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November 24, 2016

Healing, Grace, and Peace to the brothers and sisters in La Grange and beyond, from Carly, called to be the prophet, teacher, and healer among and along side you.
This week I share with you the Word from Molly Baskette, my friend and author of Real Good Church. Her words are poignant for this time.

The Word became Flesh and made a dwelling among us.
~John 1
Now you are the Body of Christ and individually members of it. ~I Corinthians 12
It has been 10 days since the Presidential Election of 2016 as I write this. Begging pardon of those who voted differently from me, whose choices were vindicated last Tuesday-all too many of the people I know are heartsick and afraid.

We fear, under the new administration, the increased vulnerability and morbidity of people who were called out by stereotypes and hatred in President-Elect Trump's campaign: immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinx, LGBTQ folk, women and disabled folk.

Those of us who fit one or more of the above categories, or love people who do, are carrying the stress of what is and what may be in our bodies. It is taking the form of depression, hypertension, adrenaline storms, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares.

We feel the ache in our bodies, but we also feel it in the great body of our nation. There has been a massive increase in hate crimes reported. There are those surprised by the election results who say "how could I have been so wrong about so many of my neighbors?" There are those unsurprised by the results who say "I knew all along this terror lived in our shadow. Now the veil has been pulled back. But it's still horrifying to see it in the clear light of day."

And some of us feel the rift personally: in our marriages, in the families we will face around the holiday meal, in friendships now severed.

How do we go on?
Advent and Christmas embody two very different messages. Advent is about the tension of waiting for a world we cannot quite see, the vigilant insomnia as we anticipate the fullness of God's reign.

Christmas is about the reality that God is present with us in all times and circumstances--deeply enfleshed in the matter of the world--and reminds us that God's strength actually lies in vulnerability, in the courageous act of taking on a human body, in coming to us as an infant, in being willing to suffer all that we suffer, so God can likewise experience all the joys of being human.

Most of the joy and most of the sorrow that can be had in life is traceable back to having a body. It is because we have bodies that we can smell apple pie baking, eat a perfectly seasoned meal, share abundant hugs. And it is because we have a body that we fear being beaten, going hungry, getting cancer, and someday: losing people we love to death, then dying ourselves.

How do we make peace with the body: with our aches and pains, our limitations and dis/abilities, our aging, the threats against our well-being?

How do we use our bodies, in this deeply divided time, to make peace, make hope, make joy, make good?

This Advent, let this calendar invite you to make peace with the body. Let it remind you that your body is a temple of God, a place where God has chosen to dwell. Too often we criticize our bodies for what they are not: perfect. We scoff at the shape of our bellies or the length of the neck. We see only the parts and not the whole. Let Advent re-member those parts, as you love the whole thing. Practice radical self-care and renewal.

Let Advent re-member the other bodies of which you are a part: your primary relationships, your church, your country. Let it not be a false peace you reach for, a kind of Stockholm-syndrome capitulation to evil, but an embodied showing-up for what is right and good, a refusal to abdicate, a willingness to claim your place in the larger bodies that need you functioning at a high level.

There is a prompt for December 6--incidentally, St. Nicholas Day, patron saint of the poor--to intervene if you see someone being mistreated. In these shadowed days, let this prompt guide you every day to be a person of courage and principle, to break the code that says "don't get involved," because you understand that we deeply belong to one another, and we will have to answer for our silence.

Remember that you--and everybody else you know--is stardust. In your cells lies the most ancient energy of the universe, and those cells have been brought together at this moment, in this time, in this body, for a specific and holy purpose. Will you accept the call, to make peace with your body?

Holy Advent, Blessed Christmas
Gifts of Gratitude  

There's a week or so left to choose ornaments. Feel free to take more if you'd like. This is a wonderful way to show your thanks this holiday season. Buy a gift or two for a child in need. Gifts of Gratitude will be on Sunday December 4th. You can select an ornament or two from the tree for a child from Casa Central. Buy a gift between $20-$30 for the child you have chosen. If you buy clothes and want to include the gift receipt in case an exchange of sizes is needed, Target and Walmart are the closet stores to these families. Wrap or place the gift in a decorative bag (staple closed) and tape the tag to the package.
Children and Youth News   

The youth group holiday parties are coming up! Yzals: December 11th and Zackleys: December 18th. We will have Christmas themed games, crafts and snacks! If you would like to help with either of these parties please let Sylvia know!
On January 15th, UCAN is sponsoring a march in Chicago to support UCAN's violence prevention programming. The Zackleys and Yzals will participate however, all ages are welcome to participate. If you would like to fund raise and participate in the march, please let Sylvia know so we can set up an account. 
Messy Church

Messy Church will be Sunday, December 4th at 4:30. Our theme this month will be Messy Christmas! Come and have a great time and grow in faith and in your love of others on the journey. See you there!  
4:30-5:15pm: Crafts and Stories  
5:15-5:30pm: Celebration  
5:30-6:00: Dinner  
FCCLG Building Project Updates 

Thank you to all of those people who helped carry things out of the Founder's room to prepare the room for the carpet installation.  Now that the carpet has been installed, I will need volunteers to move the tables and such back into the Founder's Room. This will happen on Sunday, November 27.  All help will be appreciated.
Work continues on the Founder's Room kitchen remodeling. Work should be complete by Monday, November 28.
You all should give Nancy Sander, a huge thank you for all of her work she has put in on both of these projects. These projects and the Air conditioning project will make our church a desirable place to hold weddings, receptions and conferences. Thank you Nancy!
Jerry Palmer  
Project Coordinator
FCCLG Fundraising 
Here's an easy way to give back to FCCLG! When you shop on Amazon, use and choose First Congregational Church of La Grange as your charity. Consider making your holiday purchases through Amazon which donates 0.5% of your purchase back to FCCLG. Thanks you for supporting us!

Text FCCLG100 to 73256 to give using your text messaging. Click the link and complete your gift. Standard text messaging rates may apply.
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


The Ministry of Communications team is organizing a flash mob carol sing for Saturday, Dec 17th from 9am - 10:30am.  Singers of all ages are welcome!  We plan to carol in the produce section of a few local grocery stores as well as serenading the Saturday Meals Program guests and volunteers.  If you are interested in this outreach ministry, please contact Olivia Hein at
FCCLG Church Calendar 

We will be decorating the sanctuary Saturday, November 26th starting at 9 a.m. Some of the regular helpers for this activity will be out of town, so we could use some extra help. The tree is prelit, so the most fun will be putting up our Chrismons (ornaments). Hope to see you there! Please contact Ryan Cox to say you can help
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. Call Linda Lauterbach or the church office if you need a code to get into the building.

Evening Book Club will discuss "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania" by Erik Larson.  Dead Wake puts readers right aboard the famous Cunard liner and keeps them turning the pages until the book's final, breathless encounter.  We will meet on Thursday, December 1st at 7:30 in the Chapel conference room.  


The Dec. 4th STEWARDSHIP SUNDAY DINNER has been cancelled!

We will be having two Christmas Eve Services, one at
5:30 PM and the other at 10:30 PM.

On December 18 is the 2016 Christmas Fund Offering. It is an offering for the Veterans of the Cross and Emergency Fund, which provides assistance to those who have faithfully served our Church and now find themselves facing unexpected financial needs. 
The 2016 theme is God's Love Colors Everything. There will be a poster on the easel in December which needs coloring. Please consider adding your coloring to the poster! Give generously and show FCCLG's support for the Christmas Fund and the Veterans who have served the Church faithfully through the years.
Touch List 

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
Charlotte Ansted, who was born very early and is being treated in the NICU.
Emil and Maria Balz who are recovering at home.
Prayers for Erin Markus-Bryant's nephew Emmett, who is suffering from kidney failure.
Prayers for Renee Bryant's friend Melissa, who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.
The family of Cheryl Buchignani, who's father died on October 9th.
The residents of Edisto Island, where we take our annual work trip, who were hit by Hurricane Matthew.
The family of Caroline Gifford, who died on October 13th.
The family of Carol LaSage, mother of Kathy Mazur, who died on October 24th.
The family of Colin Harris, the Lauterbach's godson, as they deal with Sophia's paralysis and personality change after removal of her largest brain tumor.
The family of Rich Kruke, Dawn Mackie's husband, who died on November 10th.
Gary Melkonian, who is recovering at home .
Petra Palmer's granddaughter's friend Summer who is having chemotherapy for leukemia.
Thoughts and prayers for the Palmers' neighbor's brother, wife and newborn son, who need to gain strength and weight.
Jennifer Powers as she deals with health issues.
The family of Mary Roper, Julia Cunningham's grandmother, who died recently.
The family of Frank Shannon, Brian Shannon's father, who died on November 9th.
Rev. Jennifer Mills-Knutsen, Carly's friend, who is struggling through chemo half a world from home.
Thoughts and prayers for Faith Ullrich's brother-in-law Richard Storm, diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
Victims of hatred and terror; and those seduced in to believing violence is the only option.

A Few 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