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Our 60th Year Revised October 23, 2013

October 20, 2013 — We are changing our search status on the UCC’s job information site from “active” to “on hold.” While this does not mean we have selected our next pastor, it does mean we believe that our next pastor is one of the applicants we have reviewed to date. It means the end is in sight!

We have reviewed applications from men and women, gay and straight, young and not-so-young, from many races and ethnicities. There are some exciting candidates that we want to know more about.

Although we don’t know exactly when we will be able to announce the candidate who we believe that God is calling to Little River, we will let you know as soon as possible. Confidentiality is still a priority to protect each candidate.

We are very much aware of the responsibility we bear. We ask that you continue to pray for us. 10/20

“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

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. The remaining class meets Sunday, October 27 at 11:00 in Room 8. 9/12

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 (we will gather Saturday, October 26 at 6:00 at Panjshir restaurant in Falls Church for their tasty Afghan dishes) for those who sign up.

Which option is right for you? Sign up through Sunday, October 27 in the narthex after worship or contact the church office.10/11

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

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

Faith in Film: Invisible Young

Our Faith in Film series examines today’s most pressing issues of justice, faith, society, and spirituality and explores how we can grow in our faithful response to them.  You are invited to gather in Room 8 at 12:30 for lunch and a viewing of Invisible Young on Sunday, November 3.

From the film’s website:

Invisible Young is an inspiring, award-winning documentary film that tells the life stories of four young adults, all of whom were homeless as teenagers in Seattle, Washington. It takes a revealing look at their families, their day-to-day lives, [and] their possible fates, and [it] follows them as they strive for a hopeful, prosperous future. Invisible Young is not just about homelessness, it's about perseverance and the resilience of the human spirit.

To help us plan our meal together, please sign up in social hall or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at church.10/24

Safe Church Training

All teens and adults are invited to attend Safe Church training on Saturday November 9 from 10:00 to noon in Room 8. Safe church training is required every three years for anyone who works with children and youth at Little River — in activities including child care, church school, the PF youth group, and the Welcome Center. Little River’s goal is to be a universally safe church. Training is open to everybody and encouraged for all. If you’d like to attend please contact Darlene Lane. To ask questions or address concerns, please contact Hank Fairman. 10/12

Thanksgiving Food for Shaw

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice will be collecting donations of food items to fill Thanksgiving baskets for Shaw Community Ministry on Sunday, November 17. Each year, SCM provides gifts of food to residents of the Shaw neighborhood in Washington in order that those low-income families may make their own holiday meals. With overwhelming support from Little River and other churches, SCM was able to help over 100 families create their own holiday celebrations in 2012. The goal this year is to feed at least 100 families for Thanksgiving. BOSJ will also be supplying $20 gift cards for thirty families to purchase their own holiday turkeys.

The list of food requested to fill one basket is:

  • 1 can corn
  • 2 cans (or 1 large) green beans
  • 1 can cranberry sauce
  • 2 cans (or 1 large) collard greens
  • 2 cans (or 1 large) sweet potatoes
  • 1 box macaroni and cheese
  • 1 bag or box of stuffing
  • 2 jars turkey gravy
  • 1 box cornbread mix
  • either 1 cake mix and 1 can frosting
    or 1 box of pie crust mix and canned apples or other fruit to make pie

If possible, please deliver these items in a reusable grocery bag. Donations will be collected in the narthex on November 17.

Questions? Ask a member of BOSJ or contact "jasonthompson2 cox net subject Thanksgiving food for Shaw" Jason Thompson. Thank you! 10/10

Fair-Trade Gift Sale

Please consider giving gifts this season that are rooted in our church's values of social justice and loving our neighbors. Browse through an assortment of fair-trade holiday and general gifts during both coffee hours on Sunday, November 17 in the choir room.

These unique handmade gifts from around the world include baskets, jewelry, crafts, and other items from international artisans. Once again our Board of Outreach and Social Justice has invited the leading fair-trade organization Ten Thousand Villages to share their treasures with us.10/20

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

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

Help Stock Our Food Pantry

On the first Sunday of each month Little River UCC collects food for Fairfax FISH as well as other community groups as donations allow. We leave our donations of non-perishable items in the narthex, and during worship the ushers bring a representative basket of donated foodstuffs forward along with our monetary offerings.

Fairfax FISH (For Immediate Sympathetic Help) is a non-profit direct-aid program supported by 16 Fairfax County churches near the City of Fairfax. FISH responds to requests for necessities such as food, clothing, critical transportation, and urgent financial assistance with housing and prescriptions.

FISH volunteers distribute food from our pantry to area clients. Quarterly, we send unused food to other mission partners, including Food for Others and Thrive DC (formerly the Dinner Program for Homeless Women), where our most recent donation went to assist the homeless in Northwest Washington. Read more about these programs on our Local Support and Action web page. You can also learn about volunteer opportunities by visiting our partners’ sites.

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice thanks the congregation for its ongoing generosity in this life-giving year-round ministry of our church. 10/20

Fair Trade Sale

Stop by the narthex after worship the second Sunday of each month to purchase fair-trade coffee, chocolate, and olive oil. Sales of these quality goods support sustainable agriculture and living wages for workers in developing countries.10/20