2020 Annual Report of the Pastor and Teacher

2020 Annual Report of the Pastor and Teacher

My goodness, what a year it has been! We started the year with amazing celebrations. Pastor Amie McCarthy, who had been working with us for more than a year and was called to serve the First Congregational Church in Spencer, MA in October 2019, was officially ordained on January 5, 2020 at Second Congregational Church in Attleboro. The celebrations continued with an amazing Thank You Luncheon in February that honored and lifted up the dedicated and hard-working congregation that we have.

As the Season of Lent began, we turned our focus to “Learning to Live Freely and Lightly” as each week we learned about new spiritual practices to incorporate in our lives. A new Confirmation class also began as we looked forward to celebrating Confirmation with Tessie Vogler and Allison Cundiff in the spring. Plans were in place to continue celebrating our amazing congregation through faith filled fellowship, fundraising, and mission opportunities, but then the pandemic came.

Now it would be easy to turn our positive energy and celebration around and talk about the struggle, the frustration, and the things that we had to go without, but in Oldtown we do our best to always look for the silver lining and the abundant gifts that God is giving us, even when we really need to search for them.

On March 13, 2020, the doors of our church building were closed. On March 15, 2020 we worshipped via an email that was sent out with a printed message that contained links to music and other thought-provoking videos. On March 22, 2020 we experienced our first Oldtown virtual worship service, which at the time, we had no idea would continue throughout the year.

So, what have we learned? We have learned that the church is not a building and that whether we are gathered or scattered, we are the church. We have learned that we are all sanctuaries of God’s grace, just as are and that when we look through the eyes of faith, we can see Glimpses of Grace all around us. Our eyes were opened to the fact that some of the things that we always thought had to be done a certain way, can actually mean more when we attempt them in new ways, especially online communion, Zoom meetings and virtual coffee hour. In September, Household Huddle moved online, and at Christmas we celebrated Christmas Eve with our first virtual Christmas Pageant.

Has it been the same? Absolutely not. But we have tried our very best to continue to bring the light of Christ to the darkness of the world around us.

During the year, our hearts were broken yet again with the passing of Dorothy Sutherland, Richard Teter and June Clavette, along with many other friends and family members. We look forward to the day that we can celebrate them in our sanctuary when it is safe to do so.

Friends, I cannot thank you all enough for your prayers, your patience, your strength, your hard work, your feedback, your faith, your generosity, and your continued dedication to our church. Thank you everyone that has reached out to one another. Thank you to our Church Committee that has dedicated themselves to weekly and biweekly meetings through the year, our buildings and ground ministry that has kept our church building safe, secure, and up to date, our musicians that have not only shared their gifts but have learned new ways of recording and sharing their music, all of our officers and ministries that have used their imaginations and learn new ways to do the work of the church, and our entire congregation for not only adjusting to online worship, but sharing it with their family and friends! That is just another gift that this pandemic has awarded us, our worship is now seen worldwide!

And finally, a little closer to home, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my husband Dan, who stepped in and learned how to not only record and upload worship, but volunteered hours and hours every week to creatively edit it and present it in a
professional manner.

Would I have ever asked for a year like this? No! But sometimes it is during difficult times that we learn more about who we are. There is a quote by Anaïs Nin that speaks clearly to me as to what we have experienced as a church this year. As I told you, we began the year with amazing celebrations; well I leave you with this quote that opened my eyes to the ultimate celebration of the Oldtown Church in the year 2020. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to

Thank you for your courage to blossom! Who knows what this next year will bring, but I assure you, if we all put aside our fear and step forward in faith, we’ll find a way to continue blossoming together!

Blessings of peace and safety to all of you!
Pastor Kelly