T O U C H S T O N E  -  A  M i d W e e k  B u l l e t i n

Seventh Sunday After Pentecost   
July 23, 2017  

Our Core Values: 
Spiritual Growth. Welcome. Justice-seeking


Dr. Timothy Murphy, member at FCC, published his first book. See article below.

Reflections for Worship . . .
Bible Text: I Samuel 2:1-10 (Hannah's Prayer)
Continuing our series on the teachings of Dr. Marcus Borg this week, we will explore the chapter on reimagining Sin and Salvation (chapter 6 for those of you who are reading the book The Heart of Christianity). Borg has some interesting ways for us to think about sin that we will explore in worship; he helps us understand that ultimately ..."Salvation is about life with God, life in the presence of God, now and forever."
Come enjoy the beautiful music Connie has planned for us this Sunday. After worship/coffee hour Rev. Jake Pomeroy will lead the second discussion forum on the themes that we have been preaching on all month in the east parlor. I'm happy to report that we do have air conditioning for you to enjoy as we gather together.
Hope to see you on Sunday!

Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
Also this Sunday:

Rev. Andy and Lu will be leading the combined church school class in the youth lounge.

We continue to gather backpacks and school supplies for Friends in Deed to hand out next week. The deadline for us delivering backpacks and supplies is Wed. July 26th - see article below for details if you want to shop yourself. You may also drop off money and checks to Rev. Marlene and she will shop on your behalf. Many thanks for helping us help children in Pasadena who need supplies for school.

This Sunday we will enjoy the fiddle tunes of Aubyn and Riona Biery, as well as the guitar and vocals of Jane Fuller.  

Ways to Get Involved!

Join a Union Station meal team. Sign up for Summer Habitat build day. Bring non-perishable food for Friends in Deed. Buy and fill a Friends in Deed backpack. (see article below for details) Contact the church office or speak with a pastor for more info.

Worship Leaders 
Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
Rev. John H. Pomeroy  
Rev. Andy Schwiebert 
Judy Tyler
Dana Pell
Mary Camacho    
Bettie Teel             
Pianist   &  Music Director 
Connie Washburn 
Church School Teachers
F or summer we have a single church school class for children and youth in the youth lounge - the teachers for this week are Andy Schwiebert/Lu Burd.)
Church Nursery (for infants - K) :
Jaquelyne Rodriguez  &  Serena Van

Nursery opens at 9 :15 a.m. for early birds and then everyone comes to worship at 10:00 and stays through the Children's  Time and then heads to the nursery with caregivers and parents.  

Nina Kung   
Visit us at:  uccpasadena.org

Sermon Podcast

D id you miss a worship and want to hear the sermon? Please visit uccpasadena.org and select 'podcasts' from the menu on top of the home page or click below


Office Hours

Mon. - Thurs.

9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Lunch hours:

12:00 p.m. -1:30 p.m. 
Tel. # 626.795.0696
Fax # 626.795.0698

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In this Edition...

Continued Summer Happenings!!
Small Group on Spiritual Practices
Congratulations to Dr. Murphy
SIGN UP now for Habitat for Humanity 7/29
Friends in Deed Summer Backpacks needed NOW
2 Tickets left for Hollywood Bowl Aug. 27th
Faith Reflection II from Pastor Andy from Adelanto
Federal Immigration Facility visit 

Summer Happenings!

This Summer at FCC we are slowing things down with a break from committee meetings for July and are offering some outings/activities/small groups that help us enjoy the pace of the Summer months. Join us for any or all of our planned activities:
Sundays June 25-Aug. 6th join your preachers in exploring core theological themes from a progressive Christian perspective. We will be using the book The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg and exploring a chapter each week both in our preaching and with the children/youth in our combined church school class. We have books for sale at $10 each or you may purchase your own and read along with us. We will let you know what chapters we will be using and when. July 2nd was "God" (chapter 4), and July 9th was "Jesus: The Heart of God", chapter 5. The intent is to increase our biblical and theological literacy with this overview of several topics and themes. Speak with Pastor Marlene if you wish to help staff our Summer Church School.
Saturday July 29th
Habitat Build 8-11:30 a.m. followed by a pool party and barbecue and Barb Bonzo's house starting at noon. Speak with John Gamber Thompson for Habitat details. Sign up for food for the barbecue after church with either Kim Story or Lu Burd in the next few weeks. See below to sign up-- only 5 spots left!

Every Other Wednesday Small Group on Mudhouse Sabbath (on Jewish Spiritual Practices) starting July 19th led by Pastor Andy. See article below for details 
Sunday Aug. 27th Hollywood Bowl Picnic and Concert. We have five extra tickets to see Pink Martini in concert. This eclectic musical group is fantastic. The concert starts at 7 p.m. and we will be picnicking ahead of time starting around 5 p.m. Come and join us and bring a friend! You must reserve your $25 seat by July 4th before all extras are released. Speak with Pastor Marlene to join the group. 
Check out their eclectic style in these two links. www.youtube.com/watch
Small Group on Spiritual Practices

Many of the topics of our recent small groups have been focused on social justice issues. We also recognize the need to ground ourselves in our daily and weekly spiritual practices to sustain us, whether in our work for social justice or in dealing with the daily challenges of life. 
You are invited to spend time with a small group as we work through a book on spiritual practices entitled,  Mudhouse Sabbath: an Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline (study edition) by Lauren F. Winner. The author is a convert to Christianity and has
deep roots in Judaism, so the book is a reflection on the best of Jewish
spiritual practices that might also be life-giving for Christians.

We will try out these spiritual practices together over 4 sessions beginning
Wednesday July 19th, meeting every other Wednesday  
evening from 6:30-8. Please let Andy know if you are interested.

-Rev. Andy Schwiebert 
Congratulations on Dr. Timothy Murphy's First Book

FCC Pasadena congratulates the Rev. Dr. Timothy Murphy, member at FCC and Visiting Professor at Claremont School of Theology, on the publication of his first book. It is entitled  Counter-imperial Churching for a Planetary Gospel: Radical Discipleship for Today. Weaving together different perspectives, including liberation theology, process thought, postcolonial thought and theology, alternative ecclesiological formulations, and political theory, the book develops a church of radical mission - a way of being in the world that holds together both spirituality and social commitments. Books can be purchased here:  http://amzn.to/2ubb9p0.

Sign up for Habitat For Humanity build in Pasadena on 7/29 at 8-11:30AM

Discipleship is sponsoring a service day on  Saturday 7/29, helping to build a home in Pasadena. Volunteers need not have construction experience and must be 16 years or older (with 1:1 adult accompaniment or 1:5 adult accompaniment for 17 year olds). Can you help us build an affordable home for a low-income neighbor?
Only 5 spots are available (out of 10 total), so if you are interested, please sign up ASAP. Here's how: click on this link...

Then, click on "New Volunteer Registration", and follow the prompts to input your information. If you can manage to connect with our group while you register, great. The name of our group is, "First Congregational Church of Pasadena". If you cannot manage to find the group during your registration, don't worry, just complete it and you can find the service day after the fact. 
During your registration, you will be asked to walk through the orientation, which includes watching a couple of videos and reading some materials, and answering some quiz questions, which takes about 10 minutes. 
Then, you will need to navigate to the "Volunteer Opportunities Calendar" and look for the July 29date, and click to be added to the First Congregational Church of Pasadena date. 
If you have any questions, please contact Andy or John Gamber-Thompson.
2017 Back-to-School Backpack & School Supply Drive!
DEADLINE for delivery is July 26th!!  
Dear Friends,
Summer vacation is here for the young people in our community.  While they are enjoying some time away from the classroom, we are thinking about the upcoming school year.  Starting the first week of August, we will be holding our annual Back-To-School Backpack & School Supply Drive.  
This is one of our biggest and most important events of the year.  The start of the new school year can be exciting, intimidating, and scary.  It can be all of that, and more, for the students that may not have the much needed, and necessary, backpack and school supplies.  
Most of the families in the Friends In Deed community already deal with the issue of making ends meet every month. Add in the new school year, and the expenses that go along with it, like new clothes and shoes for their ever growing children, fees for school programs and projects and a backpack and the essential items to fill it, and a family's stress level and financial concerns increase. Kids always compare themselves to other kids, and our goal is for them to feel confident that they at least have the school supplies they need for a successful and enjoyable new school year.  We count it as a blessing to be able to help so many by providing backpacks, already filled with school supplies, to children in our Friends In Deed community.  
Of course, we aren't able to make this happen all by ourselves.  Every year, we come to you, our Friends In Deed supporters and family, to make the Back-to-School Backpack & School Supply Drive one of which we can all be proud.  Last year, we gave out almost 300 backpacks full of supplies to our Friends In Deed school-aged children.  This year we expect the number to be the same.  We hope that you will join us in this effort!
If you would like to contribute, here are some things to consider: 
  1. Backpacks should be sturdy enough to handle the rigors of a student's day and the crazy amount of books they heft around, especially for our high school students.  
  2. Please avoid all red and all blue backpacks
  3. The supplies needed are recommended by the Pasadena/Altadena area schools and the list is attached. 
Please deliver empty backpacks and any supplies to Friends In Deed, by Wednesday, July 26, 2017.  We will fill them and distribute them the following week on Tuesday, August 1, Wednesday, August 2, and Thursday, August 3.
If you have any questions, contact Tim at the Food Pantry:
pantry@friendsindeedpas.org or 626-797-6072.  
Thank you for helping us to make sure the students in our community have a great start to their school year!
In service and with gratitude,
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater
Executive Director

Friends In Deed is a DBA of the Ecumenical Council of Pasadena Area Congregations,  a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.   Tax ID: 95-1644608.  We respect your privacy. 
Back to School Supply List 2017-18
3 Ring Binders - 1"- 3" (Prefer with Clear View pocket on front)
Tab Dividers for Binders
College ruled notebook paper (this is used more commonly than the "Wide-ruled" paper)
Spiral notebooks
Copy paper (for printing on computer)
Composition Notebooks, hardcover
Pens; red, blue and black
Pencils, including #2 yellow 6-sided for younger grades; mechanical pencils Erasers
Pencil-top Erasers
Zipper pouch for pens and pencils (3 holed to go in binders)
Dry Erase Markers
Colored Markers (NO Sharpies or Permanent Markers)
Highlighters, all colors
Colored Pencils
Sharpener for colored pencils (must hold shavings)
24 Colors Crayons (prefer Crayola Brand)
2 Pocket Folders (prefer poly folders)
Student scissors (such as Fiskar)
Rulers (metric & customary)
3" x 5" index cards
Glue Sticks (many schools prefer the sticks to bottles of glue)
As you can see, school start-up is an expensive proposition for low income families. Thank you for easing that burden and assuring that all students get an equal start on their critical journey of education.
Summer Hollywood Bowl Outing - 2 tickets remaining!

Membership Ministry has selected the date of
Sunday Aug. 27th for our Summer Outing to hear Pink Martini. They are an eclectic group of performers and musicians and are not to be missed! The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. and our discounted group tickets at $25 each. See Lu Burd or Pastor Marlene to sign up and pre-pay for your tickets. We have about two tickets left in section L-1 and will plan to picnic together before the event. You must include $25 with your reservations.
Faith Reflection (part II): "For I was in prison and you visited me..." (Matt 25:36)
In the touchstone a couple of weeks ago, I shared a faith reflection about a pilgrimage I took part in to the Adelanto federal immigration detention facility. So far I have no word about the 8 hunger striking asylum seekers but I will share news when I do have it. 
However, since then I have an update and faith reflection about a related encounter.
The night before our group traveled to Adelanto, I mentioned to my 2 ½ year old daughter Kaira that I would be visiting that group of prisoners the next day. Needless to say, she had LOTS of questions about that, after which she asked if she could write them a card. I said, "sure," and my wife Allison helped Kaira write a message to one detainee in particular who we knew of. 
I could not attend the previous pilgrimage of 60 faith leaders on 6/21, but colleague and former FCC member Rev. Sam Pullen (who also could not go) asked that group to deliver a letter of support from his church to someone in detention, Gurmukh Singh. A member of his church, Monica, is an attorney who is representing Mr. Singh, pro-bono. See these  letters  from Sam and his congregation, which also explains Mr. Singh's situation. He's undocumented because ICE misplaced his application of his paperwork; his wife and children are all US Citizens and his wife and parents are all ill. He is the primary breadwinner. The group on 6/21 attempted to deliver the letters, but were not allowed entry. I believe Mr. Singh and his family heard about the letters and community support from Monica, his attorney. Sam had sent the letters to both the DC and local ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officials.
Allison and I decided that a letter/drawing from Kaira might be appreciated by Mr. Singh, so her note was addressed to him. See the letter/drawing, far below. It was my hope to get to deliver Kaira's letter/drawing to Mr. Singh myself the next day.
The day of our visit on 6/28 a small group of faith leaders went in to attempt to visit the 8 hunger strikers before our larger group arrived, but were turned away. Next my small group of 3 people went in and our task was to deliver a letter of concern about conditions at the facility to the warden, which we did. Because the 8 hunger strikers were already being mistreated and isolated and our earlier group had been denied entry, I decided not to attempt to visit Mr. Singh on the same occasion, and thought better to mail Kaira's letter separately. I did so, and included my own letter of encouragement offering prayers for strength to Mr. Singh. But the other day (7/11) our envelope was returned in the mail.
I emailed Sam to let him know my correspondence was returned, asking that he let Monica, his attorney, know. She responded the next day (7/12), with this sad news about Mr. Singh:
Thank you so much for your support of my pro bono client and his family. Sadly, last night the family got a call from him to let them know that he was given a "deportation slip" and had been transferred yesterday morning from Adelanto to the Los Angeles Field Office. Supposedly he was going to be transferred overnight to Texas or Louisiana (he didn't know where). The family went to Los Angeles and were only allowed to see him for 10 minutes, and were not allowed to leave him a bag of clothing and personal belongings. As of about 3 a.m., he hadn't been given any food since 10:30 a.m. I haven't gotten any responses to any of my phone calls to ICE about his case.
Sorry, all of this is very fresh in my mind and I'm feeling very angry and outraged. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

I asked Monica if there is anything that can be done to help him and later she suggested we communicate with the local ICE office to request his release, but then within a few days he was deported. Here's what Monica wrote yesterday 7/20:
Thank you so much for following up. Sadly, my client was deported on Sunday morning. The poor family was on their way to visit him and bring him a bag of belongings when they called the ICE facility to check in, and were informed that he had already been put on a plane to New Delhi.
Now begins the long battle to bring him back home. -Monica
I share this account here, so that our community might pray for Mr. Singh and his family who are in a difficult moment in their lives, uncertain about Mr. Singh's ability to return to his family here in the U.S.. May they find the strength to continue forward, may they find hope for a change to this situation, and may we find strength to continue working with lawmakers and others to create a more humane immigration system. 
Like Kaira, I also hope Mr. Singh can be with his family again soon. 
-Rev. Andy Schwiebert