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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Eve, Monday December 24


Celebrate the joy of Christmas as we welcome the light of Christ into our world!

5pm Family Service of Story and Song (special music begins at 4:45)

10pm Candlelight Service with Holy Communion (special music begins at 9:45)

Sunday, December 23, 2:00pm Christmas Caroling at Broadway House


Make Christmas merrier for the folks at Broadway House, NJ's largest HIV/AIDS nursing home! 
Join us as we sing Christmas carols with the residents and spread some cheer! 
We will carpool from First Cong at 1:30pm, or meet us at Broadway House, 298 Broadway, NewarkNJ.

Sunday, December 23, 10:30am Special Musical Worship with Gramercy Brass!


Welcome the season with a "sermon in song" featuring the magnificent composition "Gloria" by John Rutter. 
Performed by our exceptional choir and the illustrious Gramercy Brass Orchestra we will blend the story of the Magnificat, Mary's Song,
with the power of the "Gloria", one of the most traditional expressions of praise, often heard at Christmastime.
This will be a worship experience not to be missed -- bring a friend!

Friday, December 21, 8pm "The Longest Night"


Set on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, we are offering a contemplative service of prayer and reconciliation
for those for whom the Christmas season is full of difficult emotions. There will be an opportunity for private prayer and anointing with one of our pastors
and the labyrinth will be available for walking following the service.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Music @ Mon Dec 24 4:45pm - 5pm

Special Christmas music before the service, from 4:45 - 5:00 p.m. Take a short break from the hectic pace in a breathtaking and awe inspiring surrounding! All are welcome!

Christmas Music @ Mon Dec 24 9:45pm - 10pm

Come to our beautiful church and enjoy the music of this season! Even though our church is spectacular throughout the year, Christmas time is even more glorious and fabulous!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Just started: History of FCC Blog!

The 150th anniversary of the First Congregational Church of Montclair is just a few years away, in 2020 to be exact! As you can imagine, one hundred and fifty years of history can be very complicated to document. The Church maintained an archive for many years. It appears however, the archives have been neglected for perhaps the last two decades.

I connected with our sextant after service this past weekend and he mentioned that there was a "bunch of old stuff" upstairs in the bell tower room. He offered to escort me to the "archives."

I was amazed at the treasure trove that I found! Boxes and file cabinets full of photographs, ledgers, journals,  and much more! There was one small problem: Everything is in a state of disarray!

Well, the amateur historian in me (I have a B.A. in History) looked at this as a tremendous opportunity. I approached Rev. Ann and sort of pitched the idea of digitizing the archives and getting onto the web. As is often the case, she was enthusiastic and receptive. And so, the preparation for our 150th anniversary begins with a small step, but a really important step.

Sharing the history and story of our Church,  with its long commitment to freedom and justice, equality, and progressive Christianity,  is inherently appealing to like-minded folks. As one reads over the past history of our Church, with people's aspirations and hopes of bringing the message of the United Church of Christ to a larger world, one draws inspiration. We share much with the members from the past. We share both the trials and the tribulations. We share the challenges of an old building, heating a large sanctuary, finding committed people to work on committees, attracting and keeping new members. We also share the joys. The archives talk about the smiling faces of our children as they leave the children's sermon on the chancel steps; the time spent at First Montclair House with our seasoned citizens; our Mediation Garden, and so much more.

I invite you to visit the History of FCC blog and get a sense of who we were. The past has always pointed to the future and we are proud of our heritage. We are happy to share our heritage with you, and hope that through this sharing you may want to be a part of who we are.

History of FCC click here!

Monday, November 19, 2012

No Labyrinth Walk this Wednesday!

Dear Friends, The Labyrinth Walk is cancelled for this Wednesday (November 21). We will resume next week Wednesday 6-8pm in the Sanctuary. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"It's Only Fair" Holiday Sale @ Sun Dec 2 1pm - 5pm

An opportunity to purchase fair trade gifts for the ones you love!

Advent Wreath Workshop (after worship service) @ Sun Dec 2 12:30pm - 2pm


Begin the season by creating a spiritual resource to help you & your family celebrate Advent at home. Requested donation: $13 (includes wreath frame); $8 just materials (bring your own wreath frame). PLEASE SIGN UP BY NOV.18. Speak with Mattie Johnson or Lynley Jones for more info.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Longest Night Service, 8pm @ Fri Dec 21 8pm - 9pm

More information to follow...

Christmas Caroling at Broadway House @ Sun Dec 23 2pm - 3pm

Make Christmas merrier for the residents of Broadway House for Continuing Care, New Jersey's largest HIV/AIDS nursing home. We'll gather at FCC at 1:30 and carpool to Newark together.

Christmas Eve Celebration - Family Service of Story & Song

Mon Dec 24 5pm – 6pm (EST)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

No labyrinth walk at FCC tonight due to impending storm!

Dear Friends, As another storm appears to be heading our way and may cause difficulties, we will not have the labyrinth open tonight. Let us pray that those with power retain it, and those who are still without are able to be somewhere warm and dry.

 The labyrinth will be open again next Wednesday, November 14. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thanksgiving Turkey and Food Drive

Once again FCC will be the drop off site for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey to collect turkeys and other non-perishable Thanksgiving food donations. You may bring your donations anytime to our church on South Fullerton Montclair. The drive will take place in the FCC parking lot in the rear of the church. The date is Saturday 17 November from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Luke 3:11 ESV And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

Guest speaker Amy Blumenshine at First Congregational Church

On Sunday 11 November Amy will help us remember Veterans' Day by sharing with us her remarkable work in helping returning veterans to heal and face the challenges of returning home from war. Please join us for this special worship, 10:30 a.m. Sunday. All are welcome!

The labyrinth continues!

At First Congregational Church Montclair, Wednesdays from 6 to 8 pm, our labyrinth is open for meditation and prayerful walking. No experience necessary. Come... take your soul out for a walk!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Releasing the Prayer Flags

We will have a special ceremony of ritual burnng at 7:30 p.m.on the front walk of FCC to release the prayer flags. All are welcome to join us! When Thu May 17 7:30pm – 8pm Eastern Time Where First Congregational Church, Montclair, NJ

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ann's Sermon 29 April, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yom Hashoah Remembrance Service

Hosted by the Montclair Clergy Association in partnership with The Montclair African American Clergy Association, Wednesday April 18 at 7:30 p.m. This remembrance will be held at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 51 Elm Street, Montclair NJ. The featured speaker is Harry Ettinger, World War II veteran, Holocaust survivor & Monuments Man.
View Larger Map

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Karaoke Night at First Montclair House

Join us for our 5th Annual Karaoke Night at FMH from 4:00 to 7:00pm. Sign up in the Guild Room and also please specify if you're bringing something for the potluck dinner. When: Sat Apr 28 4pm – 7pm (EDT) Where: First Montclair House, 56 Walnut Street, Montclair, NJ

Habitat for Humanity Project

An all-day build (8:00a.m. to 4:00pm). See details on signup sheet in the Guild Room or email/call FCC for details.

Sandwich preparation & delivery for the homeless

Part of our Jesus Has Left the Building outreach, we will be assembling 300 brown bag lunches here at First Congregational Church & then delivering them to our homeless neighbors in Irvington, NJ (2 shifts of volunteers needed). If you attend FCC, Please see details & signup in the Guild Room. If you just want to lend a helping hand, please contact FCC by phone or by email. Best wishes! When: Sun Apr 29 9am – 12pm (EDT) Where: First Congregational Church, Montclair, NJ

Caring for the lonely at Broadway House

Part of our Jesus Has Left the Building outreach, after our usual FCC service we will head over to Broadway House for a 2:00 worship service & caring for the lonely. We will also need singers/musicians, ushers, readers and attendees! When: Sun Apr 29 2pm – 3:30pm (EDT) Where: Broadway House for Continuing Care, Newark, NJ

Spring New Members Class

Thinking FCC might be your spiritual home? Find out more at these 3 weekly sessions after worship service on Apr.22, 29 & May 6, in the library.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Palm Sunday Woship Service

We will begin our service out front of the church with the blessing of the palms and process into the Sanctuary. The service will move from celebration to passion as we prepare for Holy Week. When Sun Apr 1 10:30am – 12pm Eastern Time Where First Congregational Church, Montclair, NJ

Special Holy Week Labyrinth Walk

Special Labyrinth Walk with Stations of the Cross inspired by contemporary photos from the Maryknoll Brothers. When Wed Apr 4 12pm – 8pm Eastern Time Where First Congregational Church, Montclair, NJ

Worship Service w/ Footwashing & Holy Communion

8:00pm Worship Service, with Foot washing and Holy Communion. When Thu Apr 5 8pm – 9:30pm Eastern Time Where First Congregational Church, Montclair, NJ

Tenebrae Service

We will begin with a candlelight procession behind the cross and enter a solemn service of reflection where we will share the passion story of Jesus as the light diminishes. When Fri Apr 6 8pm – 9:30pm

Easter Sunday Celebration

When Sun Apr 8 10:30am – 12pm Eastern Time Where First Congregational Church, Montclair, NJ

Holy Saturday Labyrinth Walk

Labyrinth open for prayer and walking 10am—2pm. In the FCC Sanctuary. When Sat Apr 7 10am – 2pm Eastern Time Where First Congregational Church, Montclair, NJ

Friday, March 30, 2012

FCC Children's Education Program - April 1, 2012 - Palm/Passion Sunday


Dear FCC Parents,

Lent - Sixth Sunday - Palm/Passion Sunday - With an agape supper and stations of the cross, the children will explore Jesus' final days prior to the resurrection.
Faith at home
This weekend, talk with your child about Jesus' final days.
After church, celebrate the sixth Sunday of Lent in your home using FCC's Lent at Home (materials can be picked up at church).  Also, utilize the Holy Week sheet (attached to the Lent at home materials).
Announcements
- One Great Hour of Sharing  - due Sunday, April 1 

For more information, see below. 

Announcements
One Great Hour of Sharing  - due Sunday, April 1
One Great Hour of Sharing, the refugee, relief and development offering of the United Church of Christ, transforms lives through health, education, agricultural, and emergency relief initiatives in 138 countries.  Part of our Lenten journey includes contributing to the wellbeing of UCC as our church and those near and far.  Like trick or treating with Unicef, the children have been given OGHS cubes to collect any donations at school, playdates, after-school activities, etc.  All donations, big and small, are appreciated.  Please bring the donations back to church on Sunday, April 1.

Faith at home
This weekend, I encourage you to talk with your child about Jesus' final days.  Jesus' last days can be scary to anyone.  But it can be comforting to talk about these stories with parents.  Jesus came to show us the justice and love that God hopes for our lives and encouraged us to build it together.  Others found Jesus' actions threatening to the way life always had been and they didn't want to change.  Still Jesus' message of love and justice is vitally important.  I especially encourage you to emphasize how although Jesus' actions led to the end of his life, they also led to the fulfillment of his life, even beyond his death, as the son of God.   
After church, I encourage you to have a special time at home celebrating the sixth Sunday of Lent.  Using the Lent at home materials can help you and your family better understand God's message of forgiveness and love as well as spend quality spiritual time together in this special church season.

Lent - Sixth Sunday - April 1, 2012 - Palm/Passion Sunday

What is Lent?  The purpose of the season of Lent is to prepare our hearts for the miracle of Easter morning.  While it is true that our goal as Christians is to constantly deepen our relationship with God, Lent is a season of special intention. Just as an athlete remains in shape all year long yet engages in special training before the big race, so do we take this special season in our spiritual life to focus on strengthening our spiritual selves to prepare ourselves for the wonder of the resurrected Christ in our lives.
Palm Sunday, also observed as Passion Sunday, sets the stage of contrast that is Holy Week:  Jubilant crowds hail Jesus as God’s chosen one; angry crowds call for Jesus’ execution.  Jesus’ willingness to stand against the powers of his time can guide Christians today, but the cost can be high.
Palm Sunday marks the point of no return for Jesus.  When he gave no excuse for direct Roman action, Jerusalem’s Jewish elites were forced to find another way to silence him.  The story shows what made Jesus so dangerous in their eyes.  Bad enough that he entered the city in a way calculated to whip up Messianic fervor – when Jesus focused his central attack not on the palace but on the temple, he threatened the heart of Jewish self-identity.
Palm Sunday as the entrance to Holy Week sets us on a unique path.  In this climax of the Lenten season we are called to walk with Christ into the valley of the shadow of death and see it as the gates of life.
What difficulties must we confront and walk through in order to be free?  Are we living comfortable lives or is our faith compelling us to speak and act out against wrongdoing?  Whose call for help are we ignoring?  Are we still outraged at the injustice that we see?
Jesus’ actions remind us that our identities in God call us to act differently in the world.  And yet, while Jesus’ actions can be a stark reminder of all that we are doing or not doing, they also are an offering of grace and forgiveness.  With each step Jesus took, he was offering us a new freedom in God.  When have we felt freedom, peace and courage?
Holy Week is a challenge where the rubber meets the road.  Palm Sunday begins us on this final leg of the journey.
I look forward to sharing this Sunday's adventure with your children.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to be in touch with me.

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

This Sunday at First Congregational Church!

Palm Sunday, April 1, 2012 Special gathering time is 10:15! Join us on the front walk for a special blessing of palms and processional into the Sanctuary Hail and Hosanna! We begin our special Palm Sunday service with a processional led by our children. Throughout our worship we will tell the story of Jesus' last week as he moved from joy to sorrow as we prepare ourselves for the Holy Week experience. We will tell the story through scripture (Luke 19:29-40, John 15:12-17, Luke 22:39-48), song and poetry. Mark Jackson will introduce the poem "The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins, which will be recited by Nancy Williams. We will close with a special litany read by many voices. We will collect our special UCC offering for "One Great Hour of Sharing" which serves our brothers and sisters in need locally and globally. On this final Sunday of Lent we continue to grow closer to God through sharing the Sacrament of Communion each Sunday. A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of the invisible grace of God. In imitation of Jesus, we practice an open table, everyone present -- children and adults -- are welcome to join in the feast of God. Through the sharing of bread and cup around the table, we experience the reality of God's love for us -- even as we wander in the wilderness. Liturgist: John Sampson Readers: Nancy Williams, Mark Jackson, Mark Graceffo, Kayla Harney, John Ralosky, Karen Shinevar, Deirdre Nance and Peter Wert Ushers: Karen Shinevar and Angel Soto Coffee Hour Hosts: Ali Campbell and Kate Chardavoyne Special Announcements Join us for Holy Week! See attached schedule for details and explanation of events. Bible Study News! No Bible Study on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday. It will resume on April 15 on the first and third Sundays of the month at 9:30am in the library. All are welcome to join in the lively discussion of the day's scripture text. WHAT DO YOU PRAY FOR? That is the question we will be asking during Holy Week. To prepare we are inviting everyone to reflect on this and add their prayers to an offering of prayer flags which will be hung on the grounds of FCC. Based on the Buddhist tradition of flying prayer flags to offer blessings to the community and joys and concerns to heaven, we'll begin by creating our own flags each Sunday after worship starting on March 18. We'll continue this practice outside the church each day during Holy Week (12noon - 7pm). Please join us! Rev. Ann Ralosky Senior Minister First Congregational Church, UCC 40 South Fullerton Ave Montclair, NJ 07042 www.firstcongmontclair.org

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Progressive Christianity: Transforming Labels into Living

Wednesday Evening Adult Discussion Series
February 1, 8:15-9:45 in the library

Our Wednesday Evening Discussion series has begun! Last week we gathered for a thought provoking and inspiring conversation about acknowleging the faithfulness of people who have other names and ways to God. This Wednesday we will continue our series on progressive Christianity by exploring (a bit out of order) the fifth point:

by calling ourselves progressive, we mean we are Christians who know that the way we behave toward one another and toward other people is the fullest expression of what we believe.

To prepare for our conversation I have attached the pdf of the Eight Points of Progressive Christianity (you only need to read the explanation of Point #5) and my sermon from last Sunday which explored this point.

All are welcome to join us!

Rev. Ann Ralosky
Senior Minister
First Congregational Church, UCC
40 South Fullerton Ave
Montclair, NJ 07042

www.firstcongmontclair.org

Sermon January 29.docSermon January 29.doc
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8pts_studyguide_2006[1].pdf8pts_studyguide_2006[1].pdf
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Progressive Christianity: Transforming Labels into Living

Progressive Christianity: Transforming Labels into Living

Wednesday Evening Adult Discussion Series

February 1, 8:15-9:45 in the library


Our Wednesday Evening Discussion series has begun! Last week we gathered for a thought provoking and inspiring conversation about the meaning of Jesus in our faith. This Wednesday we will continue our series on progressive Christianity by exploring the second point:

by calling ourselves progressive, we mean we are Christians who recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God's realm, and acknowlege that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us.

To prepare for our conversation I have attached the pdf of the Eight Points of Progressive Christianity (you only need to read the explanation of Point #2) and my sermon from last Sunday which explored this second point.

All are welcome to join us!

Rev. Ann Ralosky
Senior Minister
First Congregational Church, UCC
40 South Fullerton Ave
Montclair, NJ 07042

www.firstcongmontclair.org

Friday, January 20, 2012

This Sunday at First Congregational Church!

January 12, 2012 at 10:30am

This Sunday we continue our Winter Sermon Series: "Progressive Christianity: Transforming Labels into Living." As the new year begins we will deepen our faith journeys as we explore who we are as Christians. If someone asked you "What kind of Christian are you?" what would you say? For many of us, this is not an easy question to answer. We might be able to state who we are NOT easier than claim who we are. We may have come from traditions that held us to a narrow definition of Christianity, labels that do not feel authentic to us as we experience more challenging and expansive ways to understand God. So for the next six weeks we will explore what it might mean to claim an identity as "Progressive Christians." Using the Eight Points of Progressive Christianity created by the Center for Progressive Christianity (www.tcpc.org) we will explore a different characteristic each Sunday.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Struggling for Social Justice in Latin America and Beyond with Father Roy Bourgeois

Thursday, January 19th, 7:30 pm in the FCC Sanctuary

Roy Bourgeois is the founder of The School of Americas Watch, a grassroots movement to close The School of the Americas, a military training camp housed at the Fort Benning Army Base in Columbus, GA. The SOA trains soldiers from Latin America in counterinsurgency techniques, including torture. Soldiers trained at the SOA have been, and still are, responsible for perpetrating death and violence against the people of Latin America. For over 20 years, Roy has dedicated himself to the goal of closing the SOA and educating the public about U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.

This event is co-sponsored by: Voices of the Faithful, School of the Americas Watch & NJ Peace Action.

"Jesus Has Left the Building... And We Followed" Service Weekend January 28-29

Three Ways to Serve our Neighbors in Need:

Provide Shelter: Habitat for Humanity Newark Build (Saturday January 28th, 8 am-5 pm)

Provide Food: Community Food Bank of New Jersey
(Saturday January 28th, 8:30 am—11:30 am)

Provide Love: Broadway House for Continuing Care (worship service 2 pm)

Please sign up in the Guild Room or see Brendan Bevensee for details!

Wednesday Evening Adult Study Series: "Progressive Christianity: Transforming Labels into Living"

Wednesdays January 18 through February 15, 8:15-9:45 p.m.

This study series will correspond to the sermon series and invites us to discuss in depth the characteristics of progressive Christianity that will be explored in the previous Sunday. This is a wonderful opportunity to have a robust and challenging dialogue about the faith we share at FCC. Long-timers and new comers are welcome to join the conversation! Questions? Please see Rev. Ann or email her.

Going Deeper: Winter Sermon and Study Series

Sunday Sermon Series: "Progressive Christianity:
Transforming Labels into Living"
Sunday Worship January 15 - February 19

If someone asked you, "What kind of Christian are you?" what would you say? As members of FCC we might use words like "inclusive", "peace and justice oriented", "spiritually centered" or "Jesus-following." When trying to describe all of those things we often use the term "progressive," but what does that really mean? Does it truly capture who we are? Does it go too far or not far enough? Labels are loaded things - and labels about faith identity are no exception. Yet they can also help us identify and embrace our values and live them out more au¬thentically. This sermon series will, explore what it might mean to call ourselves "progressive Christians." Each Sunday we will unpack a different characteristic of progressive Christianity and explore how it can transform and deepen our faith as Christians.