Category Archives: 2011-08

A Message from our Interim Pastor, Marjorie MacNeill

Dear Members and Friends of Sharon Congregational Church UCC, Frequently one of my many friends on Facebook will remark something like, "Well, I had the day off, so I cleaned my whole house from top to bottom, did all my laundry, and cleaned my closets too". Doesn't sound like much of a day off to me, but I do note a certain satisfaction in their "status reports" about what they've been able to accomplish. Many of you are the sort of housekeeper, I think, who keeps up - or at least wants to keep up - with a long list of household responsibilities (weeding, dusting, canning, raking leaves, shoveling snow, mopping the kitchen floor) daily, weekly, or seasonally. I, on the other hand and like many of you, tend to get going on such tasks when company is coming. Yup. So, as much as we keep up with many tasks at the church on a regular basis, this summer the congregation is alive with activity as many groups of parishioners have come together to get the "house" ready for your new pastor. The fellowship while working together has actually been a lot of fun and it's been a pleasure to watch/take part as your outgoing interim pastor. 🙂 There'll be no easing of last-minute preparations for the arrival of Pastor Duane and Amy during August and you're all invited to join in - as well as join us for worship each Sunday morning. My gratitude for the on-going work of the Trustees, Deacons, Council, as well as the Mission Committee/Food Shelf folks and the Christian Ed Committee. The Search Committee has stayed involved.  Patty substituted for Alice in the office during July. Alice is back to work now. The Choir has continued to sing weekly. A new Fund Raising Committee has been organized and co-ordinated by Pam Brackett. Stewardship efforts will emerge during the fall/winter. Small groups have worked on church history displays, bulletin boards, library books (including those for children), filing, and infant KITS for Church World Service. We blessed some more prayer shawls, which involved some last-minute knitting and crocheting. Leon and his friends are doing many projects around the building. People in the community have noticed that Sharon Congregational is a lively - and alive - place this summer. More projects are planned for these last few weeks of summer/my interim ministry with you - all inspired by the Spirit which is calling Sharon Congregational into a brand new chapter of ministry and mission. Thanks be to God - and to all who are making this church community so faithful and hopeful these days. Do join us for worship especially on Sunday, August 14th, which will be Church History Sunday, for my last Sunday on August 28th (with refreshments afterwards and a chance to say "goodbye"), and for Pastor Duane's first Sunday on September 4th - and special events on the following September Sundays to welcome him and his wife Amy. Do keep us all in your prayers during this time of transition. Many blessings as always, Pastor Marjorie

A Message from our new Pastor, Duane Brown

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11.1)   As I write this, Amy and I are up to our ears in boxes and trash bags. We’re in the midst of the chaos of downsizing and packing for our move to Vermont.  It’s a moment in which we find ourselves both energized  by the promise of the future that lies before of us, and bogged down by the details and drudgery that we have to wade through to get there . . . sort of like going for a walk in woods on a beautiful day in mud season!  Needless to say, we are eager to be resettled and have the hard work of moving behind us.  We long for the future, but are temporarily stuck in the muck of the moment. But our present circumstances hints at something of deeper significance - something wonderful, inspiring, and reassuring.  As the writer of Hebrews states in the passage above, our lives are constantly being drawn toward an ever-more-satisfying experience of God’s love for the world, even though it always seems just beyond the horizon of the present moment.  Therefore, we lean into God’s future, letting go of anything that threatens to hold us back from the blessings that lie ahead. I feel very blessed by your Call to be your Pastor, and am humbled by the confidence you have placed in me to help the Sharon Congregational Church to fulfill it’s God-given mission.  I am deeply grateful for the work that the Search Committee has done (and continues to do!) to pave the way for a smooth transition of pastoral leadership.  I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know Pastor Marjorie, and to appreciate the wonderful ministry she has performed among you.  And, most of all, I look forward to getting to know all the rest of you who, in ways both large and small, contribute to the rich, multi-faceted life of this church. May the peace and joy of God’s love be with you, now and always. – Duane