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Our 63rd Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised December 9, 2016

Third Sunday of Advent
10:00 am Worship

Sunday, December 11

Amid all the beauty and inspiration in our sacred scriptures, women's stories and experiences are far too rarely told from their own perspective.

This Sunday, our Sanctuary Choir will lead us in reflecting on one such rarity: the Magnificat, found in the New Testament stories surrounding the birth of Jesus. In the Magnificat, Mary reflects on her extraordinary calling in becoming Christ's mother.

Join us this Sunday at 10 am for a service filled with music, then be sure to come to the White Gift Service at 5 pm that evening!

This Week

White Gift Service and Pasta Dinner

Sunday, December 11

The White Gift Service is a beloved Little River tradition in which our members reenact the Nativity scene, then follow the Magi to offer gifts honoring the Christ child. Please plan to attend the White Gift Service at 5:00 pm thisSunday, December 11 and our first White Gift Dinner following that service. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice would like to celebrate the season of giving with a pasta dinner prepared by our own John Davis. A sign-up sheet to RSVP is available in the atrium near the White Gift Tree; please let us know if you are able to attend so we can plan to have enough food. We are asking for a few contributions of salad and dessert with sign-ups for those also available in the atrium. Join us to come together as community!

Fair Trade Sales for the Holidays

Sunday, December 11 & 18

To make sure you can fulfill your holiday needs, fairly traded products will be for sale on two Sundays in December. You’ll find chocolate bars for stockings and office gifts, coffee for your entertaining and sanity (chocolate too, for that matter), bottles of Palestinian olive oil for hostess gifts instead of wine, tins of olive oil for your kitchen, olive tapenade and za’ater for all, and, new this year, lovely bars of olive oil soap for giving and enjoying. Please remember that all items support small farmers in emerging economies by providing fair compensation, and a portion of the olive oil sales supports Tent of Nations, a West Bank organization working on peace and reconciliation. Look for the sales table after worship!

Next Week and Beyond

Monday Morning Bible Study

Monday, December 12

The Monday Morning Study Group invites you to begin the 'Study Of Jesus and His Jewish Influences’ from the Great Courses with Professor Jodi Magness, Ph.D., a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Explore excerpts and passages from influential texts such as the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Apocrypha. Follow the evolution of 12 Israelite tribes into a monarchy that crumbled over tensions about worshipping the God of Israel. Examine how the Book of Daniel is repeated in Jesus's own prophesies about the destruction of the Temple. This is a new topic and we hope you will join us Mondays from 10:00 am to noon in Room 8. This study group is led by Richard Davidson.

Bereavement Tea

Tuesday, December 13

As the holidays arrive, we remember those individuals who are no longer with us. The Deacons’ Annual Bereavement Tea welcomes everyone who has lost an immediate family member within the past year to gather, remember, and share stories. This gathering will take place at Green Spring Gardens Park on Tuesday, December 13 from 1-3 pm, where we will share high tea, learn a bit about the history of Green Spring Gardens, and enjoy each others company in a relaxing and peaceful setting. Invitations for the tea were recently mailed.

If you have lost a close loved one this year, and do not receive an invitation, please contact the 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 by early December.

Greenspring Ministry

Wednesday, December 14

On the second Wednesday of the month, Pastor David visits with our church members at Greenspring Village, a retirement community in Springfield. This visit happens in the Craft Room at Hunter’s Crossing from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. This month's discussion will focus on what brings you joy at this time of year, as well as what helps you with any sorrows or sadness this season may bring. If you or someone you know lives at Greenspring, be sure to let them know about this opportunity to get together with their neighbors and church friends!

Family Faith and Film

Sunday, December 18

Bring the whole family to enjoy a viewing of the seasonal favorite "A Charlie Brown Christmas" as we receive a lighthearted reminder of the reason for the season! Bring a bag lunch, a blanket, and prepare to snuggle with your loved ones. Punch, cookies and fun activities provided by the Board of Christian Education. See you there on Sunday, December 18 at 11:30 am in the Jubilee Room.

Christmas Fund Offering

Sunday, December 18 and Saturday, December 24

Please plan to include the Christmas Offering in your holiday giving. At Little River UCC, we will receive this offering on Sunday, December 18 and during both Christmas Eve services (Saturday, December 24). 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: JustChildren and The Church World Service. The JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center is the largest children's law program in the state of Virginia. They rely on a range of strategies to make sure the Commonwealth's most vulnerable young people receive the services and support they need to lead successful lives in their communities. The Church World Service welcomes and supports refugees abroad and at home. The church will gladly receive contributions in the office, offering plate, or through the online giving button on the website. Please make your check payable to Little River UCC with memo "Christmas Fund Offering." Cash donations can be included in the special Christmas Fund envelope or in a regular pew envelope with “Christmas Fund” written on the outside. The members of the Board of Outreach and Social Justice thank you for your generosity.

More Church News

Celebrate Faithful Giving Update

The news from the Celebrate Faithful Giving Campaign is very positive!

This week the campaign crossed a new and reported $504,830 in pledges from 111 families and individuals. Is there a possibility of setting a record by achieving the minimum goal before Christmas? Only $102,170 is needed to reach the campaign’s minimum goal of $607,000. There is also the real possibility that together the congregation will receive a larger total number of commitments for 2017 than in 2016. Only 24 pledges are needed to exceed the total pledges received for 2016. The matching gift challenge continues. It will provide one dollar for each three dollars of increased giving from current or new givers up to a total match of $6,000. Watch this space!

The matching challenge must be met by the close of business on Friday, January 6, 2017.

Women's March on Washington Needs Your Donations

Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

As some of you may know, women, and other concerned citizens, from around the region, country, and world are preparing a peaceful protest/gathering/march for the day after the Presidential Inauguration on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. (More information for the Million Women March can be found at The Board of Outreach and Social Justice is ironing out the details of our physical participation in the march, but we do know that we would like to incorporate signs. In the vein of not looking threatening (i.e., using stakes, sticks, metal, etc.), we are hoping that church members can bring in their empty, cardboard, Christmas wrapping paper tubes to use as sign posts. We will have a collection box in the atrium moving forward for this purpose.

Annual Update from Anil Henry

The annual report of the Christian Hospital Mungeli (CHM) is available on the Global Ministries website.

Little River UCC has a long-term supporting relationship with Dr. Anil Henry, surgeon and Medical Director at CHM. The hospital serves a great need as it offers the only affordable health care in the area and is also the only facility able to provide high quality surgical care. This year the hospital continued its exciting growth and worked to improve its services even more. Visit the website at or like Christian Hospital Mungeli on Facebook to follow the transformative and essential work this growing facility performs in its region. A few highlights from the report include the facts that the annual number of patients now surpasses 30,000; the hospital-run school now educates over 800 impoverished children from the surrounding area; and their recently established nursing school graduated the third class of local students who will give back two years of service to the hospital in exchange for subsidized tuition. According to the report, in the past year they have constructed a new health facility for maternal and child health, ICU, and surgical care; opened a dialysis unit, inaugurated a low-cost cancer unit; and launched a new more comprehensive Mobile Hospital. The needs continue to be great, with housing construction for staff and nursing students and a school expansion underway.

"White Privilege-Let’s Talk” by the UCC

Beginning Sunday, January 8 at 9:00 am, a team of leaders will begin this Adult Education program designed to invite members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive and bold conversations on race. “It is time that this still largely white denomination wrestle with its investment in whiteness, and learn all it can about the manifestations and impact of White Privilege," said the Rev. John Dorhauer, co-writer and UCC general minister and president.

The curriculum will lead participants through four areas of focus: telling the story of your spiritual journey through the lens of race; looking at the dynamic of a culture in which whiteness is the established norm; learning how America attaches a cash value to whiteness; and inviting the participants to commit to becoming an ally in the pursuit of racial equity. This is a seven week program. The remaining dates will be January 15, 29, and February 5, 12, 19, and 26. We hope to see you there.

Proclaiming God’s Radically Inclusive Love

We’ve got a new banner out on the turnpike! If you haven’t noticed it, take a look on your way in on Sunday.

The wording for this banner arose out of a Ministry Board meeting in November. Pastor David remembers it this way: “After checking in with one another for a few minutes, we talked about how to minister to both Little River and the wider community right now. During that discussion, I shared my take on what I believe has always been and will always be Little River’s core mission: to proclaim God’s radically inclusive love. Whether it was racial integration, LGBT hospitality, refugee ministries, or interfaith dialogue, Little River has a long history of witnessing to God’s radically inclusive love – a witness that was around a long time before I got here, and that will continue long after I’m gone. After I shared my thoughts, the Ministry Board decided that we ought to put those words right out on the Turnpike as a witness to what we know to be true: that God’s inclusive love is far greater than any human exclusion ever could be.” Please help us live up to the words of the banner amongst ourselves and with the wider community. With all that we are and all that we do, may we continue to proclaim God’s radically inclusive love, now and always!

Hosting Julie Holm and guest Nina

Longtime Little River member Rev. Julie Holm is coming back to the area to visit for a few days, and she's bringing an intern from Germany named Nina! Nina Hortig comes from our ecumenical partners in Köln, Germany and will be working in two of our churches in the Penn Central Conference in the first part of 2017. Julie and Nina will be in town March 15 to 18 and are hoping to stay with a church friend. Are you interested in and available to host them? Please contact Julie either This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by phone at her office (814-349-5515). Thanks in advance for helping them feel welcome!

Church Council News

Little River UCC Committee Meeting Minutes

Board of Outreach and Social Justice (October 2, 2016)

Board of Deacons Meeting (November 15, 2016)

Board of Trustees (October 18, 2016)

Christian Education (September 20, 2016)

Communications Committee (August 9, 2016)

Endowment Fund Committee (October 12, 2016)

Finance Committee (August 2016)

Nominations and Appointments Committee (October 12, 2016)

Personnel Committee (June 22, 2016)

Stewardship Committee (October 4, 2016)

Women's Ministry (October 27, 2016)

Full minutes of Church Council, Governance Board, and Ministry Board meetings are posted on this webpage.