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Our 63rd Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised March 31, 2017

Fifth Sunday in Lent
10:00 am Worship with Communion

Sunday, April 2

This Sunday, the children and youth of Little River present The Tale of the Three Trees Musical. Be sure to join us in worship at 10 am and show them our support.

This Week

The Tale of the Three Trees Musical

Sunday, April 2

Please join the Little River children and youth during worship this 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.

Food Pantry

Sunday, April 2

This Sunday, April 2 and every Communion Sunday (normally the first Sunday of every month) we invite your gifts of non-expired, non-perishable staple food and baby items, which are placed in our church’s FISH (For Immediate Sympathetic Help) pantry and used to help the hungry in our community. Food is distributed by FISH; to local charities including Food for Others, Alternative House, and Thrive DC; and to individuals who ask for assistance from the pastoral staff.

Individual pre-packed bags of food are prepared for use by FISH and church staff to respond to immediate needs. A bag of food includes: two boxes of cereal, one can of fruit, two cans of vegetables, one canned meat product, two boxes of pasta, one jar/can of pasta sauce, dry milk, and a jar of peanut butter. These items and paper or reusable grocery bags to pack them in are always appreciated. Thank you for your ongoing generous donations to the pantry.

Stewards of Children – Safe Church Training

Sunday, April 2 and Sunday, May 21

This 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.

Memorial Service for Marjorie English

Sunday, April 2

A Celebration of Life service in memory of Marjorie English will be held on Sunday, April 2 at 2:00 pm at the Greenspring Chapel (7420 Spring Village Drive, Springfield, VA). In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations in honor of Marjorie be made to Little River UCC. The family gives their thanks to the church for their prayerful support during this time of grief, as well as for all the care that the church (especially Deacon Sue Leathers) gave to Marjorie in the final years of her life.

Little River UCC Meditation Group Meeting

Sunday, April 2

Please join us this Sunday, April 2 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.

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

Sunday, April 2

This Sunday, April 2 is the final 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.

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

Last Chance!!

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.

Next Week and Beyond

Monday Morning Bible Study

Monday, April 3

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.

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.

Faith in Film: Racing Extinction

Sunday, April 9

Join us on Sunday, April 9 as we gather for snacks and a movie at 11:30 am in Room 8. The films in this series are chosen to be relevant to today’s most pressing issues of justice, faith, society, spirituality and how we can grow in our faithful response. The film for next week is Racing Extinction. There is something happening in our world today and we can't afford to ignore it any longer. This promises to be a very enlightening video. Please join us. These programs are offered in partnership by the Board of Outreach and Social Justice and the Board of Christian Education.

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 Offering – Rise Against Hunger

Sunday, April 16

On Easter Sunday, a special Easter Fund offering will be received on behalf of Rise against Hunger (previously named Stop Hunger Now) to take place in September 2017. This will be our sixth annual meal-packing event. The name of the organization has changed, but the meal-packing will be the same. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice (BOSJ) asks for your support of this offering, which enables the purchase of meals we can pack for persons in need. Our meal packing event in September 2016 produced 20,000 meals to send to those in need. Every meal costs just 29 cents, and we hope to pack up to 20,000 meals again this year. To support the offering, please designate "Easter Fund" on the memo line of your check or include your contribution in the offering envelopes, writing "Easter Fund" on the outside.

Thank you for your tremendous support in 2016. BOSJ looks forward to helping our congregation be a blessing to those in need again in September.

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.

Service of Ordination for Jason Thompson

Sunday, April 30

The Potomac Association, Central Atlantic Conference, United Church of Christ and Little River United Church of Christ cordially invite your presence and prayers to the Ordination of Jason Thompson.

On Sunday, April 30 at 3:00 pm, our own Jason Thompson will be ordained here at Little River! Please join us for the service and stay for the reception immediately following the service. Help us wish Jason well as he heads to West Park United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio where he will serve as Senior Minister.

Open Mic Night is Back!

Saturday, May 20

After an absence of a couple of years, we are reviving LRUCC's Open Mic Night. This is a chance for anyone who wants to perform for a very sympathetic and enthusiastic audience. No matter whether you sing, play an instrument, write poetry or prose, juggle, do magic tricks, or any other kind of performance, please join us. Open Mic Night will happen Saturday, May 20 at 7:00 pm. If you would like to perform, please get in touch with This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , by Sunday, April 30. If you would like accompaniment by our house band, the Little River Irregulars, please get sheet music, an MP3 file, or a link to Dave by that date as well.

More Church News

Interim Associate Pastor Search Committee Update (March 21)

The Interim Associate Pastor (AP) Search Committee met on Tuesday, March 21. The committee continues to receive outstanding resumes and has begun interviewing candidates. When the committee has decided on a candidate, that candidate will be recommended to the Church Council for consideration by the congregation. As a reminder, pastors (interim and settled) who serve at Little River UCC must be approved by vote at a congregational meeting, per our Constitution and By-Laws.

Church Council Retreat Summary (March 25)

On Saturday, March 25, the Church Council held its annual retreat. In three and a half hours, we reviewed what we heard from the listening session, and planned out our efforts for the year. Here are the highlights—and ways you can help! There are lots of moving parts—for example, the interim search committee is closing in on potential candidates, and we want to begin our called search. Both of these activities, however, need to be accomplished within what we can afford—and without ignoring repairs and upkeep on the building and grounds. We also need to consider how to govern ourselves in as efficient a manner as possible, so we can be reaching outward into the community and the wider world.

We’ve got four lines of effort underway for the year, these are detailed below:

1. Our Building and Grounds—see the latest Trustees report for progress in this area;

2. Our Staffing—as we finalize an interim candidate, we’d like to begin the process of starting a called search committee. We discussed how to accomplish this within the confines of our budget—and how to obtain ideas, insights, and volunteers from the congregation.

3. Our Governance—we’ve established communication practices across the boards and committees, and we’re planning to assess our approaches to meetings and ways we can streamline activities—or adapt how we meet so that we can include individuals for whom traveling to church on a weeknight is difficult, if not impossible.

4. Our Communication—we agreed to build on our March practice of holding congregational forums and formal meetings. The goal is to update the congregation—but even more importantly to make sure that your voice is heard and we are acting in keeping with the consensus of the congregation.

Here’s the schedule for the year:

  • April 30—Congregational meeting (planning our search)
  • June 18—Listening session—budget, building, staffing updates.
  • September 24—finalize our budgetary goal for the stewardship campaign, and report out on governance.

How Can YOU Help?

  • Read our email, Currents and Current Reflections, Current Tidings, the Bulletin—if you’d like to help or have ideas—let us know!
  • Attend the congregational listening sessions or meetings—we’re going to make these a “two-way street”—time for your input as well as time for us to update you on what’s happening.
  • Join the search committee or efforts to improve our building and grounds.
  • Let us know—if something is not up-to-date (like our calendar…), or if you need more information.

Lastly, thank you for your faith in your leaders, your interest and dedication to what Little River stands for—and extravagant welcome to all!

Sincerely, Your Church Council

Board of Deacons Meeting Update (March 28)

The Board of Deacons met on March 28 and would like to pass along the following information:

  • If folks have ideas for fellowship events or activities please send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • We are looking for people to drive Greenspring residents to Sunday service, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you are interested in driving.
  • We would like to remind members to wear name tags during Sunday service. There are lots of new members (and even some not-so-new) who may not know other congregants but are hesitant to ask, so please wear your name tag. If you don’t have a name tag, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

In addition, please mark your calendars for these upcoming Little River events:

  • Deacons Retreat – Saturday, April 8 (9-12)
  • Holy Week: Maundy Thursday Service – Thursday, April 13 (7:30 pm); Good Friday Service – Friday, April 14 (7:30 pm) ;Easter Sunday – Sunday, April 16 (6:45 am Sunrise Service; 10:00 am and 11:30 am Easter Services). We encourage those planning on attending the 11:30 am service to come a little early to attend the coffee hour and/or the Easter Egg Hunt at 11:00 am.
  • Jason Thompson Ordination – Sunday, April 30 (3-4:30 pm)

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, April 2 with the two short films: The Living of Pigeons and East Jerusalem: Six Voices. Stay after the films for a panel discussion including Rev. Marvin Silver, Associate Conference Minister, Central Atlantic Conference, United Church of Christ. Need more details? See the event website: Let's show our support!