positions
  • Congregational Engagement Team - 5 elected positions
  • Community Engagement Team - 5 elected positions

I would appreciate anyone who would like to serve and offer their time and talents to get in touch with me to discuss your interest.  Also, please feel free to contact me, if you have any questions about the responsibilities of the different positions.  We hope to post more details about the task/responsibilities of the Council, the officers, the Deaconate and the four teams in the near future. 

Thank you,

Sue Cunningham, Nominating Committee


Thank you to everyone who attended the Special Congregational Meeting on September 16, 2018. The Ad Hoc Committee gave a presentation on the new bylaws and outlined the proposed new team structure.  The new bylaws were approved with the Statement of Faith removed for now.  The development of an updated Statement of Faith will be worked on by a small group of interested church members.  The Ad Hoc Team is currently working on transition planning including a more detailed list of the tasks/responsibilities for the Council, the officers, the Deaconate and each of the four teams.  The list will assist in the nomination process and in the development of the team handbooks. 

Thank you for your support,

Sue Cunningham, Kristen Diamond, Linda Fisher, Jay Goodman, Sue Goodman, Julianna Hale, Shirley Reed


Sunday November 18, 2018 after worship

It is time again for everyone to come together for the Gracious Sharing Meal.  We will share a simple meal of homemade soups and bread.  There will be a free will donation that will go to support our local food pantry.  For the past 17 years we have supported St. Anne's Ecumenical Food Pantry by providing any money donated to support their holiday food program.  The food goes out to about 100 families.  Please plan to come and enjoy the fellowship of others.  

Remember, don't give ‘til it hurts, but give 'til, it feels good.

Contact Sue Cunningham, 603-382-7921 or, if you can bring a soup or can help in any way.