Its time to go back home to Haverhill!

home-is-where-the-heart-is-art-home-is-where-the-heart-is-with-heartsDear Family and Friends of Phoenix Rising UCC,

I am writing this letter on behalf of myself and the leadership circle. If you on some level you have been a part of the Phoenix Rising UCC experience I hope you will take the time to read on.

Recently Danny said,  “As long as there is an US there is a Church!”.  I think most of us feel this way!  We have thoroughly enjoyed the space and our time at the Riverwalk, with its sweeping views of the river and wildlife and large hall. We were able to make it a place where worship was different, inclusive, fun and new! Hold event a small place would never have allowed. Nevertheless, it is time to move back to Haverhill!!

In our retreat at the end of May, it was made clear that the Riverwalk was nice but it was not our greatest asset.  Those who participated by consensus, showed that our greatest asset has been our ability to make connections. The second truth that bubbled up, was our desire to go back to Haverhill, where we made our connections with each other and where we still are making connections.

Haverhill, is where Phoenix Rising UCC was born. I believe we are supposed to go back to Haverhill, so that we can rise again and give God all the credit?   “As long as there is an US there is a Church” in essence this is who we are. Together we discovered our belonging to God and each other and our purpose.

I have spent many hours in prayer. Wondering what lay ahead. Wondering what God was trying to teach us.   Our budget over the last five years has been funded by First Congregational Church, Haverhill.  And what a huge blessing it has been!  We would not have become an “US” without this gift!    We have all grown in our understanding of God’s Love and belonging!  Together we have given generously to the best of our ability, whether it was money, sharing our gifts or giving our time.  Praying for each other, supporting each other, growing in our relationships with one another.   Furthermore, we have become an asset to the greater Haverhill community!

It has all been beautiful and good! What price can anyone put on that!   Nevertheless, our funds are not what they used to be grants we applied for did not materialize.  Our financial giving, although generous cannot sustain our current budget. So we need to get creative and be smart moving forward.  In this thought I am asking God to help us focus; help us be aware; help us interact and  help us stay in a place of gratitude rather than the opposite. This posture will continue to help us  keep hope alive, use our imaginations and get creative!

The following things are what we need to do to prepare for our Journey back home to Haverhill.  

  • Our lease ends at the Riverwalk the end of September.
  • I have accepted a position as a Chaplain at Care Dimensions Hospice care. I start August 5th and will be in training for six weeks.
  • We will have our first Worship services In Haverhill beginning September 8th at the Buttonwoods Museum. They are happy to have us back as it brings us full circle where Phoenix Rising UCC Began.  
  • We will be changing the time of worship at the Buttonwoods from 10:00 to 10:30 Am to give us time to set up.
  • The music team will start practicing at my house in September.
  • We are looking for a place where the Phoenix Rising community outreach can meet as well as other small group meetings.
  • I am hoping we can have a home coming/ five-year anniversary event in October (TBA).

The following will be our Church schedule in the coming weeks:

  • August 4th, 11th and 18th We will worship each Sunday at the Riverwalk 10:00 AM.
    • August 18th will be the last Sunday worship at the Riverwalk come help us celebrate the blessing we received there. 
    • August 25th is our Annual Picnic at Kingston State Park. (if you want to be baptized or renew your baptism let me know)
  • To honor all Church volunteers Church is closed on Labor Day week end.
  • Over the next 8 weeks, we will be liquidating some of our physical assets. Keeping what we truly need for our next steps.

“As long as there is an US there is a Church” We know we want regular worship and we want to be able to engage more in the city of Haverhill. This is an exciting time because as we pray we will have the opportunity to see God take our situation and work it all together for Good. May we behold God’s handy work in the coming months.

Thank you,

Pastor Donna 

Reverend Donna Spencer Collins

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