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Our 64th Year Roberta Croll, EditorRevised March 16, 2018

Fifth Sunday in Lent
10:00 am Worship with Communion and Special Choral Music

Sunday, March 18

This Sunday, the Sanctuary Choir will reflect on scripture with an astonishing piece of music based on Isaiah's vision of the Suffering Servant. Join us in worship at 10:00 am as we prayerfully worship together during this season of Lent.

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

Special Choral Music

Sunday, March 18

This 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 understanding 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 immediately after worship in Room 7. After lunch we will depart for the movie which begins at noon.

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 .

Evolution of the Word: Adult Bible Study

Sunday, March 18

This Sunday, March 18, the Adult Bible Study class will hold its final meeting.  We’ll consider Romans some more, and wrap up the series. See you at 9:00 am in Room 8. Thanks to all who attended the class!

New Member Information Class

Sunday, March 18

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 18 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 18

On Sunday, March 18 and every Communion Sunday 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.

Next Week and Beyond

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

Monday, March 19

Monday Morning Bible Study continues on March 19 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.

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 service on March 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!

Palm Sunday Worship

Sunday, March 25

Worship begins at 10:00 am with a Palm Parade, led by our children and youth. We will reflect on Christ’s “triumphal entrance” into Jerusalem, his prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the symbolism and mystery of Holy Week. In addition, the Sanctuary Choir and guest musicians will lead us from the joyful shouts of Hosanna! into the introspective and redemptive days of Holy Week as we approach Easter and the resurrection.

Maundy Thursday Worship

Thursday, March 29

Beginning at 7:30 pm, we will remember Jesus’ last meal with the Disciples, and his words of prayer in the Garden. This service includes a ritual of hand washing and Communion.

Good Friday Tenabrae

Friday, March 30

The traditional service of candles and darkness will begin at 7:30 pm. We will share in an experience of the three days of self-exploration leading towards Easter. Music, Meditation, Communion, Scripture and the Extinguishing of the Lights.

Easter Sunday Worship

Sunday, April 1

Sunrise Service at the Cross 6:45 am

A service of renewal and Communion followed by an Easter breakfast with hot cross buns.

A Service of Resurrection 9:00 & 11:00 am

The Sanctuary Choir and Brass Ensemble will call us to rejoice with the brass and tympani as we exclaim, Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! The Sanctuary and Joyful Noise choirs combine forces to lead the service in music and song with the trumpets, trombones, and the full organ. From the prelude to glorious, familiar hymns and to the grand anthems, the music reflects Christ’s triumph over the grave and our redemption by his love.

As a part of the 9:00 am service, an Easter Time with Children will be offered, with an Easter Egg Search at 10:00 am.

Easter Offering - Rise Against Hunger

Sunday, April 1

On Easter Sunday, a special Easter Fund offering will be received to support our annual Rise Against Hunger meal packing event. The Board of Outreach and Social Justice (BOSJ) asks for your support of this offering, which will again enable us to support the packing of highly nutritious dehydrated meals in September 2018. Our meal packing event in September 2017 produced 20,000 meals that were sent to school children in El Salvador. To support the offering, please designate "Easter Fund" on the memo line of your check or include your contribution in the special Easter offering envelope that you will soon receive in the mail.

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

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 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.

Worship Committee Meeting Update

The Worship Committee met on March 14 and discussed the various services during Holy Week -- from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday, please come as you are able to journey with your fellow parishioners through the Passion. If you have comments or suggestions on worship at Little River including feedback on Lenten worship, please send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or speak with Carolyn Johnson, Drew Nettinga, or Chris Weakley.

Governance Board Meeting Update

The Governance Board met on March 14, 2018 and here are their updates:

  • Passed a series of financial motions aimed at finalizing pay agreements for staff and finding help for John Davis as he recovers from his broken wrist.
  • Chris Weakley reported that the Deacons are arranging an installation service for Pastor Alexis, hopefully in June, with details to follow.
  • We discussed applying for a grant from the Lilly Foundation to cover the three-month Sabbatical that Pastor David will take in 2019. This grant would be focused on how we as a congregation wish to grow during this interim period, as well as how David would benefit. David will be sending a survey out to gather ideas from the congregation; in the meantime, please feel free to share any thoughts with David.
  • Future Ministries Task Force: Pastor David provided an update on volunteers he has received to date. If anyone is interested in participating on this committee, please reach out to David.

Board of Christian Education Meeting Update

The Board of Christian Education met on Thursday, March 15th. On Easter Sunday (April 1st) we will have an Egg Hunt for the children right after the 9:00 am service. Note the time! 9:00 am! We will provide bags that the children can decorate and use for the egg hunt, but you can bring a basket if you want too. We are need of volunteers to help with the Egg Hunt- email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you can help. Remember that during the 11:00 am service on Easter Sunday there will be no Church School. We are also discussing the possibility of a LRUCC T-Shirt maybe as a fundraiser for youth activities. Let us know if you are excited about this idea! The CE Board is in the process of purchasing a new curriculum for church school. We hope to have an event in May for parents, teachers, and church members who might be interested in teaching church school to check out the new curriculum.

Update: Future Ministries Task Force

At our Annual Meeting on January 28, we as a congregation voted to create a Future Ministries Task Force. While the task force’s focus was intentionally broad, the idea was to look at how our infrastructure (e.g. building and grounds) might facilitate or hinder the ministries to which God is calling us in the coming years. Pastor David is guiding this effort, and he is pleased to report that seven people have already agreed to serve! If you are interested in being involved, please email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call him at (571) 339-9343. The task force would meet once a month, starting in April of this year, with the expectation that the work would wrap up with a presentation at the Annual Meeting in January 2019.

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: or the flyer on the bulletin board in the social hall for specific details of each screening. Let's show our support!

Parents: Does Your Child Have a Birthday in March?

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.