Last Sunday, we welcomed four new members, and this Sunday we’ll welcome three more. It’s always a joy to expand our church community with new individuals and the experiences, ideas and passions they bring. As we say: Every time someone joins, we become a new congregation— our shape shifts and we are, literally, renewed. I hope you can come on Sunday to participate in this renewal!
Strategic Plan Listening Session: This Sunday (after worship) we’ll engage in the second of two listening sessions to inform our next strategic plan. At the last session on 9/24, we identified a few key areas, such as “Welcoming and Engaging our Neighbor” and “Mission and Social Action,” as priorities for our congregation. This time, we’ll participate in a process of appreciative inquiry to ask: What have we already done to grow in this area? How can we build on this growth? And, where could we see ourselves in 3-6 years? Each member’s voice is important, and we look forward to hearing your hopes, dreams, questions and suggestions.
Socially Responsible Investments: Who knew how informative and interesting socially responsible investing could be? Well, after last Sunday’s discussion about the Trustees’ plans to review our current investments and underlying investment policy, we do! The goal is to have a formal proposal for action at the next Annual Meeting (1/28/18). The Trustees have important work to do before then, including but not limited to: predicting any major facility costs that may impact the amount available for investing, assessing our socially responsible investing options, and examining the benefits and costs of self-managing or retaining a fund manager. I encourage you to visit the United Church Funds website, ucfunds.org, to learn more about various investment funds, socially responsible investing, and this UCC-related fund manager. Please feel free to reach out to Don Blanchon, Acting Trustee Chair, at email@example.com with any questions, suggestions or concerns about this important fiduciary matter.
Returning to the topic of Welcome, I reiterate a portion of last Sunday’s sermon (because the message bears repeating):
God’s power is LOVE. God’s power is compassion. God’s power is extravagant welcome. God’s power is grace. God’s power is forgiveness. God’s power is salvation (if salvation means open-armed welcome for ALL…), whether we come to the table now, come to the table later, or don’t know whether we’re ever going to come. Because, from God’s perspective, we’re already there, already accepted, already “in.” As we say in our Communion Welcome: Just as we are. Just as we are.
May the grace and peace and all-encompassing love of God be with you and yours,
Dinner and a Movie, TOMORROW, 10/20—The Maclean family drew no clear line between religion and fly fishing. Rev. Maclean taught his sons to fish and look for grace. In A River Runs Through It (1992) the boys grow up and the family falls apart. We’ll discuss family, grace, and beauty, with a simple supper starting at 6:30 and the film at 7 PM. To participate: email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strategic Plan Listening Session, 10/22—After six years, it’s time to create a new strategic plan for our congregation. We had an excellent session last month and hope all those who attended (and those who didn’t!) will join us after worship this Sunday for Part Two. We look forward to hearing your hopes, dreams, questions and suggestions.
FaithLife Group, 10/22—This monthly group will meet Sunday from 5:30-7 pm to begin its fall conversation. On the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, what do we celebrate, challenge, discover, and/or continue to reform? New participants and topic ideas are always welcome!
Walk to End HIV, 10/28—This year the Potomac Association of the UCC is walking together! To order a t-shirt: UCC Walk T-shirt. To register: UCC Team. The team will meet for coffee and bagels at First Congregational UCC (945 G St. NW, near Metro Center and Gallery Place) at 8:15 am and leave there at 9 AM for the walk beginning at Freedom Plaza.
Waking Up White, 10/29—We’ll gather after worship to discuss Debbie Irving’s excellent memoir about race. In her words: “This is the book I wish someone had handed me decades ago. My hope is that by sharing my sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, I offer a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance.” Questions? email@example.com.
Walk to End Homelessness, 11/4—Join our Cleveland Park Confirmation/Coming of Age Class for this walk on the National Mall to raise money for Friendship Place. To register with the Cleveland Park Team and/or donate, go to: Walk to End Homelessness.
Art Exhibit & Charity Auction, 11/11— Join us from 5 to 7 pm for an Art Exhibit featuring Don Clarke and other local artists. There will be a Silent Auction to raise funds for Joseph’s House (hospice care for those who are homeless) and we’ll enjoy a wine and cheese reception, accompanied by live music. Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org.
100th Anniversary Kick Off, 11/12—Our congregational charter is dated November 1917. We’ll kick off a year of 100th Anniversary events with a special service, followed by a Coffee Hour Conversation on the many fabulous decades of our church led by our very own historian, Richard Bambach.