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The Weekly Word

January 20, 2023

West Suffield
Congregational Church, UCC

Join us Sundays at 10:00am
Worship, Sunday School and Fellowship


Every UCC minister has to go through Boundary Training every few years. During my first session one of the newer ministers said that a friendly older male in her congregation had commented on the necklace she wore and then touched it. She started to cry, because she had felt disrespected, and her personal space had been intruded upon. The facilitator suggested she wear a clerical collar. In all truth, I found that a silly answer; the man knew she was clergy, she didn’t need to wear an uncomfortable collar in order to have her space protected. She and I talked about it at length afterwards (we had gone to seminary together), and I said that I thought respect was an internal thing, you have to have inner confidence; people sense that, and respond accordingly.. When we know our worth and value, we should not need outward signs of authority in order to be respected. She and I practiced saying “please don’t touch me, it makes me uncomfortable.” She said she felt better after.

Recently I participated in a service at 1st Church and their new intern was wearing a beautiful robe. They’re very expensive, and I asked how she had gotten one so soon into her journey. She responded that the minister she worked with had suggested she borrow hers so that she would be clearly identified as clergy. I told her that was the exact reason I didn’t wear a robe. 

I have been asked by several parishioners about my lack of robing and stolling. Here is what I answered: I don't want to be apart from the congregation, I want to be a part of it. I studied hard in seminary. If there is something I don’t know, I research it. I skipped the class on liturgy (never planned on being a pastor), so I did some digging. I wanted to be sure I was on solid ground. 

Robes and stoles are symbols of ordination and the authority that comes with that position. They are not necessary in our tradition. The stole is a symbol of ordination, you can wear a collar or a robe prior to being ordained, but not a stole.  Because of the number of times I’ve been asked, I have made the decision to wear a stole (when I remember to put it on, have patience). I have a fondness for the one my friend Phyllis made for my ordination, so that will be my go-to. I’m not wearing a stole because I feel pressured to, rather, it will be a sign of my respect for you. You are an amazing congregation.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be writing about what pastoring is like; drawing not only from my time and observations over the years, but from some of my friends who have churches. I am expecting I will learn as much as you do. Here’s the point this week, I am so glad that people have felt comfortable enough with me to ask questions. I hope you keep it up, it is one of the ways I am learning, too. 

Love, Denise

Please contact Pastor Denise Peterson for support, questions or concerns that need immediate attention.
 Cell: 860-368-9201 or
The Annual Meeting will be held on January 29th after church service. 
January Mission Collection 
The January Missions collection  will be a collection to support the
WSCC Discretionary Fund
This fund is used at the discretion of the Pastor for charitable purposes to aid those in need. This account is designated to address emergency financial aid to members of the Congregation and the Community.
Missions Committee Contact
 Liz McGann or



Food for Thought

The WSCC prides itself on helping those who struggle with food insecurities each month. We are 100% Volunteer run and rely on donations from our Community to operate.

Pantry Families Served
: 38
Pounds of Food distributed: 766

NEXT Food Pantry-FEBRUARY 9th

December 6 – 85 Families
December 20– 65 Families

January Mobile Trucks-3rd, 17th & 31st

Please open your hearts and donate to Crossroads Food Pantry so we may continue to provide basic food items to our neighbors in need. 
Donations can be mailed to WSCC, P.O. Box 26, West Suffield, CT.  06093 or they can be done online at our website: click on the Ministries tab and then click on Crossroads Food Pantry.

There is a sign up sheet, hanging on the bulletin board in Fellowship Hall, if you would like to volunteer to provide the Altar Flowers on a Sunday of your choice. Please indicate if they are to be in honor or in memory of a loved one.
Church Council will meet on February 12 after worship.
Deacon's Readings
Called Together
Isaiah 9:1-4
Psalm 27:1,4-9

1Corinthian  1:10-18
Matthew 4:12-23

Deacon's Bench
  • Future Diaconate meetings (dates and times) to be determined.
Upcoming Events
Annual Meeting
1/29 after Sunday morning service
If any member or friend of the WSCC knows of someone that would be in need of a contact by our Care Team please contact John Nielsen at 860-653-5398 or Pastor Denise Peterson at 860-368-9201 and they will arrange for one of our Care Team members to make the contact.
Just for Laughs
Slowing Down
You know you've reached middle age...
When you're cautioned to slow down by your doctor, instead of by the police.

Time Calculation
What is the time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement?
1 banano-second.

Someone Called
Someone just called my phone, sneezed and then hung up.
I’m getting sick and tired of these cold calls.

Give It Some What?
How do you get a fish high?
Give it some sea-weed.

 Easy Ways to Support our Church...

Online Tag Sale We have been listing items online and selling them as a Fundraiser for the church. Items are listed as pick-up only. Please contact Liz with any items you or someone you know has to donate for this ongoing Fundraiser. Email or call/text at 860-836-0660
Sign up for AmazonSmile. It doesn't cost you anything and it benefits WSCC  
Click here for more information.

Gift Card Program // A large assortment of gift cards for every need are available through our church. // Gift card forms may be filled out at any time and given to Sandy Cahill or put in the Scrip Mailbox in the office. Orders will be filled as they are received. Click here for the Gift Card Order Form.
Do You Have an Announcement you want in the Weekly Word... 
contact the church office:

860-668-2271 or 
We, the members of the West Suffield Congregational Church, are called by God to live as one community. We strive to love, as we are loved by God, both freely and unconditionally. We recognize, celebrate, and affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth. Therefore, we intentionally welcome all God’s children regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or mental ability, political stance, or theological perspective. Each person is important to God and each person’s abilities and gifts are called forth to help build and strengthen the work of Gods’ Kingdom here, in our community and around the world. We strive with the help of the Holy Spirit to become more like Jesus in our love and support for one another, in order to oppose and overcome any injustice, oppression, and prejudice that continues in our society, our communities, and ourselves.
Approved by church vote, Sunday, October 3, 2015
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West Suffield Congregational Church · P.O. Box 26 · 1408 Mountain Road · West Suffield, CT 06093 · USA

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