Flanders, Riverside And Northampton Community Notes, December 19

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With the fabulous holiday season comes visits from family and friends, fantastic and filling dinners and desserts, gifts and surprises, as well as a lot of blessings. While the holidays are also a very stressful time with all the credit card bills and searches for elusive toys, it is important to remember why we gather at this time of the year.The holiday’s origins date back some 2,000 years and it began with a gift, a single gift of a baby. Try to remember that before losing patience while spending thousands on gifts and toys. Many forget the simplicity of that very first Christmas and the joy it continues to bring to so many.

Perhaps this is why so many find their way back to the church during the holiday season? Perhaps it is the promise of new beginnings? I’m sure the reasons vary.

It is in that spirit of “new beginnings” that the community welcomes Kent Terchunian as the new pastor of the Flanders United Methodist Church. He will be joined by Patricia Chuppe, the new assistant pastor.

Kent and Patricia are excited about the opportunity before them and feel blessed to be able to reestablish the traditions of the 125-year-old parish, which prides itself on being a small, family oriented congregation. With the new duo in place there are hopes for the Flanders United Methodist Church to be known as “The Little Church That Could,” with a concentration on local missions and service to the community.

Children are invited to stop by the church located at 1193 Flanders Road and visit with Santa on Saturday, December 21, between 2 and 4 p.m. Soup and salad will be served afterward.

Also, many new groups will be meeting at the church; for example, a local expert will offer lessons on knitting and crocheting prayer shawls. And the church invites everyone to help in supporting local families who are suffering due to the lagging economy by joining the parish’s Mission Committee. Please call the church at (631) 369-9884 for more information about any of these programs.

A welcoming of a different kind took place last Wednesday, December 11, when members of Girl Scouts Troop 2307 greeted Freddie Ligon of Riverhead who spent the past seven months in Afghanistan as a member of the U.S. Air Force’s security forces.

As Mr. Ligon entered the Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside with his daughter Michaela, the Girl Scouts, as well as their parents and leaders, all began clapping and shouted, “Welcome home!” With a huge smile on his face, Mr. Ligon stated that “there’s no place like home” and exchanged hugs and high-fives with all in attendance. Mr. Ligon was then asked to lead the girls in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, which they followed with the Girl Scout Promise.

Troop leaders Kristin North and Francine Godsey thought it was important for the Girl Scouts to recognize his service. “Freddie is our favorite Girl Scout dad,” Ms. North said. “He is such a great participant and marches in the parades with us and comes to all of our meetings, too.”

When asked what the best part of having her dad home was, Michaela replied: “He can play games with me.”

It is those simple things that Mr. Ligon missed as well. He also offered some words of advice: “Don’t take for granted the little things, things like these are the things I missed the most.”

Some great words of advice from a true hero. Welcome home, Mr. Ligon, and thank you for your service.

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