In This Issue
Sign Up
Through Access
Feedback, corrections, or additions?
September 1, 2016

Peace to you and grace from Carly, called to lead the saints, sinners, active, quiet, prophets and teachers of La Grange and beyond.

As a centering activity at the Council meeting last week, I asked a tough question:

"Aside from increasing attendance and financial issues, what do you hope to see in our congregation in the next year?"

Initially, there was complete silence in the room. On our agenda was a long list of reports to be discussed, a proposal from the property committee: All things that focused on the administrative end of our ministry together. I was asking to set aside - as a means of connecting with who and whose we are -- those things and dream, imagine what God would have us be about in this community of faith.

How do you respond to that question? What do you long to happen among our members, in our congregation, and among our community?

I asked this question to many churches' pastoral search committees. Silence was a common initial response. What church doesn't want to see more seats in the pews, more dollars in the offering plate?

Yes, it is important that we all have a healthy understanding about the way ministry is financed. But our primary focus is not how to finance ministry; our primary focus has to be DOING ministry.

At the Council meeting, the person in the room who had the shortest tenure of membership in our congregation had a telling response to the question. It went something like this: "We joined this church initially because we were offered opportunities to connect to ways we could make a difference in the world; we can serve at the Saturday Meals Program, walk in the CROP walk. I would like to see more opportunities to connect with others who also want to make a difference."

That's what being the church is about: Making a difference in the world, helping to bring a bit of joy, justice, safety, peace, comfort to those who would otherwise not have these - and in so doing, be the hands, feet, face, and heart of God for them.
As one teacher of preachers is known to have said, "where meet the needs of the world and the passion of your heart, there will be the Church of Jesus Christ."

Let us Be the Church.


Kick Off Sunday and Annual Picnic
We'll be kicking off the new year on Sunday, September 11 with a fun filled picnic and activities for all ages immediately after worship on the Sixth Avenue lawn. Get this on your calendar so you don't miss out on the fun!  

Confirmation launches @ 2:30 p.m.!  
Children and Youth News 
Beginning this year, the Ministry of Education is going to try a new schedule! Here is an example of our Monthly meeting schedule

First Sunday of the month:
    Confirmation: 2:30-4:30pm Drawing Room
    Messy Church: 4:30-6:30pm (Dinner at 5:45pm)
    Zackleys: (High School) (Welcome to join Messy Church!) 
Second Sunday:
    Yzals 6:30 (6-8th grade)
Third Sunday:
    Zackleys 6:30
Fourth Sunday:
    Yzals and Zackleys service/outing

To make these the best programming we can we need volunteers! If you are able to help plan or just be at these events please let Sylvia know!
Flat Jesus 
Oh my! Flat Jesus has been spotted again!  
Ryan's Fall Music Schedule
Music for All Ages!
At FCCLG there is an ensemble for everyone.  All ensembles and programs are open to the larger community, so invite a friend or neighbor to check us out.  Several families and individuals have become members or regular church attenders by starting with an ensemble!
Chancel Choir rehearsal begins on Thursday, September 1 at 7:30pm 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 coachings with Ryan.  
Carillon Handbell Choir rehearsal begins on Wednesday, September 7 at 7:30pm.    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-8th grades are welcome to join the fun.  Rehearsals begin on September 18 from 11:15-11:45am.  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.  Normally we meet right after Ring n' Sing from 11:45am-12:15pm.  However, our first rehearsal will be combined with Ring n' Sing on September 18 from 11:15-11:45am. 
First Conservatory has a new website!  Check us out at
Messy Church
Messy Church will be Sunday, September 4th at 4:30. Our theme this month will be Love God! Come and have a great time and support our youth. See you there! Click here for our flyer! 
4:30-5:15pm: Crafts and Stories  
5:15-5:30pm: Celebration  
5:30-6:00: Dinner 
6:00-7:00: Yzal/Zackleys   
Pew Cushion Repair Volunteers

Are you tired of hard pews and numb bottoms?  Want to enjoy some comfort that will help you to concentrate more fully on Carly's sermons?  Then come join us on Saturday mornings starting September 10th from 9 am-12 noon in the Founders Room for an upholstering party!
We are recovering the old pew pads with new, cushy foam and fabric.  We have 145 pads to recover and need all the help we can get.  Remember, many hands make light work!  Any age from Junior High and up is needed.
If anyone has an electric staple gun and would be willing to bring it or let us borrow it, that would be greatly appreciated.  We can also use manual staple guns.
Please sign up online or in the church office if you are able to give us some of your time.

Any questions, contact Debbie Llewellyn (708-602-0070) or Jan Ceranek  (708-784-3482)
Epidemic Of Gun Violence Film 

September 12 - Join Others Concerned About Rising Gun Violence!

The epidemic of gun violence in our country (more than 33,000 killed last year) compels us to take action locally. You are invited to join us as we consider how we might be active in organizing a response to this needless violence.

Making a Killing:  Guns, Greed and the NRA
  A stirring film that looks into gun tragedies that include unintentional shootings, domestic violence, suicides, mass shootings and trafficking - and what we can do to put an end to this profit-driven crisis.     
Presented by La Grange Area League of Women Voters, Sisters of St. Joseph, La Grange Community Diversity Group, Moms Demand Action
Monday, September 12th, 7:00 - 8:30 P.M.
Sisters of St. Joseph-Welcome Hall
1515 W. Ogden Avenue, La Grange Park
A post film audience participation session will focus on ways to make our voices heard in our local communities and at the State and Federal level.    
Safe Church/Boundary Training 
All volunteers and staff who work with and around children in the church are required to complete Safe Church and Boundary Training annually. The session is offered twice every year: in September and February. This class will take place on September 25 from noon to 1:30 in the Founders' Room. If you are a teacher, Messy Church volunteer, mentor, or youth leader, please register for training as soon as possible. Please sign up here or on clipboard during fellowship hour.
Exploring Communion  
Who can possibility understand the mystery that is the Lord's Supper? And yet the table celebration is deeply meaningful to us regardless of our age. In the Tradition of the Congregational Church, we welcome everyone to the table for communion. Since every family is different, we emphasize that each family and each person determines what is right for them: some parents choose to encourage their children to take communion; others wait until the child is a teenager and goes through confirmation/baptism classes.
Individuals and families who would like to explore the multiple layers of meaning of communion are invited to a 2 hour, hands on, multi-sensory workshop on October 1 from
10 a.m. to noon
. While we make bread and squeeze grapes, we will learn from where the tradition comes, what it might mean for each of us, and how we might participate in the common table.

This event is open to all, and is free. Reservations are required, however. Please sign up using the paper sign up sheet in the Opportunities corner at fellowship hour. Please sign up online , or using the paper sign up sheet in the Opportunities corner at fellowship hour.
Flowers For The Altar

Check your calendar and think about those special dates this year you could celebrate with altar flowers! You might like to celebrate a special occasion, honor a dear person, or maybe you'd just enjoy seeing live flowers on the altar. To reserve a Sunday, sign up at Fellowship Hour or contact the office. Dates are first-come, first-serve, so reserve early!

Below are a list of dates available through the end of 2016:  
September 25th
October 16th
October 23rd
October 30th
November 20th
December 4th
December 11th 
Amazon Smile

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. Amazon then donates 0.5% of your purchase back to FCCLG.  
Saturday Meals Needs Your Help! 
The Saturday Meals Program is a ministry of our congregation that serves anyone who would like to share a hot meal. We have a variety of people who we serve: Elderly residents who choose to gather with friends, families who appreciate not having to cook a meal on the weekend, homeless men and women, people who are one paycheck away from being destitute, and church members who enjoy the company around the table. During the fall, winter, and spring, we serve a hot breakfast, a homemade and nutritious hot noon time dinner, and pack a light evening meal to send home with those who choose it.

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.
Tweet Home La Grange! Bid on our Birdhouse!! 

Heather Leininger painted a beautiful bird house and peace pole to represent our congregation in the La Grange Business Association annual Art Project. Now, YOU can bid to own it! All proceeds from the sale will go to the First Congregational Church!  To get to your opportunity to bid,   click here. The Live Auction is taking place Saturday, September 17 @
6 pm
at the Stone Ave station.
Confirmation Mentors Needed:
This Fall we are looking for 6 - 8 adults to mentor our youth.  Mentors are adults who are not related to the youth who will walk along side as we all journey into a deeper understanding of the faith.  Necessary qualities include:
  • An openness to explore your faith and grow it; 
  • A willingness to admit you don't have all the answers but will seek understanding alongside others on the journey;
  • An ability to ask and be asked hard questions;
  • Availability of 2 hours per month from September through May to spend conferencing with students, other mentors, and pastoral leadership (these will happen mostly on the first Sunday of the month);
  • Completion of Safe Church Boundary Training before November 1 (offered every Fall) with background check.
If you feel the tug of God on your sleeve to step out in faith into this role, please contact Carly.   
Serving at FCCLG
- Bring in treats of your choice and serve beverages and snacks after worship 
- Proclaim the scripture to the congregation during Sunday service
- 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!
- Pick up the Saturday Meals Program laundry outside the kitchen after worship and return it clean before next Saturday
Attend the Nursery during worship on Sunday
Hooks And Needles

Hooks and Needles will resume meeting in the Family Room off the Chapel on Monday, September 12 at 7 pm. We meet all but the first Monday of the month.

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.
St. Barbara's Food Pantry Collection 

St. Barbara's
is especially in ne ed of peanut butter and jelly. Thank you for all your support!
Harvest Home dinner   
You can make Harvest Home a success! Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 16th at 6:30 pm and plan to attend the annual Harvest Home Dinner. Want to lend a hand? Sign up in the office to help prepare or serve food.  
Touch List 

Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
We lament the loss of innocent lives to fear, hatred, and bigotry in Baton Rouge, Chicago, Dallas, Minnesota, Nice, and Orlando.
Emil and Maria Balz, who are both in rehabilitation.
Bonnie Geist, Jenny Geist's mother, as she recovers from two back surgeries in one week.
Bert Happel, Jim Happel's brother.
Linda Lauterbach's friend Sophia, her husband, and 22 month old son; Sophia has a brain tumor.
Bobbie Nunez's new granddaughter Sienna, who continues to be cared for in the NICU and is      doing very well.
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 Allison Taylor, Robert and Rose Taylor's daughter, who died on August 20.
Blooming Where You're Planted
If you can't make it to the FCCLG Women's Retreat, or you want to attend a bigger one, your opportunity to do so is on September 30. Click  here for the two-sided flyer/registration form for the Illinois Conference 6t h Annual Women's Retreat. Register no later than September 23rd. 
Worship in the Chapel   

Due to construction in the Sanctuary, our Sunday, September 4th service will take place in the Chapel.