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December 22, 2016
To the Saints in La Grange and beyond: Grace to you and peace from Carly called to be a servant leader among and beside you.

In the children's musical this past Sunday, there was an opportunity for members of the congregation to record on an ornament shaped cut-outs a service each was ready to give as a gift this Christmas. These were collected and placed on a tree-shaped bulletin board in the front of the sanctuary. Many of the ornaments were written in a child's hand; some in the cursive of adults. The musical did a great job of reminding us how to make room for Christmas.

Every year at this time, I remember how difficult it is to make room for Christmas. I get so involved in getting ready at church for Christmas Eve - and this year worship on Christmas day - and getting ready at home for family to visit, that I find myself asking, as did the children on Sunday, if there's time for "just one more thing" during this busy time of year.

Last week, I came across an organization called S.C.R.O.O.G.E., the Society to Curtail Ridiculous, Outrageous, and Ostentatious Gift Exchanges. They were founded in 1979 to provide good-natured moral support for those who want to modify their holiday gift-giving practices -- to stop wasting large sums of money on gifts that don't seem to make anybody much happier for that much longer. They call on people to connect with people on a very human basis rather spend money on material gifts. Like the items written on paper ornaments, they urge us to share with family and friends by being present.
  • Shovel and visit an elderly neighbor
  • Serve meals at the Saturday Meals Program
  • Bring a friend to Messy Church
  • Drive someone without transportation to a doctor's appointment
  • Volunteer tutor children in Hodgkins or District 102 schools
  • Give the gift of forgiveness
  • Call an old friend
  • Help out someone feeling overwhelmed
  • Lend an ear to someone who needs to be listened to
  • Say "I love you" to your parents
  • Be kind to a tired and worn out sales clerk
There are many other ways to be present to another, to make room for the presence of Christ in the eyes of someone we least expect it. But they all require us to share of ourselves, our time, our attention, our very being. These are the gifts that truly reflect the gift of God's love in the flesh of that child born in Bethlehem so many years ago.

I wish for each of you a very blessed rebirth this Christmas. I look forward to seeing you in worship.

May God's blessings fill your life, and may God's peace and joy fill your heart and mind.
Children and Youth News   

On January 15th, UCAN is sponsoring a march in Chicago to support UCAN's violence prevention programming. The Zackleys and Yzals will participate however, all ages are welcome to participate. If you would like to fund raise and participate in the march, please let Sylvia know so we can set up an account. 
Messy Church

Messy Church will be Sunday, January 8th at 4:30. Our theme this month will be Jesus Is Found At The Temple! Come and have a great time and grow in faith and in your love of others on the journey. See you there!   
4:30-5:15pm: Crafts and Stories  
5:15-5:30pm: Celebration  
5:30-6:00: Dinner  
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 holiday purchases through Amazon which donates 0.5% of your purchase back to FCCLG. Thank you for supporting us!

Text FCCLG100 to 73256 to give using your text messaging. Click the link and complete your gift. Standard text messaging rates may apply.
  Health Resources 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Resources 
As the result of Conversation Circles last May, the Ministry of Missions and Chris Hein developed a webpage of mental health and substance abuse resources for the FCCLG website. Please go to our church website and look at the rotating colored messages near the top of the page. Click on the purple one stating "Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out." We have tried to provide a simple but comprehensive guide to obtain services. Please feel free to share this information. We plan to share our webpage so that other churches in the community may also use it as a template. Thank you to all of the participants of Conversation Circles. This continues to be a very worthwhile project.

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

- 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
Winter is coming and the Property Committee needs your shovel! Everyone can help, even those who can't shovel -     operating the snow throwers and salt spreaders are noble and essential deeds. Click here to sign up.

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.

Second Baptist Church Food Pantry is now the designated recipient of our food pantry donations. Established in 1999, the food pantry of Second Baptist Church serves more than 300 families (500 to 700 individuals) from the greater La Grange community. The pantry distributes more than 5,000 pounds of food and other essentials each month.
The pantry is in need of nonperishable foods like soup, rice, beans, cereal, pasta, and canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, and personal care items like soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, and paper towels. Please place your donations in the basket outside the sanctuary.

Your donations will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your generosity! 
FCCLG Church Calendar 

We'd like to welcome "Be Still and Know" who recently started meeting at FCCLG. This is a new 12-Step Fellowship Gathering. They meet in the Drawing Room on Friday afternoons from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. Click here to see their flyer.

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. Call Linda Lauterbach or the church office if you need a code to get into the building.

Family Service, 5:30: Join us as we travel with Mary and Joseph to find sanctuary in Bethlehem. The traditional Latin American Christmas celebration, Las Posadas, looks at what it felt like to be a refugee in a foreign land and the safety and comfort found in the La Posada, the Inn.

Candlelight Service, 10:30: Music starts at 10:30, service at 11:00.

What a special year to have Christmas fall on Sunday! We invite all of our families to join us for worship Christmas morning at 10 a.m. No need to interrupt your Christmas morning family-time getting dressed up.
We invite our children to come to worship sporting their Christmas jammies!  We've structured the service as an interactive and active that is very child friendly. We will not have Sunday school or nursery on Christmas morning. 

New Year's Day is also on a Sunday this year. We will have another informal service, with no Sunday School or Nursery. Come to ring in the new year and celebrate a fresh start to 2017!

This years Annual Meeting will be held on January 15, 2017 , immediately following worship in the Sanctuary at 11:01 a.m. Elections of officers, committee and team members will be held. We will also approve the 2017 budget. Look for materials in the mail.
Community Events  
On January 8th The First Congregational Church of Western Springs invites you to join them in recycling Styrofoam. This time of year we have a lot of Christmas packaging materials. Please bring these materials to be recycled rather than having them go into a landfill!
Click here for more information and list of materials!

Please join BEDS Plus on January 29th from 3-7pm for their
4th Annual Soup and Bread Event. Click  here for more event details!

The First Baptist Church of La Grange will be holding their Inaugural Chili Cook Off on February 4, 2017. You can register online at
Touch List 

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
Emil and Maria Balz who are recovering at home.
Prayers for Erin Markus-Bryant's nephew Emmett, who is suffering from kidney failure.
Prayers for Renee Bryant's friend Melissa, who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.
The residents of Edisto Island, where we take our annual work trip, who were hit by Hurricane Matthew.
Dawn Daft, friend of Susan Schwall
The family and friends of Margaret Fieldhouse, who died on December 16th.
The family of Colin Harris, the Lauterbach's godson, as they deal with Sophia's paralysis and personality change after removal of her largest brain tumor.
Ron Kloss, Janet Bednar's father who is recovering from a fall.
The family of Rich Kruke, Dawn Mackie's husband, who died on November 10th.
Prayers for Joe Lucas who is in the hospital struggling with health issues.
Petra Palmer's granddaughter's friend Summer who is having chemotherapy for leukemia.
The Palmers' neighbor's brother, wife and son are thankful for your prayers and doing better.
Jennifer Powers as she deals with health issues.
The family of Mary Roper, Julia Cunningham's grandmother, who died recently.
The family of Frank Shannon, Brian Shannon's father, who died on November 9th.
Rev. Jennifer Mills-Knutsen, Carly's friend, who is struggling through chemo half a world from  home.
Thoughts and prayers for Faith Ullrich's brother-in-law Richard Storm, diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
Victims of hatred and terror; and those seduced in to believing violence is the only option.
A Few UCC Quick Links  

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


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