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Our 60th Year Revised November 29, 2013

This Weekend...

Little River Clean Up Day, November 30

Please take some time after enjoying Thanksgiving and join us in sprucing up Little River UCC. On Saturday, November 30, from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon, the Board of Trustees will sponsor a clean up day. Bring your rakes, shovels, brooms, hedge trimmers and work gloves as we tidy up our grounds. Weather permitting, we will focus on tackling the outdoor tasks. If Mother Nature isn't in the mood to cooperate we have plenty of handyman indoor tasks. So join us for fellowship and take the opportunity to get out of house and work off that extra slice of pumpkin pie. 11/20

Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, and an Evolving Faith, December 1

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.

The messy science/religion/philosophy interface should be treasured as an incredibly fruitful cornucopia of creative ideas—a constantly coevolving cultural triple helix of interacting ideas and beliefs that is, by far, the most precious of all the manifold treasures yielded by our history of cultural evolution on Earth.
—James Gardner

Belief means not wanting to know what is true.
—Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

The faith-versus-science rift needs to be healed.

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 am on Sunday mornings, November 3–December 15.11/7

Intersections: Sacred Conversation on Race, December 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 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, December 1 in Room 8. 11/14

Help Stock Our Food Pantry, December 1

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. 11/29

Advent Funshops and Cookie Swap, December 1

A Little River UCC tradition is to gather in the social hall on the first Sunday afternoon of Advent to enjoy time together making crafts to celebrate the season. Please join us on Sunday, December 1, from 3:30 to 5:30 pm, as we enjoy time with our church family. We will decorate cookies, make ornaments, assemble gingerbread houses and paint nativity sun catchers (to name a few of our fun crafts). This is an Advent time for all ages. Please also consider dusting off your special cookie recipe for our cookie swap. You bring four dozen cookies (preferably homemade)--swap three dozen and go home with an assortment and leave one dozen for Little River UCC friends and members who need a little extra light in their lives this holiday season. 11/14

Custom Wrapping for White Gifts, December 1

Have you ever struggled to find plain white paper to wrap your White Gifts? Our Pilgrim Fellowship youth group has a solution for you! Bring your unwrapped gifts to church on the afternoon of Sunday, December 1. While you participate in Advent Funshops or help decorate our church for Advent, the youth will wrap your gifts. All money that might be offered as thanks for gift wrapping will be donated to the Heifer Foundation. 11/14

Next Week...

Come Start the Holidays with First Friday, December 6

Parents, the holidays are upon us! Bring your children to First Friday on Friday, December 6, from 6:30- 9:30 pm! The kids will spend the evening decorating holiday cookies and making crafts while you enjoy a little free time. The cost is $10 per child, with a family maximum of $25. If you pre-register by December 1, the cost is $8 with a family maximum of $20! Register online or between church services at the table in Social Hall, beginning Sunday, November 17. Information about how to register is located at First Friday.

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. Dinner is provided for children and helpers. 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. Tell your friends and family!

We are looking for volunteers to provide several dozen small decorated cookies for the event and/or to help out for the evening! This is a big night so we need lots of extra adults. Parents, admission for your child is free if you volunteer! Questions? Contact Rev. Hank at 703-978-3060 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 11/13

Quiet Reflections Before Christmas, December 7

On Saturday, December 7, from 10:00 to 11:30 am, everyone is invited to pull away from the rush of the holidays to enjoy some serenity and reflection on the meaning of Christmas. Susan will lead us in some peaceful, quiet reflections at Little River. Light refreshments will be provided. 11/27

Confirmation Class of 2014 Welcome Lunch, December 8

Confirmation is the historic process by which youth affirm the promises made at their baptism, and take on the role of full participation in the church. We are inviting you to join us for a time of information and discernment about this year's class. All youth, ninth grade and above, who wish to take part in the class are invited to a welcome lunch on Sunday, December 8, at 12:00 noon in the conference room. We will discuss what confirmation is, look at the schedule of classes, and learn more about each other. Classes will begin on Sunday, January 5, and take place weekly from 11:00 am -12:30 pm.

Questions or comments? Please contact Rev. Susan or Rev. Hank. 11/22

White Gift Service and Tree, December 8

60 tags for area children still need to go before 12/8!

On Sunday, December 8, at 5:00 pm in the sanctuary, we will hold our White Gift Service, a beloved Little River UCC tradition. During this service, our members reenact the Nativity scene for worshippers of all ages, who follow the Magi and offer gifts to honor the Christ child. In preparation for that special 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, Main Street Children Development Center and Shaw Community Ministry.

As of last Sunday, November 24, more than 2/3 of the tags had been taken -- thanks to LRUCC friends and members -- but we still have tags for about sixty area children whom we would like to see receive a gift. Please take one or more tags from the tree. For each tag buy one or more of the gifts listed, totaling in the $25-$50 range. Wrap each box separately in plain white paper. All that belong with the same tag should be tied together with white string. All gifts are meant to be offered at the White Gift service on Sunday, December 8. If you can't attend, please drop you gift off in the office prior to the service. Allow yourself the pleasure of sharing God's love with a child in need this Christmas season! But please take only as many tags as you are able to provide gifts. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice thanks Little River UCC friends and members for their strong support of this ministry. We estimate that last year our church family provided ~$10,000 worth of clothing, toys, books and other gifts to low-income children in our area. 11/28

Coming Soon...

Youth Group Provides Child Care, December 15

Do you need an afternoon to center yourself for the Christmas season? Are there a few more decorations you hope to hang before Christmas Eve? Do you need one last trip to Tysons Corner for that perfect gift? Would it be helpful to have someone watch your kids while you do these (or other) things? Our youth group will be offering an afternoon of Christmas-themed fun on Sunday, December 15 from 12:00 – 5:00 pm. Please sign up at the table in social hall so that we have the appropriate number of games, snacks and chaperones. A free-will offering basket will be passed to help with the expenses.11/28

We're Thankful For...

Little River Still Matters Stewardship Update

Stewardship logo


A huge thank you to all those who have turned in their pledge forms for 2014! Knowing the amount of pledges in advance of preparing the church budget enables Little River UCC to be fiscally responsible in allocating funds for the coming year.

For those of you who have not yet turned in your pledges, we ask you to do so as soon as you can. Pledge forms are available in the office or the narthex. To date we have received 121 pledges for a total of $526,039.50. Thank you for sharing your blessings! 11/28

Read Additional Reflections on Stewardship

Tracy Lee, Stewardship Chair (November 15)

Linda Anderson, Moderator (October 31)

Gary Allen, Stewardship Committee (October 25)

Clark Beil, Board of Trustees Chair (October 10)

Thank You from Shaw Community Ministry

Shaw Community Ministry offers a big "thank you" to Little River UCC. The members and friends of Little River donated enough food to feed 50 families a great Thanksgiving meal and over $600 to purchase turkeys for the big day. This is our third year participating in the annual event and the support continues to grow! Thank you so much to everyone for helping Shaw Ministry offer Thanksgiving support to more families than ever!11/20

Christmas Offering

Little River UCC's Christmas offering will be received at both services on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24. Again this year, it will benefit local, national, and international initiatives. Half of the offering will go to the United Churchh 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 among three LRUCC mission partners -- Shaw, Fairfax FISH and International Justice Mission (IJM).

The Shaw program in Washington, DC, which benefits at risk youth in the community, will be moving its offices and its share of our Christmas offering will be used to help it to cover the costs of this transition. FISH which provides assistance to needy residents in Fairfax County is experiencing a budget shortfall and our church's extra donation will help it to continue to provide needed services in our community. Finally, one of our global mission partners, IJM is recognized by the State Department for its work with lawyers, investigators, and after-care professionals to bring rescue and justice for individuals globally who are among some 12 million men, women, and children still living in conditions of slavery. You can read more about IJM and other worthwhile international aid programs at Thank you for sharing and caring!

We Need You...

Christmas Artwork Display

The [Advent Conspiracy] challenges us to WORSHIP FULLY, setting aside the time to be open to God's whispers. The stories that we share in preparation for Christmas are among those that stay in our memory for all time. The angel Gabriel telling Mary (Luke 1:26-39) and Joseph (Matthew 1:18-21) that Jesus was coming, their Journey to Bethlehem and of Jesus' birth (Luke 2:1-7-and remembered by Linus!), The Shepherds and Angels (Luke 2-8-20), and The Journey of the Wise Ones (Matthew 2:1-12). The scriptures tell us, "…and a little child shall lead us." We take that seriously.

Children and youth, please help us to remember these stories about Jesus' birth. We need your help to create an art display in the hallway across from the [AC] Tree, telling the stories in time for Christmas. Please paint or draw—or whatever you like to create with— your picture on white, 8-1/2" x 11" paper and include your name and age on the back. Return the picture to your church school teacher, or to the church office, no later than Sunday, December 8. We will have ALL of the pictures on display the following Sunday, and through Epiphany.

Reserve your Christmas Poinsettias by December 8

You are invited to provide poinsettias for the sanctuary, beginning Sunday, December 22, in honor or memory of a loved one. The deadline for ordering a poinsettia is Sunday, December 8. The cost is $11 per pot and you may choose either white or red poinsettias. Please make your check payable to Little River United Church of Christ (LRUCC) and note, "Flower Fund," on the check and/or envelope. Place your order with payment in the offering plate or leave it in the church office. Please indicate whether you will be retrieving your flowers after the 9:00 pm service on Christmas Eve. 11/27

Presents with Presence/Possible 2014 Mission Trip to Haiti

Thanks to Little River UCC friends and members for shopping last Sunday at the fair-trade gift sale. Ten Thousand Village staff indicated that Little River is the church with the most sales of all the churches they visit! In addition, our friends from Village of Hope school in Haiti sold $610 in cards. Bravo and thanks to Little River fair-trade shoppers!

If you met with the wonderful women representing Village of Hope school, you may have heard about week-long mission trip possibilities to work at the school in Haiti. If this interests you, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it from the Board of Outreach and Social Justice. If congregational interest is sufficient, we will work towards organizing a trip in 2014. Estimated costs including airfare, meals and lodging are approximately $1,300 per person. 11/20

Delivery Angels Needed December 8 and 9

Our church needs some volunteers to help sort and deliver gifts following the White Gift Service. First, immediately after the White Gift service on Sunday, December 8, we must sort the hundreds of gifts for delivery, starting 15 minutes after the service ends. The next morning, Monday, December 9, we will meet at 9:00 am to deliver the gifts to locations in Annandale, Fairfax, and Washington. Please email 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 if you can help. If you have already signed up at the Outreach Fair in October, thank you! We just need a few more hands to keep the work light.11/05

You Should Know...

Family Advent Materials Available

Advent materials will be distributed to children and youth during their church school classes. Advent materials for adults are available for pick up in the narthex, including the United Church of Christ devotional Behold! A full listing of church events and activities during Advent may be found in the blue brochure, Advent and Christmas 2013. 11/27

Join The [Advent Conspiracy]

This year, the Boards of Outreach and Social Justice and Christian Education invite you to Turn Your Christmas Upside Down and join the [Advent Conspiracy].

We all want our Christmas to be a lot of things. Full of joy. Memories. Happiness. Above all, we want it to be about Jesus. What we don't want is stress. Or debt. Or feeling like we "missed the moment." [Advent Conspiracy] is a movement designed to help us all slow down and experience a Christmas worth remembering. But doing this means doing things a little differently. A little creatively.

Each week, we will share one of the themes, and how you can embrace the spirit of Christmastide in deeper, more faith-full ways. For the full story on the conspiracy, please visit and watch this video.11/27

Update to Roster of Leaders

The roster of congregational leaders was revised November 13 with the following changes:

  • Board of Trustees: vacancy (2014) for Sallyanne Harper
  • Endowment Fund Committee: Fran DuRocher (2016) for Brian Ardouny 11/13


Save the Date!

Fifth Sunday in December

As a part of the highly-successful Fifth Sunday series of mission projects, on Sunday, December 29, 2013, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, the Board of Outreach and Social Justice is again sponsoring an afternoon of assembling healthy snack packs for children at Alternative House and Homestretch. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for this intergenerational activity!11/20