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

Celebration of Epiphany     
January 7, 2018    

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


"Wise Women Also Came" by Jan Richardson (janrichardson.com)

Reflection for Worship . . .

This Sunday we'll celebrate what we in the church call the "Feast of the Epiphany," the official close of the Christmas season. Did you know that ninety (!) percent of people in the US were expected to celebrate Christmas this year? And that our spending on Christmas totaled more than 680 billion dollars? In Canada, if past Christmas statistics give us an indication of how things played out this year, 21.8 million turkeys were raised and 6.5 million poinsettias were grown for Christmas consumption. Retailers expected to make between 20 and 30% of their annual sales.

Christmas is clearly a big deal, culturally and economically, but statistics also tell us that celebrating Jesus' birth is on the decline. Less than half of Americans said in a recent survey that they would celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, a number that has dropped since 2013. I don't report this because it bothers me (I love that we live in a diverse and pluralistic society) but rather because it raises this question: if Christmas can be celebrated just fine by a majority of people without any mention of Jesus, why do we in the church make such a fuss about him? Why do we sing about Jesus "the heaven-born Prince of Peace," and in read about Jesus, God's very "word [who] became flesh and lived among us?" Why do we tell and retell such fantastic stories about him, like the story of the magi (the story we tell at Epiphany) where these great astrologers and philosophers travel far and long and from distant countries to fall to their knees in awe and reverence of this baby, bringing with them offerings fit for a deity?

If there is one thing we can take away from the Christmas season at church it's that Jesus is important to us - world-shaking - but can we say why? Can we give our own answer? If I had to posit an answer I'd say that Jesus is important to us in the church because he reminds us of what is real, and I'll be talking more about this   on Sunday! Hope to see you there as we transition from one season into another!

Rev. Kristin Philipson

Also on Sunday

We will resume Church School this Sunday with Roberta White and Krysty Leckrone teaching. We typically have one combined class for all ages as well as a nursery for children up through Kindergarten age. If we have more than a few youth we are able to have a sermon talk-back time after the sermon with a teacher in the youth lounge.
We will also observe Communion since it is the first Sunday of the month. A "Good Samaritan" envelope (in a new green color) will be stapled to your bulletin for you to make a monthly donation - all Good Sam funds are used to support outreach such as Union Station meals, Bad Weather Shelter, and other needs as they arise. Any amount helps to replenish this much-needed and much-used fund.
We welcome back to our pulpit this week the Rev. Kristin Philipson, a resident of Toronto, Canada who is living in Los Angeles this year with her family. Kristin is ordained in the United Church of Canada and is working on a Doctor of Ministry program. She serves in a local church and is currently on sabbatical from her position.
Opportunities for Service:
See below for articles related to a local Habitat build site, Union Station meals and the Bad Weather Shelter dates coming up. Many thanks to our Alpha Team for serving the meal at Union Station on Jan. 1st (Jennifer Lanski, Regina Meyers, Shelli Nakahama and Jim Maddox) 

Worship Leaders        
Rev. John H. Pomeroy
Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
Don Hughes     
Pianist & Music Director  
Connie Washburn  
Church School Teachers
Combined class for elementary & youth class - teachers are: Roberta White & Krysty Leckrone 
Church Nursery (for infants - K) :
Lachlan Ashemiller/Rebecca Rinck 
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 service 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...

FCC Small Group -  
      Local Habitat
Updates: Pledges,
      Bad Weather Shelter
Progress on Sale of
Flower Chart Sign Up
La Casa de Maria   

Join an FCC Small Group Working on a Local Habitat Build!
A few folks have been working on the local Habitat build near the Colorado Bridge (called the Desiderio Homes Construction). If you want to join them, you must sign up online at
Once you get to the site you can register as a New Volunteer. After you've registered, go back into the Volunteer Matrix, find the date you're interested in, locate the Desiderio Homes (Construction) line item and pick a time slot.
Elizabeth Lanski and Lu Burd will be working Wednesdays January 10th and 31st from 8-11:30 a.m., if you're interested in joining them.
Lu, Aren Burd and Marlene Pomeroy are all working on Wed. Jan. 17th from 12-3:30 as well.
Finishing Pledge Contributuions for 2017... and Making Pledges for 2018

Last Call for 2017 Pledges... and an Urge to Turn in 2018 Pledges
Our bookkeeper Celina is collecting final, unfinished pledges for 2017. Please bring them to church this Sunday or mail in today. All 2017 checks must be dated no later than Dec 31st, 2017.
In addition, our Budget Committee is working to put together a budget for 2018. They will have a chance to present a draft to you on Sunday Jan. 28th (that is the goal!). If you are planning to pledge to the church in 2018 and have not yet turned in your pledge card we urge you to do so ASAP. Pastor Marlene will have pledge cards on Sunday. You may also email Barb Bonzo b3bonzo@gmail.com or Celina our bookkeeper cmchugh.fcc@gmail.com with your pledge. We must have something in writing for it to be an official pledge. Many many thanks for all who have submitted their pledges and especially those who have increased their pledges to cover expenses for 2018.
Bad Weather Shelter Update
Sat. Jan. 27th and Sat. Feb. 24th are our dates

The Bad Weather Shelter (BWS) will be open two months this year - January and February. John Gamber-Thompson and Pastor Marlene attended the planning meeting and selected two dates for our church to serve the meal. We will have sign up sheets in early January.  Due to the Health Department rules there are new guidelines that we must observe this year. The most critical ones for us to know in advance are that all volunteers must have had a Hepatitis A vaccination within the past 20 years. You will be asked sign a form stating that before you can serve. Also, all food must be prepared on sight - no home cooked food may be brought in. That means we must either prepare the food or bring in packaged food from a grocery store. We are asked to strictly observe these new regulations; otherwise the BWS could risk being shut down. Once we have a Captain planning the meal for each of our dates we will ask for helpers. In addition we may be asked to purchase some kitchen items needed for the meals - stay tuned for the specifc requests. Thanks to Discipleship Ministry for coordinating this effort. And thanks to all of you who fund these meals through your giving!
BWS 2 10 1
Progress Report on the Building Sale

Carl Whidden, our realtor, has been working closely with Cal-Coast (the buyer) and Sallie McNair since the sale contract was signed in early November. Cal-Coast has brought in a number of architects, investors, interested hotel chains and two construction companies to advise them and estimate building costs on possible changes required by the city in their original building plans and designs.  
In late November the California Attorney General's Office unexpectedly requested a review of the entire transaction regarding the sale of our building. On December 15, they "approved without objection" the process, which cleared the way for Cal-Coast's 45 day due diligence period to begin December 18.
Cal-Coast immediately conducted a seismic test for the building and is proceeding with an environmental test, soil test, asbestos test, and any and all other contractual tests and inspections to satisfy the buyer, the city and the Historical Landmark Board. The various inspections will run a total of $50,000 to $70,000, an indication of Cal-Coast's commitment to the project.  
The due diligence period is the most critical part of any transaction. This is the process during which any major structural or environmental problem would be raised and addressed. The due diligence period is now expected to close on or before February 2 and escrow to close on or before February 18.  
I am happy to talk with any about this, should you have any questions or concerns.
-Elizabeth Lanski, Moderator

2018 Flower Chart
We have many openings to bring flower or "flour" for Sunday worship. If you sign up and give Nina $40 a beautiful live bouquet will be ordered for you. Or you may opt for the "flour" option which means that your $40 donation will be sent to a local hunger organization (LA Regional Food Bank) in your name and our wheat display will be on the altar. Please let Nina know when you sign up which option you would like.

La Casa de Maria Women's Retreat May 4th-6th
We have reserved rooms for our Mostly-Annual FCC Women's Retreat!! This year we are going the first weekend in May - a gorgeous time to be at the retreat center. Pastor Marlene will be collecting deposits and reservations starting in the next few weeks, but mark your calendars for a weekend away to replenish, renew and restore with others in your faith community . Please contact her directly if interested for prices, rooms, etc.
  La Casa La Casa La Casa 2017