For a copy of the 2021 Annual Stewardship Pledge form, CLICK HERE.
Annual Stewardship Message
Dear Members & Friends,
I have written a lot of stewardship letters in my time as a minister. I’ve always tried to be creative with them, but of course, the normal needs of churches don’t typically change all that much from one year to the next. I’ve usually talked about where we are as a congregation and where we’re headed. I’ve lifted up our theme for the year, our vision, our upcoming plans and programs, and, naturally, our need to continue funding it all. Writing a stewardship letter is an important part of the work that needs doing in the early fall of any normal year.
But of course, this year is anything but normal. Who could have imagined that we would need to close our doors to worship way back in the spring, and that they would still be closed? Who could have imagined the virus that has rampaged around the world, or the social isolation and wearing of masks that has become the new normal for our lives? I don’t remember who said it, but it is so true: The future is what happens while we are making other plans.
However, given these are not normal times, if anything, our current circumstances call for even more faithfulness and support from us than usual. We are not simply launching into another new church year. We are holding our scattered congregation together against that day when we can once again gather in person. We are experiencing new forms of online connection for worship and fellowship, while we wait to return to our beautiful sanctuary. We are keeping the flames of our beloved First Congregational Church alive, while we wait for that great day when warm hugs, joyful singing, and face to face fellowship (over some of Ethel Parker’s delicious cakes) are once again possible.
If we look back in our faith history, the Jewish Diaspora comes to mind. The word means dispersion or scattering, and it refers to the scattering of the Israelites among the nations after they were taken into exile. What we’re dealing with now is very different than what they dealt with back then. But, in a similar way, our pandemic has left many of us feeling scattered, isolated and alone. What we need in our time is not all that much different than what they needed in theirs. We need to trust in the Lord. We need a determination to hold on to our faith and keep our traditions alive. We need to maintain our identity and our enthusiasm as a worshipping Christian community and do all in our power to nurture our connections with one another as members and friends.
In that light, I ask you to think deeply and seriously about your response to this year’s stewardship campaign. Our church is precious and irreplaceable. Our high calling in these unprecedented times is to keep our faith community together until that time we can be together in fact, and not just on Facebook. Whether we are together or apart, our calling is to remain faithful and strong, and so we’ve chosen that as our theme for this year. If you are unable to pledge this year, you are no less a beloved member of our community. But if you are able, please consider continuing or increasing the loving and generous support you have blessed us with in the past.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Kevin M. Pleas and the Stewardship Committee
History of Stewardship themes:
“Weaving the Fabric of Life” at First Congregational Church has been an ongoing project…weaving our beliefs with our missions of outreach to each other and the community. We continue to volunteer weekly with Special Olympics Young Athletes Program, at UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center making meals, and New Horizons. Our expanded food support for children through Blessing in a Backpack and our Food Closet is growing exponentially, as is the demand for coat, boots, mittens and hats. Dress A Girl Around the World has benefitted from over 50 dresses made by our Quilting Ministry for girls at risk, and continues to sew monthly and enjoy the comraderie and fellowship. Hats, prayer shawls, and bavaclavas have been knit for Seafarers’ Mission, Helping Hands, Greater Manchester Mental Health Center, among many. Snack, soups and cookies are lovingly made by congregants to bring a little lift to our members’ spirits in time of stress. Your continued financial support of First Church ensures that we can still provide for these supportive services to our community in 2020.
“God’s Work, Our Hands” is more appropo than ever in 2019! Our numbers of involved volunteers are increasing to service our expanding Outreach efforts…this year adding the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program on Thursday nights; the 21st Century Church visionary program; UpReach monthly meals; expanded food programs; and more coats, boots, hats and mittens for the elementary schools. Pledge letters were sent to all members and active friends at the end of September and are due back by November 2nd, as we project our budgetary needs for 2019.
The 2018 Campaign… “God’s Love is Generous, Love Back Generously”…kicked off in the fall of 2017. The generosity of our members and friends ensured a year full of expanded Outreach projects, and the completion of some building maintenance with a new floor and bathroom in the youth area of the rec room.
Our 2017 message, our ministries and our membership had all grown in faith. So it seemed appropriate, in seeking your generous contributions of support, that “Growing in Faith Together” should be our theme for 2017’s stewardship campaign. As our Growing in Faith Together campaign moved forward, we thank you all for taking to heart the vital importance of our beloved First Church.
“It is my time at First Church that helps me "recharge" my spirit with faith and hope for the coming week!”
“A path which leads me forward in a journey of grace and love with my family, friends, and community."
“Cherished elements of core traditions live on at First Church…”
“I hope others will find such joy when they come here.”
Eleanor Flint Campbell
“We treasure our many friends and colleagues in this wonderful congregation.”
Susan and Bruce Felmly
“I love First Church because of my involvement with Women's Connection.”
“I get an overall feeling of being uplifted.”
Until further notice, visitors should call ahead to ensure the health and safety of our staff, members, and friends. The Food Closet is available Monday-Friday 9-12noon by prearrangement. Should you need anything relating to the office, please email Linda Bonetti, Rev. Kevin Pleas, or Barbara Papagian. Our prayers are with you.
[CLICK HERE] to join Rev. Kevin Pleas, our Senior Pastor, as he delivers this week's message on Facebook.com/FCCManchester on Sunday at 10am for weekly Worship.
To connect to the Web Bulletin, which includes music lyrics, please [CLICK HERE].
[CLICK HERE] to send a Prayer Request to Barbara Papagian by 8:30am Friday.
You do not need a Facebook account to view the services live or watch the videos on your own time.
Barbara Papagian will be sending out periodic inspirational messages via The FCC Friday Link. To sign up, send your email to Barbara by [CLICKING HERE]. We pray that everyone stays safe, obeys the rules, and keeps in phone or email contact with all those in need of kindness and an encouraging word.
She made it!
The Hillsborough Association of the NH Conference-UCC approved Barbara to become an Ordained Minister! Watch for more details of her Ordinationn Ceremony as they unfold in early 2021. Congratulations to Barbara from FCC! You make us so proud!
Join the Zoom socials...next one is Wednesday, January 20th at 6:30pm. [Click Here] for more information about BINGO!
email Pam ( firstname.lastname@example.org) or Denise ( email@example.com) to get an invite via email.
Keep tuned for Friday Nights at FCC to resume on Friday, January 29th...and on the last Friday of the month at 6pm going forward. Events will be posted in the FCC Friday Link. Tune in to hear your favorite hymns arranged in a variety of styles plus classical standards. We hope to see you there!
FCC has been a beacon of hope since 1878 on the corner of Union and Hanover Street. On December 20-27th we left the lights on overnight as a reminder of our mission to bring faith, hope and peace throughout the year to our neighbors, friends, and congregants.
Learn more about the Samuel West stained glass windows by clicking Light in the Heart of the City.
Dress A Girl
Watch for updates. Everyone is welcome to sew on their own or join us as we make some dresses for girls at risk around the world. Contact Linda Bonetti for patterns or kits.
Thanks to everyone who continues to support and sew for Dress A Girl!
To make masks for healthcare workers, here is a YouTube video I found very useful. Call the facility first before dropping them off, please. Pattern for medical masks
[CLICK HERE] to enjoy our current videos on Vimeo. Recently Adam has been recording some select pieces for your enjoyment. Also check out "I Believe", Jeffrey Frye's original "We are Unbroken (After All)"; "Weave" sung by our choir during the Dress A Girl Around the World Blessing and Stewardship Sunday service; and other unique and enjoyable FCC musical moments!!
Join the Open & Affirming Zoom Conference on Saturday, January 30th 9am-12:30pm. Register by [Clicking Here].
See the order of worship at First Church for the Sunday Service, including the Scripture Reading. Learn more...
The Sunday News & FCC Friday Link
What’s happening this week in the life of First Church? Click on the FCC Friday Link to see what happening around First Congregational Church!
For the rest of the "Covid season" we will stop producing the Sunday News, and resume it with the Bulletins at "in person" services.
What’s happening this month at First Church? Learn more...
What's happening with committees!
The 2019 Financial & Statistical Reports. Members wishing to receive a digital copy, can request one by email to Linda Bonetti at LBonetti@FCCManchesterNH.org.
Women's Connection Cookbook
only $12.50 each
!See a member of Women's Connection or call the office for your copy of our favorite recipes
First Congregational Church
508 Union Street, Manchester, NH 03104