Thursday Newsletter - September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020    Thursday Newsletter
On Tuesday, September 22, the "Faith and Public Issues” forum resumes its work, offering a six-week program for those interested in exploring the upcoming elections through the lens of our faith. Each week we will be highlighting an online resource (generally, short videos on related topics) and, for those interested in conversation about them, a moderated discussion led by Roy Hitchings and Mark Burrows.  Many church members and friends have asked, "What could we do to educate ourselves about some of the key issues in this very important election?" "How can we advocate for what we believe?" "What does our faith say about this?" The Faith and Public Issues task force got approval from the cabinet on 8/25 to address this issue, resuming work done several years ago during the election cycle. We support inquiry and discussion of important issues facing us in our political life as a nation and community as a legitimate and needed expression of our faith, while simultaneously staying non-partisan on issues and candidates, in abiding by our status as a community of faith. We respect that each of us may approach the topic of politics and faith differently. Please view this as an invitation to discuss how we, in the spirit of our UCC values, might engage our faith in an impactful public life.
To join in these discussions, be in touch with Roy or Mark, or let Becky Brace (church secretary) know that you wish to join the Zoom meetings beginning on Tuesday, September 22, from 7-8:30 pm. 
For Sept. 22:  Topics to be discussed: 1) An introduction to this work and an overview of the UCC website, "Our Faith, Our Vote”  2) "Get Active in the Elections”: What are we allowed to do, and what are we prevented from doing, as a church? What remains for us to do as individuals, acting on our conscience?
     Your church Care Team is seeking submissions of original artwork, poetry, and brief remembrances for inclusion in a booklet being developed for distribution to residents of our community’s congregate care facilities and to members of the UCC family.
     The working title of the booklet is "Wisdom and Comfort in the Time of Covid,” and we’re hoping it will strengthen our church community ties as summer truly winds down and we enter the shorter days of Autumn. Since the Covid shutdown, many of you have put pen to paper or brush to palette seeking out new ways to live, new ways to explore, new ways to "just be” during these challenging times. Please consider submitting your creative work — funny, thought-provoking or both; short, long, or in-between; a painting, a drawing, or sculpture — for possible inclusion in this booklet or in others in the months to come.
     The fruits of your creative spirit will add to the joy and meaning of this church-wide endeavor, especially when the recipients see your name as artist or author, as many will no doubt know you!
     Please send your submissions no later than October 1st to Susan Yoder at If you’re sending artwork, simply take a photograph of your work and email a digital copy to Susan. You do NOT need to submit original art. And if you have questions, give her a call at 703-283-3440.
     Many thanks,
     Claudia Griffiths, Meg Thomas, and Susan Yoder for the Camden UCC Care Team
We have so many AWESOME items in the shop this week! Stop by soon to see for yourself!  We are OPEN 12-3 PM Wednesday-Saturday. 


Sunday Hymn History "We Plow the Fields and Scatter"
Matthias Claudius had no intention of writing a hymn. A German journalist, he was merely writing a poem about a group of peasants gathering for a banquet. The poem, originally entitled "Paul Erdmann’s Fest” in seventeen stanzas, depicts friends coming over to Paul Erdmann’s house and enjoying themselves. It praises both Paul Erdmann for his hospitality and God as the ultimate source of the feast. It was Jane Campbell, a British music teacher, who made the free translation of this poem into its present English form. She contributed it to a new hymnal in 1861, along with some other translations from German. It has become a favorite harvest hymn in modern churches ever since, though it gained new popularity when John Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz included it in their 1960s musicalGodspell. In any era the sentiments are valid … God has given us all the good things we have, and He deserves our thanks. 

Matt’s Hump-Day Ditty:  Kevin Oldham "Symphony for Organ”
This symphony was part of my grad degree recital at Yale. I was desperate to learn and perform a piece of music that very few, if any, would have heard before. For one, it’s a good way to ensure people won’t recognize your mistakes! But two, it’s always extra fulfilling knowing you’re educating the audience, and helping to promote the work of a little-known, but brilliant, composer. In this case, Kevin Oldham had already died of AIDS in the 90s at the early age of 33 after attending the Juilliard School and premiering as the guest pianist with many world renown orchestras. He left this world a year younger than I am now! Dreadfully sad! But he left behind a plethora of piano and choral music, and even this organ symphony. It was never published, but I was able to track down the music through his surviving partner, who later attended my recital when it was performed. And I was reminded of it just this week when Tom Mueller, your former director of music, emailed me to ask if he could have a copy of the music to learn and perform himself. So they'll soon be hearing Kevin Oldham’s triumphant "Symphony for Organ" in California as well––and surely more and more places after that! I hope you’ll take the time to listen to all 50 minutes of it, because it’s magical from start to finish.   
Listen part 1:
Listen part 2:
Listen part 3:

FROM NATHAN (Matt’s husband, culinary instructor at EMCC)
Nathan’s Friday Fixings
I am resolute in my belief that if your child refuses to eat his or her vegetables, it us up to you––the parent––to trick that child into eating them. And that’s where this recipe comes into play. Flavored with garlic and maple syrup, and garnished with crispy bacon and sweet prunes, your child won’t even know that this is actually a vegetable side dish!
Butternut Squash with Bacon and Prunes 
The combination of the sweet prunes and the salty bacon really plays off of each other well in this simple and unexpected side dish. Serves 4, as a side dish
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes  
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled  
¼ cup pure maple syrup  
2 tablespoons olive oil  
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg   
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  
½ pound thick-cut bacon, finely chopped  
½ cup pitted prunes  
½ cup walnut halves (optional)  
12 fresh sage leaves  
1.  Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Combine the butternut squash and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle over the maple syrup  and olive oil.  Season the squash with the nutmeg, salt, and black pepper.  Toss to combine, then spread the squash out into a single layer on a  parchment-lined baking sheet.
2.  Roast the squash in the preheated oven until it begins to brown, about 30 minutes.  Then, sprinkle over the bacon, prunes, walnuts, and sage leaves.  Toss to combine, and continue to roast until the bacon is crispy and the squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes more. 
3.   Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper.  Serve.   
Copyright © 2010 by Nathan Scott.  All rights reserved.
A member has several full and partially full ink cartridges HP #951 that fit HP Office Jet Pro printers 8100, 8610, 8615, 8620, 8625 and 8630. They are free to anyone who can use them. Contact Becky in the office.
Our 2nd Outdoor Worship at Merryspring will occur September 27 at 11 am ~ next week!  We need to keep the number of participants to 50 and require masks. You can sign up for Sept. 27 now. As of this writing we have 22 people, so there is room for you! The seating is 6-8 feet apart and all will wear masks. Come to enjoy a beautiful experience in the fall. Please send your requests to Becky at the office (  NOTE: On Sept. 27 there will also be a Zoom service at 9:30 am.

In this emergency, please remember to continue your weekly contributions by sending them off in an envelope to the First Congregational Church, 55 Elm Street, Camden, ME 04843.  Also, we now have a provision for "e-giving,” and you can go to the homepage on our website ( where you will find our "DONATE” button on the top right.  By pushing that button you can set yourself up to make a gift or you can exercise a myriad of options to give to the church.  If you have any difficulty or questions, call the church office. Your continued financial support is critical at this time because some of our traditional revenue streams (e.g., facility rentals, Heavenly Threads, etc.) will not be coming in while we are closed.  Yet our hardworking staff continues to work tirelessly not only to help the congregation and our towns deal with the crisis, but also to keep alive the sense of hope and community we all find through the lens of our faith. 
 Thank you from your trustees,  John Hufnagel, Chair

OUR PRAYER SHAWL KNITTERS & CROCHETERS CONTINUE TO MEET AND CHAT WEEKLY BY ZOOM. Their beautiful shawls bring comfort to many. They meet Thursdays at noon via Zoom. Yarn and patterns are supplied by the church. There is a new supply of yarn in the closet now, if you're ready to begin a new shawl. Call Becky to be let in.  Call the office 236-4821 if you’d like to be invited to knit and visit together via Zoom.  
Cheers from your church office,

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