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First Congregational

United Church of Christ

... exploring the frontiers of faith in Jesus

Special Visioning Event!

What Does YOUR Future Church Look Like? We Need to Know!!

On Saturday, July 27th you'll have the chance to discuss just that with the rest of your Church Family. A couple of years ago we spent a lot of time and thought and prayer on our Church Profile. You can still see it on our web, if you'd like. During this time of insight and conversation we came to four major areas we see important to our Church and its Future. They were: Youth, Mission, Music & Fine Arts, and Growth.

artDuring the July 27th Visioning/ Strategic Planning event we will confirm those important church components and discuss what we do with them. What do Youth, Mission, Music & Fine Arts, and Growth look like in the Future First Church? How do we get there? These and many other questions will be discussed.


The Visioning/Strategic Planning event will be facilitated by Waterloo's own Karris Golden. Karris has worked in the world of Faith for many years and knows our church. She is a proven facilitator that delivers results and follow up. She will serve us well in this capacity.

The event is: Saturday, July 27th from 9:00 to 3:00 (lunch will be provided) Please plan to be there to plan the future of YOUR church. RSVP to the church office at 319-234-8927 or Michelle's email so we can plan appropriately. THANK YOU!!

Family Fun Night!

Community Fun Night will be held EVERY Wednesday this summer hosted by First United Methodist Church! Please join us for a meal and family fun following. Click the poster below for a larger image.



Our July Sermon Series will focus on the Book of Ruth. This small book (only 4 chapters!) contains an amazing story of faith, family, and the power of community. See you Sunday!

July 14th: Ruth 2 - Gleaning In the Fields
July 21st: Ruth 3 - Boaz and Blessings
July 28th: Ruth 4 - A Marriage and a Promise

Thursday Potluck Book Study

Restarts July 18

churchbookOur Thursday evening potluck book group will resume July 18 in the chapel. Potluck supper begins at 6:00 pm with discussion beginning about 6:30 pm. The book is titled Real Good Church by Rev. Molly Phinney Baskette. Rev. Baskette is a UCC pastor who writes openly and honestly about the experience of church renewal and gives practical steps for any congregation. This book is very relevant to some of our needs! All are welcome to join us!

The Word: Canticum Novum

Ben Owen, our previous Music Director, is bringing his choral group, Canticum Novum ("new music") to FCUCC this Saturday July 13 at 3 pm. Their performance includes a wide variety of spiritual music accompanied by the poetry of church member Dr. Shuaib Meacham. It promises to be a professional and inspiring presentation.

If you can't make it on Saturday, they will also be performing on Sunday July 14 at 3:30 pm at St. Paul's Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids and at 7 pm at Trinity Episcopal in Iowa City.

Food Pantry Needs:

Food Bank If you would like to donate to our FCUCC food pantry, here is a list of requested items that the Food Bank usually does not have:
*Cans of Tuna
*Cans of Peas or Corn
*Toilet Paper
*Feminine Hygiene Products

You can bring these items in on Sunday or during the week. Thank you in advance!

~ Michelle (

NAMI Family-to-Family
(September 5 to November 21, 2019)

NAMINAMI Family-to-Family is a free 12-week class for family members or partners who have adult relatives with mental illness. It includes current research about mental illness; information about medications; effective treatments to promote recovery; problem solving and communication techniques; and coping with worry, stress, and emotional overload. The class will be held here at First Congregational every Thursday from 6:00 to 8:30pm starting September 5th and ending November 21st. Call Leslie Cohn at the NAMI office at 319-235-5263 or email if you have questions or want to register for the class. Deadline to register is August 15th but please note that this class may fill up before the deadline!

Summer Personal Care Drive

Summer is a tough time for many local families. Social Service agencies are often in short supply of personal care items. We believe these items are basic necessities to live a healthy and happy life.

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank would like your help in donating the following items (you can also leave your donations at church through the month of July):
Soap - Shampoo - Toothbrushes - Toothpaste - Toilet Paper - Feminine Hygiene - Baby Wipes - Tissues - Diapers - Deodorant

For more information, contact Agnes Kress at 319-235-0507 or

Pastor's Corner

Rev. Scott Spence: We Are One Body

For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.

Romans 12:4-5.

Rev Spence Summer in the Cedar Valley means many things to many people: hanging out at the lake, long road trips with the family, cutting the grass every week ... but to UCCers summer also means church meeting time!

Although the basic unit of life in the UCC is the individual congregation, our faith ties extend beyond our sanctuary walls. At its heart our denomination is covenantal in nature: we covenant or faithfully commit to be church with fellow believers on the association, conference, and national level. We may not agree on every bit of theology or worship style or church architecture but we are still the UCC. This balance between freedom and unity is not always easy but I believe it is worth it as a model of Christian community to the larger world. It's one of our greatest strengths as a denomination.

Part of this covenantal life is the church meeting season I mentioned above. June found our church meeting on the national (General Synod) and conference (Tri-Conference Annual Gathering) level. The former took place in Milwaukee and the theme was Shine! from Matthew 5:16. GS meets every two years and is the largest meeting of the UCC. Delegates listen to amazing preaching, attend informative workshops, get to reunite with old friends and make new ones, and vote on various resolutions and other forms of church business.

I attended the 2015 & 2017 General Synods as a part of my participation in the Next Generation Leadership Initiative. If you ever get a chance to go as a delegate or guest I highly recommended it (the next one is 2021 in Kansas City!) Included in this week's Tidings is a quick summary of what occurred. Please keep in mind that GS speaks to and not for the wider church - you can agree or disagree with their votes but you are not required to follow them.

June 14-16 found me in Omaha for the first ever Tri-Conference Joint Annual Meeting (Tri-JAM). Our host was Countryside Community Church UCC which is participating in something called the Tri-Faith Initiative. I invite you to look that up for more information!

Tri-JAM packed a lot of action over three days. Some of the highlights were:

*Each Conference (IA, SD, NE) had their Annual Meeting and passed their budget and nomination slates.
*We worshipped together and learned about new ways of being church from our Keynote Speaker Rev. Dr. Chris Davies.
*Installed three new Associate Conference Ministers: Rev. Ellis Arnold (IA), Rev. Samantha Houser (SD), and Rev. Darrell Goodwin (NE).
* Held an Annual Dinner where we focused on The Power of Storytelling in our churches, conferences, and our faith lives.

Because this is the UCC and we are creating the Tri-Conference while we are living into it I am not sure about dates for the 2020 Annual Meeting. I can tell you that this is an exciting time to be UCC in the Midwest. We are very much on the leading edge of what it means to Be the Church and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

As always my door is open if you want to talk about the wider church or any other topic. God bless.

Pastor Scott

Coming Up!
Special Musical Event

Special performance by the Brazilian Twins - coming to FCUCC July 21. They will be here to share some of their music and also to share more about their own story! Free admission, bring your friends! Click the poster below for a larger image of it.


Women's Book Group

Our Women's Sunday School Class is now reading and discussing, "Searching for Sunday" by Rachel Held Evans. The book is available on Amazon in both paper and Kindle editions. Hope to see all you ladies there!


Historic Church Row Opportunities

nightoutPlease add to your calendars National Night Out, Tuesday, August 6th from 6-8pm in Washington Park. Our church will be responsible for 4 dozen cookies, 1 watermelon and volunteers to help with games.

Also, if anyone would like to help deliver the neighborhood newsletter which invites people to this event, they will be available Monday, July 22 from 9-12 at 1416 W 4th St. We are asking volunteers to have them delivered by the end of the week. They can be picked up M-F in the mornings that week. Thanks for your support!

Nicaragua Shoeboxes


In the last 17 years you were in line to help the kids and young moms in Nicaragua. Since we started this project we have shipped tons of aid to moms at our shelter and thousands of shoeboxes to kids. These aren't just gifts, these boxes keep kids in school and change their lives.

In this, our 18th year, we need your help again. You can pick up boxes to fill or donate money and Connie Jo and Jayne will do the shopping and fill boxes and bags for the moms.