Straight to the Point
November 17, 2020
Words that Inspire
Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.

Mike’s Markings - Life at the Intersection of Contemplation and Action
Happy Anniversary to the Mayflower Compact
I thought I would share a little pre-Thanksgiving trivia this week! Did you know that November 21 will mark the 400th Anniversary of the signing of the Mayflower Compact? The Mayflower had originally set sail from Plymouth, England, bound for the colony of Virginia — but fierce storms blew them off course, and they arrived instead off Cape Cod. Of approximately 100 people on board, about half were religious separatists (known as “Saints” or, later, “Puritans” and now as Members of the United Church of Christ!) who had split from the Church of England. Since they’d missed Virginia entirely, the leaders on board thought it wise — not least because of simmering tensions between the Puritan separatists and the ship’s other passengers — to draw up a provisional system of government while they waited for a new royal charter to arrive. With the ship anchored in Provincetown Harbor, a 200-word document was drafted, based loosely on a Puritan church covenant. Each adult male had to sign the compact before they were allowed to come ashore. It was the first endeavor by European immigrants to form a democratic government in what would become the United States.
I find this history inspiring! A small group of people, firm in their convictions, abounding in hope for justice and equality, and determined to practice a civil body politic that would be for the general good. This is the soil from which our country’s democracy would grow. I can only imagine the differences between the Puritans and the non-Puritans. Those differences would remain once off the ship but the Mayflower Compact held that disparate mix of folks together for the good of the order and for their survival. Truth is, they needed each other to survive and they knew it. Sounds like some fairly simple, basic principles from which to govern. Of course, we know the devil is in the details. But justice, equality, civility and providing for the common good sounds like the character qualities I want for our country.
The country has cast its votes. Now we are given a new opportunity as a nation to begin again. I pray that we can pull back all the rancor, vitriol and viciousness that marked this election season which seems be the mainstay of our congress and state legislatures. Our two major political parties are so focused on destroying the other party that they seem to have lost focus on trying to address the pressing needs of the country. Justice. Equality. Civility. Common Good. This sounds like a compact that could use some dusting off and polishing for our conflicted, dysfunctional and polarized country and for creating the future for which we long.

Creating First Congregational Church has taken time to create…159 years! But more than the things we can mark by dates and buildings and anniversaries, we are called to create the Beloved Community… where the Presence of God is affirmed and attended to in the present, the practice of Love is central to our identity and inspires all we do, and the way of justice is pursued for all, especially the last and least. If you find any joy or good news here, if you can find any hope and vision here about the possibilities of larger witness, a more impactful mission, and new growth and vitality, now is the time to love your church well. Beloved, love! Please consider giving a one-time gift, any amount will do when it is offered in love. Or, please consider making a pledge to financially support the church in the coming year and registering that gift with a recurring monthly donation! Your generous financial support, your willingness to give your time and talents in service, and your attentive engagement with the spiritual practices of worship and learning, this is the giving that is born of love and creates that Beloved Community that we seek.


With the mandate from Governor Reynolds that there can be no more that 15 people gathered indoors for any public event, the council has voted to close the live - in church services beginning on Nov 29th until further notice. We will continue with the Live Streaming of our church service on line. The Thanksgiving Dinner plans have not changed and we will have church this Sunday as normal for one last time. 

Also, the church office is also temporarily closed, due to the COVID-19 situation in our community. Our Church Administrator, Tiffany, will temporarily be working from home and is still available to help with your needs. If access to the church building is needed during this time, our Custodian is present in the mornings, until 11:30 a.m. or you can call Lois Darrow or Tiffany to arrange for someone to assist with access at another time.

If you have any questions call Lois Darrow at 712-490-5969 or the church office. 
Thanksgiving Fund Drive
Hosted by The Missions Committee

We all recognize that this has not been a 'normal' year. Because of covid, we did not have our 'normal' fall Children's Closet, fall rummage, or bake sale to raise funds to give the Thanksgiving donations to the eight community agencies we support annually. The Missions Committee would like to give our church members an opportunity to contribute to the important work these agencies accomplish.

The agencies are:
  • Food Bank of Siouxland
  • Mary Treglia Community House
  • Safe Place (formerly CSADV)
  • Sanford Center
  • Siouxland Soup Kitchen
  • Warming Shelter
  • Welcome Home
  • Women Aware

The Thanksgiving Fund Drive will collect your contributions for 5 Sundays beginning October 25, and continuing through November 22. Checks may be written to FCUCC and put in collection plates at church or mailed to Treasurer FCUCC at 4600 Hamilton Blvd, Sioux City 51104. Please write 'Thanksgiving Fund Drive' on the memo line.

*Please note that this should be a donation over-and-above your regular pledge/contribution to the life of our church.

Thank you,
The Missions Committee

A Note from some of these agencies:
WOMEN AWARE has remained opened to the public (requiring masks/distancing). We have been helping families develop a PLAN of financial/emotional stability. (Comprehensive, including: affordable housing, transportation, child care, medical care, education, job training)
In particular, besides bus passes and gas cards- we have been providing financial assistance with phone service (often the family’s only internet access), child care (not covered by the state), car insurance, certified copies of birth certificates, state IDs and driver’s licenses, limited small car repairs (New battery/Brakes), past-due water bills, Mid-American utilities, and rent.
In order to apply for housing assistance, government programs and services, and employment; families are required to submit photo copies of identification documents and income verification. Women Aware has been providing copies of necessary documents as well as access to Sioux City Housing Authority voucher applications (on-line and/or paper as needed), Social Security Card Replacement Application Forms, Landlord/Tenant Forms (Both ours and those of CAAS) for emergency rent assistance. 
Women Aware receives No Government funding. All our funding is through private donations from local citizens and foundation grants.
Mary J. Treglia Community House was established in 1921 to serve the needs of newcomers to the Siouxland Community. Throughout it’s nearly 100 year history and beginning with Mary J. Treglia herself, the organization has worked to identify the needs of the immigrant population in Siouxland through education, services, advocacy and celebration of diversity. This continues today as Mary J Treglia Community House board and staff envisions a vital and diverse Siouxland community of self-sufficient, responsible, and engaged residents. We accomplish through programming such as a DHS accredited Preschool Program, Translation/ Interpretation Services, Legal Immigration Services, Adult English Language Learning, Cultural Competency and Community Outreach, and Family Services. Annually, nearly 2210 (unduplicated) families are served.
Thank you for your continued support! Stay healthy and Safe.

Welcome Home Project
To First Congregational United Church of Christ,

Welcome Home is a transitional housing program for homeless or at risk of becoming homeless families. When someone enters the program we complete an assessment of needs with them. We want to determine what obstacles they need to overcome so they can move forward towards a successful future. We then put a plan together and we work hard at finding solutions to those problems whether it’s getting them plugged into programs in the community that can help them, helping them get remedial services if needed, helping create a budget for them to follow, if needed we help them create a resume’ and assist them in finding work, we then help them fid housing and whatever else they need to become successful. We even help them with furniture when they get ready to move to their permanent home.

The attachment is a thank you letter we received…. Click HERE to view it.

Thank you so much for all you do!
Connie Noreen/Welcome Home

Greetings from the Sanford Community Center!

As we know that the Missions Committee is working
to support non-profits in spite of our current restrictions, we would like to express our appreciation to the members of the Missions Committee and congregation for your support over many years.

First Congregational UCC food donations help us
with breakfast in our Before School Program, supper
in our After School Program and emergency food baskets for families in need. Monetary donations are placed in a designated grant account and funds are used for food we purchase from the Foodbank of Siouxland or
Sioux City Schools Central Kitchen.

Again, thank you for helping us serve our community.

Fitzgerald P. Grant
Executive Director

At the January 2020 point in time study, the Coalition to End Homelessness identified 305 homeless persons. The reality is that there are many more who are not in places where they get counted. And of the 13 area shelters, there is only one place where a homeless man, woman or child is welcomed without conditions- The Warming Shelter.

In its seven seasons the Warming Shelter has been a refuge for men, women and children who have nowhere to stay because they do not meet the criteria of the other shelters. The Warming Shelter is a “wet” shelter that accepts individuals who may be substance impaired, experiencing a mental health crisis or have been restricted from housing. During that time and without receiving any government assistance, the shelter has provided over 73,000 nights and 25,000 days of shelter and no homeless person has died from exposure. The Warming Shelter tries to live out Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 25:31-53 by serving the “least” of our brothers and sisters. Services include a bed, linen, showers, sundry and clothing items, referral services and limited health and food support.

Even with COVID challenges, the shelter will be open this season and will be collaborating with area agency to work for the health and welfare of those without shelter. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you and the church for thinking of us.

FCUCC Thanksgiving Dinner
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Submitted by Nan Cord

The turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy have been ordered for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner. However, due to the high number of coronavirus cases in our area, we won't be able to all dine together in our Fellowship Hall. Therefore, the food will be put into individual take-out containers to be eaten in our homes while remaining together in spirit. The dinners will be handed out following our Sunday service on November 22nd. If those of you not comfortable attending the service want to participate, you may drive up and it will be brought to you.

Reservations must be made by Monday, November 16th. Sign-up sheets are available at the church. You may also email or call the church by the 16th. A donation toward the cost of the dinner will be required. I f donations exceed the food expense, the balance will go toward the Thanksgiving Fund Drive for the community agencies.
Our Giving Tree
 Submitted By Donna Popp

Giving holiday gifts to the clients of Siouxland Mental Health has been a longstanding tradition at First Congregational UCC, and a great way for us to share the spirit of Christmas.
Thank you for participating! Here’s how:
Because of the current pandemic situation, we will be doing our gift giving for clients of Siouxland Mental Health a little different this year.
Instead of having items identified for certain clients, we will be providing $25.00 gift cards from Wal-Mart and the caseworkers will distribute them to the clients and those who do not have transportation or who need help in shopping will be helped by the caseworker.
Therefore, the Missions Committee is asking that if you want to participate in this important mission project you send a check to the church for $25.00 or multiples of $25.00 and identify in the memo line that it is for “The Giving Tree”. The Missions Committee will then purchase the gift cards and get them to Siouxland Mental Health on Monday, December 14th.
If you have any questions, please contact me:
Donna Popp, or 712-251-5535.
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.

Exciting news! Church Nursery Update
PLEASE contact Ginger France if you are willing to volunteer.

The Church Nursery is now open during the Sunday 10:30 Worship Service! Jessica Orr has returned as the Nursery Coordinator and she is very excited to see the children again!  With her help, the toys have been sorted and cleaned out and ready for kids to use. Ginger France is putting together a schedule of volunteers to act as the 2nd adult in the Nursery each Sunday.

Guidelines for the Nursery 
  • Temperature to be taken at the door for adults and children before entering the nursery 
  • Upon arrival adults and children will wash their hands 
  • All adults must wear a mask 
  • There will be 2 adults in the Nursery at all times with the children
  • Children over the age of 2 should try and wear a mask or a face-shield  
  • Children age 3 and up must wear a mask 
  • All dress up, plush toys and extra pillows will be removed
  • If a toy is soiled meaning it has been sneezed on, coughed on, or put in a child’s mouth it will be placed in a bucket that is out of reach and will be cleaned and disinfected at the end of the day 
  • Items that cannot be cleaned easily such as books, blocks, crayons, markers, play-dough and paper will be rotated. Used for one day and then put away for a week. With each basket being used every 2-3 weeks depending upon supplies
  • All hard surfaces (toy shelves, doorknobs etc.) will be cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day.
  • All tables will be cleaned and disinfected before children arrive and at the end of the day.
  • If a table or surface is dirtied (any bodily fluids), it will be cleaned and disinfected as soon as possible
  • Toys will be cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day
  • All toys will be rotated where possible
  • A snack will not be provided at this time, if the parent/guardian of the child feels their child needs a drink they must provide it. The child will sit at table with their drink.
  • The nursery will remain locked during the week to ensure cleanliness and to minimize the risk of exposure to germs.

Managed by Tiffany Watts, Church Administrator

We are using new church management software in the office, which is called REALM by ACS Technologies, and this includes a digital directory. Tiffany sent out those invitations by email, if you need assistance please call or email her in the office.

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.

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 invitation to join/access our directory.

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!

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 October 2020

Giving in October amounted to $7,742.00, 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 or Sunday morning Adult group 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 an adult session from 9:30 a.m. until 10:15 a.m. 
  • At 9:30 a.m. Todd Siefker will lead the Admiration Series.  

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
Admiration Series Update
Hosted by Todd Siefker

The Admiration Series started reading David Brooks’ book The Road to Character. This book has been a real blessing to me.  I really think this will be an enriching study for our faith community. I invite you (and a friend) to this study. 

David Brooks strongly believes that a part of the healing balm for people living in the midst of a collective moral crisis is to immerse themselves in the examples of people who have thrived in challenging times.

This course/discussion/book study will be offered simultaneously on Zoom as well in person at church at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

Please feel free to purchase a copy of David Brooks’ book The Road to Character from Random House (2015) on line. If you don't purchase the book, you can still participate in the discussion. We will also use videos and photo copies for upcoming readings.  

Audrey Ercolini's Family
Madison Darrow
Jan Nowlen
Tyrell Tanner and Family
Dick Owens
Sandy Gregory
Katherine Trautman
Bud Ziebell
Cameron Mower & Family
All Teachers and Students

Open and Affirming Status

Several members of the congregation attended a webinar from the UCC Conference on the process of becoming Open and Affirming. We feel that FCUCC is well on our way to becoming Open and Affirming but there is still conversation that can take place to finish the process. If there are any congregation members that are interested is being part of this process, please contact the church office or Pastor Mike to get your name on the list so you are included. 

Thank You, Volunteers!

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

Worship Leader - Suzanne Johnson
Usher - Nan Cord
Live Stream - Jim France
Sound/Lighting - John Kiernan
Screen - Jerrod - Kiernan
Fill in Minister - Todd Siefker
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 Ministry
Submitted by Ginger France

MOB Needs:
Glasses (plastic, if possible)
9 x 13 Cake Pans
Cookie Sheets
Dish Soap
Updates from Tiffany Watts, Church Administrator

We are finding that our newsletter is only being opened by about 44% 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
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:

3 Compartment To-Go Containers
To-Go Soup Bowls
Fresh Fruit
Paper Towels
Toilet Paper
Sandwich Bags
Salt and Pepper Packets
Tortilla Chips
Sliced Cheese
Stick Butter or Margarine

Erik's Closet Needs:
Shampoo and Conditioner
Face Masks
Plastic Bags

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
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. 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.
Church Office Hours
The Church Office is temporarily closed, due to the COVID situation in our community. If you need anything, Tiffany, Our Office Administrator will be working from home and can be reached by email or the church phone.

Church Staff:

Rev. Dr. Michael Castle, Pastor

Tiffany Watts, Church Administrator

Todd Siefker, Intergenerational Coordinator

Rick Darrow, Organist

Jessica Orr, Nursery Coordinator
Church Contact Information

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