FCC Newsletter April 2015 - First Congregational Church

Mark Your Calendars!
Labyrinth Walks: Wednesdays 6-8pm in
the Sanctuary. Come take your soul out for a
See front cover for Holy Week schedule
April 9: Habitat for Humanity 8am-4pm.
Fellowship Group—Exploring the 11th
Step: Thursdays (beginning on April 16) at
7:30 pm.
Apr. 16: Fellowship Group-Exploring the
11th Step, 7:30pm (continues on Thursdays).
Mark your calendar:
Apr. 18: Kids’ Bible workshop, 10am-noon.
a newsletter of First Congregational Church of Montclair, New Jersey
an Open & Affirming congregation of the
May 2: FCC Yard Sale from 9am-2pm
Apr. 22: Messy Church 5:45-8:00pm.
Easter Celebration April 5
April 22 Messy Church
New fellowship group for
Twelve Steps spirituality
Sabbatical FAQs
Kids’ Bible Workshop
April 18
Rev. Ann’s Sabbatical
send-off April 26
"Never place a period where God
has put a comma." -Gracie Allen
April, 2015
Apr. 26: Rev. Ann’s sabbatical send off
10:30 am following worship.
The Week that Was
Faith Explorations: Living the Heart of
Christianity. Wednesday evenings 7:309:30pm through May 20. (See details inside).
us always as well. So this week, let’s accept Jesus’ invitation to “come, follow me” as we share the experience to-
Notes from the
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Holy Week Schedule
When you receive this newsletter
we will be standing on the edge
of Holy Week, the most intensely
moving week of our church year.
And it is a spiritual roller-coaster
ride. It begins in celebration and
Photo by Sarah Day-Boodhoo
cheers of Palm Sunday and ends
with tragedy and heartbreak of
Silent Saturday. And it tells the story at the heart of our
Wednesday, April 1 6-8pm
Special Labyrinth walk with Stations of the Cross in the
April 2 Maundy Thursday Supper 6:30pm
Break bread together as we prepare for the Last Supper.
We will share a delicious Mediterranean-themed meal in the
Guild Room (reservations necessary - $10).
In our culture our tendency is to skip from the celebration
of Palm Sunday and head right into the Easter glory without passing through this difficult week. But I warmly encourage that you resist that tendency and join us for the
various services this week. Each one tells a significant
part of the journey Jesus made on his way to Resurrection.
It also tells our story. For, as Christians, we share in the
experiences of confusion, sorrow and hope that marks this
week. We tend to think of these events as being locked in
the past, but the struggle between the power of fear and
the power of love is ever present. The priorities of compassion, justice and peace that Jesus proclaimed are risky
ones still today. We see this in the oppression and mistreatment of those who dare to speak truth and love to
power. We see this in the way that the systems of domination in our world always seen to have the last word.
Holy Week is our reminder that our journey with Jesus
never ends. And it also reminds us that the hope that Jesus
offers — the hope embodied in the Resurrection — is with
April 2, Maundy Thursday Service 8:00pm
We will celebrate Jesus’ last supper with his friends in
a special worship service with foot washing and Holy
Communion in the Sanctuary.
April 3, Good Friday Service of Tenebrae 8:00pm
Take the journey to the cross in a moving, contemplative
service. You are asked to wear black clothing to the
April 4 Silent Saturday Labyrinth Walk
9:am-12noon . The labyrinth will be open for a special
silent walk and meditation time.
Easter Sunday celebration of the Resurrection
10:30, April 5
What is a Sabbatical? Sabbatical leave is a time for our pastor to shift gears in order to
rest, disengage, study, play and
reflect in order to return to
ministry among us refreshed
and renewed in body, mind ,
and spirit. Rev Ann’s call
agreement with FCC specifies
that she will take a sabbatical
after five years of service with
FCC. This year will be Rev Ann’s 6th year with us. In addition to a growing time for Ann, her sabbatical time will
also be a season of growth for us as well.
financial, structural and administrative business of the
What if there is an emergency while Rev Ann is away?
The Sabbatical task force and the Church Council will have
in place contingency plans for any and all emergencies.
and / or questions that may occur in Ann’s absence.
What will the church be doing while Rev Ann is away?
FCC will continue to flourish in Ann’s absence and all our
ministries and programs will continue as before. We will
also reflect on our current ministries and discern God’s will
for us and our future ministries. We will be creating reading and study groups to read the same books Ann is reading so be ready to engage in fresh directions when she returns. There will be a retreat on May 16 with Rev John
Wimberley about hospitality, to which you are all invited.
And we will also be engaging in some “field trips” to other
local churches that do great work around hospitality. We
will be busy!
How long will Rev Ann be gone? Ann will be gone from
May 1st to July 31st.
What will Rev Ann be doing on her sabbatical? The
theme of Ann’s sabbatical is “the Practice of Radical
Hospitality in Celtic Christian Spirituality”. Reflecting on the many ways
we are called to welcome new friends
and members within a diverse congregation, Ann will be exploring the Celtic practice of hospitality and how this
translates into the local parish setting.
She will also take some time to travel
with her family.
Will Rev Ann be in contact with
FCC during her sabbatical? The
short answer is no. Ann will not be in
contact with us in the usual sense
while away. However, we are Planning to include a short update for First
News each month while she is away
and Rev. Ann may be creating a blog
which will post photos and reflections
on her journey.
Who will cover Rev Ann’s responsibilities during her absence? The
Church Council has asked Rev Heather Cherrey, a retired
UCC minister and member of FCC, to be the Sabbatical
Coordinating Pastor while Ann is away. She will work
with the Church Council and the Sabbatical task force, as
well as all of you to continue the ministry at FCC.
How will we get “reacquainted” with Rev Ann when
she returns? Ann’s first Sunday back will be the day after
she returns, August 2, so she will be in worship, but not
leading the service. Her first Sunday back in the pulpit
will be August 9. The sabbatical task force will be planning
with Ann for opportunities for the sharing of experiences,
both Ann’s and ours. In addition, along with the Council,
there will be meetings to discern the congregations vision
for the future of FCC.
Who will I call to plan a special service? The church office will still be open and Rena Majeed will be available
during regular office hours. In addition Heather will be in
the office and available to arrange for weddings, baptisms,
funerals, and any other services needed.
What can we do while Rev Ann is away? That’s an easy
question--and an even easier answer--be here! Continue to
be an active presence in the church for worship, fellowship,
Christian Education and the ministries of FCC. True —
some of the sabbatical will take place in the summer, but it
is so important that if you are in town that you join us for
worship on Sunday. We want visitors to see a vibrant,
healthy, well supported church. The best gift we can
give Ann on her return is the same flourishing church she
Who should I contact for special prayer requests or if I
have a family or personal crisis? Once again, the church
office can be contacted and they will contact Rev Heather,
or you will be able to contact Heather yourself if need be,
just as you now contact Rev Ann.
Who will administer the congregation’s business needs
in Rev Ann’s absence? Led by our Moderator, Jeanne LoCicero, the Church Council will continue to see to the
When this issue of First News comes
out, there will be only 4 weeks
until Rev Ann leaves for her sabbatical! When planning started a year ago
it seemed we had so much time and
now we are down to only 4 weeks.
The Sabbatical Task Force group has
many plans for the time Rev Ann is
away. In some instances the players
are already in place. In others we still
need help and that is where all of you come into play
(more as I go along).
ready some of us have signed up (cost $15-scholarships
available so don’t let cost stop you) to go. If you’d like
to join us, please talk to Heather Cherrey.
There will be a “good-bye” coffee hour for Rev Ann and
a “welcome home” event as well. all these take many
hands to plan and execute. If you can help see Anne
Garty (973-650-5503).
Many of you have asked what you can do while Rev Ann
is away. I’ve already listed some suggestions. We need
your help to make this sabbatical a success both for Rev
Ann and for the future of FCC. BUT the most important
thing you can do is to be present. Come to worship
when you’re in town, show folks that FCC is a vibrant,
happening church. This is also the best gift we can give
Rev Ann when she returns.
Worship has been, of course, a major component of our
planning, and we are pleased to share that the diversity of
our preachers has us very excited. We have men and
women preaching, young, middle aged, and slightly more
than middle aged in years, black and white, gay and
straight, ordained and non ordained. It’s the perfect roster
for FCC!
Members of the Sabbatical Task Force are Rev. Heather
Cherrey, Liz Donald, Anne Garty, Elaine Wells and
Jeanne LoCicero.
The vast majority of our preachers are members of FCCtruly a blessing for us. John Rogers, our student seminarian and Youth leader and John Sampson member and
seminary student, Hollie Broadfoot, seminary graduate
and FCC member, and Rev. Dr. Althea Spencer-Miller
also an FCC member and professor at Drew Theological
Seminary, Rev. Joan Icklan, our minister of visitation,
and Jack Cuffari, also an FCC member and Interfaith/
Inter Spiritual minister. Rev. Freeman Palmer from the
New York Association and our own NJ Association Minister, Rev. David Popham (also an FCC member) will be
guest preachers.
Heather Cherrey,
Chair, Faith In Action,
[email protected]
Rev. Ann’s Sabbatical
Send Off!
Sunday, April 26, 10:30am
In addition, Rev. John Wimberley, a consultant from the
Alban Institute who is versed in hospitality ministry, will
be with us the weekend of May 16 and 17 to lead a retreat on hospitality and to preach. You are all invited to
join us for this event-more information coming.
Join us for a very special worship
service and Coffee Hour send-off as Rev.
Ann begins her three month Sabbatical.
We’ll have an opportunity to share our
blessings with her and her family and
prepare for our important Sabbatical
experiences as a congregation.
An important component of a Sabbatical time is for the
congregation to step up to the plate and let their gifts for
ministry and leadership shine. We are asking for volunteers - folks to help lead worship - lead the call to worship and the offering time for instance. If you think you
would like to give this a try, please talk to Heather Cherrey (973-890-1691) or leave your name with the church
In addition to worship, the committee is working on visiting a New York church which has a special ministry of
hospitality (more on that later), there will be books to
read and share. On May 8 (Friday) there will be a
Church Vitality presentation at Park Ridge UCC and al15
Foot Washing…. The Ultimate
Faith in Action
Collecting Food for
the Hungry Year
One of the most unusual experiences of our Holy Week
worship is the Maundy Thursday ritual of foot washing.
This radical act of care and humility echoes the way that
Jesus welcomed his disciples to the Last Supper on the
night before he died.
He showed them what
“servanthood” was all about as he turned the tables on
who is the “greatest and who is the least.” So one night
each year, we do the same. But it can be an uncomfortable experience for many of us.
Each time you come to church
bring some food for the hungry.
We have a tiered shelf set up in the
Narthex where folks can leave their
items each week. When we have
gathered a generous amount we will divide it up and deliver it to various area food pantries.
Here’s what’s needed:
Pastas, cereals, canned
vegetables/fruits, peanut butter, rice, juice boxes.
mac and cheese . Please make sure that foods are nutritious and not past their expiration date! If you would
like to help us sort and deliver, please reach out to
Heather Cherrey.
Phyllis Stone shares her reflections on how she has come to
embrace this radical ritual:
If you’re thinking “yuck….I don’t
think I’ll be doing that…and totally ICK”.
Those were my
thoughts initially when I thought
about it just one year ago. And
touching other people’s feet and
dirty feet at that…yeah…I don’t
think so. But I PAUSE and I ask
you to PAUSE as well. When I
shift the mirror onto my own face and think about my
own ICK, I soften. Over the past couple of years, I have
been brought to my knees with my struggles. My comfort came when SOMEONE… showed me grace in all
my ICK. I was held up in all my ICK and loved anyway
until I could love myself.
needed for
Easter coffee
My struggles shaped me into a very different person. BUT I didn’t arrive in the same way that I journeyed. My journey was hard, painful, and just downright
miserable at times. I’m sure if you take a moment you’ll
find moments when you were ICKY and someone just
loved you anyway. These are Jesus’ teachings of how to
walk in the light and treat OTHERS as you would treat
your greatest love…a mom, a child, your partner. The
gifts of grace don’t rise when you’re riding the wave of
your best and the brightest light. They usually come
when you’re broken and forced to take that next seemingly impossible step through the ICK and reach out in
faith…..and a gentle compassionate hand meets you on
the other end and soothes your soul.
Remember that the Easter Coffee Hour
will be "Loaves and Fishes" please bring a treat to share with your
FCC friends and the many visitors that
we expect will be joining us for our
Easter celebration.
The foot washing ceremony is a practice of Jesus’ teachings to live your faith to transform into your best compassionate self. Faith is an ongoing practice that transforms into YOUR discipline. It’s one of God’s greatest
gift of love we can share. I, for one, will be there for
year two......how about you?
Phyllis Stone
Contact Cindy Vickery at
[email protected] or
205-960-1597 if you have questions.
Ministry Update
Faith Explorations: Living the
Heart of Christianity
Last night, I was at a small dinner
friends. We were talking about
our lives and came around to
plans. They told me about their
brunch plans and dinners with
family and friends. So I told
them that I would be spending a
big part of Holy Week and, of course, Easter morning at First Congregational Church. I mentioned
that we had had a Ministry of Spirituality and Worship meeting that afternoon. One of my friends said
"Spirituality and Worship? What do you actually
Wednesday evenings from 7:30-9:30
through May 20
Last fall we explored our faith through engaging our sacred stories through the 10-week session called
“Experiencing the Bible for the First Time” based on the
book by Marcus Borg. This spring we will be continuing to deepen our faith with a 12-week series entitled
“Living the Heart of Christianity: a Guide to Putting
Your Faith into Action.” Based on Borg’s challenging
and illuminating book The Heart of Christianity, this
study gives us tools to live into a new vision of Christian
life that can transform our own spiritual lives as well as
our communities.
Each Wednesday evening, beginning on March 4, we
will gather to explore more deeply what it means to practice our faith as progressive Christians in our time and
place. This is an ideal study for folks who are both new
to Christianity and those who are experiencing it freshly
through the life of this church. We will be using the text
The Heart of Christianity as our main source, so participants should purchase their own copy (easily found
through Amazon or Barnes and Noble). Please RSVP to
Rev. Ann so we can be sure to save a space!
And I realized, our name makes us sound very
"ethereal" and makes our mission sound a bit "allinclusive", at least when you're talking about a
church. But then I told my friend what we did....we
made sure there were enough people to fill the basins during the foot washing on Maundy Thursday. We discussed buying some kind of posterboard
to keep the candle drippings off the floor. We talked
about hauling daffodils and Easter lilies (heads
up....they are not quite as light as they look!). We
talked about handing out the palms (and remembering to order them!), counting candles, and decorating
the sanctuary for Easter morning. I told my friend
that our Ministry was basically responsible for ensuring that the people who join us for this important
time have a deeply meaningful, profoundly spiritual,
and seamless worship experience.
Do You Know About I-Give? I-Give is an easy way to
earn money for FCC as you shop online - at no extra
cost to you! First, sign up for I-Give at
www.igive.com - it's free to join - and designate First
Congregational Church of Montclair NJ as your charity of choice. Then go through the I-Give website to
shop at any of the over 1500 participating online retailers (including Amazon, Staples, Best Buy, Kohl's the good stuff!).
Do we read the Bible or debate theology at our meetings? We don't. (But there are plenty of opportunities to do that in our church). What do we do? We
plan, we volunteer, we clean, we haul, we decorate,
and we un-decorate. And when we experience the
final product, the slamming door on Good Friday,
and the light and flowers on Easter morning, well, I
can confirm that the spirit of love and worship is in
everything we do. It is a pleasure and a privilege to
be part of it.
Often, I-Give has additional shopping discounts for
you - and for every purchase that you make, I-Give
sends a percentage of the sale back to FCC as a donation - up to 26% - without any extra hassle for
you! The amount of the donation is right there as
you shop, so that you can see your impact - and the
donation portion is even tax-deductible. Talk about
Peace, Elaine Wells,
Chair, Spirituality and Worship
Sunday school
As April approaches and with it the warmer weather, we will begin to work outside
a bit. My hope is that we can incorporate nature into our Sunday school experiences. I have big plans for the children’s garden! Spring will also bring a slightly different lesson emphasis as we approach the end of, “The Joyful Path” curriculum.
Some of the character building topics we will explore will include, perseverance,
truthfulness, willingness, and inclusion.
The Bible Stories that we will hear will be focused on the resurrection and the joy and hope that those
stories bring to us. We will reflect on how we can continue to spread Jesus’ message. In addition to these
topics, I hope to weave in some social justice topics. I would love to see us do some smaller scale service projects. For example, I found a place that collects children’s drawings to use in hospitals as a way
of brightening someone’s day.
Wendy North,
Director, Christian Education
FCC Bake Sale = Success!
The delicious lemon tarts, brownies, and chocolate cakes made up only a small fraction of the
goodies available at the Youth Group bake sale!
The parents really stepped up pulling the event
together. Deb Duhamel handled all the signage
while Jackie Berliner was key in putting the initial logistics in place. It would take too long to
single out any baking contributions from the parents. I can say for sure that the
quality was far superior to any bake sale I ever attended. The full bag of M&M
cookies that I left in the common room at school didn’t sit on the table for more
than hour before they were all gone! Seeing the middle and high schoolers working together to bag, sell, and ring up the baked goods was my favorite part of the
afternoon. We were especially excited to learn that we raised $433 for the overnight fund!
Youth Group Selfie
Coming Soon to Guild Room Near You…
Church again on April 22nd - and we don't
know quite what that evening will hold yet but we guarantee that we'll have a great time
again. Please come!!
Messy Church was a success
Next Date: Wed. April 22,
If you missed the March Messy Church gathering, you missed another rollicking fabulous
event! Over 60 people attended! We laughed
and talked and learned and drew and
drummed and made pretzels (!!) and ate a lot
of really delicious stuff. We'll have Messy
Messy Church is the 4th Wednesday of each
month, from 5:45-8:00. Join us for an informal
no-reservation-needed evening of fun - we'll
provide a delicious dinner ("pay it forward," if
you can - the suggested donation of $5/person
with $20/family max will help fund next
month's dinner), exciting and thoughtprovoking activities, a casual worship service,
scrumptious desserts, and an opportunity to
hang out with some
fabulous FCC friends all you need to do is
show up, join in and
be prepared to enjoy
Coordinators Cindy & Holli
On March 8th, the middle and high schoolers met again to design an official First Congregational Church tshirt. Our resident graphic design expert, E-Liz Honer, led the activity. The kids broke up into small groups
and came up with symbols they felt represented FCC. The most popular were rainbows (capturing our open
and affirming atmosphere!), circles (symbolizing the unity we are building), and diverse portraits of people
(representing a growing multicultural church). When contemplating the text we should include on the shirt, the
two most popular suggestions were the lyrics of “Draw the Circle Wide,” FCC’s unofficial theme song, and the
words to Isaiah 61:1, FCC’s closing commission. Now the leaders have the difficult task of synthesizing all
these wonderful ideas! We are hoping to begin selling the t-shirt on April 12th after church. The fashion world
will never be the same again!
John Rogers,
Youth Director
Coming soon . . .
The Youth Group will be designing an
official FCC t-shirt to raise money for
an "Overnight Fund.”
A Big Thank You To All
Parents and Kids For
Helping With the Bake
Look for more information soon!
The Message
Habitat For Humanity
April 9, 8am-4pm
Part of my responsibilities as
the Protestant Chaplain at
Hackensack UMC at Mountainside Hospital is to visit
with patients and their visitors.
One of the questions I almost
inevitably ask as we talk is
“What brought you to the hospital?” Each patient tells his/
her story differently, but the
story almost always is about pain, limiting of life’s
activities, concern about what the outcome(s) of the
hospital stay will be. We consider the changes that
may occur in personal relationships and/or the need
to renew/strengthen/reconnect with family and/or
As a confirmation student at the church where I grew up
in Pennsylvania, part of our service project was building a
house with the organization Habitat for Humanity. That
was many years ago when I was a 15-year-old girl, but
the experience stayed with me. I learned many skills that
day, like how to hang drywall and use a drill but more
importantly I had the experience of working with others
to do something meaningful and good for a family who
needed a place to live.
Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Millard
and Linda Fuller. Today, Habitat for Humanity is a true
world leader in addressing the issues of poverty housing.
Since 1976, they have built or repaired over 1 million
homes, serving more than 5 million people worldwide. In
1984, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife
Rosalynn took their first Habitat work trip, the Jimmy
Carter Work Project, to New York City. Their personal
involvement in Habitat’s ministry brought the organization national visibility and sparked interest in Habitat’s
work across the nation.
Often, we talk about individual relationships (or not)
of faith. For some, faith remains strong. For others,
there is a sense of abandonment and a need to reconnect. One way to begin that reconnecting is to recite
the Lord’s Prayer and/or the 23d Psalm together. I
have told the story of standing beside a patient who
had just come out of surgery and praying the Lord’s
Prayer aloud. As I got to “…and forgive us our trespasses…” this heavily sedated patient joined me in
prayer. When we finished, the patient was still in a
deep sleep. The message for me that day was and
continues to be that God is always with us, that
God’s love and care surround us always. That experience, among others, has helped me to listen ever
more intently to what each person says to me as I
visit with them and with the friends and families. For that gift to me, I say, prayerfully, “Thanks
be to God. Amen.”
Last year while attending a talk on poetry and prayer at
B'nai Keshet I met a woman named Marian who expressed interest in inter-faith work and Habitat for Humanity. Our idea was born and last year marked the first
year we worked together with friends from BK.
I hope you'll consider joining us this year on April 9th
from 8am-4pm. Email me for more details
([email protected]) and put your faith in action!
Blessings, Ali
New Fellowship Group!
The Spiritual Core of Recovery
Thursdays at 7:30pm starting Apr.16
As we begin our Lenten sermon series “Breathing
Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps”,
we are pleased to announce that there has been interest expressed in starting a group here at FCC that
will gather and dig into the 11th Step of Alcoholics
The 11th Step is: "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as
we understood God, praying only for knowledge of
God’s will for us and the power to carry that out."
Every 12 Step recovery program is considered to be
a spiritual
program. The 11th Step is the focal
point of the spirituality inherent in and integral to
the recovery process.
If you are in any 12 Step recovery program or simply interested in learning more about recovery and
the 12 Steps, this is an opportunity to gather in a
safe environment (the group will use guidelines of
safe communication and anonymity) and listen,
share, learn and enjoy fellowship with others from
our FCC family.
If you are interested, please contact Reverend Ann,
and let her know at least two options of when would
be a good meeting time for you.
Kim Alvarado
Adrian Onorati
Aiden Boodhoo
Lisa Clay-Sirop
Deb Duhamel
Monique Alberry
Henry Morales
Seamus Podwoski
Kim Robinson
Carl Granfelt
Luis Pi-Sunyer
Brendan Krauza
Pat Berry
Geri Perret
Beth Williams
Sarah Feliciano
Apr. 1
Apr. 2
Apr. 3
Apr. 7
Apr. 9
Apr. 12
Apr. 12
Apr. 14
Apr. 14
Apr. 17
Apr. 17
Apr. 20
Apr. 21
Apr. 26
Apr. 26
Apr. 27
Make sure to email Rena your
birthday for upcoming newsletters
at [email protected] .
NOTE: This is not a 12 Step meeting or a group
therapy session!
Rev. Joan
Wednesday Labyrinth Walks!
Minister of Pastoral Care
Join us Wednesday Evenings from 6-8pm
Center yourself in the midst of a hectic week with a walk on the labyrinth.
A labyrinth is a spiritual tool, a prayer path, that opens us up to the heart of
God. It is a metaphor for the journey of our spiritual lives and invites us
to encounter God along the path. The walk is open – take as much or little
time as you like. And no experience necessary. Come, take your soul out for a walk!
(Photo from April 2014 )
Meet our new members
Photos courtesy of Sarah Day Boodhoo
Eric Evans: Eric grew up in Texas where he began his spiritual journey in the
conservative Christian movement. He eventually realized that he had trouble accepting many of the conservative's beliefs and parochial perspectives. Thus, similar to many past experiences of others in this church, he felt misplaced in his
church community, who denounced him as a heretic. In response, Eric decided to
leave religion altogether to follow other ideologies such as Ayn Rand's philosophy
that egoism is a virtue. That didn't work out either. Eric eventually realized
(through the help of primatologist Frans De Waal) that these ideologies lack scientific merit and are a false way of living. So, Eric cleared the dust that collected
on his Bible to read it again. Through the help of evolutionary theorist Steven
Pinker, Eric discovered anew the transforming power of Jesus' moral principle to
"love your enemies." This produced a desire in Eric to be part of a church again,
based on the conviction that religious engagement provides the best context for
moral transformation towards this love command. After about a year of searching for a new church home, Eric immediately found comfort and peace in the
wonderful people of this congregation. Eric wants to join and be engaged in this
congregation so he can learn to mimic the compassion and kindness of the people who embody it. On a lighter
note, Eric has been happily married to his beautiful wife, Christine, for twelve years. He enjoys playing the guitar,
reading non-fiction, nature walks and playing tennis.
Kathleen and Jeff Korgen live in Montclair, with their daughters Julie (9th
grade) and Jessica (7th grade) and Kathleen’s mom, Patricia Odell. Kathleen
is a professor of sociology at William Paterson University who practices public sociology and specializes in racial identity and race policy. Jeff runs a
faith based social justice consulting company and is a writer. Jeff grew up in
South Louisiana and went to Boston College for social work and pastoral ministry. Kathleen was raised in Massachusetts and met Jeff while in graduate
school at Boston College. Kathleen became a member of First Congregational
several years ago and now Jeff, who is Catholic, is joining as an associate
Vincent & Christine Onorati:
Moved to
Montclair last year from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Vincent is VP of Digital Marketing for iN Demand, a cable TV distributor in Manhattan. Christine owns two independent bookstores in Greenpoint and Jersey City called WORD. They have a
soon-to-be six-year-old son named Adrian and seven-month-old twins Cora and
Vivian who will be baptized at FCC on March 29th. Vinnie and Christine are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary this October and are thrilled to be part of
the community in Montclair and at FCC.
ga and Pink. But my highest admiration goes to Tina Turner. No matter how down I may get put some Tina on and
my mood changes instantly. I am a minister in the United Church of Christ and am currently employed by the
Central Atlantic Conference as your Associate Conference Minister. Kerrie Shahan: I moved from Colorado to
New Jersey last summer with my husband, David and our two daughters, Olivia and Jenna, In Colorado I was employed by the City and County of Denver in the Public Works Department and spent most of my free time reading,
taking Tae Kwando classes or volunteering at our church. While it was difficult to leave the mountains and plains
of Colorado, we’ve found that New Jersey has its charms as well; namely, the beach! I’m a huge fan of medieval
murder mysteries, Tudor history and Calvin and Hobbs cartoons. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of song lyrics
and am likely to break out in song at random, and usually off-key. We currently share our home with one cat and a
rescued greyhound both of which are spoiled. After visiting several area churches we determined that FCC was the
church we should join. The church’s open and affirming stance and its progressive theology was the initial draw.
The warm welcome from the congregation and engaging conversations held in Youth Group kept us coming back.
Kathleen Reiser and Michelle Owens: (Photo not available) Kathleen: I was born and raised in Belleville, NJ
until I was 15 and moved to North Arlington. I was raised Catholic, and attended Queen of Peace High School and
the College of St. Elizabeth. I double majored in Criminal Justice and Psychology. I've worked in the social service
field for ten years now and am currently employed at the ARC of Essex County as a shift supervisor. Four and a
half years ago I met Michelle Owens and have never been happier. We have experienced so much together and I
cannot imagine life without her. For the past year and a half we have been coming to the FCC. I’m happy to have
found an open and affirming church. Michelle: I was born and raised in Rockaway, New Jersey, and graduated
from Morris Hills High School in 2004. My college years were spent at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 2008. Since 2009, I’ve worked down the road from
where I went to college at a commercial insurance company called Crum & Forster. My girlfriend, Kat, and I currently live in Butler. We’ve been together for four and a half years and are looking to purchase a house in the north
Jersey area. Some of my hobbies include playing softball, hiking, nature photography, writing poetry, playing guitar, fishing, traveling, and reading. Being Irish and Italian, my parents were brought up Catholic, but they never
forced me to go to church, which I’m thankful for. I’ve always had an interest in learning about various religions
and much of my spirituality draws from an amalgamation of beliefs and inspirations: music, art, nature, literature,
philosophy, etc. Kat and I have a mutual love of nature. We have hiked many trails in northern New Jersey and in
the Hudson Valley area of New York State. Regarding my taste in music, I’m very eclectic. My IPod shuffles
from Amos Lee to the Broadway soundtrack of Les Miserables to Bruce Springsteen to Zac Brown Band to Barry
Manilow to Jimi Hendrix to Johnny Cash and all over the place. I also love viewing art and reading books. Examining the relationship between the literary and visual arts intrigues me. My favorite literary period is British Literature of the early 1900’s-1940’s and includes writers such as Virginia Woolf, W.B. Yeats, and Oscar Wilde. I’m
also drawn to Modernist art from Salvador Dali, Georgia O’Keefe, and
Picasso as well as photography by Ansel Adams. So, that’s me in a
nutshell. I’m looking forward to continuing on the journey of faith
with everybody here at FCC.
David Popham and Kerrie Shahan: (Photo not available) David: I consider
Kentucky my home state; growing up there as the third child out of four in a
Southern Baptist minister’s family. From those early years it took a little time for
my burgeoning thoughts to take shape. When they did I found myself attracted to and blessed by the United Church
of Christ. I had the best luck to marry the wonderful and multi-talented Kerrie Shahan who brings warmth and
laughter into my life. We have two daughters; our oldest, Olivia, is going on 21 and is emerging as an adult in her
own right. Our younger, Jenna, is 14 and is involved in choir and drama. As a family we have all persevered to become black belts in Taekwondo. A rescued greyhound and cat round out the family. I confess that I am a huge diva
dog. I love the divas - Aretha Franklin, Gloria Gaynor, Patti LaBelle, Gloria Estefan, and so on including Lady Ga-
Tony Sabatino and his wife, Monique Alberry, met in graduate
school at Syracuse University. They have been married for 18
years and have one son, Zack. They have lived in many places,
including New York, San Francisco, Central Michigan, Chicago,
and Boston (where they were members of Old South Church).
They now reside in Montclair. Tony works in competitive intelligence at Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield. He enjoys playing
computer games with his teenage son, Zack. Monique enjoys cooking ethnic cuisine dishes such as Spanish paella, Italian chicken cacciatore, Thai red curry beef and French chocolate pot de crème. YUM!!
She works at keeping up with her teenage son, Zack’s, schedule and enjoys watching black and white
classic movies at the Montclair library with her mother, Mona. Zack Sabatino is the son of Tony and
Monique. Zack was home schooled up until seventh grade. He is 16 years old and is a sophomore at
Montclair High School. He is very interested in Economics. Mona Alberry, Monique’s mom, moved in
with Tony and Monique just two days before Zack was born. In 1998, she retired from her banking career of 30 years. Mona is a seasoned traveler. She has visited Scotland, England, Paris, Luxembourg,
Meet our new members (continued)
Holland and Belgium. While Monique is cooking up a storm, Mona says she is happy to be the taste tester and cleanup crew!
Karina and Brandon Thibodeau: Karina was born in Peru and came to the U.S.
at the age of 10. She was raised in the Catholic faith and attended Catholic school
with the exception of 2 years where she participated in a bilingual program held at a
public school in Jersey City. Karina works as an assistant to the director of the Trust
Department of a North Eastern financial institution. This is her 3rd year at this position. She may change her career to full-time mom, but is still undecided. Karina
enjoys cooking, drawing, sewing, yoga, her dog "Bailey"... Although lately she enjoys all things baby. Brandon was born and raised in Long Island, and moved to NJ
for a career opportunity. He was brought up in a Congregational church back home
in Miller Place. Brandon went to school for graphic design but works as a Post
Acute Care sales rep for a medical supply company. Brandon has an endless list of
hobbies, which includes playing the guitar, cooking, designing logos, playing soccer, skiing, and organizing social events. Brandon and Karina met in the spring of
2013 in Morristown while Karina was bartending. They were acquaintances for almost a year before dating, then came their little surprise blessing, baby Wyatt.
Brandon and Karina got engaged December 20th 2014 and were married at FCC on March 22. Wyatt was born
Dec. 28th 2014 and they just celebrated his 2 month birthday. Wyatt's hobbies include eating, listening to Bob
Marley, Ballroom dancing in the kitchen with mom and dad, tummy time, staring at ceiling fans, eating some
more... Wyatt was baptized this March at First Congregational Church. Brandon and Karina have researched many
worship institutions and both feel that First Congregational Church fits their family style as well as how they want
their son Wyatt to be raised in a community of faith and togetherness.
Business Advisory Team
(BAT) Update
Fundraising Task Force
The Business Advisory Team has met several times
since February and has provided its first report to the
Executive Committee in late March. The charter of
this new team is:
The Business Advisory Team (BAT) exists to advise
the EC and serve FCC by providing recommendations
in the areas of marketing, finance, operations, management and strategic planning. The BAT consists
of members and friends of FCC with diverse business
expertise, who are appointed by the EC.
The Fundraising Task Force was formed in
early March to identify and coordinate implementation of new fundraising initiatives. This team is especially focused on
fundraising opportunities that are aimed beyond our congregation at the wider community, prioritizing ideas that can help close the
2015 budget gap. Look for more information
in the weeks and months ahead.
The Business Advisory Team will be meeting prior to
EC meetings on a monthly basis, with additional work
occurring outside of these meetings. Initially, recommendations are focused on closing the 2015 budget
gap and creating new data streams and reporting
procedures to support informed decision making.
This team is currently without a chair! If
you would like to chair this task force, or are
interested in joining the team in another capacity, please contact Lynley Jones at
[email protected]
If you have any questions, contact Lynley Jones at
[email protected]
Thank You! Thank You!
Wedding wishes to Jack
Cuffari and Tracey
Stephens who were
married at
FCC on
March 21!
March was a busy month and there were many hearts
and hands that made it possible. So THANK YOU to:
...the Granfelt-Jones family, Keith Entricken and
Roberto Melendez, Tracey Stephens and Jack
Cuffari, Gregg Monsees and the Onorati family for
chancel flowers in March.
...to Stella Wilkins, Kat Reiser, Michelle Owens,
and Heather Cherrey for sanctuary set-up for Palm
Sunday, and Dian Nash and Heather Cherrey for
setting up the Stations of the Cross for Wednesday of
Holy Week. Also, a general thank you to all who have
turned out for the Spirituality and Worship meetings
to plan the events in this sacred time.
And to Brandon
Thibodeau and Karina
Coral who were
married at FCC on
March 22!
...to our March coffee hour hosts: Tracey Winand,
Aja Richardson, Michelle Owens, Kat Reiser, E-liz
Honer, Missy Pentecost, and James & Rebecca
Morales ...and ushers Jackie Berliner– Jackson,
Mark Jackson, Aja Richardson, Zach Sabatino,
Gerald Taylor, Tim Duhamel, Nancy & Luis PiSunyer, Del Pentecost and Rich Gilfert. Thank you
for making FCC a warm, hospitable community!
Third Grade Bible
And Presentation
April 18 and 19
...to Michelle Owens, Keith Entricken, Heather
Cherrey, Cindy Vickery and Tracey Winand for
providing help with the desserts and dinner for Messy
Church. And a big THANK YOU to all those who
helped make the evening possible: Cindy Vickery,
Holli Broadfoot, Anne Garty, Dick Thomas, Jack
Cuffari, Heather Cherrey, John Rogers and Wendy North.
One of our special traditions at FCC is the presentation of Bibles to our 3rd graders. This annual event
is preceded by a Bible workshop the day before. Rev. Ann and Wendy will be leading this
workshop for the children from 10:00am—noon
on Saturday, April 18. Parents may participate as
well. If you have a child in 3rd grade, please plan to
join us on the 18th and again for worship on the
19th when Bibles will be presented.
...to the Duhamel Family, Stone Family, Nancy &
Luis Pi-Sunyer, Jeanne LoCicero, Jim Vardakis
and Chris Newton, Holli Broadfoot and Cindy
Vickery, the Popham/Shahan Family, Heather
Cherrey, Stella Wilkins, Tracey Stephens, Michelle
Owens and Kat Reiser for being part of the big FCC
Clean-up Day!
If you have a child who is older and wasn’t a
part of FCC in 3rd grade, please
let us know so that we can also
include your child! Please
[email protected] to let us
know you have a child this age
and to RSVP for the workshop.
This Month at MMO Programs
Education Programs that
Engage Young Learners
at Every Stage of Development
Saturday, May 2, 2015
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
(beginning at 12 weeks old)
to PRE-K
Our professional staff provides a
secure learning environment where
children can explore and learn through
discovery while developing selfconfidence and awareness.
Hours of Operation:
7:30 A.M. to 6:30 P.M.
Alma painting feet
Spring is here and we are all looking forward to
warmer temperatures and more outside time! This
month we will be focusing on the Earth and how we
can care for it. Amongst many endeavors, students
will focus efforts on recycling projects and getting
back into our garden! We will continue registration
for the 2015-16 school year as well as for Summer
Camp. For information, please call (973) 744-6521.
Monday through Friday Year Round.
Calendar available upon request.
Registration in progress for the
2015/16 school year HAPPENING
Our Spring Fundraiser, Casino Night, on March 28th
was such an incredible event! Everyone who attended
had a wonderful time and all proceeds will benefit
further enhancing our playground space. Thank you
to the FCC members who attended and supported our
efforts. A special thanks to the FCC Youth Group
leaders and members John Rogers, Sean Kelly, Emerson Pentecost, and Kayla Harney who worked incredibly hard as the evening’s wait staff. We couldn’t
have done it without you!
If you would like more information
and/or a tour
please call: 973-744-6521
or e-mail: [email protected]
Visit our website
at www.mmoprograms.org
Corrine Harney,
Back by popular demand – FCC’s 2nd Annual Yard Sale! Spring is FINALLY here, and what
better time to start cleaning out your basement, cupboards, closets, garage, etc. As you
begin, ask yourself three simple questions: do I use it?, do I love it?, will I miss it? If you answered NO to these questions, pack it up for the yard sale!
We are collecting books, household items, video games, small appliances, pictures, tools,
electronics, furniture, toys and anything else you can think of (please, no clothes). Starting
Monday, April 6th, you can bring in your items and leave them in the Guild Room (fireplace
area). Don’t forget to tell your family and friends!
As you can imagine, many hours go into preparing for this fundraiser, and we are looking for
volunteers to help clean, organize, price and pack up items for the sale. We will get together:
Thursday Mornings (9:00 am – 12:00 pm) on April 9, 16, 23 and 30
Monday Evenings (7:00 – 9:00 pm) on April 13, 20 and 27
For questions, volunteering & donations, please feel free to contact:
Deb Duhamel
[email protected]
Anne Garty
[email protected]
Dian Nash
[email protected]
MMO Executive Director