Currents banner

News on the Web in conjunction with Current Tidings weekly e-mails

Our 60th Year Revised December 4, 2013

This Weekend...

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. 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

Fair Trade Sale, December 8

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. If you can't make it this Sunday, there will be one more opportunity for last minute gifts of fair-trade goodness on Sunday, December 2212/4

Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, and an Evolving Faith, December 8

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

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, December 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 story for worshippers of all ages, who follow the Magi and offer gifts to honor the Christ child. Gifts, wrapped in white paper, are brought to the service to be delivered later to young children from low-income families served by ACCA, Main Street Children Development Center and Shaw Community Ministry.

Please take one or more tags from the tree in the atrium at church. 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. If you were not able to choose a tag, you may still participate by bringing a toy, a puzzle, or mittens and a hat, wrapped in white and marked as to the gift's contents. 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, as the gifts will be delivered the following day. Allow yourself the pleasure of sharing God's love with a child in need this Christmas season! 12/1

Next Week...

Choral Music in Worship, December 15

This year, the Sanctuary Choir will offer Francesco Durante's Magnificat in B Flat. The Magnificat is a hymn expressing joy and thanksgiving, sung by the Virgin Mary. Francesco Durante composed two versions of this setting. Some controversy surrounds this Magnificat. Although scholars traditionally agree that Durante composed it, in 1910 musicologist Giuseppe Radicciotti attributed the work to Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Durante's talented pupil, under whose name it has become well known. Please come and share in this sermon in song, based on Luke 1:46-55, performed by our Sanctuary Choir, soloists, and chamber orchestra.12/1

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

Blue Christmas Service, December 15

Many people struggle with the "joy" that we are supposed to pass on during the holidays. The Blue Christmas worship acknowledges the sadness and struggle many of us face during this season, but also encourages us to move towards the hope of God's promise.12/1

Coming Soon...

Christmas Orchestra Rehearsal, December 22

The Christmas Orchestra is a new way to celebrate the coming of the light of Christ into our world. Players of every generation are welcome to come and join in this "pick-up" ensemble. Dust off your violin, tune up your cello, and bring your bass! We will learn familiar songs of Advent and Christmas and prepare to help lead worship on Christmas Eve at the 5:00 pm service. Our one rehearsal will take place in the sanctuary on Sunday, December 22, from 12:00 to 1:30 pm. 12/1

Christmas Eve Worship Services, December 24

Family Worship, 5:00 pm

The Hebrew scriptures remind us that "a little child shall lead them." Come join in the celebration of Christmas Eve with the joy of a child. This service is shaped for the unique needs of our families with young children—and the young-at-heart! We will enjoy the music of the Salt of the Earth and Joyful Noise choirs, as well as the musical gifts of the Christmas Orchestra welcoming us to worship. Children and youth are encouraged to share in the celebration, dressed as an angel, shepherd, or favorite animal. If you happen to arrive without your costume, or you have guests for the holiday, we've got "costumes" on hand for you to borrow. Help us tell and sing the stories of Christ's birth as we welcome the Light of the World into our hearts.12/1

Candlelight Worship, 9:00 pm

With a mood of joyful wonder, we come to the sanctuary expecting God's light to break forth in the night. We will share in a traditional service of lessons and carols, the stories and songs that recall Christ's coming to the whole earth. We will complete the night with our tradition of singing "Silent Night" by candlelight. 12/1

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 134 pledges for a total of $571,079.50. Thank you for sharing your blessings! 12/4

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)

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 Community Ministry, 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!12/4

Advent Funshops Thank You!

Many, many thanks to all who volunteered to make Advent Funshops on Sunday, December 1, a huge success! Special thanks to Ashton Streavig for her piano playing, to our youth group members for their White Gift wrapping and all around help, and to Lorri Jones for her prolific sugar cookie baking. A wonderful Advent afternoon of crafts, snacks and music was had by all! Our cookie swap and cookie decorating table generated 12 boxes of holiday cookies for Little River UCC members and friends at Greenspring. If you join us for the reception after the White Gift Service on December 8, at 5:00 pm, you might get to taste Lorri's classic cookies—including some decorated by little hands at Advent Funshops!12/4

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.12/4

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

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

Bulletin Deadline December 16

In order to publish the bulletins for December 22 and 29 and January 5, please submit worship and announcement information to the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it no later than Monday, December 16. Thank you! 12/4

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

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

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

Women's Book Group

The Women's Book Group will meet from 12:15 to 1:30 pm on Sunday, January 5, 2014, to share poetry. Please plan to bring two poems to read to the group and share why each is meaningful to you. Suggested books are The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck, A Book of Luminous Things edited by C. Milosz, poetry by Sonia Sanchez, or poetry by Louise Erdrich. You may select from any other poet that appeals to you as well. Please join the group for a relaxing and enjoyable way to begin the new year!12/4


Open Mike Night

On Saturday, February 22, 2014, Little River UCC will host our annual Open Mike Night! It's time to think about what "talent" you would like to present for this evening. All are welcome to participate! More information will follow shortly. In the meantime, if you have questions, please speak with the event chairman, Sue Leathers. 12/4