August 16, 2018
Greetings!
           Peace to you and grace, from Carly, called to bring together the saints, the doubters, the sinners, and the sure of La Grange and beyond.
           This time of year feels like a time of new beginnings. Our children and grandchildren return to school. We have taken the summertime to rest, rejuvenate, and recharge. We return to the activities that have been on summer break as well. For teachers, this beginning brings new students. For students, new teachers. We have missed those friends from the neighborhood, our colleagues and those fellow pew-dwellers as we have taken time at the cottage and for family near and far. These last weeks of August are filled with newness.
           Both the book of Genesis and the Gospel of John open with the words, “In the beginning, God….” But I wonder how many of us see our seasonal change in direction as a return to God? How many of us seek the grace and peace of Christ as we come home again? Do we change our ways or simply change directions when we come home?
           In the Chasidic texts of Judaism Lekhivitzer Rebbe wrote, "The Torah begins with the word, 'In the beginning,' which can be understood to say, God created the world 'for the sake of the beginning.' All the Creator asks is that you make a beginning in the right direction."
In the coming weeks, I invite everyone - whether you’ve been in church throughout the summer, or are returning from months away, to ―make a beginning in the right direction. In the beginning, God created. I look forward to your creative energy, vision, hope and joy as we enter the fall and ―make a new beginning in the right direction. I look forward to seeing you!
 
Blessings,
Carly
This Week:
Friday 8/17: OA at 9 am, Alanon at 7:30 pm
Saturday 8/18: Saturday Meals Program at 8 am, Kindermusik at 8 am
Sunday 8/19: Worship at 10 am, Fellowship Hour at 11:15 am, Positively Green Team Meeting at 11:15 am, OA at 7 pm
Monday 8/20: AA for under 30s at 4:30 pm, AA at 8 pm
Wednesday 8/22: Be Still and Know 12 Step at 4 pm, Council Meeting at 7 pm
Friday 8/24: OA at 9 am, Alanon at 7:30 pm
Saturday 8/25: Saturday Meals Program at 8 am, Kindermusik at 8 am
Sunday 8/26: Worship at 10 am , Fellowship Hour at 11:15 am, OA at 7 pm
Positively Green Team
The Positively Green Team will meet at 11:15 am Sunday August 19th in the Drawing Room. New members and new ideas are welcome! Do you have an idea for a family activity involving the environment? Do you have a favorite resource to share? Please join us!
Adult Work Trip Informational Meeting
Are you willing to put your time and energy where your heart is? It’s one thing to talk about helping others. It’s another to actually do it. 
October 20-28 are the dates of the Adult Work Trip including travel days to and from the Houston, Texas work site. We hope to have 12 adults representing our church's love to our sisters and brothers in need.
We need a wide variety of skill sets for this trip: Meal planning and preparation for site workers, site workers including folks to do cleaning, painting, carpentry, and roofing. You need only an interest; the experts on site will show us how to do it. 
Informational meeting:  Sunday, September 9 at 3 P.M . in the Drawing Room.  Register here , or sign up in the Founders’ Room.
Messy Church
There is no Messy Church in September. The next Messy Church will be October 7th at 4:30. See you then!
Safe Church Training
If you’d like to work with the children and youth and have not participated in Safe Church Training in the last 18 months, please plan to attend on Sunday, September 23 at 11:30 in the Dining Room. Reservations are required.  Please click here to reserve your spot.
Confirmation Mentors – Share a Journey with our Youth
We have a large confirmation class this year and need up to 12 mentors. Are You on a Faith Journey? 
A Confirmation mentor is a friend, a confidant, and a positive force in the life of a youth. A mentor is neither parent nor peer, social worker nor savior. The main thing a mentor offers is a listening ear and an interest in your youth’s questions and explorations. You don’t have to have all the answers—in fact, one of the greatest gifts you can offer are your own honest questions. With humility, offer your youth the greatest gift you can give: yourself—warts and all.
If you would like more information about how to be a Confirmation Mentor, please contact Pastor Carly as soon as possible. Confirmation starts in September!
Parents of Confirmation Students:
Confirmation Class begins at 8:15 am and that leaves a lot of time before worship for parents to get in trouble. Maybe you'd like to spend time with other parents and explore some life and faith issues together.
The coffee and tea will be ready. We'll wrangle up some finger food or other snacks, and get to know one another.
Sound like a good idea? Would you want to join in?  Click here for a participation Survey .
Wedding Officiants and Hosts Needed
We have a significant increase in the number of inquiries about weddings, memorials, and other events in our church. For all non-member events with more than 75 people expected, we require a member-host to be present to answer questions and provide direction. And, while couples may bring their own wedding officiant, some couples prefer to have someone “from the church” officiate. The state of Illinois does not require marriage officiants to be licensed or registered. So we are looking for a few good people to offer this service. If you’d like to participate in weddings as an officiant, as a wedding coordinator, or as a coordinator for other events, register for this informational even t on September 30 following worship in the Drawing Room. 
Music News
Ravel, Britten and Broadway will be presented at Plymouth Place on August 20 at 1pm in Dole Hall. Amanda Murphy, soprano, and AnnLaura Tapia will perform works by Ravel and Britten for harp and soprano, and Ryan Cox will mix Ravel and Britten songs with Broadway standards. All are welcome!
 
Music Program Rehearsals Start Dates
If you’d like to join an ensemble, contact Ryan Cox to be added to the mailing list for any of these programs:
Chancel Choir rehearsal begins 9/6 at 7:30pm
Carillon Handbell Choir rehearsal begins 9/5 at 7:30pm
Ring and Sing/Treble Choir rehearsal begins 9/16 at 11:15am

Welcome To Our New Organist
After several months of having very capable substitutes, the Music Director and Organist Search Committee are happy to announce that AnnLaura Tapia will be First Congregational Church's organist. She is a multi-talented musician, having significant training and experience on organ and piano and earning a bachelor’s degree and performance certificate in harp performance from The University of Toronto and The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, respectively. Her breadth of experience as a church musician, chamber musician, and soloist will enrich our worship services. AnnLaura lives in Lyons with her husband Juan and two sons, Aurelio and Carlos. 
Member Directory
You should have received an email with a link to print your member directory. If you need a printed copy, let the office know and we will make one for you. To make corrections or updates to your information, go here and sign in or create account to make those changes.
Soles4Souls
Don't toss those unwanted but still wearable shoes! The Positively Green Team encourages you to donate them to Soles4Souls, a group that distributes shoes to those in need all over the world. A drop-off location is conveniently located at Life Storage, 405 Shawmut Ave., La Grange.
Galaxy Theater Company invites you to…
come to their Summer FUNdraising event on August 18 from 4 to 8pm in the Dining Room. The event is open to all ages and will feature dinner, games, karaoke, dancing, a close-up magician, and raffles! Get to know them and have a great time! Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for kids 5 -12 and free for kids 4 and under. Tickets sold after services on 8/12 in the Founders’ Room.
Galaxy Theater Company was founded in 2016 as a non-for-profit dedicated to bringing theater and arts to the community.
Food Pantry
In August we’re collecting sweets! Please bring cake and brownie mixes, packaged cookies, pudding and jello mix, and other shelf-stable items. Thanks for providing treats to those who could use a smile.
Styrofoam Recycling
The Positively Green Team offers church attendees the opportunity to properly dispose of their styrofoam waste for recycling. Please look for the recycling box in the Founders Room, and bring your clean styrofoam packaging, cups, and food containers before the 1st Saturday of each month. They will be taken to the Western Springs recycling program.
Evening Book Club
Ever wonder what it was like to be part of a top-secret government project during WWII? Come join us August 23 for a discussion of The Girls of Atomic City - The untold story of the women who helped win World War II by Denise Kiernan. Could you have done what they did for the war effort? All are welcome - we meet in the Chapel Family Room at 7:30.
Harmony, Hope, and Healing
We have an opportunity to come together on Saturday, August 25th , when the ensemble from Harmony, Hope and Healing (HHH) presents a concert in the chapel of the Congregation of St. Joseph. Marge Nykaza, Executive Director of HHH, invites you to sing with the HHH ensemble for a memorable event. Experience the power of music to unite, uplift and inspire at this multi-generational, multi-cultural, ecumenical event. Click here for more information.
H ooks and Needles
The summer meetings will be in our homes. The knitting and crocheting ministry meets at 7pm on the 4th Monday of the month, June through August. Please call Claudia Byrne at 708-205-1409 or email if you have any questions. The n ext meeting is August 27 th at Mary Forester’s home, 315 N. La Grange Road, Apt. 138, La Grange Park.
Nurturing Spirits
Aging Care Connections Sports Ball Gala
An evening of fun and fundraising to benefit the work of Aging Care Connections.
When: Friday, September 14 at 6:30 pm
Where: Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge - 1200 Burr Ridge Pkwy., Burr Ridge
Click here for the flyer .
C an’t Get To Sunday Services?  
You can watch them live on Sunday at 10 a.m. on the web.  Click here   to see Sunday worship streamed live and to view past worship services as well.  Or follow these instructions on how to watch through your Roku Device. Contact the church office to have the worship bulletin emailed to you on Fridays. This ministry is brought to you by the estate of Ginny Palansky, and maintained by your gifts, offerings, and pledges.
Attracting Friends Retaining Members Nurturing Spirits 
Developing Partners
What Makes your Heart Sing?
Ministry is the work of each of us. Where would you like to focus your time, energy, and passions to be a part of God's Revolutionary Love and Extravagant Grace?   Tell us here!   Our Volunteer Coordinator will link you with others with the same interests.
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  Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
Emil Balz.
Jessica Burke.
Prayers for the Clayton family.
Mary Clair, infant niece of Kevin Cunningham.
Renee Meier, who is dealing with cancer.
Prayers for Margaret Melkonian.
Bobbie Nunez’s new grandson, Evan Joseph Felice.
Prayers for Eva Stevens and family as they suffer the loss of her father.
Prayers for Dick Tobin as he deals with several health issues.
For Vera Weiss to regain her strength and fight cancer.
Brian White, who awaits healing.
Nana Yeboah at the death of her aunt.
Those living in fear and without hope, and those who use fear to control others.
Those killed, the injured, and their families in acts of violence.
Children at the border.
Table Rock Lake accident victims.
Victims of the fire in Prospect Heights.