Sunday Worship Livestream Update

Following conversations with scientists and medical personnel in our community, as well as careful and thoughtful consideration of our current circumstances in Connecticut, we have decided to extend livestream worship (ONLY) through Sunday, February 13.  We will reevaluate this decision at the beginning of February and will let you know where things stand at that time.

Please know that we remain faithful to you and one another in these difficult times. Many of you have reached out in the last several weeks letting us know that COVID has made its way into your homes and lives (as has also been the case for us, your clergy). Even if physically connecting is hard right now, as people of faith we know that prayer is one of the ways we can always connect, to one another and to God, no matter what the circumstances. So let us be in prayer for one another as we weather the Omicron surge.

Always,
Erica, Jordan, and Tracy

This means there is NO in person worship on January 23 & 30 or February 6 & 13. Worship will be via Livestream ONLY @ 10:00AM at ahcc.org

Who, Me? A Message from AHCC Moderator, Tory Chavey

“Who, me?”

This might be your reaction when you hear that AHCC is requesting volunteers to fill out the church’s many committees, subcommittees, and working groups for the upcoming year, which starts July 1, 2022.

If this is the question on your mind, my answer is: “Yes, you!” 

We all know and very much appreciate AHCC’s wonderful and dedicated staff and clergy team, who work tirelessly day in and day out.

But did you also know that AHCC has well over 100 volunteers who make up the church’s numerous committees, subcommittees, and working groups? Yes, you read that right – well over 100 volunteers who currently serve as a member of one of the groups that help make this church thrive in every facet of its work. That is a huge number of people, and we need every single one to help carry out the faith-filled work of this church.

AHCC’s committee, subcommittee, and working group participants include some of our newest church members and some of our most long-standing members; they include young members and retired members; they include members who live around the corner from the church and those who live in another state; they include members who have a specific skill to offer and those who just want to pitch in in any way they can; they include members with lots of time to share and those with limited time; they include members at all different points along their faith journey.

In other words, AHCC’s committee, subcommittee, and working group participants are widely varied and diverse, and yet they all answered the call to join in to help play a part in the work of AHCC. I have heard so many people say, and I wholeheartedly agree, that getting more involved at AHCC is a truly wonderful and meaningful way to deepen your faith and your relationship with the church and other members, while giving back to the church and the wider community in ways that speak to you.

Will you please join in? Will you say “yes, me!” to helping AHCC move forward with the key components of the AHCC 2024 Roadmap — engaging and nurturing this church community, pursuing justice, and expanding our impact? I hope you will!

And if you are a friend of AHCC, but have not become a church member, we welcome your participation, too. There are definitely roles for you, and we invite you to find out more.

For all who want to learn about opportunities to get more involved at AHCC, please contact Mary Way at the church office, mway@ahcc.org, and she will connect you to the appropriate people to get you the information you need. Thank you!

Reflections of a Hospital Chaplain by David Figliuzzi

One of the expressions of my call to ministry has been my work as a hospital chaplain at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA – a 716-bed hospital that serves a large area that includes southern VT, western MA, eastern NY and northern CT.

I was honored to join the staff of the Spiritual Care Department at Baystate to serve as an on-call chaplain at the completion of a required educational program, Clinical Pastoral Education.

This summer, the hospital had a relatively low number of COVID patients within the system (the system includes some smaller hospitals in Western Mass). In August, the number of COVID patients hovered around 25. That number began to rise in the fall and I remember feeling some shock in December when the number of COVID patients exceeded 90.

On January 10, Baystate Health reported that the number of covid patients was 284, more than ten times what it was at the end of summer. The CEO issued a statement saying that the system is “in a state of crisis,” operating at 110% of capacity with severe staff shortages. These kinds of numbers translate into long delays in the emergency room, postponed elective care, and a tremendous strain on the healthcare system.

The numbers tell part of the story, but, for me, the story is best told in the faces of my colleagues. The front-line workers are exhausted. Nurses are working overtime, environmental services staff is working around the clock to maintain hospital facility standards, and the list goes on. One nurse described it me as “feeling numb every day.” They long to be their best for each patient, but the current situation is simply unsustainable.

I am thankful that AHCC is doing all we can to keep our community safe and healthy. Please pray for our healthcare workers – doctors, nurses, all hospital staff. If you know someone working on the frontline of this pandemic wave, reach out and offer them support. If you can, offer assistance with errands, household chores, child care, meal preparation, snow removal – it will be welcome.

May we emerge from this pandemic with a true recognition of the heroes among us.

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