Open and Affirming!

Open and Affirming!

All are welcome!

First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
40 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair, New Jersey 07042
Phone: 973-744-4856

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Responsible Leader

The Responsible Leader
Excerpt from Judges 6:36-4
"Gideon said to God, 'If this is right, if you are using me to save Israel as you've said, then look: I'm placing a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If dew is on the fleece only, but the floor is dry, then I know that you will use me to save Israel, as you said.'"
Reflection by Ron Buford
Colin Powell once said he was proud of being called a "reluctant warrior." Powell is typical among warriors who actually risked their own lives to save others and who can also never erase the brain-searing memories of horrific death and human carnage--of friends and enemies, comrades and combatants, all believing they were "right." Such warriors are rarely eager to go to war--stereotypes notwithstanding. So it is with Gideon: if he is going to battle, he wants to be absolutely certain his cause is just, that it is God's will.
Each day we face battles. Some days we take on battles that satisfy our egos but that leave behind human and spiritual carnage. Is it worth it? Look at what it costs you to be right? Is it at the center of God's Divine purpose for you, your family, those for whom you are responsible? Slow down; take time to be mindful today.
Gracious God, thank you for the gift of Divine choice. May my choices and actions today maximize your Divine presence, power, and creativity in the world, in my home, for good in the world. Amen.
About the Author
Ron Buford is Director of Development for the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ.
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Parenting Circle July 7

Dear Parents,

Just a reminder that the FCC Parenting Circle will meet tomorrow, July 7 at 8pm at my house.

As we prepare for our time together you are asked to read the following chapters in our discussion book, The Blessings of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel:

Chapter 3. The Blessing of Having Someone To Look Up To: Honoring Mother and Father
Chapter 4. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Why God Doesn't Want You to Overprotect Your Child

To prepare for our discussion, please consider the following reflection:

When you were growing-up how did you address your parents and their friends? How did you address teachers? If you were required to be more formal than your children are, what were the advantages and disadvantages?

Think back to your childhood. On a summer night, were you able to play outside until dark without adult supervision? Could you ride your bike freely in your neighborhood? Recall the bones you broke, the adventures you had. What were the benefits of this degree of freedom? Any harm? Compare your experiences to your child's current degree of freedom.

Quotes of the Day:

"When a person honors the parents, God says, 'I consider it as though I lived with them and they honored me.'"(Talmud, Kiddushin, 30b)

"Do not to put a stumbling block before the blind." (Leviticus,19:14)

If you need copies of the chapters, please let me know -- I have a few at the church. If this is your first time attending, you are welcome -- even if you haven't read the book! In order to get as much fruitful discussion in as possible, please try to arrive as close to 8pm as humanly possible!

I hope everyone is keeping cool (on every level!),


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Saturday, July 3, 2010

This Sunday at First Congregational Church!

This Sunday as we worship on July 4th we will explore what it means to be an American and a Christian. In a sermon entitled "Both Sides of the Coin" Rev. Ann Ralosky will continue her "share the sermon" series with a look at two texts: Deuteronomy 15:7-11 and Matthew 22:15-22 as we ask the question: what does belong to Caesar and what belongs to God? What does it mean to live in a society that dares to put God's priorities in the center?

In honor of the day we will also enjoy some special renditions of classic American hymns.
We will also host our sister congregation, Union Congregational Church, for worship and fellowship as we continue our annual summer tradition. As special coffee hour will be held outside in our Memorial Garden to celebrate our time together.

Reader: Bob Berry

Usher: Jeanne LoCicero and Karen Marden

Coffee Hour: Fellowship Committee

Special Announcements

* S.O.S! Shorts On Sunday! Our welcome is not the only thing that's warm... our Sanctuary is too! The summer heat is here so we are dressing cool and casual for worship.
* Special Collection for the Youth Mission Trip. During this Sunday's offertory we will be taking up a special collection to support Lauren Marden and Maya Potter as they join the youth from Union Congregational Church on thier mission trip to South Dakota. Please be generous!
* Bible Study will continue each Sunday through the summer at 9:30am in the Library. Questions? See Bob Sillery.
* Join us in the Parade! On Monday July 5, FCC will join Union Cong as we march together in the Montclair Independence Day Parade. Meet in the FCC parking lot at 10:15 for refreshments and then take our place in line at 11am.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Music Lessons at FCC

Many folks in our church have expressed an interest in learning to read music and play handbells.  So, I’d like to offer a series of 5 sessions at church in July and early August, on a weeknight teaching a course that combines beginning handbell instruction with basic music-reading instruction.  We’ll also incorporate a little bit of sight-singing, so that your voices won’t miss out on all the fun!  Lauren Marden – bell-ringer, musician, and budding music-teacher extraordinaire – will co-lead with me.  We are, of course, offering this course free of charge.

The course is open to folks of all ages.  It would be terrific to have all the generations represented!  And who knows, maybe we’ll decide to enhance the evenings with an occasional pre-class pizza/sub event or post-class ice cream experience…

The dates and times have not been set yet; this notice is to ask if there is sufficient interest in such a class.  Being mid- summer, I know that many people will be on vacation and away for at least part of the time; you could still attend the course as long as you can come to at least three of the five sessions.

If interested, please contact Julie Morgan at  
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