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Our 63rd Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised December 1, 2017

First Sunday of Advent
10:00 am Worship with Communion

Sunday, December 3

Happy New (liturgical) Year!

This Sunday is the beginning of the Advent (literally "arrival") when we remember the longing of the ancient prophets who awaited the Messiah.

Join us at 10 am for worship and communion as Pastor Alexis reflects on the difficulty of waiting.

This Week

First Friday: Santa! The Man, the Myth, the Legend

Friday, December 1

Join us for First Friday: Santa! The Man, the Myth, the Legend on December 1 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm.  This month, kids will enjoy story time with Santa and his friends from the North Pole 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 2017/2018 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!

Racial Justice Coalition

Sunday, December 3

On Sunday, December 3, the LRUCC Racial Justice Coalition (RJC) will meet in Room 8 at 11:15 am. The RJC will meet to discuss current racial justice issues and to share information across efforts. A portion of the meeting will be dedicated to small group conversation about the various efforts. Everyone who is interested in working for racial justice is invited to attend. Please contact Gail Perry or Karen Kleiber This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with questions.

Footsteps to Hawaii

Sunday, December 3

You are invited to sign up for one of two Footsteps trips to Hawaii in the conference room at 11:30 am following worship on Sunday morning. The first trip will be August 1-14, 2018. The second will be January 30 – February 12, 2019. To save your spot, bring a check for $150 per person made out to LRUCC, with Footsteps 2018 or Footsteps 2019 on the memo line. This fee will be used to pay tips and other expenses not included in the brochure price. Brochures with the itinerary and cost information will be available. Aloha.

Advent Fun Shops and Hanging of the Greens

Sunday, December 3

Enjoy a joyful and magical Sunday afternoon together celebrating the approach of Christmas. Starting at 3:00 pm, we will have many Advent-centered crafts and a table of wrapping supplies will be available so you can wrap your gifts for the White Gift Service.

Also that afternoon, a merry crew will deck the halls and sanctuary. All are invited to join the fun, and give the church a “sprucing up" for the Advent and Christmas season.

Food Pantry Reminder

Sunday, December 3

This Sunday, December 3 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.

White Gift Christmas Tags And White Gift Service With Dinner

Sunday, December 10

Tags Available Now through Sunday, December 3

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. In preparation for that joyful service, our White Gift Christmas tree stands in the atrium to express the Christmas hopes of young children from low-income families served by ACCA Child Development Center, Main Street Child Development Center, and Shaw Community Ministry. Allow yourself the pleasure of sharing God’s love with a child this Christmas season! Gift tags and a sign-up sheet (used this year again to assist the Board of Outreach and Social Justice in tracking gifts) are available now until Sunday, December 3. Please take only as many tags as you are able to provide gifts.

Please also plan to attend our second annual White Gift Dinner following the service on December 10. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice would like to celebrate the season of giving with a catered pasta dinner. 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!

Next Week and Beyond

Monday Morning Bible Study

Monday, Decmeber 4

We invite you to join us on Monday, December 4 as we continue our study on “Reading Biblical Literature: Genesis to Revelation” from the Great Courses with Professor Craig R. Koester, Ph.D., a professor at the Luther Seminary of St. Paul, Minnesota. His innovative teaching style interweaves the study of biblical texts with their impact on art, literature, and music. Explore topics such as Moses and the Drama of the Exodus, and many others. We hope you will join us Mondays from 10:00 am to noon. This study group is led by Richard Davidson.

Bereavement Tea

Thursday, December 7

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 Greenspring Retirement Community on Thursday, December 7 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, where we will share tea, treats and conversation in a comfortable setting. Invitations for the tea were mailed in mid-November. If you have lost a close loved one this year, and do not receive an invitation, please contact the church office or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it as soon as possible.

Please note the change of location this year to Greenspring Retirement Community (not Green Spring Gardens as in previous years).

PYF to Participate in a Global Shabbat Dinner!

Friday, December 8

All 6th-12th graders are invited to participate in an interfaith shabbat dinner and gift exchange hosted by B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) at the Vienna Community Center on Friday, December 8 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. BBYO is a pluralistic, Jewish teen organization that seeks to build meaningful cross-cultural and interfaith friendships. We will meet at LRUCC and carpool to the event. RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you're interested in attending!

Women’s Ministry Team Brunch: "Finding Peace and Joy in a Stressful Season"

Saturday, December 9

The Women’s Ministry Team invites all church members and friends to this opportunity for fellowship with food, to be followed by a service of quiet music, readings, and meditation. Join us in this moment of Christmas preparation! Please RSVP at the welcome table and, if you are able, sign up to bring a contribution of fruit, sweet breads/rolls, or muffins. We will meet from 9:00 to 11:00 am in the Fellowship Hall.

Little River UCC Meditation Group Meeting

Sunday, December 10

Please join the Little River Meditation group on Sunday, December 10 at 9:00 am in the Archival/Historical Room (L6) 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 will continue to meet every other Sunday throughout the year. 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 .

Fair Trade Sales

Sunday, December 10 & 17

Fair Trade Sales are happening on two Sundays in December: Sunday, December 10 & 17, so 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 oil sales supports Tent of Nations and its peace-building programs in the West Bank.

Greenspring Ministry

Wednesday, December 13

On the second Wednesday of the month, Pastors David and Alexis visit with our church members at Greenspring Village, a retirement community in Springfield. This visit happens in the Craft Room at Hunters 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!

More Church News

Advent Funshop and Decorating Volunteers Needed

Come join us in this beloved Little River tradition! Have some fun with reindeer and angels and mangers and stars. We'll be crafting Christmas treasures from recycled materials. It's a wonderful way to begin the merriment of the yuletide season. We'll have cookies and carols and children with stars in their eyes and glue sticks in their hands. What could be better? Bring your kids and grandkids! And please come help make some Little River Christmas memories! Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to sign up or to find out more. If you would like to help with the hanging of the greens, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

2017 Food Pantry Report

In 2017 LRUCC donated 90 bags of food, baby items, and toiletries from our pantry to those in need throughout our region, with donations going to individual families, FISH, Thrive DC, Second Story (formerly Alternative House), and food pantries at Annandale Terrace Elementary, NOVA, GMU, and Heritage UCC. Thanks to all who contributed.

Thank You For Your Generosity!

Thanks to the generous response from the congregation, in November the Board of Outreach and Social Justice was able to support the Thanksgiving basket program at Shaw Community Center, an outreach program for children, youth and adults in the Shaw community of Washington, DC, as well as the annual coat drive at Thrive DC, serving the homeless in Washington, DC. LRUCC members contributed grocery cards for 25 families' holiday meals as well as $200.00 in direct donations to Shaw's Thanksgiving basket program. Twelve adult coats, fifteen sweaters, four blankets, one sleeping bag, six backpacks and a 30 gallon bag of hats, scarves, and gloves were donated to Thrive's coat drive.

Stewardship Campaign Update

Thank you again for submitting your Pledge Cards for 2018. To date, the congregation has pledged a total of $523,189, which puts us over 84% of the way towards our goal of $620,000. Help us conclude this year’s campaign on a high note! Every member and friend of Little River has a part to play in helping make next year another successful year of ministry in our community and the world. If you have not yet submitted your Pledge Card, please do so by dropping it in the offering plate on Sunday or mailing it to the office.

Pastoral Availability During the Holidays

The holidays can be a difficult time, and you or someone you know may need to visit with a pastor. For the sake of Pastors David and Alexis (and their families), they also need to make sure they have appropriate time off to be with their families. To balance these needs, David and Alexis have arranged their schedules such that at least one of them will available at any given time. You can This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call him on his cell phone. Alexis may be This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call her on her cell phone. Here’s who you can contact on which date:

Nov. 29 to Dec. 4: Alexis

Dec. 5 to 10: Alexis or David

Dec. 11 to 15: David

Dec. 16-24: Alexis or David

Dec. 25 to 28: David

Dec. 29 to Jan. 4: Alexis

Pastor David will be away from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4 for a trip with his wife Carrie; and Dec. 28 – Jan. 4 for rest. Pastor Alexis will be away from Dec. 11 to 15 for continuing education, as well as Dec. 25 to 28 for family.

2017 Blanket and Coat Drive Launches in Northern Virginia

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice would like to let you know about another local coat drive.

On November 16, the Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova, officially announced the 2017 launch of the Northern Virginia Blanket and Coat Drive for Syrian Refugees. Since 2013, Northern Virginia citizens, businesses, local governments, religious groups, and non-profit organizations have come together to collect and donate blankets and coats to assist Syrian and Iraqi refugees who have fled their homes to other countries to escape the violence from the civil war in Syria.

The 2017 drive is led and organized by the Northern Virginia Relief Center (NOVARC). The drive begins immediately and will continue until December 3, 2017. Upon the conclusion of the drive, Paxton Van Lines will transport all donated items to the Port of Virginia, where they will be shipped to Lebanon via Maersk Shipping for distribution to refugees in need. In past years, shipments were made to refugees who were living in refugee camps in Turkey. Donated blankets and coats should be new or gently worn, and may be dropped off at any designated drop-off location (list at In addition, a monetary donation may be made specifically for the drive. All monetary donations will go toward the purchase and distribution of coats and blankets. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit NOVA Relief Center’s website at

NEW UPDATED: End-of-the-Year Financial Reminders

Thinking of making a year-end contribution to Little River UCC? To be credited as a contribution for 2017, please be advised that: cash or checks must be included in the offering at the worship service on Sunday, December 31, delivered to and accepted by the church office after the December 31 worship service but before the building is locked for the day, or mailed to the church with a postmark of December 31 or earlier. Credit/debit card transactions made through the on-line giving portal on the website must be made by midnight on December 31. Have any outstanding 2017 expenses or reimbursements related to LRUCC? All remaining expenses and reimbursements chargeable to the 2017 operating budget need to be processed and paid by Friday, December 29. To avoid a last-minute paperwork crunch, please submit all vouchers for the payment of such expenses and reimbursements no later than Thursday, December 21.

Board of Trustees and Board of Deacons Joint Meeting Update

On November 28 the Board of Trustees and Board of Deacons convened a joint meeting to address security and safety concerns for LRUCC and the Annandale Cooperative Preschool. As options were discussed, certain immediate next steps were identified, which will be shared with the congregation as they are implemented. As always, input from the congregation is invited. To date, the Board of Trustees has upgraded the office security system, which will also allow for future expansion of the security alarm system to other areas of the building. Trustees are actively evaluating the installation of monitoring cameras at selected entry points to the church building and grounds. Board of Trustees will also be working through the Fairfax County Community Protection Office to obtain a security assessment of our building and grounds. If you have questions or would like to share your thoughts and suggestions please contact Robin Petrusak 443-262-1765 or Clark Beil 703-638-8909.

In other actions by the Board of Trustees, a down payment was made from the LRUCC Building Fund to commence work on Phase II of the roof repair. This work will be completed during the month of December.

Nominations and Appointments Committee Meeting Update

The Nominations & Appointments committee consisting of Barbara Allen, Bob Lingo and Tom Ross continue to discuss vacancies in church offices including Moderator-Elect, Treasurer, and positions on Board & Committees. At their most recent meeting on Wednesday, November 29, committee members identified church members who might be contacted to discuss their interests and the potential opportunities that exist. Please feel free to contact any of the N&A members by phone, email, or during coffee hour at church to discuss those opportunities. We really would like to hear from you!!

Advent reminds us that this is a season of giving, our time, our skills, our abilities are all needed to carry out our mission and services to the wider world.

Thank You to our Financial Team and the Anonymous Donor

The church operating fund has received an anonymous donation in honor of the LRUCC Financial Team. The Stewardship Committee is always happy to share these threads of care and love that pass through our congregation. Thank you for this acknowledgement to our hardworking financial team.

--From Ellen Wertman on behalf of the Stewardship Committee

Order Poinsettias for Christmas

You are invited to provide red or white poinsettias in the Sanctuary, in honor or in memory of a loved one. Deadline for ordering a poinsettia is Thursday, December 21. The cost is $16.00 per pot. Please make your check payable to LRUCC and note “Flower Fund” on the check and/or envelope. Place your order with payment in the offering plate or leave in the church office. Order forms are available in the bulletin or can be downloaded here.