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June 9, 2016

Peace and grace to each of you saints of La Grange and beyond from Carly, called to be a servant of Christ along side of you.

Summer is here! The seasons keep changing. The changes come gradually like tides in the ocean: there are waves that swell and recede until finally the tide is fully high. When we see the days last long past the time we'd like to retire for the day, and the leaves are fully in the trees, and the grass needs to be mown every week, we know that summer has arrived.

Like the seasons, the church ebbs and flows as well. Oh, there's the usual that happens: worship each week, ministry teams planning and being the church. And, the grass needs to be mown every week.

But summers at FCCLG also bring an unique change that most congregations don't experience to the extent that we do: People leave for the summer. They are not gone for just a week or two of vacation; but they are gone every weekend of the entire summer. So, if you're one who is doing that much "away time," please travel safely and be kind to the people on the frontlines of the travel, food service, and customer service industry. If you look deeply, you will see a child of God who is doing a tough and usually unappreciated job. Thank them. If they have on a name tag, thank them by name. Thank Cooper the cleaning person for a clean restroom. Thank Siam the desk clerk for the help and assistance checking in. Apologize to the person at the cash register for the rude behavior of the person ahead of you in line. Write a note of praise to the supervisor of someone who does a good job.

As you enjoy the beauty and wonder of creation, be a good "Boy Scout:" pick up after yourself - and after the person before you who left a mess. Leave every place you go in better shape than when you arrived.

Remember that God does not take a vacation and neither does our need to Be the Church. Remember to be faithful. Go to worship each week - even and especially if you are not in town; look and listen to how other communities of faith practice being the Church. And help us beat the summer cash flow slump by remembering to share your tithes and gifts to support our mission and ministries.

As always, things will change over the summer. We will change. We are learning to Be the Church rather than just going to church or doing church. While we will continue to feed the hungry, clothe those unable to afford clothing, provide housing to the homeless, welcome the immigrant and stranger, and continue to learn what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in this day and age, we will also learn new ways to Be the Church by loving what God loves. Every day. All summer. And into the Fall and beyond.

Touch List

Your Cards and Prayers Will Comfort and Touch...
Emil and Maria Balz, who are both in rehabilitation.
LuAnn Hall, who is recovering from surgery.
Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.
Bert Happel, Jim Happel's brother.
Jeanne Hayden, who is recovering from surgery.
The family and friends of Lois Hindman, who died on April 2nd.
Linda Lauterbach's friend Sophia, her husband, and 22 month old son; Sophia has a brain tumor.
The family & friends of Ruth Miller, mother of Jan Moellman, who died on May 17th at age 101.
Petra Palmer's granddaughter's friend Summer who is having chemotherapy for 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, as he and his family manage his ongoing illness.
Rev. Carly, as she recovers, slowly but surely.
Thank You!!!
Many thanks!
T hank you to the many friends and members who have sent cards, offered prayers, and shared words of hope and healing while I'm struggling with illness. I will recover! This is taking far longer than I would like. I appreciate your kindness.  
 Pastor Carly 
Music News

Summer Musical Camp registrations are available in the church office.  This program is for students in 1st-8th grades and will take place from July 25-29 from 2-6pm. Performances will be 7pm on 7/29 and 10am on 7/31.  This year's show will be "The Old Testament Fast Forward" which attempts to tell the entire history contained in the Old Testament in 35 minutes.  We will likely not succeed, however we will have fun trying! Please contact Ryan Cox for more information.

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 work to find an ensemble for you.  Please contact to Ryan Cox to sign-up.

First Conservatory, offering private lessons on most instruments including piano and voice, is housed in YOUR church.  For 20 years our expert teachers have instructed many of the area's youth and adults, including many fine musicians in our congregation.  Contact Ryan Cox to start lessons or for information to pass along to a music lover you know.  Taking lessons is first and foremost for the student.  However, the Conservatory has a symbiotic relationship with FCCLG.  Each month the  Conservatory contributes $1125 for the use of space.  It sponsors teachers to play occasionally during our services and also provides all of the piano tunings in the building, including the sanctuary.  More students means more opportunities for the Conservatory to support the church.  We hope you will help make that happen!
Volunteer Opportunity

BEDS Plus Summer Volunteer Opportunities 
This summer BEDS Plus is offering a transitional summer shelter. The program is modeled after other successful programs around the region that provide a smaller-scale summer shelter program for clients who need additional time to achieve stability. 

Here is how it works  -

-   Clients must apply for transitional shelter with our  
    program manager and comply with the same rules that  
    apply during the regular season. Priority will be given to  
    those who are employed and those waiting for  
    permanent supportive housing placement.

-   Clients must agree to stay at the shelter each night
    unless otherwise prearranged with their case manager.

-   Up to 15 clients will qualify.  As each client gets 
    housing, another client may qualify.

-   Volunteer crews will be smaller, with longer shifts.
    Clients will help with set up and clean up each day. 
    Staff will be on-site each evening.

-   Hours will be 7pm - 7am, just like the regular shelter

-   Shelter is not advertised or open to new clients
    unless they go through the application process and
    there is an open spot.

Shelter will rotate to a new church each week from
   June 6 through August 14 (10 weeks).

Our Congregation will host this transitional program for the week of July 10-17. While we are not responsible for providing volunteers, you are welcome to volunteer for the many tasks that hospitality of this kind requires. Volunteers are required to attend one Volunteer Orientation session prior to volunteering. Our next sessions are May 9th and June 13th. If you'd like to volunteer, or need more information email or please click here. 
Ask The Question Sunday!

There were several questions that did not get addressed in our May 8th "Ask the Question" time. Look for them here in the Tidings over the next couple of months. Here's the first installment.

Who married Adam and Eve?
Where did Cain's wife come from?
These questions make some assumptions:
  • that the stories of the Bible are literally true,
  • that marriage is a biblical ceremony,
  • that the people named in the creation stories are the only ones who existed at the time.
While I was a student at Eden Seminary, Walter Brueggeman was known for repeating in his Old Testament classes that the Bible filled with stories we've come to believe about ourselves. I agree with this scholar. The stories of creation (yes, there are two in Genesis!) not only do not agree with one another in the details, they don't make sense to the scientific mind - unless we see them as something more than a scientific account. Since science as we know it did not exist at the time of the Bible's compilation, I believe the stories contained in it are shared to tell us something about the relationship of God and God's people. Rather than a historical account of actual events, these stories are like the stories we share around the Thanksgiving table: every time the story is shared, it changes to fit the circumstance of the listeners.

From a Biblical standpoint, "marriage" is a contract whereby the groom purchases the bride from the bride's father. The "seal" of the contract is the consummation of the relationship in the marriage bed. That's what marries the two; not a ceremony. There is not a single example of a marriage "ceremony" in the Bible. There is only the talk of the exchange of property and the marriage bed. So, Cain and Abel are the evidence that Adam and Eve were married.

When I was in the fourth grade, I attended the Roman Catholic catechism classes after school on Thursdays with my friends. The nuns came to dread my presence because I asked questions such as these two asked on May 8. The final straw for Sister Anthony (why did this woman have a male name?) was when I asked if perhaps Cain's wife was an evolved ape. She took me by the ear and dragged me out of St Patrick's church and requested I never come back. I wore that expulsion as a badge of honor among my Catholic friends who could not find a way to escape the compulsory classes. But it was also for me a lesson in the difference between the two faith communities I knew. The nuns did not welcome challenges, doubts, and questions; my Congregational church not only welcomed these, they were encouraged.

C hurch News and Reminders

Welcome Tiny Toes Music to First Congregational!

New programming at First Conservatory
for children ages birth through six and their parents or caregivers! Cool off with Tiny Toes Music this summer and sing and dance the days away! Get ready for chants and fingerplays, instrument activities with sticks, eggs, and drums, and movement activities with scarves, parachutes, and dancing! And of course, lots of laughter and fun with other families while you take a break from your vacation at the beach. Sign up today at  

June 5th
began a new sermon series called "Be the Church," based on the graphic above, which was produced by our United Church of Christ. 

Summer Sermon Series:

June 12   Matt. 18:15-22   Be the Church: Forgive Often. -How have we forgiven? How do we maintain that forgiveness?

June 19  Rev. Jorge Morales, Conference Minister of the Illinois Conference UCC will talk about the Church and our role in the larger church.

June 26    Eph. 2:14-19, 3:14-19   Be the Church: Reject racism. Fight for the Powerless -No longer strangers or sojourners, but equally citizens of God.

July 3   Acts 4:32-37   Be the Church: Share earthly and spiritual resources - Share, like your mother taught you to.

July 10   Gal. 3:26-29   Be The Church: Embrace Diversity - Neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. One of the best things about FCCLG is its diversity. 

July 17   Deut. 6:4-13  Be The Church: Love God. Enjoy this Life. - The Shema


HANG OUT WITH 'Flat' Jesus
"Flat Jesus" is a concept based on the children's novel "Flat Stanley" where Stanley is accidentally flattened when a bulletin board falls on him. What Stanley quickly discovers though is that being flat has some incredible advantages! He can go to all kinds of places that he couldn't go before!   

You are all invited to take a cutout of Flat Jesus, color and decorate him, and take him with you throughout the summer, sending pictures and stories back to the church via Facebook (tag the church!), email, or drop them by the office. We'll print photos and put them on the bulletin board in the Office corridor.

Our Summer Schedule begins June 13th. We will be meet i ng in homes this summer at 7pm on the 2nd and 4th Mondays, June through August. It is a fun time to relax and sip lemonade while working on projects. Please join us. Beginners welcome.
June 13: Margaret Melkonian
June 27: Mary Forester
July 11: Linda Lauterbach
July 25: Claudia Byrne
August 8: Barb Hultman
August 22: Debbie Llewellyn

Our next Messy Church will meet on July 3rd at 4:30pm. Our theme this month is Bible Roads . We hope to see you there!      
4:30-5:15pm: Crafts 
5:15-5:30pm: Celebration 
5:30-6:00: Dinner 
6:00-7:00: Yzal/Zackleys  
Ministry Opportunities
When grocery shopping this summer, keep in mind "one for others." Not only is it a good gratitude practice, reminding us of our own blessings, but if you go shopping with children, letting a child help choose the one item for those less fortunate is a good way to instill the habit of thinking of others.

During the month of June, St. Barbara's food pantry is especially in need of the following items, which are displayed outside the sanctuary: Laundry detergent, dish detergent, cat or dog food, peanut butter, cake mixes, and Jell-o gelatin and pudding. Other nonperishable food items are of course appreciated as well.

Donation baskets are located outside the chapel and sanctuary. Thank you to those of you who have been generous in the past. The St. Barbara Food Pantry has been serving the needs of families in our area for 35 years; their ministry could not continue without the generosity of people like you.
Children and Youth News

The Zackleys and Yzals will meet on the first of the month after Messy Church 6-7:15 during the summer. 

No matter your age or your stage, our United Church of Christ Conference has a summer camp that is right for you. Whether at Tower Hill or Pilgrim Park, whether your interest is in sports or theater, whether you want to spend a few days or a full week, there is a camp for you. Check out the offerings on the posters outside Sylvia's office, or online at the Outdoor Ministries Website.

Since we will not have Summer Sunday School, please encourage your children to grab a blessing bag or a toy from the back during service! We are planning to have the nursery available for children 3 years and under, and we still need people to volunteer for the nursery.
Trip Dates: Saturday July 16th- Sunday July 24th

Saturday July 16th -- Be at Church by 4:30 am

Saturday Night: Camping at Sawbill Outfitters

Sunday July 17-23: Canoe and Camp in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Saturday July 23rd: Overnight at First Congregational Church of Eau Claire
Sunday July 24th around 1:30 - 2:00 pm Return to La Grange
Cost: $450.00 total
           $100 due upon sign up (Deadline June 19)
           Total Due Sunday July 3