Remember in Prayer
Members of the congregation:  Norm & Betsey Burdick,  Sam Westcott, Maggie Guiden,  Jack Haig, Cecile Love, Polly Roberts(Dalmaso), Wayne Morrison, Brian Young, Norma and Don Quimby, Mary Kirby, Eunice Lapier, Caroline Martel, Mickey Thaisz

Shirley Sylvester, friend of the Congregation
Dick Diest, cousin of Wayne Morrison
Linda Cangelosi,  sister-in-law of Mary Ellen Cangelosi
Charmaine Lapier, sister of Eunice Lapier
Hank Schneider, brother of Mary Ellen Cangelosi
Becky Leto and Judy Bruick, friends of Clare Morrison
Megan Jennings Dostal, friend of Chris van Luling & community
Matt Parker, friend of Chris van Luling
Jenna Fenander, friend of Bridget Spann
Asa Zammuto, friend of Bridget Spann & family
Julia Peele, sister of Bonnie Herr
Mike Kennedy, friend of Clare Morrison
Jessica & Taylor vanLuling,  relatives of Bart & Chris
Paul Hamilton, friend of congregation
Michelle Nicklein, daughter-in-law of Virginia Nicklein
Fred Brill family of Mary Ellen Cangelosi
Victor Fraenckel friend of Bob & Janet Mayer
Cathy Foley, friend of Chris Bradich
Julie Weber, friend of Caroline Martel
Meg Schweitzer, Meg Dodds’ niece
Carol Clement, Mary-Ellen Cangelosi’s sister
Keith Roberts, Polly Roberts’ grandson
Matthew Broderick, Meg Dodds’ cousin’s son
Joan  & Ed Cushing, Caroline Martel’s cousin
Ernest Frink, friend of Susan Rockefeller
Sandra Joyce, friend of Ann Tiffany
Sue Linquist Bob and Janet Mayer’s daughter

All of the First Responders who put their lives in

jeopardy to care for all of us.
For those working in grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals, nursing homes, health care facilities, food banks… who are working in spite of the danger to themselves.
Prayers for anyone who is overwhelmed by this pandemic.
Prayers for those who are feeling isolated or afraid.
Prayers that God give us the mindfulness to reach out by phone to those who we are not frequently in touch -those on the outer edges of our friendship & family.


Tuesday, June 30th

Music Director /Organist

Matt Alcombright!

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.This is the day, not yesterday, not tomorrow but today. This summer day that you greeted when you woke up this morning which is unlike any other day of your life. We think we know what this day will bring but in fact we don’t - in fact this day is an unopened present from God that we have just begun to unwrap as we come into worship together. So, welcome. Let us rejoice in the lord together.​

Let us gather in to hear the word of God.  Let us gather together the pieces of our lives - our sorrows and our joys - our regrets , our hopes,  our fears - and all of the other parts of who we are .Let us gather all of these  up in our hands and let us bring the all of who we are to worship. As God’s children let us worship together.


Reach into you hearts and minds and see who is there that you’d like to lift up in prayer.

O dear Lord, we have tripped, or stumbles, or fell flat on our faces as we walk on life’s path with you. Help us to realize our shortcomings so that we can learn from them, so that we can get up, dust ourselves off and continue to walk in the sunlight of the spirit.

Dear Lord, as we take a moment, hear the confessions of our hearts.

WORDS OF ASSURANCE  God’s hand is always there to help us up from a fall. All that is asked of us is that we reach for it and to know that God’s love is not doled out for good deeds or refused for ill-steps. God’s love is God’s love, of this we can be certain.​

Psalm 91
1) Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2) I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3) Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4) He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5) You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6) nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7) A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8) You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9) If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10) no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11) For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12) they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13) You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14) “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15) He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him.
16) With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Sermon: "The Great Allower"

        Rev. Belle Fox-Martin

Let me begin the sermon with a quote by the theologian Richard Rohr: “God is the Great Allower, despite all attempts of culture, and even religion, to prevent God from allowing.  Show me where God does not allow.   God lets tyrants succeed, and God lets me make my own mistakes again and again.  He does not enforce his own commandments.  God’s total allowing of everything has in fact become humanity’s major complaint.”

We have a tendency to want God to be a Supreme Being, the all-powerful One who can do whatever God wants to do in the world.  We have a tendency, I think, to view God as something like a parent – only a Super Parent, much more powerful than our own parents.  But when God does not live up to this Super Parent image, we react, as Rohr observes, by being scandalized or disappointed.  We deal with this reaction by inventing opportunities to see God at work, punishing the wicked, or we decide there really is no God at all.  Or, that God is uninterested in us and has long since left the world on its own.  People can come up with some rather amazing feats to try to deal with their disappointment that God the Super Parent has not protected or helped or intervened in the way we imagine that he should.

Another theologian, James Alison refers to God as  “other Other.”  He uses this term to emphasize how much God is different from ourselves, and to make the point that God is not simply another being or thing in the universe.  God transcends all of our categories, and is not a “being” or a “thing” at all.  Yet, this transcendent God, this “other Other”, reaches out to us in a personal way.  And while this personal mode of reaching out to us enables us to connect with God, it is also a temptation to imagine that God is another person like ourselves, only with great power and knowledge.  

Not only does our image of God as a Super Parent Person-Like Being pose problems, so do our assumptions about the way God should interact in our world.  We assume that the power to make things happen according to our will is the greatest power there is.  And so, we assume that if God is all-powerful, then it must mean that God can and will make things happen according to God’s will.   And yet, the Gospels themselves, in describing to us the life of Jesus, indicate that this is not where the greatest power lies.  Jesus did not impose himself on others.  He did not exercise power over people in order to make his will be done.  The life of Jesus suggests that for God, the greatest power lies not in making things happen, but rather in being present.  God in Christ shows up in people’s lives, is present with them in their lives, and by that very presence, opens up new possibilities.  But the realization of those possibilities is never forced by Jesus: it is always dependent on the willingness of people to respond to those possibilities.

We generally assume that God caused all of our universe and all that’s in it as being a manifestation of God’s will.  But perhaps it is more appropriate to think that God “showed up” and allowed the universe, and everything in it, to come into being.  God’s very presence opened up new possibilities for being for all that has evolved.  And God’s presence with us opens up new possibilities for us, but they are possibilities that we must act upon.  We have been waiting and praying for God to act.  But perhaps the greatest power of God is not in acting, but in God being present so that we may act.

It is as though God said here are your tools now go see what you can do with them, see who you can love, help, share with, support, rescue, encourage, pray for, grow with, feed, touch, listen to, cry with, laugh with, protect, dream, dare, uphold, mend...

God said: here are your tools - I will be your standing stone I will be by your side -  I am the Great Allower  - I am present to you always.

And that presence - that presence that is always with us is the love of God -

In good times and in bad, in our successes and our failures, in the face of miracles or disasters, in birth and death, in despair and jubilation, in isolation and community God is present - Gods love is there as the Great Allower .


It says in Leviticus:

"'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. '"This is not only true of the harvest of our land but it is also true of the harvest of our blessings. When you reap the harvest of your blessings do not reap the very edges for yourself but rather leave the edges of your blessings for the poor, the troubled, the needy living next door or on the other side of the earth.

Peace be with you.

A Note from Pastor Belle

— Parsonage is Rented! —

Effective July 1st, we have a new tenant. A couple who currently live in northern New Jersey will be moving to Williamstown to start new jobs. We are very pleased to have the parsonage rented.

​— Music Notes —
The adult choir is looking for more members! We are very happy to welcome part-time members or occasional members. Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 and Sunday mornings at 8:15. But if you can't make it to Wednesday rehearsals, feel free to just come on Sunday mornings! Or just visit once to see what it's like. Singing in our choir is lots of fun and it's good for your health, too!

Thoughts from the (dusty) organ bench . . . These days, weeks and months of confusion, sickness and death have truly taken a toll on all of us. I have been doing a lot of walking during this time which gives me time to think and one of the things I have been doing is choosing a hymn to listen to and pray with. I would suggest taking a favorite hymn or two (or three or four) and not only listening to and singing it but to really read the words and pray with them. I found that it brings a whole new dimension to something that is seemingly familiar. The newness found in seemingly familiar reminds us that in times of confusion, sickness and death there is hope, joy and promise. As St. Augustine said,  "A song is a thing of joy; more profoundly, it is a thing of love. Anyone, therefore, who has learned to love the new life has learned to sing a new song, and the new song reminds us of our new life."  My hope is that we can sing a new song to the Lord to give us and the world the reminder of hope and promise. Also, it's good practice until we meet again! Until well, be safe, be healthy and SING!     Matt

Welcome to  

The Second Congregational Church

81 Hancock Road • Williamstown, MA 01267 • (413) 458-3467

     Sunday Service, June 28, 2020

 Rev. Belle Fox-Martin​​

The link for the service is:

Rev. Belle Fox-Martin​

We are delighted to introduce Belle as our

new Bridge Minister! She joined us in

October and will lead our congregation until

we have found a settled minister. 

         Belle has been a minister with the United

Church of Christ for over 20 years. She

served as Pastor to the West Stockbridge

Congregational Church, UCC, and the

Housatonic Congregational Church, UCC.

         Belle was born and raised in New York

City. She and her wife, Cheryl, live in

Stockbridge, MA, with three unruly but loving dogs. As well as being a minister, Belle is an artist, an author of several collections of poetry and micro stories, and she is a Substance Abuse Specialist having worked in NYC with the homeless ​.

         Please join us on Sundays as we welcome Belle Fox-Martin to our church community!

Welcome to July!
Good Morning. As I sit here at my desk, looking out the window at the fullness of summer, at my vegetable garden charging forth, at the soon to fledge Blue Birds and the sparkling clear sky . . . I can't help but feel grateful to God for the blessings beyond my wildest dreams. My thoughts wander, as does my gratitude,  to our church.  I begin thinking about how all of our congregation responded, and continues to respond, with faithful caring throughout the pandemic. I begin to reflect on how our congregation reached out and reaches in to grow and live their faith. So much has been given to us and these blessings require our continued response in the way we live our love of God and in the way we fulfill our mission as a church family. Soon, by the grace of God, the Second Congregational Church will be beginning a new chapter and I am excited for you. I am also thankful for having been your minister, for having uplifted our faith together in worship, for being witness to your good works and for getting to know you, each one of you a blessed child of God. As I sit here at my desk looking out the window, at the fullness of summer, I am filled with warm thanks.

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

July 1st            The new tenant arrives
July 5th            WilliNet Worship Service 9am
                                 Outdoor Communion Service 4pm  (See below for details)
July 9th              Zoom Deacons Meeting 3:30pm
July 11th            Outdoor Meet & Greet with Rev. David Hurst   2-4pm   

                                (See below for details)
July 12th            Outdoor Worship Service 9am  (See below for details)
                                 Special Business Meeting following worship
July 14th            Outdoor Church Council Meeting 7pm  (Rain date July 15th.)
July 16th            Trustees Meeting 4:30pm
July 19th            WilliNet Worship Service 9am
July 26th            Willinet Worship Service 9am

The Search Committee is pleased to announce that a Call to Service has been extended to Rev. David Hurst. He will conduct a regular Sunday service at 9am on July 12th followed by a Special Church meeting to vote on him to be our settled Pastor. 
         Announcement of the Special Church meeting by Linda Brown, Church Clerk, will be made at the July 5th, 4pm service. A second notice of this meeting will follow by mail.
         The Search Committee invites everyone to an outdoor meet and greet on Saturday, July 11th from 2 to 4 pm at the church.  Please follow social distancing of 6 feet. Mask are required.
This is a very important step in the life of our church. We hope as many as possible will attend both Saturday and Sunday.
Details for July 5th. The outdoor vesper communion service will be held in the church parking lot at 4pm. If the weather allows this will be a 30-minute service followed by communion. You are asked to park along the area opposite the handicap ramp as it is in the shade at that time. You are to bring lawn chairs to position behind your car to maintain social distancing. Mask are required. In the event of rain, we will only have communion. You will remain in your car and communion will be brought to you there. The bread and juice are prepackaged for your safety. There should be no socializing before or after the service.

Details for July 11th. You are asked to have a short conversation of introduction with Rev. Hurst between 2 and 4pm. There will be no chairs, food or drink (town regulation) as we are hoping people will not gather after they have spoken with Rev. Hurst for safety reasons. Masks are required.
Details for July 12th. This is an outdoor Sunday Worship service along the back of the Sunday School which provides shade. You are asked to bring your own chair and place it/them in one of the areas marked with proper spacing. In the event of rain, the service will move inside as we need to have this service and business meeting. The church sanctuary will be prepared in accordance with local and state regulations should it be needed. Masks will be required for the service in either location.

The Sunday School kids have been getting back to nature and enjoying God's gifts through the unadulterated beauty of the Berkshires. They have supported the Black Lives Matter demonstrations on two occasions, one protest and one vigil.

The Trustees want to thank you for your continued financial support of the church during these strange times. We continue to hear stories about neighboring churches struggling to collect money yet our church counter reports that all but one pledge is paid in full through June. In addition, members that are not in the pledge system have sent in checks that they would normally drop in the offering plates when they attend. We are extremely pleased with your response. As a reminder Jean Richer's address is 124 South Hemlock Brook, Williamstown, MA 01267. The Trustees have taken care of the last-minute needs so that the parsonage is ready for the new tenant on July 1st.  The Trustees have arranged for the annual slate roof inspection and repair on both buildings. They are seeking professional advice on a plan that would allow lead paint abatement prior to the upcoming painting of the church and parsonage. Have you noticed that the sign in front of the church has been rotated so it is more easily visible as you travel on Rt 43 in both directions? The Trustees had talked about a "new sign" which would be easier to see from the road for some time now but didn't want to discard the current one which was a gift to the church. They put matching lettering on the former back side to meet their goal of visibility.

The Mission Committee would like to call your attention to Doctors Without Borders and the work they have been doing during the Covid-19 epidemic. They are responding to the pandemic in the more than 70 countries where they have active programs and have begun opening projects in other countries that have become outbreak hotspots. They are helping refugees protect themselves from the virus in Lebanon, opened a 100 bed covid-19 treatment center in Bihar, India and closer to home work with migrant farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida and much, much more. We encourage you to learn more by going to their website.

Addresses have been requested from several people for Norma and Mickey. They are: Norma Quimby   2138 Hancock Rd, Williamstown, MA 01267 and Michelle Thaisz   Room 1075, Shapiro West, Brigham & Women's Hospital, 75 Francis St. Boston, MA 02115.  Mark expects Mickey to remain in Boston for the first week of July.

The Prayer List is updated each week for you to use. If you would like to add yourself or someone else or would like to remove yourself or someone you have put on the list please send that information to the church email and it will be updated each Thursday and sent along with the weekly service.