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October 1, 2015

Peace and grace to you from Carly, called to be teacher, prophet, evangelist, and vision setter among the members of the Body of Christ in La Grange and beyond.

We are together on a journey to discover what God has in mind for this community of faith. On the way, we've agreed upon some fiscal plans to help us be most effective in God's ministry in this new era. One of those plans involved making our building pay for itself by sharing it with others including both long term relationships with non-profit organizations and short term relationships with those opting to use our space for events, trainings, and meetings.

Toward this goal we are making progress. Below is the plan we are following to continue movement toward this goal.

Beyond Building Use Toward Building Capacity
One of the primary goals of the Alban Team Plan was to offer to share our space with other non-profit groups with the goal of developing enough use by complementary ministries to pay for the building maintenance, upkeep, utilities, and capital expenses so that as a congregation we can focus upon outreach and other ministries. Specifically, the Alban Team Plan says,

Buildings and Creative Income Recommendations
In order to recognize significant income from the existing real estate owned by FCCLG, the following recommendations are made:
  1. Alban Team members, Council and the Property Ministry continue to investigate the viability of leasing a large portion of the 6th Avenue wing of the main church structure. Recognizing the length of time it takes to realize a fully executed lease, this space should be "listed for lease" as soon as possible. Space for worship, education, music, offices, programs and the Conservatory will continue to be a priority, but we ask the congregation to be flexible as rental opportunities present themselves.
  2. The 113 S. La Grange Road property and adjacent 117 lot are to be evaluated for market value and prepared for sale. Timing of such sale will be determined by Council but it is recommended that this property be listed for sale during the spring selling season of 2013.
  3. Proceeds from the sale of above property and land will be held in a special account earmarked for funding any capital improvements needed to accommodate long term lease(s) for space in the main church structure. After such expenditures, any remaining proceeds will be placed in a newly defined and restricted Endowment Fund.
  4. Going forward, the 105 S. La Grange Road property will be considered the church manse. In order to comply with property tax exemption regulations, occupancy of this property shall be considered a requirement of employment for ministerial staff.
  5. Council appoints appropriate Ministry teams to make the necessary changes to the Founders room and to develop active and purposeful marketing pieces that make FCCLG a sought after wedding and reception venue.
As of September 30, items 1, 2 and 4 are complete.
  • We are in the 3rd year of a 5 year arrangement with School District 105 who is sharing the cost of the lower level of the Sixth Avenue wing; they have not yet moved into the space though it is 90% ready for their occupancy. When they are ready to use the space, we will be ready.
  • We have an arrangement with a local non-profit group to utilize two of our empty offices: Rooms 201 and 202. This group will move in by November 1.
  • Through the efforts of the initial Building Use Team, we have developed policies regarding the use of space, the use of alcohol within the space, childcare policies by outside users.
  • Through the efforts of a repurposed Building Use Team, we have increased the number of wedding reservations being made within the last calendar year.
  • Through networking and intentional outreach, we are continuing to develop leads on non-profit groups who are seeking to share the available space in our dining room, kitchen, and art room; and our chapel as a worship space for new congregations.
The funds mentioned in Item 3 are held in a special account; the balance as of August 31 is approximately $415,000. We need to complete Item 5 by developing a plan to update and improve the desirability of all of our space for weddings, showers, and other one-time uses by outside parties. The repurposed Building Use Team has uncovered some d é cor and capital improvements that are necessary to make our facility an attractive and competitive wedding venue. We need to develop two Task Forces to facilitate our planning and action in completing these upgrades.
With that background we are moving toward the goal cited in item 5 above, making our space (including but not limited to the Founders' Room) more attractive to potential outside parties, the following Task Forces have been put in place :
The Dream Team:
The purpose of this Task Force is to
  • Assess: Evaluate the visual and practical appeal of our available space to groups that would potentially share space with us on a temporary or one-time event basis,
  • Visualize: Make specific recommendations to the Action Team of changes to be made to maximize our building use by sharing guests and visitors,
  • Communicate: Promote, and address concerns and questions of the congregation.
The Dream Team will begin their work this week. The team is Chris Bryant, Betsy Colombe, Dawn Fresa, Barb Hultman, Kent Llewellyn, and Marie Roche
The Action Team (TAT):
The purpose of this Task Force is to
  • Develop a Plan of Action:
      • Gather bids on the items in the plan of action.
      • Prepare a plan of action with details and anticipated costs to be presented to the Council.
  • Assign Project Leaders to oversee the completion of each aspect of the Plan of Action.
This team is still in the process of coming together; they will begin their work November 1.
Look for news and updates about the progress toward the goal of making our building reach its capacity!

Church News and Reminders

Welcome School and Tutors on Wheels
We are sharing our unused offices on the second floor with the administrators of the School and Tutors on Wheels (STOW). Formerly housed with the Congregation of St. Joseph, STOW is an adult English literacy program that empowers low-income adults by teaching English as a Second Language and GED classes in neighborhoods in Cook and DuPage Counties. For more information, check out their website:  

Welcome our New Financial Coordinator
Gina Dever joined our staff in September as our Financial Coordinator. Gina has over 25 years of accounting experience. She is a Certified Payroll Professional and an Enrolled Agent with the IRS. By day, she is the Director of Payroll at Moraine Valley Community College. Gina will be in our office on evenings and weekends. Welcome, Gina!
Volunteer Opportunities
LeaderShop and Rotary Club of La Grange are looking for volunteers after church on October 4 to distribute mental health marketing materials in La Grange. You will place a bag at the front door of homes on 2-3 streets in a 4-5 block area. If you can help please email Cathy for more details.

Honey Do List at Churc h
The Property Committee seeks your help in doing maintenance and repairs around the church! Please take on what ever makes your heart sing!  We need all skills -  from carpentry to electrical to planting to sorting to hauling to cleaning and organizing.  Although the date says November 30, please sign up and complete this at your convenience. Sign up here   or our Opportunity Board during Fellowship Time.

Lawn Mowing
Sign up to help keep the church lawns looking their best. We have both a self propelled mower and a rechargeable mower for you to use. This includes the front, back and side lawns. The sign-up day and time are listed as Saturdays, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, but the actual day and time you mow is flexible.  
Laundry Heroes 
Sign up to be a laundry hero. This is a simple, eco-friendly and meaningful project. Just pick up the laundry at your convenience, from outside the kitchen and bring it back the Saturday morning that follows by 7am. If you have any questions, call the church office or email Marilyn Russell  

We need Sun day greeters at the west door o f the church at 9:45 am to welcome all who come. Please sign up in the Founders Room after church, or call Ann Fish at  
In Our Church
We will collect for the special UCC offering called Neighbors In Need on Sunday, October 4. This special mission supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the US. One third of the NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministries. Two thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts and direct service projects.

We hope to get a large number of walkers from FCCLG for this year's Crop Walk. It will be on Sunday, October 18 starting at the First Methodist Church of La Grange with registration beginning at 12:30 pm. The walk beginning at 1 pm. This is a 3 mile interfaith walk to raise funds to end hunger in our local community and the world. Our own Saturday Meals Program receives funds from this walk. If you cannot walk, please support a walker. You can donate online here (with Carly and others in the photos), click donate to team (FCCLG) or to a walker (if one of our walkers has registered online). Missions representatives are available after church for the next three weeks to help you sign up or make a contribution!
On October 18th at 4pm in the Founders Room, all those who work with our children and youth are invited to our leadership retreat. You can go through boundary training for the first time or renew previous training. In addition there will be fun and games!
Crafters, be sure to pick up a form at the church office to let us know what you will be making. We are looking forward to a wide variety of hand crafted items made by people of all ages. Members and friends of the congregation, please bring cash or your checkbook and shop on Sunday, November 1, 11:30 to 3 pm - think Christmas gifts. We have items at all price levels so even children can shop. Please invite friends, relatives and neighbors.

We are moving from WWII back in time to WWI. Our next selection is Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend by Susan Orlean.
THis selection is a quintessentially American story of reinvention, a captivating exploration of our spiritual bond with animals, and a stirring meditation on mortality and immortality. Please join us on Thursday, November 5th at 7:30pm in the Chapel conference room.
THE BOUNDARY WATERS have been a part of FCCLG for almost 50 years. This yearly trip has benefitted many and remains a part of the lives of our congregants. Currently the Boundary Waters are under threat from a movement to develop a Sulfide Mine that would affect the area's water supply. To learn more click here. Dave & Amy Freeman are spending a year in the Boundary Waters raising awareness of this crisis. Click here to learn about their efforts and how you can help. 
The baskets for St. Barbara's Food Pantry were flowing over this past Sunday! Thank you for hearing the call and filling the need. If you haven't already donated, we are collecting any type of canned or boxed food.

Your pledges to FCCLG have helped us fund the Greater Chicago Food Depository to fight hunger in the Chicago area with a donation of $1000. We received a thank you letter which is posted on the Mission's bulletin board.

Also see the thank you letter from Community Nurse Health Center to see how your pledge helped people in our community receive medical and dental care.

Be looking for information about getting your gift of gratitude name in mid November. Because of how the holidays fall, we have to do it earlier this year on Sunday Dec. 6.
Missions has found a new worthy cause to support called Holy Joe's Cafe.  It is a coffee house ministry for UCC Military Chaplins and Troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. The chaplains invite US service members into a safe and informal place, a "coffee house," where they can receive spiritual care and good coffee.  We have purchased 20# of Equal Exchange Coffee for this mission.  For each pound of coffee purchased, 15 cents is given to the UCC Small Farmer Fund which is used for anti-hunger/economic development programs in eastern North Carolina.  For more information if you would be interested in supporting this cause go to this link.  
The FCCLG website has a link to Access. Just go to, click the Connect With Us tab and then click on Member Census Data.
Music News
Brass, Pipes, and Brunch II
Join us in the Sanctuary and Founder's Room on November 14 at 10:30 am. This year we will feature the Carillon Handbell Choir, Michael Brozick on trumpet, Ryan Cox, baritone and Patricia Spencer on organ & piano. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students, and are available starting October 4th. Proceeds go to "Friends of Music" to help sponsor the December Choral Sermon and the "Instrument Repair Fund" which helps pay for re-leathering the sanctuary organ in late October. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Chancel Choir
rehearsal continues on Thursday, September 17 at 7:30 pm in the Choir Room.  Membership is open to all singers, high-school on up.  All voice parts are needed, particularly sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses.  Not sure where you fit in?  Ryan will help you figure that out.  All new choir members are offered two free voice coaching sessions with Ryan Cox.  

Carillon Handbell Choir rehearsal continues on Wednesday, October 7 at 7:30 pm. Anyone high-school and up is welcome.  Previous ringing experience is not required, however, basic music reading is helpful (counting is the big thing!).  We need both regular ringers and those who would like to sub in from time to time.

Ring 'n Sing : It's back and it does what the name suggests. We sing. And we ring. Sometimes at the same time. Children in 1st-6th grades are welcome to join the fun. Rehearsals continue on Sundays from 11:15-11:45 am. This program is great for introducing new families to our great youth programming. 
Treble Choir : An extension of Ring n' Sing, this ensemble is designed for children in 3rd grade and up. The focus is on voice development, music reading and singing more challenging music. We meet right after Ring n' Sing on Sundays from 11:45 am-12:15 pm in the Choir Room. 
CYD News

The Yzals group will meet next on October 11 at 6:30pm! They will continue to meet the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month. On October 25th the Yzals will meet at the Bart's home for fun and games and s'mores! We will be meeting there at 3pm.
The Zackleys group will meet next on October 4 at 6:30 pm. They will continue to meet on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month. However, on November 1, we will meet at the church at 2pm and travel to the forest preserve for a nature walk and conversation!  
Adult Education

Let's Start at the Beginning

Maria, from "The Sound of Music" reminds us to "start at the very beginning-a very good place to start." In that spirit, Carly will offer a Confirmation Refresher Course. This is an introduction/review of the faith traditions of Western
Christianity. Everyone is invited! 

We'll be using Martin Copenhaver's book, To Begin at the Beginning. This is an informal, conversational gathering. We will meet in the Drawing Room from 8:30 to 9:20 on Sunday
Mornings. There will be coffee!

The book is available at the local bookstore, on Amazon,, or a limited number of copies from Carly . It is an easy read, but each week will require that you read the chapter before class. We'll follow the outline of the book in sections, taking a break between each section.
Part One: The God We Worship and Serve : Sept. 20 to Oct. 18
            October 4: The Jesus of the Incarnation
               October 11: The Jesus of the Resurrection
            October 18: The Continuing Presence of the Holy  

Part Two: The Church as the Body of Christ: Nov 1 - Dec 6.
            November 1: Life Together as God's People
            November 8: The Church's Book
               November 15: The Church at Worship
               November 20: Baptism with Water and the Spirit
            November 27: No class (Thanksgiving weekend)
               December 6: Eating at Christ's Table

Part 3: What Is Promised, What is Required Jan 10 -Feb 7
            January 10: Conversing with God
            January 17: Resurrection to Eternal Life
               January 24: Doing Faith
               January 31: Sharing the News
               February 7: The Invitation

Looking Ahead

All Church Clean Up and Sale
We are in the process of emptying spaces in the church of "stuff" and "clutter" for which we no longer have a use. Over the next 3 weeks, a team headed up by Jerry Palmer and Gary Melkonian are sorting the wheat from the chaff, and organizing for a rummage sale. They have begun with the space shared with District 105 and School and Tutors of Wheels. They are continuing to sort items in the attic.
Church members will have an opportunity to shop the sale before the general public. All proceeds from the sale will be applied to the General Fund.

Through October 3
: Attic clean out: will begin packing junk in trash bags. Will hold in attic until clean up day.
10/3 and 10/10: Work days; dumpsters will be in the parking lot to throw out trash and unsellable items; balance brought to the Dining Room Coat Closet for sale.
10/10- 10/18: Figure tentative pricing on sale items. Pricing will be a guideline. Will entertain best offers.
10/18-10/23: Church members will have first dibs on items for sale. Claimed items must be removed from the church by 10/23 or they will be included in sale.
10/24 - 11/3: Arrange items for sale in dining room and mark all prices.
11/4-11/5: Time TBD. Public Sale. Will also entertain best offer
11/9: Needed dumpsters here. Throw away items not sold or offer to Goodwill or other charitable organization.

Messy Church
Thank you all who made our first Messy Church a success! Thank you for keeping an open mind and engaging in our worship. Our hope is that this ministry will continue to be a blessing as we welcome those in our neighborhood to our November 6th meeting at 5pm. Now that the format and extreme welcome of Messy Church has been made clearer, please let Sylvia know if you are interested in helping out. We need people to plan and set up, as well as people to assist during the event.

Church Calendar Events 
October 4: World Wide Communion Sunday. Neighbors in Need Dedication
October 11: Dedication of Prayer Shawls and Baby Blankets
All Teams Meeting following Worship 
October 18: Women's Sunday, Live Free Kick Off CROP walk
October 23: Rummage Sale for Congregation Closes
October 24: Chicago Metro Assn UCC Meeting
November 1: Craft Fair
November 3-4: Rummage Sale open to the Public
Touch List

Your Cards and Prayers Will Comfort and Touch...
Ardell Arthur, Charlene Tobin 's sister, who has lost her eyesight.
The Balz family.
Rita Baumann, Mary Cooper's aunt who is recovering from surgery.
The family and friends of Sandra Bland.
Deb Gardiner and Dan Zigulich's niece who's recovering from a liver transplant.
Jenny Geist's mother, Bonnie, who is recovering from surgery.
Nancy Haiman who is recovering from surgery to remove a melanoma.
Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.
Olivia Hein's grandmother, Dorothy Wood.
Lois Hindman, who is house bound with a brain condition.
The family of Mary Lu, JoAnne Konkle's friend who died on September 17th.
The family of Sherry Llewellyn, who died on September 6th.
Kathleen McConnellogue and Jennifer Powers who are each dealing with health issues.
Camilla Norby.
Helen Pancer, Viola Clayton's daughter who is receiving chemotherapy.
Sandra Sayles , who is recovering at home.
Fred Weiss , who is recovering at home.