First Things First

A weekly eNewsletter from

The First Church in Oberlin, United Church of Christ

An open and affirming, Just Peace, Green Justice, Global Mission Congregation

No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here!

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Worship Resources


November 20th @ 10am

Protocols and Guidelines
First Church - Live Stream Worship via Facebook
Thank you for your donations.


We have relaxed and significantly simplified our COVID guidelines. Please take a moment to carefully review this document.

Should you experience COVID symptoms please visit the website for Lorain County Public Health for information on testing and guidance regarding isolation here.

A note re: singing

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music continues to have masking requirements in place for group singing. While these requirements remain in place we asking congregants to continue to mask whenever they sing. An exception has been granted to the Finney Choir given the physical distance between the choir and the congregation. Masking for the choir is at the discretion of the Director of Music. We anticipate that the Conservatory will review its singing protocols in the near future. When that happens we will revisit congregational masking requirements re: singing. We appreciate your patience and cooperation.

Protocols and Guidelines

Thank You Letter from Oberlin Community Services!

Click the button below to see the thank you letter OCS sent us for our pledge to their re-building project!

NEW! Also see the thank you letter OCS sent us for our pledge payment for 2022!

Total Pledge Thank You Letter
2022 Pledge Payment Thank You Letter

Announcements and Events For.....

First Church, Its Mission, and Its Ministry

Thanksgiving Day and Native American Heritage Day

In recognition of Thanksgiving Day and Native American Heritage Day, the office will be closed on Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th. The office will be open again on Monday, November 28th. Happy holidays!

David's Vacation and Pastoral Care

David is on vacation from November 14th through November 20th.

We invite you to join us on Sunday, Nov. 20 for a lay-led service of remembering the saints that have touched our lives, particularly those who have died in the past year.

In case of a pastoral emergency, please contact Barbara Davis on her home phone at (440)774-1660 or on her cell phone at (440)732-8610, or call the office at (440)775-1711. Pastoral care instructions are also available in the Pastor's voicemail message if you contact the office after hours.

Stewardship Campaign

Thanks to everyone who has turned in their pledge for 2023. If you haven’t turned yours in yet, please do so as soon as possible. Remember 20% of all pledges turned in by December 31, 2022 will be budgeted for Outreach projects. If you need a replacement pledge card, a digital version is provided in this eNews. Thank you for your faithful support of First Church with your time, your talent, and your treasure. 

Digital Pledge Card

Pumpkin Roll Time is Here!

A final reminder that the youth are making pumpkin rolls this Friday, November 18th, at 6 pm. Come help if you can! 

Pumpkin Rolls will be available for pickup after church this Sunday, November 20th. Payment of $10 is due at pickup. All proceeds will go toward the youth's purchase of gifts for the OCS Holiday Helping Hands program. 

Thanks for your contributions to our youth's ministry to others! 

Honoring and Commemorating Loved Ones this Christmas

The Worship Committee, responding to the increased needs in our community, is offering two ways to honor or memorialize loved ones this Advent/Christmas season. We will be ordering 30 Poinsettia plants, but will also have a “Giving Tree” where members and friends may make a $12.00 (or greater) gift and each gift will be represented by a red bow on a tree in the Meeting House. These gifts will be forwarded to the Outreach Committee for distribution to those agencies providing direct aid within the community. A digital form is provided below, please return the form along with payment to the Poinsettia Box in the Gallery or mail it to the church. The last day to order poinsettias and red bows is Sunday, December 4th.

Order Form

Adult Ed. Bible Studies return!

Please join William Vanderbilt after church in the JFO Room on November 20th (THIS SUNDAY) and 27th for more exploration of shorter books of the Bible! These studies are designed to be self-contained - so no long term commitment is needed - come to as few or as many as you like. William will be focusing on the book of Jude.on the 20th and Haggai on the 27th.

Get ready for the Christmas pageant!

Our Christmas pageant will take place during worship on Sunday, December 18th, and all children who wish to participate are invited to do so!  We will have rehearsals after church on the first three Sundays of Advent (November 27th, December 4th, and December 11th) which will last until noon.  We will also have a dress rehearsal on Saturday, December 17th, from 10 am until noon.  If you’d like to be part of the pageant, please let Jen know, so she knows to create a part for you!  

Messy Church returns December 4th - and we need your help!

Jen is looking for a few folks to help with our Messy Church Advent Workshop. Our Worship experience December 4th will include a meal, as well as activities and discussion surrounding the story of the birth of John the Baptist, Jesus's cousin. A few activity leaders are needed, as well as at least one more cook. Call Jen in the church office to let her know you can help!

One of our activities will be creating a display featuring our church family. If you plan to attend virtually, we would still like to have you participate! Please print out the ornament template below, and add your name to it (you may also feel free to decorate it as you wish). Mail or bring it back to the church, and we'll make sure it gets onto the church family tree!

Ornament Template


Do you want to have a rain garden on the First Church property? Have you wondered if the playground will be rebuilt? Where should we put the Peace Pole? Are you happy with grassy, green space? We would like to know what shared outdoor spaces are important to you, and where you might like to see them placed.

Displayed in the Fellowship Hall is a property map of the First Church grounds. Also included are stickers and a key to what those stickers represent. Please place the appropriately colored stickers in the places you would like to see any of the following:

Playground – orange dot

Rain garden – yellow dot

Prairie garden – green dot

Meditation space – pink dot

Peace pole – star sticker

There are also nearby comment sheets so you can make additional comments or suggestions.

Thanks for your input!

Climate Hope Cards

As part of our October 30th Green Team service, the children of the church were given the opportunity to participate in the UCC's Climate Hope Cards Contest! Between now and November 29th, every UCC person under age 18 is invited to draw, paint, or color their feelings about climate hope, environmental justice, or protecting the earth. An art worksheet is available in the Gallery - or you can create your own at home! Upload a photo or a scan of the art here. Winners will be announced during an online award ceremony on Saturday, January 7th. The winners of the Art Contest will have their art printed on thousands of Climate Hope Cards to be collected by UCC members around the country and ultimately delivered en masse to the White House. Want more info? Click the link below.

More Information

Joann Dakos and LCCC's Lifelong Learning program.

First Church member Joann Dakos was recently featured in an article about Lorain County Community College's Center for Lifelong Learning. Read more about how a Christmas present from her daughters led to the pursuit of creating watercolor paintings.

Article 1
Article 2

Having trouble viewing the articles? Click the button below for a PDF version of the article.

PDF Version


On Friday, November 18th at 7:00pm in Oberlin, the Barbee’s SIM colleagues, David and Sandy Ludena, will be in Oberlin to share about their ministry and work in rural Loja province. They will be speaking in the JFO room of First Church. We are excited to have them here for a visit and would love for family and friends to come and meet our dear colleagues. Their commitment to minister in very challenging places inspires us. We hope to see you there!

In Case You Missed It!

Here is a link to the recent Oberlin Weekday Community Meals Benefit Concert!

Book Group

The First Church Book group meets via Zoom every Tuesday at 4 pm and ends at around 5:30 pm. To join, you just need to let the First Church Office know that you’d like to be on the list and you’ll receive an email invitation to the Zoom meeting every week. 

Have questions? Contact anyone in the Book Group Task Force which (roughly) organizes the meetings: Laurel Price Jones, Anne Elder, Heather Laughman, Lindsay Graves, or Linda Gates. 

Look ahead to see what books are being discussed. One book mentioned by Jeanne McKibben in her reflection on Sunday, October 30 - Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing - will be read and discussed in January. See the attached schedule.


This program started as a pilot program in the fall of 2021 and is open to ALL seniorsActivities will include socialization, activities, medical screening, healthy lunches, and support services to meet individual needs.

Supportive service staff is on hand to meet needs such as benefits assistance, rent and/or utility assistance, or helping set up other community resources.

We hope to bring this mobile program to more communities throughout Lorain County. Current programs are listed below with more to come soon.

Join Us for a FREE cup of coffee

Oberlin, Ohio

First Church in Oberlin United Church of Christ

106 N. Main St. Oberlin, Ohio 44074


10:00 am to 3:00 pm

LaGrange, Ohio

LaGrange Village Hall

301 Liberty St. LaGrange, Ohio 44050


10:00 am to 3:00 pm

The NEW Site!

Wellington, Ohio

LCCC Wellington Center

151 Commerce Dr. Wellington

Ohio 44090

EVERY 1st Tuesday

10:00 am to 3:00 pm

The Wider Church

Trans-Nonbinary Collection

Trans-Nonbinary resources from the UCC, including shirts and other wearables along with essential guides to Open and Affirming Planning and Being a Trans Ally.


This Advent, United Church of Christ leaders are calling for renewed engagement in contemporary abolition movements. One way to take part is through a virtual Abolition Advent Calendar: daily scripture, reflections and prayers shared via email and social media.

The Advent calendar comes from the UCC’s Join the Movement Toward Racial Justice initiative, lead by the Rev. Velda Love, minister for racial justice.

For many, “abolition” conjures up images of the 19th-century movements to free enslaved Africans. But activists continue to adopt this powerful word to call for abolishing unjust and harmful systems that exist today. This especially is true for systems that are deemed to increase racial and economic disparities.

“In the season of Advent, where we await and prepare for the coming of transformational Love in flesh and bone, we want to invite engagement with contemporary abolition movements, from those who are working to dismantle the prison industrial complex, to those who are fighting for reproductive justice, to those who are leaning into new ways to address harm and engage conflict, and beyond,” said Love.

For more information and how to sign up, click the links below!

More Information on Abolition Advent Calendars
Sign Up for the Abolition Advent Calendars

The Wider Community

Koinonia Farms

For decades First Church members have supported the mission of Koinonia Farm, founded in 1942 by Clarence and Florence Jordan and Martin and Mabel England as a “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God.” The farm in Americus, Georgia is an intentional community of believers sharing their lives and resources, following the example of the first Christian communities as described in the Acts of the Apostles. They have sustained their community through the years by selling products, many made from the exceptionally delicious pecans they harvest annually.

If you are wondering which would be the best Koinonia products to bring to Thanksgiving or looking for gifts with free shipping, browse their Holiday Gift Guides to make the holidays easier. Place your order directly through Koinonia Farm. Linda Slocum will not be ordering in bulk and offering products after the Sunday service this year.

Click Here to Order

Oberlin Community Services Needs Our Help!

OCS is low on food this month! Some things they would appreciate being donated are:

  • Corn
  • Green Beans
  • Stuffing
  • Mushroom Soup
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Pumpkins
  • Macaroni
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Rolls

If you can donate any of these, please contact OCS! Their contact information and drop off information are detailed in the flyer below. Thank you for any help you can provide!



Are you looking for a way to help individuals in your community? Consider becoming a Hospice of the Western Reserve Volunteer. Volunteers are needed to serve patients at the Hospice Houses, in their own homes, and area nursing homes/assisted living facilities. There are also many virtual and face-to-face opportunities available including Veterans Serving Veterans, Attorney, Notary and Licensed Hairdresser. Virtual training series are held every month for new volunteers. Prospective volunteers may register for training once prerequisites are met. For more information, contact us at 216-255-9090 or fill out an online application at hospicewr.org/volunteer.


Hospice of the Western Reserve holds Warehouse Sales throughout the year. We are looking for additional items to be donated for our next sale. Items needed include furniture, housewares, domestics, collectables, framed artwork, seasonal items, and fine & costume jewelry. Items are accepted up until two weeks before a sale. The sales are held at Hospice of the Western Reserve Headquarters, 17876 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44110. Proceeds support patients and families of Hospice of the Western Reserve. For more information on making a donation, please contact us at 216-255-9090. And mark December 10/11 on your calendars if you would like to attend the sale.

Volunteer Opportunities

Oberlin Needs Our Input!

The City of Oberlin has commissioned Retail Strategies and specifically the Downtown Strategies group to develop a 5-year strategic plan for Oberlin's downtown as a part of the Community Action Plan. They are asking for the community to complete a survey so they can understand what the current situation is and what people would like to see in a strategic plan.

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO OFFER YOUR OPINIONS - we at OBP hope you will participate in the survey and let your opinion be known - it is the best way to allow your voice to make a difference.

Flyer With More Information
More Information on Their Website about the Plan
Take the Survey
Additional Links & Information
Lorain Co. Health Department - COVID web page
NAMI Covid-19 Resource Guide and Information
Oberlin - Covid 19
Oberlin Bus. Partner.
ORSL Newsletter
Oberlin Community Services
Oberlin Heritage Center
Environ. Dashboard
United Church of Christ
Heartland Conference
Streams of Connection Newsletter: stay connected with the Living Water Association!
Living Water Association

If you are searching for ways to become more fully engaged in the life of the church, please contact Rev. David T. Hill by calling the church office at (440) 775-1711 or by sending an email to the church office.
First Church Anti-Racism Resources
Anti-Racism Statement
Submission information:
Deadline for articles and information is Wednesday at 10 AM.
For entire list of submission requirements, click here. Thank you.
Email information to: office@firstchurchoberlin.org