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July 7, 2016
    

What can we as Christians do to stop the violence in the world?

The question came as one of many during the June 8 As the Question Sunday. It's a timely question. Since that day, there have been mass murders in Orlando, Istanbul, Bangladesh, Medina, and multiple places in Iraq. Since that date, there have been 496 people shot in Chicago. And, a man shot at point blank range in Louisiana. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers for peace!

But praying alone is not enough. Not only can we do more than pray about the violence, we are commanded by scripture to find ways to bring resolution, equity and justice in the situations that fuel the violence; to actively work to end the violence; and to speak out for the victims of violence. God always favors the widows, orphans, immigrants, and the oppressed because these are repeatedly the victims of the powerful. Violence is the result of a power struggle. It is our role as followers of Jesus to do as he did: Speak truth to power.

What does that look like in the 21st Century? Here's a list of ways you can help that was adapted for one assembled by the Center for Progressive Renewal[1]:
  1. Say their names: Light a candle for each of those lost to hate each day during your prayer time. Learn their stories. When we know each other, we can love each other better.
  2. Work at including everyone: People everywhere are hurting and need safe and loving faith communities for support.
  3. Show your Muslim neighbors LOVE: Post a "Blessed Ramadan to Our Muslim Neighbors" lawn sign at your church and encourage congregants to do the same in their own yards. You can order a lawn sign or download the graphics for free to make your own here. 
  4. Listen to Muslim's statements of solidarity with those who are hurting: Here's a gorgeous and powerful 50 second video of Muslims praying for those killed in Florida.  This is statement from Muslim leaders across the country. 
  5. Talk about race: Pay attention to the complexity of race, recognizing the full humanity of those killed. Most of those killed in Orlando were Latinx. What does that mean? Educate yourself here.
  6. Talk about gun violence: The Unitarian Universalist Association has put together fantastic resources for conversation and action that are adaptable for all of us. Find them here. 
  7. Host an education session about Islam. Did you know, for example, the most common exchange between Muslims (peace to you, peace be with you also) can also translate into "you are safe with me, you are safe with me also"? Learn more with this article and then partner with a local Islamic center or CAIR affiliate.
     
  8. Donate: Whether individually or as a congregation, each of us can support the families of those killed and relief efforts through various organizations. Whether it is a GoFundMe account set up to help a family cover funeral or medical expenses, or a political movement to end the violence, put your resources to work for the work of God's realm.
A friend[2] wrote this prayer a few weeks ago in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting. Since then, there has been the attack in the Istanbul airport, of a bombing in a Bangladesh restaurant, of a major Muslim Holy site in Medina, and multiple places in Iraq. Let us offer this prayer as we continue to struggle with the violence that continues around the world.

The news is bad. We are outraged and horrified. We are shocked and afraid. We are overwhelmed and numb. How many more times will we awake to such news?

Some of us sit in front of the television, search the internet for stories, watch, listen for something that will help make sense, that will soothe or comfort, that will bring order back again.

Some of us can't bear the words, the images. The press conferences and scrolling news feeds freeze our brains, our hearts, our guts.

Some of us pray. Some of us escape. Some of us rage. Some of us cry.

God, have mercy on our world. Have mercy on the powerless and the powerful. Have mercy on the first responders and those in ministry to the brokenhearted. Have mercy on the victims, their families, their friends. Sit with us in our terror, our sadness, our hopelessness. And let us hold the space for others as we sit or cry, light candles or pray, in solidarity, in hope, in love. Amen.
[2] https://betharichardson.com/2016/07/02/lord-have-mercy/
Fundraising Opportunity

Shop and Support Your Church! 
Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to First Congregational Church!
Help us close the budget gap while you shop at Amazon! Use the smile.amazon.com link every time you shop at Amazon and your dollars do double duty.

Shop deals during Amazon's second-annual Prime Day which is on July 12. Don't forget to use Amazon Smile and help out First Congregational Church of LaGrange, UCC.  
Look where Jesus has been!
You are all invited to take a cutout of Flat Jesus, color and decorate him, and take him with you throughout the summer, sending pictures and stories back to the church via Facebook (tag the church!), email, or drop them by the office. We'll print photos and put them on the bulletin board in the Office corridor. 
 
 
 
Messy Church
Our next Messy Church will be on August 7th at 4:30. Our theme this month will be Bible Seasides. Come and have a great time and support our youth. See you there! Click here for our flyer!
   
4:30-5:15pm: Crafts 
5:15-5:30pm: Celebration  
5:30-6:00: Dinner 
6:00-7:00: Yzal/Zackleys   


July 2016 Messy Church Photos
   

 

 

   
Feeding the Spirit!
ANNUAL WOMEN'S RETREAT
August 13 &14 - Nurturing Our Whole Selves
The search for Wholeness in the midst of the Hole: Do you feel there are holes in your wholeness? Something missing or you await something, which will satisfy the sense of incompleteness? Please join us as we explore Wholeness and the Hole. Our discussions will center on why, with lives filled with family, work, church, and other interests, there still seems to be a sense of something missing.

Transportation: it is about 90 miles to Diamond Lake, Mi. Carpooling is an important part of the retreat experience, the conversations and fun begin with a great road trip! Please let us know if you would be willing to drive.

Meals: Shared cooking and cleaning up. If you have a dish you would like to bring to share, let us know. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let us know so we can be sure your retreat is an enjoyable experience. Shopping will be done once we have a head count.

Costs: The cost is minimal and shared. Last year the expenses averaged $27.00 per person.  We have some excellent shoppers! Once we know what the food and ferry costs are, they are divided equally.

Registration: Please click here to register online. Sign into Access to make your online registration. There will be information at the volunteer table and you can ask one of our hostesses, Jo-Anne Konkle.  Tel: 708-484-2099 / Em: joanne3230@comcast.net
  
SUMMER WITH OUR CHILDREN
Since we will not have Summer Sunday School, please encourage your children to grab a blessing bag or a toy from the back during service!We are planning to have the nursery available for children 3 years and under, and we still need people to volunteer for the nursery.
Click Here To Volunteer 

 
COMMUNITY WORSHIP SERVICE 
Worship in the Park!
What if all the churches in La Grange worshiped together some Sunday morning? Wouldn't that be great? Imagine all the people gathered in one place despite our differences! You won't have to imagine much longer because it will happen on August 7.

As part of La Grange's Endless Summer Celebration, the La Grange Churches will gather at 10 a.m. on Sunday, August 7 at Gordon Park. Fantastic music, a combined choir, and a lot of energy will buzz together for worship.

There will be no services that morning at First Congregational Church. Please join us at the park!

LEADERSHOP SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVE
We may not be thinking "back to school" yet, but The LeaderShop is busy preparing to help all local children get off to a good start. Any new school supplies are welcome, but they particularly need 3-ring binders (1" to 1½" size), pens, pencils, folders, dry erase markers, school glue, and scissors. Place them in the boxes outside the sanctuary or chapel. These supplies go to students in the community who cannot afford the school supplies. The supplies will be delivered  on August 8th. Thank you for your support!
 
SUMMER IN SONG
Summer Musicians of all ages are invited to play, sing or ring starting in June. The choir is off for the Summer, so we need you!  Not a soloist, but want to lend your talents?  That's ok too.  Ryan will find an ensemble for you.  Please contact Ryan Cox to sign-up.

First Conservatory has a new website!  Check us out at www.firstconservatorylagrange.com


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BE THE CHURCH SERIES - Summer 2016
June 5th began a new sermon series called "Be the Church," based on the graphic above, which was produced by our United Church of Christ.  

Summer Sermon Series:
 
July 10   Gal. 3:26-29   Be The Church: Embrace Diversity - Neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. One of the best things about FCCLG is its diversity. 
 
July 17   Deut. 6:4-13  Be The Church: Love God. Enjoy this Life. - The Shema  

SUMMER IN SERVICE TO OTHERS - REACHING OUT

FCCLG to Partner with Drug Free Coalition
The Missions-sponsored Conversation Circles that took place in May engaged 22 FCCLG members and friends in lively and passionate discussion of topics of social concern. Participants chose the heroin crisis as the focus for action. To address the issue effectively, FCCLG has decided to partner with a newly formed, broad-based community group, the Drug Free Coalition of Lyons Township. The mission of the DFCLT is to change attitudes, encourage action, and mobilize stakeholders around the issues of underage drinking, impaired driving, and substance misuse. There are many opportunities for involvement, both large and small. If you'd like to help, please contact Nancy Heil at 708-482-4309 or at nancyjo336@gmail.com .
                                     
BEDS Plus VOLUNTEERS NEEDED 
This summer BEDS Plus is offering a transitional summer shelter. The program is modeled after other successful programs around the region that provide a smaller-scale summer shelter program for clients who need additional time to achieve stability.  

Our Congregation will host this transitional program for the week of July 10-17. While we are not responsible for providing volunteers, you are welcome to volunteer. Second shift volunteers are needed. If you'd like to volunteer, or need more information email  volunteer@beds-plus.org.  

SATURDAY MEALS PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Our Saturday Meals Program has been providing three meals to guests each Saturday since February 2000. If you are interested in volunteering please contact: 
Beth Colby (Volunteer Coordinator) 

ST. BARBARA'S FOOD PANTRY COLLECTION
This month St. Barbara's is especially in need of the following: laundry soap, dish soap, cat or dog food, peanut butter, cake mixes, and Jell-o gelatin and pudding. Other nonperishable foods are appreciated as well.

When grocery shopping, try to remember the phrase "one for others." Beyond helping others, keeping the hungry in mind helps us, too, by reminding us to be grateful for what we can afford. If you go shopping with children, letting a child choose an item for others is a good way to encourage thinking of those in need.

TOUCH LIST

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
 
  
We lament the loss of 50 innocent lives to fear, hatred, and bigotry in Orlando.
Emil and Maria Balz, who are both in rehabilitation.
LuAnn Hall, who is recovering from surgery.
Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.
Bert Happel, Jim Happel's brother.
The family & friends of William Hoff, who died on June 16.
Linda Lauterbach's friend Sophia, her husband, and 22 month old son; Sophia has a brain tumor.
Petra Palmer's granddaughter's friend Summer who is having chemotherapy for leukemia.
Neighbors of the Palmers, expecting twins any day while the mother is in great distress.
Helen Pancner, Viola Clayton's daughter, who has continuing health struggles.
Jennifer Powers as she deals with health issues.
The family and friends of Robert Crawford, Janet Roman's brother and Sandra McLaughlin's uncle, who died on June 17th.
Ron Sander, Erik Sander's father, as he and his family manage his ongoing illness.
Rev. Carly, as she recovers, slowly but surely.
 
Fellowship and Fun!
ZACKLEY'S AND YZALS
The Zackleys and Yzals will meet on the first of the month after Messy Church 6-7:15 during the summer.
 
HOOKS AND NEEDLES
The knitting and crocheting ministry meets in homes this summer at 7pm on the 2nd and 4th Mondays, June through August. It is a fun time to relax and sip lemonade while working on lap blankets and prayer shawls. Please join us. All are welcome.

July 11: Linda Lauterbach
July 25: Claudia Byrne
August 8: Barb Hultman
August 22: Debbie Llewellyn

FOOSBALL FRENZY 

  
Let's get together and play some ball... against other non-profit groups in town. Foosball is just like the table game but with real people.

Won't you join our Foosball team? Playing requires only that you can hold on to the rail and kick a ball. And, as 7 of our members can attest, it is a lot of fun. If you'd like to join the foosball frenzy, contact Carly before July 15.

FALL KICK OFF - Save the Date! 
We'll be kicking off the new year on Sunday, September 11 with a fun filled picnic and activities for all ages immediately after worship on the Sixth Avenue lawn. Get this on your calendar so you don't miss out on the fun!
     
Feeding Your Mind!


THE JESUS SEMINAR: THEOLOGY AND POLITICS,
THEN AND NOW
September 16 & 17, 2016
Naperville, Illinois

Does the Reformation still matter? If so, why? 

What can religion offer a society that values science and reason?

How are we to explain the relationship between religion and politics?

Of what use is theology?

For hundreds of years, Christian theology served as the cornerstone of social, cultural, and economic relationships in the west. But with the Protestant Reformation that foundation began to shift. And questions raised back then, about secular society, Christianity, and the future of religion, still persist today. Here David Galston and Jeffrey Robbins will assess theology's past and its future.

The Event will be hosted by:
DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church
1828 Old Naperville Road
Naperville, IL 60563

Register on line at this link. 

For local information, contact:
Reverend Tom Capo
News and Notes

FLOWERS FOR THE ALTAR 
Check your calendar and think about those special dates this year you could celebrate with altar flowers! You might like to celebrate a special occasion, honor a special person, or maybe you'd just enjoy seeing live flowers on the altar! To reserve a Sunday, sign up here, or on the Opportunities Board in the Drawing Room during Fellowship Hour. Dates are first-come, first-serve, so reserve early! Below are a list of dates available through the end of 2016: 
 
 

LEGACY GIVING:
Have you remembered the church in your will? A bequest of a part of your estate will help ensure the that good works of our ministries can continue.
 
ONLINE GIVING: 
A BIG THANK YOU to all who have supported our on line giving program. Since January 1, 2016 we have received $45,051 through on line giving. Roughly 30 % of our contributing members give on line.

We would like to see that number grow even more. When you give online, you reduce the amount of time our staff and volunteers spend on counting, recording, and depositing checks and cash. While we are happy to receive you gifts in anyway that is convenient for you, we'd like to encourage you to explore online giving. So at this time, we'd like to offer some helpful tips to make your experience even simpler.

If you are new to online giving, here is how to get started:
  1.  Click on this link. 
  2. All you need to set up a new account is an email address.
  3. You can determine how much, how often and by what means you wish to give:
  • One Time Only - You can do this whenever you choose, without a schedule.
  • Weekly - You can schedule this and designate the start and end dates.
  • Monthly - You can schedule this and designate the start and end dates.
Reducing service fees assessed to the church:
As with all services utilizing electronic transactions, there are fees imposed to the recipient for the convenience. The fees imposed on the church are small; however, there are a few things you can do to minimize the further.
  1. ACH transactions have the smallest percentage charges to the church. This is when you give your bank account number to have your donation drafted from your bank account. These fees are significantly lower than the cost of having our staff account for the weekly offering.
  2. If your intent is to donate a certain amount each month, consider a monthly donation frequency. Each time a transaction occurs, a minimal fee is assessed to the church. So the fewer times per month you donate, the fewer the fees. Or, if your finances allow, consider an annual or quarterly gift to minimize fees to the church even further.
Managing your Finances:
When you have an account for online giving, you also have access to your giving history. You can manage your account and track your donations at any time during the year. This gives you the information you need, when you need it, rather than waiting on statements from the church to arrive in the mail. It's also an easy way to verify your giving against the church's records when you do receive your statement.

We want you giving experience to be comfortable and convenient for you. So, if weekly giving works best for your household finances, then by all means schedule weekly contributions. We also recognize that there are some people who simply prefer to give by checks and cash. That's great too!

Coming Soon:
Very soon, we will have the option of giving by text message. This will work much the same way as the Online giving works and will offer the opportunity to give once or regularly by sending a text message! Watch for this in the worship bulletin and in future Tidings!

Being Part of the Giving Community:
When you do give online, we don't want you to feel excluded during the community giving act during worship. We will continue to create and refine the "I Give Electronically" cards that can be placed in the offering plates. You do not need to write an amount on the card, and it does serve to include everyone during the service.

We appreciate everything you contribute to First Congregational Church whether it's monetary or the gift of your time and talents. Our church is blessed to have so many caring people. Our church family is loving and wonderful.

Let your Stewardship team know if you have questions, or if you have suggestions on how we can help you or someone you know. 

The Stewardship Team:
Rich Bradley, Dave Bryant, Mike Ries, Ted Tomkinson

 
 

THIS  WEEK IN OUR CHURCH