Feedback, corrections, or additions?
Grace to you and peace from Carly, called to be storyteller, teacher, prophet, and leader among the listeners and the learners, the warp and the weft, and the pew warmers and active saints of La Grange and beyond.
I tried sushi for the first time this week. Since we had a good size fishing boat and a summer place on Cape Cod, I grew up eating a lot of fish. One might say I'm a "fish snob" since I really like only certain fish: bluefish, striped bass, flounder, and salmon; cooked or frozen within hours of its last heartbeat; and always cooked. I might even be called an East Coast snob since I really have not grown fond of mid-west fish from muddy bottom lakes and rivers.
Many people I know enjoy sushi and have raved to me about their fondness. They have told me great stories of their sushi adventures while traveling and while entertaining others. Friends have invited me many times to share the delicacy with them. Many times I've resisted; I just couldn't bring myself to try something uncooked. But this week, when an acquaintance told me why she loves sushi and offered a friendly invitation, I gave this raw delicacy an honest try. I am grateful I did. I can now fan the flames of my friends' passion for this delicacy with the experience of having tried it myself.
Stories have the power to influence the listener. Stories show us something about the teller and about ourselves. Stories paint a picture that can engage us and change us. Stories captivate us and set loose our imaginations about what might be. Each of us lives through multiple stories that are interwoven to form our identities. Together, the faith community has a tapestry of stories that defines us as children of God; these stories come from scripture, our history and tradition, our experiences, and our vision for the future.
On Sunday, our young people will share their faith stories in worship. These are stories that have been formed through the intentional learning and exploring of faith perspectives. Our young people have engaged their imaginations with the faith stories, their own experiences and those of their parents and sponsors, and carefully interwoven these into a narrative. And they have practiced telling their stories and listened to the input of their classmates, parents, sponsors, and teachers. They made adjustments and tweaks, and they practiced telling them some more. These are stories that reflect the individuals who tell them. They will share them with the congregation as a statement of their budding faith. They don't profess to be the final word on the faith of these young people; they are the starting point of their ownership of the faith. These are young stories that will develop and transform over their lifetimes. This is their first attempt at making the faith their own "in the reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression, and in purity of heart before God." (Preamble to the Constitution of the United Church of Christ)
How do we tell our faith story to others in ways that will engage their imaginations and peak their interest without offending them, turning them off, or ending the conversation? The same way that these young people have learned: by intentional learning and exploring or faith perspectives, engaging our imaginations with the faith stories, experiences, and those in community with us, and interweaving these into a narrative that we practice telling over and over first to one another, and then to everyone who we meet. Each of us need to develop our own "elevator speech" about whose we are, our role in God's Church, why we are a part of this community, and what fans the flames of our passions. We need to tell our stories in ways that engage and change the listeners, captivate and set loose their imaginations about what can be.
My first reaction to sushi: I'm not yet a fan. Perhaps sushi is an acquired taste like fine wine and good beer. Perhaps it is a cultural thing and I'm being ethnocentric. Perhaps even it is a textural issue since there was a lot going on inside that roll of rice that was not familiar. But I will try it again because others have raved about their experience with it. When a friend or acquaintance engages me in their story and captivates my imagination about what can be sushi, I will try it again. Because stories can do that.
I love to tell the story. Will you tell me the old, new story?
| Church News and Reminders
The next Big Brunch Meeting
will be on May 17th.
Mike Tobin, his sister Jill, and mother Charlene thank our church family for the prayers, touch cards, and caring. Mike's cancer treatments were successful and he will now receive ongoing treatment.
Thank You from The Night Ministry, St. Barbara Food Pantry , and Back Bay Mission
The Night Ministry provides housing, health care, and human connection to members of the Chicago community who are struggling with homelessness. Your gift means that you are part of this community. Thank you!
St. Barbara Food Pantry helps those less fortunate with food and hope. So many are experiencing difficult times and your help means they know they are not forgotten. Thank you!
Back Bay Mission meets the urgent needs of those suffering from poverty and its effects while building pathways to social justice. The success of the mission is a reflection of the dedication and enthusiasm from volunteers. Your service and support have touched the lives of many throughout south Mississippi. Thank you!
Baptisms and Confirmation!
The latest class of Confirmation is soon over. Four young people have gathered at 8:15 am on 30 Sunday mornings, a church lock in, and a conference wide retreat to discover their role in the faith story. These young people will present their statements of faith on Sunday, May 17 during worship. On Pentecost, the birthday of the church, they will be baptized or confirm the vows of baptism; this is the beginning of a life long journey of faith seeking understanding.
Our Confirmation and Baptism candidates are a small but mighty group. Here's a bit about each:
Jane Bell is a freshman at Riverside Brookfield HS. She came to FCCLG through her friend and Zackley, Kara Nedvar. She was baptized at First United Church of Oak Park and is the daughter of Heidi Bell. Her sponsor is Mary Bart.
Samuel (Sam) Klitchman is in his final year at Highlands Middle School. He is part of a large extended family of FCCLG members beginning with his grandmother, the late Marilyn Macek. He was baptized at FCCLG and is the son of Katie (Macek) Klitchman. His sponsor is John Bednar.
Nathan (Nate) Wallin is in his last year at Park Jr. High. His family has been a part of FCCLG for over 6 years. Nate was dedicated at the Christian Church of Clarendon Hills. He's the son of Randy and Sandy Wallin. His sponsor is Tom Dreffein.
Zachary (Zack) Wallin is also in his last year at Park Jr. High. He and Nate are fraternal twins, so he's also the son of Randy and Sandy Wallin. Zack has been a part of FCCLG since the family came here from Clarendon Hills in 2009. Zack was dedicated at the Christian Church of Clarendon Hills. Jerry Palmer is his sponsor.
Babies, Brunch, and Baptisms
We've had a lot of babies born this Spring! And all are invited to have their parents bring them to brunch on Saturday, June 13 to get to know one another and for their parents to connect and share in an informal atmosphere. There will be an exploration of the meaning of Baptism at First Congregational Church so that parents can make an informed decision about baptizing their children.
On Fathers' Day, we will celebrate the sacrament of Baptism for all who desire to participate.
The gathering will take place in the Drawing Room at 10:30 and is open to all families who wish to participate. Brunch will be provided by the fine cooks of the Saturday Meals Program. Parents are asked to let the office know by June 6 if you can join us.
Children and Communion
No one but God fully understands the mystery of sacraments; the human mind cannot possibly grasp fully their meaning. Sacraments are not explainable. Our Puritan ancestors of Congregationalism felt strongly that each person's relationship with God is individual and unique. And so each of us are encouraged to have our own perspective on what it means to us.
Unlike some customs within Christendom, our tradition does not set aside a certain age at which people take their "first communion." It has been the pattern for some of our Sunday School classes to return to the sanctuary for communion on the Sundays when the sacrament is being celebrated. It is up to each family to decide when their child is ready to participate.
We will be offering an opportunity for families to gather and explore together the sacrament of communion. We will spend either a morning or afternoon experiencing the mystery, baking the bread, and exploring what it all might mean in terms that children of all ages can begin to understand.
We'd like to offer this in the late summer or early fall. While the exact date has not yet been set, Carly and Sylvia need your input on whether this is something in which your family would participate, and if so, when the best time to offer such a program would be for your family. Please share your thoughts about these possibilities with us, won't you?
Some Things Don't Change
From The Church Tidings, Sunday, October 2, 1927:
One of Our New Teachers said: "You don't know this church until you know its Sunday School." We regard the work of our Church School as of first importance. We have a great privilege and a great responsibility in the religious and character training of so many children and young people. We need the hearty cooperation of all parents, members and friends to make our work most effective.
| Volunteer Opportunities
St. Barbara's Food Pantry Collection
St. Barbara's Food Pantry collection item for May is canned beans (refried or whole) and canned meats (tuna, salmon, chicken, ham, spam, or hash). Thanks for your support!
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.
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.
| In Our Church
MISSION OF THE MONTH
Our Mission of the Month is Hinsdale Union Church's Soup Kitchen. They make the 10 gallons of soup to feed 60-80 people at our Saturday Meals Program. We are supporting this group with a donation of $400 for the year.
ILLINOIS TORNADO RELIEF
Thank you to everyone for their donations to the Illinois tornado relief! Members donated $335, so Missions will match that amount for a total of $670.
Glen Campbell ...I'll Be Me
In 2011, Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Glen and his wife, Kim, went public with the diagnosis and embarked on a "Goodbye Tour." This film, "Glen Campbell ... I'll Be Me" documents this journey as they navigate the unpredictable nature of Glen's disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine.
Tickets are free but required for this event. Tickets can be picked up at the Plymouth Place Front Desk at 315 N. La Grange Road or at Aging Care Connections at 111 West Harris at any time before the show while quantities last. Show times are: Wednesday, May 20 at 7:15 p.m. at Plymouth Place and Thursday, May 21 at 10:30 a.m. at the La Grange Theatre or 4:30 p.m. at Plymouth Place. Free popcorn, soda, and information on local resources to support caregivers is available.
CELEBRATING SENIORS WEEK
During the week of May 18th to the 22nd, community organizations, agencies, and businesses are working together to create events to educate and entertain older adults, as well as keep them active. Pick up a Celebrating Seniors Week resource guide from the East Foyer shelf and discover free events and resources for seniors.
The next meeting of Evening Book Club will be on Thursday, June 18th at 7:30 pm in the Chapel meeting room. We will discuss The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. This mesmerizing Australian novel is a bestselling book around the world, and Hollywood movie rights were recently snapped up by Dreamworks. Copies are available at the La Grange library.
PET PARADE VIEWING
On Saturday May 30th, gather on the lawn before the parade starts at 9:30. The Ministry of Nurture will put out chairs, help Zackleys and Membership provide water and treats for the dogs, and sell food and water for people. Remember to wear one of your FCCLG t-shirts!
| Music News
Save the Date: Summer Musical Camp registrations are available. This program is for students in 1st to 8th grades and takes place July 27th to 31st from 2 - 6 pm. Performances will be at 7 pm on July 31st and 10 am on August 2nd. This year's show is Are We There Yet? (The Story of Moses and the Exodus). Please contact Ryan Cox for more information.
Come hear the Choral Sermon on May 31 at 10 am. The Chancel Choir, Brass Octet, Organ and Percussion bring to life John Rutter's exuberant Gloria. The ensemble also performs Ralph Vaughan Williams' classic O Clap Your Hands. The hymns will be stirring tunes arranged or composed by Vaughan Williams. This is the choir's last Sunday until the fall. Invite a guest to this musical celebration!
of all ages are invited to play, sing or ring starting in June. 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
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!
| CYD News
Family Camping: Painting the Colors of the Wind
Join us for camping at Tower Hill June 19th-21st! Learn about God's creation as we journey through the book
together to see God in the loving acts of parents, in nature, and in ourselves. Please contact
if you and your family are interested! The deadline to sign up is May 31st. Camping with your own tent is $12 per person. For cottage rentals, check with Sylvia.
YZals and Zackleys end of the year party:
May 17th is the last Zackley's meeting and May 24th is the last Yzals meeting! To celebrate the coming of summer we will be having a party at each of these meetings. Please feel free to bring snacks and games to play with everyone!
| Touch List
Your Cards and Prayers Will Comfort and Touch...
The family of Mary Crist who passed away May 12th.
Jim Clayton, who is doing better.
Mary Cooper's uncle Bob Little who passed away the first week of May.
Devon, who had brain surgery.
Dawn & Rick Geist, who lost their home in the tornado on April 12th.
Our thoughts are with LuAnn Hall's niece Jessica.
Lois Hindman, who is house bound with a brain condition.
The family of Ruth Philbrook, who died April 1st.
Erin Swan, daughter of Chris and Renee Bryant, who has ongoing medical issues.
Mike Tobin, his sister Jill, and mother Charlene
who received good news.
Chet Won, Viola Clayton's son-in-law, who is now at home.