God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.Psalm 46 (NRSV)
In challenging times such as these, it is important to remember that we can rely on God’s presence and accompaniment. It is also important that we take care of ourselves, and our neighbors. We know that God’s unconditional love and presence remain constant. One other thing we know is that, in times like these, good information is essential. We will do our best to keep this page updated with updates from Oldtown along with a list of other resources and information available online.
May 22, 2020
OLDTOWN CHURCH BUILDING REMAINS CLOSED
Lots of questions have been raised recently in response to announcements by local and national politicians regarding “re-opening” efforts. At Oldtown, we have always viewed the services we provide as “essential,” and we are still providing them even as our building remains closed in consideration of the safety of all of our Oldtown family. In our “Oldtown Update” from today, May 22, 2020, Pastor Kelly said, “In my pastoral opinion, our church family is far too precious to take chances with; so with the support of our Church Committee and our denomination, we will continue to suspend in-person worship for the time being.”
May 21, 2020
SNEUCC INTERVIEWS MARY LUTI AND REV. TIMOTH SYLVIA
Each week, the Bridge Conference Ministers of the SNEUCC hold a video conference to discuss topics related to our current situation. This week’s presentation includes two guests – the retired Rev. Mary Luti, who has spoken at Oldtown before, discusses her experiences having just returned from being on lockdown in Spain for nine weeks, and Rev. Timoth Sylvia from the Newman Congregational Church discusses his church’s decision to suspend gathering in their church building for at least the next year, as mentioned below. Rev. Luti’s segment begins at around 6:00 and Rev. Sylvia’s around 22:15.
May 19, 2020
SNEUCC ADVISES CHURCHES NOT TO RESUME IN-PERSON WORSHIP
On Tuesday, May 19, the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ (SNEUCC)–to which Oldtown belongs–reiterated their position that conference churches should hold off on resuming in-person worship at least until the end of the summer. In their announcement, they referenced guidance from the State of Massachusetts and the response of the Massachusetts Council of Churches from their press release of the day before discussing their thoughts on re-opening their buildings. The Oldtown Church committee is taking all of this information into consideration as we move forward with our own decisions.
May 19, 2020
UCC EMPHASIZES SAFETY IN RE-OPENING DISCUSSION
The leadership of the wider United Church of Christ released a pastoral letter urging churches to wait until all safety concerns are addressed before returning to meeting in person and to consider the safety and concerns of the entire congregation in their deliberations. They provide links to helpful resources along with wisdom and support through these challenging decisions.
May 11, 2020
NEWMAN CONGREGATIONAL NOT MEETING FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT YEAR
Last week, Rev. Timoth Sylvia from the Newman Congregational Church in Rumford, RI–our “mother” church!–announced that they would not be meeting together in their sanctuary for “at least the next year.” We congratulate Pastor Timoth and his church’s leadership on the courage to make such a difficult decision in the best interest of their church family as we discuss many of the same issues among our church leadership. Read the announcement that was sent to the Newman congregation and some frequently asked questions that explain more of what went into their decision.
May 8, 2020
OLDTOWN CHURCH BUILDING CLOSED AT LEAST THROUGH JUNE 30
At the latest online meeting of the church committee, it was decided that the church will remain closed until at least June 30, and that we will re-assess our plans for re-opening at our June 16 meeting. This means that our Summer Yard Sale and our Chicken Barbecue have been canceled, along with our May and June Pet Clinics. We are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our Oldtown family, and we appreciate your patience. Read this message from our Friday Oldtown Updates announcing the decision.
April 28, 2020
UCC OFFICERS SEND LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR LOCAL CHURCHES
In these times when local churches are facing tough decisions regarding the details and timing of returning to in-person worship and activities in their buildings, the officers of the United Church of Christ sent this letter of support, reminding local churches that we are all working together to find a way through this and to think long and hard about the temptation to rush back into our sanctuaries.
April 23, 2020
PASSING OF DOROTHY SUTHERLAND
We are sad to announce the passing of our own Dot Sutherland. Dot has been a long-time member of our Oldtown family, and she will be greatly missed. Due to gathering restrictions, there will be no public service at this time. But rest assured that when we are able to gather again, we will have a great celebration in her honor. Read her obituary online at the Sperry & McHoul Funeral Home website.
April 14, 2020
MORE OLDTOWN EVENT CANCELATIONS
As our “sequestering at home” continues, we are sadly announcing the cancelation of our Mothers’ Day Craft Fair, along with our April Coffeehouse and our Spring Yard Sale. We are disappointed that we aren’t able to gather for these events, and we look forward to seeing you all again very soon!
April 10, 2020
THE GREAT FIFTY DAYS DEVOTIONAL
Because many of you have enjoyed our Lenten Devotional emails, we will be continuing to send devotional emails for the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost. If you’re currently on our mailing list for devotionals, you’ll automatically begin receiving them. If not and you’d like to join, email us at email@example.com.
April 7, 2020
Beginning this Sunday, April 12, we will be getting together online each Sunday for a “Resurrection Connection” — a virtual coffee hour for all who worship with us to check in and see each other in this time when we are unable to be together physically. Check your email announcing Sunday’s online worship for the invitation and information. If you’d like to join our email list, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure you’re on the list.
April 2, 2020
HOLY WEEK SERVICES ONLINE
Join us for online worship available on our YouTube channel for Holy Week. Come celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, share the stories of Jesus on Maundy Thursday and His Passion on Good Friday. Then, shout “Alleluia!” with us on Easter Sunday.
March 24, 2020
CHURCH COMMITTEE MEETING WEEKLY ONLINE
Your church committee has decided to continue meeting weekly online using the Zoom online meeting platform. This gives us the opportunity to stay in touch and make sure we are doing everything we can to help support our Oldtown family. We will do our best to communicate through the Friday emails, our Facebook page, and this website.
March 22, 2020
AT-HOME WORSHIP POSTED ON YOUTUBE
We have posted a video for At-Home Worship for Sunday, March 22 on YouTube. Please let us know in the comments or by email what you think and if there is anything we can do better.
March 22, 2020
OLDTOWN HAS A YOUTUBE CHANNEL!
We are proud to announce that we’ve created a YouTube channel for the Oldtown Church! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the channel by clicking the big red SUBSCRIBE button, and click the “bell” icon so you receive notifications every time we post a new video!
March 14, 2020
COFFEE CONNECTION AND COFFEEHOUSE CANCELED
We have canceled Coffee Connection on Wednesday 3/18 and the Oldtown Coffeehouse on 3/20. We hope to resume when it is safe to gather together again.
March 13, 2020 10:00am
IN-PERSON WORSHIP AT OLDTOWN CANCELED FOR 3/15
Regretfully, we will not be worshiping in-person at Oldtown this Sunday, March 15. We will shortly provide more information and resources that will help you worship on Sunday from wherever you are, with that same familiar “Oldtown” that you know and love. Read the letter from Pastor Kelly with this announcement, sent in our Friday Oldtown Update email.
NOTE: Links below will take you off the Oldtown Church website.
- Centers for Disease Control – Coronavirus Webpage
- World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
- State health department webpages:
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut
- General health information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from EverydayHealth.
- Video – Dr. Peter Lin helps separate fact from fiction on the Coronavirus, explaining how the virus spreads, based on the most current information, and how to minimize transmission, and who’s at risk. (5-minute video)
- UCC Churches establish protocols, preach awareness, not panic as COVID-19 cases grow United Church News, March 9, 2020
- Faith, Common Sense, and Reducing Panic (blog by Deborah Ringen, Transitional Minister of Health and Wellness, SNEUCC)
- These insights could help us find a healthy balance of caution and perspective: What This Doctor Wants Us to Know About Our Fears Regarding Coronavirus (March 11, 2020)
- Hand washing Resources: for adults and for kids
- Talking to children about Coronavirus from the Child Mind Institute
- Resources for talking to children from Washington School-based Health Alliance