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Our 63rd Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised April 7, 2017

Palm Sunday
10:00 am Worship (Communion offered after worship)

Sunday, April 9

This Sunday marks the start of Holy Week, the most significant week of the Christian Year. We begin the journey with Christ's entrance into Jerusalem, commemorated on Palm Sunday (this Sunday).

Join us in worship at 10 am as we celebrate Christ's presence and begin turning our focus to his final days.

This Week


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 http://bit.ly/lruccfirstfriday. 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!

If you would like to volunteer, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it as soon as possible.  Thanks!

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 - Cancelled

The Deacon's Retreat originally scheduled for Saturday, April 8 has been cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date.

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 this 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.

Fair Trade Sales

Sunday, April 9

Fair Trade Sales are happening this Sunday, April 9 and just in time for Easter, we have Fair Trade small dark chocolate eggs for your Easter baskets or dinner table. Additionally, plan to stock up on your supplies of coffee, chocolate, and Palestinian olive oil while providing fair compensation to farmers in less-developed countries. A portion of the olive sales supports Tent of Nations and its peace-building programs in the West Bank.

Next Week and Beyond


Monday Morning Bible Study

Monday, April 10

The Monday Morning Study Group has completed the “Study Of Jesus and His Jewish Influences” from the Great Courses with Professor Jodi Magness, Ph.D. This week the group is exploring a new topic for study in the coming weeks, please join us to help choose.

Greenspring Ministry

Wednesday, April 12

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. 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!

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 am 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.

Office Closed

Monday, April 17

The office will be closed on Monday, April 17 and will resume normal office hours on Tuesday, April 18.

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.

Safe Church Training

Sunday, May 21

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. Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to register.

More Church News


The Sanctuary Cross (Wednesday, April 5)

On Wednesday, March 29, Little River UCC experienced an unfortunate accident with the sanctuary cross. The wire that suspended the cross snapped (likely due to age and metal fatigue) and the cross fell to the floor, damaging the paneling and the back wall of the chancel. Thankfully, our sexton John Davis, who was working in the area, was not injured. The cross is not damaged in any way and has been safely stored, but this situation presents an immediate problem to safely rehang the cross in time for Holy Week and the ordination of Jason Thompson at the end of April.

On Tuesday, April 5 a joint meeting of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Deacons was held in the Sanctuary to provide trustees and deacons a chance to view the damage; discuss options for rehanging the cross and repairing the damage to the chancel; and, to consider ways to refurbish the Sanctuary over the longer term. The meeting was attended by the sexton and 16 deacons and trustees. Two solutions will be applied to rehang the Sanctuary cross and repair the chancel:

  • Immediate Solution: The cross will be rehung on the overhead supporting beam using ¼” metal cable (thicker and stronger than the previous wire). The cross will be stabilized using one or two of the original support rods that previously attached the back of the cross to the chancel wall. The support rods keep the cross from swaying; they are not load-bearing. The cables that support the cross will be visible, but will be a similar color as the aluminum backing of the cross. This is a temporary fix, which will remain for about two months while trustees put a permanent anchor system in place. The damaged wall and paneling will be patched.
  • Long Term Solution: The cross will be anchored to the chancel wall using a Hilti anchoring system, which will consist of a horizontal steel anchor bar attached to the chancel wall. Hardware will be affixed to the steel plate that is already on the back of the cross so that the cross can be attached to the anchor bar on the wall. The cross will be attached about 6-8 inches from the wall so it will appear suspended in space in front of the wall. No cables will be used and the anchor system will not be visible from the pews. The chancel wall will be repainted and damaged paneling will be re-stained as needed.

The Boards of Trustees and Deacons are immensely grateful to Terry Downs for coming up with these timely solutions for rehanging the Sanctuary cross that will be secure and attractive. Terry and a small crew from his construction firm will be working at the church on Saturday morning, April 8 to rehang the cross with cables (the immediate solution). Terry will also be working with the Board of Trustees and Hilti Engineering to devise the permanent anchor system for the cross. Please thank Terry when you see him for stepping up so quickly and ably to help LRUCC! Many thanks also to Ben Northrup and John Davis for patching the damage to the chancel wall and paneling. Over the next several months, the Board of Trustees and the Board of Deacons will work together on how best to refresh the Sanctuary with new paint, window treatments and lighting.

Board of Outreach and Social Justice Meeting (Sunday, April 2)

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice met on April 2. A few items of interest that were discussed are as follows:

  • There has been a great interest in the hands-on Earth Day clean up project taking place on April 8 at Jones Point Park in Alexandria.
  • There will be an announcement at worship service on April 9 discussing the Easter offering and how it pertains to the Rise Against Hunger initiative (formally Stop Hunger Now); please stay tuned for more information.
  • Sacred Conversations on Race has been renamed the Racial Justice Coalition. This new Coalition will meet the first Sunday of every month to continue its mission in advocacy work and the opportunity to break into subgroups to plan and coordinate educational events, church-wide book readings, and other pertinent, timely efforts.
  • The Racial Justice Coalition in conjunction with BOSJ is investigating joining and/ or an LRUCC presence in the Urban League and the NAACP. We are also in the preliminary stages of investigating what it means to be a Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregation (M&M status) in the greater UCC; more to come as these flesh out.
  • BOSJ's next meeting is tentatively May 14 from 11:30am-1pm in the conference room.

Stewardship Committee Desperately Needs Help!

The Stewardship Committee met on April 5 and we would like to share this information with the congregation. Presently there are only three people on the committee: Caroline Labbe', Ellen Wertman and Tom Johnson. We are a very congenial group and meet only once a month. Our primary responsibility is to organize and carry out the annual giving campaign. We encourage and we plead for the money required to keep the lights in the church on, not to mention the salaries of the staff, and the costs of Christian Education, music, the youth group and benevolences.
We need at least three new members who will assist us in designing an imaginative strategy to motivate church members to make the pledges. People skills are more important than financial skills. Unless we can recruit additional members for the Stewardship Committee the committee will not be able to plan and execute this year's campaign. Please consider becoming a part of our committee! Willing volunteers should contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 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 .

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 ends on Sunday, April 23 with the film Out of Cordoba: Averroes and Maimonides in Their Time and Ours. Need more details? See the event website: http://www.voicesfromtheholyland.org. Let's show our support!