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Our 61st Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised December 18, 2015

This Week

Children's Christmas Cantata

Sunday, December 20

Join the children and youth of Little River this Sunday to celebrate the story of Christmas in the children's cantata, "Christmas Around the World". In this musical, a group of friends uncover a box of old ornaments and use them to decorate a church Christmas tree. As they decorate the tree, they learn about Christmas traditions from around the world and rediscover the story of Jesus' birth. Throughout their afternoon, they sing traditional hymns and lift their voices to celebrate God's love for all.

Christmas Orchestra Rehearsal

Sunday, December 20

The Christmas Orchestra is a wonderful way to celebrate the coming of the light of Christ into our world. Every generation is welcome to come and share their gift of music 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 4:00 pm service. Our one rehearsal will take place in the Sanctuary this Sunday, December 20 after the 11:00 am worship service. If you are interested in joining the fun, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , so she can plan what instrument parts to provide.

Christmas Fund Offering

Sunday, December 20 and Thursday, December 24

Christmas Offering

Please plan to include the Christmas Offering in your holiday giving. At Little River UCC, we will receive this offering on Sunday, December 20 and during both Christmas Eve services. 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 between two organizations who seek justice and peace locally and abroad: the Legal Aid Justice Center actively defends the civil rights of the most vulnerable in our community, and the Church World Service welcomes and supports refugees abroad and at home. The church will gladly receive checks in the office or offering plate. Please make your check payable to Little River UCC with memo "Christmas Fund Offering." The members of the Board of Outreach and Social Justice thank you for your generosity.

Advent Centering and Prayer Circle

Sunday, December 20

With each candle lighted, we step closer to the mystery of Christmas. Come step away from the “busy-ness” of the season for a little while, sharing in spiritual practices that can guide our minds and spirits to a centered place for the season. We will gather in Room 8 (our Advent Chapel) at 11:00 am. This time comes from the experience of many at this fall’s Women’s Retreat.

Town Hall

Sunday, December 20

The leadership of Little River needs to hear from YOU! In December, Senior Pastor David Lindsey and Past Moderator Tom Ross will be co-hosting town hall meetings focused on Little River's visioning process and governance renewal. David and Tom will share the insights they have gained from their respective teams. These sessions are a time to listen and reflect on what God might be calling Little River to do and be (and how we might go about doing it). Each session is identical and will last an hour. Join us Sunday, December 20 at 10:45, 12:15 or 5:00 pm.

Fair Trade Sales

Sunday, December 20

Fair Trade Sales take place again this Sunday. It's your last chance this year to stock up on fairly traded coffee, chocolate, and Palestinian olive oil between worship services. New items -- organic olive tapenade and za'atar spice blend -- will be available to taste and buy! The tapenade sells for $10 a jar, and the za'atar for $7 a box. All fair trade products make interesting, non-alcoholic hostess gifts and stocking stuffers!

Next Week

Christmas Eve Family Worship

Thursday, December 24

The Hebrew scriptures remind us that "a little child shall lead them." Come join in the 4:00 pm 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.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship

Thursday, December 24

With joy and wonder, we come to the Sanctuary expecting God’s Light to break forth in the night. We will share in a traditional 9:00 pm worship service of beloved readings and carols. At the end of this contemplative service, we will complete the night with a candlelit singing of Silent Night.

More Church News

Holiday Office Hours

The office will be closed and working with shortened hours during this holiday season.  Our normal office hours will resume on Monday, January 4. See below for details of our holiday office schedule:
CLOSED:  December 25, 28 and January 1
OPEN (9:00 am - 2:00 pm): December 29 & 30
OPEN (9:00 am - 12:00 pm): December 18, 24 & 31

End-of-Year Financial Reminders

In order for your contributions to Little RIver UCC to be treated on our books and giving statements as having been made in 2015, they must either be (a) physically received in the church office no later than the close of business on December 31, or (b) placed in the mail and postmarked with a date no later than December 31. Please keep in mind that the Post Office does not always date-stamp mail as a routine matter, so just dropping an envelope in the mail on the 31st won’t necessarily guarantee that it will receive such a postmark.

Also, all remaining expenses and reimbursements chargeable to the 2015 operating budget need to be processed and paid by December 31. In order to avoid a last minute paper-work crunch, we request that all vouchers for the payment of such expenses and reimbursements be turned in no later than Monday, December 28 (and earlier if at all possible). If circumstances simply do not permit that, please call the church office (703-978-3060) or email our Office Administrator, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , to let us know in advance what the voucher is for and when you expect to have a signed and completed voucher in her hands. We will do our best to accommodate such last minute vouchers, but please understand that, at some point, we may simply run out of the time necessary for completing their processing and payment.

Advent Spiral Follow-up

The Board of Deacons and Women’s Ministry Team are pleased that forty-five people participated in last week's Advent Spiral Walk. Because this was our first experience, we would value feedback from participants so we can make improvements. Please contact 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 , or speak with us on Sunday and tell us what you thought. Thank you all who participated, and all who helped.

Matching Funds Available for New Pledgers

Still considering whether your household will make a pledge of support to Little River UCC this year? We have been selected by the Central Atlantic Conference of the UCC to receive a modest challenge grant. This grant provides matching funds for any first-time pledges to Little River for the 2016 budget year. As a result, newly-pledged dollars will have a doubled impact this year. We are grateful for this expression of support from our denomination.

Visioning Team Members

As part of our ongoing visioning process, our Senior Pastor has gathered a team of church members to prayerfully consider what God is calling us to do and be in the coming years. The members of this team have been reviewing our April conversations about God’s call for us, as well as demographic information, Christian scripture, and more. At our church’s Annual Meeting in January, this group will be sharing what they have heard from God, from you, and from one another about what Little River’s future might be.

The members of this team are Denny Bloomquist, Carrie Douglas, John Forrest, Saundra Honeysett, Lisa Page, Gail Perry, Marilin Sailor, and Steve Wheelock. Please feel free to ask any of them about this process, and to share with them your hopes and dreams for our congregation’s future. And be sure to attend the Town Hall conversations in the coming weeks, to let your voice be heard!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Christian Hospital, Mungeli

Our Global Ministries Partner in India, Anil Henry, wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. They are thankful for all the prayers and support they have received this year. Read the entire December update here.

Save the Date

One Worship Service

Sunday, December 27

Join us on the First Sunday of Christmas for one worship service at 10:00 am. There will be no church school for children and youth, but childcare for infants, toddlers, and twos will be available in Room 1.

"Caring Hands" Prayer Shawl Project

Sunday, January 3 & 24

"Caring Hands" is Little River's name for those of us in the church who knit or crochet items for various causes. Over the past several years, projects have included preemie hats for Fairfax INOVA Hospital, winter hats for Thrive DC, squares for Knit-a-Square blankets for South Africa, scarves for the UCC Rainbow Scarf Project, and baptism blankets for babies baptized at Little River UCC. At this time, the Deacons' Parish Care Committee would like to provide prayer shawls to the pastors so that they may give them to those experiencing difficult life circumstances. The Committee aims to have several shawls on hand, so there is always one available when the need arises.

For those interested in making prayer shawls, there will be drop-in sessions on Sundays, January 3 and 24 (11:00 am - 12:30 pm) in Room 7 where you may pick up supplies and connect with others interested in this effort. There will also be information on baptism blankets as well as charity knitting and crochet projects beyond Little River UCC.

For more information or to schedule a knitting/crochet lesson, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Intersections: Sacred Conversation on Race

Sunday, January 3

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 will gather on Sunday, January 3 at 11:00 a.m. in Room 8 for prayer and thought on the continuing issues of racism.

Women's Book Group: Poetry Reading

Sunday, January 10

Sunday, January 10 is our Women's Book Group annual Poetry-fest. Jennifer Atkinson will lead, and is providing a brief anthology from which we may select an interesting, appealing, moving and/or challenging poem. The anthology will be available soon. Please join us at 12:15 pm in Room 7.

Church Council News

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