News 12/5/2019

THE CLOTHESLINE CHRIST – MATTHEW 11:2-11

Hanging laundry on a clothesline in the 1950’s and 1960’s seemed like a rather unremarkable act. It was what we (our mothers) did. No big deal. Try that in the Village West subdivision of Hudson, Ohio, where the prohibition of clotheslines is written into the HOA regulations.  Try stringing a clothesline across the back yard on Prescott Drive, and you could ignite a political firestorm. That would be going against the grain. John the Baptist and Jesus didn’t mind going against the grain. They stepped out in faith when they went against conventional norms. John was beheaded; Jesus was nailed to a cross. This Sunday we’ll take a look at what we do against the grain or when we question authority. We’ll call those actions “Clothesline Questions.”   What are our Clothesline questions? We’ll seek to put them into words when we meet. See you there.  — Dave

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WITH MANY THANKS!

Thank you so much to everyone who turned out to assist in decorating the church for the Advent/Christmas Seasons. Your hard work looks beautiful! — The Board of Deacons

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WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST MEMBERS

This Sunday, December 8th, we will welcome 7 new members to our church family. They will be recognized during worship. There will be a reception in the Fellowship Hall during coffee hour. Please join us in welcoming them to our church family.

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ADVENT IN 2 MINUTES

What is Advent all about? How is Advent different than Christmas? In a BRAND NEW version of the classic video, Busted Halo explains the significance of this special season in the Church and why the experience of waiting, hope, and preparation is still so important in our lives today. Click here to watch “Advent in 2 minutes”

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FMCUCC ANNOUNCES 2019 ADVENT DEVOTIONAL

Our church is proud to announce a new and different Advent Devotional for 2019. In an attempt to have our members and friends preparing for the Christmas Event, we will read the entire Gospel of Luke, one chapter each day. Beginning December 1st, read one chapter of Luke in the Bible each evening. There are 24 chapters. On Christmas Eve you will have read an entire account of Jesus’ Life and wake up Christmas morning knowing WHO and WHY we celebrate! Click here to explore the Book of Luke using Bible Gateway.

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MUSIC MINISTRY HAPPENINGS

  • December 15Children’s Program. Handbells will be playing.
  • December 22Tamiami Brass will be coming. Our Community Minister, Wesley Snedeker, will be performing with Tamiami Brass. We will have an extended prelude (20 minute); we encourage you to come early and enjoy the special music.
  • December 24Lessons and Carols will include lots of music and closes with the candle-lighting.
ALSO! There will be NO CHOIR and NO HANDBELL December 25 and January 1.

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CHILDREN’S PROGRAM DURING THE SERVICE – DECEMBER 15TH

“A Child Shall Lead Them” (Now Museum, Now You Don’t) A group of children are on a school field trip to an art museum. They are having a lively discussion while looking at reproductions of Rembrandt paintings that tell the Christmas story.  The younger children will be performing two Christmas gospel songs after the big kids perform.

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POINSETTIAS

If you would like to help decorate the sanctuary with poinsettias this Advent season, please sign up on the bulletin board in Fellowship Hall. Cost of each plant is $10. Please use the envelopes below the sign-up sheets. You may take your poinsettia home after the Christmas Eve Service or donate it to one of our homebound members. Please let Lisa Riehl know how you would like your flowers handled and if you would like to say they are in “Honor or memory of someone”. Deadline to order is Dec. 10th.

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SOCK TREE

Another way to help our community… We will also be having our sock tree again this year. The large tree will be outside of the church offices. When you bring in the socks, decorate the tree with them using clothes pins already on the tree or place heavy packages under the tree. Your gift will go to Abundant Grace (adult socks) and L.A.M.P and Gladiolus Learning and Development Center (children’s socks). Thank you for your continued support of these events and other Mission Board programs throughout the year!

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YOUTH GROUP MOVIE NIGHT

Middle- and high-schoolers in our church family will be meeting in the fellowship hall on Thursday December 19th at 6:30 pm to watch the movie “Spirited Away!” Youth are invited to attend for good food, a great movie, and an even better discussion!

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LONGEST NIGHT SERVICE

Blue Christmas Service of Remembrance. On Saturday December 21 at 6:00 pm, FMCUCC will host our annual Longest Night service. The Longest Night service is an intentional time together to recognize and commemorate our losses in what can often be the hardest time of the year for those in grief, the holidays. The losses we experience are myriad, the death of a loved one, the leaving behind of a home or way of life, a change of employment or identity, but we are united in our care for one another and our solidarity in spirit. You are invited to join us in the darkness and to speak within it not in fear, but in hope. We look forward to joining our hearts with yours in worship.

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CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE

Come join us as we celebrate the coming of the Christ Child. We will have candle light and carols during our Christmas Eve Service which will take place at 5pm.

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ATTIC TREASURES SURVEY

To hold or not to hold. The UCC Women need the whole church’s help in deciding whether to hold the Attic Treasures Sale in February 2020. Please read the notice and respond to the very short survey that came in your e-mail this week (Weekly E-Newsletter).

For many years, FMCUCC has had an ‘annual’ Attic Treasures rummage and bake sale. In the past, it has been held in February or March when all our seasonal members are in town. Attendance from community members has always been good and the items not sold are donated to charity. Proceeds are used to support small local social service agencies and to do projects within the church. Some of the recent projects within the church include the projector, screen and cordless microphones in Fellowship Hall and a computer for Pastor Dave plus software updates for all computers.
Although the UCC Women’s Group has taken primary responsibility for chairing, planning and organizing this event, it would never happen without EVERYONE pulling together to help. It is a great way to get to know and work with others in the church. Without the commitment of an adequate number of volunteers it cannot happen.
The sale is tentatively planned for Saturday, February 15, with set-up of the rooms on Wednesday, February 12 (starting at 9am) and intake of donations, sorting and pricing on Thursday and Friday, February 13 & 14 (9am – 12pm).
We need men and women who can work on planning and organizing (including a chair/co-chair), advertising, set-up, unloading cars, sorting and pricing, staffing on the day of the sale and clean-up. We need people who will donate the things they no longer need or want and who will donate baked goods for the sale. Some jobs require muscle.
If you have questions or want more information or you have
interest in working in a particular area, let us know:
Sandy Blackington, 239-432-1082 or Click here to email Sandy.
Barb Coons, 239-218-1555 or Click here to email Barb.

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

We have many volunteer opportunities available to assist with various aspects of our Sunday worship services and around the church. Please consider signing up for one of these important jobs. Sign-up sheets can be found on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall or send an email to Lisa Riehl, [email protected], and let her know what you are interested in doing. Thanks in advance for helping make our church so great!

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NEW TESTAMENT STUDY

GROW hosts a New Testament study before worship every Sun at 9am! We are using Marcus Borg’s “Evolution of the Word”. We are reading every book of the New Testament in the order they were written. Each session covers one or more texts, along with Dr. Borg’s historical-critical introduction. We are so excited to be digging into scripture together! In preparation for Sunday’s discussion, please read Philippians and 2 Corinthians.

 

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SUNDAY CINEMA

No Sunday Cinema this month! We’ll begin again on the fourth Sunday of January!

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ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS RETURNS

Once again. we have two Mission Board sponsored Holiday projects to help our community. We offer our Alternative Giving Program to help shop for those “hard to buy for” people on your Christmas List and help organizations in the Fort Myers area. Here are the 2019 organizations who will benefit from your participation….

  • L.A.M.P. (Lee Adolescent Mothers Program)
  • Project Access (Assistance for homeless Lee County School students & their families)
  • Gulf Coast Humane Society
  • Gladiolus Learning & Development Center
  • Abundant GracE (meal sponsorship)
  • Coalition of Immokolee Workers

For those of you who are unfamiliar, here is how it works….

  1. Choose an organization from the list as a meaningful gift(s) for individual family member, friend, or colleague.
  2. Decide how much you want to give to each.
  3. Get an envelope and card to give to your individual family member, friend or colleague. Each card represents the specific program receiving the money.
  4. Mark it off your Christmas-to-do list.
  5. Repeat 1-4 as many times as you wish, maybe get all of your shopping done iN one place!
  6. Write one check to FMCUCC or pay in cash.
  7. Get your receipt to use for taxes.
  8. Give the card to your individual.

Enjoy the season knowing that you have made a difference. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Barb Bucey at 513-967-6000 or [email protected]

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FINANCE UPDATE

We share the good news that our income from all sources (offerings and other income) came to $19,320 in November. This was an improvement of $1,946 over November a year ago (2018). While it is short of meeting our average weekly expenses of $6,200, it is the best month since July. Thank you for your support and witness.

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SANCTUARY FLOWERS

The new Flower chart has been placed on the bulletin board outside of the Parlor. Please sign-up today. Envelopes to pay for the flowers can be found at the bottom of the board.

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RAISING THE ROOF

Great progress! To date we have raised $43,482.00 in cash and pledges of our $100,000.00 goal. Thank you to everyone for your gifts and efforts!

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FINANCE NOTES

We reported that the roof work was complete and that we were prepared to pay the final bill. These figures will be reported in the Annual Reports in March. Below is a summary statement. Additional gifts and pledges may be made at any time.

Total roof costs $95,972
Total cash donated $26,075 (as of 10/31)
Amount remaining pledged $17,400
Amount loaned from MIF $68,897

We are now faced with our current deficit of $11,000 after the use of $52,000 of subsidize our operating budget. We need your gifts and support to sustain the mission and operation of our congregation. It costs $6,250 per week to operate – to pay staff, provide insurance, keep the AC on, and provide all the ways we maintain our church and its mission. Keeping your pledges and contributions current is the first step. Extra gifts of support are the next step.
Thank you from the Finance Board.

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GROW

GROW is an educational ministry of Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ. It draws upon the resources that make our church unique to foster an atmosphere of intellectual and social experimentation. GROW is a series of free classes, workshops, and social events led by staff members, retired clergypeople, and guest facilitators who seek to edify our community through the enlightenment and organization of its members. You are welcome to attend any course listed at any point in its progress. If you would like more information about GROW or any of its courses, please contact our Community Minister Wesley Snedeker at [email protected] Please click here for a detailed description of all classes offered.

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CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT?

Three weekly discussions beginning Thursday December 5, 11:00 am – Noon. Our Community Minister will lead a discussion series on aging, caring, and end of life, using Roz Chast’s humorous and insightful graphic memoir as its primary text. We will reflect upon our families, our experiences, our hopes, and our troubles together as we grapple with this deeply human subject.

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DANCING IN CHURCH

Praise Dance Ministry will be starting in January 2020. For anyone 14yrs & older; need to be physically able to do medium impact activities. For more information please contact Amy Maneval (239-671-7634) or Jackie Boler (651-437-2875).

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ABUNDANT GRACE REQUEST

Abundant Grace has a need for men’s clothing. Specifically smaller sizes.

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MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

If you have walkers or bedside commodes you no longer need, please consider donating them to the church. We loan those items out to those in need and are currently out. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Riehl in the church office, 239-482-3133

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THE BOARD OF DEACONS NEEDS YOUR HELP

Did Joan go on the around the world cruise she’s been planning these past several months? Do you know whether Harold is recuperating at his daughter’s home in Wisconsin? And how about Marie – she’s usually back in Fort Myers for the season by now, have you heard from her? Oftentimes, the Board of Deacons and the church staff know when a church member is homebound locally, and keep tabs on him or her. However, we aren’t always informed by family members or caretakers when a member has prolonged health issues making it difficult for them to attend church functions. Here’s where the members of the congregation can help out. If you are aware of a member that is homebound, or have noticed a member’s prolonged absence but haven’t heard it announced at church, please bring it to the attention of one of the deacons or the church office. Most times we are aware of the members who are homebound locally, but we don’t want to overlook anyone.

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