Straight to the Point
September 23, 2020
Prayer for the Week

Lord help us to enter into the troubles of others,
know them as if they were our own,
and act accordingly.
-Avery Brooke

Mike’s Markings
Life at the Intersection of Contemplation and Action

Last week we lost an American treasure in the passing of the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RBG). She was only 5’1” in height but she stood tall as a gifted legal mind and stalwart advocate for justice - particularly gender equality, women’s rights, and the separation of church and state.

Growing up Jewish, her mother told her the biblical stories of the “women of valor.” These women were the heroines of the Hebrew scriptures who were savvy, wise, bold and successful.  It is said that RBG took these stories to heart and used them repeatedly to make meaning for her life and to articulate a faith-driven purpose for living.

In 2015 she was enlisted by the American Jewish World Service to reflect on the meaning of Passover. Remembering that the Passover celebration implores each Jew to imagine themselves having lived through the Exodus story themselves, so that they can learn how to better live their lives today, RBG said that it was important to tell the stories of the women who played crucial roles in the Exodus narrative. She said that telling stories like this help shape what we believe to be possible. She titled her article “The Heroic and Visionary Women of Passover,” naming the five women who played pivotal roles in the story. Their names are unfamiliar, and their stories rarely lifted up: Moses’ mother, Yocheved; the Hebrew midwives, Shifra and Puah; Moses’ sister, Miriam; and Pharaoh’s daughter, Batya.

In reflecting on Batya, RBG cites a midrash from the Babylonian Talmud which says that when Batya’s servants saw that she intended to rescue Moses, they attempted to dissuade her, and asked, “you wish to transgress your father’s decree?"

RBG then comments: “But transgress she did.” And then continues: “These women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world. They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day.”

On a wall in her chambers at the Supreme Court hung three words, penned with beautiful calligraphy, from Deuteronomy 16:20: Tzedek, tzedek tirdof - “Justice, justice, you shall pursue.” These words summarize the larger context in which they are offered and the meaning of the Exodus odyssey. The Israelites have moved from slavery to freedom, but that is not the end of the story. They are to use their freedom for a new life and a new society marked by equality and integrity under the law: “You must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. Justice, justice, you shall pursue” (Deut. 16:19-20).

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a woman of integrity who resisted corruption, who insisted on equality, who pursued justice. We have lost a woman of valor. As this polarized political season heats up, we need more of her spunk, determination, and biblical study to vision how our lives might be used to overcome the “darkness shrouding our world’ and repurposed to shine forth a new ”reality bathed in the light of the day.”


The Nurture Committee is looking for volunteers for greeters. You would need to be present from 9:15 until church starts at 10:30. One person will need to take temperatures starting with those that come for the adult class. The other person will need to hand out name tags. After church the name tags will need to be sanitized.

If you are interested in helping please let Ginger France or Jan Nowlen know.

Congregational Meeting Announcement

Congregation Members:

The Congregational Meeting that was to be held on August 23, 2020 was postponed. It will be held on September 27th, 2020 following the church service to address the concerns brought up in the letter mailed out to the congregation back in August. Pastor Mike has been worikng with the council and the members who have requested the meeting. He will be offering a summary of his findings on how we can best move forward together and will invite conversation.


Pastor Mike has asked that we change our newsletter to go out on Wednesdays, going forward, to allow for a better timeframe of submitting information for it. Going forward, the submission deadline for the weekly Straight to the Point information will be on Tuesdays at noon.
Time to Save Receipts

Please save:
*HyVee grocery receipts (dated Aug 23 and after)
*Boxtops for Education
There’s a collection box wrapped in balloon paper in the narthex near the office.
Thank you~These will be donated to a local school and shared with Mayflower Congregational’s preschool.

Book Club

The book club has resumed meetings. Here are the upcoming meetings and the books they will be reviewing:

-Thursday, Oct 8 at 9:30 AM - Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup Authored by John Carreyrou

-Thursday, Nov 12 at 9:30 AM - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Authored by Willa Cather

These meetings are to be held in the church library, but can also be accessed by ZOOM. Please contact Barb Knepper if you would like to join the meeting via ZOOM.

Sanford Center

The Sanford Center is looking for part-time help—2:30 to 6:30 Monday and 3:30 to 6:30 Tuesday thru Friday. Applicants need to be at least 18 years old. If you know anyone that would be interested, please have them call Gina at the Sanford Center for more information. Her number is (712) 252-9005.


The Missions Committee has been in contact with the Sanford Center about helping to supply food for the meal the students in the after school program are provided with before they go home for the evening. They could use donations of the following items:

Hot dogs and buns
Individual packaged servings of chips, treats (no peanuts), fruit cups, etc.
Juice boxes
Large cans of Nacho Cheese
6 pack boxes of macaroni
  (These two items can be purchased at Sam’s Club
Large cans of chicken noodle soup

You can drop your donations off at church or at the Sanford Center. If you would prefer to send a monetary donation, please send it directly to the Sanford Center and mark it after school meals.

We are using new church management software in the office, which is called REALM by ACS Technology, and this includes a digital directory. Please expect to receive an invitation email from Realm or ACS Technologies.

Please email or call Tiffany in the office with any directory updates that you would like her to include for yourself or your family. You can also pick up one of the directory update forms on the table outside the church office or find it on our website.

Instructions on how to access our new directory can be found by clicking HERE. Please call or email Tiffany if you need to be re-sent an invititation to join/access our directory.


A note from our friends at CROP Walk:
The Sioux City CROP Walk will look a little different in 2020, but our goal is still the same! To help fight hunger locally and around the world. The safety of our walkers is our number one priority, therefore this year the Sioux City CROP Walk will be virtual. 

Please visit their website for more information.

They are mostly asking for online donations but food donations are still accepted as well. Details abou how to donate online, and where to donate food items are all on the above website. If you would like to donate cash or checks, please send them to the church and make them payable to CROP Walk.

Remember to Support FCUCC Financially During this Time!

During this COVID-19 event, having no in-person services has impacted our normal income. Thank you to those who have mailed in checks!

FCUCC Finances for August 2020

Giving in August amounted to $7210.00, all from mail-in and online giving.

You can help us stay on track by mailing in your check or setting up an automatic payment from your bank. You can also contribute through a simple app called is our online, app and web-based giving system. is convenient because it:
·        Accepts debit, credit or bank account info
·        Can be set up for a one-time payment, or automatic regular payments
·        Can be changed at any time (there are no contracts or commitments)
Go to to sign up online, or download the app on any iPhone/Apple or Android device.

Keep the Connection -- Join us on “Zoom”
Todd Siefker will be sending out an invitation link right before each event.

6:30 pm Wednesday – Weekly Reflection Time
9:30 am Sunday – "Admiration Series" Study Session

ZOOM Meetings – Remember to Invite Others!
Invite your friends to attend the Wednesday night, Friday, or Sunday morning gatherings.
Each of us knows people who need connection during this time. You can send your friends the invitation link or send their emails to Todd so he can send them the invitation. This is a way to reach out and enlarge our caring community!
Before each Zoom session, you will receive an email invitation to the session. By clicking on the link included in the invitation, you can join the session.

You can join online with your computer OR by phone.
Follow the instructions that come in the email.
On Wednesday evenings, at 6:30 pm Todd Siefker will lead a reflection time.
Sunday mornings will be a 2-part session from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. 
  • At 9:30 a.m. Todd Siefker will lead the Admiration Series.
  •  At 10:30 a.m. the Worship Service will begin. 

You can join in at any time during the morning by using the Zoom link.

Steps on how to work around a zoom meeting that has a password (passcode)
1.   Setup your own account with zoom
2.   Get link that is sent by the church in email
3.   Click on link it will open the zoon app once you log in to your account
4.   You will see "start new meeting" or "join meeting" click join
5.   This will bring a meeting ID screen - enter the meeting ID that is found in the email from the church
6.   Enter the meeting ID in the meeting ID feild - this will connect you to the meeting
7.   If the passcode is required enter the passcode that is found in the email from church
8.   Click "OK" after you enter the passcode
9.   You should now be in the meeting
The Schwerin Family
Jan Nowlen
Pastor Al Hohl
Antony Allyn Wyckoff -Rosenberg
Tyrell Tanner and Family
Dick Owens
Sandy Gregory
Katherine Trautman
Bud Ziebell
The Bilka Family
Anne Cleghorn
Leo & Vonnie Leonard
Cameron Mower & Family
The Willmott Family
All Teachers and Students

Thank You, Volunteers!

A big "thank you" goes out to our volunteers who have helped with Sunday Services this week. These were:

Greg Gregerson - Worship Leader
Nan Cord - Usher
John and Jerrod Kiernan - Sound, Lighting, and Screen Display

Take Some Time to Check in With Each Other

Remember to “check in” with the person(s) before you and after you in the current church directory. Let's make sure everyone is connected during this time!

Moving-On Box Needs

Dish Soap
Window Cleaner
Spray Bottles of Kitchen/BAthroom Clorox
Fry Pans
9x13 Cake Pans
Paring Knives


We are finding that our newsletter is only being opened by about 42% of the people who receive it by email weekly. Make sure you share the news that we have updated it to this new platform and that is is also posted to our website weekly.

The Soup Kitchen

Council has voted to halt our in-person services to assist at the Soup Kitchen due to the dangers of COVID-19 and will revisit the project at the beginning of the year. If congregants would like to volunteer on their own, please contact the Soup Kitchen directly at their office number: (712) 279-3199.

The Soup Kitchen has been hit hard with the expanded need of families and individuals needing food assistance during COVID-19. They have been serving well over 3000 meals per month and are runing critically low on some items and are completely out of others. Here is the list of current needs. The items in all CAPS are the ones that they are completey out of at the moment.

Tater tots
Individually wrapped snacks
To go containers
To go soup bos with lids
Fruit/Jello/Pudding cups
Food service plastic wrap
Plastic silverware (no knives)
Dinner napkins
Italian dressing
Coco powder
Baking powder (just a small amount)
Instant mashed potatoes
Chicken broth and base
Individual coffee creamers
Styrofoam coffee cups with lids
Hand soap
Frozen vegetables
Oven cleaner
Paper towels
Toilet paper

Erik's Closet Needs:
Tennis shoes
Toilet paper
Shaving cream
Tampons and pads
Body and baby wipes
Body wash
Foot powder
Shampoo and conditioner

You can drop donations and gift cards off at the Soup Kitchen or Mail them to:

717 W. 7th Street
Suoix City, Iowa 51103

They also have Venmo and Paypal for those who would like to donate through that method. Here is the info from them:

If you are wanting to make a donation please use the following:
Venmo : @siouxland-soupkitchen
PayPal :
All donations can be issued a receipt for tax purposes.

Rummage Sale
At this time we have postponed the Rummage Sale, however, those of you who are cleaning and de-cluttering your home during this time, there is plenty of room to store things you wish to get rid of. Just bring them to church when Tiffany is in the office and she will open the doors upstairs for you to bring your things in.

Sharing Our Community Memories and God Moments
In the spirit of Pastor Al Hohl's book on Prayer we've been talking about the importance of Remembering. To Pastor Hohl, forgetting is not the opposite of remembering. He says that DISmembering is actually the opposite of REmembering. He writes, " not remember is to tear apart. What we tear apart runs the risk of being scattered in our imaginations" (Hohl 2020, 172). I believe we would rather not run this risk. 

We are starting our own Story Corps Project. We would like your story about how this faith community has benefited your life in written, audio recorded, or video recorded format. Please send them to Todd at or back to Tiffany at our church email at In case you need some prompts from Pastor Anne to get started, here are a few that might help:

  • I came to FCUCC because . . .
  • The person or group here who has made the most difference in my life is _____ because . . . 
  • I learned something new here that deepened my faith when . . .
  • I was able to make a difference in the community/wider world through FCUCC when . . .
  • A time I met God through FCUCC was . . .
  • A favorite memory I have of my time with FCUCC is . . .
Church Office Hours

Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Church Staff:

Rev. Dr. Michael Castle

Tiffany Watts, Church Administrator

Todd Siefker, Intergenerational Coordinator

Rick Darrow, Organist
Church Contact Information

(712) 239-3385
4600 Hamilton Boulevard
Sioux City, IA 51104
(712) 239-3385