First Church
NEWS 2018
January Worship & Monthly Calendar
FCCR Learning Program for Children & Families
MLK Day of Service, January 13
Reading POWR Welcomes Refugee Family
Pastor's Ponderings
From Your Seminarian
Mission Ministry & FCCR Orchestra Needs
Denominational Opportunities
We are the Church in Action
Mission & Social Ministry Financial Statement
Mission Thank-You's
In our Prayers
Thank you FCCR
Altar Flowers
January Worship Schedule
January 7 – Worship on Epiphany Sunday with Communion
Preacher: Rev. Chad William Kidd   
Music: Chancel Choir & Jill
Prayers: Renee   NO Children’s Message
Nursery Care & Learning Program for Children
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel

January 14 – Worship on MLK Sunday
Preacher: Rev. Lisa   Music: Chancel Choir & Jill
Prayers: Rev. Lisa   
Children’s Message: Rev. Lisa
Nursery Care & NO Learning Program for Children
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel
 January 21 – Second Sunday of Epiphany – Welcoming New Members
Preacher: Renee   Music: Chancel Choir & Jill
Prayers: Rev. Lisa   
Children’s Message: Rev. Lisa
Nursery Care & Learning Program for Children
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel

January 28 – Third Sunday of Epiphany
Preacher: Rev. Lisa   
Music: Handbell Ensemble & Jill
Prayers: Renee   Children’s Message: Renee
Nursery Care & Learning Program for Children
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel
(Please note – This will NOT be a RILAS Sunday as was originally scheduled. )
FCCR January  Calendar
Learning Program for Children and Families

We will conclude our Advent-ure theme and exploration on Epiphany Sunday, Jan. 7th. There will be no program on the MLK Holiday weekend (Sunday, Jan. 14th).

Our program resumes on Sunday, Jan. 21st, when we begin a new 4 week series with the focus: “Jesus is a leader who invites us to “follow me!”’ This series will continue each week until winter vacation in February. We hope all children and families will join us in our exploration!
MLK Day of Service, Saturday January 13
Reading Cares, the Reading Clergy Association, and FCCR look forward to hosting as we celebrate MLK’s legacy of service! Mark your calendars for the 2018 Day of Service on Saturday January 13th. We will have a variety of projects for many ages, skills and interests. Please plan to participate! The link for more information or to sign up is:


Schedule:
9:00 - 1:00 SEWING PROJECT TBD @ FCCR Cut, sew, iron, etc. Some sewing machines may be needed.
9:00-1:01 Preparing bag lunches @ FCCR. Make sandwiches, pack with fruit, fresh baked cookies for Lazarus House in Lawrence. Good for families!
9:00-12:30 Furniture Delivery for Mission of Deeds. Must be able to lift and carry furniture!. MOD will provide truck and driver. Must pre-register for this. Space is limited.
9:00-1:00 Storage Reorganization @ Old South Church for Reading Food Pantry . Sort and store food and supplies.
9:00-12:30 Cookie Decorating @ FCCR for shelter residents in Lawrence. Dress for frosting! Good for families! Drop in or sign up, any time between 9:00 and 12:30. LEADER NEEDED
9:00-12:30 Create Valentine's Cards for Elderly and Homebound @ FCCR Good for families! Drop in or sign up, any time between 9:00 and 12:30.
9:00-1:00 Knit and Crochet @ FCCR. Create hats for newborns, and warm hats and scarves for homeless. Patterns and yarn available or bring your own. Bring your own needles/hooks.
9:00-1:00 Create warm fleece garments @ FCCR. Good for families! Drop in or sign up, any time between 9:00 and 12:30.
Reading Has Welcomed a Refugee Family
Members of Reading POWR (People Organized to Welcome Refugees), a program of Catholic Charities of Boston, greeted a family of three adult refugees from Ethiopia at Logan Airport on Wednesday, December 20.
Volunteers brought a “Welcome” banner and an array of warm clothes for people who had never experienced snow or cold weather. Reading POWR located an affordable apartment for them in Reading and will turn now to helping them to improve their English and adjust to life in a new country. Their arrival in Reading just before Christmas was a poignant one: we hope to be able to assure them that there is, indeed, “room for them at the Inn” after their years of privation and turmoil.
The family includes a respected tribal elder, his young adult son, and a nephew. All have spent the last twelve years in a refugee camp in Kenya, hoping for a permanent home where they could live in peace and safety. They have passed multiple background checks, and are able to work and pursue U.S. citizenship.
Financial donations are still most welcome to help with their expenses until they are self-supporting: visit the Reading POWR website at https://readingpowr.weebly.com or go to www.gofundme.com/Readingpowr .
Pastor's Ponderings
As the Christmas season winds down and we begin a new year, I’m looking for hope! The Good News that I’m re-discovering is that hope is all around us, waiting to be found or grasped and celebrated!

Our church’s ministry and mission is touching lives and sharing hope in many ways. We are so happy to be involved with the family of refugees who arrived here in Reading days before Christmas. As they settle in and begin to create new lives, FCCR folk are among the many Reading POWR volunteers who are helping and supporting the effort. Elsewhere in this newsletter, you may read about the highly successful efforts of our Mission Ministry and the Advent collections. And FCCR is looking forward to hosting the next annual MLK Day of Service, sponsored by ReadingCares and the Reading Clergy!

These are but a few examples of the living hope in our midst!

Another way of finding hope is to read about it in the media. It may not be something we automatically think of the media as doing well these days, but here is an article that might change your mind! Furthermore, this list of 99 good and hopeful things is bound to lift your spirits and give you hope for the year to come…
With many blessings!
Rev. Lisa

The 99 best things that happened in 2017
“If you’re feeling despair about the fate of humanity in the 21st century, you might want to reconsider.
 
In 2017, it felt like the global media picked up all of the problems, and none of the solutions. To fix that, here are 99 of the best stories from this year that you probably missed…”
 
From your Seminarian Renee Manning,
The first half of my school year is complete. Yah! Taking five courses and working full time, it was the busiest semester I ever had. As many of you know, my wife Serena had knee replacement on 12/22. So many of you have offered prayers and support for Serena and me. I can’t thank you enough. The prayers have been felt and appreciated.
With the New Year, comes and exciting season. There is so much to look forward too.
On January 21 st at 5:00pm FCCR will host “Ask a Transgender Person Anything!” in our sanctuary. This is an outreach to the community of Reading. There is a big need for ‘trans” information in today’s society. Please feel free to invite friends and family.
Also in the works is an evening bible study. I would like to walk through the basics of the bible. Do you know the Gospels? How many “books’ are in the bible? Who might have written what? How did the bible come to be? This is a course of simple basics. I think it will be informative and fun.
In the spring, we will have a “family day!’ After church, we will build model rockets. The following Saturday, we will have a picnic and launch the rockets. This is fun for all ages, families and individuals.
Please stay tuned for information regarding these events!
Again, I want to thank all of you for making my time here at FCCR truly amazing. I have enjoyed Rev. Lisa’s leadership and guidance. She is a great mentor. I hope to continue to grow and learn with the help I receive from all of you.
Blessing,
Renee
Mission Ministry February Collection
Are you hitting the January “White” Sales? Mission Ministry will be collecting linens for Emmaus in February. Gently used twin sheets and towels and new pillows are gratefully accepted for the Emmaus facilities for the homeless and families in transition. Please keep this Mission event in mind as you refresh your home.
The FCCR Orchestra is always looking for new musicians. Youth, seniors and all in between. If you have an instrument in your closet collecting dust, pull it out, dust it off and join us. Ability to read music is important. We will help expand or re-enable your playing ability. This is how our group has formed over the last ten years. Please call or email Jack Austin with your interest, Jack.austin2@verizon.net
Denominational Opportunities

The New England Women’s Celebration takes place every 4 years at various locations in New England. The purpose of the Celebrations is to reach women in the pews and to involve them in learning and sharing their faith beyond the local church and Conference setting. It is organized by women from United Church of Christ (UCC) congregations across New England, however women from all denominations and religious traditions are welcome to attend. The weekend consists of worship, speakers, times for community and relaxing, and a wide variety of workshops. You can see the schedule here: http://www.uccwomenscelebration.org/celebration-ix/schedule-events . Feel like you want to talk to someone who has been before and how wonderful it is? Connect with either Jane McCord or Connie Corey!

Building a Poor People’s Campaign :  On Sunday, January 21 at 2:00 p.m., Hancock United Church of Christ will host a workshop led by the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-director of the Kairos Center and the co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. In her book Always with Us?, she argues that being poor is not inevitable and that a theology that suggests otherwise has stifled the growth of a transformative movement to end poverty.

In this workshop, Theoharis will lead a discussion about the theology that guides her work and the new effort to build a Poor People's Campaign to unite the poor and dispossessed into a broad social movement. It is inspired by the 1968 Poor People's Campaign led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the last years of his life he became convinced that a movement led by a united force of the "poor and dispossessed" was what was needed to confront the triplet evils of racism, poverty, and militarism. 

The workshop will be held in Clark Hall at Hancock United Church of Christ, located opposite the Battle Green at 1912 Massachusetts Avenue in Lexington, MA. Free parking is available behind the church and the church is fully handicap accessible. Workshop admission is $10; scholarships are available, and no one will be turned away due to inability to pay. Please contact the Hancock Church office with questions: 781-862-4220 or office@hancockchurch.org.
WE ARE THE CHURCH IN ACTION!
Or as we like to call it, WATCHA! A number of people participated in the [not only] women’s march in Boston last winter, and as a result, felt called to action in a number of areas impacting our nation and our world. We met several times and even had a conversation with a number of folks over dinner during Lent last spring. One of the things we did as a group was to create a WATCHA banner under the leadership of Kathy Guyott. We colored in random geometric shapes according to Kathy’s design, and later applied doves with messages/concerns for our world. Watch for it hanging in the church this month!

On another front we have been working on designing a website, and the shape of that came from the UCC “Be the Church” initiative: Be the church. Protect the environment. Care for the poor. Forgive often. Reject racism. Fight for the powerless. Share earthly and spiritual resources. Embrace diversity. Love God. Enjoy this life. It is with great joy that we announce that the website has been completed. You can find it at   https://watcha01867.weebly.com / . The site features our hopes for a better world, and a wide ranging number of resources for use in making it so.
As time permits, we will link this page to our church website, www.churchofreading.org , and our Facebook page. Please take some time to check it out and use the email or form on the “contact us” page to give some feedback.
Mission Ministry Thanks
Winter coat collection update - Mission Ministry thanks everyone who donated to the Anton’s coat collection. 26 coats and jackets were collected at FCCR for the needy.
 
Thank you bakers! Many thanks to these folks who baked cookies for the college care packages this year: Diane Cain, Betsy Connor, Linda Jerrett, Joan Kingston, Shirley Osborne, and Carol Patterson. We are as well indebted to those who made donations to defray expenses, and to CWF who covered the residual. This year twenty-two packages were mailed or delivered locally, bringing some yummies and fun to our young people involved in studies beyond high school. And no thank you for these packages would be complete without a shout-out to Carol Johnson of the Care Ministry for over-seeing the task!