Volume 4, Issue 6

Moderator's Message

We have certainly had a busy and eventful few months. It was incredibly unhappy timing for Diane's last day to be just two days before Sept 11 and all the wrenching events that followed. What a terrible time to be without a pastor to comfort and console us, but I have been so impressed with the many ways we have reached out to each other; hugs, e-_mail and messages of all kinds have been so supportive and comforting. We have been blessed with great pulpit supply, and special services, Manny was present at the church for any who needed to pray at the end of the week, after Sept 11. It was great to have Larry Baker with us for four Sundays, and be able to visit with him and Laurie. I really appreciate all of you.

The pastor search is continuing; we have had several interviews, but have not reached agreement on any of the candidates. While we were spoiled with the clear choice when we interviewed Diane, we have been very careful not to expect to find "another Diane." We have interviewed a variety of candidates, all of whom have their own strengths and gifts. We will be following up, in January, with some neutral pulpit visits. For Advent and the holidays we have arranged for Maria Hoaglund to fill the pulpit until the end of December. We will also be interviewing a candidate for interim pastor. Filling the pulpit for several months with an interim would give us a pastor who is trained specifically for interim ministry, and who can guide us in this period of search and discernment. We have had great pulpit supply, but that only fills the pulpit on Sundays, and we really need a pastoral presence during the week. There is a lot to do, and things coming up, like two scheduled weddings, which should be handled by a pastor. We have a lot of talented, dedicated and hard working folks who have pitched in to get things done and carry on the work of the church, but it is not quite the same without a pastor to take care of "pastor things". If we can work out an interim to fill our need, it would begin in January.

There really has been a lot of work going on. The Welcome Committee has been hard at work thinking of ways to increase our visibility, to be a presence in the community and welcome visitors in ways which will make them want to return. Our new "living room" area is so inviting, it has been a really comfortable place for sitting and talking. Thank you to Kris Brown for all her hard work, and sharing of her talents. We have been upgrading the insulation, putting a lot of work into improving our building, in which we spend so much time. The memorial service for Clara Hewitt filled our church and fellowship hall; it was great to see such a crowd. Thank you to all who helped with the set up, serving and cleanup...whew what a job! but a joy as well. At our Cabinet meeting in November, we agreed to increase our church's support to the Sky Valley Food Bank, here in Monroe, to $100 a month. They are very grateful. This amount is increased by monetary donations from the congregation which are specifically for the food bank, and a suggestion has been made to continue to have a basket for food donations at every service.

I hope you all know by now that Keith Ruby has agreed to remain as our Music Director. A big thank you to all who made this happen, and to Keith for continuing to share his many talents, both musical and other. Keith is involved with so much more than the music, he has become a real part of this church. Also a big thank you to Betty Stewart, who, with her daughter Barbara Zanzig, has done an awesome job with the church computer, and with keeping the bulletins and newsletters coming. It sounds like this letter is a big bunch of thank you's, and that is exactly how I am feeling, very thankful. We have all shared our time and talents in so many ways, and I am so impressed and grateful for all that we have done to keep this church, which is so dear to us, going and doing its work. We are what being a Congregational Church is all about, what an awesome and wonderful congregation we have!

Peace Davi

Campbell's Soup Supports Local Schools

Save your soup labels and help local schools earn new equipment for all sorts of programs. It's not only the Campbell's soup cans. Contributing labels from FrancoAmerican products, Pepperidge Farm, Swanson, Pace, Prego and V8. There are dozens of products that can benefit our local kids.

This promotion lasts for the duration of the school year so there is lots of time to get boxes of labels and in some cases lids or box labels. I pledged to donate 100 labels to Frank Wagner Elementary School and would love to have your help. There will be a tub in the Fellowship hall to collect your labels. A list of products and what we need off the container will be there as well. When we reach 100 labels another school of someone else's choice can be helped.

It is really easy to pledge if you want to do it on your own. Find a computer that is connected to the internet, go to http://www.chunky.com/click_for_cans.asp and go to the bottom of the of the page for "Labels for Education" or "LFE" link. Donate a can of food to charity in the name of your favorite football team in the process. The two programs share the same window.

Thank you everyone,

Laurie Ide

News from CyberSpace

Poems and essays by our members welcome!

Our website now has a new page, "Reflections." This page is to include essays, poems, and other material of a spiritual nature by our members.

The purposes of this page are to provide an outlet for members who like to write, and to provide a unique and personal touch to our website. I also hope the page will help entice people visiting the site to visit the church and meet the authors.

So far, the only entry on the page is Betty Stewart's prayer "My Heart Hurts." Thanks, Betty, for permission to use this!

I'd love to have more entries that would be representative of the hearts and minds of our members! The preferred way of receiving contributions is by email to russ@amc.com (or webmaster@monroeucc.org), but I'll gladly accept printed or even hand written contributions if they are not too long.


Nights at the Movies

We will be watching Franco Zeffirelli's six hour film "Jesus of Nazareth", in a series of "Nights at the Movies", on the last Saturdays of December, January, and February.

Originally made for TV in 1977, this in_depth version of Jesus' life is so thorough that the first hour is devoted solely to the story of his birth. The film doesn't skimp on some of the other landmark events of this famous story either. Zeffirelli diligently provides the sociopolitical background that gave rise to Jesus' following and the crisis in belief it caused for the people of Israel.

Join us for the first show, Saturday, December 29 at 7p.m. And bring your friends and neighbors!

Christian Ed Takes Off

Last summer we purchased the Mustard Seed Sunday school curiculum with the intention of introducing a Sunday school program in September. For various reasons, the September program fell through; but I have been very impressed with the Mustard Seed material I have read. It gives the teacher much help with lesson plans, background material, and an overview of child development. The committee chose well.

But it is difficult to launch a Sunday school program without kids. The committee is working to introduce a child friendly activity in the Fellowship hall during worship services, starting in March. Activities we have in mind are singing, story telling, working on skits or pageants, watching videos, and possibly folk dancing. The list of activities really depends on the skills of the adult leaders we can recruit to run these sessions.

A key idea is that the activity session is something kids can enter a few at a time, so we don't need to launch a major program with no idea whether anyone will show up. If all goes as planned, we can launch the Mustard Seed Sunday school program in September.

Starting December 2, the Christian Education committee will be meeting at 9:45, before the worship service, to get ourselves organized and ready to take off in March. Anyone with an interest in children is welcome to join in our meetings.


The Choir Loft


As we near Thanksgiving time, I want to express my sincere thanks for the support from my "new" church family, for all you have done to help make it plain possible for me to continue my services with you, and I thank God for bringing us together.

I look forward to working with Maria Hoaglund to plan services from Advent through Christmas Eve. We hope to help create a fun, yet meaningful season for all of us. For some of us, this is our favorite time of year for celebration.

Advent begins December 2nd in anticipation of Jesus' birth, with "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" as our choir anthem. It will also be a communion celebration.

There's also talk of putting on a Christmas Pageant -- details to come.

On Wednesday, December 12, the ecumenical community will celebrate its 9th Annual Community Christmas Carol Fest" at 7:30 p.m. at the Monroe United Methodist Church. Each church choir has been asked to perform one or two numbers. At the closing of the program, there will be a joint choir and congregation sing of the "Hallelujah Chorus", followed by refreshments in their fellowship hall. Our Choir will be singing, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and "Shine for You".

On Christmas Eve. we plan on a lot of music; from the choir, bells and with congregational singing, as well as our traditional candlelight celebration. Some of the choir numbers will include a reprise of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and "O Holy Night," including some flute accompaniment. There will most likely be a duet or two, and perhaps some other surprises.

Finally, I would ask anyone who wishes to join our choir for the Christmas Season to please come forward now. We are rehearsing now after Worship Services on Sunday and may be adding an evening or a Saturday morning rehearsal schedule.

Let's all pull together to make this our church's best Christmas Season

Your Music Director,

Keith Ruby

Report From the Trustees

The Trustees of Monroe Congregational Church are working on the 2002 budget. It will be similar to the 2001 budget. However, several items will require additional funding, i.e., provisions for the probably hiring of a Sunday School teacher, a nursery attendant, and an increase in our support of the food bank.

Once again, we urge those who support the church to fill out a pledge card and return it as soon as possible so the new budget can be completed. Expenditures are based upon anticipated income, so a prompt return of the cards will help us to complete the process with assurance that the necessary funds will be available.

Insulation of the fellowship hall has been completed. Further projects are being discussed, including the possibility of having a gas insert installed in one of the fireplaces and the possible replacement of the windows in the hall.

The Welcoming Committee.

Twenty five people responded to the opinionaire regarding advertising our church on our automobiles. The nays were overwhelming against the ideas. Five people would use a bumper sticker, four would put a strip on the back window of their vehicles, seven said maybe, and two would use an antenna flyer. All but three said they would pay for whatever they used. Thanks so much for helping us know how to handle this idea.

If you did not receive a summary of the all-church survey and would like one, you can call Rosella Roff for one. Did you sign the birthday list? If you want to be included, please send your name and birthdate (needn't include the year) and send it to the church.

As I See It

My sister-in-law told me recently that since she retired she must have had twenty people ask her, "Well, now that you're retired, what are you going to do?" She sounded a bit irate as she told me she had worked for thirty years why did she have to DO anything? She said I have the cleaning, and washing and cooking and gardening, just as I always had, and that keeps me plenty busy, thank you!, so what's with this "what are you going to do?" stuff. I told her that I realized work expanded to fill the time allotted to it (I think Murphy said that), and that I surely could empathize with her, having been asked that question myself a thousand times (at least!), until it finally must have occurred to people that I really wasn't going to undertake any world-shaking project.

Not long after the above, I told a friend who happens to be a practicing psychologist, about the conversation, and he told me he'd recently given a workshop on Successful Aging. What is so important for retired people to know, he said is how very easy it is to become completely self-absorbed, bored and boring.

In my years of working with the elderly, before I was one, it became manifestly clear that the primary interest of the aged is themselves. The daily aches and pains, the function of all the systems in other words, the body, which includes its ability to perform the activities of daily living the chores being part of it. The gist of what my psychologist friend was saying is that these things are certainly not interesting to others and actually quite boring (unless the listener is your doctor, I suppose). It's the function of the mind that makes life interesting, to one's self and to others; the creative effort that allows one to pursue with passionate enthusiasm some project of one's own. It's the way to avoid the rocking chair syndrome, which in the years following retirement, has a way of creeping up on one.

Barbara Tuck

More As I See It

The Bible tells us that we must love our enemies, but since the morning of September 11, we have been inundated with the reality of evil one after the other, and caused by a group of people determined to destroy our way of life. These people have become our enemies, and we have gone to war with them. For those of us who are Christians, how are we to love them?

No one has the answer to that question.

Jimmy Carter said he believed that fundamentalism means that the thinker is absolutely sure he is right. You don't want to learn new facts, because they might disturb your previous opinions. You become convinced that your truths have come from God and anyone who disagrees with you is wrong, and the next step is that they are inferior and in the ultimate case they are subhuman. That leads to a lot of persecution in the world.

Is that the way Bin Laden thinks? Indeed, is that the way we are thinking that our way is right and there is no other? We, also, are killing innocent people. Carter felt a great need to understand to the best of his ability the motivation of others. It was this ambivalence and indecision that led to much of his presidential difficulty.

President Bush has urged us to go on with our daily lives, to be vigilant, but not to live in fear, even as that dark cloud remains while we wonder, "What next?" Can I feel love for the terrorist? -- No! But I can try to understand their dedication and commitment to their cause, and realize that our fighting men and women are just as dedicated -- as must we be.

Barbara Tuck

How Fortunate Are You?

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness...you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation...you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep...you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death... you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace...you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy. If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful...you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

Library/Livingroom Project Taking Shape

Our library/livingroom has become a pleasant place to read, converse, meditate or just hang out with a good cup of tea. Many thanks to those in the congregation who contributed furniture, books, and ideas to make this unique area a reality. We look forward to its further development and hope that it will prove useful in a variety of ways.

Kris Browne

Thank You to:

Carolyn Boyes for keeping the decorations throughout the church and fellowship hall fresh and upto-date.

Diane Schmitz plain for her prayers and support for us even though she has left us.

Merv Boyes for keeping the banners outside hanging straight during this windy time of year.

All the hardworking committee members working to keep our church moving forward while we look for a new pastor.


Sundays, 10:30 a.m. - Morning Worship
Mondays, 12:30 p.m. - Brown Bag Study Group
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Quilters (bring your lunch)
Wednesdays 7 p.m. - Men's Group
Second Tuesday, 1 p.m.- Women's Fellowship

Mark Your Calendars:

The annual community Christmas Carol Fest will be on Wednesday, December 12th at 7:30 p.m. in the Monroe United Methodist Church Sanctuary. Our Choir will sing two numbers. There will be an "all participating" sing-a-long of the "Hallelujah Chorus".

Christmas Eve music, carols, readings

December 29 First segment of Franco Zefferelli's Jesus of Nazareth in our fellowship hall. Popcorn perhaps provided. 7 p.m.