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 February 12, 2015

To the saints and sinners in La Grange and elsewhere: Grace to you and peace from Carly, called to be a servant of Christ among you.

I don't know about you, but I'm really tired. It feels like no matter how hard I try, I cannot get ahead, cannot even keep up with some things. There are so many things that call out for my attention. So many special interests are vying for my energy. There never seems to be enough {{fill in the blank here}}. Not enough sleep, time, people... you get the idea.

"Not Enough" is a mindset our culture has been ingrained into our thinking. It is the basis of our economy: there's not enough to go around so the maximum profit can be made by sellers because we'll always want for more; we don't want to fall behind. This mindset is the basis of our self image: we can never be enough. We're never good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, efficient enough, thin enough, fit enough, strong enough, successful enough. If we fall short, the culture shames us with its stress on being better than ordinary. So we say "yes" to doing and having as much as possible so we don't suffer the "shame of failure." This mindset of scarcity feeds our greed, our jealousies, our prejudice, and our struggles in living.

This scarcity mindset undermines the work of the Body of Christ. Frankly, we become exhausted when we hear the call of the church to be more hospitable, do more in the community, feed the hungry, house the homeless, or free the oppressed. We long for more community and deeper connection with God. But we just don't have time or energy to do anything more. We feel depleted, exhausted, run down, tired, stressed, and overextended. We are so controlled by the scarcity mindset of the culture around us that being a disciple of Jesus is just too overwhelming of a prospect.

If nothing else, Jesus was a counter culture revolutionary. He stood up against the demeaning and belittling habits of the culture to bring people wholeness and fullness of joy. His ministry and his teaching were about building up, supporting, and strengthening individuals in a culture that ostracized and devalued those who were not perfect in the eyes of the culture. He did this be valuing them exactly as they were, for who they were.  

Friends, it is past time for us to stand up to the cultural mindset of scarcity. We do not need to be successful by the culture's standards; we do not need to measure up to the market's standards of prosperity. The way out of scarcity thinking is Sabbath Rest. I'm not talking about sleeping through church! I'm suggesting that we need to say, "NO!" to the cultural rat race that feeds of fear of failure and of falling behind. We need to learn to say "NO!" to doing one more thing that does not build us up as disciples, that does not help to build the Realm of God on Earth. We need to practice saying, "NO!" to those things that exhaust us and not nourish us, things that manipulate our self esteem, things that do not lead us to wholeness.

To practice Sabbath is to practice resistance. Walter Brueggemann reminds us that Sabbath resists the spirituality of the principalities and powers--the culture around us--to nurture the physical and spiritual resources to fuel further resistance, making us increasingly available for both community and prophetic ministry[1]. Sabbath requires letting go of the shame-based fear of being ordinary as we allow the world to rush by as we settle into the humble, small and human rhythms of Sabbath. To practice Sabbath means to go quiet, to be less noticed, to rest into the ordinary.

As we move into Lent, I invite you to take Sabbath with me. Let us take a sacred pause and find new habits. Let us seek together the Joyful Kingdom of God and find the deep joy of following Christ. I think you'll find in this Lenten season fruitful, spirit feeding opportunities to grow in faith.



[1] Walter Bruggemann: Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014. 

Help Wanted

Help Wanted: We currently have openings for volunteers who will help to lead our congregation into God's intended future. Are you one of them? See Carly if you are called to any of these positions.


Vice Moderator: This position will be filled by someone with an optimistic outlook for the future of FCCLG, an openness to grow into leadership, and availability for one meeting a month. The position is a one year term with promised promotion to moderator and past moderator in successive years.


Volunteer Coordinator: This position will be filled by someone who knows the value of including everyone! This is a one year commitment to organize the hardworking members of the congregation to work efficiently. There are no regular meetings to attend, nor required hours; this person will work independently to gather the gifts and abilities of our congregation, and help each find meaningful ministry.


Database input volunteers: The office database is in dire need of being cleaned up! Needed are individuals who are comfortable with computer input, calling or contacting individuals to complete information, and enjoy working in an office setting. This requires no standing, carrying, or heavy lifting; it does require a positive outlook and a sense of humor.





Clairvoyants and Mind readers needed!

Our office staff works hard to gather information and present it to us so that we will all be informed of the great things happening at FCCLG. However, we need someone who is able to clairvoyantly communicate this material to the people who choose not to read the Tidings, emails, or the weekly announcements in the bulletins. If you or someone you know has this unique gift, please pass the Tidings and announcements on to them so they might place all this great information in the minds of our nonreaders.   :D 





Volunteer Opportunities


Interested in being part of a team volunteering at Back Bay Mission? For the fourth year, we will be taking a group of adults to Biloxi on February 22nd to 28th. If you have questions or are ready to sign up, contact Marie Roche: We will hold an informational meeting after the first of the year.



Our St. Barbara's Food Pantry collection items for February are any kind of pasta and sauce. As always, thanks to all in the congregation who support the food pantry.



Do you know that someone needs blood every two seconds? With the harsh winter and people not being able to get in to donate blood, there is a shortage. But you can help at FCCLG! On Sunday, March 1, we will have Heartland Blood Centers in the dining room to take blood donations. You have to feel well, weigh 110 pounds or more, and be 17 years old or older (16 with written permission from a parent/guardian). There is a scholarship raffle for donors ages 17-21. If you donate, you can enter a raffle to win a $1,000 scholarship. A parent, aunt or uncle can also enter for a student by turning in the same paperwork. The form to enter this raffle will be available the morning of the blood drive. It is suggested that you eat something before you donate and drink plenty of water. You have to wait 8 weeks between donations.
If you have questions about the donor qualifications, there is a list at the sign up during coffee hour.  Your donation of blood can save three lives.  Please consider helping with this worthy mission project! You can sign up during coffee hour or on sign up Genius or call the office.


The FCCLG Congregation will be providing the hot meal and sandwiches for the March 14 Saturday Meals Program. here are many ways to participate in this event. We need cooks to prepare a hot dish - sample recipes and a pan will be provided to those who sign up. We also need volunteers to staff the breakfast or lunch shift. Sandwich ingredients need to be donated.   We need your help! Details will be available starting February 8th. Look for the sign-up table in the Founders Room. Questions? Email Kris Kocek.



Presented by Reverend Dr. Alice Hunt

Join Reverend Dr. Alice Hunt as she explains and reviews Bill O'Reilly's national best seller, Killing Jesus. Reverend Hunt will unravel the myth behind Mr. O'Reilly's popular book about Jesus. Reading the book is not necessary as Rev. Hunt will provide a summary of this work. Join us for an exciting and engaging conversation on March 4th at 6:30 to 8 pm or March 8th at 9 to 10:30 am in the Union Church at 137 S. Garfield Ave., Hinsdale.


In Our Church

Lent is usually a dark and penitential season. It begins with a service of introspection and repentance marked by ashes and proceeds through 40 days of doom and gloom. We're going to break with that tradition this year. We will be seeking the Joyful Realm of God; our focus during this season on lengthening days will be locating the deep joy of following Christ. While our altar will still be dressed in the purple of passion, look for the bright and the light as the season progresses.

Services In Lent:

Ash Wed   7:30 p.m. February 18 in the Chapel    

Psalm 51   Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down.

Feb 22   Mark 1:9-15        New Paths!

Mar 1    Mark 8:31-38      Not Following the Rat Race

Mar 8    John 2:13-22       Reconstruction

Mar 15  John 3:14-21       No More Wanderings

Mar 22  John 12:20-33     Glory! God is God!

Palm Sunday Mar 29        Mark 11:1-11     Shout!

Maundy Thursday  John 13:1-17, 31b-35                            Tenebrae

Easter April 8     Mark 16:1-8     Run for New Life!


On the Edge, a Lenten study based upon the Sunday lectionary readings, will be offered on Thursdays at 6:30p.m. in the Drawing Room. This study will look at questions about the faith from a progressive perspective.

  • How do you account for / explain the different versions of the same event?
  • To what extent does it matter in your understanding and experience of Jesus that the details that describe such a fundamental event in his life are not an agreed Gospel record across Mark, Matthew and Luke?
  • Why did John ignore all the details of the baptism of Jesus?

You can down load the study materials at

  • Feb 26: Mark 1: 9 - 11:  The baptism of Jesus: contradictory Gospel stories
  • March 5: Mark 8: 31 - 38: Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
  • March 12: John 2: 13 - 22: Jesus Cleanses the Temple: once or twice?
  • March 19: For God so loved the world: one of the most out of context and misquoted verses in the whole of the Christian Testament
  • March 26: John 12:20 - 35: Passiontide and John's Gospel





On March 14th at 9am (after the Saturday Meals Program Breakfast) we will be having Pancakes in our Pj's in the Founder's Room! All are invited! If you would like to help out please contact Sylvia or Nancy Sander. You can also sign up through sign-up genius!  



This year the Zackleys will be returning to Edisto Island for the 8th year. Edisto is between Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. In years past we have helped to improve the housing of families on the island. Our trip takes place during the spring break: March 28th-April 5th. The trip will cost $200 if registered before March 8th and $250 after March 8th. Information can be found outside of Sylvia's office.    

Important Dates for Work trip:
  • February 15: Parent & Participant Meeting, 6:30 p.m. in the Chapel
  • March 1, March 8, March 15, March 22: Stock Sales 10:00-Noon, Sanctuary/Founders Room
  • March 8th:**Registration Due Date with payment**
  • March 15: Final Participant Meeting, 6:30 pm in the Chapel
  • March 28 (5 am) -April 5 (late afternoon): Work Trip: Departure and arrival in church parking lot
  • April 12: Zackley Worship Service: meet at 9:30am, Service at 10


The Zackleys will be selling stock for their spring break trip to Edisto Island starting March 1st. This is a very important fundraiser for our work trip. Each stockholder will be invited to our stockholders brunch April 12th! There will also be a sign up to write letters to our Zackleys while on the trip. Thank you for all of your support!


Hospitality is an important tenant of our faith. As a church we want people to feel welcomed within our walls. This hospitality is something that we should also seek to extent to our children and youth. A show of hospitality would go a long way in making our children and youth feel welcomed and encouraged to hang out at church. The following items are some suggestions of foods and beverages that could be donated to the CYD's office to create a hospitable atmosphere:
  • Bottles of water
  • Snacks- (individually packaged)
    • Granola bars
    • Candies
    • Chips etc. (trying to provide healthy options too)
  • Juice boxes
  • Instant hot cocoa

Additionally, starting February 8th, Sylvia will be offering "Meet ups" on Sundays from 2pm -5pm on days Yzals or Zackleys meet (if they are cancelled so are "Meet ups"). This is a time to meet with youth and parents on an individual or small group basis at a coffee shop, restaurant, frozen yogurt shop etc. to talk about what is most important to you. Please sign up outside of Sylvia's office or let her know when you'd like to meet!


Looking Ahead

What do you imagine when you think of worship that is open to people of all ages?  Let me tell you, it's a bit messy!  In fact, it's Messy Church! If you are interested in helping to build a creative, diverse, loving, and yes, messy worship service, mark your calendars for March 22nd after church.  We'll meet to discuss all of the great opportunities!



Is there an anniversary or special date coming up in 2015? We have plenty of Sundays available. See the calendar in the Founder's Room or visit the office and sign up today!



Singing and Ringing for All Ages:


All of the music ensembles are ready for new members. That's you!

Ensemble members do not have to be FCCLG members, so let your musical friends know about us.

Ring and Sing: Kindergarten-elementary, rehearses Sundays, 11:15 - 11:45 a.m.

Treble Choir: 3rd-8th grades, rehearses Sundays, 11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Carillon Handbell Choir: High School on up, rehearses Wednesdays, 7:30 - 9 p.m.

Chancel Choir: High School on up, rehearses Thursdays, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.


Special Services: Sometimes schedules do not allow for weekly rehearsals or Sunday singing.


Please talk to Ryan about singing on Maundy Thursday, Easter or the Choral Sermon (date and repertoire, TBA).


Choir Concert at First United Methodist


February 22, 3pm at 100 W. Cossitt.  Our Chancel Choir and the choirs of First United Methodist, First Presbyterian, Grace Lutheran and more will sing Schubert's Mass in G (you have heard some previews on recent Sundays) and the gorgeous "Cantique de Jean Racine" by Faur´┐Ż.  The choirs will perform with the Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra and soloists will be Clarice Warrick, soprano; John Leininger, tenor and Ryan Cox, bass.  Tickets are available at or for discounted tickets, contact a choir member.


Get Involved with FCCLG!
- Bring in treats of your choice and serve beverages and snacks after worship.
Flower Delivery
- Deliver the donated altar flowers to home-bound church members after worship.
- Arrive at church at 9:30 am, pass out programs, collect the offering.
-Arrive at church at 9:45 am, wear your name tag, and smile!
Laundry Superheroes
- Pick up the Saturday Meals Program laundry outside the kitchen after worship and return it clean before next Saturday.
Nursery Attendants
-Watch children during worship service.
AV Technicians
-Run the sound system and cameras and monitor broadcast to Plymouth Place during worship on Sunday. Training available - see John Hoo.

You can also sign up in fellowship hour or by calling the church office at 708-352-0800.

Touch List

The family of Cindy Carr, Sarah Carr's mother in law, who passed away.  

Jim Clayton.  

Evelyn Biegert, who is recovering from knee surgery.

Nancy Heil, who is recovering from hip surgery. She's doing well. 

Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.

Jim Happel, as he recovers from surgery.

Lois Hindman, who is house bound with a brain condition.

Diane Kasnick's friend's young son Max Adduci, who is in the hospital with recurring kidney problems.

Rudy Schade as his mother Hanna Schade passed away on January 19th.

DeFord Schwall, Susan Schwall's father, who is in hospice care.

Don Slocum at the death of his wife, Marleen, on January 13th in Naples, Florida.

Mike Tobin, Char Tobin's son, Jill's brother who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

David Kasnick's friend Gary Wheeler, who has a brain tumor.

Chet Won, Viola Clayton's son-in-law, who is awaiting a bone marrow transplant.

Olivia Hein's grandmother, Dorothy Wood, as she recovers from surgery.
From the mailbox

First Congregational Church of La Grange | 708-352-0800 | |
100 S. 6th Avenue
La Grange, IL 60525