Meditations on gratitude.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.
— Anne Sexton. excerpt from Welcome Morning


Today, I make my Sacrament of Thanksgiving.
I begin with the simple things of my days:
Fresh air to breathe,
Cool water to drink,
The taste of food,
The protection of houses and clothes,
The comforts of home.
For all these I make an act of Thanksgiving this day!
I bring to mind all the warmth of humankind that I have known:
My mother’s arms,
The strength of my father
The playmates of my childhood,
The wonderful stories brought to me from the lives
Of many who talked of days gone by when fairies
And giants and all kinds of magic held sway;
The tears I have shed, the tears I have seen;
The excitement of laughter and the twinkle in the
Eye with its reminder that life is good.
For all these I make an act of Thanksgiving this day!
I finger one by one the messages of hope that awaited me at the crossroads:
The smile of approval from those who held in their hands the reins of my security;
The tightening of the grip in a simple handshake when I
Feared the step before me in darkness;
The whisper in my heart when the temptation was fiercest
And the claims of appetite were not to be denied;
The crucial word said, the simple sentence from an open
Page when my decision hung in the balance.
For all these I make an act of Thanksgiving this day!
I pass before me the main springs of my heritage:
The fruits of labors of countless generations who lived before me,
Without whom my own life would have no meaning;
The seers who saw visions and dreamed dreams;
The prophets who sensed a truth greater than the mind could grasp
And whose words would only find fulfillment
In the years which they would never see;
The workers whose sweat has watered the trees,
The leaves of which are for the healing of the nations;
The pilgrims who set their sails for lands beyond all horizons,
Whose courage made paths into new worlds and far off places;
The saviors whose blood was shed with a recklessness that only a dream
Could inspire and God could command.
For all this I make an act of Thanksgiving this day!
I linger over the meaning of my own life and the commitment
To which I give the loyalty of my heart and mind:
The little purposes in which I have shared my loves,
My desires, my gifts;
The restlessness which bottoms all I do with its stark insistence
That I have never done my best, I have never dared
To reach for the highest;
The big hope that never quite deserts me, that I and my kind
Will study war no more, that love and tenderness and all the
inner graces of Almighty affection will cover the life of the
children of God as the waters cover the sea.
All these and more than mind can think and heart can feel,
I make as my sacrament of Thanksgiving to Thee,
[O God] in humbleness of mind and simplicity of heart.

FEASTING John O’Donohue

As we begin this meal with grace,
Let us become aware of the memory
Carried inside the food before us:

The quiver of the seed
Awakening in the earth,

Unfolding in a trust of roots
And slender stems of growth,

On its voyage toward harvest,
The kiss of rain and surge of sun;

The innocence of animal soul
That never spoke a word,

Nourished by the earth
To become today our food;

The work of all the strangers
Whose hands prepared it,

The privilege of wealth and health
That enables us to feast and celebrate.

Savoring the Small Stuff: Ordinary Gratitude as Spiritual Practice  (excerpt from full article— Carl Gregg

… ways that we can be more intentional about noticing and responding to the parts of our lives for which we are most (and least) grateful.

I. Noticing

… What do you tend to notice in your daily life? And why? … we could notice at any given time — different sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, or emotions — but our personalities shape what stands out to us and what fades into the background … you can amplify the power of this practice — and keep yourself accountable to regularly noticing what you are grateful for — by making a commitment to share your daily gratitude (or gratitudes) with someone else, whether it is a child, a partner, or a friend.

II. The Awareness Examen

… one of the most consistently helpful ways … is a practice called the Awareness Examen … It helps you weigh the value of various aspects of your life. The examen was first detailed by Ignatius of Loyola, the 16th century founder of the Jesuits … shorter and more accessible book by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn called Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life. In short, the examen encourages you to respond to two questions at the end of each day either around the dinner table with your family or silently before you go to sleep: … you can ask “What am I most grateful for today?” and “What am I least grateful for today?” Over time, to add nuance, you can ask variations on your consolations such as, “Where did I feel most connected, most alive, most energized, or most loved?” Correspondingly, you can ask “Where did I feel most isolated, most enervated, or most taken for granted?”

… And as you notice patterns of what consistently makes you feel connected, alive, energized, and loved, the invitation is to find ways to cultivate more of that person, place, or activity in your life. … As you notice patterns of what consistently makes you feel isolated, enervated, or taken for granted, an invitation is to consider if you should find ways to have less of that person, place, or activity in your life.

III. The Spiritual Practice of Savoring

This practice of noticing and choosing what is life-affirming over what is life-negating can seem particularly simple or obvious: structure your life to do more frequently those things that bring you consolation and do less frequently those things that bring you desolation … gently think back through my day, and name those things I’m grateful for. It’s honestly a great way to fall asleep: savoringthose things you are most grateful for. … Of course, all this talk about gratitude and savoring is easier said than done. Cultivating ordinary gratitude, noticing our consolations and desolations, and savoring them are all practices that happen over time. As with practicing the piano, practicing basketball, or practicing yoga, method and frequency matter … “Practices doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but it does make permanent.” … Practice makes permanent by ingraining habits that are difficult to break.


For now, with the potential stress and joy of Thanksgiving still a few days away, I invite you to spend a short time practicing the art of savoring. Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?” Then, pause in the silence, and listen. Allow yourself to be potentially surprised about what emerges for you as a source of gratitude. As you do so, remember the guidance from Buddha’s Brain: “Make [your consolation] last by staying with it for 5, 10, even 20 seconds [or longer].” Savor this source of gratitude with your whole self. “Focus on your emotions and body sensations…. Let the experience fill your body and be as intense as possible.”

·      What are you grateful for in your life?

·      What do you need to savor?

GRATITUDE— Edgar Albert Guest

Be grateful for the kindly friends that walk along your way,
Be grateful for the skies of blue that smile from day to day,
Be grateful for the health you own, the work you find to do,
For round about you there are men less fortunate than you.

Be grateful for the growing trees, the roses soon to bloom,
The tenderness of kindly hearts that shared your days of gloom,
Be grateful for the morning dew, the grass beneath your feet,
The soft caresses of your babes and all their laughter sweet.

Acquire the grateful habit, learn to see how blessed you are,
How much there is to gladden life, how little life to mar!
And what if rain shall fall to-day and you with grief are sad,
Be grateful that you can recall the joys that you have had.

I Am Thankful For — Nancy J Carmody

I am thankful for

… the mess to clean up after a party
because it means I have been surrounded
by friends.

​… the taxes that I pay
because it means that I’m employed.

… the clothes that fit a little too snug
because it means I have enough to eat.

​… .my shadow who watches me work
because it means I am out in the sunshine.

​… .the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am
capable of walking.

​… all the complaining I hear about our Government because it means we have freedom of speech.

​… that lady behind me in church who sings offkey
​because it means that I can hear.

​… .lawn that needs mowing, windows
that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

… my huge heating bill
because it means that I am warm.

​… weariness and aching muscles
at the end of the day because it means
that I have been productive.

… the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means
that I am alive.


PIE with SPIRITS Mary Wellemeyer

This is the very pumpkin pie my grandmother made—almost.
She was a modern woman
who knew how to follow recipes.
Receipts, she called them,
because they had been received.
She had a rule
for pie crust that was constant
until, from time to time, it changed.
I have that rule, in turn,
and it has moved on,
just a bit, from where she left it.
This is my special shared moment
with her, departed a quarter century.
As I work, I am all ages of myself,
and the thought of my tall son
comes to join us,
though he hardly knew her.
He makes pies with wild abandon,
sculpting them from material and artistry.
He has received pie somehow
at the level of soul.
The three of us make pie together,
preheating the oven,
cutting butter into flour,
adding water,
flouring a board,
rolling the crust.
To honor her, I follow the recipe.
To honor him, I change just one thing.
To honor myself, I take my time and smile.

ALONE on THANKSGIVING — Jaucelyn Montgomery I am thankful for the time alone
Glad everyone is going home
Now I can sit and be really lazy
No one to drive me absolutely crazy
Eat pizza and drink some beer
Sit around in my lowest gear
Watch football on T.V.
Light a fire and put on a favorite CD
Dance and sing to my heart’s content
This time alone will be well spent
So if you get the chance to skip Thanksgiving,
Make it fun don’t have misgivings
THE DAY AFTER — Virginia Miranda

Keeping up our tradition
Work my bones for the occasion
No one to appreciate my special feast
The dinner table was empty
No one to sit
No one to thank God for blessings
No one to carry the sense of appreciation
Where did the tradition go?
Did it go with my mother’s Alzheimers disease?
Did it go to the vanity world of nonchalant?
The day after
Just another day or survival
Just another day for a cup of coffee
Just another day to reflect on the chaos of the days before
Thanksgiving, just another day
Thank you God for letting me cope
Just another day

ALONE on THANKSGIVING — Katherine Bebbington
For the snow and bitter cold
For windows that rattle
And floorboards that creak
Ancient clocks that tick
Loudly in the silence
A cat curled against my side
A fire burning, candles lit
Lifting their smoke and fragrance
To God like prayers.
I’m thankful for this moment
Alone and quiet, and that
Somehow there is beauty
Even in this loneliness.
The courage to be brave;
For this I am thankful.

on Thanksgiving Holiday

Welcome to Indian Country— Rena Priest

Where is Indian Country?
It’s everywhere we stand.
It’s anywhere we dance.
It’s where the earth loves
the feel of our feet.

Welcome to Indian Country.

What does that mean?
It means this is where
we lift our voice in song
and make a joyful drumbeat
so our hearts can sing along.

Welcome to Indian Country.

This beloved country here,
where we honor our ancestors
by growing stronger every year,
by making laughter the answer
that wipes away our tears.

Welcome to Indian Country.

What does the future hold?
In uncertain times like these
we reach for words like hope
and things we can be sure of—
sunrises, beauty, and love.

Welcome to Indian Country.

It’s everywhere we dance and
where the feast is truly grand.

Welcome to Indian Country.
Now give us back our land!

The Thanksgivings

— Harriet Maxwell Converse

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him.
We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on.
We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands.
We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming from them for us all.
We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows for our shelter.
We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder and lightning that water the earth.
We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun that works for our good.
We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank all its trees.
We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs, the stars.
We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant occasion.
We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit’s music, and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies on this occasion.

The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee

—N. Scott Momaday

I am a feather on the bright sky
I am the blue horse that runs in the plain
I am the fish that rolls, shining, in the water
I am the shadow that follows a child
I am the evening light, the lustre of meadows
I am an eagle playing with the wind
I am a cluster of bright beads
I am the farthest star
I am the cold of dawn
I am the roaring of the rain
I am the glitter on the crust of the snow
I am the long track of the moon in a lake
I am a flame of four colors
I am a deer standing away in the dusk
I am a field of sumac and the pomme blanche
I am an angle of geese in the winter sky
I am the hunger of a young wolf
I am the whole dream of these things
You see, I am alive, I am alive
I stand in good relation to the earth
I stand in good relation to the gods
I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful
I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte
You see, I am alive, I am alive

Thanksgiving weekend with JCC and around town: NOVEMBER 23-27

Highlights: Thanksgiving meals, Advent starts with theme of hope, first Advent candle lit, tree festival, Santa arrives in Jxn, carol with DaCapo, Christmas tree lighting, sleigh rides, church holiday decorating begins, music around town and more!

WED, Nov 23

    • Over the past few days, Whitney Community Center volunteers delivered gifts to Jackson residents who are homebound or are in particular need of cheer. A big thank you to the businesses, organizations, groups and people who contributed basket items.
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Shannon Door: Jeremy Dean • 7-10pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Homecoming with Rek’lis • 8-11pm


  • **Community Event: FREE THANKSGIVING MEAL with American Legion**
    1pm • American Legion Post 46, 47 Tasker Hill Rd, Conway, NH
  • Community Event: THANKSGIVING MEAL with AMC
    • 1pm, 2:30pm, 4pm, and 5:30pm • AMC Highland Center (Bretton Woods, NH)
      Call 603-466-2727 for more information, including reservations. AMC Members: $34 (adults); $18 (children). Non-members: $39 (adults); $20 (children).
    • 1-6pm • AMC Joe Dodge Lodge (Pinkham Notch (Gorham, NH)
      For reservations and rates, please call 603-466-2727.
  • Community Event: LOCAL EATERIES offer THANKSGIVING MEALS (many are booked)
    • WENTWORTH:, Jackson, NH
    • RED FOX BAR & GRILL, Jackson, NH
      • Thanksgiving Buffet: Serving from 12pm-6pm for an all-you-can-eat buffet, offered at $39/person for adults and $19/person for children under 12.
        Fully booked for reservations. Accepting a limited number of walk-ins and call aheads the day of. If you were not able to make a reservation and would like to stop in, we recommend giving us a call before you head over to determine the wait time for your party size and add your name to the waitlist over the phone.
      • Reservations required
      • $59 plus a 20% service charge and 8.5% tax (guests ages 3 and up).
      • For reservations and additional questions, please call (603) 383-4313 ext.
    • INN at THORN HILL, Jackson, NH
      Noon & 2:30pm

FRI, Nov 25

  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
    5pm • Zoom (resumes for Advent themes next week, Dec 2nd)
  • Community Event: SANTA’s HOLIDAY EXPRESS
    • 11:30am through 3pm • Conway Scenic Railroad
    • Book your tickets online ahead of time for this very popular event.
    • Admission rates vary. Visit the Conway Scenic Railroad website for booking details and additional Santa’s Holiday Express info.
  • Community Event: JOURNEY to the NORTH POLE (Believe in Books / Theater in the Woods)
    • Weekend rides
    • Info & tickets: Journey to the North Pole including online tickets, dates, departure times and more.
    • Partnered with Lincoln, NH’s Hobo Railroad and North Conway, NH’s Conway Scenic Railroad to create a Christmas-themed train ride that children will never forget
    • Special treats, a stop at the North Pole post office to drop off Santa’s letters, a reading of “The Night Before Christmas”, elf singalongs, and even a meeting with Santa himself!
  • Community Event: SLEIGH RIDES @ Nestlenook Farm
    Nestlenook Farm, 66 Dinsmore Road, Jackson, NH
  • Community Event: JINGLE BELL CHOCOLATE TOUR SOLD OUT: Book your ride for next season: 978-580-0905.
  • Community Event: FESTIVAL of TREES
    10am-7pm, Settler’s Green, North Conway, NH
    • Head to Unit A14 (next door to the Lindt Chocolate Shop)
    • Come just to take in the sights or see if you can win your favorite tree by dropping a raffle ticket in each tree’s respective bucket.
    • Admission is $10 for adults and free for children under 12.
    • Purchase 25 additional raffle tickets for an extra $10.
  • Community Event: FRIDAY NIGHT JAZZ: Tom Robinson (piano), Brian Hathaway (bass) and Rick Erwin (drums)
    7pm • Majestic Cafe, Conway Village
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Al Shafner • 6-9pm
    • Shannon Door: Mike & Becca • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Now Is Now • 8-11pm
    • Shovel Handle Pub; Dan Aldrich •  5:30-8:30pm

SAT, Nov 26

    4:30 pm – 6:30 pm • Gazebo by Jackson Historical Society
    • Free
    • Visit Santa 4:30-6pm
    • Carols with DaCapo
    • Tree-lighting @ 6pm
    • Refreshments follow at Inn at Thorn Hill
  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • Community Event: SLEIGH RIDES @ Nestlenook Farm
    Nestlenook Farm, 66 Dinsmore Road, Jackson, NH
  • Community Event: JINGLE BELL CHOCOLATE TOUR SOLD OUT: Book your ride for next season: 978-580-0905.
  • Community Event: SANTA’s HOLIDAY EXPRESS
    • 11:30am through 3pm • Conway Scenic Railroad
    • Book your tickets online ahead of time for this very popular event.
    • Admission rates vary. Visit the Conway Scenic Railroad website for booking details and additional Santa’s Holiday Express info.
  • Community Event: JOURNEY to the NORTH POLE (Believe in Books / Theater in the Woods)
    • Weekend rides
    • Info & tickets: Journey to the North Pole including online tickets, dates, departure times and more.
    • Ppartnered with Lincoln, NH’s Hobo Railroad and North Conway, NH’s Conway Scenic Railroad to create a Christmas-themed train ride that children will never forget
    • Special treats, a stop at the North Pole post office to drop off Santa’s letters, a reading of “The Night Before Christmas”, elf singalongs, and even a meeting with Santa himself!
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Shannon Door: Mike & Becca • 7-10pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Now Is Now • 8-11pm
    • Wildcast Tavern: Jonathan Sarty • 6-8:30pm


    8am • Old red library or Zoom (link required)
    • Join us for poetry, conversation, and prayer.
  • WORSHIP with ADVENT 1: Hope
    10:30am • JCC  & in-person
    • Zoom (link required)
    • Advent candlle-lighting
    • Message: Rev Gail Doktor
    • Music Sharon Novak
  • Community Event: SLEIGH RIDES @ Nestlenook Farm
    Nestlenook Farm, 66 Dinsmore Road, Jackson, NH
  • Community Event: JINGLE BELL CHOCOLATE TOUR SOLD OUT: Book your ride for next season: 978-580-0905.
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Shannon Door: Mitch Alden • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Blue Sunday with Juke Joint Devils • 5-8pm

Reflections on Veterans Day

SONGS for VETERANS DAY (patriotic & critiques, plus songs from different veteran and veterans’ family experiences):

Excerpt from Second Inaugural Address Abraham Lincoln

… public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation … Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully … With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Justice for Veterans and the Vulnerable: A Veterans Day Reflection (excerpt) — Bruce Epperly

… Instituted in gratitude for victory in World War I, Woodrow Wilson made the following affirmation regarding Armistice Day, the precursor to Veterans Day: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

While such words can be seen as platitudes, they remind us that “peace” and “justice” should be the goal of all national policies. They also remind us, in a time of growing individualism and me-first politics and economics, that national health depends on sacrifice — not just in times of war, but in our civic responsibility, human rights, and tax paying. Ironically, some of the people who most vigorously wave our flag are the most self-interested when it comes to our nation’s responsibility to support its most vulnerable citizens.

Veterans Day is about gratitude and stewardship. On Veterans Day, we proclaim our gratitude to those whose service in the military has secured our freedoms through the years. Whether or not we approve of our nation’s foreign policy, we need to support the everyday people — mostly working class, often minority — who fight our nation’s wars. We need to say “thank you.” But our thanksgiving should lead to action, both in support of the well-being of veterans, especially those who have been injured or traumatized by war, and in our own commitment to the common good and our nation’s care for its most vulnerable citizens, those for whom our soldiers sacrifice.

It is easy, as the prophets and Jesus both noted, to speak of sacrifice, without making the commitment to sacrifice for the well-being of our neighbors. When Veterans Day is understood in the spirit of the biblical tradition, it reminds us that there is no such thing as rugged individualism or absolute property rights; everything is a gift from God to be used for the well-being of others as well as our own kin. Sacrifice is not just the responsibility of veterans; it is required of all who would follow the way of Jesus. In the spirit of Wilson’s proclamation, justice and peace should guide our national and personal decision-making. Accordingly, remembrance of the sacrifices made by veterans challenges us to ask: Do our actions promote the overall well-being of our nation’s peoples and this good earth? Do we focus on our own welfare to the exclusion of our neighbor? What are we willing to sacrifice so that others may live abundantly? God’s vision of abundant life is always about “us” as well as “mine.”

So, on Veterans Day, let us be grateful and let our gratitude inspire us to generosity and commitment to the well-being of our nation, most especially its most vulnerable citizens and veterans who suffer the ravages of war. Then, our love of nation will take us beyond nationalism or self-interest to the affirmation of our role as God’s partners in healing the earth. ###

The Veteran Dorothy Parker

When I was young and bold and strong,
Oh, right was right, and wrong was wrong!
My plume on high, my flag unfurled,
I rode away to right the world.
“Come out, you dogs, and fight!” said I,
And wept there was but once to die.

But I am old; and good and bad
Are woven in a crazy plaid.
I sit and stay, “The world is so;
And he is wise who lets it go.
A battle lost, a battle won—
The difference is small, my son.”

Inertia rides and riddles me;
The which is called Philosophy.

To a Soldier in Hospital Winifred M. Letts

Courage came to you with your boyhood’s grace
     Of ardent life and limb.
Each day new dangers steeled you to the test,
     To ride, to climb, to swim.
Your hot blood taught you carelessness of death
          With every breath.

So when you went to play another game
     You could not but be brave:
An Empire’s team, a rougher football field,
     The end—perhaps your grave.
What matter? On the winning of a goal
          You staked your soul.

Yes, you wore courage as you wore your youth
     With carelessness and joy.
But in what Spartan school of discipline
     Did you get patience, boy?
How did you learn to bear this long-drawn pain
          And not complain?

Restless with throbbing hopes, with thwarted aims,
     Impulsive as a colt,
How do you lie here month by weary month
     Helpless, and not revolt?
What joy can these monotonous days afford
          Here in a ward?

Yet you are merry as the birds in spring,
     Or feign the gaiety,
Lest those who dress and tend your wound each day
     Should guess the agony.
Lest they should suffer—this the only fear
          You let draw near.

Greybeard philosophy has sought in books
     And argument this truth,
That man is greater than his pain, but you
     Have learnt it in your youth.
You know the wisdom taught by Calvary
          At twenty-three.

Death would have found you brave, but braver still
     You face each lagging day,
A merry Stoic, patient, chivalrous,
     Divinely kind and gay.
You bear your knowledge lightly, graduate
          Of unkind Fate.

Careless philosopher, the first to laugh,
     The latest to complain.
Unmindful that you teach, you taught me this
     In your long fight with pain:
Since God made man so good—here stands my creed—
          God’s good indeed. 

What Governments Say to Women (excerpt) — Alice Duer Miller

I. In Time of War

Help us. Your country needs you;
   Show that you love her,
Give her your men to fight,
   Ay, even to fall;
The fair, free land of your birth,
   Set nothing above her,
Not husband nor son,
   She must come first of all…

Not to Keep — Robert Frost

They sent him back to her. The letter came
Saying… and she could have him. And before
She could be sure there was no hidden ill
Under the formal writing, he was in her sight—
Living.— They gave him back to her alive—
How else? They are not known to send the dead—
And not disfigured visibly. His face?—
His hands? She had to look—to ask,
“What was it, dear?” And she had given all
And still she had all—they had—they the lucky!
Wasn’t she glad now? Everything seemed won,
And all the rest for them permissible ease.
She had to ask, “What was it, dear?”
Yet not enough. A bullet through and through,
High in the breast. Nothing but what good care
And medicine and rest—and you a week,
Can cure me of to go again.” The same
Grim giving to do over for them both.
She dared no more than ask him with her eyes
How was it with him for a second trial.
And with his eyes he asked her not to ask.
They had given him back to her, but not to keep. 

Thanks Yusef Komunyakaa

Thanks for the tree
between me & a sniper’s bullet.
I don’t know what made the grass
sway seconds before the Viet Cong
raised his soundless rifle.
Some voice always followed,
telling me which foot
to put down first.
Thanks for deflecting the ricochet
against that anarchy of dusk.
I was back in San Francisco
wrapped up in a woman’s wild colors,
causing some dark bird’s love call
to be shattered by daylight
when my hands reached up
& pulled a branch away
from my face. Thanks
for the vague white flower
that pointed to the gleaming metal
reflecting how it is to be broken
like mist over the grass,
as we played some deadly
game for blind gods.
What made me spot the monarch
writhing on a single thread
tied to a farmer’s gate,
holding the day together
like an unfingered guitar string,
is beyond me. Maybe the hills
grew weary & leaned a little in the heat.
Again, thanks for the dud
hand grenade tossed at my feet
outside Chu Lai. I’m still
falling through its silence.
I don’t know why the intrepid
sun touched the bayonet,
but I know that something
stood among those lost trees
& moved only when I moved.

Battleground (excerpt) —  William Trowbridge

It showed the War was as my father said:
boredom flanked by terror, a matter of keeping
low and not freezing. “You wore your helmet

square,” he said, not “at some stupid angle,
like that draft-dodger Wayne,” who died
so photogenically in The Sands of Iwa Jima ….


Zoom link required.

Bring your adult beverage and your curiosity for a conversation about our sacred texts.

Introductory video by BibleProject about Esther: The text is provided below.

Excerpts from Esther

Esther 2

After these things, when the anger of King Ahasuerus had abated, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her. Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Let beautiful young [women] be sought out for the king. … And let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This pleased the king, and he did so.

Esther 2:15-17

When the turn came for Esther daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had adopted her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was admired by all who saw her. When Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus [Xerxes I] in his royal palace … the king loved Esther more than all the other women; of all the virgins she won his favor and devotion, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

Esther 3:5-6

When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or do obeisance to him, Haman was infuriated. But he thought it beneath him to kill only Mordecai. So, having been told who Mordecai’s people were, Haman plotted to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.Esther 4:13-16

Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”
Then Esther said in reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

Esther 5:2

As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won his favor, and he held out to her the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter.

Esther 6:13

 When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom your downfall has begun, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.”

Esther 7:3

Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me—that is my petition—and the lives of my people—that is my request.

Esther 8:17

In every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict came, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a festival and a holiday.

2022 Holiday Sneak Peek: Thanksgiving, Advent & Christmas Offerings – Save the dates, reserve the book, get the tickets, and more!


Ongoing until sold out:TICKETS for NUTCRACKER SWEETS on sale

  • Call 207.935.4020
    • Acquire tickets for: Dec 3rd (Sat) @ 5pm and Dec 4th (Sun) @ 2pm: Act One Dance Company presents Nutcracker Sweets.
    • Performed at Leura Hill Eastman PAC at the Fryeburg Academy
    • Members of our church community performing in this show.
    • Tickets will be on sale at the studio (Tina Titzer’s School of Dance) and also at Spice and Grain.
    • Note: Attending the December dance performance is an optional event to complement the church’s 3-week Advent book study of Matt Rawle’s The Gifts of the Nutcracker.
    • JCC friends and members will attend the Saturday performance; participants must order their own tickets at phone number above.


SUN, Nov 20 – HARVEST BRUNCH CHURCH (In-person only)

  • 10:30am – WORSHIP at JCC
  • Bring side dish, appetizer, or dessert to share
  • Gather in sanctuary and then go to parish house to eat, sing, pray, worship, and share conversation about gratitude
  • Return pledge cards — being mailed out this week — to be collected and blessed  


SUN, Nov 27 –WORSHIP – Advent 1: Hope

  • 10:30am • WORSHIP (in-person & zoom)
    • Piano: Sharon Novak
    • Message: Gail Doktor
    • Text: Luke 1: 1-24 (excerpts)
    • Advent 1 Question 1: How will I know that this is so?
    • First readers to light Advent candles


    Join us in parish house to decorate greenery for sanctuary windows


  • 9:30am – Noon (or later) • GREENING the SANCTUARY
    Come to help put up tree, window and door decorations, trees inside and outside


  • 5pm • NUTCRACKER Sweets
  • Pewrformed by Act One Dance Company / Tina Titzer / Leura Eastman Theater, Fryeburg Acadamy, Fryeburg, ME
  • Call to purchase tickets: 207-935-4020

SUN, Dec 4 – WORSHIP – Advent 2: Peace

  • 10:30am •WORSHIP (in-person & zoom)
    • Piano: Sharon Novak
    • Message: Gail Doktor
    • Advent 2: Question 2: How Can This Be?
    • Text: Luke 1: 26-38 (excerpts)
    • Communion
    • Second group of readers to light Advent candles

TUE, Dec 6 – ADVENT STUDY:The Gift of the Nutcracker (zoom)

WED, Dec 7 – ADVENT STUDY:The Gift of the Nutcracker

  • 9am • JCC (zoom and in-person) •
  • The Gift of the Nutcracker by Matt Rawle
  • RSVP to reserve copy of the book:
  • First gathering to discuss the first section of book

SUN, Dec 11 –WORSHIP & PAGEANT – Advent 3: Joy (Pageant?)

  • 10:30am •WORSHIP PAGEANT (in-person & zoom)
    • Piano: Sharon Novak
    • Advent 3: Question 3: Why has this happened to me?
    • Text: Luke 1: 39-56
    • Third group of readers to light Advent candles


  • 12:30pm • Gather in church parking lot
  • Drive (ride share or caravan if possible) to Jackson and Bartlett households

TUE, Dec 13 – ADVENT STUDY:The Gift of the Nutcracker (zoom)

  • 6pm • zoom only
  • The Gift of the Nutcracker by Matt Rawle
  • RSVP to reserve copy of the book:
  • Second gathering to discuss the second section of book

WED, Dec 14 – ADVENT STUDY:The Gift of the Nutcracker

  • 9am • JCC (zoom and in-person) •
  • The Gift of the Nutcracker by Matt Rawle
  • RSVP to reserve copy of the book:
  • Second gathering to discuss the second section of book

SUN, Dec 18 – WORSHIP – Advent 4: Love

  • 10:30am • WORSHIP  (in-person & zoom)
    • Piano: Sharon Novak
    • Message: Gail Doktor
    • Advent 4: Question 4: What then will this child become?
    • Text: Luke 1: 57- 80
    • Fourth group of readers to light Advent candles

SUN, Dec 18 – PEACE CONCERT w/ Dennis & Davey

  • 3pm • PEACE CONCERT w/ Dennis & Davey
  • Free concert in JCC sanctuary to celebrate peace

TUE, Dec 20 – ADVENT STUDY:The Gift of the Nutcracker (zoom)

  • 6pm • zoom only
  • The Gift of the Nutcracker by Matt Rawle
  • RSVP to reserve copy of the book:
  • Second gathering to discuss the second section of book

WED, Dec 21 – ADVENT STUDY:The Gift of the Nutcracker

  • 9am • JCC (zoom and in-person) •
  • The Gift of the Nutcracker by Matt Rawle
  • RSVP to reserve copy of the book:
  • Second gathering to discuss the second section of book



    • Hot cider
    • Refreshmentds
    • Firepit
    • Caroling as we walk the journey of the holy family
    • Scripture
    • Candlelight & prayer
    • In-person and zoom
    • Tradiotional indoor service with carols, scripture, candelight
    • Candelight
    • Carols
    • Live music
    • In-person (zoom under consideration)
    • Tradiotional indoor service with carols, scripture, candelight
    • Candelight
    • Carols
    • Live music

SUN, Dec 25 – CHRISTMAS SUNDAY – Stories and Bells

  • 10:30am • STORIES & BELLS
    (in-person & zoom)
    • Piano: Sue Titus-Reid
    • Message: Gail Doktor
    • Text: Children’s Story
    • Come in your pajames or favorite casual attire
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