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January 21, 2016

Grace and love to you from Carly, called to be prophet, preacher, teacher, and leader among the sinners and saints alike, all followers of Christ in La Grange and beyond.

Last Saturday, 36 people attended an all day retreat for the leaders of the congregation. We spent time getting to know one another, studying and applying 16 passages of the Bible to our mission statement, and setting goals and plans for the coming year of ministry together. Two themes kept coming up from each of the pairs of people as they reflected on their Bible passage: getting out, and taking action.

On Sunday morning, we installed and commissioned the 62 people who hold leadership positions in our congregation. One of the promises that these leaders made to the congregation, and the congregation promised to support them in so doing is "service to Christ."

What does it mean to get out, take action, and be in service to Christ?

Though last Saturday I credited the following to Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), further research indicates that this is an amalgamation of words by Mark Guy Pearse (1888) and Sarah Eliza Rowntree (1892):

Remember Christ has no human body now upon the earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours.

Yours, my brothers and sisters, are the eyes through which Christ's compassion has to look upon the world,
and yours are the lips with which His love has to speak.

Yours are the hands with which He is to bless men now,
and yours the feet with which He is to go about doing good through His Church which is His body."

We are the hands, feet, mouth, eyes, and compassion of Christ in the world. Jesus did not sit around and expect to be waited upon; he got out and took action. He healed the sick, stuck up for the outcast, oppressed, and marginalized. He spoke truth to power. He challenged injustices. He named the ills of "the system." And he was a great threat to those with power.

And that, my friends, is what being a follower of Christ is: being a servant to the sick, outcast, oppressed, and marginalized. It is speaking truth the oppressive power, naming and challenging injustices. It is to forgive the inexcusable, and to love even the most unlovable. Our job is to bring God's realm to earth as it is in heaven. It is not a task to be taken lightly. Nor will it win us any popularity contests.

All of this requires us to get out and take action. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for someone else do it. This is our calling as followers of Jesus.

Let's get out. Let's take action. Let's get moving.

Join us, won't you?

Touch List

Your Cards and Prayers Will Comfort and Touch...
The Balz family.
Joan Eckner who has continuing health struggles.
Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.
Lois Hindman, who is house bound with a brain condition.
The family and friends of Jack Middleton, Carly Stucklen Sather's brother in law.
The family and friends of Camilla Norby, who died on December 21st. Her funeral plans are pending.
Petra Palmer's granddaughter's friend Summer who has a possible diagnosis of leukemia.
Helen Pancner, Viola Clayton's daughter who has continuing health struggles.
Jennifer Powers as she deals with health issues.
Ron Sander, Erik Sander's father, who is in hospice care.
The family and friends of Sandra Sayles, who died on November 29th.
The family and friends of Pauline Wagoner, who died on January 7th.
Thank You's!

Many thanks extended from Casa Central to everyone who participated in our Gifts Of Gratitude during Christmas! Please check out their thank you letter!

We also received a thank you letter from the Opening Doors Campaign for our $2,500 donation to the BEDS Plus  program. Click here for the Thank You letter
Ministry Opportunities
Buddy's Place is Pillars' grief support program for children ages 4-18 and their families who have experienced the death of a loved one. Buddy's Place is accepting new volunteers to help support grieving children and their families in a variety of ways, including Greeters and Group Facilitators. The training is free with a one-year volunteer commitment. 
Training Dates :
Jan. 25, 5 pm-9:30 pm
Feb. 1, 5 pm-9:30 pm
Feb. 8, 5 pm-8:30 pm
Feb. 15, 5 pm-8 pm
Feb. 22, 5 pm-9:30 pm
If you are interested, please contact Michelle Halm at 708-995-3750 or email  .
needs male volunteers for their Aunt Mary's Storybook Project. Once or twice a month volunteers travel to Sheridan Correctional Center (an hour and 20 minutes away) helping selected men stay connected to their children through books. Participants help the men select a book, then audio-record fathers reading the story to their children. The children receive both the book and the recording. These children suffer many long term consequences from their father's incarceration. Enabling this connection to their fathers is a blessing for them. Please email CJT board member Kathryn Price of First Congregational Church of Western Springs ( ), or Executive Director Scott McWilliams ( ), for more information. You may also check the website for CJT: .

Pillars is offering a training in January for volunteers and/or professionals interested in becoming Crisis Advocates. Attendees will learn to provide medical and legal advocacy to victims and their families affected by sexual violence at local hospital ERs and police departments. Contact the office or go to calendar for more information.
WORD FOR ALL AGES is a very special time during worship where children are the focus, but adults can better understand the scripture as well. The Ministry of Worship and staff invite you to share in leading this part of worship. We will provide you with fabulous resources for your preparation. Please let Ryan , Sylvia , or Carly know you are interested and we can schedule a Sunday for you. 

St. Barbara's food pantry shelves are in need of supplies. They can use toilet paper, soup, beans, peas, corn, jelly, tuna,   chili, spaghetti sauce, pasta, and hamburger/tuna helper. I f you wish to donate, receptacles for the food are outside the sanctuary. Your donations are much appreciated! 
Church News and Reminders
The next Messy Church will be on February 5th at 5:00 p.m. We hope to see you there! Click here for the current flyer.

Start the New Year out right and join us as we knit and crochet for charity. Our next meeting will be on January 25th. Beginners are welcome - we will be glad to give instruction. We meet every Monday except the first Monday of the month in the Family Room off the Chapel at 7pm.  
It's the cusp between Epiphany and Lent, a time for new breath and reflections for body and soul.  All women are invited to Plymouth Place on Saturday, January 30th from 9am to 2pm with lunch included.  Child care is available with reservations so we can prepare. Contact Jo-Anne Konkle at 708-484-2099 or .
Try something new in 2016, join us at Evening Book Club.  We will meet on Thursday, February 4th at 7:30pm in the Chapel Family Room.  We will discuss "The Burgess Boys" by Elizabeth Strout.  A timely story involving immigrants to the United States and the small town that struggles to assimilate them.  The book is available through the local library system and can be shipped to the library of your choice!  

     click here for calendar. 
Looking Ahead...

Looking Toward Lent 
Our Lenten journey this year will take us through uncertainty, emptiness, temptation, being thunderstruck, getting lost, and being a misfit; in other words, we'll journey through the dark wood of the soul. The worship series will be based upon a book by Rev. Eric Elnes, Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and Other Wanderers). This is an easy read for anyone who would like to follow along. Ash Wednesday is February 10. Look for details in the next Tidings.  
Children and Youth News

The Yzals group (grades 6 to 8) continues to meet the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month at 6:30. 
The Zackleys group (grades 9 to 12) continues to meet on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month at 6:30 pm.   
Adult Education

Let's Talk About Living Faith 

We are using Martin Copenhaver's book, To Begin at the Beginning. This is an informal, conversational gathering. We will meet in the Drawing Room from 8:30 to 9:20 on Sunday
Mornings. There will be coffee!

We are on the last section of the book.
Part 3: What Is Promised, What is Required Jan 10-Feb 7
January 24: Doing Faith
January 31: Sharing the News
February 7: The Invitation

Volunteer Opportunities

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. Call the office (708-352-0800) to sign up!   

The Property Committee seeks your help in doing maintenance and repairs around the church! Sign up here or our Opportunity Board during Fellowship Time.
We need Sunday greeters at the east door of the church at 9:45 am to welcome all who come. Please sign up on Sign-Up Genius, in the Founders Room after church, or call Ann Fish at 708-352-7084.

Sign up to be a laundry hero. This is a simple, eco-friendly and meaningful project that helps our Saturday Meals Ministry. If you have any questions, call the church office or email Marilyn Russell