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March 17, 2016
To the Easter People in La Grange and beyond, peace and grace to you from Carly, called to be prophet, priest, preacher, and servant of Christ among you.
Since we live in a world that motivates us through the image of scarcity, it is difficult to imagine or believe that there could be an abundance of anything. In a political climate where division and hatred appear to be the driving force of leadership, it is difficult to imagine or believe that extravagant love and generous grace might be given freely. And in a season of political advertisements and fear mongering, it is difficult to imagine or believe that good will and justice might be offered freely.
Where can we find abundance? Love and grace? Good will and justice? Easter. Easter is God's way of showering all of creation with an abundance of love, grace, good will, and justice.
There's a huge stone of belief to get by along the way. Outside of combat and war, we don't often see someone giving up their life so that others would have love, grace, good will, and justice. If you've witnessed this type of sacrifice, you easily understand Easter. If you have not, Easter may perplex you. I'm not sure I understand the how or the why of it, but this I do understand: God wants us to know extravagant love, generous grace, abundant good will, and freely offered justice.
That sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Another hard thing to believe? In his 1897 book, "Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World," Mark credited his fictional character, Pudd'nhead Wilson with saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."
God's truth cannot be restrained by our inability to see or understand the possibilities.
God's extravagant love, generous grace, abundant good will, and offer of justice cannot be held back by our understanding of what is possible, believable, or realistic. Easter is the proof of that.
In Messy Church, we sang an oldie but goodie:
Every morning is Easter morning from now on.
Every day's a resurrection day, the past is over and gone,
Good bye guilt, good bye fear - Good riddance.
Hello Lord, Hello Son!
I am one of the Easter people; my new life has begun!
Easter is not just one day - it's an everyday soul experience. It's that awesome encounter with God's extravagant love, generous grace, and abundant good will that leads us to bring about God's justice. It is a truth that is definitely stranger than fiction.
As we prepare to encounter Easter yet again, I hope you muster the courage to invite another to experience Easter with you. I hope you will invite a friend - or a stranger - to join us as we walk through the sacred discontent of Holy Week and into the light of Easter. It may be that your reaching out is what God will use to make all the difference in another's life. Won't you be that blessing to another as God has blessed you?
| Touch List
Your Cards and Prayers Will Comfort and Touch...
The Balz family.
Please keep the Schroeder family in your prayers with strength for Eileen (sister of Mary Bart) and peace for Ron (Eileen's husband) who died on March 7th.
Our thoughts are with Marjorie Duhatschek who is recovering from surgery.
Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.
Bert Happel, Jim Happel's brother.
Lois Hindman, who is house bound with a brain condition.
The family & friends of Josephine Welsch, David Kasnick's mother, who died on January 28th.
Linda Lauterbach's friend Sophia, her husband, and 22 month old son; Sophia has a brain tumor.
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.
The family of Michael Smith and the residents of Brookfield rocked by gun violence, random and too close to home.
Ben Walker, 14, son of Carly's friend Kurt who is struggling with Major Depressive Disorder.
The family and friends of William C. Van Horne Sr., the father of Bill Van Horne, Jr. and grandfather of Catherine Van Horne who died on January 29th.
|Lent 2016: Small Groups
Oases on the Journey toward Redemption
Refueling and Reimagining Discussions: Sunday 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. in the Drawing Room.
New Wine for New Wineskins - Luke 2:21-22, Hebrews 12:13-16 (Sunday March 20)
Who are we? What is our purpose? Does that change in more than form and function? Can we reinvent ourselves.
|Lent 2016: Worship Opportunities
Worship in Lent: Sacred Discontent: the Journey toward Redemption and Resurrection
Sunday, March 20 - Lent 5 - Palm/Passion Sunday -(Receiving New Members) - The Gift of Misfits - Luke 19: 29-42a
As our exploration of the Gifts of the Sacred Discontent begins to come to a close, we look around us to acknowledge the realm and kin-dom of God-the family-that has always and is already right here with us. Sojourners in holy tension do not go it alone but are blessed with the presence of others who help us see, reflect with us and discover together with us the riches of a life lived with intention. As Jesus comes into Jerusalem at the beginning of that fateful week, he is surrounded by those who will live the uncertainty, temptation and emptiness right alongside him.
March 24 -7:30 p.m. Maundy Thursday - The Gift of Darkness
-Readings and hymns of the last supper and the darkest of nights.
March 25 - 7 p.m. Good Friday - Gift of Disappearing
Days of Sacred Discontent are those times when uncertainty, emptiness, lostness and temptation become companions. No one is immune from these aspects of life. Even Jesus. Indeed, the story of Jesus' final days in this human life is a story of a journey through a dark night of the soul for all those that surrounded him.
 Series based on Gifts of the Dark Wood by Eric Elnes.
| Church News and Reminders
(Service of Shadows) with communion will be at 7:30 p.m. on March 24
in the Sanctuary.
We are hosting Community Good Friday Service at 7 p.m. on
The Ministry of Worship is asking church members to donate flowers on Sunday 3/27 to create the annual "Living Cross" that adorns the altar on Easter morning. Please bring the flowers to the west narthex area. Thank you in advance for participating in this long standing tradition.
HOOKS AND NEEDLES
Join us as we knit and crochet
for charity. 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.
Evening Book Club will discuss On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks on Thursday, April 21st.
On the Move
is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer-and of the man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human.
We meet in the cozy Chapel conference room and serve light treats. All are welcome!
| Ministry Opportunities
ALL AGES MISSION TRIP TO CINCINNATI, JULY 4-8
You are invited to participate in a hands-on mission to make a difference in the lives of inner city residents in Cincinnati.
Washington United Church of Christ was founded about 10 years before FCCLG as a primarily middle class, German congregation in the Camp Washington area of Cincinnati. By the early 1970s, the neighborhood around the church had become largely low-income. The remaining members of the church decided that rather than close or relocate, they would develop a new mission focus. This focus has always meant ministering with neighborhood residents, not just ministering to them.
Washington UCC welcomes groups of young people and adults who want to experience a hands-on urban ministry immersion. Housing and most meals are provided; there is a per-person fee.
Activities include fix-up, clean-up projects at the church and in the neighborhood, and working with neighborhood children, while also serving Christ in many other ways that lead to spiritual growth with positive practical results seen throughout our community.
Washington Church engages in several inner city missions:
- Summer Youth Program is provided free of charge to the neighborhood children for eight-weeks, Monday-Thursday program. It includes breakfast, lunch, worship, Christian education, stories, art, songs, games, recreation, loving relationships, and field trips.
- Camp Community Café serves a free lunch from 12-1 p.m. Monday-Thursday to anyone who attends.
- Camp Cupboard and Closet is a free store where people can shop for food, clothes, and household items.
Depending upon the skill set of those who register, our work could include working an any or all of these areas, and/or repairing ministry space within the church or the neighborhood.
We will be staying in apartments of 4 dorm rooms each immediately across the street from the church. If arranged ahead of time, families will be able to stay together. Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day, and dinner will be provided one evening. Cooking facilities are available for other meals.
If you are interested in Reaching Out and Touching Lives through this mission trip, please see Carly for details, or click on Event Sign Up.
ST. BARBARA'S FOOD PANTRY COLLECTION
St. Barbara's food pantry provides much-needed groceries to local families. The next time you're shopping, consider picking up an extra item for the pantry, which is in particular need of the following: peanut butter, jelly, canned pears or peaches, applesauce, and boxes of Jell-O gelatin. Donation baskets are located outside the sanctuary and the chapel. Your donation will be much appreciated!
QUILTING FOR CHARITY GROUP
Who: Anyone who can cut, sew, press, quilt, bind or who is int
erested in learning. Any age or skill level welcome, and no registration required.
How: The fabric store supplies fabric, sewing machines, and irons. You bring basic supplies like pins and thread.
When: Every first and third Tuesday from 11 am until aro
und 2 pm. Bring a lunch or try the Subway next door.
Where: Quiltfabric.com (818 E. Ogden, Westmont at the St. James Crossing shopping center)
Why: Make quilts to donate to local charities!
Questions? email Chris Sass or call 630-321-9051.
|Children and Youth News
EDISTO WORK TRIP
The Zackleys will be going to Edisto Island for their annual work trip! We will leave on March 26th and return on April 3rd.
Some dates to remember
- Stock Sales: March 20th (10:00-Noon, Sanctuary/Founders Room)
Trip Cost after March 6th: $250 plus fundraising
- Final Participant Meeting: March 20th (Chapel)
- Work Trip: March 26th (5 am) - April 3rd (late afternoon). Departure and arrival in church parking lot.
- April 10th: Stockholders' Breakfast, Work Trip Sunday in Worship
IT'S TIME FOR SUMMER CAMP!
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 theatre, 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.
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.