Thursday Newsletter - October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020       Thursday Newsletter
FAITH & PUBLIC ISSUES continues this fall
Over the last five weeks, a group of our members have been meeting under the auspices of the "Faith and Public Issues” forum, first organized in the Fall of 2016. We explored together issues central to the current election and to our nation’s life, including: voting rights; mail-in/absentee voting; racial justice; and, the stance of those seeking office this term on various public issues (assisted by information from the League of Women Voters). We are scheduling our next meeting on Tuesday evening, Nov. 10, at 7 pm; an invitation to this Zoom discussion will be sent out the preceding week.We also hope to sponsor regular Zoom Webinars, inviting various public officials and leaders (regional, statewide, and national) to address our forum, with brief presentations followed by discussion among participating members. We would welcome your participation and input as we move forward. If you'd like to be included, call the office to be added to the Zoom invitation list: 236-4821.
Roy Hitchings and Mark Burrows
Please click here to see an informative flyer on this year's election, from League of Women Voters, Midcoast Maine. Some highlights are:
This election is different in so many ways due to COVID-19.
* Selected establishments will have printed voter guides
* Voter guides are available on-line at
* Access additional voter information provided below:
Access the 2020 Election League of Women Voters’ Voter
Guide on-line at Get information on how to
register and how to vote.
Visit to get up to the minute
information on how Maine is making voting safe and secure for
the November 3rd Election.
Please contact the League of Women Voters – Midcoast at if you need printed Voter Guides or have questions.
News from UCC:
Tell Senators: Support Debt Cancellation and Foreign Aid
The coronavirus pandemic could force as many as 150 million people into extreme poverty by 2021, according to a recent report by the World Bank. This would be the first increase in two decades. Likewise, the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize winning UN World Food Programme (WFP) has reported that the number of people facing starvation could double, possibly reaching a quarter of a billion people by the end of 2020. The challenges we face at this moment as individuals, as a nation, and as a global community are immense. Now is a time to come together and make sure that the most vulnerable are protected, both in our immediate circles and around the world. To do so, we must address the structural and historic economic issues that perpetuate inequality and poverty. We need debt cancellation and increased aid to support developing countries in need. 

This coming weekend (October 16-18th) is Jubilee Weekend, a time when communities of faith around the U.S. highlight issues of global poverty and debt in partnership with Jubilee USA. This weekend is also the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meetings which will be addressing issues of extreme poverty and the global economic crisis. 

Now is a critical time to call for debt cancellation, increased foreign aid in COVID supplemental legislation, and the issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) by the IMF to address the global humanitarian crisis. SDRs are special bonds that the IMF can issue (grants, not loans) and would not cost the U.S. anything. They were issued in 2009 to address global financial crises and as much as $2.3 Trillion could be issued today.   Contact your members of congress today to call for U.S. leadership in combating COVID-19 and addressing the impact it has had on the world’s most vulnerable.
For More Information:
Download the Jubilee Weekend interfaith toolkit with prayers and resources.
Jubilee Weekend 2020: Curing Poverty, Inequality and the Coronavirus
Download the Jubilee Weekend 2020 Guide:

Thanks to all who submitted names of students in boarding schools or colleges.
We are looking for a few more items for the care packages:
·     3-Pack of Microwave Popcorn
·     Multi-Packs of Chewing Gum
·     Mini Hand Sanitizers
·     Hot Cocoa Packets
·     Cash toward postage (in $5 or $10 increments)
Please drop off your items at church by October 20th: call the office 236-4821 to be met at the door.
Thank you from your care package coordinators, Amy Rollins and Bette McFarland
Sunday Hymn History  "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken"
"Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” written by John Newton in 1779, is based on Isaiah 33:20-21, but there are plenty of clear references to other Scriptures as well, which Newton cited in footnotes, such as Psalm 87 (the first two lines of the hymn are nearly a direct quote of Ps. 87:3) and Isaiah 4:5-6 (which is closely paraphrased in the third stanza). This hymn has been called one of Newton's finest hymns, and it is certainly one of his most popular, along with "Amazing Grace” and "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds.”
The most common tune for this text (and the one found in our hymnal) is Franz Joseph Haydn's famous melody AUSTRIA. Haydn was commissioned to write a national anthem for Austria after visiting England, where he’d been asked to report on the great impact "God Save the King” had on the British public. His tune was the national anthem for Austria from its composition in 1797 (with a first performance for the emperor's birthday) until the establishment of the Austrian Republic in 1918 following World War I. Sadly, the German national song "Deutschland über alles” was later paired to this tune and used by the Nazis in World War II, adding some very painful associations to this music. To this day, the singing of it can be difficult for some people. But as we contemporary Christians sing this hymn, we must hold fast to the message in the text we sing, which is to praise God for our redemption into his kingdom … the fact that Hitler once corrupted the hymn for his own purposes cannot destroy the marvelous words from John Newton, nor the beloved melody of Haydn’s tune––one that had entered people’s hearts long before the horrific events of WWII. 

FROM NATHAN  (Matt’s husband, culinary instructor at EMCC)
Nathan’s Friday Fixings: Coq au Vin 
In this recipe, you’re instructed to pat the chicken dry before cooking. And though I would forgo breaking out your finest hand towels for this particular occasion, it is critical that you not skip this step. Simply put, the difference beautifully golden and disappointingly anemic chicken skin is taking that extra moment to pat the chicken dry.
Literally translated to mean "rooster in wine,” Coq au Vin makes a simple and delicious autumn meal.      Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil  
4 chicken legs, divided into thighs and drumsticks, patted dry   
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped  
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped  
2 ribs celery, chopped  
12 ounces white button mushrooms, halved  
8 ounces pearl onions, peeled  
12 cloves garlic, peeled and minced  
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour  
2 tablespoons tomato paste  
3 cups homemade chicken stock, or low-sodium canned chicken broth  
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir  
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked  
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish  
4 ounces bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped, for garnish  
1.      In a stock pot or Dutch oven, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking.  Season all sides of the chicken with salt and black pepper.  Arrange half of the chicken in the pot, and cook until deeply golden brown on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.  Repeat this step with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the other half of the chicken. 
2.     Return the pot to the heat and toss in the chopped onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, and pearl onions.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 5minutes.  Stir in the garlic, flour, and tomato paste, followed by the chicken stock.  Deglaze the pot by using a spoon to scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom. 
3.     Return the chicken to the pot, and add in the wine, thyme, and parsley.  Cover and simmer until the chicken is tender and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce, 1 to 1½ hour(s). Then, remove from the heat and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and cooked bacon.     Copyright © 2011 by Nathan Scott.  All rights reserved.
Upcoming Online Course: A CHURCH HISTORY COURSE led by Prof. Mark S. Burrows, entitled A Short History of Christianity to the Protestant Reformation.
To register and receive a Zoom invitation, call 236-4821 or email the office:
The story of the Church’s emergence and development into a global institution. This six-week online course will run after church on  Sunday mornings from 11 am-noon, on Zoom. We will explore key  dynamics operative in the development of Christianity as a dominant force—for good and ill—in the Eurasian context. This course is designed for those with little or no familiarity with this story. We will begin by considering how a loosely organized "Jesus movement” took on a form that would quickly expand around the Mediterranean, across Europe and the hinterlands of central Asia, eventually establishing itself as a world religion.
Session #1   Nov. 8, 11 am-noon, following worship: Origins. The unlikely story of how an institutional church emerged from the early "Jesus movement”.
Session #2   Nov. 15: 11 am-noon, following worship: Founding Fathers – and Mothers. Martyrs, monks, and mystics.
Session #3   Nov. 22: 11 am-noon, following worship Hierarchies of Order. Patriarchy, women and a feminine spirituality  
The following 3 sessions are yet to be scheduled. Details later.
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
NEEDED: Arline Holt is doing well and working on creating a home in her new Waterville apartment.  She needs a love seat, a small flat screen TV, a DVD and a coffee table.  Should anyone care to donate, we can arrange to get the furnishings to Waterville.  Many thanks, Jeanne Denny for Shields Mission
Enjoy this wonderful fall weather - with its occasional
frosty morning reminding us of what's to come.
Cheers from your church office,

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