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Judea Weekly eNews - Feb 15 - Gifts of the Dark Woods

Judea Weekly eNews - Feb 15 - Gifts of the Dark Woods


    Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and Lent has officially begun.  This year, we will be journeying into Lent as if into a dark woods.  The theme this season is "Gifts of the Dark Woods", which is all about journeying in our life through times of darkness and looking for the gifts that can be found in the depths.   Come to church this Sunday at 10 am in the Meeting House to start the journey with us by exploring uncertainty. 

     Before they are put away for a while, the angel wings that were mounted on the Meeting House during Advent are in the church hall for photo ops.  Get your picture taken as the angel you are and post on your favorite social media site!

    Last Sunday was the official date for the Neighbors in Need annual offering.  If you missed that, we are still welcoming donations through the end of February.  You can put your check into the Sunday offering box, mail or drop it off to the church office, or make your donation online by clicking here.  To learn more about how your contributions are put to work for justice through Neighbors in Need, go to www.UCC.org/NIN.

     By now, you have seen lots of notices about the CAT survey. The last date to get your feedback in is THIS Sunday, February 18.  If you have any difficulty completing the online survey, paper copies are available through the church office or by contacting Dimitri or Cara.

    We are in need of someone to coordinate a coffee hour on February 25.  There are a few people who have offered to contribute food items to serve but we need someone to setup/cleanup and provide a few things to round out table.  If you can help out in this way, please reply to this email or sign up on the coffee hour list in the church hall this Sunday.

    Responses are also coming in for our pot luck dinner with the movie, "Bag It".  It is shaping up to be a great friendly gathering of people interested in doing what we can to care for the Earth for future generations and making it better now for all of us.  Let us know if we can set a place at our table for you.  Just click on the link in the announcement on the right and fill out the short online form.

Tickets will be available this Sunday for the Loaves & Fishes Empty Bowl Dinner on March 24.  Advance sales are $15 (or $20 at the door) but we are told by the L&F director that they are going fast so get yours now.

There are  more upcoming events like our 2nd annual Trivia Night and opportunities to help out with the Loaves and Fishes meal preparation and service at the end of March.  Read throught the rather long list on the right so you don't miss a thing!

Blessings on your week ahead.  Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Karen Esslinger
First Congregational Church | admin@firstchurchwashingtonct.org | www.FirstChurchWashingtonCT.org | Calendar


Do we know YOUR story yet?

About a week ago, you should have received the link to your CAT.  If you haven’t already, please set aside time to complete the 91 question assessment.  Your PERSONAL STORY is critical to your leaders as they plan for our future.  PLEASE MAKE IT A PRIORITY THIS WEEK if you haven’t already shared your experiences and perspectives by participating in this important process.  The last day for submissions is Monday, February 18.  Check your email to find our message with link.  Also, paper copies are available on the table in the rear of the sanctuary but they must be turned in no later than February 18.

If you have questions, or cannot locate the original link, please contact a member of the Search Committee by clicking on their name below.

Many thanks,  Dimitri Willert, Dave Werkhoven, Judie Gorra, John Lintner,
Emelie Burl, Scott Brady, John Turner, and Cara Michalski

Coffee Hour Hosts Needed - on February 25

We are in need of a host or co-hosts for February 25.

Please sign up on the list in the church hall on the bulletin board, or by emailing the church office.  If you’ve never done it, but want to, ask a Deacon of the Month for some help or consult our guidelines document, available by clicking here.

Judea Journal February Supplement is HERE

Click here to download the February supplement to the Judea Journal. 

Soldier Boxes - Donations needed by FRIDAY

"The Town Hall Gang" sends two boxes to military personnel stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan every week.  One box is for personal care items and the other is for food items.  They send to a variety of troops - some with connection to people in Washington and others are total strangers.

Note: Remember that we cannot send aerosol cans so shaving cream must be in tubes.

We sent boxes to this soldier in November.

Our Soldier for Friday February 16, 2018

Thomas Mackey
Attn: Any Soldier®
APO AE 09354

Soldier's Title: Company 1SG
Added here: 17 November 2017
Expected to leave Afghanistan: 31 May 2018
Contact for approx number of Males: 64, Females: 0
Unit is from: New York

17 Nov 2017:
We do not have a PX on are base and are in need of personal hygiene supplies and any food that can be sent.


The team normally packs for shipment on Friday evenings upstairs in Town Hall. 

Items can be dropped off weekdays at the Town Hall in Bryant Plaza. Please place items in the upstairs room next to kitchen. 

Click here for lists of items:   General items collected every week - On-going

Contact Denise Arturi if you have any questions about the program or items in

found on a weblist of troops requesting supplies. Also, for shipping purposes, any canned food should be small.

For more information, contact Denise Arturi:  860-868-2880

Healing Prayer/ Intention Group Meets on Wed, Feb 21

WHAT:  Practice Group based on the book:   “The Power of 8, Harnessing the Miraculous Energies of a Small Group to Heal Others, Your Life, and the World” by Lynne McTaggart, (author of “The Intention Experiment”)

WHEN:  3rd Wednesday of each month, beginning February 21 and through July 18

A new adult group is forming to help you improve and expand your prayer practice and join the power of your prayers with others for greater impact.

Discover how to tap into your extraordinary human capacity for connection and healing, using astonishing new findings about the miraculous power of group intention, or prayer, and its boomerang effect.   In The Power of Eight, Lynne reveals her remarkable findings from ten years of experimenting with small and large groups about how group intention/ prayer can heal our lives – and change the world for the better.

No prior experience is necessary!  Pastor Cheryl will teach the processes/ exercises that are described in the book.  However, participants might find it helpful to read the book as it will give you some background information on the practice and its effectiveness. 

Consider joining us to explore a way of making positive change.  Contact Pastor Cheryl to register your interest, letting us know what days and times are best for you.   868-0569, ext 11

Bag It! Pot Luck and a Movie - Fri, March 2

A few of us who are very concerned about the need for more action on caring for our Earth are forming a Green Team here at the church.  People of all ages* are welcome to join us in the effort.  All you need is a willingness to make changes and make an impact. 

We are planning a gathering to kick off our new Green Team.

WHEN:  Friday, March 2, 6-9 PM  (Movie starts at 7 pm)
WHERE:  First Congregational Church Parish House
                 6 Kirby Road, Washington, CT

WHAT:  Pot Luck Supper and Movie Screening
REGISTER:  Click here for an online form  or contact Terri or Karen.  We need to know: how many people will be coming?  Will you be there for dinner or just the movie?  If so, what will you bring?

"Bag It!  Is your life too plastic?" 

(Note that movie is 1.5 hours and so may be a bit tedious for children under 10 unless they are pretty mature.   There is no "bad" language, though.)

Even if you are just curious about the issue, you are welcome to join us.  We have some activities in mind for implementing here at church, in our homes and in our communities.  But we are open to all ideas and plan to make this a permanent part of our church's life.  If you are interested in coming to the pot luck movie screening and/ or want to get involved in other activities, please send an email to Terri Tibbatts or the church office

Empty Bowl Benefit Dinner - Sat, March 24

Empty Bowl Dinner – to Benefit Loaves & Fishes Hospitality House

WHEN:  Saturday, March 24 from 5 – 7 PM

WHERE:  St. John’s Church in New Milford

COST:  $15 for advance tickets; $20 at the door  (See Annie, John or Jim Esslinger for tickets)


Artisans, potters, students and others are creating beautiful ceramic bowls that will be used for a simple meal of soup, bread and dessert for attendees.  All funds will go towards Loaves & Fishes' new building to be erected on Bridge St in New Milford. 

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and can be purchased during coffee hour on Sundays or by contacting the church office at 860-868-0569.  Donations are also welcome.

Trivia Night... Saturday, April 21

Individuals and couples are invited to play with us on
Saturday, April 21

The First Congregational Church of Washington, in conjunction with the Litchfield South Association of the CT Conference of the UCC,
is holding a TRIVIA NIGHT to benefit
the Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House in New Milford.

Loaves and Fishes is one of our regular missions and is near and dear to us so we would like to join in.  AND… it promises to be great fun!

The game will consist of TEN TEAMS of 5-6 people.  Each team will contribute $100 to play.  That amounts to $20 or less per person for a night of fun and challenge.  There will be other opportunities to contribute, too, with a 50/50 raffle.

Teams will bring refreshments and arrive between 6 and 6:15 for check-in and getting everyone seated.  The game will begin at 6:30 pm.

We are currently accepting registrations for teams.  If you want to play but don’t have a team, contact us and we can hook you up with a team.

Please contact Karen by email or phone 860-868-0569 as soon as possible if you are interested in participating as a contestant or if you wish to help out as volunteer. 

Interested in starting a health initiative at our church?

Danbury Hospital is offering guidance and support for starting health and wellness programs in faith communities like ours.  If any nurse or health-minded individual is interested in championing this in our church, they will offer educational outreach programs relevant to the needs of our church and local community.  If interested, please contact Karen in the church office.

Silver Lake Registration Time is Here Again!

Conference registration is open and brochures with all camp conferences listed are on the literature table in the Meeting House!  Those who have attended in the past have probably received their brochures already.  If you are new to Silver Lake and will be going into 4th and up, you are elible to attend. 

Conferences include:

  • Circle of Friends (Pastor Cheryl and Cara Michalski, leaders)
  • Bon Voyage and Happy Trails  (Karen & Scott Brady, leaders)
  • Family Camp
  • Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get
  • My Loved One and Me
  • Silver Lake Sings
  • Branching Out
  • With Great Power
  • Around the World
  • Leave No Trace
  • Connect 24
  • God Song
  • My So-Called Life
  • Fun in the Sun
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Silver Lake's Funniest Videos

Silver Lake Conference Center, 223 Low Rd., Sharon

Registration: http://www.silverlakect.org/register

Learn more about Silver Lake’s tiered pricing in this video: Juggling... The New Silver Lake Cost Options


Give to the Jack Jewett Fund for Silver Lake Scholarships

Silver Lake Registration Time is Here Again!  Please help our kids who cannot afford to grow at camp for a week this summer by contributing to our Jack Jewett Fund.  Each year, this fund helps to offset some of the cost for our kids to continue to experience God in our world through lively and engaging programs, amazing social opportunities as well as spiritual growth.

To hear more about it, visit the Silver Lake website for information and an overview video on the home page. 

A Prayer for the Pastoral Search Committee

Committee Members:  Scott Brady, Emelie Burl, Judie Gorra, John Lintner, Cara Michalski, John Turner, Dave Werkhoven, Dimitri Willert.

     As our newly elected Search Committee prepares to lead us through the work of a pastoral search, please hold them all in prayer.

     Recognizing God’s calling; this congregation has places our trust in the wisdom and dedication of this group of people.  We commission them to work on our behalf to find the next pastor and teacher to minister with and among us.  With gratitude for their willingness to undertake this important work; we promise our cooperation and our prayers.

    May God strengthen your friendship and deepen your faith.  May God give light for your path and fill you with understanding and wisdom to discern the spirit and needs of the congregation.  God grant you eyes of the heart to recognize the spiritual gifts of the one God is sending.  May God give you patience and perseverance.  May God keep you and your families safe and well. 

     And in the coming months, if you don’t know any of them, introduce yourself.  Get to know those fellow members who are doing this important work for our congregation.


Loaves and Fishes Next Service Date - Thurs March 29

Our next service date for the Loaves and Fishes Hospitality Kitchen is Thursday, March 29. 

We will need all of the usual food items plus volunteers to help setup/ serve/ cleanup.  Please click here to select your volunteer option and sign up. 

If you have any questions about it, please contact Dick Connor or the church office by phone at (860) 868-0569 or by email.

Weather-Related Cancellations

It's that time of year again!  With the possibility of weather-related cancellations, we intend to post cancellations or important Alert! here on our home page.  However, if there is no such announcement, please tune in to WFSB / Channel 3.  Closings, cancellations, or late starts for any activities, including worship, will be posted there.

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