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First Congregational

United Church of Christ

... exploring the frontiers of faith in Jesus

Caretakers of the Way

The Way

Humans leave traces of connection. The British naturalist Robert MacFarlane has written "that once you begin to notice them, you see that the landscape is still webbed with paths and footpaths .... Pilgrim paths, green roads, drove roads, corpse roads, trods, leys, dikes, drongs, sarns, snickets –say the names of paths out loud and at speed and they become a poem or rite – holloways, bostles, shutes, driftways, lichways, ridings, halterpaths, cartways, carneys, causeways, and herepaths." I'm sure that if you took a day trip anywhere in the Cedar Valley or looked in your own neighborhood you would find similar examples of human connections. We are a social species that desires community.

The Christian faith is also a path of connection but unless the way is practiced it disappears. Stewardship is the practice that generates and regenerates the path of faith.

Stewardship is less about sharpening our pencils and more about sharpening our tools for trail maintenance, equipping ourselves to be caretakers of the path connecting us to our Creator and guiding our steps.

MacFarlane reports that in the 19th century small sickles were hung on stiles or posts where paths connecting communities began. Walkers would pick up the sickle or hook to lop off branches as they walked. They would then leave the 'hook' on the stile or post at the end of the path so a walker going in the opposite direction could do the same. This shared caretaking of the path benefited each individual walker but also the larger community.

Reading in The Book of Acts, we find that the early Christian movement was known internally as well as to its persecutors as the way. The life of faith is a way of being human, a way of interpreting, a way of practicing, a way of living.

As we journey towards the reign of God, we are following in the tracks of others, ways walked by Jesus himself, paths as ancient as Abraham and Sarah, Ruth and Moses, and those who have come into our doors since 1856. Today we are not just signposts pointing the way but the caretakers, the stewards of that way. Come and join in the way.

November 10th is Stewardship Sunday at First Congregational UCC. You are invited to deliver your 2020 Pledge Card in one of three ways:

*You can drop it off at the Church Office this week
*You can call or email our Office Manager Michelle Wolfe
*Or you can bring the card to worship this Sunday.

No matter the method of delivery your participation is critical. In the past year your contributions to "The Way" have enabled FCUCC to deepen our faith in worship, Youth and Christian Education, Mission and Outreach, and Growth and Evangelism. Your continued support is critical in helping us continue to take care of the path that God has laid out for us.

As always my door is open if you would like to talk. God bless.

~ Pastor Scott

Why? Weekend: A Visioning Event!

November 8-9 here at FCUCC

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center will lead us in search of answers to 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?"

The sessions will run 6-9 PM Friday, November 8th (potluck supper begins at 5:30) and 9-4 Saturday, November 9th (continental breakfast and Jimmy John lunch will be included).

Please RSVP to the Church Office by Wednesdy November 6, so we can get a accurate count.

Bazaar Buzz!

Christmas Bazaar
Saturday November 23

This Sunday you will find Jayne Slaughter passing out signs to place in your yards. (The signs are brand new this year and very attractive! We just ask that you please return when the bazaar is over, we hope to reuse them each year.)

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

TreeFestival of Trees: Have a brilliant and festive idea for a Christmas tree? Decorate, bring to the church when done, and let the competition begin!! Some trees are available. . . full size, pencils, and table tops. Theme, decorations, and tree skirts are up "fir" you to decide! Talk to Connie Jo or Jayne to see what is available if you don't have a tree to use. Following worship this Sunday, you can purchase raffle tickets for The Festival of Trees from Connie Jo Peirce and Jill Jensen in the Friendship room.

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: It's time to get out your favorite recipe and be a part of of this year's bake sale at the bazaar! We are in need of cookies, bars, breads, and pies. Containers for your baked goods will be handed out this Sunday after church along with sticky labels in the Crossroads. We will once again feature a Healthy Choices area. Things like gluten free, sugar free, whole grains. Healthy doesn't need to be boring!

We ask that you do label your product and add whether it contains nuts, etc. as well as if it is gluten-free, sugar-free, whole grain, etc. to be part of our "Healthy Choice" table

Fun and Fellowship: Looking for an easy way to contribute to the bazaar this year? Then come join your friends and other craft enthusiasts in creating beautiful Christmas cookie mix jars; a new item up for sale at the bazaar this year! We will meet at the church to fill the jars with dry ingredients, label, and decorate them for the holidays! It won't be too time consuming and all materials are provided. If you would like to be part of this fun group, contact Beth Hurley at 319-234-6223 or

Silent Auction: Put on your thinking caps and share a clever donation for the Silent Auction. Can you offer a service such as shoveling or baking? What about a unique piece of art or photography? A basket for a snowy day with friends, a garden, the great outdoors, or Fido? Tickets to a play or game? Gather some thoughts and please contact Gina Greene so we can save you a place at the table. Thank you for all you do.

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

Pastor Scott will be at Sidecar (Downtown, Waterloo) from 3-5 pm on Wed. November 6.

On Wednesday November 13, he will be at Sidecar (Ridgeway, Waterloo) from 3-5 pm.

You are welcome to stop by to chat!

(There will be NO Community Hours on November 27.)

Sunday School
November 10, 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 downstairs in the children's 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.

The adult class meets in the Friendship Room for a book discussion - currently Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World: a Geography of Faith.

Church Door Access

entry Our new security system has been installed. The church doors will be locked during the week. If you need to get into the building, please come up the ramp to the single accessible door which is to the left of the main double doors and press the intercom button (shown in red at the left) for Michelle to buzz you in.

As with anything new, it takes a little time to learn the process. Thank you for your patience!

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!

Special Veterans Lunch

Hello Church family! The youth group is putting on a lunch after service this Sunday, November 10th. We will be honoring Veterans and the people who have served our country. We will be serving many different foods such as pasta, fruits, and dessert. Come help support and bring a friend too!

~ Katie Thomas

Next Sunday!

Last year at the Bazaar, the Hurley's won the Silent Auction for Pick a Sermon Sunday. For their pick, on November 17th the text will be Matthew 6:1-21.

Hanging of the Greens

wreathPlease stay after worship on November 24th for the "Hanging of the Greens" when we will decorate the church for Advent. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to the church office if you help us beautify our church for the season!

Special Guest Speaker!

On Sunday, December 1st, our supply pastor will be poet, minister, activist, and teacher Joe Davis of Minneapolis, MN. If you would like more information about Joe, you can speak with Cliff Highnam, Beth Lauterbach, Evie Waack, or Anne Hoekstra, or visit Joe's website.

Testimonial from Evie Waack: "I am so excited to have Joe Davis here as guest preacher on Sunday, December 1. He will also lead our Sunday School that morning for adults and teens. Joe received a masters in Theology of the Arts and served as Artist-in-Residence at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. For a week in June 2018 he served as Artist-in- Residence at Holden Village, the week about twelve of us also traveled to Holden Village in the Cascade Mountains. How would I describe Joe? Warm-Hearted, Sincere, Engaging, Caring. Here is how another pastor described his experience with Joe: "Joe blessed our congregation by preaching in worship and leading the weekly forum. What a gift! Joe jumps in smoothly and with a contagious spirit..." I anticipate an engaging Sunday morning. Come and join me on Sunday, December 1 starting with Sunday School and then continuing with worship."

Adult Book Study Class

book The Sunday morning adult class has started a discussion of Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World: a Geography of Faith We meet during the Sunday School hour in the Friendship room.

Here is the Book Study Outline:
11/3: Chapters 1 & 2 (Vision & Reverence)
11/10: Chapters 3 & 4 (Incarnation & Groundedness)
11/17: Chapters 5 & 6 (Wilderness & Community)
11/24: Chapters 7 & 8 (Vocation & Sabbath)
12/1: Chapters 9 & 10 (Physical Labor & Breakthrough)
12/8: Chapters 11 & 12 (Prayer & Benediction)

Blessing Bags

For the next few weeks, we will be collecting travel-size toiletries and personal care items from the following list to make Blessing Bags:

Soap, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Floss, Mouthwash, Hair brushes, Warm socks, Gloves, Warm hats, Hand/feet warmers, Wet wipes, Bottled water, Chapstick, Lotion, Deodorant, Bandaids, 1 gallon-size zip-top bags, and Individually packaged snacks like granola bars

You can bring donations to the church office. Once we have collected the items, we will need volunteers to help pack the bags with these items and a flyer with information about Love Inc.

Megan Grey

Broadcast LIVE from the Met

MeganJust two years ago, Megan Grey was our Alto Section Leader in the choir. Now she is in her second year as a Young Artist at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City! The Met broadcasts some of its operas live during their first Saturday afternoon performance each season. This year, Megan will have a role in the new production of Madam Butterfly by Puccini.

The Opera will be broadcast live on Saturday, November 9 from 11:55 am to 3:35 pm directly to the College Square Marcus Theater in Cedar Falls. The cost is around $20!

Madam Butterfly tells the story of an English Naval Officer stationed in Japan in the 1800's -- the days of the Tall Ships. He develops a relationship with a Japanese girl, calling her Madam Butterfly. Megan appears towards the end of the opera as the Officer's English wife who has come to visit. The final solo by the heartbroken Butterfly is one of the finest soprano arias in opera. In future years we hope to see Megan in a major role!