Volume 5, Issue 4

From the Pastor

August 26, 2002

As you know, it has been a difficult summer for me personally. I want first of all to thank you all for the tremendous love and support you have shown me and my family in this most trying time. Your cards and your personal expressions of concern have meant more to me than you can know. Nothing has made my wife's passing easy, but I hate to think how hard it would have been without the love of my church family and without the opportunity God has given me to keep my faith alive in service to you. Thank you.

This summer continued to be an exciting time in the life of our church. The common wisdom is that churches don't do much over the summer and that attendance at services falls off. That hasn't been the case with us this year. Many of you have been gone for a while, which is good if it has meant that you have had a time of rest and renewal; but attendance on Sunday has been good. We have begun an adult education program, meeting on Sunday mornings before the service. Participation in that program has exceeded my fondest hopes. We are engaged in an intentional church renewal process. It takes patience to wait for that process to bear fruit; yet I believe that it will. Everyone's participation is necessary and sincerely desired.

The coming fall season is a time for new beginnings, for moving on toward new horizons both for me personally and for our church. Although technically the church year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, in practice we begin a new year in September just as our schools do. My prayer for all of us is that this coming season will be time of rebirth, a time of spiritual renewal, a time for us to grow and to become even more faithful witnesses in this community to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let it be Lord. Amen.


Notes from the Moderator

As I write this, I'm thinking about the many things I still need to do to get ready for vacation. After all, I'm leaving in a couple of days! My vegetable garden is full of ripe produce waiting to be put up. The sheep fencing still needs to be repaired in a couple of spots. I need to remember to leave good instructions for my neighbors to take care of everything while we are gone. There's a lot of work to do at the office, so I'm working longer days. The traffic (from the Fair?) is making my commute time longer. It's getting darker earlier now around 8 o'clock. I need to resubmit an article for the Monitor. And Laurie Ide is begging me for this article! How will I ever get things done?

Do you have times when it seems like you'll just NEVER get everything DONE? That's the best time to invite God in to help. He's the best organizer, hired hand, and massage therapist there is! More importantly, He will more than likely help you to recognize just what's important, and just what's not very! I'm asking God to help. I know that He's going to help me get the right perspective. If there's a few strawberries left in the garden, He'll just feed His birds. If it gets dark earlier, it's just that He expects me to go bed earlier and get some sleep!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to vacation. I'll miss you all for the special September 11 evening service, and also the Picnic on September 15. However, I'll be back refreshed and glad to see you all mid-September. God will help me experience re-creation. All I have to do is ask!

May God bless you and help re-create you, too.



I was just thinking...(and it confused me) this will only be my second September at Monroe UCC. But how could that be? Haven't I been here longer?

The answer is, yes! Since I came on board, February 18, 2001, I was able to help celebrate the Easter Season with you. Sometimes the Church Year Calendar can put one off balance. So, I actually have a season and a half now, with One Christmas and Two Easters. Maybe I'm just naturally confused.

I am now looking forward to a new Church Season, with a new Vision for our Music Department as we move forward together.

As you know Wednesday, September 11th will be the first anniversary of our Nation's Tragic event, one which needs no reminding. I will be working with Pastor Tom on our Service of Prayer and Reflection, Meditation and Song. Our Choir will be singing and I have invited my Chorus to sing; the Lakeside Chapter of Sweet Adelines. Our songs will be of peace, prayer and National pride.

Our service will be at 7:30 pm that evening and I hope everyone who is free will make an effort to attend. The event is being publicized in the Everett Herald and the Monroe Monitor.

In the 2nd week of October, there are plans to have a Concert at our Church. Barbara Penniston and her instrumental ensemble will be performing, along with others (TBD). It should be an interesting and fun variety of music. There will be more details about it announced later in September.

Time will also begin soon to plan our Christmas Music Schedule. I will be getting in touch with some of the other churches to plan an Ecumenical Christmas Concert, somewhere around the beginning of Advent.

I am also Visualizing a membership growth (spurt, if you will) for our Choir this year. Now that we have a beautiful and fresh decor in our Sanctuary, with an actual Choir Loft, wouldn't it be nice to fill it? As part of our Brainstorm planning, perhaps we need a special Choir Recruiting Event. After all, we are the BEST, and we are known for our great music, right?

So, can you help us spread the word about our great choir and musicians, etc. etc.?

Your Director,
Keith Ruby


Special Evening Service
7:30 p.m.
September 11, 2002
Monroe Congregational Church, UCC,
301 South Lewis Street, Monroe, WA.
Phone: 360-794-7601
Web site: www.MonroeUCC.org (e-mail available)

A special quiet, contemplative, and prayerful service will be offered at Monroe Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in remembrance of the tragic events of September 11 of last year.

The focus of the service will be on peace and justice for all people. There will be quiet time allowing for personal introspection in the presence of God. The service will touch not only the personal, but also the global; not only the past, but the future. As the busy world carries on its noise and activity, getting in touch with the Spirit can bring comfort and healing. This special evening service will help people recall their experiences, their grief, and their anxiety from last September, as well as in bringing forward the light of hope.

Pastor Tom Sorenson noted that what prompted him to lead this service was a real need to emphasize that God is both tender and just. Our God is of Peace, Mercy, and Justice, he said. Deeper faith, an abiding peace, and a commitment to God's reign of love are clearly the focus, he indicated.

At the service, the historic sanctuary will be dimmed and softened by candlelight. Music Director Keith Ruby has sensitively selected works featuring Monroe Congregational Church Choir and The Lakeside Chorus Sweet Adelines. Ruby noted, This small church in Monroe is known for its music.

Monroe Congregational Church, founded in the early 1900's,has experienced many changes as the agricultural community has evolved into the largest East County population center. The stone church with the tall steeple in Monroe is a well-known landmark. There have been recent improvements in the sanctary and there are additional plans in the near future. Pastor Tom

Sorenson's arrival during Holy Week last spring continues to energize the congregation. Excited about the future, the congregational members call themselves extravagantly welcoming.

The church sanctuary will be open all day, September 11 for prayer and pastoral consultation in addition to the 7:30 p.m. service. The atmosphere will be casual and all people are welcome. The address is: Monroe Congregational Church, UCC, 301 South Lewis Street, Monroe, WA. Phone 360-794-7601.

Submitted by
Kayleen Bryson

New Editor of New Spirit

Laurie Ide has taken over publication of (the New Spirit. After a long and mostly fun filled experience as editor, layout, printer, folder, stamper and what not, Betty has decided it was not fun any more. Many thanks to her for all her time and hard work.

The newsletter has a new look and may )continue to change as I get the template worked out. Betty used MS Publisher which I don't have. My printer at home died and I can't get the new one to talk to my MAC so this will be finished a work. They don't have the same fonts either. Enough whining.

I welcome suggestions for what you would like to see in the newsletter. Articles and editorials are also welcome.

Laurie Ide
Editor: New Spirit

Church Library Growing

Our church library is growing! We've recently received donations from Kayleen Bryson and Pat Donovan, and purchased 15 new volumes.

Among the more interesting acquisitions:

Electronic Mailing Lists

We have created several electronic mailing lists to help us communicate with each other. The new lists are:

  1. Members@MonroeUCC.org - Use this list to send a message to all church members. All church members who have e-mail should be on this list. It is expected that it will be used mostly by the pastor or moderator to make occasional announcements, but anybody can use it.

  2. Cabinet@MonroeUCC.org - Use this list to propose an idea or generate discussion on a church issue. Members of the cabinet, and others with an interest in planning church programs, and who have e-mail, should be on this list. Just as cabinet meetings are open to all church members, so is this mailing list. Discussions on this list are archived so that we can go back and review them at a later date.

  3. Fun@MonroeUCC.org - This is just for fun. Use this list to share e-humor or e-wisdom with your church family. Persons who enjoy sending or receiving this type of e-mail should be on this list. Messages sent to this list are also archived so people can go back and read old messages if they want.

Church members and frequent visitors who have e-mail should let Russ Browne know which lists they would like to be on, or send mail to webmaster@MonroeUCC.org.

Welcoming No More?

It is thought that the word OUTREACH better describes the duties of this committee so if this is approved by the congregation in some future meeting, we will be known as the Outreach Committee.

At this point in time, we have completed several projects. We are awaiting suggestions for future efforts which will be forthcoming from your input at our congregations's meetings - the next one is to be September 29. It is so important that each of us marks his/her calendar to be present.

Several things we have done include:

We thank Ron Park for the many times he visited the printers during the development of the above.

We have kept our church visible to the community by an advertisement in the weekly Monitor, a listing in their centennial publication and an add in their Getting Acquainted with Monroe publication. We have also published our Sunday Bible study in both the Monitor and the Everett Herald. The annual getting acquainted gathering with the Co-operative Preschool that meets in our building have been special.

We need and would welcome new members to our committee as well as any suggestions you may have.

Remember to invite guests to our September 11 remembrance service, our September 15 annual picnic and think about what can be done for the national Make a Difference Day on October 26.

Rosella Roff, Chair: Welcoming Outreach Committee.


(Saturday, October 26 is National Make a Difference Day and is America's largest day of service. Millions help others. Millions of lives are changed forever. Please join the action for the 12th Make A Difference Day.

It's easy to make a difference:

  1. Look around your community and identify a cause that needs attention. Do it yourself or find helpers.

  2. Register your plans online so the media and other volunteers can know what you'll be doing.

  3. Take action on Saturday, October 26.

(For more information see their web page at makeadifferenceday.com or call 800-416-3824.

There will also be information posted on the church bulletin board.

Submitted by Rosella Roff


September 11: Special remembrance service at 7:30 in the Sanctuary. Bring a friend. See article above for more information.

September 15: Annual Church Picnic. This year it will be at Manny Odom and Sue Bell's horse ranch. The exact time has not been set but it will be after church. Bring Potluck and friends and family members.

September 2?: The third part of our planning meetings, ACTION, will take place after church in the Fellowship hall. We have listed our Values as a church, our Vision for our Church now we need to find ways of putting all of this into action.

October 26: Make a Difference Day