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The Chronicle
A weekly e-newsletter of
First United Church of Christ, Northfield
An Open and Affirming, Just Peace Church
In This Issue...
All-Church Retreat 

Registration materials for the All-Church Retreat at Pilgrim Point are here!

May 29, 2014 

This Sunday in Worship


Our summer worship schedule start this Sunday. Gather at 9:30 a.m. to sing and pray together. We'll read Romans 8:18-39, a beloved passage about love, suffering, hope, and redemption. When times are rough and there are no words, how do we pray? How do we relate to God? How do we imagine God relates to us? 
Come for worship and stay for a special congregational meeting on the proposed capital campaign (more details below)!
Summer Time Change Begins June 1


It's official.  Summer at First UCC starts on June 1. On June 1 worship will begin at 9:30 a.m, with worship continuing to be at 9:30 am for the rest of the summer.  Set your clocks, tell your phone to wiggle, do what you need to do to remember.  We will return to the fall schedule after Labor Day.

Congregational Meeting After Worship 
on Sunday

After worship on Sunday morning, First UCC members will gather for a special Congregational Meeting.  At this meeting we will be voting on whether to hire the James Company, a trusted Christian fundraising company, to conduct a feasibility study in the fall that will lead to a capital campaign in 2015.  The proposal for the capital campaign is below as is the cost of working with the James Company.  We ask members to be in attendance for this important conversation and important vote.  

2015 Capital Campaign  -  Proposed Goal = $1,054,000


First UCC has a unique Christian voice to share.  We worship a God that invites our whole being, head and heart, into the life-giving path of Christian discipleship.  We are called to provide an extravagant welcome to all, to care for creation, and to work for justice and peace. Worship is our central spiritual practice.  In worship we draw close to God, and we are sent by the Spirit to serve in the world.  Our church is so much more than a building, and yet our building houses our central ministries and facilitates our ministry in the world.


For the whole ministry of First UCC to thrive, we need a worship space that is safe, well-maintained, inviting and facilitating of our mission and programs 12 months of the year.  We also need equipment that allows the good news to heard, and even seen, as we move into an increasingly visual age.


In the fall of 2010, the Council commissioned the SMSQ architectural firm to conduct a comprehensive building assessment.  First UCC leadership received the recommendations of the assessment in the summer of 2012.  In the winter of 2013, the Council commissioned the Audio Visual Task Force to propose recommendations for audio and visual upgrades to our worship space.  That proposal was received in the Fall of 2013.  The fund raising priorities and costs outlined below are from these two reports.


Improvements to Enhance the Worship Experience for All:


1. Audio Upgrade to the sanctuary - $38,000

Improved audio will allow the hearing impaired among us to hear everything that is said during worship.


2. Visual Upgrade to the sanctuary - $19,000

Appropriate projection equipment will provide the flexibility to integrate visuals and visual art into worship and other presentations in the worship space.


3. Assembly Room Acoustical Enhancements - $12,000

These simple enhancements will dull the roar so we can hear one another as we break bread together.


4. Air Conditioning (for Assembly Room and Sanctuary) - $190,000

Air Conditioning will allow First UCC to be a safe, and inviting space for worship, weddings, and funerals 12 months of the year.


5. Boiler replacement - $280,000

Our boiler is old, increasingly unreliable, at risk of failure, and extremely inefficient.  Replacement will reduce energy costs and shrink our carbon


Building Needs for Accessibility, Safety, and the Long-Term Health of the Structure:


1. Exterior Masonry Restoration - $270,000

The exterior brick of the church is deteriorating and needs to be restored.


2. Accessibility updates for the Daycare Entry and Bathroom: $45,000

The Daycare needs accessibility updates, and the entry floods frequently due to poor design.


3. Building Reserve Fund for Future Needs:$200,000

A Building Reserve Fund will allow us to address future building needs before they become expensive emergencies that draw funds from essential ministries

of the church.


Community Seed Money Fund: 5% of all funds raised


A portion of past First UCC capital campaigns has served the community.  For example, seed money and vision from First UCC led to Northfield's Community Action Center.  We believe this campaign should honor that tradition and God's call to serve the world.  The Spirit only knows what we are being called to help start now.


James Company Fees:

1. Feasibility study - $9,000

2. Capital Campaign and Annual Stewardship Support from 2015-2018 - $29,500 (approximately 10% of annual pledges and offerings)


In conversation with pastors who have worked with the James Company, we have been assured that the James Co. is worth every penny and more. 


What Happens Next?


Assuming a positive vote, we will sign a contract with the James Company for the feasibility study and the capital appeal.  Kurt Nordby, our James Company consultant will then meet with the Feasibility Leadership Team and our Stewardship Committee in June.  We will then begin making preparations for a feasibility study and our annual stewardship drive this fall.  

Food Truck Tuesday!


THANK YOU for helping to support Food Truck Tuesday.  Our first month has been an amazing success, and we are looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer brings.
We want to keep the party going, and we need a little help. We're look for two people who plan to come to lunch anyway to arrive at 10:30 a.m.  to set up tables, chairs, and wastebaskets on the front lawn.  We need two more people to help from 1:00 - 1:30 p.m.  to move the tables, chairs, and wastebaskets back inside.  If you can help, sign up here.  THANK YOU!!
Coffee Hour Hosts are Needed!  
We invite you to volunteer to serve at one of our after-church coffee hours in June and throughout summer.  A Hospitality team member will work with you to answer all your questions. The church provides treats and juice to serve or you can bring your own as you wish, or both.  A clip-board with sign-up list is on the kitchen counter with dates for each month or you can sign up online here.  It can be enjoyable to do this together with a friend or family member. Please help us to continue providing for our after-church community gathering for coffee, treats and conversation throughout the year.
Visitation Team Meeting


It was wonderful to see such a great turnout a few weeks ago for our visitation ministry training with Gloria Swanson. A follow-up meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 4, at 7:00pm


We will discuss:

- our church's visitation needs 

- visitation logistics (frequency, structure)

- extent of team members' commitment 

- ongoing support/training needs for team

Whether you were able to attend the training or not, all are welcome. Please let Abby know you'll be there. 

Get On The Bus!

Isaiah is holding a "Binding the Covenant" gathering on Saturday, June 28th, at which they plan to gather with 1,500 people of faith from Minnesota and the gubernatorial candidates at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  There we will stand together to promote economic dignitypathways to opportunity and racial equity. 
The Core Organizing Team and the Service and Social Responsibility Team are inviting you to attend this Binding the Covenant Event.  We think this event is so important that we're providing a charter bus for transportation.  The bus will leave First UCC at 11:45 a.m. for the Minneapolis Convention Center.  The event lasts from 1:00 - 4:30 p.m. You can sign up for the bus here and register on the Isaiah website here.

Below is Sarah Carlson's experience of an Isaiah MN gathering:

As part of the Core Organizing team for the church, I was invited to attend a day long clergy event hosted by Isaiah.  Let me say first that I've never been an activist.  By nature, I am a peacekeeper and facilitator - not an agitator.  I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but felt compelled to develop my own understanding of Isaiah.  As Pastor Todd, Pastor Abby, Carolyn Fure-Slocum and I arrived at the event, it felt familiar.  I even saw my former pastors from Minneapolis.  As the day unfolded, however, I was surprised by the diversity of the clergy in the room.  Isaiah is very intentionally trying to create a "big tent" for people of faith (currently only Christian) to be in action together in the world.  It is difficult work.  It is much easier to be in relationship with people who already believe what we believe.  It takes intention and commitment to find common ground in the midst of vast differences.  

One of the African American, Baptist ministers described his congregation's resistance to partnering with white, protestant, progressive churches, even around an issue that matters deeply to them.   His congregation didn't want to trust people who they saw as embodying the racial injustice they were trying to fight.  It is hard for all of us to trust the "other."   I was moved by his congregation's willingness to prayerfully step into relationship with the "other" through Isaiah, trusting that they could find alignment and strength, despite very strong differences.

Isaiah's Binding The Covenant event this June will be an opportunity to experience being in a "big tent" with people of faith.  Isaiah is taking a risk - trying to create a new conversation and new alliances among churches in service to changing deeply unjust systems.  For the activists among us, this may be an exciting opportunity.  For those of you like me, who may find this kind of event daunting, it may be an opportunity to experience a kind of passion and commitment that can inspire hope.  Please consider joining us on the bus!


First UCC will start including a "prayer list' in the bulletin and Chronicle. If you would like to request that the congregation keep an individual or family in prayer, click here or contact Todd or Abby. Names must be submitted by 8:00 am Wednesday morning to be included in that week's Thursday Chronicle and Sunday bulletin. Names will run for two weeks unless otherwise requested. If you are submitting the name of someone other than yourself, please request permission to do so. 
Have You Registered for the All-Church Retreat at Pilgrim Point Yet?
If not, why not?  
Register Today!

Click below for the 

Completed registration forms and fees can be turned in to the church office.
Pilgrim Point High School Youth 
Service Trip - Registration 


Seeking high school youth and adults to join in a service trip to help open Pilgrim Point and do a Habitat for Humanity project in Alexandria, MN, on July 8-11, 2014. Cost is $125/person. 


Get more information and register your high school student here!


ADULTS: If you are interested in being a FAP ("Friendly Adult Presence") on this trip, please email Abby or call 651-955-8437


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. 

Hanna Somatic Education Classes

June 3 - August 26, Tuesdays 9:00-10:15AM 

Location: First UCC


Drop-in, free-will donation. Come when you can and give what you can. Please bring a mat or two for cushion and a blanket or large beach towel. If you want to purchase a nice mat for Somatics visit  Please note: the only props provided are chairs


Hanna Somatic Education is an effective form of movement reeducation that goes directly to the root cause of most chronic muscular tension. Emphasis is placed on retraining the connection between the brain and muscles to bring about long-lasting results. A Somatics class at One Spirit uses slow, mindful movements and breath work to release chronic tension and balance your body. With repetition, these movements return the muscles to their full functionality, making them stronger and more flexible. You will be asked to stay within your pain-free range of motion at all times.

Grief Support Group


A 6 week support group for adults grieving the death of a loved one will be offered at First UCC on Tuesdays, from 6:30-8:00 pm beginning May 27- July 1.  The support group is free and open to the public, and church affiliation is NOT required, so please spread the word to others in the community who may benefit. The group will be facilitated by Amanda Eastvold, MSW. 


Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.  Please contact Amanda at: (651) 210-2290 with questions or to register for the group. 

Introduction to Centering Prayer Training on June 7

Centering Prayer is a form of silent meditation rooted in the Christian tradition. First UCC is sponsoring a four hour workshop introducing the method for this meditation. It will be held in the church library on Saturday, June 7, from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm. All are welcome to attend. There is no cost, but donations will be accepted. This training will be led by facilitators from Minnesota Contemplative Outreach and their website offers more information about Centering Prayer.  If you plan to come, please email Erin Barnett so we know how many people to expect. 

Those who would like to practice Centering Prayer or another form of silent meditation are welcome to join the meditation group which meets at the back of the sanctuary at 6:15 on Wednesday evenings for 20 minutes of group meditation.

Would you like to participate in a group discussion of John Barbour's new novel Renunciation?


There will be an Adult Education session on Sunday, September 21, at which the author will read selections and to which people will be invited who have not read the book.  The previous Sunday evening, September 14, 7pm, there will be a discussion of the book with people who have read it.  If you would like to attend this meeting, please contact Ed Langerak via email or 645-8321.  Copies of John's book are available at the Monkey See, Monkey Read bookstore on Division Street.

Community Action Center Needs

Camping Gear Donations

This summer we expect to send 25 children to camp. If you would like to donate new or gently-used camp supplies, please bring them to our office and help a child experience the great outdoors! Campers are in need of the following supplies:

-       Sleeping bags

-       Flashlights

-       Beach towels

-       Insect repellent

-       Lotion

-       Sunscreen

-       Water bottles


Northfield Works - Members Seeking Mentors

Let your valuable experience help another rebuild his or her life.  The CAC is seeking volunteer mentors who can:

-       Commit to at least one year of service, sharing one hour per week

-       Encourage, guide & support mentee toward employment retention and advancement

-       Participate in volunteer enrichment events

For more information call 507-664-3550 or



Launching of Northfield Works

Dave Phillips, co-founder of the Cincinnati Works program, visited to help the Community Action Center inaugurate our new employment program, Northfield Works. In researching employment models, Cincinnati Works stood out because the program is more than job training and placement.  The program offers ongoing support to lift members from poverty to self-sufficiency.  If you are interested in donating please contact us by phone (507-664-3550) or check our website:


VISTA Intern needed for Northfield Works

We are currently seeking a VISTA Intern to commit a year of service to the CAC.  In this position you will gain skills in community organizing, event coordination, and community poverty education.  Contact the CAC at 507-664-3550 for more information.


CAAR - Cars for a Cause

We are currently seeking road-worthy vehicles to be donated to our Community Action Auto Recycling (CAAR) Program.  Your donation would be to the CAC will entitle you to a tax deduction.  In turn, the CAC reviews our client's eligibility requirements to obtain a free vehicle.  Contact the CAC at 507-664-3550 for any questions.

Palestine Film Series

In June, Northfielders for Justice in Palestine/Israel will present their 2014 Palestine film series. The shows begin at 7 p.m. on three consecutive Tuesdays beginning June 10, at Bethel Lutheran Church, 1050 Cedar Avenue, Northfield, and are free and open to the public. Each evening will end with a brief question-and-answer period.


The films are as follows:


7 p.m., June 10: "Voices Across the Divide" is a powerful documentary and oral history project by Alice Rothchild and Sharon Mullally exploring the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through rarely heard personal stories.


7 p.m., June 17:  "My Neighborhood"-When a Palestinian boy loses half of his home to Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, he joins his community in a campaign of nonviolent protests.  Efforts to put a quick end to the demonstrations are foiled when scores of Israelis choose to stand by the residents' side.


7 p.m., June 24: "The Stones Cry Out"-Christianity was born in Palestine 2,000 years ago. For more than 60 years, the Palestinians-Christians and Muslims-have suffered displacement, expulsion, wars, occupation and oppression. The voices of Palestinian Christians have often been drowned out in the turmoil of events. This is their story, in their voices.

Contact Us
First UCC
300 Union Street
Northfield, MN  55057


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UCC Resources (National United Church of Christ website) (Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ website)
SSR News

...Thank you for the generous gift of $100 towards the Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science. ~
Prof. Robert Russell, Founder and Director, The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences
...Thank you for (your) very generous contribution of 60 pounds of food to the Community Action Center food shelf for March, 2014. ~ Jim Blaha, Executive Director, Community Action Center of Northfield
First United Church of Christ | | |
300 Union Street
Northfield, MN 55057


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