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July 9, 2015

Grace to you and peace from Carly, called to be prophet, teacher, and chider amongst the sinners and saints, present and absent in La Grange and beyond.


I can't seem to find any evidence in the Bible that Jesus ever took the summer off. This is may be why we continue to hold worship and mission work through the summer as well. While I am pretty sure that when the warmer winds wafted over the Sea of Galilee, Jesus probably took some time-off to go swimming, grill some fish and play Frisbee (or the ancient equivalent), I'm confident that even then he also took time alone to pray. Which is why we do the same.


Jesus said, "the poor shall always be with you." Today, "the poor" probably includes those who can't afford to go to the summer cottage or other exciting vacations by land or sea. And, "the poor" probably includes those who are grieving or ill at a time when many other persons are away swimming, grilling fish, and playing Frisbee. And "the poor" includes those who feel "poorly" if they cannot start their Sunday and their week with one hour of devotion, prayer, praise, music, scripture, and sermon.


I enjoy worship at our church in the summer. I enjoy the informality and the lack of fuss. I enjoy listening to soloists and other special music. I enjoy the intimacy of fellowship hour in the Drawing Room. And I enjoy knowing that we are "present and accounted for" in case someone needs us.


In case you've forgotten, we meet at 10 A.M. on Sundays. I hope to see you in worship. Wherever you may wander, wherever you may roam please take your faith with you (and maybe even "Flat Jesus"). And if you are away somewhere -- don't forget that we are still here and that our bills, unfortunately, never take a vacation. We appreciate, and need, your financial support.




Church News and Reminders

"Intern-ing the Database"

As you have probably already aware, our membership database is very out-of-date. This has made the task of communication difficult. It has also made it difficult to match the gifts and abilities of our members with tasks and roles in

the congregation.  


The best solution is for someone to help us get that database up to date. With the limited number of hours for our office staff, this has not been possible. Through the generosity of a couple of members, however, we have found a solution: A summer intern.


Meet Adrian Petterson. Adrian is no stranger to First Congregational Church: she attended preschool here, and then took many years of lessons through First Conservatory. When she is home from college, she is a regular volunteer at our Saturday Meals Program. She is currently a student at McGill University in Montreal.

The primary work of the Summer Intern is:

  1. Providing input on the database update forms that will go out to every member;
  2. Overseeing the update of the database of members' skills, interests, gifts, passions, and abilities and then coordinating volunteers to input the data into the church database (the actual input of data is not part of this role).
  3. Assemble a list of volunteer opportunities. The potential volunteers will come from the database.
  4. Based upon the data gathered, work with the Nominating Committee to suggest people for positions opening at the end of the year.
  5. Bonus: Identify a volunteer to fill the position of the Volunteer Coordinator.

Adrian will work with us through July and August toward the completion of these goals. You will hear from her first through the all-member survey that will be sent out soon, and then through her coordination of office volunteers to follow up on the survey and its input into the computer.  





The Village of La Grange Wants To Regulate Jesus


We are The Church, the Body of Christ, who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, and care for the vulnerable in society. Our mission and purpose is a holy calling; we are protected by the First Amendment. That right is being called into question in La Grange.


The Zone Commission of the Village of La Grange met on June 9 to discuss amendments to the Zoning Laws. One of these amendments would allow the Village and its residents to dictate what we we can and cannot do as the Church in our building.  


Because of a strong turnout at the meeting by representatives of churches and faith communities in the Village, the Commission tabled these amendments until after a "workshop" meeting can be held to pull in the ideas of the larger community in the amendments being proposed.  


If the amendment titled IB Special Use List (ZC §8-205) 8-205(S) S. [revision] Religious Organizations is passed in its current form, depending how "core Religious Mission Activities" is interpreted, it may be necessary to have the village's approval for our Saturday Meals Program, and our Conservatory of Music. We might need permission from the village and our neighbors to provide space for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Indian Guides, AA, Al-anon, OA, NA. We would need a special permit to lease our space to social service agencies. But most disturbing, the Village government would define and interpret our church's core mission and values.  


The proposed amendment:

Revision to IB Special Use List (ZC §8-205) 8-205(S) S. [revision] Religious Organizations, including core religious mission activities but not including the following as part of a religious organization's facility: (i) independent social services agencies providing services and assistance to the general public except by approval of a separate special use permit, (ii) other independent services agencies except by approval of a separate special use permit, (iii) retail trade, (iv) personal services or other services to the general public.


The logic behind this amendment as it was presented to the area clergy:


Churches throughout the Village seek ways to use their buildings and to allow others to use their buildings both to promote their mission and to increase their revenue. In some cases a particular use does not appear to promote the church's mission and allowing that use may set a precedent for other non-mission uses in that building and for other churches. Churches in the Village are often located directly within single family residential neighborhoods. The uses a church allows in its building may not be compatible with nearby residences, whether it be an independent social services agency, organizations such as Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Kiwanis, and others, or something other such as a monthly teen rock-and-roll battle of the bands competition


Please plan to attend this zoning workshop at 7:30 pm on July 14. If you cannot attend, please contact the Village Board Members to voice your opinion.


Thomas E. Livingston                             


Malia Arnett


Bill Holder


Michael Kotynek                                                           


Mark Kuchler                                                                   


Mark Langan


David McCarty  

Volunteer Opportunities
CNN/Meals on Wheels 

Community Nutrition Network/Meals on Wheels provides meals and resources to older adults and persons with disabilities, and assists them in leading healthy and active lives. If you can  

volunteer to help prepare or deliver meals to home-bound seniors, or have any questions, please call Tanya Harrison at 708-310-4434.  


Lawn Mowing

The grass is green and it's time to mow! 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.  

Reaching Out

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 the end of August. This will be a time-intensive process over the next 7 weeks that requires the cooperation of our friends and members in filling out the census, as well as individuals to help to do the updating. We need help in three areas. For each, volunteers will need to attend a training session to become familiar with the processes and the systems.

  • Member data and access to the updating process instructions distribution and collection. This will involve talking to people as they arrive, settle in, and leave worship, as well as in the time of fellowship. You will be needed on self-selected Sunday mornings between July 19 and August 23. You'll need to attend a brief "training session" to become familiar with the process.
  • 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 July and August.
  • 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 July and August, but may run into early September.
In Our Church

HANG OUT WITH 'Flat' Jesus

"Flat Jesus" is a concept based on the children's novel "Flat Stanley" where Stanley is accidentally flattened when a bulletin board falls on him. What Stanley quickly discovers though is that being flat has some incredible advantages! He can go to all kinds of places that he couldn't go before!


Children in elementary schools were given their own paper cutout of Flat Stanley (early 90's) and took him to all corners of the world on countless adventures. Friends and family took him on vacations, invited him to community events, family gatherings, the possibilities were endless. They would take a picture of themselves with Flat Stanly wherever they were, doing whatever they were doing, write a few short details about their adventure and the adventures of Flat Stanley grew.


Flat Jesus is a twist on Flat Stanley. You are all invited to take a cutout of Flat Jesus, color and decorate him, and take him with you throughout the summer, sending pictures and stories back to the church via Facebook (tag the church!), email, or drop them by the office. We'll print photos and put them on the bulletin board in the Office corridor.


What a great way to share our faith and remind us that Jesus is with us wherever we go. This is an easy-to-do outward expression of an inward faith. Keep an eye out for pictures of the adventures of Flat Jesus on Facebook!    



We honor the staff and volunteers of The LeaderShop for the month of July for their dedication to the youth in the Western Suburbs. Since 1978, The LeaderShop has provided a variety of programs in a safe and welcoming environment for elementary through high school youth. Their goal is to give youth the confidence, passion and tools to make a difference in their community. Your annual pledge to FCCLG helps support this agency. This month we will also be collecting school supplies that they will distribute to youth in need. Come hear more about The LeaderShop from a staff person on Sunday, July 19 during a mission moment in worship.


LeaderShop School Supply Drive

It is hard to believe that soon school supplies will be on sale. In July, we will be collecting three ring binders, pens (black, blue and red), folders, dry erase markers and pencils for the August LeaderShop school supply drive. Other school items will also be accepted. These supplies go to students in the area who cannot afford their supplies. Place the items in the marked boxes outside the sanctuary through Sunday, August 2. After that, no school supplies will be able to be accepted. Thank you for helping with this local mission! 


In the summer, Hooks & Needles meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month at a member's house. The next meeting will be on July 13th at Linda Lauterbach's, and the following on July 27th is at Mary Forester's.



Evening Book Club will meet again on Thursday,
July 3 0 t h at 7:30 pm in the Chapel meeting room (doorway to the le ft of the altar). Next month's title is non-fiction, Travel a s a Political Act by Rick Steves. You may kno w Rick fro m public television. All are welcome!


There are no Big Brunch meetings in July. The next one will be August 16.


At the end of summer we feel restless and on the verge of new and exciting possibilities: How to respond to the Spiritual callings we feel? Where do we fit into God's plan? There isn't a better place to explore these feelings than on the women's fellowship retreat. Women of FCCLG please mark your calendars for Aug 22 & 23. All are very welcomed. We have been graciously invited again to Doris Bryant's home on Diamond Lake in Michigan, to explore with Pastor Carly, how to be attuned to the Spirit which surrounds us and make it a part of our lives. There will be time to enjoy the lake, to read, to talk with each other and be away from lives filled with hindrances which steal time from us. For more information please see the volunteer table or contact one of our hostesses, Jo-Anne Konkle, at 708-484-2099 or


FCCLG has been blessed with the arrival of man y new babies! We want to support the parents as they tend to t heir babies during Sunday worship. This summer, the Ministry of Nurture has set up a Mother's Table in the Drawing Room supplied with food and drink.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14


What's keeping you away from the summer services? Family vacations, busy youth sports, or summer camps? All three will consume most of the next several weeks at our house, so Sunday mornings we'll be on the road or taking the opportunity for an extra hour of needed rest. That could create a budget crisis for our church, but our convenient e-Giving options allow us to always stay current on our pledge. We can make one-time payments when we can't attend services, or set up recurring monthly payments.

Consider using our electronic giving. You can access a Vanco form here or from the church's website.


Music News

Summer Musicians of all ages are invited to play, sing or ring. The choir is off for the Summer, so we need you!  Not a soloist, but want to lend your talents? That's ok! Ryan will find an ensemble for you, just contact him for more information or to sign up.   


First Conservatory, offering private lessons on most instruments including piano and voice, is housed in YOUR church. For almost 20 years our expert teachers have instructed many of the area's youth and adults, including many fine musicians in our congregation. Contact Ryan Cox to start lessons or for information to pass along to a music lover you know. Taking lessons is first and foremost for the student. However, the Conservatory has a symbiotic relationship with FCCLG. Each month the Conservatory contributes $1125 for the use of space. It sponsors teachers to play occasionally during our services and also provides all of the piano tunings in the building, including the sanctuary. More students means more opportunities for the Conservatory to support the church. We hope you will help make that happen!

Did You Know?

How About some Fun? 
Who's up for a little Foosball? Human Foosball! La Grange's Endless Summer Fest will include a Human Foosball tournament and FCCLG will have a team - maybe 2! We'll be playing on Friday, July 31 between 6 and 8:30 p.m. If you'd like to join the team(s), be in touch with Carly. If you'd like to watch the tournament, plan to be at the Endless Summer Fest's Foos & Broos.

Membership Census Happening!

Be watching for your opportunity to update your personal and family information in the church's database. Each household should receive either an electronic (or paper if we have no e-mail on file) survey that will help us have correct and complete information on each member. This is important so that you can be invited to participate in ministries, included in updates, and receive church news. Please complete and return the survey as soon as possible!


Pledge Dollars At Work!

Missions has received a thank you letter from Chicago Theological Seminary thanking our congregation for a $1000 donation to their scholarship fund. Check out the letter on the Missions bulletin board on the way to coffee hour.

Touch List

Your Cards and Prayers Will Comfort and Touch...

The Balz Family in transition.

The family of Dennis Burke who passed on June 16th.

Rita Baumann, Mary Cooper's aunt who is recovering from surgery.

The family of Mary Crist who passed away May 12th.

Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.

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

Tony Kasnick, Dave Kasnick's nephew who's doing well.

Roger Leidigh, Kathleen McConnellogue, and Jennifer Powers who are each dealing with health issues.

Camilla Norby

Helen Pancer, Viola Clayton's daughter.

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

Joyce Williams, Diane Kasnick's aunt who passed away peacefully on June 23rd.