In This Issue
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February 16, 2017

A Message from UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer.
A UCC Response to a Draft Executive Order on Religious Liberty
          Last week, a draft executive order entitled "Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom" was leaked to the press. Acknowledging that this is a draft, and not knowing what a final version might bring, the fact that these ideas are being floated around the White House should trouble all Christians to their very cores. The draft reflects a significant shift in position from the religious accommodation rules under the Bush and Obama administrations, to one of religious superiority. If issued, it would create new barriers for those seeking government services-those who are often the neediest, poorest, and most vulnerable among us. These are the individuals that Jesus never turned away, regardless of their religious beliefs.
            The draft order elevates four religious beliefs over all other religious beliefs: marriage is between one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for a marriage between one man and one woman, biological sex is an immutable objective characteristic that is determined before or at birth based on anatomy, physiology, or genetics, and life begins at conception. Of course, an Establishment Clause problem exists when the government privileges particular beliefs over others, but the effects on those who are served by persons who hold such privileged beliefs may be truly breathtaking.
          These four privileged religious beliefs purport to permit a federal employee, a federal contractor, or an employee of a religious organization receiving a federal grant to refuse to serve any individual if doing so would violate the employee's privileged beliefs.   Some protections in case law and statutes against this kind of discrimination do exist and would not be affected by such an executive order, but the order sends a clear message that the rights of those who serve the public should be elevated over the rights of those who are served.
          For example, while many federal block grants have statutory protections against discrimination, and thus would not be affected by this executive order if it were final, many social welfare funding programs do not have that protection. An employee of a homeless shelter that receives discretionary funding from the federal government could claim that serving a young homeless transgender person, or a young homeless unmarried mother, violates their second or third privileged religious beliefs, and that they can therefore turn away a prospective beneficiary of the government's funding. In essence, ideas being discussed at the White House include using government funds to perpetuate discrimination against sinners-the class of people who do not hold the four privileged religious beliefs.
          An equally troubling aspect of this executive order is that it expands the definition of religious organization to an unprecedented breadth, including for-profit organizations operated for a "not exclusively religious" purpose. Setting aside the vagueness of a "not exclusively religious purpose," this definition of religious organization may expand the type of organizations that can secure federal grants to provide health and human services, while allowing these religious organizations to select the beneficiaries of the federal government's funding based on the religious beliefs of those who operate them.
         The draft order also takes aim at foster children and related family services, directing that federally-funded religious organizations that provide such services can discriminate on the basis of the organization's religious beliefs. This is not strictly a new concept, but introduced in this order is the notion that these religious organization now bear no responsibility to even refer individuals who are denied services to other organizations. A gay foster child, with no resources of her own, who believes that she is loved and accepted by Jesus Christ just as she is, will be faced with the damaging reality that her government is funding coercion by the religious organization to accept the religious beliefs of others, or to be denied the services she needs.
          These are the ideas that are being discussed at the White House. The disregard for the federal government's compelling interest in serving all people, regardless of their religious beliefs, is shocking. These ideas, if implemented, would require possibly hundreds of new regulations to implement that must be drafted and reviewed by many federal agencies. In the meantime, the potential for confusion and delay looms large, and the potential for denial of services to those who need them is disastrous. While we wait for a final "religious freedom" order, Christians should urge legislators and the executive administration to ensure that the President fully vets and studies the potential effects of a policy that does serious harm to the most vulnerable among us, who do not subscribe to the privileged beliefs set forth in this draft executive order.
Thank You   

Thanks to all of you who participated in making valentine s for our Muslim neighbors. Your show of love was greatly appreciated. The office received this in response:
"Please express my deepest thanks to your church for going above and beyond in helping me do this for the Muslim congregation and families. I cried when I saw all the beautiful notes. Thank you!"
Safe Church    

On Sunday we will be offering Safe Church Training for volunteers who work with children and youth, and for anyone else who would like to participate.  The training will take about 90 minutes and will begin at 11:15 in the Drawing Room -- or Dining Room if we need more space.  This training is required for anyone who works with our children and youth and who has not participated in the training in the last 18 months.  
We need a precise count of participants so that we can order enough lunch, prepare enough hand outs, and meet in space that will accommodate everyone.  We need your RSVP no later than Friday at noon if you plan to attend.

If you do plan to attend, please download the Safe Church Policy, and the Code of Conduct brochure and read each of these thoroughly before we meet.  You can locate both the Safe Church Policy and the Conduct brochure by clicking the above links. 

We look forward to seeing you Sunday. 
Children and Youth News   

The Zackleys will be taking their annual trip to Edisto Island March 25th-April 2nd! Information packets can be found outside of Sylvia's door and in the Founder's Room. The following are important dates to keep in mind:

    Parent & Participant Meeting: February 19th (@ 6:30 in
      the Chapel)

    Stock Sales: February 26, March 5, March 12, March 19  
      (10:00-Noon, Sanctuary/Founders Room)

    **Registration Due Date with deposit: Sunday March 6th

    Final Participant Meeting: March 19th during Zackleys

    Work Trip: March 25th (5 am) -April 2nd (late afternoon)
      (Departure and arrival in church parking lot)
Messy Church

Messy Church will be on March 5th at 4:30. Our theme this month will be Lent. 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  
Ministry Opportunities  

Ministry Opportunities
            The leadership roster has been updated and appears after this article.
            The Church Council unanimously approved the nomination of Doris Bryant as our Vice Moderator for 2017. Doris is a long time member of the congregation, a member of the Saturday Meals Board, and a member of the Carillon Bell Choir. She has served on our Finance Committee, Building Use Committee, and is a former moderator of the Council. Please welcome Doris Bryant as our Vice Moderator.
            We are still in need of six talented individuals in our leadership roster.
            We need two members for the Ministry of Communication. This ministry promotes and publicizes the ministries and events the church in the community. They oversee church communications, including the church website, social media, The Tidings and church publicity. If you are creative, interested in reaching out, or good with graphic design, this is a good fit for you.
            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.
            Anyone who is interested in any of these six roles -- whether a member or not -- should contact JoAnne Konkle or Pastor Carly.
Click here for the Updated Roster!
Craft Fair - October 21st!   

The Stewardship Committee has proposed a Craft Fair in the Founders Room from 11:00 until 4:00 on Saturday, October 21st. We are suggesting a limit of 20 tables with an entry fee of $20.00 per table. Two tables will be reserved:

One for the Zackleys for the sale of snacks near the kitchen and the other for the Church itself by the entry to distribute literature about the potential of Church uses within the Community (ie marketing)
Several Church members have already shown an interest in securing a table to display and sell craft items. Your help is needed to sponsor a table, to identify someone you know who does craft work, to be a workmate in setting up and taking down tables as well as marketing the event. If interested in more details or suggestions contact Dave Bryant at
(708) 352-3034
or by email at or any of the Committee members.
The outreach within the Community includes schools 
(Red Sled, LTHS) youth groups (Scouts), seniors (Bethlehem Woods, Plymouth Place, Aging Care Connections), commercial outlets (Bead Shop, Chamber of Commerce), local agencies 
(Park Districts, Libraries), fraternal groups (VFW, 
American Legion). You may have more to add or know someone within a particular group of a potential buyer of a table. Please help support the Craft Fair!  
Adult Education Opportunities

A Year of Opportunities and Learning!
You are invited to join in on the conversations that stretch our faith and grow our understanding. Beginning in March, Sunday morning Adult Class will be discussing these topics. 

Meeting Jesus Again For the First Time- -March 5 - April 9
Class will begin at

Marcus Borg invites us to address the yearning for a fully contemporary faith that welcomes critical intelligence.
Participants will want to purchase or borrow from the library the 2015 edition of Marcus Borg's book with the same name. It is available here and here for purchase; there are 8 copies available through the public library system. 
  • March 5:  Meeting Jesus Again
  • March 12:  What Manner of Man?
  • March 19:  Jesus, Compassion and Politics
  • March 26:  Jesus and Wisdom: Teacher of Alternative Wisdom
  • April 2:  Jesus, the Wisdom of God: Sophia Become Flesh
  • April 9:  Images of Jesus and Images of the Christian Life
A Day in the Ancient Mediterranean --April 30 and May 7
Charles Cosgrove invites us to discover the social, political, and cultural experiences of those who lived and wrote the biblical narratives.

Creation and Justice: September 17 - October 29 (no class October 8). 
A study of the relationship between Humanity, God, and Creation

Uppity Women of the Bible  --  November 5 - 19 
Women in the Bible are often hidden in the narrative or behind the actions and narratives of the men around them. We'll see to understand, debate, and explore the issues raised by the stories of some often misunderstood Biblical women.

Creation and Birth Narratives in Diverse Cultures -- Nov.26 - Dec. 17
A survey of creation and Birth narratives in faith traditions from around the globe.
  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

Book Club
Evening Book Club will next meet on Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 pm in the chapel conference room.  We will discuss "Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline. Between 1854 and 1929 trains would carry orphaned and abandoned children from the east to new homes on the frontier.  This novel is the story of upheaval, resilience and second chances. 

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

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.
The donation baskets for the food pantry have be en almost empt y for several weeks. Please, don't forget to pick u p an item or two for your neighbors in need when you go sho pping. We're collecting canned soup for the Second Baptist Food Pantry throughout the chilly month of February. If you forget to buy soup, any nonperishable grocery item wo uld be appreciated.  

Back B ay has been a force for good on the Mississippi Gulf Coast since 1922. It was established to feed and clothe German immigrant fishermen's families. Throughout the Civil Rights movement and multiple hurricanes, Back Bay has served the poor and marginalized of the Gulf Coast. They now offer a safe place for homeless and at risk populations to enjoy fellowship and receive vital services, and they recently added two group homes to provide permanent supportive housing for veterans. UCC churches in the US supply volunteers to repair homes and to work in the Loaves and Fishes community kitchen and the neighborhood food pantry.
Stop in the church office or talk to Bobbie Nunez to reserve your place now for the October 15-21 mission trip. Your help is needed and will be welcomed.     
FCCLG Fundraising 
Join us on Thursday, February 23rd at Panera Bread in La Grange Park between 4pm and 8pm for our first Eat and Earn Fundraiser event of 2017.  Present the flyer (either paper or digital) when you place your order and a percentage of your pretax total will be donated to First Congregational Church of La Grange.  More flyers presented increases our earning potential: fewer than 30 flyers=10%, 31- 49 flyers=15%, and over 50 flyers, 20% will be donated. Mark your calendars, spread the word, and invite your friends for a dinner out.

In case you missed out on the fun of our first trivia night - you have another chance to show what you know.  The evening of fun will be on Saturday, March 11th at 7pm in the Dining Room.  Gather a team of 8 and register by emailing Mike Ries .  Entrance fee is $20 per person.  The event is BYOB and snacks will be provided by Ministry of Stewardship. 

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 FCCLG100 to 73256 to give using your text messaging. Click the link and complete your gift. Standard text messaging rates may apply.
FCCLG Church Calendar 

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.
Touch List 

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
The family and friends of longtime member Joyce Allen, who died on January 11th. *Memorial Service for Joyce Allen will be held on April 22nd in the Sanctuary.

Emil and Maria Balz who are recovering at home.

Erin Markus-Bryant's nephew Emmett, who is suffering from kidney failure.

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

Prayers for Viola Clayton for a speedy recovery. She needs strength and good mobility.
Angie Crees, Olivia Hein's sister.

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.

The family and friends of Jeanne Hayden, who died on February 16th. *Services will be held here at FCCLG. We'll announce further information soon. 
Lincoln Johnson, born premature and in the NICU in critical condition.  
Ron Kloss, Janet Bednar's father who is recovering from complications of a fall and surgery.

Prayers for Joe Lucas who is in the hospital struggling with health issues.

Mourning the loss of Delaney O'Connell, ten year old girl who died in a ski accident.

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

Rev. Jennifer Mills-Knutsen, Carly's friend, who is recovering from a mastectomy half a world from home, and whose father died February 5th.

The family and friends of Marybelle Wright, who died on January 4th.

Those living in fear and without hope.
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