The Community United Presbyterian Church


Nurturing Gratitude and Giving Thanks


“Among the Rocks”
by Robert Browning


Oh, good gigantic smile o’ the brown old earth,
      This autumn morning! How he sets his bones
To bask i’ the sun, and thrusts out knees and feet
For the ripple to run over in its mirth;
      Listening the while, where on the heap of stones
The white breast of the sea-lark twitters sweet.

That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true;
      Such is life’s trial, as old earth smiles and knows.
If you loved only what were worth your love,
Love were clear gain, and wholly well for you:
      Make the low nature better by your throes!
Give earth yourself, go up for gain above


         All of the apples were picked and on their way to become pies or cider. There was always one  specific morning that I could sense a change – taking a deep breath on my way out the door in  the early morning, the air was crisp and clean as the last remnants of frost retreated in the sun.  Molly, my gray haired dog, would lift her nose and sniff the breeze - for what I am not sure –  perhaps for the youth she still carried within her and memories of an autumn chase long ago.

      I had just begun college and though Molly had experienced her fair share of birds and        rabbits, I mused that the chase she remembered was one my brother and I invented. At least, it       was the chase I remembered. When we were children, after picking the good apples from the branches of our trees, many more remained on the ground, fallen and now food for bees and other insects. At first, my brother and I would simply pick these apples up and throw them at each other – but it only took a few good pitches to realize this was not a good idea and we could really end up getting hurt. We ended up putting apples on the end of long sticks and then swinging those sticks as hard as we could through the air. The apples would fly off the end and soar through the air with much more velocity than our own arms could muster. In fact, they would fly well over an acre, past our garden and over the neighbors’ roofs. We would have contests to see whose would fly the farthest. Unfortunately, they went so far, we often lost track of them – leading to calls from our neighbors to our parents. The long-distance games came to an abrupt stop.

      At first, we were downhearted having to keep the apples within our yard – never reaching their full potential as long-range projectiles. However, one day, Molly saw our activity and gave chase. She was young and fast and graceful. We moved to a basket of the good eating apples, because once she caught the apples – they were not returned – and she deserved the good apples. This became our fall game from that day on – and Molly ate well.

     Now I find myself – sitting here with a mop of greying hair – and remembering our autumn games. I want my own children to experience simple joys like I did – to laugh out loud and to enjoy the moment – to create such memories without realizing it. Simple blessings.

    We are entering a time of thanksgiving – but isn’t every day one to count our blessings. I know I am often guilty of focusing on the negative – only to become a bit sappy and melancholy when memories are brought back by a smell or a song. How can we nurture gratitude, so that giving thanks for God’s blessings becomes the norm, rather than the exception or something for special occasions?

     Perhaps we can begin with something simple – a daily meditation – a positive thought to start each day. This might have an unintended result of reframing the day to come – shifting our outlook. Thinking of one blessing before we get out of bed each day. It might seem tedious at first – maybe even silly. But stick with it. At first it might be difficult to find one positive thing – but after only a short time, the list will grow. Begin to write down each blessing, or to say a brief prayer of thanks. If you are thankful for someone else’s presence or actions in your life – tell them – it might just change their day as well. Tell God. Nurture a heart and mind of gratitude. Re-focus on God’s blessings. Put an apple on the end of a stick and see how far those things fly – aim high.!


May God bless you,



   The 2017 Hunger Walk and Unity Picnic was held at Keystone State Park on October. Music and Fellowship was enjoyed by the participants. The walkers raised $1100 which was distributed to The Westmoreland Food Bank, the Emergency Food Bank in New Alex and to RISE AGAINST HUNGER for a future meal packaging event on October 20, 2018. Thanks to everyone who walked or sponsored a walker.




  • November 5:         Remembrance Service at 11 AM
  • November 7:       Election Day Soup and Salad Luncheon 11 AM-1 PM
  • November 12: Samaritans Purse (OCC) boxes are due
  • November 13: Deacons Pies will be delivered
  • November 18: Baby Shower for Trisha Eliason at 2 PM
  • November 19: Thanksgiving Service at St. James, at 7 PM
  • November 26: Decorate the Church at 12 PM
  • December 1:  Christmas Kick off, Live Nativity at the Community  Center, 7 PM
  • December 3: Advent Services  begin at 11 AM
  • December 3: Election of Officers after worship
  • December 17: Christmas Program for kids and Adults at 11 AM
  • December 24: Christmas Eve Service at 7 PM with Communion
  • December 25: Happy Birthday Jesus, Merry Christmas!!
  • December 25 & 26 & January 1 & 2 the office will be closed



Deacons need your help!

Have a student going back to College or someone separated from us for a time? THE DEACONS are  collecting names and address of our college students, service men and women, and others who are far from us at this time. Please contact a Deacon or the church office with your information.


Come join the fun of decorating the church for Christmas on November 26 after Worship. There will be cookies and drinks.  The Sunday School kids will be decorating their Christmas Tree with the ornaments that they made in Sunday School.


The Nominating Committee has put together a slate of members to serve our congregation for the next 3 years. The   Worship Committee has set  December 10th, at 12 PM, for the Election of Officers.

The Worship Comm. has also set the date for the Annual  Corporation Meeting on January 21, 2018 after Worship.  All Committees are urged to get their annual reports done and into the office by January 12, 2018.


    On December 17, 2017, the Sunday School Class will     present a different look at the Nativity. The “Manger Tales “ tell of the animal’s take on the Christmas story.

    The choir will also participate in the service with their Christmas Program.

Come and enjoy the  program and the covered dish dinner after.

This will be the LAST Sunday School until January 7, 2018.


The Deacons Dove Tree will be put up on November 26.  We will have 25-30 names to buy gifts for.   Wrapped gifts should be returned on December  10. So that the case workers have time to deliver them.



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