From the Pastor’s Pen ~ March 10, 2021

The big news is this – we will be returning to in-person worship services on Sunday, April 11th. Here is the rational:

  1. The Covid case numbers, positivity rate, hospitalization and death rates in Connecticut are the lowest they’ve been since we returned to remote services in October.
  2. The vaccination rate in Connecticut is among the highest in the country.
  3. Members of CCP are increasingly getting vaccinated, and those at highest risk (65 years-old and older) are almost all vaccinated here at CCP.
  4. The concern about the growth of variants has thankfully not matched reality.
  5. The weather is getting warmer, and cases are projected to continue to go down with warmer weather and increased outdoor activity.

As for what our return will look like, we on the Phase Forward committee are ironing out the details still. But in general, this is what it will look like (though subject to change between now and then):

  1. Whenever weather is conducive, i.e., warm and dry, we will worship outdoors on the front green using a speaker system and using a BYOC – bring your own chair – basis. Masks will be required for those not yet vaccinated.
  2. When worshipping inside, the following will be required:

Highly effective masks… We will hand-out KF94 and KN95s along with bulletins

Social distancing… individuals or household units will sit at minimum 6 feet apart

Hand sanitizer… before entering sanctuary and upon exiting

Inserts for hymns… no use of hymnals through summer

HVAC will be turned-off for service… so dress appropriately

No indoor coffee hour… working on possibility of outdoor/courtyard version

As for our children, the school year CE program will not commence until September. There will be a Covid-friendly summer program that Nicole is working on. That said, kids are welcome to come to worship services when we return!!

Again, I want to note, all of the above is subject to change, updating, etc.

Let me wrap up this discussion by saying this – YESSSS!!!!!! It’s finally happening!!!

2021 Easter Plant Sale

We are excited to share that church members will be able to purchase Lilies, Hyacinths, Tulips and Daffodils through C.C.P. for their Easter celebrations.  These beautiful plants are purchased through Karabin Farms in Southington CT.  All plants must be pre-ordered and will be available for curbside pick-up on Saturday April 3rd from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. This year these plants can be purchased in honor, or remembrance, of someone special and will be listed in the Order of Service. The plants are $10 each. 

Also, this year, members will have the option to make a $10 donation in honor, or remembrance, of someone special with the names of the donors and those they are honoring or remembering listed in the Order of Service, but with no plants ordered. 

There will be one line for each donation. Please be sure that you circle Honor or Memory for each notation. This floral ministry of the church is coordinated through the Diaconate and the Minister. 

Please complete the order form below and return it to the Church Office with payment by Friday, March 26, 2021.  No order will be accepted without payment.  You may attach multiple forms together if needed.  Checks (made out to C.C. P.) or Cash will be accepted.

Payment and completed forms can be returned to:

The Congregational Church of Plainville, UCC, 130 West Main Street, Plainville, CT 06062

Please contact the Church Office at churchoffice@uccplainville.org or 860/747-1901 with any questions.  Thank you for participating in this beautiful ministry.

Update & Info

Dear Friends,

Well, as we move into April, we will enter a phase that Nicole nicely described as “ramping up” as we slowly move to a less restrictive mode as we move to a post-pandemic reality.

To be clear, this ramping up will be a safe one. No running on the ramp here! We will be methodical and wise about it. The practical application of this is that we will use the outdoors, taking advantage of the warmer weather of Spring and Summer. This makes sense, right? Ramps are usually outdoors and lead to the front doors of a building.

Here are a couple upcoming events that are indicative of the early phases of the ramp-up to a post-pandemic reality.

This Sunday, March’s Communion Sunday on the 7th, I will be sharing the Communion elements using a drive-thru approach. This is how it will work: I will be on the front steps of the sanctuary with the plate of bread and with the tray of cups. As cars pull-up, I will present the bread and juice along with a printed prayer to folks inside their vehicles with masks on. Folks can then drive to the back parking lot, read the prayer, and prayerfully partake of the elements, maybe with sacred music playing in their car. This will start at 11 am. Our online service will be per usual and include a spiritual Communion prayer as well.

Then for Easter, which is April 4th, we will do what I am calling an Empty-grave Service. Our 10 am service will be as we’ve been doing remote on Facebook. It will amount to a memorial service, a happy Easter memorial service. Then, instead of a graveside service that follows memorial services, we will have an empty-grave service outdoors. It will happen in the front of the church, along West Main. It will be a short service at 11 am. Masks will be required. And it will end with a sharing of the Communion elements. 

What about the weather? Well, we will have some canopy tents for our elderly. But folks will otherwise be encouraged to bring umbrellas. In other words, the outdoors Empty-Grave Service at 11 am on Easter will happen rain or shine. 

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With church business stuff out of the way, I share a memory. Easter mornings as a kid often included coffee and donuts. My father and I loved to go to Sunrise Service on Easter. I loved to go with him. We’d drive from Hudson, New York, our bustling town, to the quiet, rural church we attended in the pre-light dawn. The Catskills in the distance blinded by the night’s remnants. The country roads to Clermont Bible Church just beginning to sense some semblance of the sun not yet risen but rising. 

We’d arrive at the church and join the handful of disciples and sing Easter tunes. “He lives.” “Because He lives.” “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.” “…Alleluia!” 

My dad was always his happiest, even radiant, on holidays. His laugh just a little extra infectious. And the sun would rise, the condensation and cold breaths joining us in the resurrection story. We’d enter the church together for coffee for my dad, chocolate milk for me, and donuts for the both of us. 

Community Mask Event

Many Thanks to everyone who donated and handed out reusable KN95/KF94 masks to Plainville residents this past Saturday, February 27th.

We still have a limited supply of these high quality masks to distribute. Mask pick-up is available during the week by appointment or on Saturdays from 11am – 1pm through the month of March. To schedule an appointment during the week you can contact the Church Office either via phone at 860-747-1901 or email at churchoffice@uccplainivlle.org.

Thank you.

Some of the wonderful volunteers who handed out masks to the community on February 27th.
Each bag included 2 masks, an informational Church flyer and information on how to care for the masks.