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April 13, 2017

To the Saints in La Grange and beyond: peace and grace to you from Carly, called to be teacher, pastor, leader, and servant among and beside you.

Easter is always an intellectual challenge for me.  I'm a thinker.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot think my way through the Easter narratives.  Easter is an experience of the soul, a spiritual experience that the mind cannot wrap itself around.

And so every Easter I work hard to put my mind to rest and let my soul experience the mystery of God on God's terms.  Unlike algebra problems or mystery novels, soul experiences are rarely understood the first time through, and they are even harder to explain or to share with someone else.  We lack the words to wrap around the soul's memory.

The story is told that the English troops of the battle of Waterloo tried to get a message home to let the English people know they had won.  Without cell phones or telegraphs, a system of flags were used to relay the message.  Of course flags rely upon clear weather. And as luck would have it, as the message was being relayed, the fog rolled in.  The people of England were crushed to hear the message, "Wellington defeated."  Once the fog had lifted, the message was sent again; but this time the full message was seen: "Wellington defeated the enemy."  The English people moved from despair to joy!
When Joseph of Arimathea placed Jesus' body in the tomb, the disciples too were crushed. The story had ended poorly for them.  They understood that "Jesus defeated".... and then the fog of grief rolled in and blocked the full message.

It took three days of God's Love burning away the darkness for the rest of the message to get through:  "Jesus defeated death."

Easter is about God's power to take whatever darkness and gloom is looming over us and transform it into healing and hope simply through love.  Resurrection is about love winning.  Resurrection is about defeating indifference and fear.  Resurrection is about overcoming our pasts and our brokenness to be whole again.  Resurrection is about hope blooming and joy returning. 

Thinking, feeling, and doing are a portion of Easter. But neither together or separately can these encapsulate the essence of God's love.  Only one's soul can experience that.

May you know the joy of resurrection in this Easter season.  May you experience the extravagant love and welcome of God's love on the deepest soul-level.  I look forward to seeing you this Easter weekend as we celebrate God's power to overcome the power, the fear, and the darkness of death.

Convergence Leadership Project    

We're All Going to School!

FCCLG will be part of a growing number of congregations who will be intentionally growing leaders who are equipped to bring the church into the future. 

With the blessing of the the John Biegert Lecture Fund,  we'll be a part of a nation-wide program to stretch, grow, and shape leaders of the church.  An you are invited to be a part of the class of student leaders!

The Convergence Leadership Project is a regional and national ecumenical program to train and equip the saints of the church for ministry in our ever-changing times.  We will be a part of three symposiums that will bring together a faculty of leading edge Christian thinkers and trainers who will help you and our congregation to lead and thrive in the current world.  We will host the third of these symposiums at FCCLG.

The goals of the Convergence Leadership Project are to  
  • develop stronger, more confident, more energized leaders
  • help the church to be a unified, aligned, and alive witness to God's extravagant love
  • help lay leaders and staff grow stronger as a team, get more done, while enjoying the work
  • allow each of us to work, learn, dialogue, and dream with leading Christian thinkers, trainers, and change agents
  • help the church to provide a progressive, contemplative, Christian witness to our community
You will hear more about the details in the coming weeks.  For now, please set aside these dates.    
  • May 19-20: "Being Church in Dangerous Times" --  (Friday evening, Saturday)  Satellite participation
  • August 18-19: "Seizing the Moment"-- (Friday evening, Saturday) Satellite participation
  • October 27-29: "In every Crisis there's an Opportunity" - (Friday evening, Saturday)  Hosted by FCCLG! 

Children and Youth News   

There will be no Zackley meeting this week so that everyone can spend Easter with their family! Please join us next week for our Zackley service and our Stock Holder's Brunch after the service! On April 23rd, we will have a joint meeting with the Zackleys and Yzals. We will meet at 6:30 pm in the Zackley room. We will use this time to get to know each other better for those who will soon be Zackleys!

Zackley Sunday and Stock Holder's Brunch
The Zackley's will share their Work Trip experience with the stock holders and the congregation on April 23 both in worship and over the Stockholders' Brunch. We hope to see you there!
Messy Church

Messy Church will be this Sunday, May 7th at 4:30 pm. Our theme this month will be The Story of Ruth. Come and have a great time and grow in faith and in your love of others on the journey. See you there!  Click here for the flyer! 
4:30-5:15pm: Crafts and Stories  
5:15-5:30pm: Celebration  
5:30-6:00: Dinner  
Music Opportunity 

Summer Musical Camp 
Each year children in 1st-8th grades come together to learn, memorize, and perform a musical based on stories from the bible in just one week! Save the date - this year's camp is July 31st - August 4th.

Congratulations to Sam Wesley who was awarded the Coleman Foundation Outstanding Senior Award in Entrepreneurship at Marquette University.
  Health Resources 

The FCCLG website now has mental health and substance abuse resources and services guides. Click here for the FCCLG website. This is a simple but comprehensive guide to obtain services. Please feel free to share this information. Brochures can be found in the Church Office and at the Sanctuary entrance.
Coalition For A Drug-Free Lyons Township 

PARENT CAFE - April 20th 
Come join us for coffee, dessert, and conversation with other parents to learn strategies to talk with your teens and each other. Seating for this free event is limited. Please register at by April 17th. Click here to see more information and a map to this event.

When: Thursday, April 20th at 7:00 pm

The Corral  - 4940 Willow Springs Road., Western Springs

Contact: Cindy Frymark -

Doug speaks of his own family experience with his teen child and alcohol.
Plus: 'In Plain Sight', an interactive exhibit if a teen's room. This is a free community event open to all, especially, parents and caregivers of junior-high and high school students.

When: Monday, April 24th at 5:30 pm

AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center
Dixon Education Center 5101 S. Willow Springs Rd., LaGrange

Contact: Cindy Frymark -

Click here for a link to this event flyer!
Special Thanks!   

A wonderful thank you card from our friends at Pillars. 

FCCLG Church Calendar 

Palm Sunday, April 9, begins a week long journey from hope to the cross and back. Join us for these deeply spiritual and moving worship opportunities:
  • Today Maundy Thursday Tenebrae 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. The Procession of Shadows leads us through word and music into the Last Supper, desertion, arrest, conviction, cross, and death. This is one of the most moving services of the year. 
  • Good Friday 7 PM First Presbyterian Church of La Grange. An ecumenical remembrance of Jesus' last hours with moving music, gospel hymns, and a juxtaposition of scripture.
  • Easter Breakfast 8:30-9:55 a.m. in the Founders' Room.
  • Easter Celebration 10 a.m. in the Sanctuary.
 Please join us for the third annual event to spruc e up t he church grounds, maintain the inside of the building, and enjoy some fellowship. The event will take place Holy Saturda y, April 15th, from 1 to 4pm. Items include planting, clearing leaves, climbing ladders, and replacing ligh t bulbs. Sign up in the Founders Room. Please bring your own tools. 
                                                                                     EASTER MORNING
  Please join the Ministry of Nurture for breakfast on Easter morning BEFORE church from 8:30 to 9:55 am in the Founders' Room. We look forward to seeing you!

The Ministry of Worship is asking church members to donate flowers on Easter Sunday April 16 to create the annu al "Living Cross" that adorns the altar on Easter morning. Please bring flowers to the narthex area. Thank you for sharing in this long standing tradition. 
We will discuss Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams by Michael D'Antonio on Thursday, April 27th at 7:30 pm in the chapel conference room. "If it's a rule that behind every great fortune lies a great crime, M. S. Hershey was the exception," Michael D'Antonio writes in this thorough and highly readable biography of the candy magnate. "He was the good millionaire." You may be able to guess the flavor of snacks we will serve on this evening!  
ADULT EDUCATION: A Day in the Ancient Mediterranean
This two-part Sunday morning series led by Charlie Cosgrove is a trip of the imagination into the ancient world of the earliest Christians. Please join us from 8:30-9:15 in the Drawing Room on April 30 and May 7. Prior to the April 30 meeting, attendees are invited to read a short novella called A Day in the Ancient Mediterranean. Click here for a link to the novella or pick up a copy in the office. This will be the basis for conversation on April 30. On May 7 we will look at a scene in The Gospel of Luke in light of our "day in the ancient Mediterranean." Those who cannot attend are also welcome to a copy of the story.

 Hooks and Needles meets in the Family Room off the Chapel on all but the first Monday of the month at 7:00 pm.
We make blankets for Project Linus and Still Missed along with prayer shawls, baby blankets and prayer squares for the church. Please join us in this valuable ministry. Beginners are welcome; we would love to teach you to knit or crochet. Email Linda Lauterbach at or call the church office at 708-352-0800 if you need a code to get into the building.

Save the date and watch this space for coming news - the annual FCCLG Women's Retreat will be August 12th and 13th this year.

Share, learn and grow on the Gulf Coast at the UCC's Back Bay Mission while meeting the urgent needs of those suffering from poverty and building pathways to social justice. FCCLG members and friends will serve there October 15-21, 2017.
We have reserved a limited number of spots, so please indicate your interest by the end of April. Join us at a designated table at coffee hour following worship on April 23 and 30to address your questions.
At Back Bay we work on a variety of projects during the daytime then join other volunteers at the Mission House where we sleep and prepare our meals. A highlight for volunteers is attending an evening worship service at the local Missionary Baptist Church where we are warmly welcomed. Contact Bobbie at or 708-354-3816.
Ministry Opportunities  

We are still in need of several talented individuals in our leadership roster. Please see available positions below.

     We need two members for the Ministry of Membership. This team oversees our hospitality and nurture of guests and creates a climate of church growth within the congregation. They help to orient and integrate new members. If you like to meet new people, enjoy being a host, or want to introduce others to the congregation, this is a great team to join.
     We need two members for the Nominations Committee. This team matches the gifts and graces of members with the various offices and ministries of the church. It meets in November and December only. If you enjoy talking to people -- even if only by phone -- and you'd like to get to know the gifts and graces of others, this is a great match for you. 
      The Ministry of Education is in need of one member for a three year term.  The Ministry of Education meets once a month. It is responsible for the education of the children, youth and adults of the church. It envisions, plans, coordinates and executes a stimulating program of Christian education, youth groups, Messy Church, and coordinates the Nursery during weekly worship.  
     Anyone interested in any of these seven roles - whether a member or not - should contact JoAnne Konkle or Pastor Carly.
Click here  for the Updated Roster!
Fellowship Opportunities

READY TO PLAY BRIDGE? The church bridge group is beginning to play for the season. We always have room for more players. You are welcome no matter your level of play. We play once a month at a time mutually arranged between the two teams playing each other. If you have a partner, all the better. If not, we will see if we can find you a partner. If you are interested in playing, contact Doris Bryant, 708-352-3034 or
Service Opportunities

Please sign up for the following opportunities during Fellowship Hour in the Founders' Room. You can also call the church office at 708-352-0800! We'd be happy to sign you up!

Fellowship Hour

- Bring in treats of your choice and serve beverages and snacks after worship 
- Proclaim the scripture to the congregation during Sunday service
Flower Delivery
- Deliver the donated altar flowers to home-bound church members after worship
- Arrive at 9:30 am, pass out programs, collect the offering
-Arrive at 9:45 am, wear your name tag, smile!
Laundry Superheros 
- Pick up the Saturday Meals Program laundry outside the kitchen after worship and return it clean before next Saturday
Nursery Attendants 
- Attend the Nursery during worship on Sunday
Audio Visual Technicians -- training available! 
- Run the cameras as we transmit our services to Plymouth Place and then upload them to the web
The Saturday Meals Program is a ministry of our congregation that serves anyone who would like to share a hot meal.

There are two shifts of volunteer service available each Saturday:

Breakfast set up and serving is from 8 to 10 a.m. Breakfast volunteers cut and plate pastries, serve hot food to guests in a buffet line, run the dishwasher, make sandwiches and pack brown bag suppers for distribution after lunch.

Lunch set up and serving is from 10:45 to 1 p.m. Lunch volunteers plate desserts, serve hot foods to guests in a buffet line, run the dishwasher, and wipe down tables and chairs following the meal.

Email Volunteer Coordinator JoAnne Konkle for information.
  We're collecting canned vegetables for the Second Baptist Food Pantry in April. If you forget what to buy, any nonperishable grocery item wo uld be appreciated.  
FCCLG Fundraising 
Here's an easy way to give back to FCCLG! When you shop on Amazon, use and choose First Congregational Church of La Grange UCC as your charity. Consider making your purchases through Amazon which donates 0.5% of your purchase back to FCCLG. Thank you for supporting us!


Text Giving  
Text FCCLG100 to 73256 to give using your text messaging. Click the link and complete your gift. Standard text messaging rates may apply.
Community Events and News 

Tomorrow, April 14th from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm there will be a fish fry at Westchester Community Church. Serving shrimp, fried cod or fried chicken, and rotisserie chicken. Each dinner comes with 2 sides, bread, and a dessert. Adult dinners are $11. A children's menu is available. Tickets can be purchased at the door. ( 1840 Westchester Blvd., Westchester 60154 - 708-865-1282) 

ICN has many tools to assist job seekers, but we need your assistance to provide the most important element in a job search which is open positions. If you are a hiring manager or aware of open positions in your company, please send this information to Any and all postings are welcome. ICN job seekers are at all stages of their career, in every industry, with a broad spectrum of education and experience. All job postings will be communicated to the over 400-member ICN Yahoo group.

Ideally it will be a WIN/WIN for your company and a qualified job seeker in your community. If you have any questions or for additional information you can also contact Judy Kennedy ( at 708.352.8943 or Tom Rohan ( at 708.772.4231. Lastly, to learn more about ICN visit our website at
Touch List 

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
Ojo Adedji, seeking assylum in the U.S., whose court hearing is this week.

The family and friends of longtime member Joyce Allen, who died on January 11th.  The family will hold a gathering for her on April 22nd at 2 pm in the Sanctuary.

Emil and Maria Balz who are recovering at home.

Renee Bryant's friend Melissa, diagnosed with breast cancer.

Prayers for the family of John Cepek, a former member who died on March 15th.

Prayers for Viola Clayton for a speedy recovery. She needs strength and good mobility.

Fred Gonzalez, who is back in hospital with heart issues.

Joyce Hagen-McIntosh's nephew who is going through a challenging time.

Angie Crees, Olivia Hein's sister.

The family and friends of Jeanne Hayden, who died on February 16th.

Prayers for Cindy and Nick Johnson whose infant son Lincoln died on February 28th.

Ron Kloss, Janet Bednar's father who is recovering from complications of a fall and surgery.

Petra Palmer's granddaughter's friend Summer who is having chemotherapy for leukemia.

Prayers for Patricia Spencer for healing after breaking her arm in a fall.

Those living in fear and without hope, and those who use fear to control others. 
UCC Quick Links  

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Into the Mystic: Listen to podcasts of the UCC General Minister, John Dorhauer, here.


Disaster Ministry Learn about the UCC's efforts and what you can do here