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Our 60th Year Revised December 18, 2013

This Weekend...

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

Next Week...

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. Come and be a part of the Christmas story. No lines to be learned—no rehearsals to attend! Simply come to church dressed as your favorite animal or an angel, a shepherd, a queen, or a king. Or just come as yourself!12/18

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

Christmas Day Luncheon for LRUCC Members, December 25

If you find yourself without plans for the holidays this year because your family is away or you live alone, please know that your Little River UCC friends have a plan for you! We're having a luncheon on Christmas Day, at the home of one of our members who lives just two blocks from the church. We'll have a potluck luncheon that includes homemade Moravian chicken pies, salad, pumpkin pie, and other dishes. Lunch will begin at 12:00 noon, and you are welcome to come celebrate the birthday of Christ, in addition to sharing holiday memories and watching some football! Please RSVP to Katherine at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call her in the evening at 571-384-0772.12/18

Coming Soon...

Fifth Sunday Mission Project, December 29

As a part of the highly successful Fifth Sunday series of mission projects, on Sunday, December 29, 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 at church for this intergenerational activity!11/20

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 143 pledges for a total of $604,799.50 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. 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. 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 adventconspiracy.org. Thank you for sharing and caring!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

White Gifts Bring Smiles

Thank you, Little River UCC, for the abundance of gifts you contributed for children in need as a part of our annual White Gift Service! One Little River member commented,

As one of five 'delivery' cars overflowing with gifts for the 180+ children at the Annandale child care center [Annandale Christian Community for Action or ACCA] and as an attendee at the Shaw [Shaw Community Ministry] Christmas party, I can tell you that our gifts bring big smiles of appreciation from both children and adults.12/18

We Need You...

Annual Reports Due

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 form. The deadline for submitting the reports was Monday, December 16. If you have not already done so, please submit your report as soon as possible. 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 12/18

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 pickup 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 show how you can embrace the spirit of Christmastide in deeper, more faith-full ways. For the full story on the conspiracy, please visit www.adventconspiracy.org 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!

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 am for prayer and thought on the continuing issues of racism. Please join us for our next conversation Sunday, January 5, 2014, in Room 8. Each month we focus our conversation on a specific issue within the intertwined issues of racism. If you would like to receive readings prior to the conversation, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to be added to the distribution list. 12/18

Confirmation Class of 2014

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. All youth in ninth grade and above who wish to take part in the class are invited to a welcome session on Sunday, January 5, 2014, at 11:00 am, in Room 7. We will discuss what confirmation is, look at the schedule of classes, and learn more about each other. Please contact Rev. Susan or Rev. Hank with questions or comments. 12/11

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