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Our 61st Year Donna Jones, EditorRevised November 28, 2014

Advent and Christmas at Little River UCC

Advent begins the Christian year. Please read a letter from our pastors and learn about our many advent events in our Advent and Christmas brochure. Download copies for your household and to share with friends and neighbors! The UCC Advent devotional booklet Tear Open the Heavens is also available in the narthex. 11/28

This Week...

Fall Cleanup Day

Santurday, November 29

The Trustees have scheduled a fall cleanup and work-party day Saturday, November 29, from 8:00 to noon.

Outdoor tasks include leaf raking, gravel drive maintenance, brush removal, cutting down three invasive Ailanthus trees, and relocating bricks piled outside kitchen door.

Indoor projects include putting new felt pads on the bottoms of sanctuary chairs, cleaning the floor in the main equipment room, replacing stained ceiling tiles in the nursery, and thoroughly washing kitchen pots and pans.

Please join us, rain or shine! 10/31

Advent Funshops and Cookie Swap

Sunday, November 30

In a Little River tradition, we gather in the social hall on the first Sunday afternoon of Advent to enjoy time together making crafts to celebrate the season. So skip the mall and please join us on November 30 at 3:30 as we enjoy time with our church family and decorate cookies, make ornaments, put together gingerbread houses, and paint nativity sun catchers (to name but a few of our fun crafts). This is an advent activity for all ages!

Also, please also consider dusting off your special cookie recipe for our cookie swap. Bring four dozen cookies (preferably homemade), swap three dozen, go home with an assortment, and leave one dozen for church friends and members who need a little extra light in their lives this holiday season.

Custom Wrapping for White Gits

Sunday, November 30

Have you struggled to find plain white paper to wrap your White Gifts? Our PYF youth have a solution for you! Bring your unwrapped gifts to church on the afternoon of Sunday, November 30. While you help decorate our church for Advent or participate in making crafts at the Advent Funshops, the youth will wrap your gifts. All money that might be offered as thanks for gift wrapping will go toward funding the 2015 summer mission experience.

Pilgrim Youth Fellowship Schedule

  • Sunday, November 30: All youth are invited to help with the Advent Funshops!
    • 2:30: Help set up if you're available.
    • 3:30-5:30: Help wrap white gift packages and decorate gingerbread houses.
  • Sunday, December 7, 5:00: You are encouraged to participate in the White Gift Service. Evening PYF will not meet. 11/21

Bereavement Tea

Thursday, December 4

As the holidays come upon us, we remember those individuals who are no longer in our lives. The Deacons' annual Bereavement Tea welcomes families who have lost a loved one over the course of the year to gather, remember, and share stories. To help spark our conversation, we will gather at 1:00 on Thursday, December 4, at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria, VA 22312.

Invitations for this gathering were sent out in November. If you have lost a loved one this year, and did not receive an invitation, please contact the church office at your convenience. There is a place for you! 11/28

Next Week...

Start the Holidays with First Friday

Friday, December 5

Parents: The holidays are upon us! Bring your children to First Friday on December 5 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. They will spend the evening decorating holiday cookies and making crafts while you enjoy a little free time. The cost is $15 per child, with a family maximum of $30. If you pre-register by Sunday, November 30, the cost is $10 with a family maximum of $25. Register online or between church services at the table in the narthex. If you've already completed a registration form for the 2014-15 program year, please write This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to let us know your child(ren) will be attending.

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 neighbors!

Quiet Reflection

Saturday, December 6

You are encouraged and invited to pull away from the rush of the holidays and enjoy some serenity and reflection on the meaning of Christmas. We will join together in peaceful, quiet reflection in the sanctuary at 11:00 on December 6. Light refreshments will be provided.

Coming Soon...

White Gift Service and Tree

For Sunday, December 7

Note: the White Gift service will take place at 5:00 pm.

The White Gift Service is a beloved Little River UCC tradition in which we reenact the Nativity scene for worshipers of all ages, who follow the Magi and offer gifts to honor the Christ child. In preparation for that special service, our White Gift Christmas tree stands in the atrium to express the Christmas hopes of young children from low- income families served by Annandale Christian Community for Action, Main Street Child Development Center, and Shaw Community Ministry.

Please take one or more tags from the tree. 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. For boxes belonging with the same tag, tie together with white string. All gifts are meant to be offered at the White Gift Service on Sunday, December 7, at 5:00 pm. If you are unable to attend, please drop gifts off in the office prior to the service.

Allow yourself the pleasure of sharing God's love with a child in need this Christmas season! But please take only as many tags as you are able to provide gifts. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice thanks Little River UCC friends and members for their strong support of this ministry. 11/07

Intersections: Sacred Conversation on Race

Sunday, December 7

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 for prayer and thought on the continuing issues of racism. Please join us for our next conversation Sunday, December 7, in Room 8.

Christmas Poinsettias

Deadline: Monday, December 8

You are invited to help provide 6½" red or white poinsettias for the sanctuary in honor or in memory of a loved one. Deadline for ordering a poinsettia is Monday, December 8. The cost is $12.00 per pot. Please make your check payable to Little River UCC and note "Flower Fund" on the check and envelope. Place your order with payment in the offering plate or leave it in the church office.

Pick up an order form at church, or send the following information with your order:

  • Your name(s)
  • Your phone number or e-mail address
  • Name(s) of person(s) to be honored or remembered
  • Number of red poinsettias @ $12.00
  • Number of white poinsettias @ $12.00
  • Total payment enclosed
  • Will you pick up your poinsettias after the 9:00 Christmas Eve candlelight service?

11/23

Faith in Film

Sunday, December 14

Faith in Film returns December 14 from 12:30 to 2:00 to provide a shared lunch and viewing of the documentary Broken on All Sides about the "new Jim Crow" of mass incarceration. From the website:

Much of the discrimination that was legal in the Jim Crow era is today illegal when applied to black people but perfectly legal when applied to "criminals." The prob­lem is that through subjective choices, people of color have been tar­geted at significantly higher rates for stops, searches, arrests, prosecution, and harsher sentences. So, where does this leave criminal justice?

Please join us in Room 8. Child care will be provided. RSVP to 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 so we may plan for lunch. 11/28

Blue Christmas Worship

Sunday, December 14

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. The service begins at 5:00.

Save the Date...

Installation of Pastor Lindsey

Sunday, January 11

The Rev. Dr. David Lindsey will be formally installed by the Potomac Association as our senior pastor at a special worship service at Little River on Sunday, January 11 at 3:00 pm. Please plan to attend this hour-long service and the light reception afterward.

Open Mike Night

Saturday, February 21

Warm your spirits and chase away the winter blahs at our annual amateur talent night! Save the date and watch for details before year's end.

Ongoing...

Saving Jesus

Through Sunday, December 21

The class is a small-group, DVD-based exploration of the relevance of Jesus, featuring religious voices of our day. Topics include Who Was Jesus, Jesus' Ministry of Compassion, and Why Jesus Is Worth Saving. The class meets Sundays through December 21 at 11:00 a.m. 10/29

Please Help...

Help Support First Friday

Friday, December 5

We are looking for volunteers to provide several dozen small, plain cookies for First Friday and people 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 Pastor Hank at 703-978-3060 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 11/21

White Gift Refreshments and Delivery Angels

Sunday-Monday, December 7-8

Please help the Deacons host a festive reception after the White Gift service by bringing a contribution of some tasty appetizer or sweet on Sunday, December 7. You may leave them Sunday morning (marked for White Gift please) or before the service at 5:00.

Our church also needs volunteers to help with our White Gifts. First, immediately after the White Gift service on Sunday, December 7, we must sort the hundreds of gifts for delivery, starting 15 minutes after the service ends. The next morning, Monday, December 8, 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 if you can help. Thank you! 11/07

Gifts from Loving Hearts Campaign

Here is a portion of a brief theological reflection Rob Peters shared last Sunday:

There are as many as a dozen specific practices each of us can pursue that will lead to a meaningful and fulfilling spiritual journey. Regular participation in congregational worship is one. A second is the cultivation of daily prayer and meditation—a discipline difficult to keep in our overly busy lives. A third faith practice is generosity: the giving of time and resources for the work of the church and the benefit of the wider community. As participants in the life of the church, whether formal members or not, we are called by God to be generous stewards and givers as part of our spiritual journey.

Walter Brueggeman, an insightful biblical theologian, has said that when we as Christian give, we are re-enacting the generosity of God, who has freely bestowed on us the abundance of God's grace and forgiveness. For Christians, giving is far more than being willing to support a financial appeal. Generous giving, intentionally decided, is an important faith practice which is part of an active spiritual journey.

As of Wednesday, November 26, our campaign had received 112 Estimates of Giving for a total of $505,988. We still have a significant distance to go to reach our needed giving level in excess of $700,000.

If you have not yet decided to offer an Estimate of Giving for 2015, the Stewardship Committee again asks you to do so. Financial support becomes the life blood of the church's many ministries. Every gift matters.. 11/28

You Should Know...

Annual Reports

Deadline: Wednesday, December 17

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 an annual report to the church office, preferably in electronic format, no later than Wednesday, December 17.

Please submit your single-spaced report using Microsoft Word in 12-point Times New Roman font. Annual reports list all who served on 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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it in the office. 11/14

Footsteps to Switzerland

A few openings remain for the Footsteps trip to Switzerland, scheduled for July 13-25. Learn about the Swiss Reformation on location and travel to the Alps. For information activities, arrangements, cost and payments, deadlines, and more, call Robert Lingo (703-425-9140). 11/30

Church Council News

  • The Ministry Board met on Wednesday, October 1.
  • The Governance Board met on Wednesday, November 12.
  • The next meeting of the Governance Board will be held on Wednesday, December 10, at 7:30 p.m. An agenda for that meeting will be posted a few days before the meeting.
  • The most recent minutes of Church Council and Governance Board meetings have been posted on this website.
  • For more information, please contact moderator This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .