April 2018 Newsletter

Pastor’s musings in the Easter season 

Yes, my friends, we are now entering the Easter season that lasts from Easter Sunday April 1 until Pentecost Sunday May 20. Easter season is the time of the liturgical year when we reflect on our Lenten journey of coming closer to God, as we let go of what gets in the way. Easter season is the time when we contemplate the full meaning of having a Living Christ who rose from the dead. And we may wonder, what does that really mean? Did he really? Or is it a metaphor for new life that even we can have—a life that frees us from oppression and doubt; a life that heals us from grief that could lead to spiritual injury and even death; eternal life, forever life, that can begin right now as we freely receive what God freely offers: welcome, unconditional love, profound healing, hearts that care deeply for the poor and the outcast. Wow, as I reread that last sentence, I feel overwhelmed: blissfully overwhelmed to the depths of my spirit, with gratitude for our amazing God!

Yes, we can be blissfully overwhelmed by our amazing God, especially as Lent ends and we are swept up in the joy of new life! However, and I shudder to say however, the reality of this world creeps back in. The world is still filled with oppression, violence, and unjust shunning of folks who are marginalized because of bigotry and prejudice. In our human condition, we continue to struggle with those things that get in the way of coming closer to God: resentments, thinking our way is the right way, maintaining an “us and them” mentality. And so many despair at the state of our country and our world.

The antidote to our human condition is not an “either or” venture: either we revel in the new life in Christ or we are mired in the powers that silenced Jesus’ life-giving message for all.

The antidote is going to God every day to recommit ourselves to discard what keeps us from God;  going to God every day to receive what God freely offers to us: welcome, unconditional love, profound healing; going to God every day to find ways to bring Jesus’ healing power to those around us with hearts that care so deeply for the poor and outcast that we cannot help but act as the hands and feet of Jesus with the power of the risen Christ at our disposal—every day.

My friends and beloved in Christ, I encourage you to go to God EVERYDAY. Don’t wait until Sunday worship. Don’t wait until you turn on the news and cry to God in desperation. Don’t wait until illness happens or tragedy strikes. Go EVERYDAY. And when you have gone EVERYDAY for a month, let me know how God is performing a miracle in the center of your heart and spirit.

I am your servant in Christ,


                                                                            Worship Schedule

Sunday April 1

Resurrection Celebration!

“In the liminal space of forever”

(First person telling of Mary Magdalene at the tomb)

John 20:1-18


Sunday April 8

“Jesus sightings part I: Faith without seeing”

John 20:19-31


Sunday April 15

“Jesus sightings part II: Faith without believing”

Luke 24:36b-48


Sunday April 22

“Jesus sightings part III: Faith through hearing”

John 10:11-18


Sunday April 29

Guest preacher and Worship leader: Clark Callender

"Wounded Healers"

Isaiah 53:3-5, Romans 5:1-5, Luke 24: 49-53



Welcome new members!

During worship on Palm Sunday we welcomed:

Carin Audet, Judy Grosvenor, Christine Hallquist,

Jamie Lawrence, Myrna Locke, Mary Val Palumbo

Please get to know them and make them feel loved and welcomed into our family of faith!


April 8 3pm

Spread the word!

To Benefit the Mission of our church that serves and supports children, youth, and families.

MUSICIANS PERFORMING: Sergio Torres Blue Fox Leslie Grant Two Cents in the Till Taryn Noelle Dave Rowell Colin McCaffrey

Adults $15; Children $7; under 3 FREE

Family max: $40


Events, gatherings, and meetings


Bible Study                                       9:30am every Wednesday in the Fireplace Room

Spiritual Life and Worship              6:30pm Thursday April 5 in the Dining Room

Trustees                                            6pm Thursday April 12 in the Conference Room

Executive Council                            6pm Thursday April 19 in the Conference Room

Missions Committee                        After worship Sunday April 15 in the Fireplace Room   

Women’s Fellowship                       6pm Tuesday April 17 in the Dining Room

Worship at the Manor                     2 pm Sunday April 22

Finance Committee                          6:30 pm Thursday April 26 in the Dining Roo

Free Community Supper                  Friday April 27 at 5:30pm

Executive Council Minutes

February 15, 2018 

Attending: Dot Bliss, Joanne Godfrey, Ida Mae Anderson, Joan (Robbie) Robinson, Ernie Lapierre, Judy Stancliff, Rev. Marisa Laviola, Mary Ann Wilson, David Bickford, Clark Callender, LilaLee Fisher

1.         Call to Order:  Lil called the meeting to order at 6:05 pm

2.         Opening Prayer:  Marisa opened with prayer.

3.         Minutes:

A.         Act to approve the minutes of previous meeting.  It was suggested that we include the last names of attendees in the minutes. The minutes were approved as amended. The motion was made by Judy and seconded Ida Mae.

4.         Adjustments to the Agenda: Marisa ask to have her report moved up on the agenda.

She announced that she has been appointed by the Methodist Bishop retroactive from Feb 4; she has full privileges. There was a round of applause.  The Methodist Baptismal Font is in now at the Bakersfield United Church. Marisa will be away from Feb. 25-March 2.

Marisa contacted Lyn Bujnak. She will is willing to be the facilitator at our Leadership Retreat.

5.         Continuing Business:

A.         Theme for the Year: Sustainability was accepted as our theme for the year. The following topics were discussed and will be addressed at our Leadership Retreat.

a.         Planning 5 – 10 Years Forward   Will we be able to maintain 2 buildings?

b.         Focus on Mission.  Our challenge is to reach out to people where they are.

c.         Telling the Story    Why are we here and how did we get here?

d.         Planning for a Different Demographic   What might this look like?


B. Leadership Retreat

                      a. Facilitator    Lyn Bujnak.

                      b. Date      To be decided—April/ May?

          c.   Location    Civic Center/ Town Building?

6.  Committee Reports:

A.         Personnel and Pastoral Relations: (PPR) Judy reported that pay checks will go out every 2 weeks; this change was approved by the trustees.   Mary Ann Wilson, Gary Anderson, Ron Stancliff, and Wally Reeve and Marisa make up the finance committee.

B.         Women’s Fellowship   . Meets once a month for dinner with 4-12 attending.

C.         Trustees:  The lease for the LVDA has not yet been signed. Mary Ann, Clark and David will meet to discuss the lease and will follow up with Alexis.

D.        Nominating Committee:  Edna and Joanne did a fine job filling the vacancies on the committees. Debbie Yacavone will be the delegate to the Methodist Conference.

E.         Missions:  Discussed the musician’s concert as a Spring fundraiser. Mary Ann will check with the musicians.

F.         Spiritual Life:  Louise Allen is a new member. Banner making was discussed.

 7  . Treasurer’s Report:   Mary Ann reported that all is going well with the new bookkeeper. Mary Ann received information from the Pension Board. Mary Ann made and Judy seconded the motion to pay the money owed to the Pension Board. The motion passed with one abstention. Clark made, and Mary Ann seconded the motion to have quarterly financial statements sent out. Passed unanimously.

8          New Business

B.         Development of Policies and Procedures to Implement By-Laws:  Every committee will be asked to suggest policies and procedures related to its responsibilities.

C.         A new mission statement needs to be written. Judy offered to help with this.

6.         Calendar   no additions

7.         Next Meeting:

A.         March 15, 2018,  (Third Thursday); 6:00 PM United Community Church Conference Room

8.         Closing Prayer   by David.

9.         Adjourned at 8:15 PM


Sunday School News 

Our children have been following the same message weekly as the Congregation during Sunday Worship.  Leading up to Easter Sunday we discussed how we can trust God and feel God deep in our hearts, becoming closer with God.  The children will be performing music for Palm and Easter Sundays.  During the coming months, the children will prepare for Children’s Sunday in late May or early June. Thank you to Deidre Tascarella and Cynthia Yerrick for teaching Sunday School. If you are interested in teaching Sunday School, please let Deidre know.

Youth Group News

Our Senior High Youth meet on the first and third Fridays of the month from 6:30 to 8pm in the Youth Center. Our Middle School Youth meet on the second and fourth Fridays, same place and times. Our Youth are also invited to serve at our monthly Community Dinners on the last Friday of every month. At Youth group we pray and play; we share and learn about faith; we talk about our questions and our doubts; and we eat! If you know of a youth who would like to join either group, please let Pastor Marisa know.

Missions Committee News 

As Lent ended our offering for Heifer International was collected on Palm Sunday.  The Sunday school youth have chosen to use the funds in purchasing a cow.  As we look forward to spring the committee will focus on collecting materials for health kits to send to UMCOR.  A list of items that can be donated will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

We have developed a policy under which individuals may request assistance with initiatives such as mission projects, camps, etc.  It was decided that a letter of request must be submitted to the committee and a majority of the committee must vote in favor of the request for funds to be given.  As cap of $50 was established for requests in order to have adequate funds available for all requests.   This policy has now been given to the Executive Council for authorization.   We will continue to support our monthly community dinners and have secured volunteers through July.  If people are interested in assisting with these events sign-up sheets can be found in the dining room of the church.

Youth Center Update 

March was good to us at The Youth Center. It was a productive month even though we had several school days off. Our kids have been coming  regularly and enjoying the food we provide and each other's company. At the Morrisville Town Meeting, we were fortunate to receive the allocation of funds that is a big part of keeping the Youth Center running. Hooray! Along with the generous contributions from our supporters, we are flourishing. Also we have been visited by Cake & Crumb Bakery in Morrisville. They have donated a huge tray of large cookies! Thank you Cake & Crumb! There is only one problem; I have to keep myself from the sweets. The kids eat real food willingly before they get to dive into the "good stuff".  Yogurts are getting popular. I have also been to the food shelf, at their request, to collect bread and blueberries and good healthy food. Thank you Food Shelf! I tell the kids how people in the Community support us and they are speechless, for at least 2 minutes. Impressive!

Bonnie McDermott, Program Director


Breakfast on us Update 

We've been busy as usual with the numbers picking up the last couple of weeks.  Dot and her crew fed about 48 people last Friday!  The price of eggs has also gone up lately.  It now costs almost $50.00 for a box of 15 dozen.  We usually go through more than 45 dozen in a month's time.  30 doz. of those are usually donated but if the cost remains the same or goes higher, the business that donates that many said they would have to cut back to 15 dozen.  We will keep our fingers crossed. 

We are always in need of people who are willing to volunteer as a sub.  This may mean a need to cook or just make toast, do dishes, etc.  If you're willing, please let me know.  We have fun while we are working!

Thanks so much for all of your donations!

Claudia Niles, Program Coordinator 

Pastor’s time away 

Our Pastor will be away from the church from Sunday afternoon April 22 until Sunday afternoon April 29. She will be on spiritual retreat from Sunday to Thursday and then will be attending the Vermont Conference UCC Annual Meeting. Our own Clark Callender will lead worship and preach on Sunday April 29.