Art exhibit centered on addiction at MCLA Design Lab


This event falls outside the official purview of the First Church…or does it? On many, many Sundays, Pastor Mark asks that we hold in our hearts the unnamed people who have prayers that are too vulnerable to be named, such as addiction—a growing problem in our community.

Common Folk Artist Collective is starting a new tradition.  And they invite all:

Join us for the “closing” ceremony of To Bless The Space Between Us at The Design Lab an exhibit showcasing work that responds to the theme of addiction. We will symbolically bless the work as it moves to a new home (tbd). If you are interested in purchasing any of the pieces (if they are for sale), you will be able to take them home with you that night. If you have work to submit, please bring it with you.

Our goal with this nomadic exhibit is to tour it around the community and build over time. We are hoping that this exhibit ebbs and flows, changes and grows, much like the process for recovery. Bring art that you’d like to submit or ideas of where the exhibit should go next. Feel free to submit work that is in progress.

Common Folk’s mission is to inspire creativity, support local and emerging creators, and positively contribute to our community. This exhibit meets all aspects of our mission.


Red Cross Blood Drive 11/27

Consider giving blood at the Red Cross blood drive on Monday, November 27 from 1–5 p.m. in the Hall.

Some facts about blood: (from the American Red Cross)


  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.
  • Nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S.
  • Nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.
  • The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
  • It is estimated that sickle cell disease affects 90,000 to 100,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
  • According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.69 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.


Talking Criminal Justice Reform with Hinds and Barrett

Moderated by Sherwood Guernsey, this October 30 conversation at the Water Street Grill with Senator Adam Hinds and newly chosen Democratic State Representative candidate John Barrett delved into the topic of criminal justice reform

This discussion is a part of a series organized in collaboration with three faith communities: First Congregational Church Williamstown, Street. John’s Episcopal Church Williamstown, and Congregation Beth Israel North Adams.




The Great Pie Palooza and Party

Supporting the Berkshire  Food Project

Mark November 19, 2017 on your calendar – the day we donate pies for the Berkshire Food Project’s Thanksgiving feast…. and at the same time enjoy tasting a variety of home-made specialties during Second Hour.

This year our party will celebrate the successful completion of our recent capital campaign, so we will honor the members and friends of the church who contributed. 


Here’s how the Pie Palooza part will work:

Your Job: Bring in or drop off two pies of any kind (homemade or commercially baked) at church (Community Hall) on the morning of Sunday, November 19, 2017 – any time between 9am and 11am. Pie #1 will be sent to the Food Project. If you wish to enter the Pie Palooza contest, your Pie #2 will be sampled by the congregation during Second Hour@The Meetinghouse. Be sure your Pie #1 does not need refrigeration and that it is in a pie plate/tin that you do not want back.

Gluten free pies are welcome – we will have a special table for that category. 

Fame that awaits you and your pie! The recipes of the winning contest pies will appear in the Church Newsletter and on the website. In addition, the bakers will be declared “First Church Pie Champions.”

The Congregation’s Job: You do not have to bring a pie to be a judge/taster – everyone is welcome. Each person who attends will sample and judge several of the contest pies. (Whipped cream and cheese will be available for enhancement of these samples.) Prior to tasting your samples you will be issued a “voting chip.” Each pie will be assigned a “voting chip receptacle.”  After sampling, place your chip in the receptacle of the pie you feel is best.

Help Needed: Lots of people come to this fun event, and we need a lot of pies, so everyone has a chance to sample at least two or three. Please roll up your sleeves and get out your pastry recipes and let us know your plans for bringing pies by contacting Carolyn Behr at 458-5557 or or Susan Clarke at 458-5075 or

We will need pie cutters, coffee makers, table decorators, and a clean-up crew. To volunteer contact Carolyn or Susan as noted above.


By Massachusetts state law, we cannot accept for the Berkshire Food Project pickled or home-canned foods, pates, custards, whipped cream or cream pies, or cheesecakes.




Lecture and Tea

Lecture and Tea

Still Life: Tea Set, ca. 1781–83, painting by Jean-Étienne Liotard

Still Life: Tea Set, ca. 1781–83, painting by Jean-Étienne Liotard

Also on October 22, from 2-4 pm, there is a tea with a lecture given by Colleen Janz of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum. The lecture focuses on Susan’s life and contributions. The tea includes tea, tea sandwiches, desserts and a free teacup and saucer from the event. The event takes place at The Firehouse Cafe in Adams. Tickets are $25 and are limited. For reservations contact or by calling Carleen at 413-281-0089.

“Great Hymns of the Reformation”

Berkshire Chapter of American Guild of Organists to present “Great Hymns of the Reformation” Sunday, Oct. 22, at 3:00 p.m.

The Berkshire Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will present “Great Hymns of the Reformation” at Zion Lutheran Church, Pittsfield. The program is offered to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation as well as to celebrate the redesign of the worship space of the church. A reception will follow the performance. The concert is free and open to the public. A free will offering will be taken to benefit programs of the church and of the Berkshire Chapter. Zion Lutheran Church is fully handicapped accessible.


Saturday – ABC Clothing Sale!

Since 2015 ABC has stood for A Better Community. The ABC Clothing Sale’s mission is to benefit local charitable organizations that serve at-risk youth and families by addressing hunger, poverty, and inequality in our communities.  The sale also continues the commitment to recycle and reuse clothing and household linens.

This weekend is time for the huge ABC Clothing Sale again, held in Community Hall, this Saturday, September 30th, from 9 am to 2 pm. A huge selection of fall clothing, coats and jackets, shoes,and accessories for women and men will be sold at excellent prices. All money raised by the sale goes to supporting charities in our Berkshire Community. Come early as the line forms well before opening time. Car pooling will help.

Kitchen Packing Help Needed Sunday

If you can spare a little time after church this Sunday, we could use some more hands for the process of putting kitchen items in storage, for the duration of the kitchen project. Pizza will be served to those kind souls who show up to help. Please let Kay Sherman or Beth Davis know if you are able to be present.



Important Reminder!

Anyone who is storing food in the church kitchen refrigerator/freezer needs to have all their food items cleared out by Friday, 9/28. Anything left after 9/28 will be thrown away. The freezer is full of food, so whoever owns it needs to make other arrangements. Thank you.

Also remember that some kitchen items are available to church members who might want them – make an offer and you haul:

  • The two metal, freestanding cabinets in the kitchen – free, due to condition
  • The large kitchen refrigerator
  • A 30 cup electric coffee percolator
  • The wooden cabinets currently on the kitchen walls
  • The two butcher block wood block tables that are currently at the center of the kitchen.




Search for Audio-Visual Help

Our Stewardship  Team is searching for someone who would like to become our Audio-Visual person.  We are in need of a knowledgeable and interested tech person to step forward and assist with the church’s need for setting up sound and visuals for various events that occur.  The A/V person would work closely with Building Manager Steve McMahon, and would need to be on-call as needed.  If you are interested, please contact the church office or Steve McMahon at





It’s about the Fellowship, not about the Food!

Dear Church,

As I write this, we expect the kitchen to go “off-line” in October and November.  But Please DO stay after worship to say hello to new and old friends, in our usual Sunday tradition.  However, our coffee and other beverage offerings will be limited for the duration of the kitchen project, as we will have no stove, water or clean-up capabilities.  Thanks for understanding.

— Lynn Chick


Fall Small Groups!

Luncheon of the Boating Party,

Small Groups are starting up again this October! What that means is that we are creating intentional opportunities to gather with a group of people outside of a church setting to connect, learn, and grow together. This year, Rev. Mark will lead one special small group (a mini education and action campaign around criminal justice reform), but most of all we are creating opportunities simply for people to hang out. No agenda, no assignment, just show up with a dish to share and ready to get to know some of your neighbors and church family deeper. And really, that’s part of what this whole church thing is about, right?

“Luncheon of the Boating Party,” Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1880–1881, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (Please note that no “Boating Party” small groups are planned for this fall, but boy! wouldn’t that be swell for next year!

Criminal Justice Reform Mini Education and Action Campaign
with Rev. Mark and friends,
October 5, 12, 19, & 26, 7:00 p.m.

This four week group will explore issues of criminal justice and reform on a local and statewide level through 1) a panel featuring Williams faculty and staff reflecting on Williams’s course at the Berkshire County House of Corrections, 2) Discussion of excerpts from Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow 3) A meeting with local elected officials to learn about statewide criminal justice reform efforts and 4) an action for justice to be determined. This group meets at The Water Street Grill (123 Water Street) on Thursdays at 7pm, October 5, 12, 19, and 26. To register for this group, click this link here.

Potluck Hang-Out
Monica Mackey’s house
October 14th, 5:30 p.m.

Bring a dish for an informal opportunity to hang out with one another. We’ll eat buffet style, get to know each other more, and if the weather is good, we’ll spill out onto the porches. All ages welcome. To register for this group, click this link here.

Getting Together Potluck
Jinx Tong’s Home
October 27, 6:00 p.m.

Bring a favorite dish you’d like to share and break bread together, getting to know one another better at a friendly potluck. To register for this group, click this link here.

TGIF! Small Plate Fridays
Elm Street
Fridays October 13, 20 & 27, 6:00–8:00 p.m.

Hey! It’s the end of the work week, and time to say hello! Bring a small plate, an hors d’oevre, or just a comfort food that you love. We’ll share what shows up and get to know each other a little better. All are welcome at the home of Steve and Lynn Chick, 124 Elm Street, Williamstown. To register for this group, click this link here.









Renewing the Meetinghouse

250th Campaign to Renew the Meetinghouse

It’s not too late to be a part of our 250th Campaign to Renew the Meetinghouse! Thanks very much to the nearly 60 households who have already made a gift or pledge to the campaign. We are blessed to have so many members who give their time and talents to make this church a vibrant part of the community and deeply value those contributions. But if you haven’t already, we hope you will consider making a financial gift of any size to this important investment in the future of our building. We’ll accept gifts at any point, but hope to wrap up the campaign in September. Thanks for all you do for First Congregational Church!

Tag Sale – Help Definitely Needed!

Jody Green and Annie Parkman beginning The Great Sort for our September 9 Tag Sale.

Tag Sale – Help Needed Getting Ready for Sept. 9th!

Calling all angels to help with Tag Sale preparation tasks. We need your help. Ongoing Tag Sale assistance is needed Mondays through Fridays, for shifts from 10 am to 5 pm. The Tag Sale Team will be available to be here during evening hours if requested by volunteers. Saturday and Sunday assistance is also needed for shifts from 1pm to 4 pm for volunteers willing to come at that time and who contact Annie or Jody in advance. The Tag Sale is September 9 – closer than ever!


(Jody Green and Annie Parkman beginning The Great Sort for our September 9 Tag Sale.)


Save the Date: Annual Frittata Brunch!


Save the Date: September 10th, Annual Frittata Brunch!

Come Sunday the 10th and stay after the service for our annual Frittata Brunch in Community Hall. Bring a frittata*, or a fruit salad or rolls to the kitchen before the service, and enjoy the many choices at the brunch afterwards! This is a tradition, as we welcome back students each new school year. For questions or information please contact Carrie Bond at 802-375-3989 or

*If you are wondering what a frittata is, it is an easy egg and veggie, or meat dish which can be baked in the oven (and so kept warm while we are worshipping). Here’s an example of a recipe that you might use to make a contribution to this effort to welcome students back to town:

Summer Vegetable Frittata (serves 12 — the online recipe has been doubled and adapted to bake in oven) from


12 large eggs
12 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 oz prosciutto, finely chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 lb medium zucchini (about 3), halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
10 medium Swiss chard leaves, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped (3 cups)
24 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
10 zucchini blossoms*
4 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 cups)


Preheat oven to 350°F. and butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish (3-quart). – or suitable baking pan1

Cut Swiss chard into 1/4-inch-wide strips and chop scallions. Halve zucchini lengthwise and diagonally cut both zucchini and scallions into thin slices.

Cook prosciutto in oil in a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until edges begin to crisp, about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and chard and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, about 8 minutes. Add scallions and zucchini blossoms and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir in vegetable/prosciutto mixture. Pour egg custard into baking dish and bake in middle of oven until golden and set, about 35 minutes. Cool frittata on a rack. Frittata may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring frittata to room temperature before serving. If desired, loosen frittata from edges of pan and slide onto a platter.

from © Condé Nast Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.




Tag Sale Ramp-Up Time

The work begins this coming week on all of the tasks needed to kickstart our annual Tag Sale. This is our Church’s most important fundraiser, providing much needed operating expenses.

The Tag Sale Team is requesting the enthusiastic assistance of all energetic adults and strong bodied teens to move boxes and possibly other items!

Tag Sale Set-up Schedule: Sunday, August 20st after church ~ 11:30am until 2pm at the latest

Next Week
Tuesday, August 22nd after 10:30am until 5pm
Wednesday – Friday, August 23rd – 25th after 10am until 5pm: Help unpacking, displaying, cleaning and pricing items.
If you can donate future time sorting and preparing the merchandise, a large vehicle, truck or trailer for hauling, or your muscles for carrying and unloading, the Tag Sale Team would love to hear from you.

To contact the Tag Sale Team: Annie Parkman at 413-458-5605, Cynthia Payne at 413-458-8663 or Jody Green at 413-458-2201 and let them know of your availability.

Still Speaking Journey this Winter

A StillSpeaking Journey Through the Holy Land
A Two Week Trip to Israel, Palestine, and Jordan

Led by Rev. Carol Hallman, United Church of Christ

December 29, 2017 to January 11, 2018
$3,992 per person
Deadline to register August 29, 2017

On this adventure we will not only have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and many other ancestors of faith but also see how God is still speaking in the Holy Land today. We will meet with Rev. Naim Ateek with Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in East Jerusalem, politicians from various points on the political spectrum, and meet others who are actively involved in peacemaking. On our journey we will be shepherded by two guides, one Israeli and the other Palestinian, which will make this a unique opportunity for a continuing and deeper experience of our still speaking God.

For more information, or to register for the trip, visit this link: <>.

Story Slam, July 28th

StorySLAM coming up July 28th at the Clark!

Organized in conjunction with the Clark, this StorySLAM celebrates community storytelling alongside the Clark’s recent As In Nature exhibition of Helen Frankenthaler paintings. StorySLAM is a public storytelling contest. Members of the Williamstown community and beyond are invited to hear and tell stories that center around the theme of nature. Have you ever had an unexpected or profound experience in nature? Has the natural world opened your eyes or changed your perspective? This StorySLAM will be hosted on the Moltz Terrace at the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, which offers extraordinary views of the Berkshires and Green Mountains. Tips for storytelling: True. Live. 1st person. No notes. No net.

4th of July

March in the July 4th Parade with the Church! Our town’s upcoming July 4th parade is an opportunity for us to show our community what’s happening at the First Congregational Church. I hope that many of you will participate in the walk. The theme of this year’s parade is “Hats Off to America” and I have been collecting some fun hats for us to wear. I also thought that some might be willing to carry signs which describe what’s been happening here, like “Black Lives Matter”, Climate Change concerns and our financial divestment from fossil fuels, blessing of animals (someone to walk with their animals). I welcome any of your suggestions for wording or other signs or additions to our gathering. E-mail me at or call 413 822-2973. Thanks, Jody Green

Come cool off!

Help Needed!

Come one, come all and join us in the cool basement rooms. Annie, Cynthia and Jody (the Tag Sale Team), and volunteers have neatly put away nearly all Tag Sale donations, but we still have those microwaves, refrigerators and fans which need cleaning as they are often sent to us often looking very dirty and smelly. Volunteers are needed who would be willing to spend a couple of hours in the cool of the church basement, during these hot summer days. For those who have a few hours to spare, please contact Jody Annie, or Cynthia (e-mails below) to set up a time to help.

If people would like to volunteer, they need to call or e-mail one of us and arrange a time to go in as we will not be there every day now for the rest of the summer. Also, please remember, help will also be needed at the end of August from August 21st to the day of the sale Sept 9th.

To contact the Tag Sale Team:

Annie:, or (413) 822-4511
Cynthia:, or (413) 348-7777
Jody:, or (413) 458-2201

Art & Soul, 2017

l,” taking inspiration from both local art exhibitions, performances, and the Bible. Sunday, June 25th will focus on racism, Jesus’s exorcism of a demon-possessed man, and artist Nick Cave’s MASS MoCA exhibition Until, specifically Cave’s provocative re-appropriation of blackface lawn jockeys as a part of his work. Each subsequent week will hold up biblical themes alongside a cultural event or art exhibition. Our worship service begins at 10 am on Sunday morning. We look forward to welcoming you then!
Here’s the schedule for “Art & Soul” Summer 2017:

June 18th: MassMoca, Nick Cave Until, here’s a blog post on this sermon which you may find interesting.

June 25th: MassMoca, Nick Cave Until

July 2nd: Guest Preacher – Rick Chrisman

July 9th: Rev. Mark reports back from UCC General Synod

July 16th: Williams College Museum of Art, Meleko Mokgosi, Lex and Love

July 23rd: Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Clean House

July 30th: Hancock Saker Village Barn Concert, Anna and Elizabeth

August 6th: The Clark Art Institute, Picasso, Encounters

August 27th: The Clark Art Institute, Picasso, Encounters