First ChurchNEWS
Welcome to the FIRST electronic edition of the FCCR Monthly Newsletter!
Following the example of organizations worldwide - and churches right here in Reading, we are moving in the direction of paperless communications. It's a small way to reduce our carbon footprint, AND provide our membership with real-time communication.
We hope you enjoy it!

If you still prefer to receive a printed, paper copy mailed to your home please email or call the office at 781-944-0205.
Sunday Worship Schedule & Monthly Calendar
FCCR Partnering to Support a Refugee Family
Olde Redding Faire
Learning Ministry
FCCR Groups Beginning
Your Church Invites You
Pastor's Ponderings
Updates & Thank You
Altar Flowers & Prayers
Coordinating Ministry: Finance Team Members
September Finance Team Update
Monthly Good Reads
September Worship Schedule
September 3 – Summer Worship in the Chapel with Communion
Preacher: Rev. Lisa     Music: Larry Piper
Fellowship with Cookies & Punch

September 17 – Welcoming Sunday in the Sanctuary with a Baptism
Preacher: Rev. Lisa  Music: Handbells & Jill
Prayers: Rev. Lisa                
Children’s Message: Renee Manning
Nursery Care & Church School with Registration for Children
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel
September 10 – Reading Fall Fair Sunday Worship                
Leader/Preacher: Rev. Lisa                  Music: tbd
Fellowship with Cookies & Punch
September 24 – Sunday Worship in the Sanctuary
Preacher: Rev. Lisa  Music: Chancel Choir & Jill
Prayers: Renee                    
Children’s Message: Renee Manning
Nursery Care & Church School for Children
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel
September Calendar (click on the image to enlarge)

FCCR Partnering to Support a Refugee Family         
Our CHURCH is working with a coalition of local Reading Churches to resettle a refugee family in the Reading area. The project is spearheaded by our friends at St. Agnes Parish and in association with Catholic Charities of Boston, which has established a program called Parishes/People Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR). Our churches is just one of those joining together to support a refugee family in the near future.
Typically, refugee families are transitioning from lives of persecution, civil war, severe drought or famine. They have been driven or escaped from their homes and are getting the opportunity to begin new lives in the U.S. Before arriving in the United States, they will have their visas and plane tickets and will have been thoroughly vetted by the US government. They will be given some financial help from the federal government, but that is insufficient in most parts of the country.

Refugees need assistance from us until they can become self-sufficient. Catholic Charities advises that that period is 6 – 8 months. Over this period, we will offer affordable housing, financial assistance, employment, neighborhood orientation, friendship and more.
We have not yet been assigned a family, but we are advised that we would likely receive only 2 – 4 weeks’ notice that a family will be arriving, so time is of the essence. We are working hard now to be ready.

The partnership is seeking volunteers in many areas. If you can volunteer your time, you decide what you are able to do and how much time you can provide. If you can donate money, it is tax deductible and will go entirely to support the family. If you have a rental property, or know of one which would be affordable and available for rent, please let us know. Our target for rental is $1,700 (2 bedroom apartment for a family of ~ 4), but anything less would give us more flexibility for the family. FCCR has several volunteers already on board with this project, but we are seeking additional persons to learn about the program and be liaisons with the coalition leadership. Please contact me if you are interested in supporting this effort or if you have any questions about FCCR’s partnership in the POWR Program. Many thanks and blessings, Rev. Lisa
Olde Redding Faire 2017!
While we enjoy the last weeks of the summer, let’s turn our thoughts to the Faire. The Faire will run Friday, September 22nd 5-8pm, and Saturday, September 23rd 10am-2pm. We need YOUR donations of goods and time to make this another successful event. Remember, this is not only a fundraiser for FCCR and the community at large, but also a major fellowship event for the church and its friends. So, roll up your sleeves and join your neighbors in creating another joyous Olde Redding Faire! Simply click the ORANGE BUTTON below or contact Betsy Schneider at !
Join us for the start of another amazing year of FCCR Church School!
Welcoming Sunday on September 17 th marks the begining of another year of learning and fun for the children of our congregation. This year we have created a rotational model that includes structured activities in the sanctuary, one room schoolhouse learning and hands-on service based activities, all centered on a unified theme that flows with weekly worship services. We invite any and all children to join in the fun, and as always, Julie will be available on Sunday mornings in the nursery to care for the youngest members of our church family. The schedule for September is as follows:  
              9/17: Welcoming Sunday with Activites in the Sanctuary
              9/24: One-room schoolhouse learning Sunday
              10/1: Hands-on Activity Sunday
As always the Learning Ministry is looking for volunteers to teach, lead activities, or just be a second set of hands. If you are able to help on just one Sunday, or sign-up for a few, please reach out to Melissa Carpenter via email at Your help is vital to being able to provide our youth with a Church School program!
Ring in the new church year!
Handbell choir rehearsals begin immediately after Labor Day, on Wednesday, September 6, in preparation for our first appearance in church on September 17. We invite new ringers to our wonderful music ministry. Beginners are welcome; it is helpful to know your left hand from your right and to be able to count to four! A full year commitment is NOT required but, during your period of participation, you should be willing to commit to regular attendance at weekly rehearsals and monthly Sunday worship appearances. If you enjoy making music in a supportive group environment and want a new activity that will help keep your brain and body fit, this is the place for you. For more information and year’s schedule, call Martha Goodman at 508-533-6790 or .
Calling all Singers!
The Chancel Choir program year is about to begin and we would love to have you with us. Please consider joining us on Sunday, September 24 for our first rehearsal at 8 am. The choir is open to all levels of singers - trained or not! It is a great community and a lovey way to support this congregation in worship. Any question? Please contact Rev. Chad at .
Let's Talk
We hope you will consider joining us, once or regularly, for conversation and care on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month. Our initial Let's Talk will occur on Tuesday, September 12th. 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 p.m. and conclude at 2:30 pm. Hope to see you.
Yoga at FCCR
Stretch – Balance - Relax
Yoga classes will be starting up after Labor Day this September. We will meet at 4pm on Wednesdays in the Chapel. The instructor, Sandy Griffin, is adept at modifying the program to suit a variety of abilities and physical concerns. 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 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
Your Church Invites You!
As we head into a new program year, we are seeking people who are interested in serving God in the church and community in new and different ways. Please give some serious consideration and prayer as to whether and how you might help FCCR in the coming year. We are particularly seeking folks to help with the following:

INTERNAL ROLES: Church Historian – Our long-time historian, John Myers, is moving. A new person, who cares about the history and historical documentation of our church is being sought.

Learning Ministry – If you love children and/or are curious about how children can be encouraged to grow with a love for God and an understanding of faith, Learning Ministry welcomes you!

Stewardship & Fund-Raising – As we consider how to make appropriate and ‘best’ use of our financial resources, we also need to encourage and facilitate generous giving to our operating funds and endowment.

‘At Large’ Representative to Coordinating Ministry – Coordinating Ministry is the executive board of the church. ‘At-large’ members have no official role with other ministries or committees, they help keep the ‘big picture’ perspective. We are still seeking one member.

MISSION & EXTERNAL ROLES: Delegate to the wider UCC – see the wider church in action by attending United Church of Christ association and conference meetings as FCCR’s representative.

Refugee Resettlement Team – FCCR is a partner in the inter-faith effort in Reading to sponsor and support a refugee family. We need a few more folks to learn and be liaisons with the community leadership committee.

If you find yourself drawn to any of these roles contact Rev. Lisa or Moderator Barbara Philbrick.
Pastor's Ponderings
Today in worship, I reflected on the passage from Matthew 16 in which Jesus asks the disciples “Who do you say that I am?” I suggested that Jesus asks the same question of us in our world and lives today, as well.
While I firmly believe that our answers are as individual as we are, I also know our church is committed to answers that includes the belief that Jesus is the Son of the living God who is the God of love and justice. As such, we stand united in recognizing each person as God’s beloved ‘no matter who they are or where they are on life’s journey’ and in standing and working for justice and peace for all people. This is at the very core of our faith at FCCR.
In the face of public white supremacist gatherings, increasing hate crimes (including recurring swastika graffiti in our Reading schools), divisive rhetoric and even violent confrontations, we are asked by our God and our neighbors to demonstrate our faith and stand clearly for the God in whom we believe so deeply.
It is gratifying to know that there are many ways we do this as a church community; in our warm welcome to all and in our mission giving, in the ways we open our building to the community and the lessons we share with our children. These are things we already do, and do well and proudly. The good and challenging news is that with a world that is there is much more to do!
This summer we have joined with a coalition of churches in Reading to welcome and support a family of refugees to a new life in our midst. In partnership, we are all undertaking the necessary preparations and training to be generous and gracious hosts. This fall, we will join with others in our town who seek to make it clear that we are a place where inclusion and understanding are the norm and hatred toward others (in speech or action) is unacceptable.

One part of making it clear that we embrace diversity is to state it clearly at our church and our homes. To that end, I have placed an order for additional signs in the Hate Has No Home Here series. Many of you have seen these scattered through Reading or elsewhere. Now, you have the opportunity to display one yourself. We hope to have them delivered within the next week, after which they will be available in the church office at no charge. Our version of the sign will have the phrase translated into Arabic, Urdu, Korean, Hebrew and Spanish, in addition to English, thus speaking to neighbors we know we have in Reading, and beyond.
It is my sincere hope that many of you will post a sign in your yard or a window of your home, and that you will join in further actions that we will engage this fall as we continue to demonstrate our faith in Jesus, the One who showed us the love and justice of the living, still-speaking God.
Many Blessings,
We are very disappointed to share that things have not worked out for FCCR to bring Hyunwoo Koo on as our new Director of Children & Family Ministries. Unfortunately, it turns out his employment is not possible due to his immigration status and the rules of the PH.D program in which he is enrolled. The Learning Ministry is continuing to search for an appropriate candidate for this position. If. you are concerned for our Church School or have an interest in helping out on the Learning Ministry, please speak to chair Melissa Carpenter or Rev. Lisa. Please hold this as a concern in your prayers. Thank you.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house. [John 14:2] And if you had any doubt, ask any one who has worked on the interior beautification efforts over the summer months. And, it turns out, there are many garden and shrub areas in God's house as well. We extend deep thanks to each and every one who had a part in the interior or exterior efforts over the past couple of months. There are no names here lest someone be overlooked. But - you can't go wrong saying "thank you" to anyone at church since many have played a part!
August 6th Given to the Glory of the Lord

August 13 In Memory of Loved Ones no longer with us, given by the Piper Family
August 20 In loving Memory of Ernest Degel, given by his wife Eunice Degel and Family.
August 27 in loving memory of Rev Alan B. Bond by his family
There were many prayers this past month, including many for our world at large:
The people of Charlottesville Virginia; People who live in places where there is flooding, fires, or other natural disasters;All whose lives have been touched by terrorism; An end to racism, anti-Semitism, and other bigotry and hatred.
Wisdom for leaders in Washington DC and throughout all levels of government. CLICK FOR THE PRAYERS SUMMARY