In This Issue
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February 2, 2017
    

Peace to you, and courage, from Carly, called to be teacher, preacher, and prophet among and beside the saints and sinners of La Grange and beyond.

    I don't choose the weekly readings from scripture. They are assigned by the Revised Common Lectionary and were chosen on a three year cycle in 1994. Yet the texts for this Sunday contain biting and pointed commentary on our current world situation. 

    Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.... Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Isaiah 58:1-2, 6-7 NRSV 
 
    "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 
Matthew 5:17-18 NRSV

    Friends, I do not know what is happening in our country that people who call themselves Christians are ignoring the very heart of that for which Jesus lived and died. I do know understand how we can express love for the fetus but fear the refugee child. I do not know what leads people to live in fear of the outsider and suspicion of those who differ from them. I cannot account for the masses of people who believe that their lives are more important that the lives of others. But I see, hear, and feel it every day.

    I hear it in the voices that say they care about the homeless but they just don't want to see them in their neighborhoods lest their property values fall. I see it in the call to close our nation's borders and stop refugees from finding safety within our land. I hear it in the fear and suspicion raised and amplified by leaders. I hear it in people whispering behind the back of the woman wearing a hijab or the man in a turban. And I feel it in the timbre of the nation as we cut off the means of birth control and view health care as a privilege not a right. I feel it in the pulse of a government that puts a leader of a hate group in the position to guide and council our president. These are faith issues, friends. These reflect a people who depend not upon their faith but their own self sufficiency.

    Friends, we cannot claim to be followers of Jesus and then choose to ignore Christ's mandate: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Nor his prayer that things shall be "on earth as it is in heaven." Our role as followers of this teacher is to live out the teachings and profess the ways that he taught. Our job as members of the Body of Christ is to actively work to bring God's realm into being. We cannot look out for our own interests before the interests of others.

    For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women and men to be loved.                      Henri Nouwen
 
We are living still in a time when the ideals of our society and the ways of our faith are in conflict with one another. What do you choose? How will you live? These are not rhetorical questions.

    "If you decide that it's a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you'd rather serve-and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you're now living. As for me and my family, we'll worship God."                                                                           
Joshua 24:15 The Message.
 
May you be blessed in your discernment.
Carly
     
Children and Youth News   

YZALS AND ZACKLEYS (Junior High and High School)  
SKI TRIP! 
Who: A ll those 6th grade through 12th grade welcome! Parents welcome too!
When:
February 11th meeting at 7 am. Please let Sylvia know if you will be going and how many friends you will be bringing. Reservation and paperwork must be in by February 5th.
Where:
We will be meeting in the church parking lot and driving together to Grand Geneva
How Much:
Group of 15 or more:    
Area ticket $39
Area ticket & ski/snowboard rental $54
Group beginner ski or snowboard lesson $2
Helmet Rental $5  
*What is needed: a copy of Grand Geneva's Release of Liability Form and the Rental Form signed for each participant and payment, before the trip. Please call the church office for rental forms. We need to pay with one check and turn in all the forms at the same time. If you are paying by check, please make it out to First Congregational Church.
 
Messy Church

     
Messy Church will be on February 12th at 4:30. Our theme this month will be A New Start. Come and have a great time and grow in faith and in your love of others on the journey. See you there! Click here for the flyer! 
            
4:30-5:15pm: Crafts and Stories  
5:15-5:30pm: Celebration  
5:30-6:00: Dinner  
Roster Update 


The 2017 roster has been modified! You will find here the updated link to your copy of the list of all committees, teams, ministries, and leaders of our congregation for the year 2017.

There are a number of positions within the congregational leadership that have not as yet been filled. If you know of someone who might be a good fit, please speak to JoAnne Konkle, our Volunteer Coordinator, so that we might follow through with recruiting them. As vacancies are filled in our leadership roster, the updated roster will be made available to all members through the Tidings.
Adult Education Opportunities

A Year of Opportunities and Learning!
You are invited to join in on the conversations that stretch our faith and grow our understanding. Beginning in March, Sunday morning Adult Class will be discussing these topics. 

Meeting Jesus Again For the First Time- -March 5 - April 9
Marcus Borg invites us to address the yearning for
a fully contemporary faith that welcomes critical intelligence. Participants will want to purchase or borrow from the library the 2015 edition of Marcus Borg's book with the same name. It is available here and here for purchase; there are 8 copies available through the public library system.
  • March 5:  Meeting Jesus Again
  • March 12:  What Manner of Man?
  • March 19:  Jesus, Compassion and Politics
  • March 26:  Jesus and Wisdom: Teacher of Alternative Wisdom
  • April 2:  Jesus, the Wisdom of God: Sophia Become Flesh
  • April 9:  Images of Jesus and Images of the Christian Life
A Day in the Ancient Mediterranean --April 30 and May 7
Charles Cosgrove invites us to discover the social, political, and cultural experiences of those who lived and wrote the biblical narratives.

Creation and Justice: September 17 - October 29 (no class October 8). 
A study of the relationship between Humanity, God, and Creation --

Uppity Women of the Bible  --  November 5 - 19 
Women in the Bible are often hidden in the narrative or behind the actions and narratives of the men around them. We'll see to understand, debate, and explore the issues raised by the stories of some often misunderstood Biblical women.

Creation and Birth Narratives in Diverse Cultures -- Nov.26 - Dec. 17
A survey of creation and Birth narratives in faith traditions from around the globe.
  Health Resources 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Resources 
As the result of Conversation Circles last May, the Ministry of Missions and Chris Hein developed a webpage of mental health and substance abuse resources for the FCCLG website. Please go to our church website and look at the rotating colored messages near the top of the page. Click on the purple one stating "Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out." We have tried to provide a simple but comprehensive guide to obtain services. Please feel free to share this information. We plan to share our webpage so that other churches in the community may also use it as a template. Thank you to all of the participants of Conversation Circles. This continues to be a very worthwhile project.

Fellowship Opportunities

Book Club
Evening Book Club will next meet on Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 pm in the chapel conference room.  We will discuss "Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline. Between 1854 and 1929 trains would carry orphaned and abandoned children from the east to new homes on the frontier.  This novel is the story of upheaval, resilience and second chances. 

Ready To Play Bridge? The church bridge group is beginning to play for the season. We always have room for more players. You are welcome no matter your level of play. We play once a month at a time mutually arranged between the two teams playing each other. If you have a partner, all the better. If not, we will see if we can find you a partner. If you are interested in playing, contact Doris Bryant, 708-352-3034 or
Service Opportunities

Please sign up for the following opportunities during Fellowship Hour in the Founders' Room. You can also call the church office at 708-352-0800! We'd be happy to sign you up!

Fellowship Hour

- Bring in treats of your choice and serve beverages and snacks after worship 
Liturgists
- Proclaim the scripture to the congregation during Sunday service
Flower Delivery
- Deliver the donated altar flowers to home-bound church members after worship
Ushers 
- Arrive at 9:30 am, pass out programs, collect the offering
Greeters
-Arrive at 9:45 am, wear your name tag, smile!
Laundry Superheros 
- Pick up the Saturday Meals Program laundry outside the kitchen after worship and return it clean before next Saturday
Nursery Attendants 
- Attend the Nursery during worship on Sunday
 
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WINTER WARRIORS 
Winter is here and the Property Committee needs your shovel! Everyone can help, even those who can't shovel - operating the snow throwers and salt spreaders are noble and essential tasks. Please email Erik Sander to volunteer at erik_sander@sbcglobal.net or call the church office at 708-352-0800.
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The Saturday Meals Program is a ministry of our congregation that serves anyone who would like to share a hot meal.

There are two shifts of volunteer service available each Saturday:

Breakfast set up and serving is from 8 to 10 a.m. Breakfast volunteers cut and plate pastries, serve hot food to guests in a buffet line, run the dishwasher, make sandwiches and pack brown bag suppers for distribution after lunch. 
Lunch set up and serving is from 10:45 to 1 p.m. Lunch volunteers plate desserts, serve hot foods to guests in a buffet line, run the dishwasher, and wipe down tables and chairs following the meal.

Email Volunteer Coordinator JoAnne Konkle for information.
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FOOD PANTRY DONATIONS FOR FEBRUARY
The donation baskets for the food pantry have be en almost empty for several weeks. Please, don't forget to pick u p an item or two for your neighbors in need when you go sho pping. We're collecting canned soup for the Second Baptist Food Pantry throughout the chilly month of February. If you forget to buy soup, any nonperishable grocery item wo uld be appreciated.
  
FCCLG Fundraising 
 
Here's an easy way to give back to FCCLG! When you shop on Amazon, use smile.amazon.com and choose First Congregational Church of La Grange UCC as your charity. Consider making your Valentine's Day purchases through Amazon which donates 0.5% of your purchase back to FCCLG. Thank you for supporting us!


 
TEXT GIVING 
Text FCCLG100 to 73256 to give using your text messaging. Click the link and complete your gift. Standard text messaging rates may apply.
 
FCCLG Church Calendar 

HOOKS AND NEEDLES 
Hooks and Needles meets in the Family Room off the Chapel on all but the first Monday of the month at 7:00 pm.
 
We make blankets for Project Linus and Still Missed along with prayer shawls, baby blankets and prayer squares for the church. Please join us in this valuable ministry. Beginners are welcome; we would love to teach you to knit or crochet. Email Linda Lauterbach at lslauterbach@gmail.com or call the church office at 708-352-0800 if you need a code to get into the building.


VOLUNTEER TUTORS NEEDED
Volunteers are needed for School and Tutors on Wheels Adult Literacy/ English as a Second Language program. It is a Ministry sponsored by the Congregation of St. Joseph of La Grange Park.  Tutors are asked to teach one hour or more per week, during the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., or 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at locations in Addison, Bloomingdale, Brookfield, Cicero, Downers Grove, Lombard, Naperville, Summit or Woodridge. 

No prior second language skills are needed, however, it is necessary to attend a free two-day tutor training sessions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, February 11, and February 18, 2017, at the First Congregational Church of La Grange, in La Grange, IL. For further information call (630)217-0396, (630)248-9594 or visit our website at: www.schoolandtutorsonwheels.org
Click here for flyer!

 
 
THIS  WEEK IN OUR CHURCH 
Community Events  
CHILI COOK OFF
The First Baptist Church of La Grange will be holding their Inaugural Chili Cook Off this Saturday, February 4, 2017. You can register online at www.fbclagrange.com 

Please click here for their flyer.  
 
 
JOB
SEARCH BOOT CAMP 
Inte rfaith Career Network (ICN) invites you to join them at First Presbyterian Church of La Grange, 150 South Ashland Avenue for the first of five consecutive Tuesday sessions beginning on Tuesday, February 7, 7-9 pm.
Don't fall behind in your job search skills. This Boot Camp will kick off with a punch list of things to do to prepare your job search strategy and go over the expectations of this five-week program. Our facilitator, Jim Peterson, will also introduce the fundamentals of networking and Dr. Joe Yount will deliver a special presentation on how approaching your job search with a positive mindset will help make you more successful. Meetings will be held in Westminster Hall; please enter the church on Catherine Avenue. For further information, contact Susan Sedler at sqsedler@aol.com. All are encouraged to attend every session to get the most out of this Boot Camp.
 

HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR JOB SEARCH
Interfaith Career Network (ICN) invites you to join us on Wednesday, February 15, from 7-9 pm for a lively, interactive and informative presentation on how to better organize your job search. Whether you are unemployed or employed, seeking another opportunity is a process. One of the most important parts of successfully making it through your search is to stay organized. Our speaker, Steven Rosenblum, is a dedicated HR professional with over 15 years of experience in various HR roles. Steve will offer insight, tools, resources and suggestions to help start, reinvigorate, lead and succeed in your search! He will share many of his experiences and best practices, which will also be extremely helpful. Join us at St. John of the Cross Parish Center, 5005 S. Wolf Road in Western Springs.

All ICN meetings are open to everyone and there is no cost to attend. 
Touch List 

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
 
The family and friends of longtime member Joyce Allen, who died on January 11th.
Emil and Maria Balz who are recovering at home.
Erin Markus-Bryant's nephew Emmett, who is suffering from kidney failure.
Renee Bryant's friend Melissa, who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.
Angie Crees, Olivia Hein's sister.
The family and friends of Margaret Fieldhouse, who died on December 16th.
The family and friends of Vivienne Holt, who died on December 26th.
The family of Colin Harris, the Lauterbach's godson, as they deal with Sophia's paralysis and  personality change after removal of her largest brain tumor.
Lincoln Johnson, who was recently born premature and is in the NICU in critical condition.
Ron Kloss, Janet Bednar's father who is recovering from a fall.
Prayers for Joe Lucas who is in the hospital struggling with health issues.
Mourning the loss of Delaney O'Connell, ten year old girl who died in a ski accident.
Petra Palmer's granddaughter's friend Summer who is having chemotherapy for leukemia.
Rev. Jennifer Mills-Knutsen, Carly's friend, who is recovering from a mastectomy half a world from home.
Family and friends of Faith Ullrich's brother-in-law Richard Storm who died on January 18th.
The family and friends of Marybelle Wright, who died on January 4th.
Victims of hatred and terror; and those seduced in to believing violence is the only option.        
 
 
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