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March 31, 2016
    


Greetings in the name of the One who Lives from Carly, a prophet, teacher, and pastor among the ministers of La Grange and beyond.

Did you catch that-among the ministers of La Grange and beyond. Each person who lives and breathes has a ministry. Each of us who seeks to experience the living and Stillspeaking God has a specific role in the life of the body of Christ. It is in living into our gifts and our passions that we experience the love of God most clearly. While our gathering on Sunday mornings is important, God speaks to us and through us in our everyday lives, through the voices and in the faces of others, and through the love we see and display in acts of kindness, mercy, and justice.

What gifts and graces has God given to you? What makes your heart sing? What awakens your senses and fills you with joy?

The letters of Paul use the metaphor of the body to illustrate how the Body of Christ works to bring the realm of God to our attention. Each of us is a part of the body; each is created as unique and individual with a specific part to play in God's work in the world. The realm of God and the Body of Christ is built upon each part fulfilling their purpose.

Paul says in the letter to the Corinthians,  "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1(NIV)

By the time Paul boldly offers this invitation, he has already offered to the Corinthians a description of what it means for him to faithfully follow Christ.

"For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ...to this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world." (1 Cor 4:9-10a, 11-13 NIV)

There's your role in our ministry together. Follow me as I endure. Follow me as I refuse to follow the powers of the world. Follow me as I follow Jesus.  Suddenly the invitation to "imitate me" and to "follow me" isn't a glamorous leadership role anymore. It isn't just something that we can simply appreciate or admire. We must join.

Will you join in the work of ministry? Ask who needs a phone call of encouragement? Who needs prayer for healing? Who needs a visit in the hospital? Ask yourself if you are participating fully in the life of the church. Will you be faithful in worship participation? Will you mentor and encourage children and youth? Will you welcome guests among us? Will you help organize outreach efforts? Will you help in projects that are in progress? Will you participate financially? Will you disciple someone? Will you invite others into our worshiping community? Will you use your gifts and graces to build up the body of Christ? Will you be the hands, feet, mouth, eyes, and heart of Christ?

This is not news to you; you've heard it from teachers and preachers many times. But in this season of Eastertide, I need each person of the community known as First Congregational Church of La Grange to be an active and present participant in our ministries together. I need your help to make our piece of the Body of Christ as healthy and alive as God calls us to be. Now more than ever.

During the six weeks of Lent, I underwent many poking, scanning, and prodding medical tests to discern the source of exhaustion and discomfort. What was discovered is an inherited condition called hemochromatosis: for many years, my body has absorbed too much iron from foods and has been storing it in my organs. The iron overload is now hindering some organ function. This is a very treatable condition and will be able to be managed once the medical magicians are able to get the levels of stored iron to normal levels. That will take some time.

I'm not the type of person who easily asks for help. But here I stand. While the iron levels are working their way down, I remain tired. I can't get through the day without a mid day nap. And I'm completely done in by 9 each evening even with a nap. I have no choice but to slow down, stop more often, and take better care of myself. I'm sick. I will get better. I have to change my life style for that to happen.

And for this I need your help. We are mid-stride in making marvelous ministry together in La Grange. We have taken great leaps into sharing our building. We are becoming more and more active in the community. We are reaching out and touching lives. Within our walls, we are reimagining who God calls us to be and how we achieve the vision God has for this part of the Body of Christ. These twenty-four months have been a whirlwind of activity. I need to let go of some of these activities and pass them to you. I need each of you to find and fulfill the purpose God has given you here, to play the specific part God has given you the gifts and graces to achieve, and to be passionate in ministry. I will empower and coach; I need you to take the ball and run with it.

In this season of new life, let us be a people who lock arms in prayer and ministry, who see ourselves as active partners in giving, serving, witnessing, and loving the whole community. Let's work together with full participation in the body and life of the church.

Blessings,
Carly

If you'd like to know more about hemochromatosis, click here.
I wrote a blog about the specific journey that you can find here.

Touch List

Your Cards and Prayers Will Comfort and Touch...
 
The Balz family.
Please keep the Schroeder family in your prayers with strength for Eileen (sister of Mary Bart) and peace for Ron (Eileen's husband) who died on March 7th.
Kathy Bloom.
Our thoughts are with Marjorie Duhatschek who is recovering from surgery.
Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.
Bert Happel, Jim Happel's brother.
Lois Hindman, who is house bound with a brain condition.
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.
Helen Pancner, Viola Clayton's daughter, who has continuing health struggles.
Jennifer Powers as she deals with health issues.
Ron Sander, Erik Sander's father, as he and his family manage his ongoing illness.
The family of Michael Smith and the residents of Brookfield rocked by gun violence, random and too close to home.
Ben Walker, 14, son of Carly's friend Kurt who is struggling with Major Depressive Disorder.
 
 
Music News

Join the choir for the upcoming choral sermon, and/or to sing on regular Sundays.  All singers high-school age on up are welcome.  The choral sermon will be on May 22 and will be Norman Luboff's African Mass.  Rehearsals are 7:30pm this Wednesday April 6, Thursday April 14, Wednesday April 20, then Thursdays for the rest of the year.  
Please contact Ryan Cox to sign up and to get the choir door code.

Choral Sermon - join the congregation on May 22 for the exuberant African Mass by Norman Luboff.  The Chancel Choir, Treble Choir and soloists will be accompanied by a one person orchestra - the fabulous percussionist Angela Kepley on tuned drums.  Come celebrate with the choirs on their last full Sunday until the fall.

Summer Musical Camp registrations will be available soon.  This program is for students in 1st-8th grades and will take place from July 25-29 from 2-6pm.  Performances will be 7pm on 7/29 and 10am on 7/31.  This year's show will be "The Old Testament Fast Forward" which attempts to tell the entire history contained in the Old Testament in 35 minutes.  We will likely not succeed, however we will have fun trying! Please contact Ryan Cox for more information.

Church News and Reminders
CONGREGATIONAL WORK DAY
Please save the date and join us for an afternoon of dirt, grime, a  little sweat, and fellowship on Saturday April 16th, from 1 to 5pm.  Due to the success of last year's Work Days, the list is a little shorter but there is still plenty for all!  Most items involve gardening, cleaning, and purging, but we also have fun activities like scraping, sanding, and painting exterior handrails and the 6th Avenue light post.  And for those who enjoy climbing ladders and tight spaces, there are many roofs that need to be cleared of leaves.


BOWLING OUTING - APRIL 17th  
On Sunday, April 17th @ 3pm, join the Ministry of Nurture at Suburbanite Bowl (Cass and Ogden) for an afternoon of bowling. Cost is $10 per person to bowl as many games as you want. Sign up on or before April 10th and the Min istry of Nurture will cover your shoe rental. You can sign up 
                                    in the Founder's Room during Coffee Hour or by em
ailing amanda.m.ries@gmail.com.

HOOKS AND NEEDLES  
Join us as we knit and crochet for charity. Beginners are welcome - we will be glad to give instruction. We meet every Monday except the first Monday of the month in the Family Room off the Chapel at 7pm 

BOOK CLUB
Evening Book Club will discuss On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks on Thursday, April 21st. On the Move is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer-and of the man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human.
We meet in the cozy Chapel conference room and serve light treats. All are welcome!

MESSY CHURCH 
On May 1st, Messy Church will be moving to the first Sunday of the month at 4:30pm. Our theme this month is New Life in the Spirit Pentecost Celebration. We hope to see you there!

4:30-5:15pm: Crafts
5:15-5:30pm: Celebration
5:30-6:00: Dinner
6:00-7:00: Yzal/Zackleys 
                
THIS  WEEK IN OUR CHURCH
Ministry Opportunities
Are You Called To Care?
Are You a Caring Person? Do you enjoy visiting with others? Our congregation currently has 25 members who are known to be home bound who would appreciate regular visits. Called To Care is a program that will enhance the skills for and ministries of care giving by church members. It will be offered over four Tuesday evening events in May. Pastor Carly would love to talk with you about this opportunity.

Invitation to Congregation to Join Conversation Circles
Hosted by the Ministry of Missions FCCLG
 
Please join us on May 22nd, 2016 when the Ministry of Missions will sponsor Conversation Circles *. Immediately after the church service and coffee hour, the World Café format will be used to explore any local community concerns which our participants wish to discuss. Topics may include but are not limited to subjects such as youth and young adult substance abuse, racial and ethnic educational inequalities, or issues of the homeless. The format is a very flexible way of identifying and discussing problems. There will be a group welcome and explanation of the process. Afterwards we will break into three to four separate tables with facilitators for the discussions. The groups will regather to determine how we want to move forward to create solutions for a chosen issue. The entire process will last 60 to 90 minutes. We hope to invite other area churches to work with us on a chosen issue later in the year. This is a wonderful opportunity to make our community a better place to live!
 
*Please note that this is not the same as a Peace Circle.
 
ALL AGES MISSION TRIP TO CINCINNATI, JULY 4-8
You are invited to participate in a hands-on mission to make a difference in the lives of inner city residents in Cincinnati.
Washington United Church of Christ was founded about 10 years before FCCLG as a primarily middle class, German congregation in the Camp Washington area of Cincinnati. By the early 1970s, the neighborhood around the church had become largely low-income. The remaining members of the church decided that rather than close or relocate, they would develop a new mission focus. This focus has always meant ministering with neighborhood residents, not just ministering to them.
Washington UCC welcomes groups of young people and adults who want to experience a hands-on urban ministry immersion. Housing and most meals are provided; there is a per-person fee.
Activities include fix-up, clean-up projects at the church and in the neighborhood, and working with neighborhood children, while also serving Christ in many other ways that lead to spiritual growth with positive practical results seen throughout our community.
Washington Church engages in several inner city missions:
  • Summer Youth Program is provided free of charge to the neighborhood children for eight-weeks, Monday-Thursday program. It includes breakfast, lunch, worship, Christian education, stories, art, songs, games, recreation, loving relationships, and field trips.
  • Camp Community Café serves a free lunch from 12-1 p.m. Monday-Thursday to anyone who attends.
  • Camp Cupboard and Closet is a free store where people can shop for food, clothes, and household items.
Depending upon the skill set of those who register, our work could include working an any or all of these areas, and/or repairing ministry space within the church or the neighborhood.
We will be staying in apartments of 4 dorm rooms each immediately across the street from the church. If arranged ahead of time, families will be able to stay together. Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day, and dinner will be provided one evening. Cooking facilities are available for other meals.
If you are interested in Reaching Out and Touching Lives through this mission trip, please see Carly for details, or click on Event Sign Up.
Deadline to sign up is April 20.

 
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ST. BARBARA'S FOOD PANTRY COLLECTION
St. Barbara's food pantry provides much-needed groceries to local families. The next time you're shopping, consider picking up an extra item for the pantry, which is in particular need of the following: peanut butter, jelly, canned pears or peaches, applesauce, and boxes of Jell-O gelatin. Donation baskets are located outside the sanctuary and the chapel. Your donation will be much appreciated!

QUILTING FOR CHARITY GROUP  
Who: Anyone who can cut, sew, press, quilt, bind or who is int erested in learning. Any age or skill level welcome, and no registration required.
How: The fabric store supplies fabric, sewing machines, and irons. You bring basic supplies like pins and thread.

When: Every first and third Tuesday from 11 am until aro und 2 pm. Bring a lunch or try the Subway next door.
Where: Quiltfabric.com (818 E. Ogden, Westmont at the St. James Crossing shopping center)
Why: Make quilts to donate to local charities!

Questions? email Chris Sass or call 630-321-9051.  
  
Children and Youth News

EDISTO WORK TRIP
The Zackleys will be back from their Edisto Island Work Trip soon! 
  • April 10th: Stockholders' Breakfast, Work Trip Sunday in Worship
IT'S TIME FOR SUMMER CAMP!
No matter your age or your stage, our United Church of Christ Conference has a summer camp that is right for you. Whether at Tower Hill or Pilgrim Park, whether your interest is in sports or theatre, whether you want to spend a few days or a full week, there is a camp for you. Check out the offerings on the posters outside Sylvia's office, or online at the Outdoor Ministries Website.

Yzals
 
The Yzals group (grades 6 to 8) continues to meet the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month at 6:30. 
 
Zackleys
The Zackleys group (grades 9 to 12) continues to meet on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month at 6:30 pm.