In This Issue
Feedback, corrections, or additions?
May 25, 2017


Peace to you and grace from Carly, called to be teacher, prophet, and proclaimer amongst and beside the saints of La Grange and beyond.

I have a thing about bats. The symbol of darkness and death, they fly about in dimly lit skies and lurk in the dark corners of attics and barns. They have beady eyes and fangs that threaten to bite. They look like flying mice. They eat dirty bugs and leave behind fungus- and bacteria-laden waste that makes humans sick. They reek of evil and Halloween. And I heard once that they might get caught in my hair, bite me, or give me rabies. Bats are to be avoided and kept away from my space at all times! I was taught this as a child and it surely hasn't changed. Please don't tell me otherwise.
I have a thing about bats. I don't see them unless I look for them, but every night they make my life better by eating thousands of insects. If I sit quietly at dusk, I can see them flitting about in the darkening sky, quietly calling into the night and gliding as they locate their prey by echo location. If I listen closely, I can hear their chirpy calls. If I watch carefully, I can follow them back to their nesting place where their young wait to nurse or to be fed some of the evenings catch. But I have to look, listen, watch, and wait; and by looking, listening, watching, and waiting - seeking to understand - I find the good these creatures provide for me. By seeking out information and getting to know these creatures, I've learned that they rarely carry rabies and even more rarely would bite a person because they are so very afraid of us. By seeking to understand, I come to a completely different image of bats -- and even an appreciation for them. I don't want to find one in my living room, but I will still watch them from a distance with awe and wonder.
We live in a culture that does not seek understanding, struggles to listen to differing ideas, and jumps to conclusions based upon hearsay and "fake news." In our culture, people get their information from social media rather than personal investigation and seeking to understand. We are a culture of fast food and easy answers that allow us to make fast, black-and-white decisions. We are lucky enough to have the resources to provide ourselves with walls between us and those who are different, have different ideas or traditions, or live without means. We can and do so isolate ourselves in echo chambers where we only see and hear the ideas and persuasions that match our own.
We feel threatened by what we don't understand, and there is so much   we don't understand. When we isolate ourselves in echo chambers, we silence ourselves from the sources of understanding. Rather than dig for truth, we hear only those things that confirm and justify our fears, and bring us the comfort of feeling right. Understanding - and the looking, listening, watching, and waiting required to understand - becomes something w e avoid in so that we can remain safely walled within our comfort zones.
Jesus had a habit of breaking down barricaded comfort zones:
  • "You have heard it said.....but I say to you...." (repeated 5 times in Matthew 5:21-43) "turn the other cheek, give them your cloak also, love your enemies...."
  • "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' "And in the morning, 'There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 16)
  • "If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes." (Luke 19:42)
  • "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! .... Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things...." (Luke 24:25, 27)
H. Richard Niebuhr (Christ and Culture, 1951) wrote that faith is a way of seeing the whole of existence in which we live and move and have our being. He pointed out that we can see things through any of three lenses. Seen through the lens that the world is against us and hostile to us, we fear we're all going to die and respond by seeking security to protect ourselves from the all-devouring powers. Seen through the lens that the world is indifferent to us, we seek out systems that give us meaning and purpose, and we focus on our own well being. But seen through the lens of world that is gracious, nourishing, and supportive of life, we recognize that this world has brought us into existence and continues to nourish us and we respond with a posture of faith and trust.
And so, I encourage you to reread those first paragraphs about bats. Through which approach do you see life as supportive, gracious, and nourishing? Read again the scriptures above. Through which lens was Jesus seeing the world?
Live your lives with your eyes wide open, your ears fully engaged, and your minds wondering and expanding in knowledge, faith, and love because God is a the founder of grace, maker of life, and the one who nourishes us on this journey through life.
Messy Church

Messy Church will be Sunday, June 11th at 4:30 pm. Our theme this month will be The Story of Hannah. 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  
Children and Youth News   

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.


The Zackleys will be selling water during the Pet Parade again this year! We will accept donated cases of bottled water in the office.

The Zackleys will be taking their annual Boundary Waters trip July 22-30, 2017. All registration forms with deposit are due on June 11. Some financial aid is available if you contact Sylvia before June 1st. Click   here for the information packet!
Music News  

Summer Musical Camp registrations are available in the church office.  A collaboration between the music and children's education, this program is for students in 1st-8th grade s and will take place from July 31 - August 4 from 2-6 pm.  The performance will be 7pm on 8/4.  We are going  back to our camp roots for this year's show! In 2010 we began with "Oh Jonah" and that landmark production will be remounted, complete with whale mouth! Please contact Ryan Cox for more information. 
FCCLG Church Calendar 

The church office is closed on May 29th, 2017 in observance of Memorial Day .

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 or call the church office at 708-352-0800 if you need a code to get into the building.

BEDS Plus Summer Volunteer Opportunities
BEDS Plus is again 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. Clients must apply for transitional shelter  and comply with the same rules that apply during the regular season. Priority is given to those who are employed and those waiting for permanent supportive housing placement.  The shelter will rotate to a new church each week from June 4 through August 12 (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.   The next training session is June 12, 2107 at First Presbyterian Church of La Grange.

The Annual Women's Retreat will be August 12th and 13th at Diamond Lake in Michigan. The Theme is Resistance, Insistence, and Joy: In Remembrance of Her. The woman anointed Jesus with costly ointment and broke through the porcelain jars of her culture. We'll look at what bottles us up, what breaks us open, and how we can bring God's scented plans to a world in need of anointing. Plan for a meaningful and insightful weekend of Fun, Fellowship, and Mimosas! Sign up in the Founders' Room.
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.
During the month of May, we are collecting canned fruit and vegetables for Second Baptist Food Pantry. Your donations are much appreciated. A reminder: Please do not donate food that has passed its "best by" or expiration date.
Thanks! Missions

FCCLG Fundraising 
Here's an easy way to give back to FCCLG! When you shop on Amazon, use choose First Congregational Church of La Grange UCC as your charity. Consider making your purchases through Amazon and they will intern donate 0.5% of your purchase back to FCCLG. Thank you for supporting us!


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.
Community Events and News 

We are a non-profit organization that works together with volunteers to provide rides to older adults and individuals with disabilities in the Lyons, Proviso, and Riverside Townships. Over 85 vol unteers provide escorted transportation to medical appointments, therapies, and life-enhancing errands such as the grocery store, bank, and church. We also take our clients with disabilities to their places of employment. There is no cost to our clients, and we rely solely on private donations, grants, fundraisers, and church support for funding.
And we need you! Please consider becoming a Volunteer driver. Contact us at 708-354-9328 for an information packet, visit us on the web at , and like us on Facebook. Can you spare an hour a week? We will work around your busy life. 

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 email us this information. 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.
Touch List 

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
Ojo Adedji, seeking asylum in the U.S., whose court hearing has been postponed to June.

Emil and Maria Balz.

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

Prayers for Viola Clayton for strength and good mobility.

Prayers for the family of Peg Coleman, Nancy Coleman's aunt who died on May 10th.

Angie Crees, Olivia Hein's sister.

Joyce Hagen-McIntosh's nephew who is going through a challenging time.

Gail Mikenas, whose father died the week of May 14th.

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

Nancy Coleman's friend Sharon Veltre, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Those living in fear and without hope, and those who use fear to control others.

UCC Quick Links  

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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