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Worship in the Park this Sunday
As part of La Grange's Endless Summer Celebration, the La Grange Churches will meet at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 7 at Gordon Park. Fantastic music, a combined choir, and a lot of energy will buzz together for worship. Join us in the park!

Kick Off Sunday and Annual Picnic
We'll be kicking off the new year on Sunday, September 11 with a fun filled picnic and activities for all ages immediately after worship on the Sixth Avenue lawn. Get this on your calendar so you don't miss out on the fun!        
August 4, 2016

Peace to you and grace, from Carly, called to be a servant leader amongst, beside, and occasionally, behind the saints of La Grange and beyond.

I can find any number of distractions from getting certain things done. I sat down to write this Tidings column.... oh look, my desk needs to be cleaned off. Oh, I need to call so and so about visiting next week. Oh, I need to complete such and such before that meeting next week. Oh, another email just arrived - I wonder if so and so responded to my question. Did I make that change in next week's worship bulletin? Did I get those plans done for the Women's Retreat? Oh my, there's a text message from Dan saying he's left his office and will be home in an hour...oh my, how did it get to be 5:30 already. What did I get done today?!

I'm not always a procrastinator; I primarily put off things that I'm not certain about. I'm at the gym and swimming by 5:30 every morning. I'm confident about my ability to swim laps while pacing my breathing, knowing to watch ahead of me so I can flip over at the end of the pool to change direction. I know when I need to swim on my back so I can slow down my breathing and let my heart rest a bit. I instinctively know when my 45 minutes of pool time is over and it's time to move on with the day. I have a solid handle on the pace of this routine: kick, stroke, breathe, kick, stroke, breathe, kick stroke, breathe, change direction, kick, stroke, breathe.

Once I'm out of my routine, outside my comfort zone, or creating a new pattern, I struggle to focus and be productive. Patterns and routines help us to stay on task, to work toward the visions and goals we've set. Kick, stroke, breathe, kick, stroke, breathe, kick stroke, breathe, change direction, kick, stroke, breathe. The pattern keeps me moving forward through the water and through time toward the end goal.

What are your thoughts about the future? Have you ever wondered what your life will be like in 5 years? Ten years? Twenty-Five years? It's difficult to make plans when we don't know what else will be happening in the world around us. Yet each of us has an idea of what we'd like to happen. We have hopes, dreams, and often a vision for the future. What are the patterns we need to develop to get there? Are we kicking toward the future, or putting it off, distracted by this moments whims? Are we taking time to breathe in God's Spirit so we can regain our sense of direction and re-orient ourselves toward the goal? Are we making strokes that are productively moving us or just waving our arms?

Kick, stroke, breathe, kick, stroke, breathe, change direction, kick, stroke, breathe.

In our congregation, we've worked through the basics of swimming in these unknown waters of the 21st Century: the Alban Plan has filled the pool with hopeful waters and provided excellent orientation and direction; our staff, leadership, and ministry teams are working together to make efficient strokes that propel us forward to the goals of healthy, life-giving ministries that move us to be the voices for grace-filled justice and extravagant love; engaging opportunities to nurture and grow faith; and a plan for a self-sustaining building so that our resources can be put into reaching out to others. And worship offers us the breath and revitalization to nourish our bodies and rest our souls.

Kick, stroke, breathe, kick, stroke, breathe, change direction, kick, stroke, breathe.

Wait, change direction? The future of Christianity requires us to keep swimming and constantly change direction. We will need to take our heads out of the water, look around to see where we are, take a deep breath, and redirect ourselves toward God's future so we don't knock our heads against the wall. If we don't take time to breathe in God's Spirit, we will drown in these moving waters. We need to lift our heads above the surface and breathe deeply of God's life-giving Spirit so that we have the energy to turn ourselves around again and again.

Kick, stroke, breathe, kick, stroke, breathe, change direction, kick, stroke, breathe.

In the heat of this August day, I invite you to take the plunge with me. Let's move back into the waters of growing faith - Accepting All, Reaching Out, and Touching Lives - breathing in God's guidance as we go.

Legacy Giving
Do you and your spouse have a will? If not, you and your loved ones are risking a great loss. Prepare a will today.
Flowers For The Altar

  Check your calendar and think about those special dates this year you could celebrate with altar flowers! You might like to celebrate a special occasion, honor a dear person, or maybe you'd just enjoy seeing live flowers on the altar. To reserve a Sunday, sign up at Fellowship Hour or contact the office. Dates are first-come, first-serve, so reserve early! Below are a list of dates available through the end of 2016:  

August 28th
September 25th
October 16th
October 23rd
October 30th
November 20th
December 4th
December 11th 
Air Conditioning Work update 

The Founders' Room AC is complete! Installation of the Sanctuary unit will start sometime next week. At times during this process, scaffolding will be constructed to install the air distribution equipment and work on either side of the altar. There will be occasions when worship will move to the chapel to accommodate this work. We are hoping that all work on the air conditioning systems will be complete by or before the end of August. Please pay attention to the Tidings and notices posted in the church for further communications as work progress and we make worship plans.

Jerry Palmer
Project Coordinator
Amazon Smile

Here's an easy way to give back to FCCLG! When you shop on Amazon, use and choose First Congregational Church of La Grange as your charity. Amazon then donates 0.5% of your purchase back to FCCLG.  
Saturday Meals Needs Your Help! 
The Saturday Meals Program is a ministry of our congregation that serves anyone who would like to share a hot meal. We have a variety of people who we serve: Elderly residents who choose to gather with friends, families who appreciate not having to cook a meal on the weekend, homeless men and women, people who are one paycheck away from being destitute, and church members who enjoy the company around the table. During the fall, winter, and spring, we serve a hot breakfast, a homemade and nutritious hot noon time dinner, and pack a light evening meal to send home with those who choose it.

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.
Messy Church
Messy Church will be this Sunday, August 7th, at 4:30. Our theme this month will be Bible Seasides and we will also have a baptism. Come and have a great time and support our youth. See you there! Click here for our flyer! 
4:30-5:15pm: Crafts 
5:15-5:30pm: Celebration  
5:30-6:00: Dinner 
6:00-7:00: Yzal/Zackleys    
Confirmation Mentors Needed:
This Fall we are looking for 6 - 8 adults to mentor our youth.  Mentors are adults who are not related to the youth who will walk along side as we all journey into a deeper understanding of the faith.  Necessary qualities include:
  • An openness to explore your faith and grow it; 
  • A willingness to admit you don't have all the answers but will seek understanding alongside others on the journey;
  • An ability to ask and be asked hard questions;
  • Availability of 2 hours per month from September through May to spend conferencing with students, other mentors, and pastoral leadership (these will happen mostly on the first Sunday of the month);
  • Completion of Safe Church Boundary Training before November 1 (offered every Fall) with background check.
If you feel the tug of God on your sleeve to step out in faith into this role, please contact Carly.   
Serving at FCCLG
- Bring in treats of your choice and serve beverages and snacks after worship 
- Proclaim the scripture to the congregation during Sunday service
- 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!
- Pick up the Saturday Meals Program laundry outside the kitchen after worship and return it clean before next Saturday
Attend the Nursery during worship on Sunday
LeaderShop School Supply Drive
It's that time of year... time to help children who may not be able to afford their required school supplies. Please bring new school supplies for the LeaderShop's annual drive. You may purchase any school supplies, but they particularly need three ring binders (1" or 1-1/2"), pens, pencils, folders, markers, and school glue. Place them in the boxes outside the sanctuary or chapel. They will be delivered on August 8.
Summer In Song
Summer Musicians of all ages are invited to play, sing or ring starting in June. The choir is off for the Summer, so we need you!  Not a soloist, but want to lend your talents?  That's ok too.  Ryan will find an ensemble for you.  Please contact Ryan Cox to sign-up.

First Conservatory has a new website!  Check us out at

BEDS Plus Volunteers Needed 
We need your help! BEDS Plus Care is in immediate need of volunteers for some summer programs. If you can lend a hand, even for a few hours, please email us Thank you!
St. Barbara's Food Pantry Collection 
This month St. Barbara's is especially in need of  t he following: peanut butter and jelly. Other nonperishable foods are appreciated as well. Thank you for your support!

Back Bay Mission Trip  
The Back Bay Mission Trip will be October 15 - 17 , 2017. This is an opportunity to serve our UCC Mission partner with construction, food pantry, soup kitchen, and day shelter while growing in faith through devotions and fellowship. To join the mission trip, contact Bobbie Nunez.
Harvest Home dinner   
You can make Harvest Home a success! Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 16th at 6:30 pm and plan to attend the annual Harvest Home Dinner. Want to lend a hand? Sign up in the office to help prepare or serve food.  
Touch List 

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
We lament the loss of innocent lives to fear, hatred, and bigotry in Baton Rouge, Chicago, Dallas, Minnesota, Nice, and Orlando.
Emil and Maria Balz, who are both in rehabilitation.
Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.
Bert Happel, Jim Happel's brother.
The family & friends of William Hoff, who died on June 16.
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.
Thoughts and prayers for the Palmers' neighbor's brother, wife and newborn son, who need to gain strength and weight.
Helen Pancner, Viola Clayton's daughter, who has continuing health struggles.
Jennifer Powers as she deals with health issues.
The family and friends of Robert Crawford, Janet Roman's brother and Sandra McLaughlin's uncle, who died on June 17th.
Blooming Where You're Planted
If you can't make it to the FCCLG Women's Retreat, or you want to attend a bigger one, there's one that takes place on September 30. Click  here for the two-sided flyer/registration form for the Illinois Conference 6t h Annual Women's Retreat. Register no later than September 23rd. 
Hooks And Needles

The knitting and crocheting ministry meets in ho m es this summer at 7pm on the 2nd and 4th Mondays, J une through August. It is a fun time to relax and sip lemo nade while working on lap blankets and prayer shawls. Please join us on August 8th. All are welcome.
August 8: Barb Hultman
August 22: Debbie Llewellyn
Summer Worship in the Chapel   

Due to construction in the Sanctuary, our Sunday services starting August 14th will take place in the Chapel for the next two weeks or so.