No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here!
In this issue of the eBulletin:
The Meeting Ground * ONA Reaffirmation & Survey
Bridge Bread Samples * Year-Round Stewardship
Women's Book Group * And much more!
This Sunday, August 19
Worship at 10:30 AM in the Sanctuary

Rev. Dr. Bill Smutz Preaching, "The Right Tools"

Greeters: Cheryl Lynch-Lawler, Janet Noble
Ushers: Clare Brady, Paul Brady, Susan Davis-McCarter, Bert Merrell
Welcome & Announcements: Elisa Wang
Liturgist: Ward Klein
Infant-Preschool: Anne Chao
Summer Music Team: Carol Bell, Dan Brodsky, Mary Brown,
Bruce Carvell, Bill Mellish, Sheila Merrell, David Piston, Hannah Rice, and Katie Solomon
Counters: Bill Piper, Bert Merrell
Coffee & Community: Solomon Family
Our youngest FCC children have a new space on Sunday mornings - on the main level right across from Pastor Bill's office.
If you can't worship with us in person, you can join us virtually on our livestream! Each Sunday at 10:30 AM we broadcast our worship service live on Ustream, which you can access online  HERE . All of the worship services from the past month are saved on our Ustream page, so you can go back to view services you missed or would like to revisit.
"Liturgy" means "the work of the people," so we like to add voices to our worship services. Would you like to become a lay liturgist to help lead the worship liturgy on Sunday mornings? Let us know!
We gather after worship for a time of fellowship with coffee and treats. We provide the beverages, and coffee hour hosts bring sweet and savory goodies.
After worship this Sunday, August 26
Let's give Sarah Bereza and Brandon Tan and Nico a warm First Church Welcome! Not only are they new to First Church but they are also new to St. Louis. So if you're a parent of youngsters or even a young person or couple that knows what's cool and happening in St. Louis - maybe you can share some tips with Sarah, Brandon, and Nico at a special picnic just for folks about their age. We'll gather after worship this Sunday for a picnic, and kids can play on the playground. The Pi Pizza food truck will be here!
Thursdays Sept. 13-Nov. 15
First Congregational Church of St. Louis is embarking on a new and exciting journey this fall as we kick off The Meeting Ground on Thursday nights for ten weeks. This is a weekly opportunity for our faith community to come together for music, meal, and learning. Through this new endeavor we hope to strengthen relationships and dig into the fundamentals of our faith. We will also focus more on inter-generational opportunities for our youth.
Thursday Evening Schedule

4:30-5:30: Bell Choir Rehearsal & Out Before Dark Study
  • The Bell Choir is directed by Sarah Bereza, and is for adults and youth 6th grade and older.
  • Out Before Dark is led by Bill Smutz, and is a book study for those who prefer not to drive after dark. We will meet in the Parlor.

5:30-6:15: Communal Meal
  • Simple catered meal in the Social Hall; Suggested donation of $8/person, $20 max. family cost.

6:30-7:30: God's Blue Earth Elementary Study & Multi-Generational
Back to the Text with Jonah
  • God's Blue Earth is led by Emily Stokes, and is for children in kindergarten-5th grade. We will meet in the Social Hall and celebrate the sacred gift of water.
  • Back to the Text with Jonah is led by Bill Smutz, and is for those in grades 6-106. We will read, explore, and perform together the book of Jonah. We will meet downstairs in the Fellowship Hall.

7:30-9:00: Chancel Choir Rehearsal
  • The Chancel Choir is directed by Sarah Bereza, and includes volunteer and professional singers. High school youth are welcome.
If you are interested in helping our kids and youth on their faith journey we could use your help! We are in need of Sunday school teachers for the Kindergarten-Second Grade class this 2018-19 school year. We ask teachers to commit to teaching twice a month and teachers always teach in pairs. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please contact Emily Stokes
Our littlest ones are taken care of by volunteers on Sunday mornings. We have a need for some more people to join our team, so if you are interested, please contact Anne Chao or Emily Stokes .
In June, a new program was announced to explore and reaffirm our congregation's commitment to being open, welcoming, and affirming of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer members and friends. In the UCC, it’s known as being Open and Affirming, or ONA, and First Congregational voted to become an ONA congregation in 2005. We welcome your participation in an online survey (or we have paper copies available at the church). This survey, which should take less than 10 minutes to complete, is one element of a four part listening phase underway this summer. A session to discuss the results will be held in September.  
After worship this Sunday there will be a few free samples of newer Bridge Bread Products. Come and give them a taste! BB products will be on sale after worship on Sunday September 9. Bridge Bread is dedicated to “social entrepreneurship,” providing opportunities for the disadvantaged of St. Louis to learn a skill, regain dignity, and become financially self-sufficient. It employs people without homes, teaches them a valuable trade with transferable skills, and sells the products they make. The only wages Bridge Bread pays are to its bakers; everyone else involved in the project are volunteers. Seventy percent of dollars generated through Bridge Bread sales goes to providing meaningful compensation to the bakers.
We are very fortunate here at First Church to experience God’s abundance in helping us all live God’s Love, do God’s work and learn God’s word. To ensure that we have the financial resources to meet our goals we need to continuously review where we are, what we have and what we need. Therefore the S&A committee with support of the council has determined that we need a year round stewardship program to develop strategies, plans and actions to ensure that our short, medium and long term financial resources are in place to both meet our current requirements and help fund our longer term goals. We will be communicating with the congregation weekly through the weekly e-bulletin starting on 7 th September so that everyone knows where we are and what we need financially so that we can successfully do God’s work. A team is being set up and we are looking for 2-3 volunteers to work for no more than 4 meetings to set up our Year Round Stewardship Program – anyone interested please contact either Pastor Bill or Paul Brady .
Wednesday September 5, 7:15 PM
The First Congregational Book Group will meet on September 5th, Wednesday evening, at 7:15 in the parlor. Please think about joining the group if you like to read and talk about a book, eat snacks, and socialize. 

For September we are reading  There Your Heart Lies  by Mary Gordon. At nineteen, Marian Taylor cut herself off from her wealthy, conservative Irish Catholic family and left America to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War - an experience she always kept to herself. Until, in her nineties and diagnosed with cancer, she finally shares what happened to her during those years with her granddaughter, Amelia, a young woman with a good heart, but only a vague notion of life’s purpose. This is an emotionally and historically rich work with strong characters for whom Gordon writes interior monologues which convey arresting insights and the startling immediacy of the intersection of brutality and faith. Please join us for the discussion of the book led by Ginny Crowley.
Sunday September 9
Join us as we celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of the school year on September 9! During worship we will bless our Sunday school teachers and begin the fall Sunday school classes. We will also present 4th graders with Bibles. If you have a 4th grader, contact Emily Stokes . After worship we'll have a potluck picnic out on the garth! Membership & Fellowship is providing veggie burgers and hot dogs, and we're all invited to bring a side dish, salad, or dessert to share. At the picnic we'll celebrate and welcome our new Minister of Music, Sarah Bereza.
Sunday Sept. 16 after Worship
Our vice-moderator, Ward Klein, will lead us in a conversation about FCC’s mission, vision, and core values. Please join us! More details to follow.  
Sunday Sept. 16, 5:30 PM
The theme of this year's free concert is "Great Music of Many Faiths," and it will take place at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The concert will feature both adult and young singers and musicians from faith communities across the metropolitan area who will share their most treasured music with us. For more information, visit or call 314-533-9900.
Saturday September 22, 8:00 AM
Come join our volunteer team (ages 16 and up) on our annual trip to assist Food Outreach with packaging and storing meals for people living with HIV/AIDS or cancer. We need at least 20-25 people. Food Outreach is located at 3117 Olive. If you wish to carpool, please meet at the church at 7:30am (and please note that when you sign up). We usually work until 11 am. 
Sunday September 23
Our last Staycation Bible School event is a trip to Powder Valley Nature Center on September 23 after worship. Bring a picnic to enjoy with the rest of the group, and then we will explore God's creation on hikes through Powder Valley.
Contact Emily Stokes to RSVP.
We are putting together a First Congregational Church cookbook. We need recipe submissions from our members and friends! We are looking for a variety of recipes that include good for kids, parties, coffee hour, etc. Please pick up a submission form at church. If you need help adding a recipe please feel free to email Chelsea Safe . We will be selling the cookbook for $20/book.
Saturday October 20, 6:30 PM
Because last year was such a fun success, this year's fundraiser to support the ministries and mission of FCC will again be a Chef's Tasting Dinner, featuring delicious tasting portions from our very own FCC chefs. We'll also have silent and live auctions full of exciting offerings from our members, friends, and local organizations and businesses. If you have something to donate to our auction (like a gift basket, handmade item, party, vacation home, etc.), please contact Hannah Rice . If you know of a local business owner who might be interested in donating, pick up a donation letter and form from the office. Many letters have already gone out to area businesses.
Starting this Fall
Washington University is looking for warm-hearted families to host 2-3 students for casual dinner and conversation. Help them feel at home in St. Louis and your family can enjoy the company of Wash U's incredibly smart and talented kids. We only require that you have 2-3 get-togethers over the course of the academic year. We also try to match students to family interests. Many students stay with their families throughout their Wash U years! E-mail Risa Zwerling to sign up! We will ask you to host your first dinner this late September or early October.
This Week at FCC
Sunday August 26
10:30 am Sunday Worship
11:30 am Coffee & Community
12:00 pm Young Adult Picnic

Tuesday August 28
10:00 am Sacred Studies & Fellowship

Wednesday August 29
7:00 am Wydown Men's Club
12:00 pm FCC Staff Team Meeting

Thursday August 30
12:00 pm Mama Cat & the Potbangerz

Sunday September 2
10:30 am Sunday Worship
11:30 am Coffee & Community
FCC Church Office
Contact Us Via Email

Rev. Dr. Bill Smutz: Interim Senior Minister
Emily Stokes: Minister of Children & Families
Dr. Sarah Bereza: Minister of Music
Hannah Rice: Minister of Administration and Membership
Anne Chao: Preschool Director
Valerie Jackson: Member in Discernment

Phone: 314.721.5060 Fax: 314.721.2716 Preschool: 314.721.7404