May, 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

Live it, Share it, Pass it on

As I write, spring has finally sprung, and new life is popping up all over. The same is true for us as a community of faith: we have Baptized, we have taken in new members, we have confirmed, we have celebrated and marveled at the young people in our midst, and we have considered what it means to Be the Church in our time and place.


It is a challenging time to ‘be the church.’ We are in the midst of a significant change about what being church means – not only how we ‘do’ it, but how we live it, share it, and pass it on.

On one side are those who say we need to return to our spiritual roots. Diana Butler Bass and others have demonstrated that congregations which can embrace ancient liturgies and practices can be healthy, vibrant communities of faith. Along with that, they change their focus from producing new members to sending out disciples. It’s a model that embraces our past rather than discards it, and embraces our communities rather than become more insular.

On another side is the emergent camp, which has a progressive vision for a church compatible with our beliefs (which are aligned with younger generations) and able to be successful in our culture by birthing new churches, training church leaders, and by strengthening and renewing existing congregations. Using new technology, coaching, and training, churches are becoming renewed.

Others like Rev. Mike Piazza suggest that our vintage churches can be vital churches – not by trying to be something we are not, but by being who we are really well, including 52 transformative experiences every year on Sunday morning.

And there are more than three sides, of course. Every pundit with a book deal has a plan for renewal and growth of congregations. Most amusing to me are those from people who’ve never actually tried it but have an eight-point plan for success.

So, which answer is right for us? All of them. And none of them. Today more than ever what makes a congregation viable is contextual. It has much to do with our willingness to try something new, and the ways in which we are willing or able to (sometimes uncomfortably) stretch ourselves and find the place where our congregation’s passion intersects with our community’s needs. And, perhaps, even be willing for parts of who we are to die and be born again. And plenty of prayer, discussion, and contemplation are needed as we find our way forward.

Looking through my files this week, I found a quote that prompted these musings. I’ve lost track of the original author, but here it is:

"Perhaps God actually expects us to feed his sheep and preach the good news to his sheep rather than endlessly debate what we consider to be the best sheep food."

Or put another way, the perfect is the enemy of the good. We have to be willing to try new things now even if another year of planning might allow a more fine-tuned approach. Moreover, we need to give ourselves permission to fail – not every new thing will be ‘our’ thing. Our Church Vitality Team is actively engaged in this effort. Working closely with the other Committees of the church, here are a few of the initiatives underway. We have begun hosting an Narcotics Anonymous meeting every week, sponsored and hosted a workshop on ministering to people with suicidal desperation, begun mission trips to serve a meal at the Sonshine Soup kitchen in Derry, and are preparing a complete rewrite of our Bylaws to a Team Concept, which will simplify our governance and make it more nimble. This will remove many of the impediments to participation in the life and work of our church. Later this year we will seek ways to become more engaged in the community response to the opioid epidemic.

Our focus is also internal, ensuring worship feeds and instructs and inspires us. We will continue to ensure that we make a best possible first impression – that those visitors and guests that enter our sanctuary feel welcomed and experience genuine hospitality. We will also continue to offer multiple opportunities for bible study and faith exploration.

This holy calling invites all of us to participate in building up the Body of Christ. If you have yet to find the place where you can be involved beyond Sunday mornings, I invite you to take a closer look – your talents and time will make a difference. Please be in touch if you want help finding the place you fit best.


Pastor Jim


God blessed us with a beautiful lead-up to Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday was highlighted by the children’s wonderful Holy Week interpretation. Maundy Thursday, a service held dear to many at ACC, played out in traditional, eloquent fashion. Good Friday, a day where the church was open for prayer, was again graced by the beautiful music of Kim Ridley. And while the skies were gray on Easter Sunday, our Light on the Hill looked glorious, reflecting the sunrise as worshipers gathered in the outdoor sanctuary. Breakfast followed the brief yet meaningful service. A few hours later, families filled the church for the traditional service. It certainly was great to see so many people on Easter Sunday.

Looking ahead, a few out-of-the-ordinary “things” are on the horizon. We’re looking forward to each with great anticipation!

On May 6, Communion Sunday will be given a different perspective. The service will revolve around the meaning of communion, with different kinds of bread displayed to go along with the message.

On May 13, join us for Mother’s Day, which is also the second annual Gini Murphy Ladies’ Hat Day! Every lady is encouraged to wear a hat. The sanctuary will light up as we see all the different hats, while also thinking of Gini.

On May 20, Pentecost Sunday, please wear red, the traditional color that marks this special Sunday. Also, note that May 20 is ‘bring a friend’ day. How wonderful it will be to see the church filled with both familiar and new faces. Your friend (or family member) could also be someone who simply hasn’t been to church in a while.

In addition to these special Sundays, we continue to look for volunteers to host Fellowship Hour. The signup sheet is on a bulletin board in Lovejoy Hall. We also continue to look for volunteers to bring soup on monthly Soup Sundays. You’ll always have fair warning as to when these are planned.

Finally, we’re continuing our video project – interviewing folks about their lives, spiritual journeys, as well as their experiences at ACC. A funny anecdote or two is always welcome during these conversations! Some of the footage will eventually live on our website, giving folks a personal glimpse into the wonderful people who attend ACC.

Summer’s just around the corner. Soon we’ll be talking about summer vesper services! We can’t wait to continue our tradition of casually sharing spiritual messages (or a song or poem) in our outdoor sanctuary. Please let us know if you’re interested in participating!

In conclusion, as we go about the spring season, here’s a beautiful verse to reflect upon: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10.

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.


Our Tuthill House students did a great job on Palm Sunday, as they lead us through the events of Holy Week. The story was told through the reading of the poem The Easter Story. Some of the kids acted out the events of the week, concluding with Jesus climbing through the tomb and declaring: “If you have faith and truly believe, I’ll live in your heart, and your life I won’t leave. Someday in heaven, you’ll be with me; your soul will find rest and truly be free.”


The poem was followed by a song by three of our younger kids. Great job! To end the service, Katie Burke delivered a sermon on Holy Week from the perspective of Jesus’s friends. Due to all the snow, we did not have an Easter Egg hunt, but we did dye some real eggs in Lovejoy Hall to celebrate.

For the rest of the spring, the students at Tuthill House will be doing hands-on service projects so that they can “Be the Church.” They have done some printmaking to design cards for Meals-on-Wheels recipients. They also have planted some vegetable seeds which they will eventually pick and donate to local food pantries. The kids will also be doing their own CROP Walk this year, on June 3, during church school time. 

To help families feel connected to what their kids are doing at church school, please visit our website, and in the Blog section, you will find “From Tuthill House to Yours.” It will explain what we did on Sunday and give you prayer and scripture to carry the learning through your week. This is also helpful for kids that miss a Sunday; they can stay informed and maybe even try the activities at home.

We are already thinking about summer and plans for VBC are underway. The camp will be June 25-29 and the theme is: Shipwrecked; Saved by Jesus. We have some new activities this year and are very excited about the food and music! Registration has been opened and we are now busy making decorations and gathering supplies for this very fun week. We are still looking for adult volunteers, even if you can only come a day or two. 

VBC Volunteers Needed

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.  Or  see Patty for more information.

Congratulations - New Confirmands

We are pleased to welcome three students on Confirmation Sunday, April 29 - Sydney Monahan, Luke Brennan and Max Orio. 


dWarm Spring greetings from your Trustees.

Thankfully we have had a relatively uneventful spring so far. Our Church campus is in good shape after this past Winter, and most of the Spring clean-up has been completed by our fabulous landscaper, Gary Whitley. Since Gary has done such a good job this Spring we are pleased to let you know that we will not need to have a Spring clean-up day this year. I know that many of you will be upset about not having this opportunity, but we will let you know when we schedule the Fall clean-up day.

With the deficit budget that was voted on at Annual meeting this year the Trustees are doing all we can to control the costs associated with operating the Church. We would like to take this opportunity to ask the same of our membership. If you are able, please consider taking an envelope from the giving tree in Lovejoy hall. You can also consider an additional donation to the offering plate over and above your pledge amount. When we have fundraising events like the auction or the Spaghetti supper, please make an effort to participate and bring a friend. If you do not currently pledge, we would respectfully ask that you reconsider. Pledging gives the Trustees and the treasurers the ability to more accurately forecast the finances of your Church from year to year. Pledging is also a way for you to set goals as an individual or family and work to meet those goals. We will not be able to sustain these deficit budgets and continue to provide the programs and services that are important in our community. Please reach out and speak with a member of our Missions team to get a better idea of how we make a difference locally.

I would also like to take a moment to thank everyone that participated in our fire drill on April 29th. The safe Church team has put much effort into our safe church documentation, and this is a wonderful example of how their hard work can be seen in our daily Church lives. The Deacons had the burden of moving everyone out of the building and up to the back parking lot while checking to make sure no one was left behind.


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


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


Missions is currently involved in many activities aimed at helping people in many ways. Please look in Lovejoy Hall for more detailed information and sign-up sheets.


Sonshine Soup Kitchen
Six volunteers helped serve food at
Sonshine Soup Kitchen in Derry on April 5th. This organization feeds up to 40 people daily. There is also a need to collect shampoo, body wash, and deodorant which Sonshine Soup Kitchen will distribute. Donation boxes for Sonshine Soup Kitchen (and for Liberty House) will be available in Lovejoy Hall.  Our next opportunity to help out at this facility will be on May 14th where a small group of volunteers is needed and then on June 21st when 8 volunteers will be needed.



CROP Walk will take place on May 20th. Volunteers are needed to walk and collect pledges. Check the Missions bulletin board for information on this important effort to help others.


Habitat for Humanity
June 2nd is the date to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity where construction of a house is taking place in Lawrence, MA.


Missions has made monetary donations to: Emmaus House, Crossroads House, Lazarus House, Kulea Childcare Villages, Samaritan's Purse, Sleepout for Child and Family Services, UCC Church's Wider Mission, Pregnancy Care Center, Ruth's House, Liberty House, One Great Moment of Sharing, David's House, Rockingham Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Haven, and Sonshine Soup Kitchen.


Mission Moments
Missions is now providing a 'Mission Moment' during church services which are intended to share with the congregation the programs and efforts that we are involved. We will briefly talk about a certain mission and explain why we do this. CROP Walk was the first of our 'Mission Moments'.


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


Dinner with the Thomas’

Thank you, Sue & Jay Goodman who hosted the first Dinner with the Thomas’ at their home in Danville. They were accompanied by Pastor Jim & Lynn, as well as another 7 congregation friends. It’s not too late for you to sign up to host a dinner at your location of choice, or to sign up to attend the next dinner at the home of Darlene & Jim Graczyk on May 17th. This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy some casual fellowship and get to know Pastor Jim & Lynn even better! Sign-up sheets are in Lovejoy Hall.

Soul Shop: Ministering to Suicidal Desperation:

Special thanks to Patty Cole who recently organized and held this informative one-day workshop, hosted and presented by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. More than 25 lay leaders and pastors attended this powerful training. We all left with tools on how to support someone experiencing suicidal desperation, and also learned what an epidemic suicide is today.

Public Relations Focus

A big shout-out to Vikki Quick, who has agreed to take on the volunteer role as Public Relations Coordinator for the church. Vikki will work closely with the Committee Chairs and Kristen Diamond, who handles our social media and marketing designs, to ensure a consistent voice to the community-at-large. It’s important to keep the public apprised of all the incredible missions and programs that happen weekly/monthly here at ACC. Vikki has a God-given gift for written communication and strategic thought and we are thankful she is willing to share it with us!

What does the “Light on the Hill” mean to you?

Who are we as a church and who do we want to be? Church Vitality will be spending the next few months digging in to this question. It’s become clear that we do a lot for so many and spread God’s love and grace in all we do. What we can be better at is truly searching internally and externally to define just how we impact our member’s lives and the community we are in, and how can we be more successful in doing just that. We are here to do God’s will and bring people closer to Him. That we know. But just how are we doing that and how can we be even better at it? We will be looking to all of you to help us with this big question. We will provide more updates as this sub-committee forms and progresses.

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


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


The Ad Hoc Team that is working on restructuring our committees into teams is working on revising the By-Laws to reflect the changes that were presented at Annual Meeting.  A draft will first be presented to the Executive Committee for approval at a special meeting in May. The goal is to have the By-Law revisions ready to share with the congregation by June.  The team has put in a lot of thought and hard work to create a structure that will be a good fit for our church.


The Ad Hoc Team,

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