One last time I want to thank you for helping me and my family adjust to life in Denville. To the Barnards who scheduled our meet-and-greets, to all of the hosts and attendees who took time to describe the church to me, to the women who prepared meals for my family as we began unpacking in the heat of July, to the trustees who prepared the parsonage, to the Welcoming Committee who generously encouraged us explore local restaurants, to the community leaders who introduced me around town and to those of you who have worn name tags in worship and reminded me of your name multiple times— Thank you sincerely.
I’ve already found it to be easy to invite strangers to join the life of this church because you are well established with incredible music in worship and ample mission opportunities. The sanctuary and Butterfly Memorial Garden are beautiful sacred spaces and my kids enjoy the Sunday School and nursery. My oldest son is singing VBS songs daily with all the dance moves weeks after it ended! We remain thrilled to be joining you in ministry here at DCC.
This summer, I have been prayerfully planning with a team led by Youth Director Janice McCrostie and Superintendents Jenn Bridi and Veronica Dengler regarding our children’s ministry. We have heard requests for more music, as well as more exposure to the 9:30am worship service, and noted fewer volunteers to teach recently. So we’re going to try a few new ideas and see how they work. On the first Sunday of the month, Kim Graceffo is going to teach a time of music during Sunday School for kids up to 5th grade before we welcome all the kids back in the worship service to participate in Holy Communion. While there was discussion about whether the kids would fully understand Communion, I mentioned that in seminary, it is called “A Holy Mystery” because even adults can’t completely comprehend how God works through this Sacrament. It is important that we are all present for this holy moment in worship. The other significant change will be on the last Sunday of the month when we intentionally plan an Intergenerational Worship service at 9:30am. There may be songs that are easier for children to sing with hand motions, or a carefully prepared sermon that anticipates younger listening ears, as well as older ones. Our hope is that it will be a blessing to all of us as the children participate in the many aspects of worship. Please keep our children’s ministry in your prayers including the leaders, teachers, helpers and of course, the children.
As a new school year begins, I want to encourage you to also invite people to worship, Sunday School, mission opportunities and small groups. I hope that our neighbors, friends and even strangers of all ages will come through our open door and experience the love and joy of Christian faith. And I hope when we leave through our open door, we continue sharing the light of Christ with all we meet.
God Bless You… Pastor Heather
I love to read. Well, I love to carry books around with me in case I have time to read. I've been toting three or four books with me back and forth between the office and the parsonage as if they were Epipens that I constantly need with me.
Often in summertime, we look for book suggestions that we can take to the beach or enjoy on the porch. If I were to recommend readings from the Bible to enjoy before the school year amps up, I'd suggest these three:
Psalms -- A collection of prayers and song lyrics written throughout Israel's history that touch on a range of emotions and experiences. You can start anywhere in this book and probably find something that is relevant to your life.
Mark -- The oldest and shortest gospel that emphasizes Jesus' identity through short stories about his ministry, death and resurrection.
Philippians -- A letter to the Christians in Philippi from Paul who was able to maintain a positive attitude even while he wrote to them from jail.
I've been asked which translation I'd recommend. Personally, I use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) but the King James version is good for those who appreciate "thees" and "thous" and the Common English Version is helpful for those who want to read about God in contemporary language.
May we all find time to enjoy learning about and connecting with God by reading Scripture this month.
Rev. Heather Valosin