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Our 63rd Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised April 28, 2016

Sixth Sunday of Easter
Worship Services at 9:30 and 11:00 am

Sunday, May 1

Rev. Janet Mackey is preaching this Sunday! She will reflect on John 5:1-17, a story of healing (or is it?) that might actually be about something much more. Come to worship at 9:30 or 11:00 to find out!

This Week

Congregational Forums

Sunday, May 1

In response to your requests for more timely information on the matters of Little River UCC, the Governance Board is hosting two information sessions on Sunday in the Choir Room, one at 10:45 am and a second at 12:15 pm to bring you up to date on the first quarter’s budget analysis, the projections for the year end, and the beginning of discussions on developing the 2017 budget and the options for the future.

Please plan to attend – your input is needed as we prayerfully reflect together on our present and future ministry!

Intersections: Sacred Conversation on Race

Sunday, May 1

We are a congregation founded and grounded in affirming all people regardless of race and ethnicity. To deepen the Sacred Conversation on Race and learn how race intersects with many justice issues, we will gather this Sunday at 11:00 am in Room 8 for prayer and thought on the continuing issues of racism.

This month, we welcome all to the conversation, as we refocus ourselves on the continuing issues in our community, nation, and world that result from Racism. We will hear a brief update from the Board of Outreach and Social Justice on their implementing the Resolution on Syrian Refugees. We will also talk about our hopes for the “Welcoming Dinner” and schedule our next gathering on interfaith dialogue. Please come, and add your voice to the conversation. Looking forward to the gathered Beloved Community!

Food Pantry Reminder

Sunday, May 1

Every Communion Sunday (normally the first Sunday of every month) we invite your gifts of non-expired, non-perishable staple food and baby items, which are placed in our church’s FISH (For Immediate Sympathetic Help) pantry and used to help the hungry in our community. The pantry is currently well stocked to supply Fairfax FISH with pre-packed food bags. This Sunday we hope to focus on diapers (sizes 2-6), pull-ups, and adult diapers for several of our partner organizations. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice recently reached out to several benevolence partners (including Homestretch, Alternative House, Fairfax FISH, and Thrive DC) and learned that diapers and adult diapers are a constant need, especially since food stamps and WIC benefits cannot be used to purchase them.

Thanks to the ongoing generous donations to the pantry, in April the Board of Outreach and Social Justice was able to make two donations. Twelve bags of non-perishable staple food items and three bags of toiletries and personal hygiene products were delivered to Thrive DC, serving the homeless in Washington, DC. We also delivered a large bag of baby food and snack items and three boxes of diapers to Homestretch, an organization in Falls Church, VA offering a comprehensive program to help homeless families.

Little River UCC Meditation Group Meeting

Sunday, May 1

Please join us on Sunday at 8:30 am in Room 8 as we explore Meditation as a contemplative practice that helps to quiet the mind. We will have a brief guided meditation followed by sharing about the experience. Questions? Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Monday Morning Bible Study

Monday, May 2

From The Great Courses, Professor Gary A. Rendsburg focuses on the book of Genesis. This course of 24 lectures allows for numerous avenues of inquiry. Discussions are led by Richard Davidson. Please join us at 10:00 am in Room 8 on Monday mornings.

“Lifelines to Solitary” Launch

Saturday, May 7

Please join us for the launch of the "Lifelines to Solitary" group on Saturday, May 7 from 2:30-4:00 pm. We’ll gather for an orientation session with Jean Casella of Solitary Watch.

Solitary Watch is a national group that investigates and reports on the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. They are partnering with Interfaith Action for Human Rights (IAHR), a human rights organization that works to minimize isolated confinement in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., to launch a prison correspondence program called "Lifelines to Solitary" with communities of faith in our area. The project aims to ease some of the effects of isolated confinement by connecting those held in solitary with people in the world outside prison, believing "this communication has the potential to transform the lives not only of the individuals in solitary, but of those on the outside who bear witness to their suffering."

Questions? Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Next Week

Our Mission with Refugees: Our Path Forward Needs Your Input

Sunday, May 8

In January, our congregation took a brave step forward in our ministry of racial and social justice. We voiced our community’s faithful witness of support to immigrants throughout the world—and those particularly affected by the ongoing civil unrest in Syria. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice has been building the necessary relationships to implement the resolution. You are invited to a Coffee Hour Follow-Up Session on Sunday, May 8 at 10:45 am in between worship services in the Choir Room. We will share information from our mission partner, Church World Service, and their local affiliate groups on how our congregation can be part of helping refugees who seek to find a home in the United States. For more information, or with any questions, please speak with Karen Kleiber or Nancy Hall, and email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Fair Trade Sales Reminder

Sunday, May 8

Fair Trade Sales take place next Sunday, May 8. Plan to stock up on your supplies of coffee, chocolate, and Palestinian olive oil between services while providing fair compensation to farmers in less-developed countries.

New Men’s Initiative Commencing at Little River UCC

Sunday, May 8 & 15

Plans are underway to begin a men’s group at Little River UCC primarily focused on those of retirement age who would enjoy getting together once or twice a month for a meal, a chance to visit with one another and perhaps an outing to a local venue or event. The focus will be on fellowship and building friendships. If interest exists, the group may be enlarged to include all ages of men. If you have thoughts or are interested, please join us after either worship service on Sunday, May 8 or 15 in Room 8. Questions? Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (202) 329-8641. If you are able to provide transportation (as a volunteer), please let Tom know.

Save the Date

Strengthen the Church Special Offering

Sunday, May 15

Strengthen the Church (STC) is a special mission offering to reimagine and build the future of the United Church of Christ (UCC). Shared at the conference and national levels, STC largely supports youth ministries and full-time leaders for new churches in parts of the country where the UCC voice has not been heard. As God calls our congregations to be the “church” in new ways, your generosity will plant new churches, awaken new ideas in existing churches and develop the spiritual life in our youth and young adults. STC funds will also be used to award grants to help congregations communicate the “God is still speaking,” message.

The offering will be collected on Sunday, May 15. Contributions may be made in the enclosed envelope or through the Online Giving button.

Guest Preacher: Jason Thompson

Sunday, May 15

We are delighted to welcome Jason Thompson back to our pulpit! Jason is a member of Little River, a student at Wesley Theological Seminary, and a member-in-discernment in our Potomac Association. He'll be preaching for us on Pentecost, a day when we celebrate the presence of the Holy Spirit in the founding of the Christian church as a multi-lingual, multi-racial community.

Tea and Talk: Gifts from Mom

Sunday, May 15

Plan to join the Women’s Ministry Team and women of Little River UCC for a celebration of all the ways our mothers have influenced our lives over the span of years, including the ups and downs, the renewed or altered connections, the joys and sorrows. Gather with us for Tea and Talk: Gifts from Mom, on Sunday, May 15, at 12:15 in the Jubilee Room following the 11:00 am service. Plan to bring a picture of your mother, grandmother, or any other maternal figure in your life to share with others at the tea.

A sign-up sheet will be at the welcome desk in the Atrium. Please let us know if you can come and whether you can bring a finger food (sweet or savory) to share. We look forward to seeing many of you there.

Book Group: Children of the Stone

Sunday, May 22

Please join the Little River UCC Book Group as they discuss Children of the Stone, by Sandy Tolan, author of The Lemon Tree. This story chronicles Ramzi’s journey – from stone thrower to music student to school founder—and shows how, through his love of music, he created something lasting and beautiful in a land torn by violence and war. This is a story about the power of music, first, but also about freedom and conflict, determination and vision. It’s a vivid portrait of life amid checkpoints and military occupation, a growing movement of nonviolent resistance, the prospects of musical collaboration across the Israeli-Palestinian divide, and the potential of music to help children everywhere see new possibilities for their lives. See you in Room 7 on Sunday, May 22 from 12:15-1:30 pm.

Capital Pride Parade

Saturday, June 11

Come share our congregations Open and Affirming (ONA) commitment in the annual demonstration of LGBTQ pride and support in the nation’s capital. Our congregation will have a spot in the parade, hosted by Outreach & Social Justice and Pilgrim Youth Fellowship.

Capital Pride Festival

Sunday, June 12

The Potomac Association UCC is organizing a booth for relationship and connection at the Festival. Volunteers are needed to offer the United Church of Christ’s extravagant welcome (as well as share our congregations commitment to LGBTQ Rights and Justice).

For more information on the Capital Pride Weekend activities, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

More Church News

Endowment Fund Challenge Grant

A challenge grant from an anonymous donor aims to put the General Endowment Fund over the $250,000 contribution level, thereby making a portion of the Fund’s gains available for the 2017 budget. The Fund now stands only $13,250 short of $250,000. Between May 1 and September 30, the challenge grant will add one dollar for every three dollars contributed, up to contributions of $12,000. Please consider making your contribution by check payable to Little River UCC with “Endowment Fund” indicated on the memo line. You can also use the Online Giving button to make a donation by credit card. Thank you for your generosity!

Little River UCC Front Office Volunteers Still Needed

Thank you to everyone who has signed up to help at the front desk. Shifts are still available for this coming week. If you are available to help out, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or sign up on the door in the front office.

It’s Not Too Early to Start Thinking about Advent

The Board of Deacons is going green for the Advent FunShops this year! We need items such as corks, buttons, yarn, wooden spoons, etc. You can find a complete list of items on the bulletin boards in the Social Hall and here. Please review the list and consider gathering up any of the various items that you might have stashed away and bringing them to church. Please do not purchase anything, but bring what you might have around the house. You can deposit it in the container in the atrium, and Lorri Jones will collect the items each week. Thanks in advance for all your donations!

Annandale Co-op 5K

Our friends at Annandale Cooperative Preschool invite Little River UCC runners to its annual 5K Family Fun Run on Saturday, April 30 at Ravensworth Farm Swim Club (5202 Inverchapel Rd, Springfield). Kids Fun Run begins at 8:00 am with the 5K to follow. Stroller friendly course...childcare...food...prizes....moonbounces!!! You can register at www.AnnandaleCoop.org.

Church Council News

Little River UCC Committee Meeting Updates

Board of Outreach and Social Justice (April 17, 2016): The Board of Outreach and Social Justice met on Sunday, April 17 and had a productive meeting covering many topics. The board budget was discussed, including first quarter benevolence disbursements to Fairfax FISH, Food for Others, and United College Ministries and the recent generous offerings received for One Great Hour of Sharing ($6,589) and the Easter Offering for Stop Hunger Now (approaching $5,000). Plans were finalized for the Earth Day Hands-on Sunday park clean up at Mason District Park scheduled for April 24. Beginning stage plans were made for participation in the Capital Pride Parade on June 11: registration will be completed soon, a jeep will be rented for both transportation and advertising purposes, and volunteer sign-ups on paper and Sign-up Genius will be prepared. BOSJ will be in touch with the Deacons about purchasing items to distribute at the parade. Pastor Hank shared youth activity following the recent Faith in Film showing of the movie Tapped. The board worked on plans for a summer series in collaboration with CE and Deacons using TED Talks related to social justice issues, including four sessions focused on racial justice. Plans were finalized to share information gathered about hosting a refugee family; BOSJ will join the Intersections group on May 1 and hopes to offer an information table at coffee hour on May 8 to determine the level of congregational support for moving forward with this initiative. The Board will be assisting Pastor Hank in offering a worship service at the upcoming Potomac Association meeting. The meeting closed on a discussion of how best to frame and preserve the map of the slave graves prepared for the summer 2014 Remembrance Service.

Board of Trustees (April 19, 2016): The Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, April 19 from 7 to 9 pm. During their meeting, they covered a lot of ground in their three major areas of responsibility: finance, building and grounds, and operations. Here are a few highlights: (1) In Finances, they began organizing speakers and information for the Congregational Forums on May 1. (2) In Building and Grounds, they rejoiced that the HVAC system for the Social Hall was completed, while also reviewing the costs of lowering the ceiling in the Social Hall to cover up the new HVAC system. (3) In Operations, they discussed the impact of Office Administrator Donna Jones' upcoming 6-8 week medical leave, including the need to ask for volunteers to help cover the office during that time. All in all, it was a packed but productive meeting!

Christian Education (April 27, 2016): Forthcoming.

Endowment Committee (April 13, 2016): At its meeting on April 13, the Endowment Fund Committee welcomed Sandy Miller as a new member and elected George Leonard as its new Chair. We received a financial report from our treasurer, Fran DuRocher, showing contributions to the Fund of $1,400 during the first quarter of 2016, total contributions to date of $234,132, and a market value of $334,007 as of March 31. We need only about $16,000 in additional contributions before the fund will be able to make disbursements. A new version of the endowment fund brochure was approved for posting on the church web site. Next meeting will be July 13.

Finance Committee (April 6, 2016): Recognizing that volunteer efforts by members are essential to enable the programs and activities of Little River UCC, there are occasions where it could be appropriate to pay a member for providing a service to the church. There has not been a consistent approach for how to deal with this situation. The Finance Committee has drafted a proposed policy about this and circulated it to both the Ministry and Governance Boards of the Council for comment. Following their initial review it will be circulated more widely for comment before a final proposed policy is recommended to the Governance Board for approval. This month, the Finance Committee also discussed actions needed to improve our identification and management of Little River UCC's capital equipment.

Governance Board (April 13, 2016): The Governance Board of Little River UCC is, along with Ministry Board, one-half of our Church Council. The Governance Board is responsible for oversight of our ministry, which (per our by-laws) includes developing and monitoring administrative and operational policies to help us faithfully live out our mission and vision.  At their April 13 meeting, the board approved editorial updates to the employee handbook and presented the draft of a charter for the committee. Rev. Lindsey has pulled together descriptions for current staff positions. The Board took them under advisement for further review. The Treasurer’s report was received. Income for the first quarter met the budgeted level, thanks to non-pledge income exceeding the budgeted level for the quarter. Trustees reported that the new air conditioning system is nearing completion. The Finance Committee presented for future action a first draft of a policy regarding appropriate situations for compensating members of the church. The next meeting date is May 10.

Ministry Board (April 12, 2016):The Ministry Board is, along with the Governance Board, one-half of our Church Council. Per our by-laws, the Ministry Board is charged with coordination and oversight of the ministries, programs, and activities of LRUC in order to further church's stated mission and vision. In order to live out that charge, Ministry Board is currently meeting once a month to bring our programmatic board and committees together to make sure that we're working together (and not at cross purposes!).

To that end, the Ministry Board covered a few big picture issues at its most recent meeting on Tuesday, April 12. These issues were "how shall LRUCC advocate for all God's creatures and creation in 2016?" and "what is our current staffing structure, and how do our staff relate to committees?" In more detailed terms, we approved the 2016 schedule of opportunities for generosity, coordinated calendars among our various programmatic ministries, discussed how we are living out our congregationally-approved resolution on Syrian refugees, and received a draft policy from the Finance Committee about payment of volunteers for services rendered. Our next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 10. at 7:30 pm.

As with all board and committees of the church, the Ministry Board meeting is open to all who wish to attend.

Personnel Committee (April 20, 2016): The Personnel Committee continues to tweak language of the Employee Handbook as needed; is working on a charter for Governance Board approval; and has begun drafting a "How-To" manual for the committee's work. The committee also advises David Lindsey on position descriptions and personnel issues.

Stewardship Committee (April 18, 2016): Forthcoming

Women's Ministry (April 4, 2106): The Women’s Ministry team met on Thursday, April 4, to discuss the upcoming Tea and Talk, Gifts from Mom, scheduled for Sunday, May 15, 12:15, in the Jubilee Room. Plans were completed for signup, advertising, food, setup and cleanup, and leadership of the program. Other topics at the meeting included hearing updates on church-wide programs and issues, including special programming on and commemoration of Little River UCC women on Sunday, Mother’s Day, May 8; taking care to calendar events on the main church calendar to avoid conflicts; upcoming travel by PF youth to the UCC National Youth Event in Orlando, FL, in July; and ongoing discussion of one vs. two services beginning in the fall.

Full minutes of Church Council, Governance Board, and Ministry Board meetings are posted on this webpage.

Wider Church News

Jan Curtis and Barbara Lowrey represented Little River UCC at the April 9 Potomac Association’s Racial Justice Working Group Review and Planning Meeting. Read their meeting notes here.