News 02/14/2020

 

LEAVE YOUR GIFT BEFORE THE ALTAR AND GO

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about being religious. I’m a nerd for it. I love the sights, smells, songs, and movements of my tradition. I love the language of theology and the feeling of ritual. I love learning and witnessing the sacred practices of others and considering how those practices guide, illuminate, strengthen, and sanctify each one of us as we try to make sense of our complex and meaningful lives. But I also need to stay cognizant of what it is I’m actually doing, why it is I’m doing it, and what–for this pastor–is a higher priority than “religion.” In Mt. 5:23-24, Jesus says “when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” On Sunday, we’ll ask questions about what it means to be religious, what it means to follow Jesus, and how those two subjects work alongside one another. — Wesley 

ATTIC TREASURES SALE

Come see all the wonderful treasures available for purchase at our Attic Treasures sale, Saturday, February 15th from 8:30am – 12:30pm. In addition to housewares, jewelry, books, linens, clothes, shoes and holiday items, we also have decadent baked goods. All funds raised go towards various church ministries. We look forward to seeing you! 

STEWARDSHIP MOMENT

Our Stewardship Emphasis is underway. The letter, budget, and pledge card have been mailed and you should receive it today. Our Stewardship Speaker this week is Riva Wharton. Your pledge card can be brought forward on Celebration Sunday, March 8th. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7 

A SERVICE OF CELEBRATION FOR MAL KING

Monday, February 17th at 11:00am
The King family and friends will celebrate
the life of Mal King
who died on January 26, 2020.
The service will be held at Fort Myers Congregational UCC.

NEW MEMBER CLASS

If you would like to learn more about our church, or if you think you might be interested in becoming a member or an associate member, we invite you to attend our membership class. It will be offered on Sunday, February 16th, following morning coffee. RSVP by email: [email protected] or by calling 239-482-3133. A light lunch will be served. New members will be received on Sunday, February 23rd.

YOUTH GROUP!

FMCUCC’s youth gather at the church for fellowship, games, music, and faith formation! Youth group meets on Thursdays at 6:00 pm and ends around 8:00 pm. All middle and high schoolers in our church and our community are welcome! If you have questions about youth group, please contact our Community Minister Wesley at [email protected] or our Chair of Christian Education, Catalina, at [email protected].

NEW TESTAMENT STUDY

GROW hosts a New Testament study before worship every Sunday 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 the February 16th discussion please read Jude, 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John.

SUNDAY CINEMA

Movie night and potluck. This month — “Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives” : Sunday, February 23rd, 5:30 – 8:30 pm. Bring a dish and a curious spirit! Genre: Documentary. “Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives is a compelling documentary exploring the under-reported environmental impacts of war and preparations for war. The film confronts the immensely broad ecological and human ramifications of everything from technological development and natural resource exhaustion to weapons testing and modern warfare itself.” 

PEANUT BUTTER SUNDAY

The last Sunday of the month is designated Peanut Butter Sunday. You may bring peanut butter & other non-perishable foods for stocking our ecumenical food pantry. Place items in the shopping carts in the Narthex. A donation of cash or check using the manila envelopes in the pew is another way to support our “Alleviate Hunger Ministry”.

LECTIO DIVINA

Facilitator: Rev. Beverly Latif Duncan. Meeting at the church on February 13th, 20th, and 27th, from 2:00 to 3:30 pm. The Bible is a treasure trove of history, those who peopled it, and testimonies to the grand sweep of the salvation story. Lectio divina (“sacred reading”), rather than academic, is a slow, contemplative way to read Scripture, enabling the Bible—the Word of God—to speak to each of us personally. Please bring a pen and a pad of paper, and we’ll give it a go. Bev Duncan graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1992 and served congregations across Massachusetts, retiring in 2007. She moved to Naples in 2009 and served Naples United Church of Christ as Assistant Minister until December 2018.

MEN’S BREAKFAST

Next MEN’S BREAKFAST: February 25TH. On the 4th Tuesday of the mouth men of the church meet at the Perkins located next to Walmart at the corner of US 41 and Six-Mile Cypress. The time is 8:30-9:30am. No program – just men supporting each other and solving world problems. Order off the menu and pay for your own meal. Join us! 

ASHES TO GO

Ash Wednesday, February 26th, we are taking it to the streets. Well, to the parking lot and driveway, at least. From noon until 2:00 pm, Pastor Bucey will be performing the age-old rite of Imposition of Ashes to anyone who will turn off College Parkway and present themselves. ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE Please join us on Wednesday, February 26th at 6:30pm for an Ash Wednesday Service following the 5:30pm meal. 

LENTEN DINNER AND DISCUSSION

FMCUCC’s Lenten dinner and discussion series is back! After last year’s successful and engaging “Who Cares for the Environment?” series, this year’s Lenten discussions will confront issues concerning our welcoming of and advocacy for immigrants in our community. “Who welcomes the Stranger?” will explore the Bible’s take on loving the stranger, our experiences with movement, U.S. immigration law, contemporary faith organizing, and our church’s role in the struggle for immigrant justice in Florida. The series will take place on Wednesday nights in Lent. The first dinner will be held on Ash Wednesday (2/26), with our Ash Wednesday service to follow at 6:30 pm. The discussion series will begin on March 4 and conclude on April 1. Sessions will begin at 5:30 pm with a meal and discussions we be held from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. We look forward to seeing you there! 

LENTEN MEAL PREPARATION TAKES ON A NEW FLAVOR

Beginning Ash Wednesday February 26th and continuing through Wednesday April 1st, our Lenten Study meals will be prepared by Retired Gold Medal Chef, Jeffrey Trullinger. Traditionally, our Boards and Committees have provided soups and and breads for the Lenten Study. This year, Chef Jeff will treat us to his savory soups accompanied by breads and desserts. The only responsibility our Boards and Committees will be the set up and cleanup for the meals. Plan to be on hand each Wednesday for delectable soups and breads with your church family. 

30 PIECES OF SILVER

Sunday, March 1st, worshippers will be given a small hand-sewn cloth bag. The cloth bags are used to collect coins (30 pieces of silver) to allow participants inside the mind of Judas as he contemplated his misgivings about Jesus. On Palm Sunday (4/5) and Maundy Thursday (4/9), participants will bring their bags to the chancel as a means of admission of our own betrayal of Jesus. Some have put nickels, dimes and/or quarters in their bags. Others have opted for a more adventurous “betrayal.” Even John F. Kennedy half dollars and Susan B. Anthony dollars and an occasional Sacagawea dollar have made their way to the chancel.

L.I.F.E.

LIFE Nehemiah Action March 9. The plan is to have a bus from FMCUCC. Lee Interfaith For Empowerment, a faith based community organization for justice of which FMCUCC is a member, will hold the 2020 Nehemiah Action on Monday, March 9, 7:00 pm at The Rock Church, 940 Tarpon St, Fort Myers 33916. At the Action LIFE is asking Lee County Commissioners to fund infant care for low income families and asking Fort Myers City Council members to fund Affordable Housing. Our goal is to have 1,000 people attend with at least 100 from FMCUCC. Don’t miss this opportunity to take a stand for justice. 

WINTER CLOTHING DONATIONS FOR CIW

From March 10-12, farmworkers from Immokalee, their families, and consumer allies will flood the Big Apple for the 3-day “Follow the Money” March through New York City’s bustling boroughs, taking the fight for farmworkers’ fundamental human rights directly to the doorstep of those with the power to ensure that the women and men picking Wendy’s produce can labor with dignity, safety, and respect on the job. Although the march is happening quite a distance from Fort Myers, we can still support! The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is asking for donations of winter clothing for farmworkers and their families who are heading north for the action. If you have any spare winter clothing–perhaps a coat that you don’t use anymore because you’ve moved to sunny Fort Myers permanently–please bring it to the church office and we will donate it to the CIW. Thank you for your support! 

RADICAL HOSPITALITY

Are you interested in helping serve the FMCUCC community by being a welcoming face before guests enter the sanctuary? Please consider serving at the Welcome Center desk or as a door opener once a month. See the sign-up sheets in the Fellowship Hall to indicate your desire.

BODY PARTS

“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) Paul uses the metaphor of a human body to explain how Christians are to work together to be the body (and message) of Jesus in the world. There are lots of parts needed to make a body function. So too with the church. So what part are you? Please take some time to review the ministry opportunities and see all the different parts that are needed to make the church function. Prayerfully consider stepping out in faith and/or stepping up to leadership. Maybe your part is to host a coffee hour, or volunteer to usher. Maybe even join a committee. What part are you? Think about it.

DANCING IN CHURCH

Praise Dance Ministry practices are being held on Wednesdays, at 7pm at the church. Come prepared for exercise (wear comfortable clothing and shoes, bring an exercise mat). For more info please call Jackie Boler at 651-437-2785. Thank you.

 

UCC HISTORY, POLITY, AND THEOLOGY

Rev. Dr. Jim Boler and Community Minister Rev. Wesley Snedeker recently led a four session workshop about the origins, identities, and workings of the United Church of Christ. If you were unable to attend or if you have ever been curious about our denomination, where it came from, and what it stands for, the full set of videos provided by the United Church of Christ are available here: Exploring UCC History, Polity, and Theology

GROW PROGRAMS

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.

FREE CANCER SEMINAR

FMCUCC is including this information as a courtesy to CLUMC

Please register by Sunday, February 23rd, 2020, at cypresslakeumc.com/cancer.

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!

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.

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.

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

NEED TO REACH US?

Rev. David Bucey – [email protected] – 513-535-2121
Rev. Wesley Snedeker – [email protected] – 239-297-1586
Church Office – [email protected] – 239-482-3133

    

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