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First Congregational

United Church of Christ

... exploring the frontiers of faith in Jesus

Staff Corner: Ben Owen

Ben OwenIn my school choir, all of my students are incredibly unique in their own ways. One student, "R", is unique in that he is both new to the school and on the autism spectrum. My choirs learn about and operate on a set of six classroom values that I have posted in my classroom - Compassion, Responsibility, Trustworthiness, Humility, Confidence, and Vulnerability. My students had no idea how much they would grow in these areas when "R" joined our choir - the following responses are excerpts from their written choir final:

What is vulnerability? What have you learned about it this semester? *
"It is the ability to emotionally invest.  I feel like I have learned a lot from R because he is vulnerable all the time and he is accepting of it.  The whole choir as a group are way less judgmental than we were before R showed and I am thankful."

What is compassion? What have you learned about it this semester? *
"Compassion is all about empathy and loving your neighbor. It's about putting yourself in someone else's shoes and seeing how they feel. Compassion is about treating all with kindness and openness. I think I learned about compassion by interacting with R. I put myself in his shoes a lot to see how he feels, in order to understand him and treat him well."

What is confidence? What have you learned about it this semester? *
"Confidence is the ability to perform, to take risks, and to build up those around me. I have been able to take risks by practicing a solo during lessons. As a young choir, we have learned to build each other up, rather than to tear each other down. R probably contains the most confidence in his pinky toe, more than any other choir member. He has shown me that I can be myself and show what I am truly compassionate about, through music on stage or in the classroom."

It's amazing what the power of love can do and communicate!

Ephiphany 2018:
grace and truth

the Word became a human being and lived among us, full of grace and truth

The sermon topics for the Epiphany season were suggested by you, members of First Congregational United Church of Christ

January 21     Words of wisdom that will give confidence that we will survive this poplitical turmoil
why are you so frightened?
Mark 3:20-30; 4:35-41

January 28     What does God see in me that I don't see in me?
Lauren Reisinger preaching
Jesus said to her, "My daughter"
Mark 5:21-42

February 4     How do Christians relate to the "gods" of other religions?
whoever is not against us is for us
Mark 9:38-41

February 11     The church's one foundation
God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation,
and no other foundation can be laid

Mark 8:27-29; 1 Corinthians 3:9-17

Annual Meeting: Save the Date!

Sunday, January 28, 2018


The potluck meal will be held right after the church service with the Annual Meeting to follow.

Talent Show and
Valentine's Dinner

February 10, 2018

TalentMark your calendars now and plan to join us for a fun evening. That means now is the time to consider which of your talents you'd like to share with us. If you have an idea for an act, contact Ben Owen.

University of Iowa Dance Marathon Donation Opportunity

On the weekend of February 2nd and 3rd, 2018, I will be participating in the University of Iowa's 24th Annual Dance Marathon, benefiting the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital in the heart of Iowa City. I will be joining thousands of other University of Iowa students in a 24-hour marathon that involves dancing, eating, participating in games and activities, and listening to patients’ heartwarming stories. We will do all of this while standing and without any sleep.

My goal is to raise at least $500 but I would love to raise even more with your help! If you’re interested in supporting me in my efforts, check out my fundraising page:

For more information about our organization please visit our website: Please let me know if you have any questions about UIDM. Thank you in advance from the University of Iowa Dance Marathon family!

~ Katherine Kaliban

Sunday School
January 21, 2018

Gathering (9:00 - 9:15 am)

Youth and adults meet for singing, praying and mission news.

Classes (9:15 - 10:15 am)

Children up to Kindergarten age meet with Jayne Slaughter in the upstairs Sunday School room.
Children ages 1st - 5th grade meet with Lynne Ensworth in the main level Sunday School Room.

Students 6th grade and up will gather upstairs in the Murphy Youth Room with Lauren Reisinger.

Adults meet in the chapel.

From Beth Hurley ...

Beth HurleyI woke up to a wonderful world of white on the morning of MLK Day! As I sat in the sunroom drinking my coffee, I looked out onto our back patio which we keep stocked with critter food in the winter: seeds and nuts and corn. I saw many varieties of birds grazing there. The snow had covered everything, and they were picking through it for whatever sustenance they could find. Then I looked up at the large bush near the patio where the birds like to perch and saw birds of all shapes and sizes and colors there. There were juncos, sparrows, doves, large blackbirds, and cardinals: some were large and some were small, some were brightly colored and beautiful, and some were dull and inconsequential. Some I didn’t even recognize and thought they must have come from somewhere else.

Yet, there they were, all sharing the shelter of the same bush and picking through the bounty of food side-by-side. None pushed any away, or took from anyone else, but all shared equally. The blackbird ate from the suet feeder next to 2 sparrows and did not use his size to chase them off, but they sat along-side each other sharing of the same block of suet.

Do the birds understand what we do not? Maybe we need to learn from the birds in winter who understand that each of us, no matter our color or size of importance, have the same basic needs for food and shelter, for acceptance and understanding, for respect and equality. On this MLK Day, what a better lesson for our country and our world that we each share in God’s bounty and not chase others away that are different. As Jesus tells us, “You are the body of Christ and individually members of it. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (I Corinthians 12: 27, 26)

Birthday balloons

Maxine Martens will be celebrating her 100th birthday on January 28th!Cards may be sent to:
1951 La Bellezza Grove
Colorado Springs, CO 80919

Techies Needed!

As we prepare for our impending pastoral transition, we will need to reassign some of the technology-related tasks Tim has been fulfilling for the church. Some of these tasks will be best done by onsite staff, but others will require skills of church members with the requisite passion and know-how. If you have interest in helping the church in any of the following areas, please contact Michelle in the church office.

Membership Directories

directoryMichelle will begin working on the new Membership Directory later this month. Now is the time to contact the church office if any of the information for your family is incorrect or if you would like to send in a new picture. Please call (319-234-8927) or email Michelle with your updates.

Celebration of
Christian Baptism

We were honored to participate in the baptism of
Avery Rose Jordan
Josephine Ann Lauterbach Clausen
in our sanctuary Sunday, January 7, 2018.


Both girls are great granddaughters of Russ and Donna Lauterbach, who were longtime members of FCC. Congratulations to the parents and grandparents.