First Friday: Hurry Monsters
Friday, December 2
Join us for First Friday: Hurry Monsters on tonight from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. The children will enjoy dinner, games, crafts and a puppet show by Kaydee Puppets while you enjoy a little free time. The cost is $10 per child, with a family maximum of $25. Registration forms are available at http://bit.ly/lruccfirstfriday. If you’ve already completed a registration form for the 2016/2017 program year, please email
to let us know your child(ren) will be attending.
First Friday is a kids' night out program designed to give parents an evening to themselves. Volunteers provide creative and exciting entertainment for the children in a safe and fun atmosphere at the church. First Friday is for children aged six months through 12 years. All children in our community are welcome, whether or not their families attend Little River UCC, so spread the word and make your plans!
Advent Spiral Walk
Sunday, December 4
The Advent Spiral is a lovely tradition, which Little River UCC has adopted. It provides a way to help us slow down, pause, and live in a moment of Advent expectation. Deacons and Women’s Ministry Team invite you join others in our sanctuary at 5:00 pm this Sunday, December 4, for this meditative experience. One by one, each person will walk through a spiral of evergreens, light a candle, place it in an apple holder on the path, and return to a seat to watch the sanctuary become lighted with candles. This year, the path will be wider and the journey shorter. Each person may arrive when convenient, and stay as long as it’s comfortable. Children are welcome. (There will be candles on the floor, so please dress accordingly—no long skirts or shawls.)
In order to set up for the Advent Spiral Walk, we need some sturdy folks to help move sanctuary furniture right after church on Sunday. Please help, and thank you!
Food Pantry Reminder
Sunday, December 4
This Sunday and every Communion Sunday (normally the first Sunday of every month), we invite your gifts of non-expired, non-perishable staple food items, which are placed in our church’s FISH (For Immediate Sympathetic Help) pantry and used to help the hungry in our community. Food is distributed by FISH; to local charities including Food for Others, Alternative House, and Thrive DC; and to individuals who ask for assistance from the pastoral staff.
Individual pre-packed bags of food are prepared for use by FISH and church staff to respond to immediate needs. A bag of food includes: two boxes of cereal, one can of fruit, two cans of vegetables, one canned meat product, two boxes of pasta, one jar/can of pasta sauce, dry milk, and a jar of peanut butter. These items and paper or reusable grocery bags to pack them in are always appreciated.
White Gift Christmas Tags and White Gift Service with Dinner
Tags Available now through Sunday, December 4
Service and Dinner: Sunday, December 11
The White Gift Service is a beloved Little River tradition in which our members reenact the Nativity scene, then follow the Magi to offer gifts honoring the Christ child. In preparation for that joyful service, our White Gift Christmas tree stands in the atrium to express the Christmas hopes of young children from low-income families served by ACCA Child Development Center, Main Street Child Development Center, and Shaw Community Ministry. Allow yourself the pleasure of sharing God’s love with a child this Christmas season! Gift tags and a sign-up sheet (used this year again to assist the Board of Outreach and Social Justice in tracking gifts) will be available through Sunday, December 4. Please take only as many tags as you are able to provide gifts. Gift wrapping will be available after church on Sunday, December 4 and 11 for anyone who missed it the first time around.
Please also plan to attend the White Gift Service at 5:00 pm on Sunday, December 11 and our first White Gift Dinner following that service. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice would like to celebrate the season of giving with a pasta dinner prepared by our own John Davis. A sign-up sheet to RSVP is available in the atrium near the White Gift Tree; please let us know if you are able to attend so we can plan to have enough food. We are asking for a few contributions of salad and dessert with sign-ups for those also available in the atrium. Join us to come together as community!
Next Week and Beyond
Monday Morning Bible Study
Monday, December 5
The Monday Morning Study Group invites you to begin the 'Study Of Jesus and His Jewish Influences’ from the Great Courses with Professor Jodi Magness, Ph.D., a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Explore excerpts and passages from influential texts such as the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Apocrypha. Follow the evolution of 12 Israelite tribes into a monarchy that crumbled over tensions about worshipping the God of Israel. Examine how the Book of Daniel is repeated in Jesus's own prophesies about the destruction of the Temple. This is a new topic and we hope you will join us Mondays from 10:00 am to noon in Room 8. This study group is led by Richard Davidson.
Order Poinsettias for Christmas
Monday, December 5 -- Order Deadline
You are invited to provide red or white poinsettias in the Sanctuary, in honor or in memory of a loved one. Deadline for ordering a poinsettia is Monday, December 5. The cost is $9.00 per pot. Please make your check payable to LRUCC and note “Flower Fund” on the check and/or envelope. Place your order with payment in the offering plate or leave in the church office. Order forms are available in the bulletin or can be downloaded here.
Pastor David’s Class on Process Theology
Wednesday, December 7
Pastor David is teaching a class on the first Wednesday of every month through the end of June 2017. The class is a 9-part series on process theology, one of the major threads of progressive Christianity. Process theology examines Christian belief in light of the scientific, mathematical, and philosophical advancements over the past century. The next class is Wednesday, December 7 (7:00 - 8:30 pm in Room 8), when we our topic will be “Jesus”. In particular, we will focus on the question, “Who is Jesus, and what do we mean when we call him Christ?” In the new year, we will continue to focus on new topics: the Holy Spirit on January 4, prayer on February 1, and so on. Bring your beliefs, bring your doubts — and bring a friend!
Fair Trade Sales
Sunday, December 11 & 18
To make sure you can fulfill your holiday needs, fairly traded products will be for sale on two Sundays in December. You’ll find chocolate bars for stockings and office gifts, coffee for your entertaining and sanity (chocolate too, for that matter), bottles of Palestinian olive oil for hostess gifts instead of wine, tins of olive oil for your kitchen, olive tapenade and za’ater for all, and, new this year, lovely bars of olive oil soap for giving and enjoying. Please remember that all items support small farmers in emerging economies by providing fair compensation, and a portion of the olive oil sales supports Tent of Nations, a West Bank organization working on peace and reconciliation. Look for the sales table after worship!
Tuesday, December 13
As the holidays arrive, we remember those individuals who are no longer with us. The Deacons’ Annual Bereavement Tea welcomes everyone who has lost an immediate family member within the past year to gather, remember, and share stories. This gathering will take place at Green Spring Gardens Park on Tuesday, December 13 from 1-3 pm, where we will share high tea, learn a bit about the history of Green Spring Gardens, and enjoy each others company in a relaxing and peaceful setting. Invitations for the tea were recently mailed.
If you have lost a close loved one this year, and do not receive an invitation, please contact the
by early December.
Christmas Fund Offering
Sunday, December 18 and Saturday, December 24
Please plan to include the Christmas Offering in your holiday giving. At Little River UCC, we will receive this offering on Sunday, December 18 and during both Christmas Eve services (Saturday, December 24). Half of the offering will go to the United Church of Christ Christmas Fund to assist retired UCC clergy experiencing financial difficulty, in many cases related to health problems. The other half will be split between two organizations who seek justice and peace locally and abroad: JustChildren and The Church World Service. The JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center is the largest children's law program in the state of Virginia. They rely on a range of strategies to make sure the Commonwealth's most vulnerable young people receive the services and support they need to lead successful lives in their communities. The Church World Service welcomes and supports refugees abroad and at home. The church will gladly receive contributions in the office, offering plate, or through the online giving button on the website. Please make your check payable to Little River UCC with memo "Christmas Fund Offering." Cash donations can be included in the special Christmas Fund envelope or in a regular pew envelope with “Christmas Fund” written on the outside. The members of the Board of Outreach and Social Justice thank you for your generosity.
More Church News
Celebrate Faithful Giving Update
The church’s campaign for annual financial support has received an exciting matching gift challenge. An anonymous donor to Little River UCC, in addition to the donor’s annual pledge of giving, has offered a matching gift challenge to support pledge commitments from first-time donors and those who would increase their pledge for 2017. The gift will provide one dollar for each three dollars in new pledges of giving and increases above 2016 pledge commitments, up to a total of $6,000 in matching funds in 2017. A total of $18,000 in pledges from new donors and increased pledges will result in a maximum matching gift of $6,000 to the church for next year. The challenge must be met by the close of business on Friday, January 6, 2017.
On Thursday, December 1, the campaign reported a total of $464,630 in pledges from 105 donors. The minimum goal for pledged support for 2017 in $607,000. The campaign still needs to raise a minimum of $142,370. Individuals and families who have not yet offered their commitments of support are asked to do so as soon as possible in order to assist the Trustees in developing the proposed budget to be submitted to the congregation in January. Pledge cards are available from the church office by calling (703) 978-3060. Cards also are located in literature racks in the narthex and atrium.
CROP Walk -- Thank You!
Although we were short of walkers for the CROP Walk on November 20th, members and friends of the congregation donated $220 in support of anti-hunger programs funded through CROP Walks by Church World Service. Thank you!
Proclaiming God’s Radically Inclusive Love
We’ve got a new banner out on the turnpike! If you haven’t noticed it, take a look on your way in on Sunday.
The wording for this banner arose out of a Ministry Board meeting in November. Pastor David remembers it this way: “After checking in with one another for a few minutes, we talked about how to minister to both Little River and the wider community right now. During that discussion, I shared my take on what I believe has always been and will always be Little River’s core mission: to proclaim God’s radically inclusive love. Whether it was racial integration, LGBT hospitality, refugee ministries, or interfaith dialogue, Little River has a long history of witnessing to God’s radically inclusive love – a witness that was around a long time before I got here, and that will continue long after I’m gone. After I shared my thoughts, the Ministry Board decided that we ought to put those words right out on the Turnpike as a witness to what we know to be true: that God’s inclusive love is far greater than any human exclusion ever could be.” Please help us live up to the words of the banner amongst ourselves and with the wider community. With all that we are and all that we do, may we continue to proclaim God’s radically inclusive love, now and always!
Hosting Julie Holm and guest Nina
Longtime Little River member Rev. Julie Holm is coming back to the area to visit for a few days, and she's bringing an intern from Germany named Nina! Nina Hortig comes from our ecumenical partners in Köln, Germany and will be working in two of our churches in the Penn Central Conference in the first part of 2017. Julie and Nina will be in town March 15 to 18 and are hoping to stay with a church friend. Are you interested in and available to host them? Please contact Julie either
or by phone at her office (814-349-5515). Thanks in advance for helping them feel welcome!
Church Council News
Little River UCC Committee Meeting Minutes
Board of Outreach and Social Justice (October 2, 2016)
Board of Deacons Meeting (November 15, 2016)
Board of Trustees (October 18, 2016)
Christian Education (September 20, 2016)
Communications Committee (August 9, 2016)
Endowment Fund Committee (October 12, 2016)
Finance Committee (August 2016)
Nominations and Appointments Committee (October 12, 2016)
Personnel Committee (June 22, 2016)
Stewardship Committee (October 4, 2016)
Women's Ministry (October 27, 2016)
Full minutes of Church Council, Governance Board, and Ministry Board meetings are posted on this webpage