Straight to the Point
December 22, 2020
Announcement

On Friday, December 4, 2020, the Church Council accepted the resignation of Pastor Mike Castle. He will no longer be providing any pastoral duties for FCUCC. We wish him well in his future endeavors. If you have any questions please contact Lois Darrow or Barb Knepper.
NEW! Community Central
Hosted by Lois Darrow
Please Join us for our new meet and check-in with eachother time! We will be hosting a Community Central Zoom Meeting each Sunday at 1:00 p.m. to check in with everyone and keep that church family connection going even though we cannot be physically present with one another right now. If you have questions please ask Tiffany in the office or Lois Darrow.
The Christmas Fund
The Christmas Fund is one of four UCC special mission offerings. In 2020, it has become a lifeline this year for scores of clergy struggling with financial insecurity because of COVID-19. This year's suggested date for the Christmas Fund collection is Sunday, December 20th. Of course, local churches are encouraged to pick an Advent or Christmas date that works best for them. 

Members of FCUCC that would like to contribute to the The Christmas Fund, please send your checks to the church office. 
Poinsettias:
There are 10 poinsettias adorning the cross behind the pulpit for the Christmas Season. If you would like to purchase one for a family member or to enjoy after the christmas season, please send $20. to the church office and indicate it is for a poinsettia and we will let you know when they are available to pick up.  
All Committees:
The office is gathering all committee's December minutes and annual reports so that they can be included in our annual meeting in January. Please ensure to get these to Tiffany before the end of the year so we can ensure that they are included.

Also, to help encourage committees to meet every month, we would like to offer assistance in creating monthly meetings via ZOOM for each committee that needs it. Please contact Tiffany with your committee's meeting date, time, and names of those needing invites. She will help to make sure that everyone has the proper link invitation to gain access to your monthly meetings.
Advent:
We invite you to engage and strengthen your faith with these practices:
 
THE PRACTICE OF WORSHIP: Live Streamed on Facebook and recorded

As we celebrate the season of Advent, our theme is LIGHT IN THE SHADOWS. As the darkness increases around us (in both a literal and figurative sense), Advent calls us to pay attention to the Light that is always present, always shining, even in the darkest of night. It is this Light that shines forth hope, peace, joy and love.
 
We are now up and running to Live Stream our Sunday morning worship service via the church’s page on Facebook at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Each service is recorded and then available to play at a time that is convenient for you. If you need help in figuring out how to access the worship service via Live Streaming or to view the recorded services, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Tiffany, our church administrator. We will be happy to show you how to use this resource.

Please join us for our Christmas Eve service - it will be streamed on our Facebook Page on December 24th at 5:00p.m.
 
THE PRACTICE OF LEARNING: Zoom learning sessions each week 9:30 a.m. each Sunday.
This time of social distancing and staying well and warm indoors, is a great time to engage your mind in learning, to do some theological reflection, to ask some hard questions about God and life, and to test our embedded theology to see if that is where you are now, or where you want to be.

 We will be reading the book THE FIRST CHRISTMAS: WHAT THE GOSPELS REALLY TEACH ABOUT THE BIRTH OF JESUS by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crosssan, who are two outstanding biblical scholars. You can purchase used copies of the book very cheaply on Amazon.com or you can contact the church office where we will have some of these used books available for purchase for $10.

With Todd Siefker taking over the responsibilities of sermons on Sunday morning services and the 9:30 a.m. book study, we have temporarily suspended our Wednesday night meetings. Please see our note above for our NEW community check-in time on Sunday afternoons!
 
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A Closing note about ZOOM:
If you don’t have the ability or the equipment to use Zoom or Facebook to participate in the practices we have named, please call the office. We will be happy to work with you in order to find a solution that will enable you to fully participate in the life of the church during this time of pandemic We don’t want people feeling excluded or feeling isolated from our church community because of the challenges or barriers of technology.

Remember to Support FCUCC Financially During this Time!
Updates from Church Treasurer

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 November 2020

Giving in November amounted to $13,362.00, 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 Tithe.ly. 
        Tithe.ly is our online, app and web-based giving system. Tithe.ly 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 http://get.tithe.ly to sign up online, or download the app on any iPhone/Apple or Android device.
COVID-19 NOTICE:
Due to the widespread coronavirus in our area, we have closed our building to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to our congregation. The council has voted to close the live - in church services until further notice. We will continue with the live streaming of our church service online.
 
If you have any questions call Lois Darrow at 712-490-5969 or the church office.
Directory
Managed by Tiffany Watts, Church Administrator

We are going back to using Instant Church Directory and printed versions of our directory are available by request. Please contact Tiffany in the office if you need help gaining access to our directory or wish to receive a printed version.

Please inform the office of any directory updates that you would like 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.
Our Giving Tree
 Submitted By Donna Popp

Thank you so very much to each of you who have given money to the church for the Giving Tree which benefits the clients of Siouxland Mental Health. I delivered 50 $25 gift cards in Christmas cards to Siouxland Mental Health this morning. They are so appreciative of our generosity in helping their clients have a Merry Christmas. I cannot tell you the wonderful feeling I had when I handed all of those Christmas cards with gift cards enclosed to Scot Colt, and it is because all of you are so caring and willing to share what you have with those less fortunate than yourselves.

Again, thank you each so much and from Siouxland Mental Health to each of you, have a very “Merry Christmas.”

Donna Popp
Time to Save Receipts
Submitted by Ginger France

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.
Sanford Center
Submitted by Jan Nowlen

The after school program at the Sanford Center could use donations of the following items:
Chicken Nuggets
Hot dogs and buns
Individual packaged servings of chips,
Treats (no peanuts),
Fruit cups
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. Thank you!

Bud Ziebel's Family
Jim France (double knee replacement)
Audrey Ercolini's Family
Madison Darrow
Jan Nowlen
Katherine Trautman
All Teachers and Students

Open and Affirming Status

We now have a committee that is dedicated to help us along the path to becoming an Open and Affirming church. We are working dilligently and look forward to bringing a proposal to the Annual Congregational Meeting, which is scheduled for January 24th, 2021.

The people on this committee are: Jay Rosenberg (chair), Suzanne Johnson, Penny Fee, Ellen Shaner, and Kelley McCarthy.
Thank You, Volunteers!

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

Fill-in Minister - Todd Siefker
Worship Leader - Barb Knepper
Live Stream - Jim France
Sound/Lighting - John Kiernan
Screen - Jerrod Kiernan
Moving-On Box Ministry
Submitted by Ginger France

MOB Needs:
Dishes/Bowls
Glasses (plastic, if possible)
9 x 13 Cake Pans
Cookie Sheets
Toasters
Potholders
Dish Soap
Frypans
The Warming Shelter

The Warming Shelter is one of the local agencies that we try to support. If you would like to donate to them, their currents needs list is below:

Cash to pay utilities and security staffing
Granola bars of any kind,
Tube Socks,
Brown Jersey Gloves (inexpensive ones 10/$10)
Men’s and Women’s underwear( Medium and large sizes).
The Soup Kitchen
Updates from Jan Nowlen

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.

Current Needs:
Stick Butter
Bread
Hamburger Buns
Lunch Meat for Sandwiches
Egg Noodles
Sandwich Bags
Dishwasher Soap Pods
Face Masks

Erik's Closet:
Hats
Gloves
Jeans
Underwear
Tennis Shoes
Shampoo
Conditioner
Lotion
Deodorant
Toothpaste
Kleenex
(Travel Sized Toiletried Preferred)

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 : siouxlandsoupkitchen@gmail.com
All donations can be issued a receipt for tax purposes.
Rummage Sale
Updates from Jan Nowlen

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. 
Church Office Hours
While the church is currently closed due to COVID-19, our church administrator has been keeping the office going remotely. If you need access to the building, please come during our custodian, Jim's, hours of 7-11:30am or call Lois or the office to schedule an appointment.

Church Staff:

Tiffany Watts, Church Administrator

Todd Siefker, Intergenerational Coordinator

Jim McCrory, Custodian

Rick Darrow, Organist

Jessica Orr, Nursery Coordinator
Church Contact Information

(712) 239-3385
office@firstcongregational.net
www.firstcongregational.net






office@firstcongregational.net

tsiefker@gmail.com

building@firstcongregational.net

darrowpipe@aol.com

jessica.orr@hotmail.com
4600 Hamilton Boulevard
Sioux City, IA 51104
(712) 239-3385