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September 17, 2015

Grace to you and peace from Carly, called to be prophet, teacher, pastor, and magician amongst the believers, doubters, benchwarmers, players, organized, and disconnected of La Grange and beyond.

Did I really just say that? Magician? Really? Yes indeed. Since it would take a "rabbit trick" to pull together that disparate list of adjectives and the people they represent, a magician is sometimes needed to gather up all the loose ends and stranglers of community life. If there is any "magic" to the role of a church leader in this day and age, it is found in the priorities one sets.

Perhaps you experienced the same priority setting exercise I did in high school. We were asked to describe what our ideal day would look like, our ideal week, month, and year. We were asked to list what we would do, accomplish, and complete in each of those ideal time frames. Then we were asked to list our activities over the following week... hour by hour, day by day. Those two charts - the ideal and the actual - were compared. Our third assignment was to explain the difference between the two: what did I do from the ideal list, and what was left undone and what got in the way of accomplishing it. What I discovered is that my commitments and my actions did not match. Much of what I was doing was not something I really cared much about. What I spent my time doing did not add up to what I had imagined was a priority.

What do you value? What makes your heart sing? How much of your time and energy goes into that? What is getting in the way of your heart singing?

As we kick off a new program year at First Congregational Church, let us explore together what is important to us as a community of faith. Where will the focus of our life together be? What will be our priorities for ministry in our community and beyond? And, what need we avoid to accomplish those priorities?

Let's start prioritizing our life together. This will eliminate the need for any hat tricks.

Church News and Reminders

Coming on 9/27 -- Messy Church 
While working on crafts, we will be talking with fellow church family members, meeting new visitors and developing relationships. By worshiping in a different way, we welcome all to learn something new. By sharing a meal we evoke Christ and build relationships according to example set for us in the gospels.  On
September 27th, we will have the pleasure of experiencing this new way of doing church during our normal worship time.

We'd like to welcome NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to FCCLG. In September, NAMI will begin meeting in the Drawing Room every 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month. For more information on this organization you can click  
Volunteer Opportunities
Honey Do List at Church
The Property Committee seeks your help in doing maintenance and repairs around the church! Please take on what ever makes your heart sing!  We need all skills -  from carpentry to electrical to planting to sorting to hauling to cleaning and organizing.  Although the date says September 30, please sign up and complete this at your convenience. Go to Sign-up Genius or our Opportunity Board during Fellowship Time.

Lawn Mowing
Sign up to help keep the church lawns looking their best. We have both a self propelled mower and a rechargeable mower for you to use. This includes the front, back and side lawns. The sign-up day and time are listed as Saturdays, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, but the actual day and time you mow is flexible.  

Laundry Heroes 
Sign up to be a laundry hero. This is a simple, eco-friendly and meaningful project. Just pick up the laundry at your convenience, from outside the kitchen and bring it back the Saturday morning that follows by 7am. If you have any questions, call the church office or contact Marilyn Russell at .
Have some extra time? We can use your help!
Your office staff are updating the church's membership database. Our hope is to have our data as complete as possible by mid September. This will be a time-intensive process that requires the cooperation of our f riends and members in filling out the census, as well as individuals to help to do the updating. We need help in two areas. For each, volunteers will need to attend a training session to become familiar with the processes and the systems.
  • Data entry and synchronization. Work times are flexible. You'll need to be comfortable working on a computer in the church office and learning how to use new software. We need help in two ways: inputting the data from paper surveys from those members and friends who do not use computers; and following up on the data that is self entered by members. This work will happen during
  • Telephone follow up with friends and members who do not respond to the survey electronically or on paper. Work times are flexible. This will entail calling people from your home or from the church office, and completing the census survey over the phone. This work will also happen during September, but may run into early October.
In Our Church
This week in our Church
   click here for calendar

Welcome to the Access Genius Bar!
Having trouble with the internet Login on Access?  No Problem -- We're here to help!  Find the paper form awkward and problematic? No Problem -- We'll enter your information!    
The Church Census Database Update is at your fingertips with assistants to help you complete your update! Step into the office before or after worship on September 20 for your personal guide to help you update your information. The FCCLG website has a link to Access. Just go to, click the Connect With Us tab and then click on Member Status Data. 

Altar Flowers 
Is there an anniversary or special date coming up? There are Sundays open in September, October, November, and
December to donate altar flowers. See the calendar in the Drawing Room or visit the office and sign up today!
St.Barbara's Food Pantry needs help!
St. Barbara's Facebook page states that their food pantry shelves are in dire need of supplies. They can use toilet paper, soup, beans, peas, corn, jelly, tuna, chili, spaghetti sauce, pasta and hamburger/tuna helper. If you wish to donate, receptacles for the food are outside the sanctuary. It helps to have them in a bag to transport them. Thanks!

Evening Book Club 
The book club will discuss The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman tonight, September 17th at 7:30 in the Chapel conference room. Diane Ackerman is the author of two dozen highly-acclaimed works of poetry and nonfiction, including the bestseller A Natural History of the Senses and the Pulitzer Prize Finalist One Hundred Names for Love.
Spaghetti Dinner
The Westchester Community Church (1840 Westchester Blvd.) is holding a fundraiser spaghetti dinner on Saturday, September 19th from 4 - 7:30 pm. Tickets are $8, children under 3 are free. Tickets are available at the door. Door prizes and raffles occurring throughout the evening.
Calling all Crafters 
Hooks and Needles is sponsoring an all church craft sale fundraiser on November 1st in the Founders' Room from 11:30 am to 3 pm. We are calling on all church crafters to make this event a success by donating a wide variety of handmade items. All items are donations and all proceeds from the sale will go to the church. There will be information sheets in the office and available at coffee hours. Questions - talk to Linda Lauterbach, Claudia Byrne, Debbie Llewellyn, Barbara Hultman, Margaret Melkonian, or Mary Forester.
Music News

Chancel Choir
rehearsal continues on Thursday, September 17 at 7:30 pm in the Choir Room.  Membership is open to all singers, high-school on up.  All voice parts are needed, particularly sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses.  Not sure where you fit in?  Ryan will help you figure that out.  All new choir members are offered two free voice coaching sessions with Ryan Cox.  

Carillon Handbell Choir rehearsal continues on Wednesday, September 23 at 7:30 pm. Anyone high-school and up is welcome.  Previous ringing experience is not required, however, basic music reading is helpful (counting is the big thing!).  We need both regular ringers and those who would like to sub in from time to time.

Ring 'n Sing : It's back and it does what the name suggests. We sing. And we ring. Sometimes at the same time. Children in 1st-6th grades are welcome to join the fun. Rehearsals begin on September 20 from 11:15-11:45 am. This program is great for introducing new families to our great youth programming. 
Treble Choir : An extension of Ring n' Sing, this ensemble is designed for children in 3rd grade and up. The focus is on voice development, music reading and singing more challenging music. Normally we meet right after Ring n' Sing from 11:45 am-12:15 pm. However, our first rehearsal will be combined with Ring n' Sing on September 20 from 11:15-11:45 am.
CYD News

Sunday School
Our Sunday School started back up on September 13th. We need people to fill teacher and shepherd positions until we can hire Sunday School helpers. Please sign up through Sign-Up genius or contact Sylvia at sylvia@fcclg.o rg
Messy Church  
September 27th
is our Messy Church kickoff! We need volunteers to help work craft tables and games. If you are willing to help us, please contact Sylvia. We also need help with our continued efforts in making Messy Church open to the community starting in November. Please think about how you can help in this new ministry of the church. Contact Sylvia at
Adult Education

Let's Start at the Beginning

Maria, from "The Sound of Music" reminds us to "start at the very beginning-a very good place to start." In that spirit, Carly will offer a Confirmation Refresher Course. This is an introduction/review of the faith traditions of Western
Christianity. Everyone is invited! 

We'll be using Martin Copenhaver's book, To Begin at the Beginning. This is an informal, conversational gathering. We will meet in the Drawing Room from 8:30 to 9:20 on Sunday
Mornings. There will be coffee!

The book is available at the local bookstore, on Amazon,, or a limited number of copies from Carly . It is an easy read, but each week will require that you read the chapter before class. We'll follow the outline of the book in sections, taking a break between each section.
Part One: The God We Worship and Serve : Sept. 20 to Oct. 18
            September 20: Preface and Introductions
               September 27: The God of Creation and Covenant
            October 4: The Jesus of the Incarnation
               October 11: The Jesus of the Resurrection
            October 18: The Continuing Presence of the Holy  

Part Two: The Church as the Body of Christ: Nov 1 - Dec 6.
            November 1: Life Together as God's People
            November 8: The Church's Book
               November 15: The Church at Worship
               November 20: Baptism with Water and the Spirit
            November 27: No class (Thanksgiving weekend)
               December 6: Eating at Christ's Table

Part 3: What Is Promised, What is Required Jan 10 -Feb 7
            January 10: Conversing with God
            January 17: Resurrection to Eternal Life
               January 24: Doing Faith
               January 31: Sharing the News
               February 7: The Invitation

Touch List

Your Cards and Prayers Will Comfort and Touch...

The family, and wife Marge of Mary Lu, JoAnne Konkle's friend who died.
Ardell Arthur, Charlene Tobin
's sister, who has lost her eyesight.
The Balz family.
Rita Baumann, Mary Cooper's aunt who is recovering from surgery.
The family and friends of Sandra Bland.
Jenny Geist's mother, Bonnie, who is recovering from surgery.
Nancy Haiman who is recovering from surgery to remove a melanoma.
Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.
Lois Hindman, who is house bound with a brain condition.
Ronald Kloss, Janet Bednar 's father, who is recovering after surgery.
The family of Sherry Llewellyn, who died on September 6th.
Ruth Martin , who has continuing medical issues.
Kathleen McConnellogue and Jennifer Powers who are each dealing with health issues.
Donna Moore , who is recovering from surgery.
Camilla Norby.
Helen Pancer, Viola Clayton's daughter who will be receiving chemotherapy.
Sandra Sayles , who is in the hospital.
Erin Swan , daughter of Chris and Renee Bryant, who has ongoing medical issues.
Fred Weiss , who is recovering at home.