October 25, 2018

Peace to you and grace from Carly, called to be a prophet, teacher, and preacher among the saints in La Grange and beyond.

I am always looking for a solid scriptural quote to use when calling for the offering in worship. Over the years what I've discovered is that the great "offering texts" describe the experience of giving and not instructions about giving that I so much want to find! My inclination is to seek out the mandate to give; scripture instead emphasizes the joy and grace God offers us through the act of giving.

"Bring the whole tenth into the storehouse, so that there will be food in my house, and put me to the test,” says the Lord Almighty. “See if I won’t open for you the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you a blessing far beyond your needs."  Malachi 3:10

Those who preach the "prosperity gospel" read this text and interpret it to say, "Give a tenth of your wealth to God and God will make you richer than you've ever dreamed." While I wish I could believe this, I know from 35 years of tithing that it simply is not true in monetary terms. 

But it is true in terms of joy. It is true in terms of grace. And it is true in terms of contentment. When we give away the first portion of what we have and live as good stewards of what remains, our life is filled with deep compassion, exuberant joy, and inexpressible grace.

My friend Karen Specter tells me that she had "never seen so much unmitigated joy during worship" as when she visited Kenya. She goes on:

"I've been in evangelical churches where folks were well-trained to 'act' joyous...But here, it's no act. It's not Pentecostal ecstasy either, but a kind of reasoned joy. And, probably the most joyous times are the offering times--the singing reaches its loudest, the dancing and clapping is at its most unbridled. Usually, there are at least two offerings per worship service--one for the parish, the other for the poor."
"Worshippers come forward dancing and singing to put their money into a box at the front of the worship place. I most enjoy," Karen said, "watching the older men dance to the front, chuck their money in the box, and then dance back to their places. They're dressed to the nines and do a kind of understated two-step while holding their arms outward and bent at the elbows--think of rendering one's head, shoulders, and arms into a kind of "W." Somehow their hips take on a life apart, swiveling, swaying. It's great stuff! It's especially great because it's so extraordinarily sincere, in no way contrived."

Can you imagine this happening in our congregation, where the church moderator or the treasurer and the whole congregation after them come forward with their offering in joy like this?

As we kick off our annual campaign for the 2019 church budget, it is my prayer that you will find joy in the offering you will bring to worship on November 11. You will have the opportunity that day to bring forward in worship your intention for tithes, pledges, and commitments for the coming year. 

Between now and then, your Stewardship Team will send out information about what you can expect in 2019, where our challenges will be, and how you can be a part of the joy of giving.


This Week:
Friday 10/26: OA at 9 am, Alanon at 7 pm
Saturday 10/27: Saturday Meals Program at 8 am, Kindermusik at 8 am
Sunday 10/28: Confirmation Class at 8:15 am, Reclaiming Jesus, Bible Study 8:30 am, Worship at 10 am, Fellowship Hour at 11:15 am, New Member Orientation at 11:15 am, OA at 7 pm
Monday 10/29: AA at 7:30 pm, Missions Book Group at 7:30 pm
Wednesday 10/31: Be Still and Know 12 Step Meeting at 4 pm, Carillon Handbell Choir at 7:30 pm
Thursday 11/1: Chancel Choir Rehearsal at 7:30 pm
Friday 11/2: OA at 9 am, Alanon at 7 pm,
Saturday 11/3: Saturday Meals Program at 8 am, Kindermusik at 8 am
Sunday 11/4: Confirmation Class at 8:15 am, Reclaiming Jesus, Bible Study 8:30 am, Worship with Baptism and Communion at 10 am, Fellowship Hour at 11:15 am, Children's Musical Rehearsal at 11:15 am, Messy Church at 4:30 pm, OA at 7 pm
Trivia Night
Bring your team of up to 10 or join one on the fly to test your knowledge of random facts at Trivia Night on Saturday, October 27 th in the Founders Room. Doors open at 7 pm with questions starting at 7:30 pm. Participants must be 21 or older, know one random fun fact, and want to win prizes/raffles. Please note event is BYOB (some light snacks provided) and is $20 at the door. Let us know you’re coming or any questions about the event by contacting Mike Ries here .
Green Team News
Did you see your Green Team at the La Grange Farmers Market October 18? We have lots of other exciting ideas and activities planned. Would you like to join the team, for one meeting or regularly? The next meeting of the Green Team is Sunday, October 28 at 11:15 in the drawing room, and we'd love to see you there.
Keller Farmstand Corn Maze Trip
Junior and Senior High youth: Sunday, October 28th we will meet at church at 1:00 pm for a trip to the Keller Farmstand. Admission to the Farmstand is $5 per person. In addition to the Corn Maze, the Farmstand has apple and pumpkin picking, apple cider donuts, fudge, and kettle corn available for sale.
Permission slips are required if parent will not be attending and are available in the Church Office. Drivers are also needed - if you are willing, please contact Amanda .
Dead Bugs
Do you remember when your windshield was covered in dead bugs and moths "would pack a car's headlight beams like snowflakes in a blizzard?” Whether this is a distant memory or not, join our discussion of The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy on October 29 th at 7:30 pm in the Drawing Room. The Moth Snowstorm is a one-of-a-kind environmental work that combines memoir, anecdotes, and hard facts to make a case for preserving an ever-dwindling natural world.  
Green Team News
Pumpkin Smash - Green Your Halloween
Drop off your retired jack-o'-lanterns on November 3 from 9 am to noon at 937 Barnsdale Road, La Grange Park. This pumpkin composting arranged by The La Grange Environmental Quality Commission and the La Grange Park Sustainability Commission.

Microfibers in Your Food
Did you know that synthetic fabrics like polyester and acrylic shed plastic microfibers that end up in waterways and in the fish you eat? For example, one researcher found that the average synthetic fleece jacket releases 1.7 grams of microfibers with each washing. Wastewater treatment plants can't filter out these microfibers, so up to 40% of them travel to rivers, lakes, and oceans, where they can be consumed by fish and other wildlife. Watch a future Tidings for suggestions of things you can do to minimize this problem.
Tow Trucks for Tots
Bring a new, unwrapped toy for the bright red donation bin at the Sixth Avenue entrance. Toys are being collected by the Castillo family, which is participating in the 11th Annual Tow Trucks for Tots parade and toy drive. Toys for ages 0 through 4 and 12 through 18 are especially needed. Please, no guns, swords, or stuffed toys. November 4 is the last day to donate, so put this on your shopping list this week and make a child's Christmas brighter!
Messy Church
The next Messy Church is November 4 from 4:30-6pm in the Dining Room. The theme Light Up the Darkness will be explored through hands-on activities, message, music, and food. If you are willing to assist with Messy Church or have questions, please contact Amanda Ries .
Hooks and Needles
The knitting and crocheting ministry meets at 7pm on the 2 nd and 4 th Monday each month in the Family Room off the Chapel. The next meeting is November 12. Call Claudia Byrne at 708-205-1409 or email her if you have questions.
Harvest Home
Whether you plan on dining, prepping, or serving – mark your calendars for this year’s Harvest Home Dinner on Wednesday, November 14 th . Ticket sales and volunteer sign ups are available during Coffee Hour - Adults $10 & children $5.
Music News
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 continues on Thursdays at 7:30pm
Carillon Handbell Choir rehearsal continues on Wednesdays at 7:30pm

Christmas Musical
Christmas Musical rehearsal begins Saturday, November 3. This year we will be performing Radio J-O-Y "on location reporters to tell the happenings leading up to Jesus' birth. Traditional carols and new songs add to the festivities. All children K-8 are welcome. Invite your friends! Registration forms and schedule are available in the church office. Registrations are due 10/28. For more info contact Ryan Cox.

Join the Orchestra!
The Joyful Noise orchestra is playing on November 25 and you and your instrument are needed! Children, youth, and adults are invited to play the instrument you regularly practice, or the one you need to dust off. Pros and amateurs alike will combine their talents to play hymns. You will get music ahead of time to practice at home and we will rehearse as a group the morning of at 9:15am. Please contact Ryan to sign up.

Tiny Toes Music
Tiny Toes Music continues its partnership with First Conservatory and is the local offering of the nationally recognized program, Music Together. This program is for children 0-6 and their guardians and meets at First Congregational on Wednesday mornings. More info and registration here.
Food Pantry
In October we will collect canned soups and stews. Any shelf-stable items are welcome, and thank you for your generosity!
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
Give to FCCLG when you shop on Amazon! Click the logo for our Amazon Smile page.
  Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
Emil Balz.
Jeff Berman, Carol Berman’s son, who is in ICU.
Prayers for the Clayton family.
Charlotte Doerfert, Kim Bart’s mother.
Audrey Johnson, a Friend of Saturday Meals Program.
Renee Meier, who is dealing with cancer.
The Maley family who mourn the sudden loss of mother and grandmother Pat Maley.
Prayers for Margaret Melkonian.
Fred and Vera Weiss.
Brian White, who awaits healing.
The people of Indonesia.
Those recovering from Hurricane Florence, including our friends on Edisto Island.
Those killed, the injured, and their families in acts of violence.
Children at the border.
Those living in fear and without hope, and those who use fear to control others.

If you would like to send your thoughts and prayers to someone listed above, please use one of the Touch Cards in your pew. Place the completed card in the offering plate and the office will address and mail it. Thank you for reaching out to others. We encourage you to let us know if you or someone you know is hospitalized or receiving medical treatment. Due to HIPAA privacy laws, we are not notified by hospitals or doctors. If you know someone who would like a visit from the church, please advise the minister or the office.