In This Issue
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March 16, 2017

Grace and peace to you from Carly, called to be leader, prophet, teacher, and disciple of Jesus beside, with, and amongst the saints and sinners of La Grange and beyond.

We are living in a difficult time in our world where historically stable nations are choosing leaders who are surround themselves with inexperienced and unstable advisors and administrators who appear to lack a genuine interest in the people they serve. This is a time in the life of our own country where we seem to have more interest in serving the two percent than the ninety-eight percent of our own population. When this happens, it's easy for us to forget our covenantal obligations that our own Christian gospel requires of us. As Paul has written, "...When one person suffers, we all suffer. When one person rejoices, we all rejoice..."
1 Corinthians 12:26.

In such a time as this, it is all the more important for the church to be present and engaged in the world. We must be a voice in the wilderness, a balm healing, and we must take to heart the words of the prophets and the apostle to be present with the marginal, the rejected, the stranger, and the alien. This is sacred duty that is guided, not by profits or bottom lines, but by compassion, empathy, and acceptance of all. This is the vision of First Congregational Church. On Sunday, March 26th, we'll have another opportunity to live into our vision by sharing our gifts for One Great Hour of Sharing. When someone you care about suffers, all your truest words and most loving actions must declare: "I am here!"

The Bible tells us that God is like us in this respect. When one of God's beloved children suffer, God declares, 'I am here.' God hears the cries of the poor and oppressed. The scriptures remind us that we must live our lives in such a way that people know that 'God is here!' God is here in our actions, in our words, in our ministry, and in our worship. The promise, 'I am here!' is a constant refrain from Genesis to Revelation.

When we see the latest tragedy on the news, we might ask, 'where is God?' But we already know the answer before we ask the question - the answer - God is here, in the midst of those who are hurting. When Jesus tells the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25, God reveals to us a mystery. God is most tangibly present in this world where people hunger, thirst, lack adequate clothing and shelter, or is sick and/or imprisoned. Christ cares for the suffering. God is present when we feed the hungry, care for the sick, or welcome the stranger. When we care for the least of these, we care for Christ.  
We are living in a difficult time and we need to be present, anywhere in the world, including our own cities and neighborhoods. For those who are suffering, those who are hungry, those who are thirsty, or those who are imprisoned are not people over there or in another place, they are people right here in Chicago, in the suburbs or along the highways and byways of the state that is our home. We need to be the tangible gifts that declare the same message as God declares: 'I am here.' By reaching out in this way, we let God's people know that they have not been forgotten. Even when the need seems far from here, by ac ting together as the body of Christ, we are able to declare, 'I am here! God is here!' Through our special gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing we proclaim a countercultural message that while some may have f orgotten you, we, as caring, loving, disciples of Jesus Christ h a ve not. Let us be present with all God's people so that one day we can rejoice together!

Reaching out with joy and compassion!  
Exploring Belonging   

We know it when we've found a place where we feel at home, where we've made connections and built relationships. And when we've found that sweet spot we know we belong. In the language of faith, we say we are all part of the body of Christ and individually members of it. We share a common vision and work toward common goals, and it feels quite familiar. If you have this sense of belonging, come and explore the next step in the life of the congregation: covenanting to grow together in faith and work toward our common goals. This is a way to formalize your affiliation with First Congregational Church.

You are invited to attend three events that will take place in the coming weeks. These are informal and informational gatherings:

  • Sunday, March 19 from 3 - 5:30, the journey will continue in small groups over dessert at the home of Jerry and Petra Palmer where we'll explore the vision and values of the community of faith.

  • And on Saturday, April 1 at 4:30pm, we'll explore faith journeys over wine and cheese at the manse.

Each of these gatherings will be an opportunity for your questions, your concerns, and your dreams for your ministry to be explored.

Children and Youth News   

Edisto Trip
The Zackley's 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:

    Stock Sales: March 19  
      (10:00-Noon, Sanctuary/Founders Room)
    Final Participant Meeting: March 19th during Zackleys

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

√    April 23 Work Trip Sunday

Zackley Sunday and Stock Holder's Brunch
Because of the timing of the Zackleys' work trip, we will be having our Annual Zackleys on April 23rd with the Stock Holder's Brunch after the service. We hope to see you there!
Messy Church

Messy Church will be on Sunday, April 2nd at 4:30. Our theme this month will be Spring festivals. 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  
A Special Thank You... 


We recently received a thank you letter for our donation to Pillars. This donation helped people in our community to be  independent and start the journey toward renewed health. Pillars is the largest nonprofit provider of mental health and social services in the western and southwestern suburbs. If you would like to donate to Pillars click on the link below! 
Ministry Opportunities  

          We are still in need of seven 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. 
      The Ministry of Education is in need of one member for a three year term.  The Ministry of Education meets once a month. It is responsible for the education of the children, youth and adults of the church. It envisions, plans, coordinates and executes a stimulating program of Christian education, youth groups, Messy Church, and coordinates the Nursery during weekly worship.  
     Anyone interested in any of these seven roles - whether a member or not - should contact JoAnne Konkle or Pastor Carly.
Click here  for the Updated Roster!
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 8:15 am and go till 9:15am.

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 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
  Health Resources 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Resources 
The FCCLG website now has mental health and substance abuse resources and services guides. Find the rotating messages near the top of the page and click on the purple one stating "Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out." This is a simple but comprehensive guide to obtain services. Please feel free to share this information. Brochures can be found in the Church Office and at the Sanctuary entrance.
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

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
Audio Visual Technicians -- training available! 
- Run the cameras as we transmit our services to Plymouth Place and then upload them to the web
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 peanut butter and canned tuna for the Second Baptist Food Pantry in March. If you forget what to buy, any nonperishable grocery item wo uld be appreciated.  
FCCLG Fundraising 

S mashburger Night - April 6th 
It's time for another Eat and Earn event for FCCLG. Thursday, April 6th between the hours of 4-8pm we will be teaming up with Smashburger in La Grange, so come on down and Smashburger will donate $1 for every burger that is purchased with this flyer. Invite your friends and family out for a great meal without the hassle of messing up the kitchen. 

Today, March 16 only, Amazon will donate 5% (10 times their usual donation rate) of the purchase price of eligible products you buy at AmazonSmile ( to charity. AmazonSmile is a way to shop that offers the same shopping experience as, but every eligible purchase you make at helps support a charity of your choice.

Thank you for supporting us! As a result of purchases made through Amazon Smile we recently received $35.77!


Text Giving  
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 

Are you ready to order a lily to grace the sanctuary on Easter morning? Come to the office or the Founders' Room any Sunday after worship before Palm Sunday, April 9th. The cost is $12.50 per plant, and the lily is yours to take home after the Easter service.


One Great Hour of Sharing is on March 26 this year.  This is a special Mission offering of the United Church of Christ.

By making a donation you will help fund the UCC's ministries both locally and globally.  These ministries assist the refugees and people displaced in the war-affected countries throughout the world, which we hear about daily. IT also assists those  who have been hit by disasters, in Florida & North Carolina, Flint's water crisis, & California's floods. And the international assistance goes to training and housing those who are displaced and rebuilding their homes, villages, and livelihoods.
Please give generously to help those in need!

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.
Community Events and News 

First 100 Days of Your Job Search
Looking to change jobs? Find yourself in transition? Join us on Today, March 16, 7-9 pm at St. John of the Cross Parish Center, 5005 S. Wolf Road in Western Springs. Our speaker, Michelle Nacker, former ICN job seeker and current Product Management professional, will detail key actions you can take from day 1 to day 100 and beyond. Michelle speaks from her heart because she knows what transition is like emotionally and professionally. She will share tips on how to build your network in the community and on social media; what days are better to reach out to potential employers and some basic steps to help organize your search. Everyone will learn something from Michelle!
ICN meetings are open to everyone and there is no cost to attend.

Interfaith Career Network (ICN) offers job support through various programs throughout the month. For further information, please visit our website at

ICN has many tools to assist job seekers, but we need your assistance to provide the most important element in a job search which is open positions. If you are a hiring manager or aware of open positions in your company, please send this information to Any and all postings are welcome. ICN job seekers are at all stages of their career, in every industry, with a broad spectrum of education and experience. All job postings will be communicated to the over 400-member ICN Yahoo group.

Ideally it will be a WIN/WIN for your company and a qualified job seeker in your community. If you have any questions or for additional information you can also contact Judy Kennedy ( at 708.352.8943 or Tom Rohan ( at 708.772.4231. Lastly, to learn more about ICN visit our website at
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.   *Her memorial service will be held on April 22nd at 2:00 pm in the Sanctuary.

Emil and Maria Balz who are recovering at home.

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

Prayers for the family of John Cepek, a former member who died on March 15th.

Prayers for Viola Clayton for a speedy recovery. She needs strength and good mobility.

Angie Crees, Olivia Hein's sister.

Prayers for Fred Gonzalez who is in the Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, TN with heart issues.

The family and friends of Jeanne Hayden, who died on February 16th.

Prayers and thoughts for Cindy and Nick Johnson whose son Lincoln died on February 28th in NICU.

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.

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

Thoughts and prayers for Charlene Tobin that she may find relief and healing.

Those living in fear and without hope. 
UCC Quick Links  

Sign up here to receive the UCC Daily Devotional in your inbox!

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


Disaster Ministry Learn about the UCC's efforts and what you can do here