First Parish family, there has been a lot of activity at the church this year, and now that we are almost halfway through the year, I thought a recap might be helpful.

Starting last summer, a sign committee was formed in order to study the possibility of purchasing a new modern, digital sign for the front of the church. Steve Gates, Jolyn Foster, Wayne Cocorochio, Courtney Hatheway and I were on the original committee, Gene Mullen joined us after the passing of Steve Gates. After many months and many meetings and estimates, we hope to present a sign option to the church later this month for congregational approval.

At the Annual Meeting, the church approved a budget approving an Associate Pastor for Children’s and Family Ministry. A search team was formed with, Doug Jackson and Angelin Cocorochio as co-chairs, along with Kellie Roden, Donna Nicolai, Julie Bohn, Wayne Cocorochio and I am on board in an advisement role. We are making progress and are praying that God will lead us to the right person by fall or the end of the year.

The Trustees have been very busy updating the bathrooms and renovating the third floor. Great progress has been made. We also filled a part time media position, hiring Brian Foster who is working with Claire Barden and others in updating our media presence.

The Outreach Committee has added three new missions: Amirah, a group which ministers to rescue women who have been forced into human trafficking. Also, Bruce and Wendy DeVries with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), and Roberta Peabody, missionary to Japan with TEAM. Amirah came to our church in April, and we got to meet Bruce and Wendy in May, and on June 12th, Children’s Day, Roberta Peabody will join us.

Thankfully, and despite COVID, we have witnessed our attendance moving up. We have seen many new faces, and we have been able to increase our giving, as many are taking advantage of donating online, which some find very convenient. At the time of writing this, however, we are experiencing a deficient partly due to unexpected roof repairs along with the rising cost of fuel and utilities. Moving forward, we are grateful that monies were provided for much of the renovations and for a new sign, but we hope and pray that we will continue in our faithful tithing as we anticipate adding an associate pastor to our growing staff.

2022 so far has been an ambitious year. Steps of faith taken one after another in order to bring about updates to the building, our media presence and staffing needs, trusting that God will continue to encourage us as we strive to move forward during difficult times. As your Pastor, I am thankful for all of you who are supporting First Parish and thankful for the direction of our congregation. Let us all continue in prayer and faithfulness as we seek God’s best for the future.

Pastor John