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Our 61st Year Revised January 2, 2014

This Weekend...

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 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

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. 1/2

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, ninth grade and above, who wish to take part in the class, are invited to a welcome session on Sunday, January 5 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 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

Next Week...

Looking Ahead: A Discussion on How We Work Together

Over the last year, the Church Council has been giving great thought to how we work together and the manner in which we make decisions as a church community. As a congregational church, we frequently struggle with finding the right balance between too much discussion and the need to make decisions that help us move forward. We also often struggle with the need to have enough church members to serve as officers, board and committee members and in other capacities. On Sunday, January 12 at 11:00 am, members of the organizational review team will host a discussion in Room 8, to discuss possible changes in the way we operate beginning in 2014. A pilot effort, which will be discussed at the annual congregational meeting, would allow the church council to operate in two ways: a smaller group of church officers and key leaders would serve as a "governing" body while the larger group would focus on church ministry and coordination. Please join us for an interesting and important discussion! Further information is available in this document. 1/2

Faith in Film

Faith in Film returns on Sunday, January 12 from 12:30 to 2:00 pm in Room 8 to share lunch and a movie. This month's focus is on human trafficking and modern slavery. We will share several segments of the PBS documentary, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. This inspiring four-hour series was shown on two evenings in October, 2012. It tells the stories of 24 encounters inspired by the book written by Nickolas Kristof and Cheryl WuDunn. The segments we focus on will help us to understand these issues, and how they are still active in our world today. To help plan our meal together, please sign up in social hall or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For more information on the documentary, please visit the Half the Sky website . Our mission partner, International Justice Mission (IJM), challenges us to learn more about these issues, central to their ministry on our behalf. For more information, please visit IJM's website. 1/2

Conversation on Membership

If you are considering membership in Little River United Church of Christ, you are invited to attend our next Conversation on Membership class, to be held on Sunday, January 12 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm, in the conference room. The discussion will focus on the history and mission of Little River's ministry and on the United Church of Christ. Those ready to covenant with us will do so on Sunday, January 26 at the Annual Meeting. For more information, please speak to one of the pastors. The next round of Conversations will be held in March. 1/2

Coming Soon...

Place Setters Dine Out

Let's share Saturday dinner on January 25 at 6:00 pm at Rose Restaurant in Vienna. This family-owned restaurant serves Iranian specialties. To sign up, please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call the church office, or sign up in the atrium at church. Place Setters is a Little River UCC fellowship program that provides periodic opportunities for small groups of members and friends to get to know one another better over a meal. 1/2

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 148 pledges for a total of $615,479.50. Thank you for sharing your blessings! 12/27

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, which was received at both services on Christmas Eve, 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, 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 adventconspiracy.org. Thank you for sharing and caring!12/26

We Need You...

Annual Reports Due

Thank you to everyone who has turned in an annual report. Your prompt response is appreciated! If your board, committee, or group has not already done so, please submit your report right away. 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

Donate Sanctuary Flowers in 2014

The 2014 Flower Chart is posted in the social hall. You are invited to sign up to donate the flowers for the sanctuary on the Sunday of your choice, on a first-come basis. This is a wonderful way to honor or remember someone, or to celebrate a special occasion.1/2

You Should Know...

By now you have heard the Rev. Susan Henderson's ministry at Little River UCC will conclude on March 2. And you are, no doubt, curious about where the Search Committee is in the process of identifying our next Senior Pastor. We have narrowed the search to a very few candidates. Should all go as anticipated, we will host what is called a "candidate weekend" at church in a couple of months.

During the candidate weekend, the prospective candidate and his or her family will come to Little River for a whirlwind visit. The individual meets with church members in a variety of settings and then preaches at a single Sunday service. After that single service, the candidate will leave the sanctuary and we will hold a congregational meeting to vote on the candidate. We hope that the result of that congregational meeting will be a decision to officially "call" that candidate to the position of Senior Pastor.

Once the official call is made, the individual gives notice at his or her current position, and then it will be two to three months before the newly-called pastor begins at Little River UCC. Given this schedule, we expect to have our new Senior Pastor at Little River in late spring. We are truly excited about the future and thank you for your patience and prayers as we move forward. 12/26

Deacons Adopt Nut Awareness Policy

The Little River UCC Board of Deacons adopted a Nut Awareness Policy at its November 26 meeting. The policy, as adopted, is as follows:

The church encourages you to avoid bringing foods with nuts for coffee hour or other events such as potlucks because we have individuals in the congregation, including a child, with serious nut allergies. However, we cannot guarantee a nut-free zone. If you are an individual with a nut allergy or have a child with the allergy, you must remain vigilant as there will probably be occasions when some kind of nuts are present.

Coffee teams and leads of potluck events should use the available "contains nuts" signs in the kitchen to label any item that they suspect may contain nuts.12/26

Save the Date!

Annual Meeting

The 2014 Annual Meeting of Little River United Church of Christ will take place Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 11:00 am, in the sanctuary. Because of the meeting, worship will take place at 9:30 am only. 1/2

Open Mike Night

On Saturday, February 22, Little River UCC will once again 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