First ChurchNEWS
Welcome Back! We hope everyone had a wonderful summer filled with both adventure and relaxation. Here at FCCR we are getting ready for a fantastic fall - filled with friends, worship, music, groups and events.
We look forward to seeing you!
Sunday Worship Schedule & Monthly Calendar
A Message from the Deacons
Pastor's Ponderings
Olde Redding Faire Update
FCCR Groups Beginning
Event Summaries
Help Wanted
Confirmation & Thank You
Finance Team Update
Monthly Good Reads
Within the Halls of FCCR
Altar Flowers & Prayers Summary
Worship at FCCR UCC in September
September 9 – Reading Street Fair Sunday Worship in the Chapel   
 Leader/Preacher: Rev. Lisa
Music: Jill Lauterwasser
Fellowship with Cookies & Punch

September 16 – Welcoming Sunday in the Sanctuary
Preacher: Rev. Lisa
Music: Handbells & Jill
Nursery Care                              
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel
September 23 – Sunday Worship in the Sanctuary
Preacher: Rev. Lisa 
Music: Chancel Choir & Jill
Nursery Care                              
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel

September 30 – Sunday Worship in the Sanctuary on Our Faire Weekend!
Preacher: Rev. Lisa
Music: Chancel Choir & Jill
Nursery Care                              
Coffee & Fellowship in the Chapel
Please Click for the full September Calendar
Dear Members & Friends of FCCR,
The Deacons would like to thank Rev. Lisa Stedman for all her years of service at FCCR. The energy and love that she has poured into this church community is abundantly evident, and we are so grateful for all that she has done. We wish her all the best on her life journey as she moves on to her next great adventure! We look forward to celebrating our ministry together this fall.
The Deacons also want to assure the congregation that we are focused on what's next for our church. As the ministry/committee that carries responsibility for our spiritual life and worship leadership (with the addition of Moderator Barbara Philbrick), we will be meeting with Rev. Wendy Vander Hart, Associate Conference Minister for the Metro Boston area of the UCC, to move forward with the process of hiring an interim pastor. As part of her duties, Wendy assists with pastoral transitions and searches, and provides support for area UCC churches. Our meeting with her is set for Sept. 4th, and we have a follow up meeting scheduled to begin the work the following week. We are grateful to be part of a denomination that provides good support and resources for this phase of our journey.
We will keep the congregation informed and updated as we move along through this process. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to any of us.
Barbara Philbrick, Moderator
And your Deacons,
Beverly Erickson, Jennifer Souza, Joan Kingston, Larry Piper, Mark Johnson, & Meg Bond
Pastor's Ponderings
Dear Friends,

It hardly seems like fall with the temperatures soaring into the 90's, but all other signs point to that reality. School has begun, our bell choir has started rehearsing, and the atrium and library and hallways are filling up with donations for the Olde Redding Faire! This year, the piles for the Faire seem bigger than ever!

At FCCR, we have a lot going on this fall. In addition to the Faire at the end of this month, we have programs beginning (like  Let's Talk  on Sept. 11th and Handbell rehearsals) and meetings resuming.
Among these are the work of the Deacons to learn about and begin the process of hiring an Interim Minister to work with you after the conclusion of our ministry together in November. You can read a first brief article about that process elsewhere in this newsletter. It is my hope that you will hold the Deacons, our Moderator, and all of our church leadership in your prayers as they proceed with this important work.

I am most grateful for the gracious and loving response you have offered to my letter of resignation. It is an honor and a joy to spend time with many of you as we give thanks for the relationships and ministry we have shared. You are most welcome to drop in during my office hours (posted in enews and the bulletin each week), to call and/or email to let me know if you'd like to have a visit during these next 2 months.

One of the resources I rely on for hope and vision for the wider church is The Center for Progressive Renewal (aka  CPR at ). Their motto at present reflects my hopes and prayers for FCCR and for all faith communities: "We believe that your church's best days are ahead." 

May God bless us and help us make it so.
Faithfully, Lisa
Olde Redding Faire 2018!
Friday September 28, 5-8pm & Sat. September 29, 9am-2pm

While we enjoy the last weeks of the summer, let’s turn our thoughts to the Faire. 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 !

The Silent Auction is looking for your donations!  We usually have a lot of gift certificates, so if you have a new physical item to donate – homemade or bought – that would be great. However, we do love gift certificates and service donations such as babysitting and baked- or cooked-to order offerings. Please contact Julie Redard at or 781-439-1861 if you have questions.  Thank you!  
Ring in the new church year!
Handbell choir begins its season on Wednesday, September 5, and it will participate in worship for the first time on Sunday, September 16. 

New ringers are welcome beginning with an open rehearsal on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:15 PM.  If you’ve ever wanted to see what ringing is all about, here’s your chance! Our ringers and director Martha Goodman will help you to explore this exciting art. You’ll learn how to hold the bell, how to make it ring, and, just as important, how to make it stop ringing.

You don't need to be a musical expert to ring handbells. A basic understanding of musical notation is helpful, but it's not required. It’s also useful if you can tell your right hand from your left hand and if you can count to four. The rest can be learned along the way.  If you get bitten by the ringing bug, we have a place for you at the table this year—but attending the open rehearsal does NOT obligate you to continue. For more information, or if you cannot attend the September 19 rehearsal but are considering participating in the handbell program, please contact Martha at or call her at home at 508-533-6790.
Consider Joining the Choir!
The Choir Season begins on Sunday, September 23 at 8am for rehearsal and then singing in worship at 10am. If you've ever considered joining this fun and important ministry, this is your year!!! We welcome all and we'll help you out along the way. Questions? Contact Rev. Chad at . See you in rehearsal on 9/23/18.
Care Committee
We would like to update the generous list of parishioners willing to provide an occasional meal for any member in need. The current categories have been :
  • whenever
  • weekly
  • monthly
  • every other month
  • twice a year
 Please email Margot Habel:
Let's Talk
This conversation group, now possibly in its third or fourth year, will begin its meetings on Tuesday afternoon at 1 pm, September 11 th . Because of the Faire, we will not meet on the 25 th . However, our normal habit – which we will begin in October – is to meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Our time together goes from 1 to 2:30, although folks are invited to feel free to come or go as their schedules demand. We have snacks – what would a church gathering be without food! – and we share in conversation about whatever is on our minds or in our hearts. Sometimes it is a theological matter, sometimes it is reflection on a past sermon, and other times it’s about the goings on in the world. We have gluten free snacks so please join us if you can. Everyone is welcome.
Yarning to Care
Anyone who enjoys handwork with yarn is invited to join us on the fourth Monday night of each month. We meet in the Parlor starting at 7 and conclude at 8:30 pm. We have knitters and crocheters among us, and almost always someone who can help if there is need with a pattern or a dropped stitch. We make any number of things – shawls, baby blankets, hats, or whatever it is you feel called to make. While we knit, we talk. What?? Yes. We do. We talk about what’s going on in the world and what’s going on in our worlds. If you would like to attend and have questions, feel free to talk with either Carol Patterson or Gay Williams. Hope to see you!
The Book Group has an exciting Fall program lined up.     You are invited to join the Book Group in October for the first meeting of the program year as we discuss Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, by Scott Kelly. You are encouraged to visit and join in one of our always thought-provoking discussions!

Join us on Tuesday, October 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Parlor, when we’ll be discussing this book and doubtless many other topics. 

The Washington Post said:
For many of us, the childhood fantasy never went away. We grew up glued to our grainy black-and-white TVs, watching with awe as Alan Shepard and John Glenn rocketed into space in blazing glory. It was easy to imagine that, someday in the future, we'd have the same chance to be free from the confines of gravity. Few have gotten that opportunity, but "Endurance," astronaut Scott Kelly's memoir (written with Margaret Lazarus Dean) of his record-setting year on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015, offers Earthlings an informative and gripping look at both the adventures and day-by-day experiences of living in a metal container that is orbiting Earth at 17,500 mph.

Help Needed
As August draws to a close, and September begins, our hard working Sexton could very much use a little hand with some tasks. Moving tables and chairs certainly requires more than one pair of hands! So if you have a few hours to help move chairs, tables, perhaps assist with sweeping in an afternoon it would be greatly appreciated. I'll gladly sign off on Community Service hours that students may require! Please email or call Andi in the office.
First of all, another thank you to all who helped out, donated visual art items, or attended the Feast to the Fourth Power last month. The event was held on a Saturday night deep into summer when many folks were on vacation, and on a day marked by rain. Nonetheless, it was a success in that we had fun, met some nice people, enjoyed the artistic gifts of a number of people, and raised $576 dollars for the Reading Food Pantry.
Should we do other events like this in the future? Yes, we should. Having a meal with a cause – and even some entertainment – seems to be the recipe for success as the Thanksgiving Dinner team proved last fall. Want to consider planning one? I will help. And so will others. Let’s keep “the feast” of community and giving going. ~Gay Williams
Final Pledge Update
Doves soar! We wanted you to know that we closed out June with 78 – seventy-eight – pledges for the coming year. Thank you for giving prayerful thought to your giving, and for your participation in the conversations of the spring. This church matters to many, and we saw that in the commitment response. We had the shortest window for our pledge drive that anyone can recall in years, and great success. Pledge receipts totaled $155.5K, with $133.0 K for church use and $22.5K for mission giving.  The impact of this good news is about a $20K reduction in our budgeted shortfall. God is good; and so are you!
Common Cathedral
On Sunday , August 28th, FCCR continued our long tradition of service to and fellowship with members of the Common Cathedral Community .   Paula Ewenstein, CCC Representative expressed the goal of this program: "Our hope as participants is to  share hope, love and Christian community with people experiencing homelessness in Boston." This goal was certainly achieved as veterans and novice participants, Linda Anaian, Larry Piper, Meg Bond, Chace Bond, Jennifer Souza, Megan Nystrom, Bella Erickson, Mark, Michael and Casey Chabra served over 160 sandwiches, snacks, eggs, fruit and desserts on a wonderful Sunday afternoon by the Brewer Fountain on the Boston Common. Many thanks go out to all who contributed to the informal feast, thanks to Betsy Schneider, Jim Maitland, Gay Williams, Craig Vickery, Joan Kingston, Jeannie Peirce, Joann Takehara Sanford and Liz Swallom and to all the participants who also made contributions. Thanks to Linda and Betsy for their guidance and to Shirley Holden and Gay Williams and all in the congregation who wished us well and supported this project..... till next year.  
Confirmation 2019
We are working to compile a list of youth who are interested in participating in Confirmation this program year. If you have(or know) a child/teen in the 8th grade or who would be in this program, please be sure to get their name and contact information to Reverend Lisa no later than October 1st.
Thank You

Thank you for the beautiful altar flowers that Gay delivered one Sunday in July. Wayne and I enjoyed their beauty for many days .
Margot and Wayne Habel

I want to thank everybody for all your kindness, caring, and help during the month I have been ill.  God Bless, Marcie Atkins. 
August 6  In Loving Memory of Kitty Jones by Circle 8.

August 13  In Loving Memory of loved ones no longer with us by The Pipers.
August 20  In Loving Memory of Ernest Degel by his wife Eunice Degel and family.
August 27  In Loving Memory of Reverend Alan B. Bond by his family.
Growing in Faith, Going Out to Serve
The First Congregational Church of Reading
Produced by our Church Family, September 2018