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December 4, 2014

Looking Toward Jerusalem

 

The journey to Bethlehem

was much more to my liking.

I am content kneeling here,

where there's an aura of angels

and the ever-present procession

of shepherds and of kings

who've come to kneel to the Newborn

in whom we are newborn.

 

II

 

I want to linger here in Bethlehem

in joy and celebration,

knowing once I set my feet

toward Jerusalem,

the child will grow,

and I will be asked to follow.

 

by Ann Weems, from her book Kneeling in Jerusalem


First Congregational Church of La Grange Members,

The Stewardship committee extends our thanks to members for opening their hearts to our pledge program this year. 

 

Receiving pledge information is a critical step in the process of building our operating budget for the year. Each year we have approximately 40% of the pledge cards that we send out to members returned to the church.  We asked this year for members to please return their cards, even if they were not able to pledge,  in hopes of improving the overall response rate and significantly improve the accuracy of our information as we finalize the budget process.  We have seen a 2-3% increase in number of cards returned so far, and we are sending this reminder that if you have not returned a pledge card for 2015, to please do so by the end of the year. 

 

If you have any questions, or need assistance in any way to return the pledge card, please feel free to contact Rich Bradly via e-mail at RMBradley@ sbcglobal.net

 

Thanks again for your support,

The Stewardship Committee

Volunteer Opportunities
ST. BARBARA'S FOOD PANTRY COLLECTION
In December, we are asking for canned foods. Fruits, vegetables, chili, Spam, soup, anything in a can. The flip-top cans are great, but the pantry is so grateful for everything.

2015 BACK BAY MISSION TRIP
Interested in being part of a team volunteering at Back Bay Mission? For the fourth year, we will be taking a group of adults to Biloxi on February 22nd to 28th. If you have questions or are ready to sign up, contact Marie Roche: marie.roche@leoburnett.com. We will hold an informational meeting after the first of the year.

GIFTS OF GRATITUDE
Gifts of Gratitude will be on Sunday December 14, during the children's pageant. Select an ornament or two from the tree for a child from Casa Central. Buy a gift between $20-$30 for the child you have chosen. If you buy clothes and want to include the gift receipt, Target and Wal-Mart are the closet stores to the families. Wrap or place the gift in a gift bag (staple closed) and tape the tag to the package so it can be given to the child through Santa Claus at their holiday party.

LA GRANGE LIBRARY - CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
La Grange Public Library is looking for volunteers to spend an hour per week adding RFID tags to items. Go to http://bit.ly/RFIDtagging or call 708-215-3200 for more information.

In Our Church

LA GRANGE HOLIDAY WALK, DECEMBER 6, 6-8 PM

Join us in the Founder's Room for holiday fun for all ages! There will be crafts, Christmas music, a Nativity display, and free cookies and hot cider. The Village's trolley stops on our corner, and our carolers will beckon visitors and members to join in the spirit.
Please bring your nativity scenes to the church office by Dec. 5th. An attendant will be keeping an eye on the displays. Many visitors enjoyed this event last year including some who hadn't been inside a church in a long time. Let's invite our friends and family and share the warmth and the true meaning of Christmas.

 

UNTANGLING OUR SOULS

You are invited to open yourself to a new spiritual experience.  The Labyrinth Walk is the ancient practice of "Circling to the Center" by walking the labyrinth. Our mother church, Lyonsville Congregational (6871 Joliet Rd, Indian Head Park), will host a labyrinth walk in their fellowship hall on Sat. Dec. 6, 4-6 p.m.  All are welcome to come and go as you wish during that time.  It usually takes about 20 minutes to walk the labyrinth.

 

THE CHRISTMAS FUND FOR THE VETERANS OF THE CROSS AND EMERGENCY FUND
The Christmas Fund is a special Mission offering that gives us an opportunity to honor those who have served the ministries of the UCC. This has been a tradition for 112 years. The Christmas Fund's donations provide direct financial assistance to individual UCC clergy and lay church employees. The theme of this year's offering is A Light Is Drawing Near. During Advent we hope you experience the life giving light of Christ drawing nearer to your life. On December 21, we will collect a Mission offering for the Veterans of the Cross and Emergency Fund. In 2014, the Board provided monthly pension supplements for 408 low income retired clergy/lay recipients to meet basic needs such as food, utilities, living and medical expenses. They also helped 239 individuals with their health premium supplement. We ask that you prayerfully consider giving to this Mission.

JEWEL STAMPS FOR REFUGEE ONE
We mailed four books of stamps for Refugee One to get pots and pans for their families! That is $6400 worth of groceries! We received an email thank you from Kim Snoddy, our contact for the Dhungana family. She was surprised and pleased that we collected so many stamps. By December 14, we will discontinue collecting and send RO the loose stamps.

ADVENT STUDY SERIES
Our own Charlie Cosgrove will be teaching an advent series on "The Origins of Christmas and Its Earliest Hymns." The classes will take place on December 11th and 18th at 2:00 p.m. in the Drawing Room. All are welcome.

COOKIE EXCHANGE
Want a variety of cookies on hand for the holidays? Come to The Ministry of Nurture's cookie exchange. Bring 3 dozen of your homemade cookies to the Founder's Room before church on December 14. We will serve one dozen of your cookies for coffee hour and send you home with at least two dozen assorted cookies.

CHRISTMAS EVE CHOIR
The candlelight service is one of the most beautiful of the year. Why not sing with the Chancel Choir and experience that beauty from a new perspective? Rehearsals will be on December 11th and 18th from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Contact Ryan Cox to sign up.

POINSETTIAS
Time to order Poinsettias to decorate our sanctuary for Advent! The cost is $13 per plant and you are welcome to take them home after the 5:30 p.m. family service or the 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Place your order in the Founders Room after worship or in the church office during the week. The flowers will grace the church starting December 21st.

2014 PLEDGES
All 2014 pledges need to be in the office no later than Sunday December 28 in order to be credited as a 2014 pledge and to show on your 2014 tax statement. Any payments received after the 28th will be credited to 2015. If you change the pledge amount for 2015 and pay electronically through First Nat'l Bank of LaGrange automatic withdrawals, you need to turn in a new withdrawal authorization to the office. We cannot automatically change the withdrawal amount.

BOUNDARY WATERS PRESENTATION
For over 40 years, the youth of FCCLG have enjoyed the pristine natural beauty of Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota. Now proposed sulfide-ore mines in the watershed of Boundary Waters could cause acid mine drainage, threatening the waters of the BWCA with sulfuric acid and other contaminants, as well as affecting the livelihood of the 18,000 people in the recreation and tourism industry in Northern Minnesota. Dave Freeman, Executive Director of The Wilderness Classroom, will give a presentation Sunday December 7th at 6:30 pm in the Founder's Room on efforts to preserve Boundary Waters and what you can do to help.

ALTAR FLOWER DONATIONS
Is there a special anniversary or date coming up in 2015? We have plenty of Sundays available. See the calendar in the Founder's Room and sign up today!
Music

TOWER CHORALE

The Tower Chorale presents their Christmas concert on Friday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 7, at 3:00 p.m at Holy Trinity Church in Westmont.  You'll hear a collection of Christmas carols in a wide variety of arrangements. The 80-voice chorale will be accompanied by Dennis Zimmer on organ and piano, a brass quartet, guitar, harp, percussion, and flute. The Holy Trinity Children's Choir will join in as well -- don't miss it.  The Holy Trinity Church is located at 111 South

Cass Avenue in Westmont. 

 

CHRISTMAS MUSICAL PERFORMANCE

The Legend of the Christmas King will be told in word and song by talented, energetic young people on December 14 during 10 a.m. worship.  You'll laugh, you might cry, you'll be uplifted by the message the children will share. 

 

The Choral Sermon

will be during 10 a.m. worship on December 21st. The Chancel Choir, soloists and chamber orchestra will perform several short works based on hymn tunes from early Protestant Germany (16th and 17th century).  Settings will include "Lo, How a Rose," Vom Himmel Hoch (From Heaven to Earth I Come) and Puer Natus in Bethlehem by Michael Praetorius.

CHRISTMAS EVE CHOIR

The candlelight service is one of the most beautiful of the year. Why not sing with the Chancel Choir and experience that beauty from a new perspective? Rehearsals will be on December 11th and 18th from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Contact Ryan Cox to sign up.
Get Involved with FCCLG!
- Bring in treats of your choice and serve beverages and snacks after worship.
Flower Delivery
- Deliver the donated altar flowers to home-bound church members after worship.
Ushers
- Arrive church at 9:30 am, pass out programs, collect the offering.
Greeters
-Arrive at church at 9:45 am, wear your name tag, and smile!
Laundry Superheroes
- Pick up the Saturday Meals Program laundry outside the kitchen after worship and return it clean before next Saturday.
Nursery Attendants
-Watch children during worship service.
AV Technicians
-Run the sound system and cameras and monitor broadcast to Plymouth Place during worship on Sunday. Training available - see John Hoo.

You can also sign-up in fellowship hour or by calling the church office at 708-352-0800.
Touch List
Your Cards and Prayers Will Comfort and Touch...

Jim Clayton.
Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.
KC, Tina Happel's sister, as she recovers from emergency surgery.
Lois Hindman, who is house bound with a brain condition.
Diane Kasnick's co-worker George, who was in a car accident.
The Manning family, as they mourn the loss of Barb's mother, Barb Barta.
Richard Mercer, who is in a job search.
William Steele, father of Jen Pigman, who passed away recently.
Mike Tobin, Char Tobin's son, who is undergoing chemotherapy.
Pauline Wagoner, who is in hospice care.
Chet Won (Viola Clayton's son-in-law).
First Congregational Church of La Grange | 708-352-0800 | mainoffice@fcclg.org | http://www.fcclg.org
100 S. 6th Avenue
La Grange, IL 60525