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Our 63rd Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised December 15, 2017

Third Sunday of Advent
10:00 am Worship

Sunday, December 17

Our Sanctuary Choir is singing a gorgeous piece this Sunday! Join us for worship at 10 am as the choir shares "A Ceremony of Carols" by Benjamin Britten. For a preview, have a listen to the piece here. Learn more below.

This Week

Advent Music Sunday

Sunday, December 17

This 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: New Plan!

Sunday, December 17

It appears that Star Wars has taken over all the theaters in the vicinity this weekend, so instead of going to the theater to see The Star, we’ll be showing a family-friendly Christmas movie in the Jubilee Room from 11:30-12:30 after worship on Sunday, December 17. Hope you can join us! RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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 .

Fair Trade Sales

Sunday, December 17

Fair Trade Sales are happening again this Sunday, December 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

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 .

Christmas Eve Family Worship

Sunday, December 24

The Hebrew scriptures remind us that “a little child shall lead them.” Come join in the celebration of Christmas Eve with the joy of a child. This service is shaped for the unique needs of our families with young children—and the young-at-heart! We will enjoy the music of the Salt of the Earth and Joyful Noise choirs, as well as the musical gifts of the Christmas Orchestra welcoming us to worship.  Please join us at 5:00 pm for this family-friendly worship.

Children and youth are encouraged to share in the celebration, dressed as an angel, shepherd, or favorite animal. If you happen to arrive without your costume, or you have guests for the holiday, we’ve got “costumes” on hand for you to borrow. Help us tell and sing the stories of Christ’s birth, as we welcome the Light of the world into our hearts.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship

Sunday, December 24

With joy and wonder, we come to the Sanctuary expecting God’s Light to break forth in the night. We will share in a traditional worship service of beloved readings and carols. At the end of this contemplative service, we will complete the night with a candlelit singing of Silent Night. Service starts at 9:00 pm.

More Church News

Stewardship Campaign News

The calendar year is quickly coming to an close, but there is still time to participate in this year’s “Renewing Our Commitment” stewardship campaign. To date, the congregation has pledged $550,889, putting us at 88% of our goal of $620,000! Our pledges are critical as the Trustees prepare a preliminary budget – supporting programming, benevolences, pastors and staff, and building and grounds – for the upcoming congregational meeting. 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 or phone at (703) 323-0416.

Stewardship Committee Meeting Update

The Stewardship Committee met on December 11 at the home of member Tom Johnson. We received an update on the “Renewing Our Commitment” campaign – to date, there have been 122 pledges totaling more than $550,000 – and discussed ongoing efforts to receive additional pledges and communicate with the congregation. We also prepared a mailing acknowledging pledges recorded; reviewed the committee’s Annual Report entry; and voted to invite a guest speaker on philanthropy and stewardship for a congregational seminar in January or February. Check the Sunday bulletin and Current Tidings for regular updates. The committee’s next meeting will be January 18.

Parents: Does Your Child Have a Birthday in November or December?

If so, then please come by the church office anytime during the week that is convenient for you so your child can pick up a “Happy Birthday” pillowcase from Pastor David or another member of the office staff. This is a small gift from Little River UCC so each child can feel special on his/her birthday.

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!

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.

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.

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. Pastor David will be away from Dec. 28 – Jan. 4 for rest. Pastor Alexis will be away from Dec. 25 to 28 for family. 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. 16-24: Alexis or David

Dec. 25 to 28: David

Dec. 29 to Jan. 4: Alexis