Saints of WCUC

On October 27, we heard Ephesians 1:15-19 and these reflections on saints of our congregation.

Emma Hefty Mitchell, remembered by her daughter, Jean Moscariello

The person I most admire is my mother, Emma Hefty Mitchell.

My mother was a very devoted Christian and very generous, helping others whenever she could.  She instilled in me good values and I have tried to be like her.

Emma was born in 1905 and was placed in the Cradle Roll of the church.  In 1991 she and George Hefty were 2 of the six Centennial Babies we celebrated at our Centennial Covenant.  She was a member of the church and attended faithfully until 1927 when she married and moved to Guilford, Connecticut.  However, when she came to live with me she once again became a member.  It meant so much to her.

I would now like to read excerpts from a letter I found that my mother wrote to give you an idea how things were a hundred years ago at Union Church:

“My association with West Concord Union Church began on My 14, 1905, when I was enrolled in the Cradle Roll at  the age of 2 months.  Mary B Lane was Superintend of the Cradle Roll at that time and for the next 3 years she sent me a birthday card on March 23 which I still have.  Mr. Campbell was pastor then. As I grew older my mother took me with her to Prayer Meeting every Wednesday night.

I well remember the huge Christmas trees which were set up in that same room.  The presents from the parents and other relatives would be brought and put on the tree and Christmas Eve Santa would be there and climb on a high step ladder to reach some of the presents and call the name of the person it was for.  I’ll never forget the night I received the biggest doll near the top of the tree which I very much longed for.  When my name was called I instead received a small baby doll from my Aunt but before the evening was over I did receive the big one which my daughter now has.

When I was in my teens I joined the Christian Endeavor Society and spent many happy hours with that group.

I became a member of the church May l, l921 when Alfred Stone was pastor.  Before that I remember attending Sunday School when Mildred Stone was my teacher and we met in the choir cloak room, some of us sitting on the steps.

When I got married in 1927 I moved to Guilford, Connecticut and attended the First Congregation Church regularly but could not bring myself to take a letter from the West Concord Union Church until 1950 when I did finally join the Congregational Church.

My memories of the years at Union Church are very dear to me and I still have connections there through my daughter, Jean Moscariello, and brother, George Hefty, and attend church whenever I come to Concord.”

I give thanks to God for the life of Emma Hefty Mitchell.

Mary Aldrich, Marilyn Cousins & Edna Wagner, remembered by Ann Schummers

I give thanks to God for 5 amazing women. They were known as the lunch bunch because they shared birthdays, holidays and fun times together.
They loved each other, they loved their families, they loved their friends and they loved this church. They are role models for all of us.

Mary Aldrich shared her beautiful voice with our church and with other places of worship, including a Synagogue. She cared for countless little children in her day care program with gentleness, kindness and love.

Marilyn Cousins sang in our choir and rang bells for many years. Her nursing background helped her care for children and her loving gentleness helped her care for all who knew her, especially her husband Norm and her family.

Edna Wagner gave us energy, enthusiasm, and an eagerness to share her love of travel. She loved Wednesday morning Bible Study and never missed a day unless she was in China, Antarctica or wherever! She showed us how powerful friendship can be and what we can give each other.

Fran Gardella is a saint and she is still with us as we worship. Her laughter, her kindness, her energy and her skills as a teacher enrich our lives on a daily basis. She has served this church as a Deacon, a Trustee, and a member of the Fellowship Committee and Helping Hand. She is a joy to us all.

Annie Holt is another saint sitting in our congregation every Sunday. Her warmth, her smile, her gentleness, her laughter warms our hearts and caresses our soles. She was a teacher for many years and she continues to teach all of us to share the love of God with all who touch our lives.

We are all blessed by the presence of these women in our lives.

Miriam Coombs, remembered by Constance Putnam

I first met Miriam Coombs when we served on one of the sub-committees of Concord’s 350th celebration.  When the chairperson asked for a volunteer to serve as secretary, no one budged—until Miriam said that she, as a former high school English teacher, could perhaps manage. When she discovered I would be driving past her house to attend those meetings, she said I could easily give her a lift to subsequent sessions of the committee.  I liked her immediately, for that directness and its correctness.

From then until the day she died, Miriam was my closest friend in town, despite the age gap.  Or maybe because of it; certainly I benefited from her Elder’s Wisdom on many occasions.  Many people—including a number here today—also were close friends;  Miriam was generous with friendship in many forms. 

I learned that only later, when Miriam—figuratively speaking—opened the door of West Concord Union Church for me, giving me a community I had not had up to that point in town.  Miriam cared deeply about this church, and she served it in many ways, too many to list here; a couple of examples will give the flavor.  She used to quietly make sure Sunday Fellowship members were well served during coffee hour and befriended Charles, who still remembers her.  For a number of years she directed the children’s choir.  Long after she gave up that connection with the children, her favorite Sunday was still Children’s Sunday.  Thus I was very surprised the year she told me not to pick her up on Children’s Sunday because she was not going to church.  When I asked why not, she said simply that the children get excited—as they should—and rush around.  She did not want to risk one of them knocking her off balance.  “Just think how terrible that child would feel if I fell?”

More dramatic and more important, because very public, was what Miriam said the day of the congregation’s vote on whether to go on record officially as an Open and Affirming community.  When someone moved to table the motion for six months to allow  additional time for discussion, Miriam pulled herself up, using the back of the pew in front of her (she was 91), and said, “I am not in favor of the motion to table—because who knows whether I will still be here in six months?  I want to be able to vote on the issue itself, and I want to vote YES!” 

The motion to table was defeated.  The vote in favor of this congregation making public its Open and Affirming stance was overwhelming.  

And an old woman led them.

Julia and John Forbes, remembered by their son, Maynard Forbes

My parents, John and Julia Forbes, were strong church people who were involved with the church as long as I can remember. John came from a Presbyterian church in Merrigomish, Nova Scotia and Julia came from a Baptist church in Greene, ME. When they married they joined the Winthrop Congregational Church where they were very active and where they made sure Carolyn and I attended church school and church regularly.

When we moved to West Concord in 1951 joining the West Concord church was one of the first priorities. Julia sang in the choir and became involved with the helping hand society. She also was also a Deaconess and stalwart member of the flower committee. A quiet presence but she was always there.  John was an usher and chaired the ushering group for many years. Because he was in business in the community he knew and met many people so when a new face came into the church he was always there to greet them, and see that they were well received.  John served on the trustees and was involved with many stewardship campaigns.  He was also involved with counting the collection after church. He dealt with money every day so this was a simple task for him.

John might do a little bookkeeping or sneak in a quiet project at the store on a Sunday, but Sunday was a day of rest from the work of the store. Even as more stores would be open on Sunday he held the line on being closed on Sunday. Sunday was church day and the two of them were very regular attendees. Together they lived strong Christian lives with a faith in God and faith in the church. Following John’s strong work ethic has helped me throughout my life. Julia’s patience and love provided a great solace as a youngster and many other times through my life.  They were great examples to follow. I thank God for the lives of John and Julia Forbes.