Dear Community Church members and friends,
Lots of good things are happening at Community Church! Things are getting busier and busier as the summer progresses. This letter recaps some of the most important activities as we move through our transition to a new, “settled” pastor and get ready to launch another year of church activities.
On July 28, the congregation voted by acclamation to call the Rev. David Grishaw-Jones as the church’s next pastor, effective Sunday, September 1, when he will lead our 10 am worship service. Dave, a native New Englander and graduate of Dartmouth College and Union Theological Seminary, served churches in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Seattle and Denver before becoming pastor at Peace UCC in Santa Cruz, California, where he served for 17 years. Dave and his wife, Kate, have three daughters.
Dave brings to Community Church a wealth of experience from working with homelessness to establishing a jail ministry to developing initiatives around LGBTQ+ issues. He is deeply committed to social justice causes such as the environment, interfaith relations, and immigration. Dave also has a strong personal interest in poetry and music, with a special focus on jazz. He is passionate about bringing different and diverse experiences to worship.
As the church gets set for Dave’s arrival, we will be saying goodbye and thank you to the Rev. Dr. Jill Small, our interim minister for the past two years. Jill has not only worked with church staff and lay leaders to shepherd Community Church through this interim period; she moved us forward in important ways, from facilitating our church tricentennial activities to advocating the creation of a new endowment fund. Throughout her time with us, Jill’s inspirational and eloquent preaching has been informed by her deep Biblical scholarship and her passion for social justice. We will miss seeing what’s in the Rainbow Bag each Sunday! Please join us this Sunday, August 11 at 9:00 am, for Jill’s final service with us, followed by a special reception celebrating Jill’s ministry in Durham.
For the two Sundays between Jill’s departure and Dave’s arrival, we will have guest leadership for our morning service. On August 18, our guest preacher and worship leader will be the Rev. Eric Jackson, president of the Manchester NAACP. Leadership for the August 25 service is still being arranged.
Finally, as we enter this next chapter in Community Church history, some constants remain. Our annual Fall Fest will be on Saturday, September 7, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Please come for the camaraderie, and for furniture, food, produce, jams and jellies, knife sharpening, and Echo Thrift Store clothing and merchandise! The next morning, Sunday, September 8, is Welcome Back Sunday, the kickoff to our new program year. Especially with Pastor Dave on board, it’s a great opportunity to invite friends and neighbors to experience what makes Community Church so meaningful to each of us!
With thanks for New England summers and for each of you,
Church Council Chair