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The Chronicle
A weekly e-newsletter of
First United Church of Christ, Northfield
An Open and Affirming, Just Peace Church
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Lent Meditation @ First UCC
Lent Meditation @ First UCC

The Point
All Church Retreat
Mark your calendars! We will gather again at Pilgrim Point on July 18-20, 2014. Get excited about the place, the people, and the promise of summer by watching some wonderful videos from last year's retreat put together by Shannon Garlitz. We'll share the videos gradually over the next few weeks. Check out the first one here. We hope you'll include this special weekend in your summer planning! 

March 13, 2014 


This Week in Worship


On this second Sunday in Lent, we will read Matthew 18: 15-35. In this passage, we learn that even the early followers of Jesus had some familiar struggles when it came to living in community. How do we handle conflict? How do we hold each other accountable? When, how, and why do we forgive one another? We will consider these questions through the lenses of relationships, church life, and our wider social contracts. Come for music, prayer, silence, word, and a few surprises... 



In worship, through Lent and Easter, we will be reading through the Gospel of Matthew.


The schedule for readings is below:

  • March 16 - Matthew 18: 15-22 - Forgiveness
  • March 23 - Matthew 19: 16-30 - Riches/first last, last first
  • March 30 - Matthew 20: 1-16 - Laborers in the Vineyard
  • April 6 - Matthew 20: 17-34 - Jesus foretells death and resurrection
  • April 13 - Matthew 21: 1-11, Matthew 26:14-27:66 - Palm Passion Sunday
  • April 20 - Matthew 28: 1-10- Easter
  • April 27 - Matthew 28: 11-20

In Faith and Service,

Pastor Todd and Pastor Abby 


 Coffee Hour Signup is Now Online!
A wonderful part of our life together is fellowship, including coffee hour after worship. The Hospitality Committee has made it EASY to sign up as coffee hour host online! Check out this link, which includes directions, and add your name to the calendar! Thank you! Any questions, contact James Demas

 Congregational Meeting March 16th to Approve Purchase of a Solar Array

The Council has called a special Congregational Meeting March 16th immediately following worship.  At that meeting the Congregation will vote on whether to purchase a solar array for the office wing of the church on the condition that we receive state incentives.  First UCC has entered a state lottery for incentives along with other organizations wanting to install solar. Included here is a link to a proposal from AllEnergy Solar and Ten K, a company out of Bloomington.  


Our initial cost will be $58,363, but through state incentives we will receive payments over the course of ten years that will reduce our cost to $24,255.73.  


We will need to replace the shingles on the office wing before the solar array is installed, and we expect that cost to be close to $5000.  We are exploring the change in our insurance, but we don't expect it to be substantial.  


If we do not receive funds through the lottery the deal is off, and we are free to apply for another incentive program in April or May.  Other incentives will not be as generous.


The church has funds to pay the initial cost.  After state incentives, gifts given in memory of Ian and Deane Barbour will allow First UCC to pay for half of the project.  Selling and reinvesting First UCC's Xcel Energy stock will allow the church to cover the rest of the cost.   


The Solar Group is excited to be at this place in the process.  Please plan to attend the Congregational Meeting on March 16th.

Moderator's Minute
 March 2014

During Lent we are using a different version of the Lord's Prayer, the Prayer of Jesus from the New Zealand Prayer Book. Instead of the more familiar, "forgive us our sins," this version states, "in the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us." Somehow this is easier to hear for those of us who were brought up in churches or homes where confessing our failure or sin triggers old tapes of shame, not being good enough, or unworthiness. How ironic that the very message meant to free us from a sense of shame has been used in a way that can deepen shame.  Perhaps one way we can translate this message is into acts of forgiveness. We hurt each other in our homes, work places, extended families, friendships, and of course, our churches.  How great it would be if church was the place where we could practice saying "I'm sorry," knowing that we will hear, "you are forgiven."


Living into our new governance model, the church council adopted its first two policies to guide us in our trial year:  a philosophy of governance statement, and a provisional mission statement. These are working policies that will be discussed with the congregation throughout the year.

1. 1.       Philosophy of Governance Statement:

Elected by the congregation, and in conversation with the congregation, the focus of the council will be on the long term mission and wellbeing of the congregation, not on administrative detail. It shall respect the distinction between board governance and ministry. As much as possible, the board shall delegate management and decision-making and devote its attention to discernment, strategy, and oversight. 


The council intends to govern primarily by: 

  • Discerning and articulating the congregation's mission and vision of ministry           
  • Setting goals and making strategic choices
  • Creating written policies to guide the congregation's ministry, and
  • Monitoring and evaluating the pastoral leadership, the congregation's leadership and the work of the council itself.                       
  1. 2.       Provisional  Mission Statement:

We SEEK to understand the mysteries of Christ and the Triune God. 

We  SHARE our faith, our gifts, and our lives. 

We SERVE our local and global communities.


The church council looks forward to creating opportunities to dialogue with the congregation as we experience a different kind of church structure.


Lastly, we are exploring a Capital Campaign in the coming year, and will interview two prospective consultants on March 19 and 20. The council, trustees and ministers, along with anyone who is interested in working on a capital campaign, will meet with each group to listen to their proposals. Later, there will be a congregational meeting to decide whether to move forward with a capital campaign. If you are interested in working with a great group of people on the Capital Campaign for First UCC, please contact Pastor Todd or Pastor Abby.


            Hope you can attend the congregational meeting after worship this Sunday, March 16, to vote on solar power for our church.


May you intentionally create spaces for stillness as you journey through Lent.


--Mary Carlson 

Calling all First UCC Parents!

The annual Parent Potluck will be held on Saturday, March 15th from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at the home of Regi and Amy Haslett-Marroquin (4597 315th St. West). This is an adults-only event where parents have an opportunity to socialize with one another in a fun and informal setting. This is always a great time, and we'd love to have you join us! Please bring your own beverage and a dish to pass: 
  • A - J = Side dish (veggies, bread, fruit, salad)
  • K - Q = Main Dish
  • R - Z = Dessert

Please RSVP TODAY to Carrie Menk.


This is always a fun and enjoyable evening! We hope to see you there!  


-Sponsored by the Children's Faith Formation Committee

Childcare for Parent Potluck
First UCC youth will provide childcare at the church for a suggested donation of $20 toward the youth service trip.  A meal will also be provided.  Drop off your kids at 5:30 and pick them up no later than 8:30.  To register your child for childcare, please fill out the form here.  Questions?  Email Shana Hodel.  

Youth Camp at Pilgrim Point
Several of you have been asking about camp this summer. Pilgrim Point is using a new camp model this year. Rather than doing separate middle and high school weeks, they will offer two similar youth camp week experiences where congregations attend with leaders and their young people. Read about it here.  First UCC has selected the first week, July 20th-25th, i.e. the week following our church retreat. We are hoping to invite a representative from Pilgrim Point to visit First UCC to talk more about the new model with families. In the meantime, if you are interested in registering your child, or have questions or concerns, please speak with Abby! Thanks. 



Exploring Membership sessions for those interested in joining First UCC as members will be held immediately following worship on Sundays, March 30  and April 6 in the church parlor. Child care will be provided.  If you are interested in finding out more about First UCC or are wishing to join, please plan to attend one of these times. New Member Sunday will be on April 27, 2014 during Worship followed by a reception in the Assembly Room.  If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Todd, 507-645-7532 or Jean Haslett, 507-650-0753.  


Mindfulness Class at Northfield Buddhist Center


If our Lenten meditation program whets your appetite for mindfulness practices, there will be a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction opportunity offered at the Northfield Buddhist Center. The program, which costs $335 and meets on Tuesdays from 3/25 through 5/13, enables participants to develop their own base in mindfulness practice integrated into everyday life. The course includes eight weekly classes, an individual interview with the instructor, a Saturday retreat, the book Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, four CDs, and handouts. To sign up go to: click the "Registration" button, and enter 2997 in search bar.  


The Northfield Senior Center will be offering a special series on local sustainability beginning on March 11. Please click here for more information.  



During the month of March, our congregation is joining people of good will from across the state to help alleviate hunger. Minnesota FoodShare's March Campaign is the largest food drive in the state, and congregations like ours are the heart of the campaign.


Last year the campaign raised more than 12 million pounds and dollars for Minnesota's food shelves.  This year our congregation will be collecting both food and cash contributions throughout the month of March for our local food shelf.


Minnesota FoodShare is a program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches and co-sponsored by:

  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

  • Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas

  • Minnesota Catholic Conference

  • Minnesota Council of Churches

  • Minnesota Rabbinical Council

  • St. Paul Area Council of Churches 

Contact Us
First UCC
300 Union Street
Northfield, MN  55057


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300 Union Street
Northfield, MN 55057


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