Copper Hill Church, P. O. Box 422, East Granby, CT 06026

Coffee Hour this week; Valentines series continues



One of the quiet joys each month at Copper Hill church is coffee hour, that time usually on the second Sunday of the month when we bring in light refreshments and stay after service to chat and get to know each other better.  The weather caused cancellation of coffee hour last Sunday so it has been rescheduled for this week, Feb. 19.

In service (9:30 am) this week, Pastor Kelvin will be continuing his Valentines series of messages called “Values that Build Relationships.”       The practical topic will be a discussion of the love languages that we can use to communicate our love to others in our family, community and friendship circles.  The message will use Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” as a resource.

Last week, Pastor Kelvin suggested that this time in our nation’s history is an opportunity for the church to speak prophetically to our culture in word and action.  The values of love have no party affiliation or agenda but call us as God’s people past divisions to the agenda of loving words and service.  This week, Pastor Kelvin will speak more about practical ways that the people of God can make a difference.   


East Granby Firemen’s Dinner 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017, Copper Hill Church hosted its annual dinner for the East Granby Firemen. The tradition of serving the firemen in this way has been going on annually since sometime in the 1950’s. Pastor Kelvin Jones opened the meal with a prayer for the safety of the firemen as they go about their unselfish service to our community. Some present this year were reminiscing about some of the early dinners in the upstairs of the old fire hall. Louise Holcomb remembered one time in particular carrying food upstairs in the old fire hall on a bitter cold night. 

First Selectman Jim Hayden was present and briefed the firemen concerning his efforts to aid the department during their meeting following the supper.  The volunteer cooking and serving crew was directed by Judy Holcomb and everyone enjoyed the roast beef dinner. 

This past Sunday, during morning service at Copper Hill Church, the congregation again remembered the firemen in prayer in their service to our community.  We gave thanks to God for their dedicated service and prayed for their safety.  

Training for lay ministry is available

Did you know that the UMC is offering free webinars to help you grow in the position to which you have been elected for service?  Here is the latest listing of free webinars taken form the CT district news.  

Free Leadership Development Webinars

Register at Contact: Jacqui King – Director, Leadership for Congregational Vitality 615.340.7295

Tues., January 17 @ 7:00 PM CST– Leadership Overview: Leading Congregations Effectively in a Global World

The world is dynamic. Technology creates new avenues for leaders from around the world to meet, pray, study, connect, and serve God together in a global context. This webinar will help leaders discover tools for reaching new people, praying for healing community, focusing on increasing spiritual practices, engaging in relevant outreach, and celebrating a culture of discipleship.

Tues., January 24 @ 7:00 PM CST – Church Council: What’s My Role?

Begin the year for new and continuing leaders by connecting your leadership with an overview of the year ahead. The church council or leadership team will discover important support resources for building and overseeing a comprehensive plan for ministry and discipleship. Additional resources for discerning the feasibility of using a single-board leadership model, conducting community assessments, and evaluating decision-making practices are included.

Tues., January 31 @ 7:00 PM CST – SPRC: What’s My Role?

Understanding the roles and ongoing responsibilities of staff parish relations committee (SPRC) is crucial for creating a healthy work place for all staff. Since building effective and vital ministries is our focus, this webinar explores strategies for goal setting, practices for increasing staff accountability to your congregation’s goals, benefit recommendations, and ideas on promoting positive relationship development.

Tues., February 7 @ 7:00 PM CST – Trustees – What’s My Role?

The trustees committee is elected by the congregation to lead in the stewardship of property. Participating in this webinar will help provide trustees with key tools for managing current and future property. This administrative leadership role involves implementing new ideas for effective property utilization, and managing property and assets. Whether you are a new trustee or a continuing trustee, consider this time of the year a good time to look at the big picture of your responsibility.

Archived Webinars:

Maybe you missed the webinar for your leadership area or you want to share it with the team. Webinars are archived for future use. Identify the webinar, click the link, enter the requested information, and the webinar will be immediately available for you to view or to share during your meeting, program, or training event. Access the archived webinars at:

Christmas Events 2017


Children shine in Christmas celebration

Our children added so many special touches to Christmas services this year at Copper Hill Church.  Under the direction of Sheri Mandirola and JoAnne Jones, the children’s choir sang beautifully an old carol, “I Saw Three Ships” in the service Dec. 11 when Bishop Thomas Bickerton visited us.    Then, again this year, the littlest ones decorated the altar rail and brought in the beautiful ceramic manger scene pieces during the annual children’s Christmas service on Dec. 18th.   Children led by Griffin Mandirola narrated almost the entire service.  Sheri Mandirola and Bob Loomis had helped the children prepare.   Besides these obvious things, our young folks also served in other ways, lighting candles, playing bells for the adult choir, helping to pass the light on Christmas Eve, and ushering on children’s Christmas Sunday.   On Christmas Day, Children’s Church director, JoAnne Jones had the children help lead a new version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” which she had written to the traditional tune.  It spoke of the gifts God has given to us through his Son, Jesus.   Jonathan thinks it should become a new tradition. 

More Celebrative Involvements

Pastor Kelvin asked many of the congregation members to participate during the season as leaders and readers for liturgy or Scripture.  One was high school senior, Jordan Gabbidon, who read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.  In addition, musical talents shone during the season.  Christmas Eve service featured a harp-flute duet by JoAnne Jones and Mary Jane Sullivan, playing “Gesu Bambino,” a carol the beautiful melody of which may be more familiar than its title.  JoAnne also played a harp solo.  Jonathan Griffin and his daughter Anna sang a charming duet of “Do You Hear What I Hear.”    Christmas day featured a piano solo by Deb Johnson playing a stirring original J. D. Jones medley arrangement of O Come Emmanuel and O Holy Night.   Our adult choir sang an anthem called “Ring the Bells.”   

All of these added so much inspiration and celebration to our services.  Pastor Kelvin highlighted the season with a series of messages titled “The Wonder of Christmas.”  The cooks of the church were very busy during the Advent Christmas season as well with a potluck dinner for decorating the sanctuary on Nov 27, the first Sunday of Advent, a UMW Potluck on Tues. Dec. 13,  and two Sundays with Coffee Hours following services (Dec. 11 & 18).     Methodist folk know how to celebrate with good food too!

The attached video of Jonathan and Anna Griffin was submitted by Nancy Collins. 

Copper Hill hosts visit by Bishop Thomas Bickerton

Church council and children with Bishop Bickerton
What a privilege to have Bishop Bickerton visit our church

 Bishop Bickerton an excellent speaker

Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the New York annual conference of the United Methodist Church thrilled the congregation at Copper Hill church by his visit on Sunday, December 11.   He brought an inspiring message titled, “Joy Unspeakable” which reminded the congregation that our spiritual relationship with God is intended to be a deep and lasting source of joy, whatever the circumstances in our lives. But he challenged us that in order for this to be so, we would need to choose joy over grumbling in our daily lives; we would need to choose the perspective of faith over the problem of fear.   

Visit part of 200th celebration

The visit capped the 200th Anniversary Celebration of the church. The children of the church delighted everyone with a beautiful rendition of the traditional Carol, “I Saw Three Ships.”   The interesting history fact for the morning was the reading of an Isaac Watts hymn from the 1878 Methodist hymnbook.  In that hymnbook there was only one melody line of music on the page along with words for three hymns and a doxology, all of which could be sung to the tune above.  A Coffee hour followed the service.

Thanks to Paul Mandirola, Nancy Collins, Bob Stewart and Lisa Griffin for the pictures. 


Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton to visit Copper Hill

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton



Hearing about the 200th Anniversary celebration at Copper Hill United Methodist Church, Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton has announced his intention to visit the church on December 11.  Excitement is increasing as no one remembers a United Methodist bishop visiting Copper Hill Church.


Bishop Bickerton was elected to the episcopacy in 2004 and served the Western Pennsylvania annual conference from 2004 to 2016.  He began his service to the 447 congregations of the New York Annual Conference just a couple months ago.  New York Annual Conference includes Methodist congregations in CT west of the Connecticut River.  Bishop Bickerton has also served as the chairperson of the United Methodist Church’s Global health initiative which deals with the church’s response to the killer diseases of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This effort, through the church’s Imagine No Malaria campaign raised over $70 million within the denomination to eliminate malaria-related death across the world.  Copper Hill church participated each year in that campaign through their annual fundraising walk on the rail trail.


Bishop Bickerton will bring the morning message during the 9:30 AM worship service on Dec. 11. The service will be followed by a coffee hour to facilitate less formal conversations.  Copper Hill Church is delighted to host this visit from our Bishop and counts it an honor to have him cap our 200th anniversary celebration by bringing his greetings and message to our church in person.

Women from Methodist history who made a difference

In this election year, and also our church’s 200th anniversary year, it is good to look back in Methodist history concerning suffrage.  This article under this link gives John Wesley’s famous advice to voters and then highlights 6 women who have been advocates for the rights of women voters.

Copper Hill Church Plants Time Capsule

Chairperson Carol Griffin explaining time capsule with children looking on
Chairperson Carol Griffin explaining time capsule with children looking on


Our Celebration’s Climactic Moment

After service on Oct. 23, 2016, Cooper Hill Church 200th Anniversary Celebration culminated in the planting of a time capsule beside the bell.

We decided “plant” would be a good verb for the occasion for a church with green doors, agricultural roots and rural location.   But whatever the word, the activity brought no shortage of excitement. Young and old gathered outside in the crisp weather for the occasion.  People had contributed all kinds of things in be included in the plastic 5 gallon bucket.   Two-hundredth Anniversary committee chairperson, Carol Griffin, collected the memorabilia and packed it away in zip-lock bags.   Trustee chairperson Ron Prevost oversaw the picking of the location and digging of the hole.  Special guest for the day, Rev. James Moore dressed as “John Wesley” stayed and viewed the event, participating in all the picture taking too.   When the bucket had been lowered and the hard work of covering it had been completed, the group retired to the fellowship hall to celebrate with a chocolate 200th Anniversary cake.  Thank-you also to Judy Holcomb for over-seeing the kitchen during our celebrations.

Thank you to Bob Stewart and Lisa Griffin for the accompanying pictures.

Grassroots Prayer event held

Another cooperative prayer service

Copper Hill prayer partners and choir members traveled over to West Granby UMC for the third in the cooperative series of prayer services called Grassroots Prayer.  Pastor Peter Preiser of West Granby UMC served as host pastor and Pastor Al Royal of Life Church also assisted along with Pastor Kelvin Jones of Copper Hill.  The combined choir accompanied by Betty Guess and directed by JoAnne Jones performed a stirring number, “Here I Stand,” the words of which recall the famous words of Martin Luther as he stood firm for “Justification by faith” when he was being tried as a heretic.   The congregation joined in various types of prayer for the nation, the election, for the churches and for those in need. 

“John Wesley” visits Copper Hill Church

Rev. James Moore dramatically presents as John Wesley at Copper Hill Church
Rev. James Moore dramatically presents as John Wesley at Copper Hill Church

Suppose John Wesley could take a little side trip from heaven and visit some of his contemporary Methodists in our church today.  What would he share with them?  How would he relate?  Well, that was the setting at Copper Hill Church on Sunday, Oct. 23 as Rev. James Moore came as John Wesley, dressed in the garb of a 18th century preacher, white wig and all.   Rev. Moore is a retired Methodist District Superintendent from the Catskill-Hudson area.

Rev. Moore shared in the first person the faith journey of Mr. Wesley.  “John Wesley” shared a good deal of his life story. Wesley recounted his rescue as a “brand from the burning” as a child, his trip to Georgia as a young man, and his assuring Aldersgate experience.  He talked about how he had been very devout as a practicing Anglican, yet did not have assurance that his sins had been forgiven.  Wesley shared how he moved from having religion to truly having a personal assurance of salvation by faith.  “John Wesley” also reviewed some of the early history of Methodism from a first-hand perspective.   He spoke of the Oxford “Holy Club,” his hymn-writer brother, Charles, and his saintly mother, Suzanna.

Using both humor and dramatic skills, Rev. Moore encouraged the listeners to advance in their own faith journeys, saying, “Religion is not enough; but it’s the platform on which faith might grow.”  The presentation was both informative and inspiring.

From the accompanying pictures, you can see the dramatic expressiveness of Rev. Moore as he played the part. Our thanks to Bob Stewart for the pictures.  After the service, the congregation went outside for the planting of a time capsule, which will be reported in a separate article.