Spring and Summer Worship Schedule

We appreciate everyone’s flexibility as we have found our way since pandemic and since we stopped our collaboration with our two sister churches West Stockbridge and Richmond and resumed worship in Canaan as of last September. We are hoping to begin a more consistent structure to our worship schedule going forward starting this month.

The Church Council met with Rev. Quentin Chin who has agreed to extend his consulting contract with us through September 2024. The Search Committee has revised our Profile so we can officially go back into the Search Process.

We anticipate changes when we have significant church holidays like Christmas, Easter and Pentecost however the rough framework is as follows:

1st Sunday: Worship with communion led by pastor with music
2nd Sunday: Zoom worship only, lay led
3rd Sunday: Worship led by pastor with music
4th Saturday: 4 PM Reflection and Pot Luck supper (No Sunday Service)

– Jay Aronson

Canaan UCC Ambassadors Again Support “Trail Magic” with other Congregations on June 18

Canaan UCC Ambassadors Again Support "Trail Magic" with other Congregations on June 18

Begun in 2018 as a shared ministry of two Sheffield churches, First Congregational Church, UCC and Christ Trinity Church (Episcopal and Lutheran), “Trail Magic” is back for its sixth season and we’re inviting you to share it with us.

Once again, Josh, Jennifer and I will be greeting the hikers who have been enduring the mosquito infested swamps preceding Sheffield as they head north on the Appalachian Trail. We welcome any other members of the congregation to join us for a day of extending hospitality and kindness from 10 am to 3 pm.

The host churches do all the shopping for supplies. We just show up and set up to greet and serve the food, which for these hungry hikers may be the first grilled burger/veggie burger they have had in days. Some cool water, iced tea, watermelon, even pickles can satisfy those calorie starved walkers.

Our visitors may linger if they wish in chairs with arms, something a weary hiker appreciates after days of sitting on the ground. The large tarp overhead offers shelter from the rain or the hot sun for a brief respite.

This is a wonderful opportunity for us to be of service, to engage and welcome strangers into the Berkshires. Often, we are regaled with amazing stories, listening contentedly. Trail Magic also provides the chance to collaborate with our sister churches which is a way of living out our covenant within the Berkshire Association.

– Jay Aronson

Life Saving or Life Giving

Cover of Atul Gawande's book "Bring Mortal"

Canaan UCC began its a six-week community read program of Atul Gawande’s book, “Being Mortal” on Friday May 17 at 9:30 AM.

The next discussion group meets on:

  • May 31, Chapter 3: Dependance
  • June 7, Chapter 4: Assistance and Chapter 5: A Better Life
  • June 14, Chapter 6: Letting Go
  • June 21, Chapter 7: Hard Conversations and Chapter 8: Courage.

Participants should purchase their own copy and read chapter the assigned chapter/s before the each session. If you have missed a session, would like to attend, but cannot attend all of them, come anyway.

Gawande, a surgeon, realized that the typical practice of medicine pushes aside mortality, which can lead to aggressive treatment towards the end of life. Many of us have stories of people we knew whose aggressive medical interventions, though lifesaving, brought a diminished quality of life. The book covers many people and situations to frame life while living with physical decline. Poignantly, as a thread, he wrote about his father, also a surgeon, who facing his own life-threatening condition found meaning for his life, even as his surgical days ended.

The Rev. Quentin Chin, Canaan’s pastor, is leading these sessions. Rev. Chin has served HospiceCare in the Berkshires as a spiritual counselor for over thirteen years. He has walked with people through the end of their lives regardless of their religious beliefs, even people with no belief. He believes that when we come to grasp fully the reality of our mortality, our lives will be richer leading to a more fulfilling life.

One Great Hour of Sharing: Another Strong Response from the Congregation

Donations to our month-long One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering were extremely generous during March 2024. We are happy to report that the congregation contributed $310 to this global mission of the United Church of Christ. Your gifts are more important than ever during this time of unprecedented natural disaster, war and social upheaval.

Your generous gift to One Great Hour of Sharing enables our church and our worldwide partners to make a difference in lives and communities around the world. Together, we are responding to disasters, supporting sustainable farming, education, and health initiatives, as well as pitching in to assist people fleeing violence from their home communities.

Thanks to all who contributed to this worthy mission.

– Ed Fallon, for the Missions Team

Life Saving or Life Giving

Cover of Atul Gawande's book "Bring Mortal"Canaan UCC will begin a six-week community reading program of Atul Gawande’s book “Being Mortal.” It will take place on Friday mornings beginning on May 17 at 9:30 AM and run on consecutive Fridays through June 21.

Gawande, a surgeon, realized that the typical practice of medicine pushes aside mortality, which can lead to aggressive treatment towards the end of life. Many of us have stories of people we knew whose aggressive medical interventions, though lifesaving, brought a diminished quality of life. The book covers many people and situations to frame life while living with physical decline. Poignantly, as a thread, he wrote about his father, also a surgeon, who facing his own life-threatening condition found meaning for his life, even as his surgical days ended.

The Rev. Quentin Chin, Canaan’s pastor, will lead these sessions. Rev. Chin has served HospiceCare in the Berkshires as a spiritual counselor for over thirteen years. He has walked with people through the end of their lives regardless of their religious beliefs, even people with no belief. He believes that when we come to grasp fully the reality of our mortality, our lives will be richer leading to a more fulfilling life.

Participants should purchase their own copy and read chapter one before the first session. If you would like to attend, but cannot attend all of them, come anyway.

Be Part of the Big Picture

At the annual meeting you see folks you know from local Berkshire churches in Pittsfield, Williamstown, and other local towns, but also you ‘ll meet some from Rhode Island and Connecticut as well as from the rest of Massachusetts. At the meeting we get to listen and learn from people about activities, initiatives, and ideas happening in their congregations. We also get to attach faces to names we have only heard about, especially those people who can be particularly helpful as a resource. Plus, annual meeting worship is always innovative and topics for presentation and discussion are typically thought-provoking and informative. Typically, attendees leave filled with new ideas, exciting possibilities, and renewed passion for what the church can be.

A topic for particular discussion will be around the UCC’s WISE program. WISE is an acronym for Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged. Specifically WISE seeks to address mental illness. Like ONA, WISE is intentional. It encourages congregations and conferences along a path of exploration, conversation, and education to increase awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness.

We can send up to three delegates. Won’t you consider going since I cannot? Your fees and travel are reimbursed by the church. Attending by Zoom is an option as well. If you would like to attend, please let Jay or Quentin know. You can get more information and register for the meeting by clicking on the following 5th Annual Meeting of there Southern New England Conference.

Stocking the Chatham Food Pantry

Many Columbia County residents rely on local food pantries to ensure they are getting their basic nutritional needs met. However, as food is their focus and many people and organizations support pantries with food donations, they usually offer few staples such as toilet paper, toothpaste, diapers, laundry detergent, wet wipes, etc.

Furthermore, SNAP (the federal food program previously known as “Food Stamps”) does not cover non-food items. Understanding this need, Canaan Congregational has stepped up and created a drop off center for residents to make donations of such dry goods.

Both a large wicker basket, inside the entrance hall of the Church by the the office door, and a plastic bin outside the church on the porch, have been installed by the congregation to collect such items which are delivered to the Chatham Food Pantry weekly. Please join us and help our neighbors by contributing to this important initiative.

Canaan Congregational Church – May 2024

welcome

We just emailed the second installment of our ongoing newsletter campaign for Canaan UCC. Our goal is to keep the community and surrounding towns informed through news items, feature articles, event announcements, notices of seasonal activities, profiles on our residents, and more. Recently, we determined the frequency of our publication will ultimately transition to a bi-monthly one.

Additionally, we have connected our website and our Facebook page with the newsletter, and will be expanding further into the social media world and adding Instagram.

Please feel free to share any announcements, missives, and tidbits with us at: . And if you haven’t yet signed up for our newsletter, please send a note to the above email address, as well, and we’ll add you to the list.

After all, the community is our collective eyes and ears!

Free Seminar: Downsizing and Decluttering – You can’t take it with you

The Canaan UCC invites Columbia County residents and beyond to attend the first installment of the Canaan UCC’s Community Seminar Series entitled, “Downsizing and Decluttering — You Can’t Take It with You,” presented by AARP speaker bureau member Alexandria Douglas-Bartolone. The program will be held at Thursday, May 3 at 10:30am.

A seasoned AARP volunteer of more than 15 years, Douglas-Bartolone will inform, entertain, and prepare attendees to eliminate excess items we don’t need in our living space. As a result, participants will come away with practical, easy-to-follow tips on downsizing and decluttering that they can put into action right away. Admission is free and open to the public.