September 17, 2020
Greetings Saints of La Grange and Far Beyond,
     Here we are in the SIXTH month of COVID lock down. We are becoming a new form of the body of Christ in this time of separation and isolation. We are discovering new ways to serve others, build up one another, and minister to a hurting world.
As many of you are aware, I am a “Long Hauler” in the journey from COVID. My colleague and former ministry coach, Cameron Trimble, is also on this journey. I share with you her article “Reflections as I Recover from COVID”. This was published in CPR Connects by Cameron Trimble on September 16, 2020. She writes,  
For the past 5 weeks, I have been among those struggling to recover from COVID-19. I experienced early symptoms, thought I was better, and then was slammed by a “second round” that has ultimately developed into pneumonia.
Before this experience, I had not known illness personally. I had the occasional cold, but I did not know the fear of “shortness of breath.” I had never felt bronchial spasms. I never had to think about taking medication or consider how that medication impacted my body. I never had to slow down, to be silent because talking caused coughing, or to lay down because I simply could not stay standing.
I watch the news some nights, and I listen to reports about COVID. I watch the President hold rallies and supporters brazenly walking around without masks. Can I tell you – everything about that makes me angry? It’s radically irresponsible. It’s ignorant. It’s murderous. I don’t offer any of those descriptors lightly.
I also watch our beautiful western states burn. I watch Black lives and blue lives being taken unjustly. I watch fear-mongering and listen to our national leaders tell us brazen lies.
It’s all so…heartbreaking. The grief is deeply palpable for me – for all of us. At any other time, we would be grieving all of this terrible loss together. We would be united in supporting those who were hurting. We would be mourning the sacred souls who have died. We would be considering the plight of those who have lost their jobs and can’t feed their families. At any other time, we would have risen to the historic moment with integrity, unity, and care.
But this is not a normal moment. Because we are not rising, we are being denied the privilege of grieving TOGETHER. We are being denied the lessons of compassion we would learn TOGETHER. We are being denied the gift of neighbors crossing division and uniting TOGETHER.
In her book See No Stranger, Valarie Kaur writes: “Grieving together, bearing the unbearable, is an act of transformation: It brings survivors into the healing process, creates new relationships, and energizes the demand for justice. We come to know people when we grieve with them through stories and rituals. It is how we build real solidarity, the kind that shows us the world we want to live in—and our role in fighting for it.”
Today, let us pray for the sick, the down-trodden, the vulnerable, and the grieving. Let us push past our fears, labels, and political parties to see the kindness of our humanity we are losing in our separation. I can’t think of any way to live more faithfully in the spirit of Jesus than to bear the unbearable together.

Blessings to you, each of you, and all of you, as we journey together in this broken world.

Originally published In CPR Connects by Cameron Trimble September 16, 2020 
Reprinted with permission.

Join Us in Virtual Worship
Click here at 10 a.m. on Sunday to watch the service or follow these instructions to watch through your Roku Device.

Made possible by the estate of Ginny Palansky and maintained by your gifts, offerings, and pledges.
Coffee Hour on Zoom
This is a real happening! Join in the conversation, see familiar faces, and laugh together! You must have a Zoom Invitation which is available by sending an email to Carly with the subject line "Coffee Hour Invite" without the quotes. They system is automated to reply with an invitation that is valid for the calendar month. We're not excluding those without computer access! For a telephone invitation, please call the church office. 
Back to Church Survey
The church council needs to hear from you! We re-opened the survey to give more people an opportunity to respond. If you have not already responded, please complete this survey by September 30th and let Council know what’s on your mind.
Saturday Meals Program Update
Saturday Meals will reopen on October 3rd. We will distribute bagged, sandwich based meals from 11:00 to 12:30. This will be expanded to hot meals and soup to go once we get a feel for the folks we’re serving. We will start serving 50 lunches and if we have extras, BEDS will take them, and if we need more, we can make them. We are not prepared to handle donations from Panera or Mariano’s. After we get SMP up and running, we can consider accepting them. Our freezers are empty. All frozen meats, soups etc were given to BEDS to pass on to their housed people.
In keeping with concerns about distancing and Covid safety, we will limit the number of regular volunteers to eight. At this time we are not inviting youth volunteers. We will add volunteers as the program grows. We need everyone; just not at the same time at the moment.
Twenty years ago, Saturday Meals started slowly and through a lot of hard work, built up to what it was and will be again. As safety with COVID changes, so will Saturday Meals Program.
Volunteer Opportunity for the LeaderShop at FCCLG
The LeaderShop is seeking adult volunteers to help support young students with remote learning sessions at FCCLG. Volunteers are needed from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday, beginning September 21st. You may choose to work one or several days per week. Volunteers will work with a LeaderShop staff member to help a group of eight students focus on their school work and assist with social-emotional activities during breaks. Contact Cathy Pierson at or call the LeaderShop office at 708-579-5898 for more information.
We're Going to Have a Celebration! 
Member and former CYD Sylvia Miller was approved for Ordination by the UCC Churches in our region and that means we will have a party! COVID will postpone Sylvia's ordination until after Pentecost, but watch for news about when we will ordain Sylvia for Christian ministry! 
Masks, Hand Sanitizer, Safe Work Place
Please note that if you are in the building, you MUST wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, and are encouraged to use the hand sanitizer inside the door as you enter and leave. There are no exceptions! While it may seem like the building is empty, we have tenants, contracted workers, students, and staff who are in the building, and are required to practice CDC guidelines. We have a responsibility to keep our space safe for all who work, learn, and visit here. Please, use the hand sanitizer, and wear a mask. If you do not have a mask, call the office and we will meet you at the door with a mask.
What does Ministry Mean in the Time of COVID?
The answer to that is for your ministry team to discern. We need to gather each ministry team and brainstorm about how to to the ministry of the church in this difficult time. If you are on a team, be on the lookout for your invitation to a Zoom gathering of your ministry team to begin the process of exploring our way forward.
Adult Education
On August 28, we started studying The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan. This book is even handed as it alternates between the points of view of a Jewish family and a Palestinian family, and their respective nations. Please sign up with Linda Lauterbach,, to get the reading assignments, Zoom invitations and supplemental material. We meet on Friday afternoons at 2 pm. The study will last for 5 weeks. The book is available at the library and online booksellers.
Thrive With Pride
Join AgeOptions and the Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) for an update on CDEL's resources and their partnership with AgeOptions to help keep older adults in their homes. Learn how you can receive free legal help from CDEL. Click here for more information.
Confirmation Classes
Calling all students in grades 7 through 9 who have not been confirmed. Confirmation is happening this Fall on Sundays at 3 p.m.! Initially, we will meet via Zoom. Classes begin on September 20th. Please contact if you or someone you love are ready to start the journey of decisions about faith. For information about Confirmation, click here.
Food Pantry
The Ministry of Missions continues to collect donations for the Second Baptist Church’s food pantry. In September, we request canned fruit and vegetables. Any nonperishable items are accepted. Please leave your donations in the bin on Bobbie Nunez’s front porch at 507 S. Spring, La Grange.
Interfaith Community Partner Fall Fundraiser
Please go here for details.
White Privilege - Let's Talk
Recent events in our nation have increased awareness that many are treated unfairly by our social, economic, and justice systems. To examine these inequalities through the lens of faith, a five-week study of the UCC curriculum “White Privilege – Let’s Talk” will begin on Sunday, October 11th. Zoom discussion sessions will be held Sundays after church from 11:15 -12:15. Informative, thought-provoking material from UCC faith leaders will be available online. Discussions will be facilitated by Linda Lauterbach and Nancy Heil. Please contact Linda Lauterbach to receive links to the materials and a Zoom invitation.
Green Team
Styrofoam Recycling
While the Styrofoam drop-off in Western Springs is shut down, you can drop off Styrofoam at Laurie Braun’s house, across the street from the church, at 115 S. 6th Avenue, La Grange. Please separate food containers from block-type foam and place in separate bags or boxes. Remember that all Styrofoam should be clean and that foam peanuts and popcorn are not accepted.

Green Team Tips
5 Fun Ways To Recycle Your Jeans | Earth 911: 
Use It Up!
Is your pantry stocked with ingredients you bought for the Covid siege and now don’t know what to do with? Here are some use-it-up recipe sites. (From Jonathan Bloom, American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food.)
Enter up to three ingredients, and BigOven will suggest recipe options.
Enter the ingredient you want to use up, and the site will suggest recipes.
Message from Missions
Need Help?
The coronavirus pandemic is hard on everyone; for some, it can create an emotional crisis. Pillars Community Health is maintaining a COVID-19 Coping Help Line at 708-995-3898.

Ministry of Missions Summer Read
There's still time to participate in this year's Summer Read, co-sponsored by your Ministry of Missions and many local churches and other organizations. This year's book is How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. Contact Laurie Braun if you have questions.
Music News
First Conservatory
First Conservatory teachers continue to teach high quality lessons and new students are always welcome. Both online and in-person lessons in the First Congregational Church building are offered to all ages and ability levels. We offer lessons on piano, voice, violin, viola, cello, bass, trumpet, clarinet, oboe, saxophone and others upon request. Click here for more info and to set up a first lesson. 

Musical Rehearsals
Chancel Choir meets each Thursday at 7:00 pm via Zoom. Each meeting will begin with vocal warmups followed by learning music for future online services. There will also be time to break out into groups for socializing and sectional work. The goal for the choir this fall is to enjoy singing as much as possible and share our voices during worship regularly. I look forward to meeting the challenges that distance learning presents, but also embracing the differences in what it means to be a choir right now.
All high school singers and adults are welcome. And since distance is no longer a barrier, invite your friends and family from anywhere to sing! Please contact Ryan for the Zoom invite. 

Carillon Handbell Choir meets on Wednesdays at 7:30pm. Location may be online via Zoom, but in-person rehearsal is possible too with proper safety protocols. Please contact Ryan if you would like to ring and be included in schedule and location updates.
Children and Youth will focus on bells and other non-vocal instruments in the coming months. Rehearsal can be in-person with proper precautions. Please let Ryan know you are interested and a rehearsal schedule will be created based on number and age of participants. Ryan would love to have a 7th-12th grade ensemble as well!
Week at a Glance: September 17 to September 27
Friday (September 18)
9 am: Overeaters Anonymous
7 pm: Alanon
Sunday (September 20)
10 am: Worship (
10:45 am: Virtual Coffee Hour (Zoom)
3 pm: Confirmation
Tuesday (September 22)
11:00 am: Thrive with Pride Cafe
Wednesday (September 23)
7:30 pm: Carillon Handbell Choir
7 pm: Council Meeting
Thursday (September 24)
7:00 pm: Chancel Choir
Friday (September 25)
9 am: Overeaters Anonymous
7 pm: Alanon
Sunday (September 27)
10 am: Worship (
3 pm: Confirmation
7 pm: Overeaters Anonymous
 Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
The Bain family at the death of Carol Bain.
The family of Emil Balz.
The family of James Brewer (father of Michael, Kim and Megan) who passed away on June 25th.
Laura Brown and her family, lost her brother Erik, probably due to COVID-19. She also lost her sister Lou Ann to cerebral hemorrhage two days later.
The family of Don Caruso, Jennifer Sabella’s husband, who passed away on June 23rd.
George J Casson, a Saturday Meals Program Saint, who died July 22nd.
Jim and Vi Clayton.
The family of Bonnie Day.
The family of Ron Kloss, Janet Bednar’s and Jim Kloss’ father.
Stephanie McCollough.
The friends and family of Dottie McCormick, who died on June 6th.
McKenzie, niece of Deb Gardner.
Margaret Melkonian, at home.
Martha Ririe, recovering at home.
Sister Marlene Schemmel, Congregation of St. Joseph, as she battles kidney cancer.
Bob Taylor, who is fighting stage IV liver cancer that has spread.
The family of Richard Tobin.
Faith Ullrich, who is recovering from a recent hospitalization and would appreciate your prayers.
Eric Wodicka, boyfriend of Erin Swan (Chris and Renee Bryant’s daughter) who was diagnosed and hospitalized with leukemia.
Those killed, the injured, and their families in acts of violence.
Those at the border.
Those living in fear and without hope, and those who use fear to control others.
Those in the path of COVID-19. 

If you would like to add your loved one to the touch list with their permission, email your concern to, or text it to 708-294-3997.