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Our 60th Year Revised December 12, 2013

This Weekend...

Advent Choral Music in Worship, December 15

This year, the Sanctuary Choir will offer the Magnificat in B Flat by Francesco Durante, at both the 9:30 and 11:00 am services on Sunday, December 15. The Magnificat is a hymn expressing joy and thanksgiving, sung by the Virgin Mary. Francesco Durante composed two versions of his Magnificat in B Flat. Some controversy surrounds this Magnificat. Although scholars traditionally agree that Durante composed this Magnificat, in 1910 musicologist Giuseppe Radiciotti's attributed the work to Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Durante's talented pupil. 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

Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, and an Evolving Faith, December 15

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. The final session is this Sunday, December 15.12/10

Youth Group to Provide 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. Please join us on Sunday, December 15, at 5:00 pm, in the sanctuary12/10

Next Week...

Fair-Trade Sale—Last Chance This Year, December 22

On Sunday, December 22, there will be one more opportunity for last-minute gifts of fair-trade goodness. Stop by the narthex after worship 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.12/11

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

Coming Soon...

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 136 pledges for a total of $574,739.50 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 Church 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, IJM, one of our global mission partners, 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. 12/4

Thank you for the White Gifts!

On Sunday, December 8, Little River UCC held its beloved White Gift Service. This traditional worship service tells the story of the Magi. The high point of the service is when members of the congregation come forward to offer their gifts, wrapped all in white, for children from low-income families in our community. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice gives thanks to the Little River UCC community for its generous contributions for the 269 children whose Christmas will be made brighter. BOSJ estimates that our church family has once again contributed approximately $10,000 in gifts to those in need in our community. 12/4

Relief for Syria and the Philippines

Little River UCC's Board of Outreach and Social Justice is sending a check for $1,420.46 to disaster relief efforts through the national United Church of Christ. The money is a portion of the BOSJ budget, and we have designated it for Syria and for the Philippines, to be split in equal amounts. These funds will go 100% to alleviate suffering in these two places. Because we already support the United Church Of Christ with our contribution to Our Church's Wider Mission, personnel and pipelines are already in place, so there is no overhead for disaster relief. Many years ago, the UCC established a policy of working with partner churches, knowing that those churches are best prepared to understand and meet the local needs. In Syria, our total humanitarian outreach will help internally displaced persons (4.25 million, including 3 million children), and refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Armenia. In the Philippines, our gift will be administered through the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the ACT Alliance (a network of church relief agencies). Thank you for your contributions, which witness to God's work, through Little River United Church of Christ. 12/11

We Need You...

Annual Reports Due December 16

In preparation for the Annual Meeting of the congregation at the end of January, it is necessary for boards and committees of the church to submit annual reports to the church office, preferably in electronic format, no later than Monday, December 16. Annual reports list all who served the board or committee during the past year, summarize the year's business for the record, suggest future direction, give financial reports on any separate financial accounts or funds, and make the congregation aware of the group and its activities. If you have questions, please contact Maureen Halligan in the office, 703-978-3060 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 12/11

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

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

Welcome John Davis

In an effort to catch up on a backlog of repairs and to better tend to our ongoing maintenance needs, the trustees have hired John Davis on a temporary, part-time basis to assist with the care and upkeep of our building. John will be working closely with our Senior Pastor and Board of Trustees to address routine maintenance and repair challenges. Please join us in welcoming John and thank him for his assistance. As before, if you notice a maintenance or repair issue, please notify Maureen in the church office. She will pass the request on to the trustees or Senior Pastor for approval and action. This does not alleviate our pursuit of a full-time sexton for Little River UCC, but serves as a bridge to address pressing needs while we determine if our stewardship pledges can support a regular staff position. Likewise, please contact a trustee if you have a skill and time to assist with the care of our church. 12/11

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 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