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Our 63rd Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised December 22, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Advent
10:00 am Worship

Sunday, December 24

Of all the characters in the Christmas story, we probably talk the least about the Angel Gabriel. Join us for family-friendly worship on Sunday at 10 am, as we learn more about Gabriel together!

Christmas Eve at Little River

Christmas Eve Family Worship - 5:00 pm

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 - 9:00 pm

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.

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 Washington, 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 to 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 .

Little River UCC Meditation Group Meeting

Sunday, December 24

Please join the Little River Meditation group on Sunday, December 24 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 .

This Week

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.

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

Next Week and Beyond

Food Pantry Reminder

Sunday, January 7

On Sunday, January 7and 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.

New Adult Education Discussion!

Sunday, January 7

Janet Mackey will lead an 8-part discussion of Marcus Borg's Evolution of the Word, which examines the books of the New Testament in the order they were written. The discussion will focus on the undisputed letters of Paul and will be held every Sunday from January 7th - February 25th at 9:00 am in the Conference Room. Interested but can't make Sunday mornings? Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and let her know. An additional weeknight discussion will be scheduled if 5 or more people are interested! Copies of the book are available in the church library and online.

Monday Morning Bible Study - The History of Christianity Part II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch

Monday, January 8

Fundamentally, the history of Christianity is not a history of abstract “-isms.” It’s a story of human beings, and the story of how faith is actually lived. The Monday Morning Bible Study is taking a holiday break until January 8, 2018 when we begin this new course taught by Molly Worthen Assistant Professor of History at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Worthen received her B.A. in History as well as her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale.

Women’s Ministry Presents Poetry with Jennifer Atkinson

Sunday, January 14

Jennifer will talk about poetry with some favorites. She also will talk about “Ordinary Light” by winning Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, her memoir. She is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for “Life on Mars”. We will have copies of “Ordinary Light” for resale at the gathering on January 14. We will meet in Room 7 from 11:30 to 1:00. Please join us for an exciting time.

Footsteps to Hawaii

Tuesday, January 30

Join friends and Pastor David in Footsteps XI in January/February, 2019, following “In the Footsteps of the Mikanele.” This is what the residents of the Sandwich Islands called the Congregational missionaries who first came to the Islands in 1820. Their heritage, for good and ill, remains visible today. Add whale watching, volcanoes, the Arizona Battleship Memorial, the Polynesian Culture Center, two church services, Waikiki, and much more on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawaii. Pick up a color brochure in the office or the atrium. To reserve one of only 20 spaces, write your check for $150 to LRUCC with “Footsteps” on the memo line. The deadline for trip registration is January 30, precisely one year before departure. For more information, talk to David or to Brian Payne. Aloha!

More Church News

Stewardship Campaign News

The calendar year is quickly coming to a close, but there is still time to participate in this year’s “Renewing Our Commitment” stewardship campaign. To date, the congregation has pledged $557,749, putting us at 90% 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 via email or phone (703) 323-0416 or .

Men’s Jackets Still Needed

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice has been informed by FISH that they are still in need of men's jackets -- long coats don't seem to fit their needs as well. If you have any men's jackets to donate, please notify This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to let us know and to arrange collection of the donation.

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.

Board of Trustees Meeting Update

The Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, December 19. The Board of Trustees has hired Mary Patrick as a part-time Bookkeeper for 10 hours per week to assist the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer with the day to day financial operations of Little River Church. Mary has a degree in accounting, lives in Fairfax City, and most recently, worked as an accounting specialist for the Independent Educational Consultants Association. Mary Patrick's hours are flexible, but most weeks she will be working on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. If you are in the church office and see someone new, please introduce yourself and welcome Mary Patrick to Little River. In other actions, the Board of Trustees received a Facility Security Assessment report from the Fairfax County Police Department and has begun to implement recommendations from that report. The Board approved a proposal from National Security to install three security monitoring cameras - two on the building exterior to monitor the driveway approach and the parking lot, and one camera in the atrium to monitor the front door. This is a first step; the system will eventually be expanded to provide camera surveillance of the entire church exterior and all the entrances. The final phase of repairs to the church's flat roof is underway, and is expected to be completed during the first week of January - just in time for winter snow storms.