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Our 60th Year Revised October 17, 2013

“Where Does Our Money Go?” — Budget Conversations

Informal conversations on the 2014 budget will be held during both social hours on Sunday, October 20. Representatives of boards and committees will be present to answer questions and to discuss their programs for 2014. 10/04

“We Have Faith” Art Display

October is LGBT History Month. To help celebrate this annual reflection on the Open and Affirming values of our congregation, the Pilgrim Youth Fellowship is spending each gathering learning about the life experiences of LGBT people in America, and especially Virginia.

As part of this focus, our congregation is blessed to host Family Diversity Projects’ “We Have Faith,” a photo–text display depicting the many diverse faces of support for the LGBT people in the many faith communities in our society. The photos seek to tell the story that:

Often, in American society today, religious and spiritual traditions and religious leaders are stereotyped as being unilaterally bigoted, intolerant, or blind to the experiences, needs and rights of LGBTQ people and those they love. This exhibit challenges that stereotype by exploring the experiences of LGBTQ clergy and religious and spiritual leaders as they unite their personal stories and histories with their commitment to peace, justice, and civil rights through their work in religious establishments of all kinds.

The traveling exhibit will be on display in our main hallway for the month of October, welcoming us to explore the many faces of love that surround us every day. For in-depth information on this display, please visit Family Diversity Projects’ “We Have Faith” web page. 10/04

Beckwith Scholarship Recipients

Little River United Church of Christ established the Hubert S. Beckwith Scholarship Fund to honor its founding pastor on the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination. Any seminary student from the Potomac Association in the last two years of his or her study may apply for the $1,000 scholarship. Criteria for awarding the scholarship are sustained commitment to community service, academic achievement, and a thoughtful vision of future ministry.

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice is pleased to announce the Hubert S. Beckwith Scholars for 2013: Laura M. Martin and Melissa N. McQueen.

Joining us on Sunday, October 6, Laura Martin attends Wesley Theological Seminary. Laura has served homeless families and individuals for twelve years. Over that time, her involvement has deepened from volunteer coordinator and case manager to Director of Family Shelter and Housing Programs. Laura envisions a future in congregational ministry, as an associate pastor or missions minister, “that is shaped around a charge to live the Gospel in social justice.”

Joining us on Sunday, October 20, Melissa McQueen attends Howard University School of Divinity. Melissa is an active participant in the organization Many Voices: A Black Church Movement for Gay & Transgender Justice. She serves to address issues and concerns “particularly regarding the LGBT community in the African American context.” Melissa envisions a future in pastoral ministry with a special focus on women and youth that uses her “passion to spread joy, empower and motivate.” 10/04

Stewardship: Little River Still Matters

Stewardship logo

Little River Still Matters to me because of the ever-present “Extravagant Welcome”. However, recently you may have noticed at our Atrium entry a “somewhat less than Extravagant” Welcome. The message that often greets us and our guests is DOOR BROKEN.

Fortunately, DOOR BROKEN is not a reflection of our commitment to an open, affirming, extravagant welcome. It is however, an unfortunate reflection of an area of stewardship where we aren’t quite fulfilling our commitment to Little River, its founders, those that raised the funds to build our church, and future generations. We’ve done an outstanding job building a spiritual foundation, supporting our benevolences, and forwarding our mission. We are, however, failing to fully plan for and financially support the physical foundation that makes our mission possible.

The time has come to reexamine just how much Little River matters to each of us and to address our long-term commitment to maintaining the structure that holds the heart and soul of Little River UCC. The Board of Trustees, in consultation with the Church Council and ministerial staff, have determined that the building is in need of a committed staff position dedicated to caring for the physical structure. Many of you have volunteered valuable time and talent to repair and maintain our aging facility, but its needs are exceeding the abilities of our part-time volunteers. Susan, Hank, Heather, Darlene, and Maureen show up each day, wrench in hand and bucket at the ready. Trustees hesitate to open their email for fear of the ever-present repair requests.

Little River has significant capital and operational needs that are not being fulfilled with our current pledges. Since Little River Still Matters to all of us in so many ways, we must now ask for an enthusiastic increase in pledges to cover the mounting need for a dedicated Little River caretaker position and to bolster a lagging capital expense fund. I’m asking you to carefully review the pledge request you will be receiving in October and make your commitment to ensuring that our Extravagant Welcome isn’t accompanied by DOOR BROKEN. 10//10

Clark Beil

“Animate: Faith” Series Continues

This adult course imaginatively explores central topics of Christianity. In each Animate: Faith session, the group will watch a video featuring a leading voice from the Christian faith and engage in conversation on big questions of the Christian faith in our congregation. Session topics are God, Cross, Jesus, Church, and Religion. The sessions are independent; you are welcome to attend any or all of them. Remaining classes meet Sundays, October 20 and 27 at 11:00 in Room 8. 9/12

Missionary Guest Preacher

Kristine Tisinger will preach at Little River Sunday, October 20. Kristine served two years as a Global Mission Intern with the Theological Education by Extension College (TEEC) in Johannesburg, South Africa. She served as an Administrative Assistant in the Academic Department and Library. Her ministry was made possible because of funds provided by the Week of Compassion of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), our partner denomination in Global Ministries. 10/12

Annual Outreach Fair

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice invites all members and friends to Little River UCC's annual Outreach Fair on Sunday, October 27 during both coffee hours. This is an opportunity to learn how your financial, in-kind, and hands-on support for our church manifests itself as an agent for change in the world. Learn about the support our church provides to local and international life-giving ministries such as Shaw Community Ministry, Alternative House, Homestretch, Food for Others, Stop Hunger Now, and International Justice Mission. Representatives from these organizations will be on hand to discuss their programs, their clients, and volunteer opportunities.

BOSJ will also distribute Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF boxes to Little River youth. They will also have information about our Thanksgiving basket initiative to benefit Shaw families, as well as opportunities to sign up for our Fifth Sunday mission project on Sunday, December 30 and for delivering White Gifts for low-income children to local agencies on Monday, December 9.

Please consider these opportunities to show your love and compassion for others. We look forward to seeing you there!

Donation Wish Lists

Several of the organizations present the Outreach Fair have provided wish lists for donations. These items will be put to immediate use by our neighbors in need, and your donations will be greatly appreciated.

  • Fairfax FISH: winter clothes
  • Thrive DC: toiletries
  • Alternative House: cleaning supplies; kitchen items (pots, pans, bakeware, Tupperware, aluminum foil), paper products (paper plates, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers size 4-6, trash bags)

Please bring your donations to the Fair on Sunday, October 27. Thank you for sharing and caring. 10/12

Tea & Talk: A Fresh Start

All women are invited to a Tea and Talk on Sunday, October 27 at 12:15 to follow up on thoughts and ideas developed at the August retreat. Join the Women’s Ministry to discover ways to make a “Fresh Start” this fall! We will also use this time to help the women served by Homestretch make a“Fresh Start” by collecting cleaning items such as laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, household cleaning products, and bath soap. A snack to share is welcome and child care will be available in the nursery. We hope you can join us. 9/29

Sign Up for Place Setters

Each of our lives is enriched by experiences, deepened by challenges, and broadened by particular interests and hobbies. When we share our personal stories and a meal, we come to better appreciate those around us in our Little River community. Options for this cycle of meal groups include parents and children at home for a weekend lunch or dinner, an adult dinner group of 6-8 people rotating host responsibilities in homes 2-4 times over several months, a Sunday brunch group leaving after second service, and an occasional single evening dinner in a restaurant for those who sign up. On Saturday, October 26 at 6:00 we will gather at Panjshir restaurant in Falls Church for their tasty Afghan dishes. Which option is right for you? Sign up in the narthex after worship or contact the church office.10/11

Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, and an Evolving Faith

Celebrating the communion of science and faith, the series Painting the Stars explores the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality. In each session the group will view a brief video featuring leading theologians and progressive thinkers, followed by guided discussion. Topics include “Toward Healing the Rift,” “A Renaissance of Wonder,” “Eco-Justice,” “An Evolving Faith,” “Imagining a Future,” “An Evolving Spirituality,” and “Mysticism.” The class meets in Room 8 at 11:00 Sunday mornings November 3–December 15. 10/12

Intersections: Sacred Conversation on Race

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 gather on the first Sunday morning of each month at 8:30 for prayer and thought on the continuing issues of racism. Please join us for our next conversation Sunday, November 3 in Room 8. 10/12

Church School Name Tags

Each Sunday name tags for children and youth will be available in a new display stand at the atrium entrance to the Church School wing. The stand is blue with name tags for all children and youth. Please pick up your name tag on your way in to the sanctuary and return it to the display stand following Church School. If your child cannot find his or her name tag, please leave a note with the greeters.10/12

Change in Office Hours: 9:00-3:00

Due to continuing adjustments within our office staff, office hours are now Monday-Friday, 9:00-3:00.10/05

Social Justice University

Are you concerned that the poor will be overlooked in a tight budget year? Do you want to advocate for social justice in Virginia but don't know how or where to begin? Do you just want to understand more clearly how the Virginia General Assembly makes laws?

Plan to join other community advocates at Social Justice University, an annual educational program about Virginia's legislative and budget processes, sponsored by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Northern VA chapter, on Sunday, November 24 at 3:00-5:00. The location is Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria. Policy issues to be discussed by Center experts will include:

  • Reducing Poverty: investing in Virginia's future through moral budgeting and safety net programs;
  • Access to Health Care: expanding Medicaid
  • Environmental Justice: from uranium mining to climate change
  • Strengthening our Communities: voting rights, immigration, and gun violence issues.

The program is free and open to all. Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome! 10/16