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
email: admin@fccmtc.com

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bridges Outreach for the Homeless/Impressions

On Sunday, May 29th, a hot and humid day, as part of our "Jesus Has Left the Building" service project, several members of First Congregational Church made 300(!) sandwiches prior to traveling to the parking lot behind Pennsylvania Station in Newark, to hand them out. The line of homeless people, mostly men of color, some women, and even children(!) were already in a line, waiting! We handed out cups of soup and lemonade, two sandwiches, each, and clothing: it was a "shirt day", and everyone received a new shirt, (sizes were matched as best as possible), followed by a new pair of underwear and socks. Many were quite thankful for the little we had done.

It became apparent that we would run out of sandwiches before the line of homeless ended! We started to give out just ONE sandwich per person, to a chorus of disappointment. It was heartbreaking.

Several people hid their sandwiches and clothing, and tried to get into line, again. One man in line had no shoes! Although hard to estimate in the organized chaos, the turnout must have been over 200 people, more than expected!

Luckily, just as we were running out of all food and clothing, another church group arrived to hand out additional drinks and sandwiches. Another line quickly formed.

The number of homeless, and their condition, was shocking. We returned to Montclair, a mere 15 minutes away, in our air-conditioned cars, to our air-conditioned houses, - left running while we were gone for the DOGS' comfort, - brunched at the Blue Stone Cafe on Watchung Avenue, followed by the five dollar Sunday New York Times, (with advertisements for a $950.00 pair of shoes, a $125.00 pair of shorts, and a $3,215.00 watch), and a swim at a private club in town. The sadness and guilt were palpable.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FCC Children's Education Program - June 26, 2011 follow-up

Dear FCC Parents,

I hope you all are doing well!  This Sunday in the FCC Children's Education Program, church camp began and it was a fun encounter with God!  Through a new worship dance, to creating their church camp team cheers, to the movement game "bigger/smaller" - the children jumped into knowing and hearing from God.  Amidst all of the fun, the focus was on declaring "here I am" to God.  The children learned how God is everywhere - in their hearts, minds, neighbors and anywhere else.  But the children also learned that it is important to proactively seek a relationship with God through declaring our presence and seeking to know God more.  Through strengthening their relationships with God, the children learned how to share that love with others.

Creating the Kid Zone!
Saturday July 2 - 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday July 3 - After coffee hour to 5:00 p.m. 
Saturday July 9 - 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
Sunday July 10 - After coffee hour to 5:00 p.m. 
Saturday July 16 - if work still needed on the rooms - 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

As you know, we are moving forward with our plans to transform our current church school space into a fun and friendly "Kid Zone," with beautiful artistic elements, kid-sized furniture and rich, engaging age-appropriate features that help to make our church school a place children love to be in and look forward to returning to each week.

We are ready to kick off the painting phase of this project!  We will be painting the walls of each classroom (and in some cases, the ceiling!), starting next weekend, July 2.

We are looking for more volunteers to help with the painting.  No experience or artistic skill is necessary!  If you can hold a brush, this job is for you!

Thank you so much for your support of this important project! We understand how busy everyone is, and how precious weekend time is, and we are deeply grateful for any time that you can give to support this project.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to contact me.  Take care and enjoy the week!

Mattie Johnson
Director of Christian Education
First Congregational Church of Montclair, NJ

Monday, June 27, 2011

FCC Children's Education Program - Church Camp - June 26, 2011

Dear FCC Parents,


I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the week!


The time for church camp has arrived!  The children will launch into church camp with this Sunday's theme of "Here I Am!"  Through an interactive worship dance to playing "Bigger/Smaller" a movement game that shows the excitement and joy we get when we invite God into our lives, hearts and actions to playing Red Light, Green Light, the children are going to jump into church camp and encounter a fun, engaging experience with God.  It is not to be missed!

This weekend I encourage you to talk with your child about what it means to declare, "Here I am, God!"  How do we declare our presence to God and what does that mean for our lives?  In many ways, declaring our presence to God is an invitation to God to be in our hearts, lives and actions.  It is through our daily lives where we pray, seek to love others and treat each other justly that we invite God and God's love into our lives, declare our presence to God and strengthen our relationships with God. 

I also wanted to let you know that in the spirit of summer camp, the children are going to be divided into two teams throughout church camp - Team Wind and Team Fire!  The teams will be divided up by age each Sunday and compete against themselves to achieve that week's team challenge.  The teams will not compete against each other, but each team will compete against itself to win a prize as a team at the end of the summer (don't worry, it is very likely that both teams will win!).  This week's challenge is to create a team cheer!


Below is more information about church camp.


FCC Church Camp 2011 is HERE!
June 26 – September 11 (12 weeks)
First Congregational Church
10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.



Summer 2011 marks the beginning of our new summer Church Camp, to be held during services every Sunday morning from June 26 – September 11.  From outdoor games to theater activities to large-scale art projects, the children are going to jump into fun that will fire their imaginations while engaging their faith.  Children should come to church wearing play clothes. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me for more information.


Creating the Kid Zone!
Saturday July 2 - 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday July 3 - After coffee hour to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday July 9 - 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday July 10 - After coffee hour to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday July 16 - if work still needed on the rooms - 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 



As you know, we are moving forward with our plans to transform our current church school space into a fun and friendly "Kid Zone," with beautiful artistic elements, kid-sized furniture and rich, engaging age-appropriate features that help to make our church school a place children love to be in and look forward to returning to each week.


We are ready to kick off the painting phase of this project!  We will be painting the walls of each classroom (and in some cases, the ceiling!), starting next weekend, July 2.


We are looking for more volunteers to help with the painting.  No experience or artistic skill is necessary!  If you can hold a brush, this job is for you!


Thank you so much for your support of this important project! We understand how busy everyone is, and how precious weekend time is, and we are deeply grateful for any time that you can give to support this project.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to contact me.  Take care and enjoy the weekend!

Mattie Johnson
Director of Christian Education
First Congregational Church of Montclair, NJ