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First Congregational

United Church of Christ

... exploring the frontiers of faith in Jesus

Fall Festival!

Sunday, October 20 at 3 pm

Click on the image below to open the poster with all the details!

Fall Festival

Pastor's Corner:
Pastor Scott Spence

Over the past several Sundays in worship our congregation has been on quite the journey. As part of our transition to new pastoral leadership and in response to the ever changing culture and needs outside of our walls, we have looked at the 7 Signs of a Vital Congregation. All organizations, whether faith-based or secular, are called to periodically step back and take a look at what makes them unique and the specific things they are called to do and to be. That has been the core purpose of this sermon series that will wrap up this Sunday (October 20th).

You can think of the past several weeks as a "check up" or a self-assessment of sorts. I want to thank everyone who has given me their feedback or fresh ideas over coffee, during Community Office Hours, or email. This has been a great chance to get to know many of you further and to hear of your passions and dreams for our beloved First Congregational UCC.

There are two more ways in which you can be involved in this vital congregational conversation.

*The first is during worship on Sunday, October 27th. We will mark Reformation Sunday as a congregation by participating in that most Congregationalist of activities: a Town Hall. More specifically, you are invited to come with your questions and ideas as we talk about the 7 Signs and what they mean for us in 2019 and beyond. This will be in lieu of the traditional sermon so plan on that chat lasting around 15 minutes at the most.
If you want to submit your questions in advance, please email them to Michelle at the Church Office or put them in the big red (for the Reformation!) box in the Causeway. I look forward to our conversation.

*The second opportunity is November 8-9 here at FCUCC. After a great deal of discernment, our Leadership Team (Paul, Cliff, Barb, Keith and Dave) and I have asked the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center to lead us in a "Why? Weekend." The purpose of this weekend is to help lead us in answering the questions of "Why are we church? Why has God called us here to this place? And how can we answer that call as a faith community?"

We believe that thinking about and answering these questions under the facilitation of the DMPCC leaders will provide some critical direction to our future together. And this is where you come in - we are in need of between 20-30 church members to RSVP that they can come to the Why? Weekend.

The sessions will run 6-9 PM Friday, November 8th and 9-4 Saturday, November 9th. In order for us to have the best possible response to these important questions we need the widest possible group of attendees: from life-long to new members, young adults to "seasoned" citizens, men and women, etc.

If you have ever wanted to help shape the future direction of First Congregational-this is your chance! If you have ever felt the call to collaborate on what this church can do for our members and the community now is the time!

Please RSVP to the Church Office so we can get a accurate count. Again, we need between 20-30 for the event to be successful. Please note that we will provide food for both days - more details to come.

As always my door is open if you have questions. God bless.

Pastor Scott

Sermon "Think About" Questions

Pastor Scott has given us several questions to think about at the end of each of his "Seven Signs" sermons. Numerous people have asked to have them written down (some of us can't write that fast or remember that much)! A printable list of all of the questions so far can be found here.

Bazaar Buzz!

Christmas Bazaar
Saturday November 23

Bazaar preparations are in full swing!

If you would like to be a part of this popular event, the following areas will be featured this year!

TreeFestival of Trees: There is still time left to decorate a tree if you are interested. Let one of us know and we will show you the trees to choose from! We have table top ones that wouldn’t take much to decorate, as well as bigger trees.

Greens: Any donations of items to decorate wreaths are always appreciated, especially ribbon!

Book Nook: Current titles and children’s books are especially needed.

Bottom Drawer: Gently used items are still being collected and appreciated, and may be placed in the church basement behind the partition.

Bling bling: Jewelry, purses, and scarves are needed.

Handmade items: We can still use more items that you may have been working on such as cards, knit hats/mittens, hand towels. Excited to see what ideas you have had!

Kandy Korner: Homemade candy, dipped pretzels, popcorn balls, toffee, peanut brittle, just to name a few.

Baked Goods Baked Goods: If you enjoy baking, now is your time to shine! We need you ! Cookies, pies, breads, cakes, cookies, jams, bars, etc. We have ordered more containers again this year to put your baked goods in. Just let us know if you want some. As always you are also welcome to package and decorate your own . Be creative! Packaging is everything!

** Also we will once again feature a Healthy Choices area. Things like gluten free, sugar free, whole grains. Healthy doesn't need to be boring!

**In the baked goods area, we will also be featuring "cookie mix in a jar" creations and are looking for a team of people to help assemble them. Watch for upcoming announcement of when that will happen!

Silent Auction: We still need more silent auction items. I've heard talk of a "traveling dinner" as one of the items. Sound like fun? Let us know if you want to learn more.

If you have questions you may contact any of us or call Michelle in the office and she will let us know!

Thank you for all y'all do!

Connie Jo, Jayne and Jill

Pastor's Public Office Hours

Wednesday, October 16, Pastor Scott will be at Starbucks across from the Crossroads HyVee (1501 Flammang) from 3-5 pm.

Wednesday October 23, he will be at Fat Cup (37 Fletcher) also from 3-5 pm.

You are welcome to stop by to chat!

Sunday School
October 20, 2019

Gathering (9:00 - 9:15 am)

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

Classes (9:15 - 10:15 am)

Children from Pre-K up to 2nd grade meet in the main floor Sunday School Room with Jayne Slaughter.
Children from 3rd up to 5th grade meet in the chapel with Katie Thomas.

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

Pastor Scott's adult class meets in the lounge for a discussion of the sermon topic.
Women's Book Study Group meets in the Friendship Room.


A Called Congregational Meeting is scheduled to be held immediately following worship Sunday, October 27th in the sanctuary. The purpose of the meeting is to inform the congregation of the current roof repairs being completed on our church building and to discuss the funding sources to be used for those repairs. The meeting is expected to be very short. Please plan to attend. If you have questions, please contact our Moderator Paul Greene or Church Treasurer Dave Allbaugh. Thank you.

Children's Choir!

ChoirThe children's choir will be singing an anthem for us this Sunday, October 20. Hope you can be there to support them!

Fall Sermon Series

7 Signs of a Vital Congregation

September 8: Discipleship Formation
     Philippians 3:4-14
September 15: Authentic Evangelism
     2 Corinthians 4:5-12
September 22: Empowering Servant Leaders
     Matthew 9:35-38
September 29: No More Closets
     Guest Preacher: Rev. Ellis Arnold
October 6: Spirit-Filled Worship
     Isaiah 29:13-16
October 13: Caring Relationships
     John 13:35
October 20: Why Church? Why Here?
     1 Corinthians 12:13-31

PS. The Pastor's Sunday School Class will be looking at that day's sermon topic in depth. Great opportunity for a head start!

On Reformation Sunday, October 27th, the "Signs of a Vital Congregation" series will conclude with a Congregational Town Hall where we can all participate in addressing the question - Where do we go from here?

You can drop your questions in the big red box in Crossroads or email them to Michelle before the 27th.

Partners in Education

* 15 Students from Bunger are interested in becoming journal buddies this year. Please see Tim Ahrens to sign up to be a buddy!

* Bunger Middle School is hosting an 8th grade registration dinner on November 5th at 6:30 pm and would like some volunteers to help serve the dinner. (No prep work or clean up is involved). If you could help serve, please see Tim Ahrens.

Fall Clothing Give-Away

clothesTime to clean out those closets! Our annual Historic Church Row Fall Clothing Giveaway is this weekend - October 19! As always, bedding and kids' things will go first. Please bring items you'd like donate to the church crossroads until October 17. If you would be able to help arrange items for a hour or two Friday, October 18 from 9 to 5 or to distribute them on Saturday, October 19 from 9 to 10:30, please call/text 504-3212.

Operation Warm

CoatsPlease remember those 7,000 children in our community who need winter coats and are unable to afford them. These new coats cost only $17.00 each through a Foundation which can purchase in bulk. Call Steve or Liz Thorpe: 319-984-9139.

Need a Ride?

Do you need a ride to get to the Doctor, to church, to an appointment, to run an errand or to meet with a friend? Through a generous gift from the Goodrich Fund, the church will be setting up an account for church member rides through Dolly's Taxi.

If you have any questions or need a ride, please contact Gina Greene, Deacon's chair via email or phone (319-404-8840) to arrange a ride. Rides can not be promised unless scheduled 48 hours in advance. Short notice rides will be subject to availability. Dolly's can transport a rider in a wheelchair but only has 1 van for this purpose.

Let us know how we can help.

Canterbury Forum ~ Living with Gun Violence ~ Sunday, October 27th 7:00 pm

The Canterbury Forum will present the third in its Fall 2019 series of programs on October 27, from 7 to 8:30pm. The program is an exploration of how gun violence impacts our communities here in the Cedar Valley. It will be presented by Rev. Abraham Funchess, the pastor of Jubilee United Methodist Church in Waterloo.

The Program is free and open to the public. It will be held at St. Luke's Episcopal Church (2410 Melrose Drive in Cedar Falls).