Arts & Faith: Advent

Virtual Event: 4 Wednesday evenings, Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22 at 7pm, on Zoom.

Prepare for Christmas and deepen your experience of the Advent season this year with Arts & Faith: Advent. Each Wednesday evening we’ll watch a video commentary produced by Loyola Press about a work of art inspired by the Sunday Scriptures. We’ll use these videos to take a new look at this season of hope and preparation through the lens of sacred art.

Each video features the commentary of Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, assistant professor of liturgy, catechesis, and evangelization at Loyola University New Orleans. She holds a bachelor’s degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree in liturgy from St. John’s University in Collegeville, a master’s degree in religion and the arts from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in theology and education from Boston College. Her unique background in faith and art brings to life a new way of celebrating Advent and understanding the season on a more personal level.

This series is sponsored by the Creating Space Collective, offered by the Canaan Congregational Church to cultivate an openness to the sacred, and encourage people to communicate with one another through the medium of artistic expression. All are welcome. Registration is required.

To register, please visit After you register, the Zoom link will be sent to you a few days before the first session. 

The Power of Kindness: Jazz Liturgy Service in Stoddard Park

The Canaan Congregational Church UCC, in collaboration with the Town of Canaan, will hold a Midday Jazz Liturgy service of prayer, poetry, and music on Saturday, September 20, at 1 p.m. at Stoddard Field, Canaan.

Featuring local musicians Catherine Schane-Lydon and Pete Toigo, the theme for this musical gathering is the “Power of Kindness.”

Attendance is limited to 50 people in keeping with New York State COVID-19 guidelines. Bring your own chair as seating will not be provided. Registration is required for contract tracing purposes and can be completed using this link:

Poster of Power of Kindness midday jazz liturgy with date and time and place and musicians

Obituary: Rev. Dr. Charles “Charlie” Close

The Rev. Charles C. Close, pastor of the Canaan Congregational Church in Canaan, NY, died on Thursday, April 23, 2020 after a brief illness. His loss comes on top of many others for the small Southern New England Conference church: three other men active in the life of the congregation have passed since the church stopped in-person worship in March, although none were lost to COVID-19.

In addition, the church lost its building to a fire in the fall of 2017; they constructed a new building and moved back in December, 2019.

Associate Conference minister Jill Graham met with the congregation via Zoom following their pastor’s death. During the month of May, Quentin Chin – Interim Pastor at First Congregational Church of Southampton – will offer online worship with the congregation each Sunday.

Rev. Close – Charlie – was well known around the Conference, having served many congregations throughout the New England area including Immanuel Community Church, Concord NH; Central Congregational Church, Orange, MA; Union Congregational Church, Rockville CT; North Falmouth Congregational Church, North Falmouth MA; and Wilbraham United Church, Wilbraham MA; before coming to the Canaan church. He led congregations in a variety of settings and valued each one as unique and beautiful.

He was the beloved husband of the Rev. Jane Tanaskovic Brady-Close, devoted father of Jennifer Close-Conlon (Josh Conlon) and Steven Close (fiancée Lisa Reburn), grandfather of David, Xander, Aylah, and Samuel. Charlie is also survived by his loving sister Joy Close (Susan O’Loughlin), nieces, a nephew, and cousins. Charlie was predeceased by his wife Karen Mackie Close, son David Charles Close, and sister Elizabeth Close.

Born the son of Charles Walker and Betsy Cade Close, Charlie grew up in Levittown, NY, and Wellesley, MA. He was a graduate of Boston University School of Education, and Andover-Newton Theological School (MDiv, DMin), where he was a member of the Jonathan Edwards Honor Society.

Charlie’s greatest delight was time with family and friends. He also appreciated music, theater, design, and the beauty of the natural world. He relished people and gatherings and offering the hospitality of his home. He loved to sing and play the guitar, had a stellar wit, and was a true and faithful friend. Charlie had the gift of warmth and was a calming presence, serving many as wise counsel and witness through life’s moments and challenges. His life was a testimony to God’s love and grace.

Prior to his seminary education, Charlie was a special needs teacher for the Ipswich MA, public schools, camp waterfront director, swimming instructor and coach. He was an advocate for the needs of others, serving in a faithful, kind, professional, and hands-on manner, rooted in his sense of the binding of heart and soul in covenantal relationships and in prayerful discernment.

Active in the broader United Church of Christ, he served on the Massachusetts Conference Board of Directors, in leadership roles in the Barnstable and Franklin Associations, and as consultant for Partners in Education. He also served his beloved Star Island Community on the Star Island Corporation Board of Directors and Finance Committee, and as a long-standing All Star I Conference Minister and teacher.  Some years ago, Charlie wrote: “Well, I’ve led some pretty spectacular services, speaking to hundreds of people, and hearing incredible music. But my most meaningful experiences happen in those quite moments where God’s love and grace shine through.”

Those who so desire may make donations in memory of Charlie to the Star Island Annual Fund, Morton-Benedict House, 30 Middle Street, Portsmouth NH 03801 (Star Island being a place of refreshment and learning for generations of the Close family) or to Canaan Congregational Church, PO Box 66, Canaan NY 12029 (Charlie’s congregation at the time of his death, where he lovingly led them in their efforts to rebuild following a devastating fire).

The interment at Belleville Cemetery, in Newburyport, MA will be private due to COVID-19 social distancing and gathering limitations. Plans for a memorial service will be shared when we are all able to gather again and enjoy a celebration of his life.

Weekly Devotionals

While we are unable to be together as a church family, Rev. Close is posting a weekly devotional on the Canaan Congregational Church Facebook page (at Facebook, scroll down to “Videos” and click on “Greetings and Devotions”):

Devotionals will continue to be posted until the congregation can meet together again in the church. Coming up are

  • April 5—Palm Sunday Devotional with Home Communion
    Palms will be placed against the front door of the church for anyone who would like to swing by and pick up a palm for their home devotional.
  • April 9—Maundy Thursday Devotional sharing Jesus’ Last Supper and Passion
  • April 12—Special Easter Devotional
  • April 19—Second Sunday of Easter Devotional
  • April 26—Third Sunday of Easter Devotional