First Congregational Church of Flagstaff
( A Covenant Church of the United Church of Christ )
740 North Turquoise Drive Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
“We are growing in God’s boundless love and caring for all creation.”
Uniting Notes — April & May 2017
A curious thing happens in this age of instant communication: we tend to forget some things more quickly. Sometimes that’s fine, because things we don’t remember aren’t terribly important anyway. But other things are more important to remember. Many of us are concerned that America’s core values—freedom of religion, freedom of the press, welcoming newcomers and—more fundamentally—the Golden Rule, are being legally dismantled. Part of the strategy behind this erosion of laws and protections is the constant communication of falsehoods, conspiracies, and distractions. The miracle of social media can also cause the danger that our passionate concern from yesterday gets forgotten because of the Tweet that we see this morning on our phones.
In order to stay wise, and centered, and active on behalf of the things that matter, we need to remember some things. In fact, we need to remember the deep things—the really big things—that make us who we are at our best.
And that’s what Lent is about; it’s an annual reminder of the most vital things, like Jesus’ final earthly prayer gathering where he pleaded “That they all may be one.” Like the way he let unjust people kill him, in order to give irrefutable evidence of God’s love for everyone. Like the way he came back from the dead and made the universality of Divine love even more obvious, declaring “Peace” to us and giving us faith to persevere for love and justice.
We can’t disconnect from the news of the world—at least not entirely. But we can hold fast to the deep memories of our faith in this Lenten (and then Easter) Season.
— By Pastor Ken, thoughts inspired by the article “An Anchor in the Storm,” by Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, in April 2017 edition of Sojourners Magazine.
Knit Wit’s Too meet on the 4th Saturday of every month, in the Fellowship Room, at 1:30 pm, on April 22, 2017. The 22nd is Earth Day and the Wit’s do so much to help our earth and it’s people by using up excess yarn for people in need!
Women’s Fellowship Luncheon is on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 Noon, TBD. Location will be announced. Come and celebrate Joyce’s Birthday a week late! Is it a secret?
Breakfast – The Most Important Meal of the Day! FCCF meets Thursday mornings at 8:00am for Breakfast at Coco’s on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. Thursday, April 13, 2017 and Thursday, April 27, 2017. A great way to meet your fellow members (and a full tummy, too) A portion of the money spend comes back to FCCF. Remember to put your receipt in the jar in the Fellowship Room.
The Book Group meets on Sunday, April 23, 2017. Location and time for the discussions to be announced.
The Prayer Circle meets Tuesday, April 4, 2017 in the Fellowship Room at Noon. Bring something to share for lunch.
First Congregational Church of Flagstaff is helping to co-sponsor a major speech by Dr. Tom English in Flagstaff April 11th. Dr. English has worked on climate change issues for forty years and is a man of faith. Dr. Tom English will speak on “Faith and Climate Change: Challenges and Successes.” The location for this event is the Upper Room of the St. Francis de Asi facilities at 1600 E. Historic Route 66, Flagstaff 86001, right off Ponderosa Parkway near Starbucks. The talk begins at 6:30 pm. He has directed major environmental programs for IBM, GE, JPL, EPA, and the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group. He led the Manufacturing Group’s effort to voluntarily reduce toxic environmental releases by 86%. William Reilly, former Administrator of the U.S. EPA, stated that “This reduction led the entire world.” It also achieved significant savings for the participating companies. His legislative accomplishments include improving the California Clean Air Act, which resulted in savings of several billion dollars.
The United Church of Christ ………….Who Are We?
It’s always good to remind ourselves.
To few people know us. Too few of us know our own history.
Our name is not as old as Presbyterian.
Our churches aren’t as numerous as Methodists’
We don’t require baptism by immersion as Baptists.
We don’t dress early-American like the Amish.
We have no uniforms like the Salvation Army.
We have no historical namesake like the Lutherans.
We have no Pope or Bishops as the Roman Catholics.
But that doesn’t mean we ought to hide our heads like
nobodies when somebody asks us who we are.
We are The United Church of Christ. We are a merger of four denominations important to the history of the larger church and to the history of this nation. We are the keepers of the spiritual heritage of: The German Reformed Churches; the German Evangelical Churches; The Congregational Churches; and the Christian Churches.
Our parents of the faith were involved in their church and their world. They hosted the Boston Tea Party at Old South Congregational Church in 1773, and hid the Liberty Bell beneath the floor of Zion Reformed Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, when the British took Philadelphia in 1777.
They established the first university in the New World when they founded Harvard in 1636. They began home missions work early, as three of the Mayflower Pilgrims went immediately to work among the Indians, and 1653 had printed a catechism book in the Indian language. In 1808 they established the first regular religious publication in the world, “The Herald of Gospel Liberty.” They were the first to enter into organized foreign missions with the founding of the “The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission” in 1810. Not only was this the first foreign society in this country, it was interdenominational.
We know for sure that they celebrated the first Thanksgiving (Pilgrims were the earliest Congregationalists) and we can only guess the influence our German Reformed and Evangelical Churches had on the celebration of Christmas in this new land. At the end of the Civil War, when some were wondering what to do, our folks went out and founded over 500 hundred schools and colleges for the newly freed slaves, now declared citizens.
This kind of listing could go on and on. The point is, we are a unique church with a unique heritage. While we believe we have been entrusted with the sacred truth, we do not believe we are the only ones who hold it.
We believe and teach that Christians can think differently about matters of religious belief, and still worship and live harmoniously in a church fellowship. We have every race, color, LGBDQ, and culture in our membership. Our buildings come in every architectural style possible and our liturgies reflect our varied backgrounds.
This means that as a church, we are not a melting pot where all become the same. Rather, we are more like vegetable soup, where each one brings to the pot that which he or she is, and contributes it. The flavor comes from our differences. In fact, we are a uniting church more than a united one. The United Church of Christ brings local people and churches together with all their differences and encourages them to maintain their unique differences under the Lordship of Christ. We of The United Church of Christ are united only in our loyalty to Jesus Christ, and in our belief that this loyalty can be expressed in different ways, by different people.
(Author Unknown, Taken from Membership Packet)
Dear Members and Friends,
As moderator of the Southwest Conference United Church of Christ, I am pleased to announce that the board of directors unanimously voted Saturday, March 4, to call Rev. Dr. William M. Lyons as our Settled Conference Minister. Bill has served as our Designated Conference Minister since January 1, 2016, and we have had the pleasure of seeing him immerse himself into our beloved SWC and walk with us into our future.
In 2015, the board of directors made a decision to search for a Designated Conference Minister instead of an Interim Conference Minister. The prevailing thinking at that time was that we did not need to spend a lot of energy on interim work. Instead, we would try out a relatively new concept of designated leadership. The designated model leaves the door wide open to transition the leader to a permanent, settled position. This is in contrast to the interim model which prohibits the interim from becoming the settled…………….
Before I close, I want to point out challenges with the designated process. The Designated Conference Minister maybe scrutinized in a different way than a Settled Conference Minister (this has been experienced in other conferences as well). Imagine being on a yearlong interview process! There is the risk of thinking “let’s see if this works out” instead of “how can we make this work out.” Bill has been “trying out” for a settled role while doing some challenging interim work and leading the conference into the future.
So I hope that we all offer some grace to Bill in the mistakes that he has made. I hope we notice all the good he has done. I hope we recognize what a learner he has been and will be into the future. I invite you to imagine the future gifts he has to share. I am excited for a future with Bill as our Settled Conference Minister and I hope you are too!
Blessings, Rebecca Glenn, SWC Moderator and life long UCC member.
(THIS ITEM IS ONE THAT WILL BE UP FOR VOTE AT THE ANNUAL MEETING IN MAY)
Knit Wit’s, Too meet on the 4th Saturday of each month in the Fellowship Room. The next meeting is at 1:30 pm, on May 20, 2017. It just so happens that this is Armed Forces Day. All knitted and crochet items will be done in the correct service color that day. We love all who have or are now serving! These items are really appreciated by all who receive them!
Breakfast – The Most Important Meal of the Day! FCCF meets Thursday mornings at 8:00am for Breakfast at Coco’s on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. Thursday, May 11, 2017 and Thursday, May 25, 2017. A great way to meet your fellow members and a full tummy, too) A portion of the money spend comes back to FCCF. Remember to put your receipt in the jar in the Fellowship Room.
Women’s Fellowship Luncheon will held on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 Noon, TBD. Come and enjoy the fellowship of other women from FCCF.
Please keep those people that are attending the Annual Meeting of the SWC in your prayers as they travel, listen, and learn on your behalf. Friday May 5th and Saturday May 6th, Albuquerque, NM.
The Prayer Circle will meets Tuesday, May 2, 2017 in the Fellowship Room at Noon. Bring something to share for lunch.
In Our Prayers, Always:
Joyce and Michelle Neal, Meg Eastwood, Fleur Benjamin, Kay and Monte Poen, Phil Daykin, Mary Drake, Marge Markel, Sylvia Lee,
John and Janet Leung and Family, Dick and Katie Kilgore, laureen Antes, Cyndi, Terry and Levi Cirre, Bob and Connie Huffman,
Betty Woloszyn, Anita, who is Nichole’s mother, Rev. David Cooper, Pastor Emeritus, FCCF, Rev. Bill Lyons, Rev. John Dorhauer.
O Lord —- let my prayers be acceptable to Thee this day.
Through You I Receive my Strength to cope with whatever I must face each day,
UCC calling Creation care advocates to the People’s Climate March in Washington D.C.
Earth care advocates from United Church of Christ congregations around the country will be converging on Washington D.C. next month for the People’s Climate March. It’s no surprise that the denomination is expecting to field a large contingent at the Saturday, April 29 event, since creation care and climate change top the list of priorities UCC members believe the church needs to focus on going forward in the future.
“Climate change makes all the other justice issues worse,” said the Rev. Jim Antal, conference minister and president of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. “From war, to the refugee crisis, to hunger and famine, to the lack of potable water, to the spread of the Zika virus and other insect-borne disease, to world-wide homelessness with tens of millions of the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth subject to rising oceans – these and other justice issues are all amplified when the natural cycles of God’s creation are disrupted as they are today.”
(If you want to know the rest of the story, check out the websites listed below!)
For the rest of the story, check out the websites listed below!
Be informed – Southwest Conference United Church of Christ In The Loop
Be informed – Keeping You Posted United Church of Christ
(Just key into your browser, enter and read)
Next Sunday is Easter and our Annual Easter Brunch.
Please bring your favorite Easter dish to share!