October
First ChurchNEWS
Sunday Worship Schedule & Monthly Calendar
New Member Meeting
FCCR Partnering with Reading POWR
Congregational Faire Ministry
FCCR Groups Beginning & Continuing
Offerings from the UCC and Beyond
Pastor's Ponderings
Monthly Good Reads
Success and Thank You:
  • Olde Redding Faire
  • A Letter from our Student Seminarian
Altar Flowers
Meet the Staff
October Worship Schedule
October 1 – World Communion Sunday Worship
Preacher: Rev. Lisa Stedman   
Music: Chancel Choir & Jill
Nursery Care at 9:50
Learning Program for Children: Unit 1 – Week 3
Theme: “Jesus taught us to welcome one another.”
The children will join together in preparing communion for the whole church. 10:00 am gather with Judy Austin in Room 13)
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel

October 8 – Sunday Worship in the Sanctuary
Preacher: Seminarian Renee Manning       
Music: Chancel Choir & Jill
Nursery Care & no Learning Program for Children
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel

October 15 – Intergenerational Learning Activity Worship
Leaders: Rev. Lisa Stedman & Seminarian Renee Manning
Nursery Care at 9:50                    
Music: Handbell Ensemble & Jill
“RILAS” Program for Children & Families – Unit 2 – Week 1
Theme: “Jesus taught us to love each other and rejoice!”
Worship will be designed for all ages and include multiple activities for all ages, in place of a sermon. (“RILAS” = Radically Intergenerational Learning Activity Sunday)
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel
October 22 – Sunday Worship in the Sanctuary
Preacher: Rev. Lisa Stedman                   
Music: Chancel Choir & Jill
Nursery Care & Learning Program for Children - Unit 2 – Week 2
Theme: “Jesus taught us to love each other and rejoice!”
 Children & families begin in worship together. Children move to “Class” in Room 13 following their special message.)
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel

October 29 – Reformation Sunday Worship Celebration
Preacher: Rev. Lisa Stedman                  
Music: Chancel Choir & Jill
Nursery Care & Learning Program for Children - Unit 2 – Week 3
Theme: “Jesus taught us to love each other and rejoice!”
Children & families begin in worship together. Children move to do special mission project Room 13 following their special message.
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel


October Calendar (click on the image to enlarge)

New Member Meeting on Sunday, October 22
Have you been thinking of joining the church? Do you have friends, family or new neighbors who are thinking of joining a church? Want to learn more about what membership means? You are invited to a new member informational meeting, Sunday, October 22 , following worship and coffee hour, at approximately 11:30AM in the Parlor. Questions? Please speak to any Deacon or Rev. Lisa.
FCCR Partnering with Reading POWR to Support a Refugee Family         
A community-wide effort is underway in Reading to help resettle a refugee family in our area. Reading POWR ( People Organized to Welcome Refugees ) has signed on with Catholic Charities, a federally approved social service agency, to provide essential financial and social support to a refugee family that wants to create a new life in the United States.

The family will have undergone multiple background checks over a period of years and will be legally admitted into the country, eligible to work and to pursue U.S. citizenship.
The refugee family could come from any ethnic or religious group: half of all refugees admitted into the U.S. today are from Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, or Sudan.

Reading POWR’s role will be to locate and furnish a modest apartment for the family, stock their kitchen cupboard with food, welcome them at the airport, and then provide both a rental subsidy and community support for a period of six months as they adjust to life in America.

The first and most critical need is to locate affordable housing, which is a huge challenge in the Boston area. Do you know someone who might rent a 2-bedroom apartment here or in a nearby community to a deserving family for $1700/month or less? The second pressing need is money to subsidize that rent for six months until family members are employed and able to pay that on their own.

Later, there will be a need for people to assist with English language conversation, occasional driving, and general orientation to the area, including a knowledge of local markets, services, and public transportation.  Catholic Charities and other social service agencies will be involved throughout this process to help the family in adjusting to life in their new home country.

Reading POWR was spearheaded by parishioners at St. Agnes Church in Reading, but has since expanded to include a growing array of individuals and representatives from other area churches, including Church of the Good Shepherd, First Congregational, Korean Church of the Nazarene, Old South United Methodist, and Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading.

If you are troubled by ongoing news reports of refugees in crisis and want to do more, here is an opportunity to help real people. Reach out to the FCCR liaison, Linda Hovey Martin, Rev. Lisa to learn how you can be of service. To make a financial contribution to the effort, checks payable to “FCCR,” with a “Refugee Support” note on the memo line, can be sent to the church or you may give directly on-line: CLICK HERE or on FaceBook.
Congregational Care Ministry
Congregational Care Ministry has been working hard to meet the practical and spiritual needs of our church community by providing meals, transportation, visitors, cards, college care packages, prayer shawls, baby blankets, prayer squares, Christmas bags, holiday flowers, a monthly newsletter, and other services to people in need.

Right now we have volunteer opportunities available! If you can provide a meal once in a while, that would be greatly appreciated. The transportation group would like more people to drive members to church, on errands, or to doctor visits. These activities are very rewarding. If you can help or have any questions, please call the appropriate contact person. Furthermore, if you know of someone in our church community who needs extra care, please contact Rev. Lisa, or Liz Swallom. Thank you to all who have helped and continue to help.                                         
Meals    
 Margot Habel      
   
Transportation                     
Shirley Holden     
   
College Care Packages        
Carol Johnson      
  
Coordinating Min Rep 
Gay Williams       
   
Cards                                   
   
Members at large                
Marcie Atkins                               
  
Chairperson                         
Liz Swallom         
Book Group
Join us on Tuesday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Parlor, when we’ll be discussing The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration , by Isabel Wilkerson, as well as sharing ideas about what to read next! You are encouraged to visit and join in one of our always thought-provoking discussions! If you have questions, please EMAIL Tom or Jane McCord. Click Here for the Book Summary
Let's Talk
Let's Talk is Underway. We hope you will consider joining us, once or regularly, for conversation and care on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.  Bring a topic to share, or just be present and participate as the spirit moves you in whatever conversation takes place. Everyone is welcome. Our meetings begin in the Parlor at 1 pm and conclude at 2:30 pm and will be on 10/10 and 10/24 this month. Hope to see you.
Yoga at FCCR
Stretch – Balance - Relax
Yoga classes are held at 4pm on Wednesdays in the Chapel. Participants only need to bring a yoga mat; all other supplies are provided. Sessions run 6-8 weeks, depending on the calendar, and classes average about $10 each. Contact Betsy with questions.
Meditation Group at FCCR
The Meditation Group will be starting up again after a quiet summer. We will be meeting at on Sundays at 5pm in the Parlor, and using both guided and silent meditations. Group support helps to strengthen (or start) the practice of meditation. Interested people with any level of experience are welcome!  Contact Betsy
Pastor's Ponderings
It seems our world is filled to over-flowing with disasters these days. From hurricanes and earthquakes – disasters of nature, to wars and a kind of growing disrespect for others – disasters of human making, we are confronted with things that have gone or are going wrong. It would be easy to be discouraged and to believe that we are powerless in the face of it all.
 
But our faith and our experiences of community teach us something quite different. Our faith teaches us that there is a way to change everything by extending ourselves in Christian love to one person at a time, one after another after another. And our experiences of community demonstrate the success of that approach, even in the face of difference and disagreement.
 
We see this in the success of yet another Faire and the camaraderie we share in making it happen – even when there are fewer of us to work and more schedule conflict/competition. We see it also in the impact of our gifts to the UCC Disaster Relief: Click Here .
 
We can continue to participate in making change, creating relationships and working for justice and peace. If you are looking for more opportunities, I hope you will join in the efforts to resettle a refuge family (https://www.facebook.com/pg/RefugeesReadingMA/about/) or attend the community event to address occurrences of hate speech in our town (see above). These are but two of the exciting local ways we can be faithful and powerful people and followers of Jesus’ way of love.

With hope and joy,
Rev. Lisa
Some ways UCC DIsaster Ministries is already helping hurricane survivor,  September 21, 2017. Read More...
Offerings from the UCC and Beyond

ONA 201: Best Practices for Church Growth Webinar
We can choose: October 17 or November 28 from 7:00PM - 8:30PM
ONA churches can grow if they are visible, confident and persistent in their witness. Join Andrew Lang, executive director of the UCC's Open and Affirming Coalition, for an interactive webinar on best practices for ONA church growth. If more than one participant is sharing a computer (or watching one screen), register as a group and save! If you are interested in watching this webinar with a group from FCCR, please contact Rev. Lisa.
Super Saturday!!
Join UCC Folks from MA, CT & RI - Saturday, October 21, 2017 for a full-day of worship, workshops and networking.

Registration includes, morning worship, 2 workshops, an optional lunch activity, continental breakfast, buffet lunch, marketplace & closing worship.
 
Participants will be able to attend two 90-minute workshops related to various aspects of church life, mission and ministries, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. More than 50 different workshops are being offered – there’s sure to be several that interest you!! In addition, participants have the option of attending a 30-minute table conversation or forum during one of the mid-day lunch periods. See full information, including workshop descriptions at http://www.macucc.org/eventdetail/6451820 .

If you are interested in attending with others from FCCR, please email the church office office1@churchofreading.comcastbiz.net  using the topic “Super Saturday”.
An Evening with Rev. Traci Blackmon
Saturday, October 28, 2017
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
United Church in Walpole
30 Common Street
Walpole, MA 02081
Join The Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries of The United Church of Christ for an evening of inspiration and deep learning surrounding social justice issues in our nation. “Purchase” Tickets/Make a Donation Here

October Good Reads
Melissa Florer-Bixler: Playing and praying with children in worship
Giving kids a place in the front of the sanctuary allows them to worship in a way that comes naturally to them: through play.
TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017: As the hymn finishes, my 2-year-old daughter looks up from her foam-block castle and loudly declares, “Amen.”
She’s in our Pray Ground, an area built into our sanctuary where children worship through play, absorbing the message in their own way. Hearing the end of a song, she knows the appropriate response.

Teams: Not Easy, Just Necessary
by John Wimberly on September 18, 2017
As an advocate for using teams to carry out the work of a congregation and for eliminating as many committees as possible, I often get phone calls like this: “John, we read your book and decided to move from a committee-driven to a team-driven organization. But it hasn’t gone smoothly!” If I or other advocates of teams created the impression that moving to teams is an easy transition, I apologize.
The change to teams is not easy, but it’s necessary…
Success and Thank You!
Olde Redding Faire 2017!
C ongratulations to all on the 2017 Olde Redding Faire. We tried some new things, like working with RMHS drama for children’s photo opportunities. Community partners Reading People Organizing to Welcome Refugees and Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse appreciated the opportunity to share their missions with the Faire visitors. We have continued to try new things, to work and buy smarter, while upholding the Faire’s welcoming traditions. The Faire is not only the largest fund raiser for FCCR, but is an opportunity for the entire church family to gather together in one place and with common purpose. Financial information will be finalized in the coming days when all expenses have been submitted. In the meantime, here are reflections from two areas:

The Farmstand had another successful year at the Faire. We tweaked the items that were sold and the number of each item so that not as much was left over at the end of the Faire. By Sunday night, we had sold out of the cheese, jams, apple butter, mums, cider and live plants. One bag of 6 apples was left which a Church family bought. Wow! 

A big shout out goes to Peter Newhall who again showed his expertise at cutting the cheese. What would we do without you, Peter!

Two things stood out to me. First, the sense of community and common purpose engendered by working on the Faire. Secondly, a positive impression of the type of Church we are came through loud and clear. People in the community asked me if they could work on it next year.

And another big thank you to all who worked on the Farmstand-the Hylans, the Newhalls, Kristin Bond, Betsy Schneider, Brian Tucker who almost cut the cheese, Liz Swallom, Andi in the office, Mr. Apple Butter Taylor, the Stewarts who just thought it would be fun to do and Gay Williams for the votives and Holy Sedum.
-Mary Ann Higgins

The Book Barn was busy throughout the Faire. This year, antique and collectible books were separated from the regular stock so they could be priced and displayed appropriately. Many customers enjoyed looking at the old volumes and several went home with true treasures. Much thanks to the book elves, including: Diana LeLacheur, Jane McCord, Tom McCord, Beverly Erickson, Cindy Crampe, Steve Crampe, Rebecca Maitland, Gay Williams, John Myers, Shirley Osborne, Cindy Branga, Doris Burns, and David Rose and Jim Maitland. Pease forgive me if I have left anyone off this list!
-Betsy Schneider
Dear FCCR Members,
It is wonderful to be starting my second year here at FCCR. It is an incredible honor.
My first year here was a tremendous learning experience for me. I must admit, I was nervous at the start. You made me feel so welcomed and so at home that this feeling quickly dissipated. Through your help and my participation I am maturing on my path to ministry. Rev. Lisa has been more than my mentor. Our weekly review meetings are invaluable. My participation in worship and in church meetings has enlightened me and challenged me. It has also confirmed my answer to God’s call was the right choice.

As a student I made some mistakes and I am sure I will continue to make some more this year. This is the great part of being in a teaching parish. Your forgiveness and tolerance and guidance through my errors have allowed me to learn from them. Thank you.
I hope to have an exciting year with you as I continue as your student minister. There are some programs we started last year that I would like to continue this year such as the “green initiative.” This year I would like to lead a bible study as well as conduct a family activity – building a model rocket together and launching it.

I have one urgent need. I am looking for two or three individuals to be part of my Teaching Parish Team (TPT). We will meet after church approx. every five weeks. Duties include an honest discussion evaluating my student ministry. We will develop a yearly plan and set goals. The school requires a mid-term evaluation and a year-end evaluation. (I will provide all the necessary forms.) Please talk to me as soon as possible if this opportunity tugs at your heart.
I am so excited to see what God has in store for us this year.
Renee – student seminarian
To my Pastor, and Friends…
The magnificent altar flowers from last Sunday’s service are now pleasing us. Thank you to the donors and Liz Swallom for her cheery visit and bringing them.
Shirley Fairchild (and John)
Altar Flowers
September 3 , In Loving Memory of Linda Hobbs given by Diane Cain
September 3 , In Loving Memory of Stephen Dodge given by Robert, Karen, and Stephen
September 10 ,   In Loving Memory of Verne Slack & Mildred Junkins given by  Shirley Slack
September 17 ,   In Loving Memory of Dorothy & Edward Schweib given by Beverly Cook & family
September 24 ,   In Loving Memory of Russell and Inez Daley Given by Oliphant and Dailey families
Last but not Least...Meet the Staff!
Andrea Jeffrey is front and center in the FCCR office! In addition to fielding phone calls and emails for the office, Andi serves this church in a myriad of other ways: producing the Sunday bulletin, managing the building use and maintenance (including room rentals), maintaining the church calendar, greeting visitors, ordering supplies, sorting the mail, supporting other staff and volunteers, and lots of other tasks, as needed.

Ed Lewis, serving as our Weekday Sexton, fulfills many needs including: setting up and taking down rooms, putting endless items in their proper places, cleaning, repairs and maintenance tasks, taking care of trash and recycling, fixing lights, doors, windows, tables and many other things. Ed is supervised by Office Administrator Andrea Jeffrey, and also coordinates with the Property team and other staff. He responds to the needs of both church and renters, and helps with occasional IT issues in the office, as well. Ed brings a new level of expertise to FCCR, since he is an experienced church sexton. His knowledge about contractors is extensive and his help in improving overall systems in the long-term will be great assets for our church.

Kristin Doucette focuses her work in the office on communication to and about FCCR. She prepares the weekly E-News, the weekly worship Power Point presentations as well as the Monthly Newsletter. She is also working on some new marketing projects for the church including communication pieces about the new children's program and also on increasing FCCR's presence on social media.