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Our 63rd Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised March 24, 2017

Fourth Sunday in Lent
10:00 am Worship (Communion offered after worship)

Sunday, March 26

This Sunday, the Sanctuary Choir will share a musical reflection on the Seven Last Words of Christ. Be sure to join us in worship at 10 am for this meaningful and contemplative time together.

This Week

Church Council Retreat

Saturday, March 25

The Church Council will be holding a Spring Retreat on Saturday, March 25. The Council plans to cover outstanding administrative business and discuss the priority issues facing the church in order to agree on areas of focus and put together a proposed action plan with of time frames. The Council will try to take all information received at last weekj's Listening Session into account in order to incorporate it into the proposed action plan.

Seven Last Words

Sunday, March 26

In 2016 composer Michael John Trotta set Jesus' words from the cross to a fresh musical setting, building on a tradition that dates back centuries and includes works by Haydn, Gounod, Franck, and Dubois. This Sunday, March 26, the Sanctuary Choir will sing portions of Trotta's work, edited for time. Accompanied by a small chamber ensemble of flute, oboe, horn, and piano, the choir will paint the English text with passages of intense fugal polyphony and equally poignant passes of long, unison tones. Modern rhythms contrast with baroque technique, stirring accompaniment is echoed with a cappella voices, and the exploration of Trotta's musical themes bring quietness and power while reflecting the gamut emotion that Jesus' followers--both then and today--face as we move to the cross while holding to the hope of Easter.

One Great Hour of Sharing

Sunday, March 26

One Great Hour of Sharing is one of five mission offerings of the United Church of Christ and provides hope to people in more than eighty countries. The offering blesses people in need by providing clean water to drink and healthy food for the hungry. The offering helps build schools, medical clinics, and homes in communities that don’t have them or that have been badly hurt by earthquakes, hurricanes, poverty, and war. This Sunday, March 26, the offering will be collected during worship. Please use the special envelope that will be sent to you in your Giving Letter or mark your check with "One Great Hour of Sharing". Gifts also may be made via the Online Giving button.

One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Reception

Sunday, March 26

Following worship on Sunday, March 26, the Board of Outreach and Social Justice will be holding a reception for all to learn more about the OGHS collection. Please join us during Fellowship Hour to learn more about the vitality and global importance of the program.

Board of Outreach and Social Justice (BOSJ) Call for Volunteers!

Sunday, March 26

On Sunday, March 26 a table will be set up during Fellowship Hour for volunteers to sign up for two opportunities. We would like to start an outreach program working with Annandale Terrace Elementary School. Options available will be reading, mentoring, or just taking time to have lunch with students at the school. If you are interested please stop at the table after church Sunday and sign up. BOSJ would also like to know if you are, or would like to become, involved in outreach activities such as prison pen-pals, legislative lobbying, or advocacy of any minority groups in our area. A separate sign-up sheet will be at the volunteer recruitment table for this survey.

Little River UCC Meditation Group Meeting

Sundays, March 26 and April 2

Please join us this Sunday, March 26 at 4:00 pm in the Jubilee Room as we explore Meditation as a contemplative practice that helps to quiet the mind. We will have a brief guided meditation followed by sharing about the experience. We’ll be gathering for the next two consecutive Sundays: March 26 and April 2.

Questions? 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 .

Sanctuary Open Early

Sunday, March 26

The sanctuary will be open at 4:00 pm on Sunday afternoons during Lent for quiet prayer and meditation preceding the Lenten Soup, Supper, and Discussion. All are welcome to partake in this quiet time.

Lenten Soup Supper and Discussion

Sundays, March 26 and April 2

This Sunday, March 26 is the fourth session of this year’s Lenten Soup Supper and Discussion starts. This year, we will focus our conversation on the diverse spiritual practices of our faith, including fasting, prayer, and meditation. These sessions are intergenerational events hosted by the Board of Christian Education and the Board of Deacons. Meals will begin at 5:00 pm and discussion at 5:45 pm. (To help with clean up, you are encouraged to bring your own dish and utensils.) Childcare is available for our youngest. We’ll be gathering for five consecutive Sundays from March 5 to April 2.

And, as in past years, we are soliciting soup donations! Can you make or purchase a soup to share at one of the sessions? If you can bring soup, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Kathleen is trying to coordinate soup offerings so we don’t have too much one night, and too few another.

Order Your Easter Flowers Today

As soon as possible

You are invited to place Easter flowers in the Sanctuary on Easter Sunday, April 16, in honor or in memory of a loved one. The deadline for ordering is Friday, March 31. The order form is available here or you can pick one up on Sunday at church in the bulletin.

Next Week and Beyond

Monday Morning Bible Study

Monday, March 27

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. We hope you will join us Mondays from 10:00 am to noon in Room 8. This study group is led by Richard Davidson.

The Tale of the Three Trees Musical

Sunday, April 2

Please join the Little River children and youth during worship on Sunday, April 2 as they present "The Tale of the Three Trees" by Allen Pote and Tom Long. Based on a classic American folk tale, this musical tells the story of Jesus' life from the perspective of three trees that dream of what their lives will become. The first tree wants to be a chest filled with treasure, the second tree wants to be the mast of a strong sailing ship, and the third tree wants to grow tall and reach toward God. Despite some twists and turns, they experience God's love and each tree's dream comes true in an unexpected way.

Stewards of Children – Safe Church Training

Sunday, April 2 and Sunday, May 21

Next Sunday, April 2 there will be a session of Stewards of Children offered from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. Stewards of Children is an evidence-based training program that teaches adults how to protect children from sexual abuse.

Child sexual abuse is likely the most prevalent health problem children face, with the most serious array of consequences. In fact, 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. This means that whether you work with youth, are a parent, or are simply a member of a community, it is highly likely that someone you know or care for has experienced, or is currently experiencing, child sexual abuse. It’s going to happen whether you are prepared to deal with it or not – unless you stop it from happening. And the good news, it can be stopped. Go to for more information and join us on April 2nd!

This training is open to all!! Volunteers who work with children/youth at LRUCC can count Stewards of Children as their required Safe Church re-training. All are welcome, but we need a headcount to make sure we have enough materials so please email Susan Britton to register for Stewards of Children on April 2.

If you have never been to Safe Church training and would like to volunteer with children or youth at church we will offer Safe Church Training on Sunday, May 21 at 11:30 am.

Pastor David’s Class on Process Theology

Wednesday, April 5

Pastor David is teaching a class on the first Wednesday of every month through the end of June 2017. The class is a 9-part series on process theology, one of the major threads of progressive Christianity. Process theology examines Christian belief in light of the scientific, mathematical, and philosophical advancements over the past century. The next class is Wednesday, April 5 (7:00 - 8:30 pm in Room 8), when our topic will be "resurrection / eternal life". In particular, we will focus on understanding resurrection and eternal life in light of both scripture and modern science. Our next classes will meet May 3 for "ethics," and June 7 for "prayer". Bring your beliefs, bring your doubts — and bring a friend!

First Friday: Earth Day - Every Day Heroes!

Friday, April 7

Join us for First Friday: Earth Day: Every Day Heroes! on Friday, April 7 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. This month children will enjoy Earth Day crafts and games while parents enjoy some free time. The cost is $10 per child, with a family maximum of $25. Registration forms are available at If you’ve already completed a registration form for the 2016/2017 program year, please email 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. 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, so spread the word and make your plans!

Earth Day Hands-On Cleanup Project

Saturday, April 8

Little River UCC will be participating at Jones Point Park in Alexandria on Saturday, April 8 from 9am to 12pm to help clean up the Potomac River. If you are interested, you will need close-toed shoes and the Potomac Conservancy will provide the rest. Parking at Jones Point Park is tight so we encourage all volunteers to carpool or take public transportation. If you plan to attend, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at with the number of people in your group to receive a registration link.

Deacons Retreat

Saturday, April 8

Each year, when we have new members, the Board of Deacons holds a Deacon's retreat. This is a time for review of our roles and responsibilities as Deacons. We reflect on our roles as active partners with the Pastoral Staff and the needs of the congregation. We review what has worked well in the past, what we have learned, what the congregation needs, what individuals need, and what the wider community needs. We then reflect on how we as a Board of Deacons and how we as individual Deacons can best serve these needs through our four formal channels - Worship, Evangelism, Fellowship, and Pastoral Care. This year we will meet on Saturday, April 8 at 9:00 am. If you have any concerns that you would like to submit to the Board of Deacons for consideration, please email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or contact any of the Deacons in person.

Holy Week and Easter

Sunday, April 9 - Sunday, April 16

Our Lenten journey comes to a close during Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday (April 9). We will have special evening services on Maundy Thursday (April 13) and Good Friday (April 14). We will celebrate the glory of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday (April 16) at our outdoor sunrise service at 6:45, as well as at 10:00 and 11:30 am. services. These special services only come around once a year, so be sure to mark your calendars.

Easter Egg Hunt

Sunday, April 16

Easter egg hunts celebrate the joy of finding something new on Easter morning. The Board of Christian Education invites children, grades 5 and younger, to an egg hunt following 10:00 worship on Easter Sunday. Families are asked to meet in the atrium after worship to divide children by age groups. The hunt will take place in and around the outdoor playground.

Calling All Federal Employees Or “Federally-Affiliated” Employees

Sunday, April 23

We’ve all heard about the budget proposals in the “Skinny Budget” and many of us are wrestling with the intersection of career and conscience. We met once to talk, and we’re going to do it again. This time we’ll meet for lunch, after church on Sunday, April 23 at noon at the Silver Diner in Merrifield. If you can come, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Retired feds are welcome — as is anyone who is concerned about the direction their career may take them in the new administration.

More Church News

Congregational Listening Session Update (March 19)

Summary: There’s a lot on people’s minds here at LRUCC. Our first listening session was held Sunday, March 19th. Per the By-laws of the church, the Church council is expected to meet once a quarter; prior to these meetings, we’d like to get the pulse of the congregation—what issues matter most, and what should the church leadership be focusing in on? Here’s what we heard last Sunday from about 30 people who attended this session.

Communication: The weekly email newsletter, the bulletin, and fellow congregants were key areas used to keep abreast of happenings at LRUCC. Some congregants noted that more consistency would be helpful, particularly in making sure that the on-line calendar matches the email updates, the bulletin, and the print newsletter.

Priorities: We like being busy! Here are the broad categories raised.

  • Building and Grounds: Repairing the building and planning for the future use of the building and our beautiful grounds
  • Staffing Models: We have an increased need for pastoral support—both pastoral care and children and youth ministries need more attention. This needs to be fixed by exploring our staffing structure and considering what we want to raise.
  • Governance: We need to address our governance model, looking at new approaches to resourcing volunteers and thinking more broadly about our committee structure.
  • Stewardship: Ideas addressed here included ongoing education about where our money goes and what things cost and making use of free will offerings at activities and events.
  • Justice and Social Action: interested in this area? Get on our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , where you’ll be up-to-date on all that’s happening at LRUCC. There was interest in increasing our outreach to the community, clarifying our central mission activities, developing a “rapid response team” to quickly address needs as they arise, and being a neutral location to convene individuals with different perspectives to engage in dialogue.
  • Other Goals: Let’s never forget to celebrate our joys and successes! We’ve a lot to be proud of—and enthusiasm can be quite contagious.

Did you miss the session and have some ideas, energy, thoughts to offer? Reach out to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Thank you to Mary Summers for taking notes during the Listening Session. And as always, thank you to everyone for your time and dedication to LRUCC.

Board of Christian Education Meeting Update (March 15)

The Board of Christian Education met on March 15 to discuss a number of issues:

1. We will hold an Easter Egg hunt after the 10:00 am service on Easter Sunday for children 0-10.

2. Safety concerns – We believe that a person, probably an usher, could be stationed in the atrium during the service. We will purchase walkie-talkies to improve communication between the Church School wing and the sanctuary.

3. We will hold two Safe Church trainings, April 2 and May 21. The April offering can be a renewal opportunity but is focused on child sexual abuse prevention while the May offering is our standard Safe Church training for everyone.

4. There seems to be interest in Bible Study classes but of what nature we are unsure. We will probably hold a meeting to determine the type of class we will hold/sponsor.

Board of Trustees Meeting Update (March 21)

Most of the March Board of Trustee's meeting focused on building maintenance and repair issues, of particular note:

Window Washing: Board of Trustees is contracting with Old Dominion Cleaning to have all the windows washed, inside and out, before Easter. The windows on the preschool/ church school wing will be washed on Friday, March 24. The remainder of the church will be scheduled during the next couple of weeks.

Volunteers Needed to Help Paint the Church School Hallway! During the week of April 7 through April 13, the Annandale Cooperative Pre-school will be completely refurbishing and redesigning the entrance area to the preschool to accommodate new storage units, new displays and information boards. Once the old furniture and display boards are moved, the Board of Trustees will be painting the entry stairwell and the hallway outside of rooms 5/6, 7 and room 8. Two volunteer opportunities are available. On Saturday, April 8 the Board of Trustees will need volunteers to help prep the area for painting: wash walls, spackle and apply masking tape where needed. A painting crew is needed on Monday April 10. If we get enough helpers we hope to finish the painting in one day!

Roof Replacement: During the next 30 days the Board of Trustees will seek bids from three contractors to replace the flat roof over the Social Hall, Narthex and church school wing. We hope to select one contractor at our next meeting in April. Meanwhile, the Board will move forward to secure financing from United Church Funds for the roof work. In other building related action, the Board of Trustees approved that LRUCC enter into an annual inspection and maintenance contract with Trademasters Corp. to cover all our HVAC systems. This plan will commence in May.

Save the Date for Spring Work Day: A Spring Work Day is planned for May 20. Next Board of Trustees Meeting is April 18.

Stop Hate in Fairfax County

Sunday, March 26

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice encourages you to join local officials and faith leaders in presenting A Unified Response to Hate Speech, Bias Incidents and Hate Crimes in Fairfax County. Fairfax County's Dangerous Speech Prevention Committee, in partnership with the county's Community Interfaith Coordination Unit, is organizing a conference with community leaders and clergy to help identify how we as a community can be part of the solution to ending hate speech, bias incidents and hate crimes. The event will include presentations from experts who specialize in preventing hate rhetoric and hate crimes followed by a panel discussion. The event takes place this Sunday, March 26 from 3-5:30 pm at the Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center, Northern Virginia Community College (8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, Virginia 22003). The location is listed as the "CE Building" on campus adjacent to the parking garage.

See the following link for additional details and registration information:

Movie Screening: "Slavery by Another Name"

Sunday, March 26

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice encourages you to attend the movie screening: "Slavery by Another Name" hosted by Emmaus United Church of Christ in Vienna, VA. "Slavery by Another Name" is a PBS documentary that deals with the time period after emancipation, and the hardships faced by African Americans during those decades that is not often acknowledged or understood. The screening takes place this Sunday, March 26 at 4:30 pm at Emmaus United Church of Christ (900 Maple Ave, East, Vienna, VA, 22180) Please note: Parking lot entrance is off Westbriar Drive.

3rd Annual Film Series: Voices from the Holy Land 2017

Little River UCC is a supporter of the 3rd Annual Film Series: Voices from the Holy Land 2017, a film series that seeks to offer a different perspective and provide a voice to the people living in this Holy Land. It also seeks to present informative and compelling documentary films by Israeli, Palestinian, American, and European film makers to start conversations.

All film showings take place in the Washington National Cathedral, Perry Auditorium on Sundays from 2:30-4:30 pm. The series continues on Sunday, March 26 with the documentary film: Open Bethlehem. Drawn from 700 hours of original footage and rare archive material, Open Bethlehem follows the story of director Leila Sansour as she returns to her hometown as it is soon to be encircled by The Wall. Chronicling Sansour’s campaign to stop occupying Israeli forces encircling Bethlehem, this fierce and poignant story maps a determined and ongoing effort to unite Christians, Muslims and Jews in the desire for free access to the Holy City. Stay after the film for discussion. Need more details? See the event website: Let's show our support!