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Our 64th Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised March 9, 2018

Fourth Sunday in Lent
10:00 am Worship with Communion

Sunday, March 11

Tell me who you're loyal to.  Is it money? Is it fame? Is it family? Is it unconditional when times get tough? This Sunday we'll explore one of the great biblical examples of loyalty -- the bond between Ruth and Naomi.

Also, this Sunday is our special offering for One Great Hour of Sharing. Children and youth are encouraged to bring their coin boxes back to contribute to the offering.

One last thing -- daylight saving time begins this weekend so don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before heading to bed on Saturday night!

A Word About Worship...


Members and friends of Little River UCC who’ve been in worship the past few Sundays in Lent have noticed that in addition to having communion weekly during the Lenten season, we are also offering the option of anointing with oil as a part of our Eucharist celebration.

The decision to offer the oil of anointing was made by the Worship Committee in consultation with Pastors David and Alexis with the hope of expanding worshippers’ experience of Lenten practices.

Anointing with oil is an ancient and ecumenical tradition that bestows God’s blessings on those who receive it. Saul and David, Israel’s first two kings, were anointed with oil by the prophet Samuel as a sign of their having been chosen by God (1 Samuel 10:1 and16:12-13). It has also been and continues to be used to invoke God’s healing presence on those who are ill of body, mind or spirit. “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14).

Although not practiced by every United Church of Christ congregation, there are examples of UCC churches who do offer anointing with oil on different occasions. Some congregations observe the practice as a regular feature of their celebration of communion. Other churches anoint each newly baptized person with oil as a part of their baptism ritual. Pastors of some of our churches offer the oil of anointing to congregants on the Sunday they observe Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist (usually on the first Sunday after Epiphany).

Anointing with oil is also a mark of hospitality. Many are no doubt familiar with the story from Luke’s Gospel of the time Jesus was invited to supper by a Pharisee. “And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that Jesus was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind Jesus at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment” (7:37-38). Anointing with oil, we believe, complements well Little River’s commitment to offer extravagant welcome and radical hospitality to all those who gather to worship.

Think also of Psalm 23:5 - “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” In the case of communion, we gather around God’s table of bread and wine, receive the elements and then God’s blessings, of which the oil of anointing is a visible sign.

All this being said, since this is a new practice for Little River UCC, the Worship Committee would very much appreciate hearing from members and friends regarding your feelings about the decision to offer the option of anointing with oil during the Sundays of Lent. Please share your thoughts with Pastors David or Alexis, or members of the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Carolyn Johnson, Drew Nettinga, Chris Weakley). We do want and value such feedback.

This Week


Food & Fun Session 4: Serve Dinner at Hypothermia Shelter

Sunday, March 11

On Sunday, March 11 we will partner with Fairfax Baptist Church to provide dinner to those experiencing homelessness. Adult volunteers are needed to prepare dinner for 50 at LRUCC and take it to the hypothermia shelter at Fairfax Baptist. We will help serve dinner at 5:00 pm and stay until 8:00 pm to eat and share fellowship with guests.

Children and youth are invited to make bagged lunches for the program after worship! We will take these with us when we go to serve dinner.

Please sign up in the Narthex for each activity during Lent, or you can RSVP directly to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

One Great Hour of Sharing

Sunday, March 11

One Great Hour of Sharing is one of five mission offerings of the United Church of Christ and provides hope to people in more than eighty countries. The offering blesses people in need by providing clean water to drink and healthy food for the hungry. The offering helps build schools, medical clinics, and homes in communities that don’t have them or that have been badly hurt by earthquakes, hurricanes, poverty, and war. The offering will be collected during worship on March 11. Please use the special envelope that was included in the Current Reflections mailing or mark your check with "One Great Hour of Sharing". Gifts also may be made via the Online Giving button.

Book Group

Sunday, March 11

Please join us after worship on Sunday, March 11 at 11:30 am for a discussion of Atul Gawande's book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters. All are welcome whether you have read the book or not.

Evolution of the Word: Adult Bible Study

Sunday, March 11

On March 11, the Sunday morning Adult Bible Study class will welcome Jan Leibig, who will help the group focus on Romans, Chapter 10. Jan holds a Ph.D. from Catholic University in Biblical studies, and has taught there. Because of our guest, the class will hold its final meeting one week later on March 18, when we’ll consider Romans some more, and wrap up the series. See you at 9:00 am in Room 8.

New Member Information Class

Sunday, March 11

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, March 11 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!

Food Pantry Reminder

Sunday, March 11 & 18

On Sunday, March 11 & 18 and every Communion Sunday (every Sunday during Lent) 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.

Fair Trade Sales

Sunday, March 11

Fair Trade Sales are happening next Sunday, March 11, 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 - The History of Christianity Part II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch

Monday, March 12

Monday Morning Bible Study continues on March 12 at 10:00 am, with the 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. Topics are: Zwingli and Calvin in the Reformed Tradition, and the Anabaptist Radicals.

Sanctuary DMV presents "Rapid Response" Training

Tuesday, March 13

Sanctuary DMV is a consortium of houses of worship that organize and advocate on behalf of immigrants and refugees in the Washington, DC area. Annandale, VA has been the site of several targeted ICE raids over the past year, detaining and deporting many in our community. This Rapid Response Training workshop is designed to help communities respond to raids and support those at risk. If you are interested in attending, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The training will take place on Tuesday, March 13 at 7:00 pm in the Social Hall.

Greenspring Ministry

Wednesday, March 14

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!

Men's Fellowship

Wednesday, March 14

On Wednesday, March 14, the Men's Fellowship will be gathering at the First Watch Restaurant in the City of Fairfax City (Fair City Mall) at 10:30 am for "brunch". We welcome men of all ages! If you will be attending or have any questions, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it via email or phone at 202-329-8641

Special Choral Music

Sunday, March 18

Next Sunday, hear a new setting of the fourth of the ‘Servant Songs’ in Isaiah presented by the Sanctuary Choir and guest string players. These words - so familiarly used in Handel’s Messiah - are set to fresh music by K. Lee Scott with commanding text-painting, contemporary metrical and theory technique, and high levels of punctuation throughout the piece. The morning will offer an opportunity to ponder this difficult text: Isaiah’s own understand of these words and the servant’s identity; “the long-standing Christian propensity to assume that this enigmatic figure is an anticipation of Jesus, who emerges as ‘servant,’” as Walter Brueggemann writes; and application to our lives today—suffering, bruised, exalted.

LRUCC Meditation Group Meeting

Sunday, March 18

Please join the Little River Meditation group on Sunday, March 18 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 .

Session 5: Family Faith & Film: “A Wrinkle in Time”

Sunday, March 18

“A Wrinkle in Time” is a classic in children’s literature and is now a major motion picture! We will discuss its religious themes over lunch and then go out to a local theater to watch the movie (rated PG) together. All are invited! Soup lunch starts at 11:30 am in the social hall. After lunch we will depart for the movie.

Please sign up in the Narthex for each activity during Lent, or you can RSVP directly to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

March for our Lives

Saturday, March 24

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice encourages members to consider participating in the March for our Lives national protest to end gun violence on Saturday, March 24. The stated objective of the march is to "demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be brought before Congress to address these gun issues." Those who wish to go with a group can meet at church for a light breakfast and caravan together to the metro. Sign up for more information at coffee hour after services on March 11 and 18 if you are interested in attending this event.

Open Mike Night: Sign Up!

Sign-up Deadline: March 25 | Event Date: April 14

On Saturday, April 14 the mists will once again part and Club Little River will emerge for a single night, like Brigadoon. Open Mike Night is our annual open talent show! All ages and all kinds of acts are welcome to perform. If you would like to be part of the night, let Nancy Carey or Dave Shepherd know this before March 25. Feel free to catch either of them during coffee hour, or send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Dave. The dedicated email for this event will also get the message to those who need to know ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). You must submit your music to Dave if you want the band to back you up. However, even if you will not be working with the band, please let us know that you want to perform so we can put you on the official performers list. We ask performers and groups to limit themselves to one number each, in order that all may have the opportunity to perform.

Even if you prefer to keep your talents hidden, please be sure to mark your calendars so that you don’t miss this all-church sharing event. Audience members will be seated cabaret style, and refreshments will be served. Please join in the fun!

Writer's Workshop

April 2 – May 7

Attention, beginning and intermediate writers, we have scheduled a workshop that will be helpful to you! We will meet on Mondays from 7 to 9 pm for six weeks, starting April 2nd and continuing until May 7th. (The Board of Deacons is our official sponsor.) Our leader will be Lisa Leibow, a published author, and teacher at NOVA as well as throughout the DC area. To register, download the form, and follow instructions given there. This class will be of interest to those who are writing short stories, longer works of fiction, or personal history/memoir. We will discuss aspects of crafting good stories whether true or fictional. For more information, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can learn more about Lisa at www.LLLeibow.com.

First Friday: Celebrate Earth Day!

Friday, April 6

Join us for First Friday: Celebrate Earth Day! on April 6 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. This is one of the most important things we can teach our kids. Earth is our home so let's show her our love. See y'all then!

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 2017/2018 program year, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by Wednesday, April 4 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!

Update! Books, Art, Movies, & Music Sale

Saturday, April 21

Thanks for the enthusiastic response to the upcoming Book Sale on Saturday, 21 April from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm in the Social Hall. We look forward to having your used books, music CDs, movie DVDs, and framed art with which to part! We'd also welcome any paper bags with handles or soft cloth bags to use at the sale. Are your boxes ready now for pick up? Then let This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone at 571-384-0722. She can meet you at church or your house to pick them up so we can sort and price ahead of the sale! Proceeds go the LRUCC operating fund and leftovers will go to charities! Want to volunteer? Please contact Barbara Allen.

More Church News


Order Your Easter Flowers Today

As soon as possible

You are invited to place Easter flowers in the Sanctuary on Easter Sunday, April 1, in honor or in memory of a loved one. The deadline for ordering is Friday, March 30. The order form is available here or you can pick one up on Sunday at church in the bulletin.

Board of Outreach and Social Justice Meeting Update

On February 25th, a Board of Outreach and Social Justice (BOSJ) meeting was held. We discussed roles and responsibilities and elected Karen Kleiber and Janet Mackey as co-chairs. Teri Ayres will serve as "chair-elect" so that we have leadership in place when Karen and Janet complete their terms on the board next year. We discussed our priorities for 2018 and learned about Interfaith Action for Human Rights from Gay Gardner. We are working to align our LRUCC benevolence contributions with our social justice priorities. The board voted to approve Thelma Morris grant funds to continue to support Katey Summers with her mission work in Honduras. We are also planning for One Great Hour of Sharing, on the five UCC offerings that Little River supports, on March 11th. Additionally, the board decided that the Easter Offering will once again support Rise Against Hunger and our annual meal packing event, please watch for more information to come and a letter in the mail. We discussed the upcoming March for Our Lives on March 24th and the importance of standing against gun violence. We will meet and have breakfast at Little River on the day of the march, please join us!

Volunteers Needed for the 2018 Silent Auction

The auction committee is looking for volunteers to help with this year's LRUCC Silent Auction! If you are interested in working on this fun event, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The auction will take place in May.

4th Annual Voices from the Holy Land 2018 Film Series

This year’s series is supported by a coalition of forty-one interfaith (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Unitarian) faith organizations, including Little River UCC. Films will be screened at five different venues in Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and Virginia with six award-winning full-length and five short documentaries over six Sundays (and a Saturday) in March and April. That is a total of thirteen opportunities to learn about what is happening in Israel-Palestine, hear the voices of the people living in this region, and enter into the conversation on justice, human rights, and peace in the Holy Land. All screenings are free.

See the event website: http://www.voicesfromtheholyland.org or the flyer on the bulletin board in the social hall for specific details of each screening. Let's show our support!