Currents banner

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

Our 61st Year Revised May 10, 2014

This Weekend...

Gay Men's Chorus Concert to Benefit Equality Group, May 9

The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC, one of the area's most acclaimed musical groups, will peform the evening of Friday, May 9, for the benefit of People of Faith for Equality for Virginia (POFEV). The Little River UCC Board of Outreach and Social Justice encourages your participation in this joyous and inspiring evening of music. The concert will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling. Doors open at 6:30 pm for tapas; the concert begins at 7:30 pm.

To reserve a seat, make a donation online to POFEV of $15 per adult and $5 per child with a credit card or PayPal account. Click on the large, black Gay Men's Chorus icon. Write "Gay Men's Chorus" in the "purpose" field next to the amount paid. Bring your receipt, and we'll have your tickets at the door. Child care will be available at the event. For more information, go to 4/22

Planning Committee for Participation in Capital Pride Parade, May 10

On Saturday, May 10, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, in Room 8, Little River UCC members are invited to meet with members of other local United Church of Christ churches to plan our involvement in the Capital Pride Parade to be held in Washington, DC, on Saturday, June 7. All interested people are invited to attend this strategic planning session. We will discuss issues of float setup and breakdown, marching,and other parade activities. 4/30

Dr. Anil Henry Visit, May 11

On Sunday, May 11, we will welcome our missionary partner from India, Dr. Anil Henry and his wife Teresa, to Little River UCC. We provide an annual benevolence to Dr. Henry through Global Ministries to support his work at the Christian Hospital of Mungeli. Dr. Henry will share a meditation at both services on May 11.

Following the 11:00 am service, at 12:15 pm, you are invited to join Dr. Henry and his wife for lunch and an informational talk in the social hall. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice will provide vegetarian lasagna; potluck side dishes (including salads and desserts) are needed and welcome, please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to sign up to contribute to this meal. This promises to be a wonderful opportunity for Little River UCC to connect with Dr. Henry and learn about his work. Questions? Please contact the Board of Outreach and Social Justice at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 4/22

Fair Trade Sale

Stop by the narthex after worship this Sunday, May 11, 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.5/10

Save the Date...

Summer Worship Schedule

Please note that beginning Sunday, May 25, we will worship at 10:00 am only. Celebration Sunday worship takes place on Sunday, June 1 at 10:00 am followed by the church picnic. We will resume two worship services (9:30 and 11:00) on the Sunday after Labor Day. 5/8

Experiencing the Bible Again for the First Time Returns in June

Looking for a way to deepen your encounter with the Bible? Looking for something different in Adult Faith Formation? Come and share in an experiential small-group gathering engaging Marcus Borg's Reading the Bible Again for the First Time through worship, reflection, and discussion. June sessions focus on the Gospels, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation. New participants are welcome! Gatherings take place on Sundays June 15, 22 and 29 from 8:45 to 10:00 am in the Jubilee Room. The class is led by Janet Parsons Mackey and Barbara Lowrey. Copies of the book are available in the office for $15.00. 5/8

We're Thankful For...

Fifth Sunday: Thank You

A huge thank-you to all who participated in our Fifth Sunday/Earth Day activity at Roundtree Park on Sunday, April 27! The Board of Outreach and Social Justice is happy to report that a lively intergenerational group of 25 people joined together for more than two hours to fill and remove from this community park, 20 full trash bags of 'stuff' and about 10 bags of recyclable materials! 4/30

Faith in Film: Thank You

Thank you, all who participated in Faith in Film this program year. The series, offered in partnership by the Board of Outreach and Social Justice and the Board of Christian Education, resumes in September. 4/30

We Need You...

Graduates: Information Please!

On Sunday, June 1, we will honor members of our church family who graduated this spring, or have done so since last June, from high school, college, technical school or graduate school. If that describes you or a family member, please notify the church office in writing by Monday, May 26. Please include the graduate's name, school and degree, relationship (if not a Little River UCC family member), and, for high school graduates, whether they will continue their education, military service, etc. Also please let the office know about any address changes for graduates listed in the church directory. Please send this information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .5/8

Pathfinders: Progressive Christian Young Adults—New Dates and Location

Little River's young adults in their 20s and 30s join young adults from other progressive churches for Bible study and fellowship on the first and third Mondays of each month. The group meets from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, at Caffe Amouri in Vienna, VA. Pathfinders also participate in mission projects, an annual retreat, and other events. To learn more about Pathfinders please visit their blog.5/8

You Should Know...

Forum on Solitary Confinement Follow-Up

Despite torrential rain on April 30, approximately 40 people attended a thought-provoking forum at LRUCC addressing issues related to solitary confinement and mental health. The speakers presented startling statistics and stories regarding inhuman conditions suffered by persons held in solitary confinement, the resulting impact on their mental health, and barriers to re-entry into communities.

Laura Markle Downton of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture shared that, since the 1980s, solitary confinement has increased 400%, and "supermax" prisons for exclusively for solitary confinement have increased from one to 40. Prisoners often are consigned to solitary confinement for trivial rule infractions—too many pencils, stepping off the sidewalk—and, in the case of women, reporting rape by officers. Some states are beginning to take action, but for-profit prison contracts often require that at least 80% of beds be filled.

Laura Usher of the National Alliance on Mental Illness reminded us that jails and prisons have become de facto mental health facilities as closings of psychiatric hospitals have left many communities without necessary mental health resources, housing and health care services. Community crisis intervention is needed before individuals are caught up in the criminal justice system. Re-entry planning is essential.

Virginia House of Delegates member Patrick Hope described visits to Virginia's Red Onion prison, legislative efforts to reduce the use of solitary confinement, and implementation of the "step down" program to transition inmates from solitary confinement into the general population.

Powerful first-hand testimony came from Russell Green-Bey, who experienced extended solitary confinement in a Maryland prison for walking on the grass. He described being at the mercy of corrections staff for access to basic conditions—to obtain books, to exercise the allotted one hour per day, to shower or make a phone call—while confined to a tiny cell with walls that sweated in summer and iced up in winter. He talked openly about his transition to antisocial and paranoid behavior and his road back to recovery. Russell is now a mentor in the American Friends Service Committee's "Friend of a Friend" program. 5/8

What Ever Happened to Passages?

Before our beloved newsletter, Currents, went all-electronic, members and friends at Little River UCC were able to keep track of the joys and concerns of the congregation through the regular column Passages. With the move to the electronic Current Tidings and Currents on the Web, the ability to communicate these important milestones to the congregation while protecting the privacy of those involved was missing. Its absence has been very much on the mind of the congregation, the pastoral staff, and the Communications Advisory Team! We know that this is an important part of the work we do and we rejoice to report that we have a solution!

Beginning in the middle of May, a twice-monthly email will be sent just to members and friends of Little River UCC. This email will be a place to share joys, concerns, and changes of address with the congregation. We envision that this also would be available at church in printed form for pick-up or for mailing to those who are unable to access email. Stay tuned for additional details and thank you for your patience!

Heather Shackley, Chair, Communications Advisory Team 4/30

Church Council News

The minutes of the March 23 special congregational meeting and the April 13 special Church Council meeting, as well as the draft minutes of the April 24 Church Council meeting, have been posted on this website.The next meeting of the Little River UCC Church Council will take place on Wednesday, May 14, at 7:30 pm. An agenda will be posted the week of the meeting. For further information, please contact moderator This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 4/30