This Sunday, May 10th
10:00 a.m.

Worship led by Rev. Lee Ann Bryce (via Facebook )

"Spiritual Resiliency, Part II"

From Rev. Lee Ann
Over the past week, we’ve seen Tarrant County begin to open up. Some churches in Fort Worth have resumed face-to-face worship. It’s tempting to just want to get back to normal.

FCC’s church leadership continues to meet regularly to think creatively about what a new normal might look like. How might we best plan and position ourselves to ease back into gathering and when should that be? There is unanimous agreement that it should not be now. Not even close.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll continue to worship virtually as we think creatively about what reopening should look like for FCC. How many should gather at a time? How will we clean surfaces? Arrange the seating? When should we gather and where?

As I’ve engaged these types of questions, I’m beginning to see the gift of COVID. No, really, I am. Churches are not usually good at change, however, this suspension of face-to-face activities has stopped business as usual. We have been forced into radical change. It is up to us to manage the disruption with grace and creativity. With God’s help, we will rise to the challenge!

Our current worship series, “Spiritual Resiliency,” is particularly for folks who are struggling to navigate these waters of uncertainty. Please continue to tune in on Sunday morning – live on Facebook at 10:00 a.m. – or view the video posted on our website soon after. It’s not about “watching” church, but “going” to church. It’s an important way we continue to share the journey, even from afar. 

With love,
Rev. Lee Ann
THIS SATURDAY!
North Texas Association
Spring Meeting
Come to the virtual meeting and support Betsy and Michelle!

The North Texas Association is made up of local UCC churches--mostly in the Metroplex and Waco area. The NTA is our local church organization within the larger South Central Conference of the United Church of Christ.

The spring meeting of the NTA was scheduled to be held at our church, but now will be held on Zoom. (Contact the church office by tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. for the Zoom link.) Everyone who has an interest in the running of our association is welcome to join in this Saturday, May 9th, from 10:00 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

The agenda includes: 
 
1. Worship or Meditation
2. Election of Leadership
3. Financial and Committee Reports
4. Ecclesiastical Councils for Betsy Stribens and Michelle Jendry

Our own Betsy Stirbens and Michelle Jendry will go before the Ecclesiastical Council on this day, and how wonderful it would be if friends from FCC were there to support them!
Betsy
Michelle
An ecclesiastical council is the final step before a candidate is approved for ordination (pending a call) by the North Texas Association. Betsy and Michelle will each make an opening statement, then field questions from anyone who wants to ask them anything related to ministry--their theology, their call, their faith journey or pastoral identity, etc. Following the Q&A, NTA delegates and ministers will vote on whether to approve Betsy and Michelle for ordination. 

While only ordained ministers and appointed delegates (two per church) can vote, everyone can participate in the Q&A. It can be very interesting to hear the questions asked and the candidates' responses, and our presence is a great way to support these members of our church as they move forward in ministry.
Help Make Patient Boredom Bags!
The South Central Alliance of Churches is asking its member churches to put together anti-boredom activity kits for adult COVID-19 hospital patients from the zip codes served by SCAC.

Here's how you can help:

1) Make a donation to the church with "SCAC bags" in the memo line. This will help us order small radios and earbuds, batteries, and colored pencils. (If you make your donation via  Vanco , email  the office  so we will know to look for your gift.)

2) Donate:
  • notepads or notebooks;
  • activity books you no longer need, such as word find, crossword, and adult coloring books;
  • magazines you have read; and
  • small handheld electronic games you no longer use. (It would be helpful if they had new batteries.).

We have a team of two (Laurie and Eric Dobson) who will put the kits together and get them delivered to SCAC. We would like to have the kits ready to go by next Friday, May 15th, so it would be helpful to have donations to the church by next Wednesday, May 13th .

So we can keep our spatial distance, you can put your donations through the front door mail slot. If that won't work, send an email to  the office  and we can make other arrangements.

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer to those who are alone in the hospital. Your gifts will surely be appreciated!
Virtual Interfaith Iftar
THIS SATURDAY
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Fort Worth is hosting a virtual interfaith iftar this Saturday, May 9th, at 6:00 p.m., with both faith and community leaders. The topic will be "Virtual Reflections on the Power of Prayer during the Pandemic." (Register here to get Zoom conference details.) They would typically host this iftar at a Fort Worth mosque but, given the current situation, they are changing the format to a virtual event. 

Ramadan is the holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal for Muslims worldwide. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to sunset. Community members gather at sunset to break their fast as part of the typical iftar. Iftar means "breaking the fast" and is an integral part of a Muslim community's life during Ramadan.
Even More Cabinet Affirmations
At their monthly meetings, Cabinet affirms folks who have helped FCC in its mission and they have even more folks they wish to acknowledge:

  • Loren Baxter for all his technical expertise and work producing the Sunday morning Facebook Live services. They are looking more and more professional and smooth. 
  • Robert Bishop for his Sunday morning technical expertise and work making the Sunday morning services happen, plus his help getting the Zoom meetings set up for Heart-2-Heart and the FCC Book Club. We are so appreciative.
  • Rhonda Grundy for her work with the 4Pantry food bank weekly and monthly food distributions. It seemed like half the volunteers were there recently because Rhonda recruited them. She even asked for donations to that charity for her birthday in lieu of gifts. She is making the world a better place. 
  • Dan Bernardez and Jim Keller for their untold hours of work to get documentation together so the church could file for a small business loan (which would be forgiven) to cover payroll during the quarantine. It was a lot of work with confusing rules and many detailed documents required. 
  • Rev. Lee Ann and Lisa November for the wonderful music they recorded, both for the Sunday services and during the week in pop-up Facebook videos. 
  • There are so many others who are unseen that need to be recognized and affirmed. To all those who are working hard to hold it together, hang on during this time of isolation, and juggling jobs, children, schooling, extended family, etc., we salute you. 
Help Needed to Prepare Sack Lunches!
Presbyterian Night Shelter is seeking help to provide sack lunches to our unsheltered population, and we have been invited to partner with University Christian Church in this effort from now until May 29th. (All the lunch preparation is done in your home.)
Click this link for information on the requirements and to signup. This page will answer many of your questions and allow you to select how you can assist with this ministry.
No Education Hour on Sunday
Heather and Analiese wanted to give youth and kids a chance to spend time with their caregivers on Sunday, so they will not be meeting after worship.
FCC Book Club Suggestions
The FCC Book Club met on Zoom for April and plan to do the same again on May 28th, at 7:00 p.m. (Contact Peter Nichols for the link.) Everyone is invited to join the FCC Book Club get togethers online for now, but hopefully in person again in the future. 

May's book selection is  The Yellow House  by Sarah M. Broom. This is an autobiography about growing up poor in New Orleans, enduring racial bias, experiencing the desire to leave, longing to come back, and culminating in Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

The FCC Book Club also wants to share suggestions for those who are reading during isolation:
  • In Deep by David Rohde (suggested by Suzanne Velte)
  • Crossing to Safety by Wallace Steger (suggested by Rhonda Grundy)
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers (suggested by Marla Boswell)
  • Bruno, Chief of Police: A Mystery of the French Countryside by Martin Walker (a series of 13-related books suggested by Ann Cartwright)
  • Memory Man by David Baldacci (a four-book series suggested by Gail and Bill Gross)
  • Agatha Raisin Mysteries by M.C. Beaton (suggested by Ingrid and Jim Keller)
  • Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger (a 17-book series suggested by John Will)
  • The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (suggested by Ingrid Keller)
  • Daniel Silva's books (but may be a little too intense for the times in which we are living)

The FCC Book Club also wanted to put in a plug to help support a locally owned independent bookstore,  Monkey and Dog Books . See their website to order books and get great curbside, minimal-contact service.

The FCC Book Club wishes you happy reading along with hopes that you are all safe and well.
Take Just a Moment...
Do you think it worked?

"Stayin' inside, stayin' inside..." (the Karaoke version!)
Small Group Gatherings
You can't keep a good small group down, and a number of our FCC groups are still gathering virtually. Here are the groups we know about. (If your group is meeting, please let the office know.
FCC BOOK CLUB
See above for the latest from the FCC Book Club.
CULTIVATING MINDFULNESS
Tony Hernandez is offering Mindful Mondays every week on YouTube.

Cultivating Mindfulness now has virtual meditation meetings on Wednesdays via Zoom and on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. on Facebook. (You can find the Saturday event  here Contact  Lisa November  to get on her Zoom email list.)
EMMAUS DINNER CHURCH
Emmaus Dinner Church is meeting via Zoom. Their next worship service will be May 15th at 5:30 p.m. To learn more about them and to get the link to their online worship service, go to their website.
HEART-2-HEART
The H2H gals are getting together every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to check in with one another and visit via Zoom. For those of you who are normally at work during the day, here's your chance to hang out with the H2Hers! Contact Rhonda Grundy for the Zoom link.
PRAYER PARTNERS
Prayer requests are shared via email, and everyone is welcome to be on the prayer team list. Contact the  church office if you would like to join the team or if you would like prayer support.
RECOVERY DHARMA

Recovery Dharma gathers on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., and Sundays at 4:30 p.m. via Zoom. Click here to join their meetings.
SOUL SISTERS
Soul Sisters are going virtual! If you have not joined the FCC Soul Sisters Facebook page, click here or contact Kim Haymon.
Checks in the Mail
We are so grateful to all those who are able to continue their financial support of our church during these difficult days. We are trying to minimize trips to the bank, so we are waiting until we have a small stack of checks before making a deposit. If you have any questions or concerns, please let the office know.
We're Still Here!
Rev. Lee Ann and Laurie Dobson , our office manager, are working both in the office (with proper spatial distancing if we're there at the same time!) and at home. We're checking the office answering machine remotely when we're not there, but if you need assistance, email is a much better way to reach us as we are both checking our emails regularly.
Please let us know...
FCC's pastoral caregivers want to support you in times of need.

If you are ill, having surgery, or needing meals during recovery, please let the church office know. Rev. Kathy, Rev. Lee Ann, and our pastoral caregivers will support you with prayer, visits, or practical assistance as best we can. Social media is unreliable in communicating need.

Please let us know so that you may receive the support the church wants to provide.
If You Need Help...
CRISIS TEXT HOTLINE: This is a a free, confidential text message service that is available 24/7 if you need to talk about anxiety, depression, suicide, abuse, school stress, etc. Just text "HOME" to 741741.

INFORMATION ON PREPARING AN ADVANCED CARE DIRECTIVE: No one likes to think about getting sick, but advanced planning helps minimize the stress on you and your loved ones. Click here for a copy of a brochure from Texas Health Resources on what you need to know.

24-HOUR HELP LINES: Sometimes the pressure can be too much. Here are 24-hour, free help lines for different needs:

  • For confidential support when you need help with the stresses of parenting, contact Child Help. Call or text 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or live chat.
  • For help with teen-specific concerns, call Texas Youth Helpline: 800-989-6884 or text 512-872-5777.
  • For help with parenting tips, local resources, and to learn about family fun, visit helpandhope.org.
  • For mental health support and crisis care, contact iCARE. Call or text iCARE at 817-335-3022.
  • For access to services through a social service hotline, dial 211 or 877-541-7905 or visit 211texas.org.

STRESS: We are all dealing with so many unknowns and it can be frightening and confusing. Here are fliers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that may help with coping with stress during infectious disease outbreaks ; while sheltering in place ; and during social distancing . Here also is information on a disaster distress helpline .

SPIRITUAL PRACTICES: Here is a link to an article from ProgressiveChristianity.org with suggested spiritual practices for the Coronavirus pandemic .

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: In addition, reports of domestic violence are increasing as people are sheltering in place. Here are some resources on domestic violence should you know of anyone needing help.
Please Keep in Your Prayers
Family of Tanner (friends of Janna and Pat)
Lisa Schaub's Pop and mom
Cheryl Farmer and family
Veronica Penrod's parents
The Cruz family
Analiese Hill's Uncle Mark
All about FCC
What We Believe
In May 2008, we declared: We, the congregation of First Congregational United Church of Christ, Fort Worth, declare ourselves to be Open and Affirming. We strive to be a congregation that includes all persons, embracing differences of sexual orientation, gender and its expression, marital status, age, mental and physical health and ability, racial and cultural identity or background, and educational or socioeconomic status. We welcome all to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, blessings, and joys of our congregation's life in Christ.
Contact Us
Address: 4201 Trail Lake Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76109
Phone: 817-923-2990
Email: Church Office
Who's Who at FCC
Rev. Lee Ann Bryce , Senior Pastor, Director of FCC Singers
Rev. Kathy Bowser , Pastoral Care Assistant
Laurie Dobson , Office Manager and Director of Communications
Zane Freemyer, Hand Bell Choir Director
Heather Goolsby , Youth Director
Analiese Hill , Children's Director
Joel Penrod , Worship and Arts Planner
Laurie Simmons , Accompanist
FCC on Social Media
Website: fortworthucc.org
Instagram: FirstCongregationalFortWorth
Audio of Rev. Lee Ann's Sermons: Click here.
Sunday's Online Bulletins: bulletin.fortworthucc.org
2020 Committees

The Cabinet is responsible for managing the affairs of the church. They decide on church policy, oversee the finances, and manage all church committees and events. If you have any ideas, questions, or concerns about our church, please contact Tracy Hanna , Cabinet Moderator or Veronica Penrod , Cabinet Moderator-Elect.

Christian Education oversees the Sunday morning Education Hour and works alongside our Adult Ed, youth, and children’s directors to keep our education program going. If you have an idea for a program or speaker, please contact Christy Alvear , Christian Education Chair.

Christian Service plans and oversees the benevolence and social action plans of our church. If there is an issue you would like our church to be made aware of or become a part of, contact Ann Cartwright , Christian Service Chair.

Deacons work closely with Rev. Lee Ann and are responsible for weekly worship services, special services, and evangelism. If you have any ideas or questions, please contact Betsy Barbre , Deacons Chair.

Trustees are responsible for the care of our building and grounds, and manage the financial affairs of the church. If you see an area needing improvement inside or outside of our building, or have questions about finances, please contact Jim Keller , Trustees Chair.
Article/Announcement Submissions
Articles for The Comma and announcements for the bulletin must be in to the office via email no later than Wednesday mornings. For events to be published on our Facebook page, please email the office with the details. PLEASE NOTE: Articles and announcements may be edited for length, grammar, etc.
Privacy Policy
We frequently take photos or videos of all the wonderful events happening in our church. If you prefer we do not include photos of you or your family in our bulletin or on social media, please let the church office know. We will be happy to honor your request.
Online Giving
You can make a donation to FCC via Vanco--a UCC online giving website. Here's what to do:
1) Go to our web page fortworthucc.org click on "Giving" menu, then click on the "Give Now" button.
2) Once on the Vanco website, set up an account, and decide where you want your donations to go, how often, and from what account. 

PLEASE NOTE:  Credit/debit transactions incur fees payable to the credit card company. FCC will record the amount less the fees for IRS purposes.