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  • Writer's pictureUnion Church

November-December Newsletter


This has been an interesting and challenging time for us all. We are unable to meet as has been comfortable. We are isolated in many ways and find ourselves looking for glimmers of hope wherever they might pop up. Please stop to enjoy moments of home school success, Zooms with family, and other new connections with those we love.

October has seen Union Church begin adapting to in person worship using careful precautions to keep each safe. These services have also been shared on Zoom and FacebookLive. Two services have been conducted this way and the church leadership is carefully watching the Covid-19 levels in our communities as new services are planned. Attendees have been surprised to learn how to use the “Harry Potter” secret door as they exit safely from worship.

You are well supported each week as the Newsyletter to share the latest news and thoughts. Your prayer team is connected weekly to pray for those in need of support. The Deacons and the Session are considering ways to provide meals for those in need. We see that at the time of death or hospitalization, families are focused on care for each other and appreciated not having to worry about meal preparation.

Watch for details of a Joint Worship Service recognizing Thanksgiving this year. Video and live presentations from Union Church and Calvary Presbyterian Church will be shared on Zoom and FacebookLive on Sunday evening, November 22.

Rev. Dr. Cathy Surgenor

Rev. Peter Surgenor

Joint Thanksgiving Worship Service November 22 at 7:00 pm (ONLINE)

The leadership of Union Church and Calvary Presbyterian Church of Newburgh are planning a joint Thanksgiving worship service for Sunday evening November 22 at 7:00 pm. The service will include live and recorded segments, highlight the sanctuary of each church, and begin our preparations for this very unusual Thanksgiving holiday this year.

You will be able to participate in the service on Zoom or by viewing the Facebook page of either church. If you join by Zoom you might see a different mix of faces as members of each community join for this celebration. There will be organ selections from Margaret Small, piano selections from Joseph Bush, and scripture readings and reflections on these times and this coming season. Watch for more details.



Our first on-site worship service since the shut down in March was held on October 4 at 10:30am. The service was livestreamed to Zoom and Facebook so that members choosing to worship at home were included. Health check, social distancing, and mask protocols were observed.

We will be worshipping on site every other week for the next several weeks, barring new shut down orders. The next on-site worship service is October 18 at 10:30. The service will also be livestreamed on Zoom and Facebook.

Union Church has received a Communications Grant for $1997. The grant money will be used to upgrade the sound system, cameras, and video capabilities in the sanctuary. The new technology will enhance sound quality in the sanctuary and improve the production value of our YouTube and Zoom services. A big THANK YOU to Fred Stelling for compiling the list of items, including prices and descriptions. The detail provided by Fred made the Grant submission seamless and easy to understand by approvers.

The Worship and Music committee continues to meet monthly via Zoom. New committee members are needed. If you are interested in participating on the Worship and Music committee contact Libby Szymanowicz at The committee is currently discussing options for worship over the holiday season. Families are needed for Advent Candle readings! We will be asking for volunteers in the coming weeks.

In His service, Libby Szymanowicz



To date the Pastor Search Committee has reviewed over 50 Pastor Information Forms and had 2 self-referrals. Out of the 50 forms we reviewed, we sent requests for follow ups to over 25 applicants to see if they had an interest. We received very little response and we interviewed 3 Pastors.

Now, our committee is trying a different approach. We have been referred to review a Commissioned Ruling Elder (CRE) from our own Hudson River Presbytery. We have had an interview with candidate and possibly a second person will send us their information. We are very hopeful about these prospects. A CRE must go through a thorough training program and is able to do most of the things an Ordained Minister can do. Thanks to Rev. Surgenor for his advice and guidance to our committee.

Theresa Cotanche, Chairperson



We have been busy over the summer and into the fall! In August, we were open for five days and distributed 444 bags! We had 22 new recipients. In September we were also open for five days and distributed 412 bags! We had 25 new recipients.

We welcome our new volunteers, Judy Boucher, Alana Gervias, Gerri McDonald, and Marge Mercier. We also thank Delta Kappa Gamma for a contribution of over $300 for our backpacks. As always, thanks to our many donors. You allow us to help our community in so many ways. The people appreciate it and tell us so.

We are taking donations of clothing, but please, only for cool and cold weather, since we don’t have room to store more spring and summer items. We do have folks asking if we have any sheets and towels. Coats are also needed at this time for all ages.

Thank you for working with us to provide this service in our community.

Debby and Kathy



Union Church is hosting a Chicken Dinner Fundraiser Sat., Nov. 21 from 3-6pm

Delicious roast chicken dinner and sides. Pick-up ONLY, $8 per plate.

RSVP: by Thursday, November 19

CONTACT: Church office 562-0954 or Jeff Bousche 562-6242 for more information.



In preparation for the holidays and to make it simpler to help others during Covid-19 pandemic, the Deacons are requesting cash donations for the Deacons fund to allow us to supplement our food pantry recipients for Thanksgiving in lieu of the Joshua Tree. On that note as well, the Deacons plan on decorating the church for the holidays emphasizing the view of the Zoom and Facebook audience.

Finally, we will need to fill 3 vacancies on the Board of Deacons at the end of the year and would welcome anyone interested. Please speak to Chris Neighbors or any of the Deacons for more information or to express your interest.

In His Service, The Board of Deacons



Hopefully, everyone has received their Commitment letter!

If you are still considering the amount of support you wish to contribute to Union Church in 2021, we ask that you base it on the faith and trust you have in the Lord.

As stated in 2 Corinthians 8:12: For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

Thank you for your generosity,

Commitment & Planned Giving Committee

Jim Alber (Chair), Mike Albright, and Janice Anderson



Buildings and Grounds worked with Worship and Music, with approval from Session, to reopen Union so the church could host in-person worship services every other week, beginning in October. Several of the church’s regular buildings users have return to occasional meetings in Fellowship Hall or the Parlor, and we continue to maintain safety measures for all visitors to the church.

We have replaced the aging barn doors with new double doors, which will greatly enhance the heat retention and will improve security. The doors pully system finally gave way, necessitating the repair. The old, heavy wooden doors will be sold to offset some of the costs associated with the replacement.

The grounds continue to receive some TLC with weeding, mulch distribution, and necessary pruning/trimming. Our building insurance provider will be paying for installation of a new water monitoring system, which will take place sometime in the coming months, to detect leaks, monitor interior temperatures and warn of excessive water usage.

Work is progressing on Owen Albright’s Eagle Scout project, which involves refurbishing the main sign in the front yard and some new landscaping. New plantings included two small junipers, two azaleas, two mums, and several hasta plants. Pavers and a bench will be installed, new lighting and plexiglass will be included, and a fresh paint job is in progress.

Mike Albright, Chair, Buildings & Grounds Committee



Outreach has begun the task of going through the church roles like they do every year. If there is someone that any member believes that Outreach should reach out to please let us know.

Outreach is also planning a meeting for some time in the first week in November and more information in that will follow.

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