The 23rd Settled Pastor of Windham Hill United
Church of Christ
is Rev. Sally Colegrove.
She was called to be pastor and teacher in September of 2003. She grew up in Connecticut, attended the University of Connecticut, graduating with a BA in English in 1975. She earned her Master of Divinity degree at Yale University Divinity School and was ordained in 1983.
The New Testament has a phrase, “Behold, I am making all things new!” which is a good description of our year here on Windham Hill. This has been a year of new adventures, new construction, new leadership, new music, and new people for Windham Hill United Church of Christ. It has been an energetic and ambitious year for all parts of our church family. We have been blessed by the giving of gifts and talents, the creative activities of both individuals and committees and boards, and the acceptance of new ideas by all of our members. 2016 has been a very good year from the perspective of your pastor, who, once again, is overwhelmed with gratitude for being with you on this journey of discovery and faith.
To talk about new leadership I need to begin by thanking the leaders who have completed their assignments as of the Semi-Annual Meeting in June. Dick Roy has been our Moderator for the last eight years, having been elected in 2008. He has given us direction and guidance through transitions in our finances, music program, endowment and budgeting. His leadership has been crucial in a major Capital Campaign and most recently in the building of the Columbarium at Windham Hill. In addition, Dick has led the Church Council, keeping all of the areas of our life together and communicating with one another. Thank you, Dick, for the gift of so much time, energy and commitment to our church. We thank Barbara Ingalls for being our Church Treasurer for the last several years. Barbara had the computer knowledge to bring Windham Hill into the 21st Century in the area of our finances. She took us from a checkbook to a full use of Powerchurch, a multi-faceted church planning app which gives us reports on our budget and enables us to do much more accurate planning. She put in countless hours paying our bills, working with our budget committees and answering questions. She kept our pledge records and worked with our investments. Thank you, Barbara, for all of the variety of your skills which kept our bills paid and our lights on. We thank Rob Bunton for his several years of leading the Board of Trustees, often coming over early in the morning to clear snow or check on our buildings, working on the Budget and Stewardship, and leading the monthly Board Meetings with humor and grace. Thank you, Rob, for a job well done as you transition to your new home on Peaks Island.
We welcome new leaders to the Church Council and our life here on Windham Hill! David Pinchbeck has become our Moderator and Michelle Jordan has taken up the many tasks of being our Treasurer. Judy Eycleshymer has become the new Chair of our Board of Trustees. We look forward to their skills and talents, as well as their vision, to lead us in the days ahead. We have also welcomed many new members to our Boards and Committees. You can see the full list of our leadership by turning to the Nominating Committee report. These folk took office in June 2016.
We have made some major improvements and have a new facility which has been built in 2016. Our improvements are largely in the church itself. After consultation with Andrea Rosenberg, Director of Music, the Music Life Committee and the Board of Trustees, and following a design by Bob Smithson, we have reconfigured the placement of the piano and the choir. Bob did most of the reconstruction work, aided by other trustees. It has given us a much neater look to the worship area, greater seating for the expanding choir and the ability for Andrea to conduct from the piano. Many thanks to all those who worked on this project, and on all of the other upgrade projects which continue to care for our historic meetinghouse. Allen Greenacre and Rolf Dries have been tireless in their care of our physical plant and our grounds.
Our most major and exciting new addition to our church is The Columbarium at Windham Hill. Built over the summer by a team of local artisans and shepherded by Dick Roy and the Columbarium Committee, the Columbarium is a place of peace and spirituality, giving us a chance to inter and remember members of our church family who have passed on to the Church Triumphant. We have already had four burials of cremains and several other interments will take place in the spring. The Columbarium is pictured on the front cover of this report.
My year has been full. I had the fun and privilege of leading a trip to France in September/October, taking forty-four adventurers to Chartres, the Loire Valley, Normandy with its D-Day beaches and cemeteries, Giverny and Paris. After our return I began to work with a small group (22) who will be going to the Canadian Rockies in 2017. These are both new destinations for our travel program.
During Advent we added, what will be a new tradition, a Community Christmas Carol Sing, held on our front lawn around a bonfire built for us by our Scout troop. Our historian, Laurel Parker, has begun a new project of copying and protecting our church records. Our children and young people, working with Andrea and their Church School teachers, gave us the treat of a chancel drama with music called “Oh, Jonah!” in the spring. There were so many new additions to our life together this year, many more than I can list here.
And what keeps us all together as we enjoy the “new” aspects of our life? We are a faithful church family, following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and serving God by serving those around us. Each one of our Boards and Committees responds to our mission statement, including all for worship and fellowship. Just read the list of our missions giving, or the activities of our Deacons to understand our commitment to faithful living. Sharon Rankin and Barbara Roy, for the Deacons, and Mary Sydlowski, for the Board of Missions and Social Concerns, are constantly in and out of the church office, making sure that our spiritual and outreach activities run smoothly. Katie Hazel and our wonderful team of teachers and youth advisors help our children and teenagers grow in faith. Working with them is a pleasure and an honor.
Last, but never least, my greatest joy is the interaction which I have on a day by day basis with all of the members of our congregation. Whether it is in committee or Council meetings, continuing care residential facilities, home visits for coffee or dinner, field trips and special events, hospital visits, preparation for memorial services, weddings or baptisms, greeting new members, or just running into folk in the grocery store, my life is very full of relationships with the most wonderful congregation, and it is amazing to walk with you all in faith and love.
Grace and Peace in 2017.