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 February 26, 2015

Grace to you and peace from Carly, called to be a servant among the ministers, saints, and sinners in La Grange and beyond.   Yes, we're all ministers. We're all saints. And we're all sinners. And there's always room for more of each among us!

I've been thinking about Lent, and, being a fan of etymology, the origination of the word in West Germanic "langa-tinaz" or long-days. As the days lengthen, so march we forward toward Holy Week and Easter. Lent is a time of change - changing our behaviors, our values, our world - to better reflect the extravagant love and welcome, and continuing testament of God among us. Through these changes, we touch and change lives.

As we move into God's intended future as a congregation, we're also changing to adjust to the changing realities around and within us. Some of those changes are expected: new ministry members and roles. Some are an experiment to see what works: changes to how we meet, how we learn, and what worship looks like.

Rather than wax philosophically or theologically about these changes, let's just put them out there. What has changed at FCCLG?

  • Ministry Meetings: At the leadership retreat, the consensus moved to have ministries meet all at once over a Big Brunch Meeting following worship. Each ministry was asked to choose either the second or fourth Sunday to meet - and all the responding ministries chose the second Sunday! This will be a pot luck brunch in the Dining Room; the Nurture Team will provide beverages and disposable tableware (no clean up!); each ministry member is asked to bring a dish to share. The advantage to this arrangement is improved communication between ministries since we can share briefly with other ministries about what each ministry is doing before we break off into our own ministry meetings. It also allows families with children (who are in Ring and Sing during this time) to participate in the work of ministry. And it allows me, as a participant in almost every ministry team, to help keep the vision and goals of the whole congregation before all the teams while not keeping me in meetings every night of the week. This is a test balloon to see if this is productive! Our first Big Brunch Meeting will be at 11:15 on Sunday, March 8th.
  • Sunday School Teachers and Shepherds: In the budget for 2015 that the congregation unanimously passed in January, the Ministry of Education proposed hiring seminary students to be a constant presence in our Sunday School classes beginning in September. We have a growing Sunday school enrollment and several very committed teachers. And our teachers also would like to worship on Sunday morning! Seminary students need experience within a congregational setting. These students will shepherd on the weeks have a teacher available, and will teach on the weeks we have a shortage of teachers. The advantage to this arrangement is that not only will there be a familiar week each time a student comes to Sunday school, there will also be flexibility to accommodate the changing schedules of our teachers. This proposal does not increase the Ministry of Education spending in any way since the team is consolidating other expenses in order to try this beginning in the Fall.
  • Input from all of us into Mission and Ministry projects: The Ministry of Mission is tasked with sharing our gifts and inspiring our mission work, and they would like your input about how you would like to make a difference in the lives of others. They have a survey they would like you to complete about your passions and preferences. What sets your heart on fire? What kinds of hands on project would you join FCCLG to work on? Gathering information from the congregation helps the Mission Team focus on projects and programs about which members are passionate, and to help each member be involved in the work of bringing about God's Realm. Look for members of the Mission Ministry Team to fill out the survey!
  • Meet Ups and Coffee Hours: In an effort to get out from behind desks, both Sylvia and I are taking office hours in local coffee shops. Sylvia is available on Sunday afternoons to meet with youth and parents; see her for specifics. I'll be at the Corner Bakery on the first and third Tuesdays from 8 to 10 am, and at Starbucks on the second and fourth Thursday afternoons from 4 - 6 pm. 
  • Messy Church: Remember the huge Junior High Retreats from the days gone by? The excitement, the anticipation, the energy that buzzed through the congregation? It's time to reignite that energy in a new format! The idea is to bring everyone together in one place - all ages, all abilities, all interests - and experience Christian community through hospitality, friendship, stories, and worship. This model does not hinge on a Sunday gathering; it's founded on exploring, nurturing, and growing faith through all the senses and in all learning styles. It's not a classroom; it's not a "service;" it's not just a meal - it's all of these and more. Four Messy Church sessions are being planned for the Fall months. If you'd like more information, or would like to help out, join the gathering after worship on March 22.
  • Visual Worship: The Ministry of Worship has been up to new things too! The sanctuary is being transformed for the season of Lent. Have you seen? Have you heard? The wilderness of Lent and the themes of our brokenness and need for change have taken on some visual qualities. Come and See! And watch as it transforms as we approach Easter.

A wise person once taught me that all things either change or die. The branch that is blown from the tree falls to the ground, dies, and is changed by the decomposers. The branch that is supple blows with the wind and adapts without losing its nurture from the sun nor its identity in the trunk nor its foundation in the tree. Feel the wind of the Spirit blow amongst us as we spring forth in new ways from the solid foundation of our congregation!






Volunteer Opportunities


St. Barbara's Food Pantry collection item for March is cereal. Thanks for your support!



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:

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 download the study materials here.

  • Feb 26: Mark 8:31 - 38 Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
  • March 5:John 2: 13 - 22 Jesus Cleanses the Temple: once or twice?
  • March 12: John 3:14 - 21 For God so loved the world: one of the most out of context and misquoted verses in the whole of the Christian Testament
  • March 19: John 12:20 - 35: Passiontide and John's Gospel



Celebrate with us on Saturday, March 14th as we welcome springtime with FCCLG's annual Pancakes and PJs brunch! Join us in the Founders Room at 9 am for pancakes, juice, and laughter! Don't forget your Easter basket as there will be an Easter egg hunt and a reading of the Easter story for children. PJs are encouraged! Please sign-up with Sign-Up Genius or Nancy Sander so we have a head count. We need electric skillets to cook the pancakes. If you have one we can borrow, please contact Nancy.



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:
  • 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!


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!



The Zackley youth group needs your help! We need Altoids cases (or similarly shaped metal boxes) for our work trip. Please bring your boxes to the office or Sylvia by March 22nd!



Our Yzals group is growing and will continue to grow in the next couple of years. We need volunteers to help support and love this group! If you would like to help out with this amazingly energetic group please contact Sylvia!    



The Easter season is the beginning of spring, a time of renewal and rebirth. Spring-blooming flow ers sing of hope and carry special meaning as we celebrate rebirth through Christ's resurrection. Legend holds that lilies  grew where Jesus' tears fell, offering hope to believers. The Ministry of Worship invites you to share this hope by ordering an Easter lily to be displayed in the sanctuary on Easter Sunday in memory of or to honor a loved one. You may order by phone or sign-up sheet in the church office. The cost is $12 per plant. The lily is yours to take home after the service, or we can deliver it to a home-bound member. Order deadline is Sunday, March 22nd.



One Great Hour of Sharing provides support for health, education, refugee, agriculture and emergency relief initiatives in 138 countries by working with local, national and global partners. The offering is received during Lent. We will be collecting the offering March 15. Please give generously.



On March 8th we will begin a different way of doing church by having the ministries meet at the same time. We'll meet in the dining room over a pot

luck brunch and have a brief exchange of information before the teams meet separately. Beverages and utensils will be provided. If you are on a team, please bring a dish to share and an openness to trying a new thing.     


Who's on First?

Here's a list of the ministry leaders amongst us!


*COUNCIL Meets on the 4th Wednesday of the month MOST months

*Moderator: Kent Llewellyn

*Vice Moderator: John Fagan

*Most Recent Past Moderator:   Dick Lauterbach

*Clerk: Petra Hentzel Palmer

*Treasurer: Yet to be filled - Is it You?

*Pastor --Carly Stucklen Sather

Members at Large: Ray Felson, John Leininger


Ministers: All of us!

Assistant Treasurer: Sarah Gottermeyer

Historian: Susan Fagan

Chief Usher: Mary Cooper

Volunteer Coordinator-- vacancy - could it be you?


Building Use Committee:

Marie Roche (chair), Susan Blazek, Sandra McLaughlin


Finance Committee

Treasurer (chair), Sarah Gottermeyer, Doris Bryant


Nominating Committee

Jeff Reichl, Chris Moe, (Volunteer Coordinator Vacancy)


Personnel Committee

Debbie Cosgrove, Brian Shannon, Terry Owens


Property Committee

Jim Happel (Chair), Chris/Rene Bryant, John Moellman, Dave Ries, Erik Sander, Jason Styx


Stewardship Committee Meets on the Second Sunday after Fellowship  

Ken Moe (chair), Rich Bradley, Jerry Palmer, Ted Tomkinson



Ministry of Communications  Meets on the Second Sunday after Fellowship

John Hoo (Chair), Olivia Hein, Erin Markus-Bryant


Ministry of Education Meets on the Second Sunday after Fellowship

Randy Wallin (Chair), Courtney Harvey, Kim Bart, Jennifer Sheehan, Megan Styx


Ministry of Membership  Meets on the Second Sunday after Fellowship

Bobbi Nunez (chair), Fred Weiss, Mike Donaldson, Viola Clayton


Ministry of Missions Meets on the Second Sunday after Fellowship

Jill Tobin (chair), Diane Kasnick, Marilyn Russell, Joanne Konkle, Dawn Mackie, Nancy Coleman


Ministry of Nurture  Meets on the Second Sunday after Fellowship

Sue Hoffman (Chair), Cheryl Buchignani, Betsy Colombe, Debbie Dreffein, Jean McCarthy, Petra Palmer, Ericka Shannon, Amanda Ries, Nicole Zavala. ,Chris Moe (ad hoc flower delivery), Jan Ceranek (Ad Hoc Harvest Home)


Ministry of Worship  Meets on the Second Sunday after Fellowship

Deb Gardner (Chair), Janet Bednar (Altar Flowers), Mary Cooper (Chief Usher), Ann Fish, Bob Klestil, Tom Pitman (ad hoc),, Lex Bart (ad hoc: Paraments, Liturgists)




Stay tuned! More music events are in the works.



Touch List

Erin Swan, daughter of Chris and Renee Bryant, who has ongoing medical issues.

Erin Bryant, who is recovering from pneumonia.

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

Jim Clayton, who is doing better.

Evelyn Biegert,who is recovering from knee surgery.

Nancy Heil, who is recovering from hip surgery.

Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.

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

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

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 being treated for cancer.

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

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

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

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