2017 UMC Annual Conference

Seeking  Lay Delegate for the  New England Annual Conference

The Annual Meeting for the New England Conference UMC will be held June 15-17th at the Radisson Hotel Manchester Downtown, Manchester NH.  The theme for this year’s Annual Conference is: “Vital Conversations: Race.” 

Annual Conference sessions
Each year an equal number of clergy members and lay members attend their conference’s annual conference session for worship, fellowship, and to conduct the business of the conference, which may last 3-5 days. These sessions include reports of past and ongoing work; adoption of future goals, programs and budgets; ordination of clergy members as deacons and elders; and election of delegates to Jurisdictional and General Conferences (every 4 years). The bishop presides over these meetings.”  (UMC website)

WFC has an opening for a Lay Delegate.  Folks who attend annual conference experience a variety of meaningful experiences from great music and worship to inspirational speakers and informative workshops.  Lay delegates to conference must have been members of the United Methodist Church for the 2 years preceding their election and have been active in the UMC for the preceding 4 years.

The cost of attending the conference is paid for by the church.  The deadline for WFC to submit a name is Feb. 1st. For more information, speak to Rev. Barb, Charlie Magill or Carol Bouchard.





Membership Opportunity Coming Soon

All are welcome here at WFC. Being a full member of the church is not a requirement for participation in all aspects of worship, serving on committees, providing outreach and service to others. It is an opportunity to make a public statement of Christian witness.

If you are new to the church community, or have been worshiping with us for years, and are interested in joining the church, there will be an informational meeting Feb. 5th in the sitting room, beginning right after worship and concluding at noon. Child care will be available.

At this meeting you will learn more about what church membership means, hear a bit of the history of WFC and our denominational connections to the United Methodist and the United Church of Christ and have an opportunity to meet with others.

If you are interested in attending and would like a “Membership Information Packet” in advance, please speak to Pastor Barb or a member of the Membership Committee: Carol Bouchard, Carol Burbank, Ruth Magill or Vicki Trueman.

Pastor Barb’s Message 1/20/17

Grace and peace!

Today is the inauguration of a new president.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes takes this opportunity to ponder a different inauguration: our commitment to live a faithful life, focused on loving God and others and self, dedicated to serving Jesus in the least among us, offering the Spirit of Grace and Justice to the world.  May these words help to center us in our faith, even in complicated and uncertain times.  May they help us be true to our deepest citizenship: members of the body of Christ.

Today, God, you create me anew;
today I inaugurate a new life.
By the power invested in me by the Holy Spirit
I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute
your call in my life, and will to the best of my ability
uphold your commandments.
I will act with love and gentleness,
with reverence and forgiveness toward all people.
I will practice humility, generosity and truthfulness.
I will honor and delight in the diversity of the human family,
respecting the true unity of all people
and the oneness and sacred worth of all living things.
I pledge to live, speak and act for justice and peace.
I accept the power you give me
to resist evil, injustice and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves.
I will stand against all violence, disrespect and bullying.
I will speak out against meanness,
give voice to those who are silenced,
and include those who are outcast.
I acknowledge that I shine with your light, O God,
that my life is not mine but yours.
This day I pledge to do your will, not mine,
for your sake and the sake of the healing of the world.
I understand that this pledge
will often set me against my culture,
and that the culture will resist me.
With your help and those of like mind and heart,
I will persevere.
I give you thanks. I ask your blessing. I trust your grace.

The Trustees Work on the Fellowship Attic

Gil Rodes, Will Metro, Paul Bouchard, also Don Thurston and Tony Lamb ( not pictured)

Most Wednesday and Saturday mornings, a group of folks are working to re-insulate the ceiling of the Fellowship Hall.  Insulation comes in standard widths and is expected to fill the gap between beams that run the width of areas like the Fellowship Hall.   Above the Fellowship Hall, engineered beams were used instead of standard with lumber.  These beams look like the iron I-beams we are all familiar with.  They tend to be stronger and cheaper than standard lumber.

Unfortunately, their body is narrower than the standard beam and when placed at standard widths, and insulated with standard insulation, they leave a gap making it easier for heat to escape into the unheated attic.  The Trustees solution to this is remove the existing fiber glass insulation and place a proper width of one inch foam board insulation between the beams.  To add a two and half inch piece of foam board insulation along the side of the beam to fill the gap and then replace the fiberglass insulation.  The result is a much better level of insulation.

Over the years several uses for the space above the Fellowship Hall, which was originally engineered and built with future expansion in mind, have been proposed.  One of the first was for a space for us to host Disaster Relief volunteers.  Another was for new space for the Day Care.  Yet another that was explored was for additional classroom space and a choir room.  Trudi Anderson was kind enough to draw details for each of these plans.  Certain constants in these designs suggested changes that have been incorporated into the present work, including location of a new electrical panel, and additional structural beams.  In additional the location of possible shower, kitchen or bathroom facilities have been identified. This has allowed the scope of the present work to include the creation of a ramp for access, the installation of a new electrical panel and the placing of appropriate subflooring in the space.

As future uses for the space become more concrete and funding becomes available a good deal of the preparatory work will have already taken place.

To date roughly two thirds of the insulation is complete and one quarter of the subflooring is in place.  Now that the time consuming early work is complete and we have areas to work off of in the attic, we expect the remainder of the work to go quickly.

The Trustees recognize that this work and this investment in energy savings could not have taken place without your contributions during Lent 2016 to our project fund and we thank you.


Search Committee Begins Reviews

 Review of Candidate Profiles.

The Search Committee has begun the next phase of the process of calling a settled Pastor.

After we submitted the “profile” of our church, the denomination posted a cover letter we had written, together with two photos we submitted on their website.  Prospective candidates can search the website for opportunities that they are interested in.   If our church meets their search criteria, they read what in essence is a summary of our profile.  If they have interest they can then request a copy of our full profile which is sent to them electronically.  It they are still interested they can then request a copy of their own Pastoral Profile be forwarded to us.  The conference reviews their profile first to be sure that it is complete.  Up to this point we are not aware of names or number pastors expressing interest.

Our profile was “published” in early December, and with the busy Christmas season  we are very happy to have ten profiles to “read”.  Going forward, each week the Conference will forward additional profiles as they come in.

Pastoral Profiles are a form devised by the UCC for this process just as the Church profile is a form that must be followed.  It contains the usual resume information, like education and work experience and names of references. (For a more complete description of what they contain, please refer to the guide “How to Read a Pastoral Profile” we have been provided with in the Search Committee section of the website.)

However, they also include more complex information.

There is a section labeled “Ministerial Essays”.  The essay questions reference The Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers at the United Church of Christ.  The Marks are criterial for what the UCC believes makes for a successful UCC minister.  While the process is relatively new, the goal is to use these criteria for evaluating and helping minsters have successful ministries.  A copy of a more compete criteria is posted under the Search Committee section of the website.

The first essay begins with standard language:  “My sense of being called by God and the church to authorized ministry (from the “Spiritual Foundation for Ministry” section of The Marks”, followed by a quarter page personal essay.

The second essay is similar and begins: “My concept of Covenant and how it informs the nature, purpose and polity of the UCC  ….”  The third essay begins: “I am passionate about   . . . “.

The fourth essay is based on one of The Marks chosen by the candidate.

In addition to the standard educational information the Profile also asks for relevant professional development taken by the candidate.  Candidates are also asked to describe three of their key accomplishments.

The names and addresses of three references are included.  These folks provide answers to four questions.   Those providing references are asked to 1. Describe their role and relationship to the Minister, 2. This mister’s areas of strength in the practice of ministry as I experience them are, 3. Some areas of improvement in this minister’s practice of ministry and in my experience of them are, 4. Describe a significant experience you have had of this person in ministry.  There is also a place for additional comments.

The Candidate then provides a “Self-Appraisal” answering the same questions.

There is then a page labeled “Self-Disclosure” which in essence asks about black marks that might be found on their records-employment discipline and terminations, convictions etc.  A criminal background check conducted by the UCC is attached.

The profile is also certified as reviewed for accuracy by the Conference leader currently responsible for the candidate.

The current plan is for each member of the Search Committee to read each profile and evaluate it against the criteria set out in our church profile.  We, as a group, and working with consensus, will then put them into one of three categories: interested, not sure, and not interested.  Those in whom we show interest will be asked to submit additional information, including sermons.  Once that information is received the candidates status will again be reviewed and a decision made as to whether to move forward with interviews and reference checks for each candidate.

We expect that groups of candidates will be progressing along different places in this process at the same time.

We hope to keep you informed as we move along.  We thank you for your continued prayers and support .        ~        The Search Committee



Pastor Barb’s Message 1/15/17

Grace and peace!

 I slept and dreamt that life was joy.  I awoke and saw that life was service.  I acted and behold, service was joy.                               Rabindranath Tagore

We are beginning a new adventure at Williston Federated Church:  for the next few months we will take turns sharing our gifts and passions with the children of WFC, working together to provide a multi-faceted, diverse education experience for our Sunday School.

Each of us has gifts from God that we offer in service to the world around us.  Some of us cook; some build; some paint; some sing; some travel; some garden.  And that’s only the tip of the iceberg of the myriad gifts present at WFC!  Each of you can tell stories of how, when you offer yourself in service, you do not just help others. You also receive blessings from those you serve, and the satisfaction and joy of using your God-given talents.

As you may already know, at the end of 2016 Karen Allen stepped down from the position of Christian Education Coordinator, after several years of faithful and dedicated service (Thank you, Karen!).  At this time, no one has come forward to this position.  So the Christian Ed committee is inviting persons in congregation to spend one Sunday with the Sunday School, sharing something they feel passionate about and how it relates to their faith.  This weekly sharing will happen in the months of February – May (Susan Lamb is working with the Sunday School during January, to give time to set up the teaching rotation).  During last Sunday’s worship I offered this invitation to the congregation, and we already have about half the Sundays covered.

Today I’m making that invitation again.  What do you love to do?  What activity makes you glad to be alive and glad to be part of God’s world?  Will you spend one Sunday sharing that activity and love with our Sunday School children?

The Christian Education committee and I will work with you to develop your passion into a 45 minute Sunday School program.  There are craft supplies and audiovisual resources available, and folks from Christian Ed will be available on Sunday mornings to help.  We’re asking for programs that are particularly relevant to elementary and middle-school age children, though you’re welcome to include the youngest four-year-olds also.

I believe this rotation benefits WFC in many ways.  It offers the children a wide experience of all the ways that God works through us to bring love to the world.  It offers the adults a chance to share their passion and their faith, which deepens and enriches our own sense of being part of God’s purposes.  It connects us to each other across generations and interests so that we come to know each other better and experience the rich diversity present in this church.

What gift do you have to offer?  How will you be part of this adventure? Sign up on the bulletin board at church, or send me an email at barblemmel@mac.com, or be in touch with the church office.  Be part of what God is creating at WFC!

Pastor Barb’s Message 1/8/17

Grace and peace!

The 11th-century Christian mystic, Hildegard of Bingen, described time as “the ever- turning wheel / of holy divinity.” Today, January 6, is a particularly significant turn on that wheel: today we move from the twelve days of Christmas into the season of Epiphany. Today marks the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Today, we leave the stories of Jesus’ birth, star-filled and angelic, and move into the stories of his life and ministry.

This Sunday we’ll make a real and physical shift from Christmas-time to “ordinary time”: the Christmas greens will be up in the sanctuary and around the church when we arrive, and at the end of the worhsip service we’ll share in taking them down. We’ll take down the Christmas decorations and the wall sconces. We’ll put wreaths and garland into plastic bags. We’ll pack up the ornaments on the Giving Tree and bring the bare tree outside. In doing so, we do more than just clean up the church; we make space for God’s new revelation, God’s epiphany in our church and in our hearts. We get ready for this year’s journey of faith, and take the first steps together.

I look forward to sharing this “de-greening” with you! And I look forward to our journey together as “the ever- turning wheel / of holy divinity” moves into Jesus’ adult life and ministry.

Pastor Barb

2016 Christmas Pageant

The Christmas pageant at church on Sunday, December 18, was recorded by Dean Lewis.    It is no where near professional quality, but you can see the kids and hear the music.  

Below is a link to the video. If you think anyone would like to see it, you are welcome to share the link. The video is “unlisted” so you have to have the link to view it. It will not show up by a search.

https://youtu.be/GU6S6dLjcIA                                      Courtesy of Heather