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Our 63rd Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised December 8, 2017

Second Sunday of Advent
10:00 am Worship

Sunday, December 10

God asked the prophet Isaiah to speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Today, much of the speech that we hear is far from tender. What might it mean to speak tenderly to one another here in Northern Virginia in these days? Join us in worship on Sunday as Pastor David reflects on this challenge!

This Week

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! If you are able, please bring a contribution of fruit, sweet breads/rolls, or muffins. We will meet from 9:00 to 11:00 am in the Fellowship Hall on Saturday, December 9.

White Gift Service With Dinner

Sunday, December 10

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. We look forward to seeing you all at service at 5:00 pm on Sunday, December 10.

Please also plan to stay after worship to attend our second annual White Gift Dinner! 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 available in the atrium. Join us to come together as community!

White Gift Volunteers Needed Sunday and Monday

Sunday, December 10 & Monday, December 11

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice (BOSJ) needs volunteers to help sort and deliver gifts. First, immediately after the White Gift service on Sunday, December 10, we need help sorting the hundreds of gifts for delivery. Then on Monday, December 11, we need volunteers to deliver the gifts to locations: ACCA in Annandale; Main Street in Fairfax, and Shaw Community Ministries in Washington, DC. For gift delivery, we will meet at LRUCC at 9:00 am on Monday morning. Please see a BOSJ member today or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you can help.

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 .

Footsteps to Hawaii

Sunday, December 10

As of December 5, twelve people have reserved places in the group that will follow in the Footsteps of the Congregational Missionaries in January/February, 2019. You can reserve your place with a check for the $150 reservation fee, made out to LRUCC, with “Footsteps” on the memo line. Obtain a trip brochure or sign up with Brian Payne in the atrium following the service on Sunday, December 10. Or mail your check to the church in an envelope marked “Footsteps”. To date, no one has signed up for the trip dates of August 1-13, 2018.

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.

Next Week and Beyond

Monday Morning Bible Study

Monday, December 11

We invite you to join us on Monday, December 11 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.

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!

Advent Music Sunday

Sunday, December 17

Next Sunday, December 17, hear Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, sung by the Sanctuary Choir accompanied by guest harpist Melissa Dvork.

Britten (1913-1976) composed the 11-movement work (plus a harp interlude) in 1942 for treble voices (SSA). In 1955 Julius Harrison arranged the SATB version the Little River choir will sing. The text comes from The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems, edited by Gerald Bullett, and is in Middle English with a bit of Latin. The music is a combination of call-and-response (or rounds) and plainsong with a few solo lines amid the otherwise chorus-focused pieces. Britten composed A Ceremony of Carols on a ship while traveling from America to the United Kingdom—along with his Hymn to Saint Cecilia—studying use of two harp manuals he took on the journey, likely to work on an unfulfilled commission for a harp concerto. Despite the beauty and Christmas joyfulness of A Ceremony of Carols, Britten’s room on the ship was "miserable...and the smell & heat were intolerable."

New Member Information Class

Sunday, December 17

Has God been nudging you to become a member of Little River UCC? Are you unsure but just want to learn more about our congregation? Then you are invited to our New Member Class on Sunday, December 17 from 12:00 to 1:30 pm in Room 8. Child care is available, and kids are always welcome to attend the class with their adults. During this class, we will get to know one another, review church history (including Little River and its denominational roots), and even have a little fun!

Family Faith & Film: The Star

Sunday, December 17

This year the Board of Christian Education is taking its Family Faith & Film event on the road! After worship all ages are invited to join us at a local movie theater to see The Star movie, an animated movie about Jesus’ birth from the perspective of the manger animals. Interested? RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Exact time is still to be determined.

Darkest Night Service

Sunday, December 17

The holidays can be a painful time for some. It may be the first Christmas without a loved one; it may be a season that has always been difficult. We need a time to share our sadness and concerns with each other; we need to know that we are not alone and encourage each other to face the days ahead.

Join us for this special service of prayer, sharing, and music as we remember that God’s Word comes to shine light into our darkness. Everyone is welcome! For more information, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Christmas Fund Offering – 2017

Sunday, December 24

Please plan to include the Christmas Offering in your holiday giving. At Little River UCC, we will receive this offering at the 10:00 am worship on Sunday, December 24 and during both Christmas Eve evening worship services (5:00 pm & 9:00 pm). 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 donated locally to Thrive DC. Thrive DC works to prevent and end homelessness in Washing, DC by providing vulnerable people with a wide range of services to help stabilize their lives. 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.

Christmas Eve Orchestra

Sunday, December 24

Whether you regularly use your band or strings instrument or it merely collects dust in the closet, we would love to have you join the Christmas Eve Orchestra! Once again, Little River is inviting members of the congregation to tune up their violins and oil up their trumpets as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. We will have one rehearsal from 11:00 am - 12:30 pm on Sunday, December 24, and then play several carols as a prelude for the 5:00 pm Christmas Eve service. If needed, we can easily provide you with the music in advance. If you are interested in playing or would like more information, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

More Church News

We Need You!

Little River UCC has a tradition of service. Not only do we support our church financially through our annual pledges and special collections, but we also carry out a wide array of ministries and programs sharing God's inclusive love. In addition, our church has a dedicated number of volunteers who work behind the scenes to help maintain our buildings and grounds, manage our finances and insure that records are being maintained, services provided, and above all else that communication is ongoing to the congregation. In short, our church would not be able to function without the dedicated volunteers who serve day in and day out to make sure we are operating at 100%! As we look ahead to 2018, please take a moment and consider your own gifts and abilities and how they could assist Little River in the year ahead. Our This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it consisting of Bob Lingo, Barbara Allen and Tom Ross would love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact any of them who can help you plan your 2018 commitment to Little River! We need you!

Stewardship News

Thanks to so many for participating in this year’s “Renewing Our Commitment” stewardship campaign. To date, the congregation has pledged more than $538,000, putting us at 87% of our goal of $620,000! Help us conclude this year’s campaign on a high note! If you have not yet submitted your Pledge Card, please do so by dropping it in the offering plate this Sunday or mailing it to the office. If you are able to increase your submitted pledge, please reach out to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it via email or (703) 323-0416.

Opportunity to Serve as an Usher

Our Congregation is warmly greeted each Sunday by members of our Usher Teams. Each of the three teams would welcome additional members to distribute the duties among more participants. There will be an Usher Information and Training Session at church in January 2018(date to be determined). If you are interested in attending this training, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it via email or 703-764-2525 to inquire and register for the session.

Communications Committee Meeting Update

The Communications Committee met on Tuesday, December 5 and discussed the 2017 and 2018 budgets which include funds for the website re-design. The Committee narrowed the selection to two firms for the website re-design contract and will conduct interviews with both before a final decision is made this week. The Committee also discussed updating and reprinting the LRUCC brochure.

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.

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.

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:

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 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.