July, 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

How are You Doing?

As summer heats up, some parts of our church life slow down. There is less programming in the summer, committees may skip a meeting, and hopefully, everyone gets some downtime at the lake or in the pool.

While it may seem that nothing much is happening, behind the scenes, many people are still hard at work on your behalf. For example:

  • The Music Director Search Team is meeting regularly, has sent out an FAQ to the congregation, and now is ready to collect data from the email survey. They also have begun lining up guest musicians for worship until we are prepared to bring a new person on board.
  • The Church Vitality Team has completed work with our consultant, Paul Nickerson, and is ready to continue on their own, using the skills and learning they have received over the past two years.
  • Vacation Bible Camp was a rousing success! It was wonderful to see dozens of kids running around our church campus, learning, playing, eating, sharing fellowship. If I ever get shipwrecked, I hope one of them is with me! Many thanks to Patty Cole, Nancy Monahan, and the many youth and adults who volunteered to make it happen.
  • Thanks to the deacons for making sure we are ready for, and conduct worship.
  • Thanks to the Trustees for keeping the lights on and our campus looking great.
  • Thanks to Missions for engaging in the community and supporting worthy causes.
  • Thanks to the many volunteers that do what may seem mundane but is critical to keeping our church-going, like caring for gardens, hosting fellowship, awarding scholarships, and so much more.

Back in January, I told you that my goal for this year is to have everyone involved in at least one small group or team, being engaged in the life of the church beyond Sunday morning. How are you doing? Have you found the place where you fit in, bringing your talents and interests to support our congregation? If not, and you need some help identifying your place, please be in touch. We are better in community, and in volunteering, we often seem to get back more than we put in.

Enjoy your summer,

Pastor Jim


Vesper Services

Welcome to vesper season – our long-awaited time of year when we gather on select Wednesday evenings to celebrate the Lord, reflect on life, enjoy music, and simply be together. Four vespers services are scheduled. This year’s theme revolves around love, with each service reflecting different aspects:


July 11 – “Love God”

July 25 – “Love God’s Word”

August 8 – “Love God’s People”

August 22 – “Love God’s Purpose in the World”


Vesper services are also special because traditionally, we’ve had food! We start at 6:30 p.m. with a meal in Lovejoy Hall (food and monetary donations gladly accepted), and then head to the outdoor sanctuary for the service at 7 p.m. As you may know already, each vesper experience is meant to be fun and casual. People bring beach chairs, blankets and bug spray! Everyone is welcome – please invite family and friends. It doesn’t matter one iota if visitors attend “regular” church or not.

Details are still emerging on each service. Deacon Co-Chair Shirley Reed is scheduled to lead the July 11 service; followed by Karen Landry on July 25; Deacon Co-Chair Vikki Quick on August 8; and Pastor Jim concluding vesper season on August 22. We’ll let you know of any changes through the weekly e-newsletter. AND, if you’d like to be a part of vesper services behind the scenes, or help with the food, please talk to a deacon

A Lot is Happening at ACC

We’re carrying momentum forward from the spring, during which we had two delightful, thematic Sundays, with Ladies’ Hat Day on Mother’s Day, and Men’s Wacky Tie Day on Father’s Day. In the future, Ladies’ Hat Day will of course feel more special than ever, as we remember Gini Murphy, our inspiration and champion of unique and beautiful hats, who is now with the Lord.


On May 20, Pentecost Sunday, many of us brought family and friends. It was wonderful to see most of the pews filled that day.


On June 10, as we enjoyed Music Appreciation Sunday, we all held bittersweet thoughts, knowing it was the last for Music Director and Organist, David Rooney. He has been one of the finest and most loved directors and organists ACC has ever had. We’ll miss him dearly yet wish him nothing but the best as he enters a new chapter in life. David will host his last music-only Sunday service on July 15. No doubt, it will be incredibly heartfelt.


In conclusion, here’s a verse to ponder as we swiftly move through summer: “that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun.” – Psalm 89:36.


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.


We spent a lot of time in the winter discussing ways to “Be the Church.” This spring, the students at Tuthill House did just that! Students came to Tuthill House and watched short videos relating to an organization or issue. Then, following a discussion of how it relates to scripture, they did hands-on service projects such as planting vegetable seeds or making cards for Meals-on-Wheels recipients.


We took a little break from service projects on Pentecost, where we learned more about what happened that day in the Bible. The younger kids made projects relating to fire or wind. We heard how to say “Praise God! Alleluia!” in five languages.


After Pentecost, we were busy doing projects once again. The kids did their own mini-CROP Walk on June 3, during church school time. They raised over $400.00! Twelve kids, ages 2-15, walked from the Grazcyk’s house to the playground. We had a lot of fun!


To round out the year, the kids were “on Fellowship” on June 10. They set up the room and the coffee. They helped make delicious and colorful food for everyone to enjoy. The kids learned how much work goes behind all those yummy treats we get every week! They experienced what it is like to serve their church family.


We have a new way to keep in touch if you miss a week of church school. Please visit the church website and click on the word “Blog” at the top, or simply click here for a list of all the blog topics. You will find a recap of what we did each Sunday. It is designed for families to carry the learning through the week, through scripture, prayer and discussion of Bible stories and real-life applications. It is written in kid-friendly language, so you could simply read it right off the screen! There are blogs about other topics as well, written by Patty Cole or Pastor Jim if you are looking for a new way to grow in faith yourself.


Many thanks to our Tuthill House Greeters and Teachers. They give up their time at worship twice a month to be with our kids and help them grow in faith. Their patience and kindness are amazing.

By the time you read this, Vacation Bible Camp will be over! It takes place on June 25-29, and the theme is: Shipwrecked; Saved by Jesus. Many thanks to Nancy Monahan for spearheading the event. Many people from our congregation also helped by donating items, making decorations, and working with the kids at the camp. We can’t thank you enough for helping make this wonderful event happen, year after year!


We are proud to announce the winners of our Horton Center Camp Scholarships. Congratulations to Bailey Orio and Katie Burke! They will be going to the “Arts on the Mountain” camp later this summer, where they will enjoy both the performing and the visual arts, as well as traditional camp activities, all while growing in faith.


We will be doing a fun and meaningful service project during Summer Kids Club this year. Join us on any or all of the following Sundays: July15, 22, 29 and August 5, 12, 19. Children from pre-K through high school will enjoy this inspirational project, helping to spread kindness around town!



Patty Cole, Faith Formation Director



What a beautiful day!  It’s summertime and the living is easy.  School is closed and the pools are open.  We think of planting flowers, mowing our lawns, and spending a lot of time outside, with a trip to our favorite vacation spots, and of course a trip to Stillwell’s for ice cream.  Our church campus is lovely inside and out with beautiful lawns and geraniums in big urns that welcome you as you approach the front steps.  Vacation Bible Camp has recently ended and was a great success as usual, thanks to Patti Cole, Nancy Monahan and many volunteers.  Music Sunday has come and gone, two young people will go to the Horton Camp.  Vespers will soon start – always lovely.  So you see our church is always busy. 


It is like a business and like all businesses needs income to stay alive.  The income comes from us, the parishioners, and the trustees do their best to control costs and live within the budget voted on at annual meeting.  We can help by adding to our pledges, or consider pledging if we have not done so.  We can contribute a bit more to the offering plate each Sunday, and the envelopes on the giving tree are a great idea. These are things we must do to keep the Church, our business, alive and well for many years to come.



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

As you likely have already heard, David Rooney has submitted his resignation as our Director of Music and Organist. His last day with us is July 15th. David has served us well for 10 years, and his departure is a significant loss. As we begin a new chapter in the music history of our congregation, we plan to keep the congregation informed as we move forward, inviting input as much as possible.


With this news, we have formed a Search Team, which has met already and issued a Frequently Asked Question document found here.  We are also asking that you complete a survey to help guide us in this search.  The survey is open now, and will close July 13th.  It is a short 10 question survey and will take you very little time to complete. Please make your voice known.

The Music Director Search Team is meeting this Sunday, July 8th, directly following worship in the parlor. We invite you to drop in and share your input in person. We want to be sure to hear from as many people as possible.


Thanks for taking this journey with us, and thanks for your patience as we try to ensure we follow our hearts and the leading of the Holy Spirit for our congregation’s music program.


The Music Director Search Team


Amazon Donates to our Church


Amazon's fourth-annual Prime Day is coming up on Tuesday, July 17 and will feature one-of-a-kind deals exclusively for Prime members. This is one of the biggest shopping days of the year and a great time to remind you to shop at  Every purchase you make Amazon will donate to our church. So far our shopping has made us $189.  Your shopping makes a difference. 


To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Select Atkinson Congregational Church.  Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.



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, 

Dina Williams


We continue, as a church, to be very busy and involved with people's needs. Our current efforts include 9 volunteers who served food at Sonshine Soup Kitchen on June 21st. Please go to Sign-up Genius to register for the next volunteer date on Wednesday July 18th.


CROP Walk took place on May 20th. Our volunteers helped raise money which brought the overall total to $16,896. This is a wonderful event that helps feed many people including those in need locally. The Children's CROP Walk donated $400.00.   Great job!

Missions has made monetary donations to Suicide workshop, Homeland Heroes Foundation-Local, Angel Flight NE, Common Ground, Isaiah 58,and Prayer Shawl Knitters.


Check out our new bulletin board in Lovejoy Hall. It focuses on Emmaus House which provides needed help to homeless people. A Mission Moment on Emmaus House will take place during Sunday service on July 8th. You'll find out what Emmaus House is all about and also learn about the July 22nd bike ride Emmaus House is sponsoring to raise money for their charity.


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


Dinner with the Thomas’

Thank you, Darlene & Jim Graczyk, who hosted 12 guests at their home with Pastor Jim & Lynn on May 17th.   Everyone who attended said it was a fantastic evening and they got to know each other a lot better.  Stay tuned for more opportunities to enjoy informal fellowship around a dinner table!  Please let me know (Julianna) if you are interested in hosting a group of 8-10 dinner guests at  


Memorial Day Parade

A big thank you to Patty Cole, who took it on to assemble and hand out over 100 pinwheels that included our church website and a scripture verse on the back.   Thanks also to Pastor Jim, who walked in the parade with the veterans and offered prayers during the ceremony on the common.  It was a very nice Memorial Day celebration and folks were happy to receive the pinwheels.

And this concludes our time with Paul Nickerson

After nearly two years of participation, we had our last “Reaching New People” accountability call with Paul Nickerson.  Paul’s program and coaching calls have been extremely helpful to us during the past couple of years of transition.  We believe we are in a good place to take this on ourselves.  On the last call, we determined where we are as a congregation in the life of the church as depicted in the model below.    The church life typically flows from the bottom-left at “Launch”, up to “Sustained Health”, and then can decline down the right-side to “Life Support” if churches aren’t actively changing and evolving with the community and contemporary spiritual climate and needs.

Based on responses from a survey completed by about 15 committee members, we believe we are somewhere between “Maintenance” and “Preservation”.  With the addition of Pastor Jim, who has the vision and experience around growth, along with the work we are all currently doing to interact more with the community and the current proposal toward by-law restructuring, we like to think (and pray) that we will head toward Strategic Growth instead of Life Support.   We hope you will all agree and help us to do just that!


Live Free or Die Run

Show your Support for our military and the Graczyk family!  Join ACC members and hundreds of others at the 5th Annual Live Free or Die Run.  If you are in the Atkinson area on Saturday, July 14, 2018, please join us in your purple “Growing in God’s Grace” t-shirt at Woodlock Park in support of Darlene & Jim Graczyk in memory of their son, Major Jeremy J. Graczyk.  You can register to walk or run this 5K here:  Or, just come and cheer on those who are running.   This is a touching event that means a lot to our congregation and our community.  Atkinson Congregational cares about our military veterans and the lives of our members.  Let’s show up and show our love.    Look for Chet Balut & Julianna Hale in our purple shirts at 8:45am near the registration table.   We thank God in advance for all the money raised at this event to fund the JJG Live Free or Die Memorial Fund.


Summer Time

Like most committees this time of year, Vitality will be pulling back activity during the summer, but we look forward to supporting the upcoming Vesper Services, participating in the Live Free or Die Run, and working closely on the by-laws work.


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


A new Co-Treasurer, Ray Zegarski, was approved by the Executive Committee to fill the vacancy created when Sheana DeBourke had to step down.  Thank you Sheana for everything you did for the church.  Ray will be working with Hank Riehl and Dina Williams to learn the ropes.


Sue Cunningham

Nominating Committee


The Ad Hoc Team that is working on restructuring our current committees into teams presented a draft of revised Bylaws reflecting this change to the Executive Committee on May 20th.  The Executive Committee voted to present this draft to the church members for approval at a special congregational meeting. The majority of church members felt that they would like the Ad Hoc Team to do a presentation on the changes prior to voting so that they would have an opportunity to be better informed.  In addition,to scheduling a formal presentation, we will be looking at more ways of sharing information with church members related to the proposed changes prior to the presentation.



The Ad Hoc Team,

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