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First Congregational

United Church of Christ

... exploring the frontiers of faith in Jesus

Staff Corner: Rev. Tim Ensworth

Spirit of the living God, present with us now,
heal you in body, mind and spirit
and free you from all that harms you,
in Jesus' name. Amen.

Pastor Tim These are words spoken by the gathered community at the "Service of Prayers for Healing" held every Tuesday evening in the Iona Abbey. The words are spoken and hands are placed on the bodies of each person who comes forward asking prayer for healing for themselves or for another.

This year, we will hold services of prayer for healing on the first Sunday of each month beginning October 1. The services will be held in the church sanctuary and will last approximately one half hour.

We did monthly healing services in this church for six years and in my planning for this year, I have decided to offer such services once again. I so enjoy our Simple Evening Liturgy services on Wednesday evenings during Lent and these evening healing services will similarly provide an intimate and personal and participatory worship experience. But, even more importantly, healing is a vital part of the ministry of any Christian community. God intends wholeness for us, and our prayers, for ourselves and for each other, are a way, not of changing God's mind, but of bringing our minds and hearts into harmony with God's intention, and a way of reminding ourselves that we are held in God's loving embrace.

We will use the healing prayer used in the Iona Abbey and as they do there, we will speak the prayer together affirming that healing comes from God, not from any "healer." We will pray for healing for bodies and minds and spirits, for whole persons, because we are whole persons. Bodies matter and God cares about the wholeness of our bodies. Minds matter and God cares about the wholeness of our minds. Spirits matter and God cares about the wholeness of our spirits. Relationships matter and God cares about the wholeness of our relationships.

world peace We need healing! And our world needs healing! So we come together praying for ourselves, but also for the world. We will have opportunity during the service to pray for others, for family members, for neighbors, for people around the globe, to pray for broken bodies, to pray for broken spirits, to pray for broken relationships, to pray for reconciliation, to pray for justice, to pray for peace, to pray for shalom.

May the First Congregational United Church of Christ community continue to do God's work: by offering unconditional welcome, by providing dedicated service to our neighbors, by singing and living our praise, and by praying, by praying for each other, by praying for healing.

Disaster Relief

About UCC Hurricane Disaster Response

"We work hard to fill gaps in services during the early phases of disasters (days - months), providing grants to certain partners, churches, and conferences along with technical expertise and networking opportunities, but our primary focus is on long-term recovery (months - years). We focus the majority of our efforts on this work because it is arguably the most costly phase of the disaster and at the same time the most underresourced."

To see what the United Church of Christ is doing to respond to the human needs in the aftermath of Harvey, Irma and Maria and what you can do to help, go to

Local Hurricane Recovery Drive

A local effort is being organized by Antioch Baptist Church in support of two families with roots in Waterloo and in that church, who are now living in Houston and impacted by the flood. They have published a needs list of items that will be taken to the families. Donations will be accepted until September 29th at Antioch. Here is the list:

GIFT CARDS: Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Ross, JC Penney, Sam's Club, At Home Store

Cleaning Supplies: (Mean Green, Totally Awesome, Lysol etc.); Bleach; Rags/towels
Box fans
Basic kitchen items
Bedding: Blankets, Sleeping bags, Pillows

Bottled water           Non perishables
Diapers                Baby wipes
Feminine products        Shoes   
Clothing                 Soap
Laundry detergent.

New Greeters Chart

A new greeters chart is posted in the Church Library. Please sign up for a morning to greet your fellow church members before worship!

Our Church endowment . . .

We thank the dozens of past and present members and friends of the Church who have contributed to the endowment through estate plans and outright gifts. Since 1973 it has helped support religious, educational, and charitable initiatives of the Church.

The Trust is a legal entity, separate from the Church. It is administered by the Endowment Committee, which is responsible for ensuring that funds are invested and disbursed in accordance with our Trust Agreement and the current Investment Policy.

Over the past five years, the Endowment Committee has disbursed an average of over $140,000 annually. Of this amount, over $90,000 went directly to the Church Operating Budget to support such things as Memorial Pledges, choir section lead salaries, concerts, student scholarships, youth activities, and small capital needs. windowAnother $30,000 went for stained glass window repair, general upkeep and maintenance, and other special expenses. And the balance of $20,000 was paid to the bank that serves as the Trustee and investment manager. From 1973 to 2013, USBank (Waterloo Savings Bank) served as Trustee. Since then, First National Bank of Cedar Falls has been our Trustee. As of June 30, 2017, the endowment was worth $1,803,629.83.

While the endowment is a wonderful asset, it is effective in meeting its stated purpose only when it is used, and the Endowment Committee encourages Church members to identify ways to use it effectively. When a person or group in the Church identifies an initiative that could benefit from endowment support, we recommend they follow these steps:
- Prepare a written project definition explaining the what, why, who, how, when, and cost.
- Present the project to the appropriate board or committee of the Church and secure its support.
- Present the project to the Church Board of Trustees and secure its support and agreement on how the project will be funded.
- If the project will be funded by a loan or grant from the endowment, present a formal written request to the Endowment Committee.

The Endowment Committee has sole responsibility for making disbursements from the endowment, and in general, does so only with a recommendation from the Church Board of Trustees. However, it welcomes the opportunity to answer questions and provide guidance during the project planning process.

If you haven't already done so, I'd encourage you to consider making an endowment gift, either directly or through an estate plan. This will help ensure the endowment is available to support those who come after us. We can help them continue our Lord's work.

Ed Dams, Endowment Committee Chair October, 2017

Sunday School
September 24, 2017

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.

Open House!


Bob & Jo Tefft are being honored by their children with an Open House in celebration of their 60th wedding anniversary. The event will be in the 3rd floor Conference Room of Western Home's new Prairie Wind complex at

5313 Caraway Lane in Cedar Falls
from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, September 24.

Western Home Communities is also hosting a public Open House of the new Prairie Wind senior independent living facility that afternoon from 1-3 p.m..

Message from Ben


"Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart," - Ephesians 5:19

I want to express a sincere thank you to all of you that helped set up, helped provide treats for, attended, or watched the live stream of my choir's Board of Fine Arts concert this past Sunday. All performers involved considered it a success in communicating musical expression through relevant 21st-century connections.

Our church's concert series, as provided by the Endowment Committee, is a truly special service that we offer to the Cedar Valley community that enriches our home-grown arts culture. Most churches that hold concert series are in much larger cities - it is remarkable and a blessing that we at First Congregational UCC in Waterloo, Iowa can sustain this program. So - thank you, church family, for supporting the concert series and by extension continuing your service to our community at large.

Neighbors in Need

October 1, 2017


The Neighbors in Need offering, which we will receive on October 1, 2017, supports the UCC's ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries to fund a wide array of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects. The other one-third supports the UCC's Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM). Please give generously on October 1st to support these worthy projects.

Sunday School Kickoff!

Sunday School began September 10th and, following worship, we all enjoyed a great Rally Day cookout prepared and served by the Religious Education Board. Some highlights of our fun in case you missed it! (Thanks to Diane Highnam for the photos.)

(Click on any of the photos to see more!)

Rally Day

Rally Day

Rally Day

Rally Day

Fall Clothing Give-Away

ClosetThe Historic Church Row Neighborhood has scheduled Saturday, October 14th from 9-10:30 a.m. for our annual Fall Clothing Give-Away. This is your opportunity to share extra clothes and bedding with your neighbors.

Please bring items to the crossroads area at our church or to Sacred Heart Church. Set up will be Friday October 13 if you'd be available to help transfer and organize!

From Michelle

New Accounting Software = New Contribution Statements

Michelle We have transitioned to a new accounting software and therefore your 3rd quarter contribution statements will look different. . . But this is a good thing! I believe that the statement will be easier to read and understand.

Be looking for these statements in the mail around the second week of October and if you have any questions, please contact me by phone (319-233-9448) or email or stop in to the office (between 8am and noon or 1:30 to 4:30pm Mon.-Thurs.) and I will be happy to go over it with you. Thank you!