Coastal Cleanup 2014

IMG_2884A group from First Congregational United Church of Christ was at Phipps Oceanfront Park on Saturday morning to help clean up the beach as part of The International Coastal Cleanup. There was a great turnout from the rest of the community as well. Our beach cleaners were even featured on the Palm Beach Daily News website!

 

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PEACE Listening Meeting

PEACElisteningYou are invited to join us next Sunday, September 28th, for our PEACE kickoff meeting. This meeting will introduce you to how the People Engaged in Active Community Efforts organization operates, what issues we will be working with this year, and how you can be a vital part of  practical change in Palm Beach County. We hope to see you there!

Evening of Worship and Prayer

The_Art_and_Practice_WIDEYou are invited to join us as we begin a new tradition at First Congregational United Church of Christ. Each month on the third Wednesday we will gather together to worship and pray. We will sing hymns and simple songs, engage a series of teachings on “The Art and Practice of Prayer,” and lift up one another and our world in prayer. Let’s take the opportunity to turn our hearts toward God and practice together living in His presence.

If you play and instrument or would like to assist in leading worship, see Pastor Jason.

CROS Ministries End Hunger Walk

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This year, we will once again be participating in Christian Reaching Out to Society’s End Hunger Walk. The End Hunger Walk is a 5K (3.1 miles) along Flagler Drive. We walk rain or shine. Walkers are encouraged to make banners, posters, and/or tee-shirts to identify themselves. Each walker is encouraged to collect a minimum of $100 in monetary pledges for their participation as well as a can of tuna or jar of peanut butter. All funds raised at the Walk go to support CROS Ministries’ programs. For more information or to sign up, please contact Janet Lisle.

Since 1978, CROS Ministries has provided food and basic needs assistance to people living in food insecure and low-income households in South Florida. Utilizing the talents of more than 3,000 volunteers, our programs help families and individuals from falling into the downward spiral of poverty, food insecurity, and in many cases homelessness. They include: seven community food pantries; The Caring Kitchen, a hot meal and social services program, summer camps, an after-school snack program, a weekend food backpack program, and a gleaning and food recovery program. All services are provided without regard to race, religion, national origin, marital status, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or age.

Children & Family Picnic

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Mark your calendars for Sunday October 5th. After an intergenerational worship service, we will be meeting at the South Olive splash park for a picnic with our families with children. Food and drink will be provided, just bring yourselves and a towel! We look forward to seeing you there.

Another World Is Possible: Mission Night

Another World is Possible:

20 Years – Responding to Changing Needs with Nicaragua’s Poor

Friday, September 19th at 6:15 PM

Potluck, Presentation, Crafts

Sarah Junkin Woodward comes to us from the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA), the Nicaraguan project of the non-profit, faith-based organization, the Jubilee House Community (JHC). Before moving to Nicaragua in 1994, the JHC operated shelters for the homeless and battered women in Statesville, NC. Working in Nicaragua for the past two decades, the CDCA continues to adapt, seeking to respond to human needs created by poverty in the second poorest nation in the western hemisphere. The CDCA focuses on justice now, working towards freedom from poverty, helping communities become self-sufficient, sustainable, democratic entities, specifically in the areas of sustainable economic development, organic agriculture, appropriate technology, education, and healthcare.

Sarah says, “The CDCA has been called to work with, and speak on behalf of, the poor in our area of Nicaragua, and to share their lives and stories with folks in the U.S., to bridge the gap between us and our neighbors.” Tax-deductible donations and proceeds from craft sales got to the operating expenses of the project.

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Choir Rehearsal Resumes

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In just a few weeks our choir will be resuming for the season. They rehearse at 7:00 PM on Monday nights to share music and help lead our congregation in worship on Sunday mornings. Bruce Linser directs the group, made up of some that can read music, others that follow along, all of whom enjoy making music together. See Bruce Linser or just join us Monday, September 8th at 7:00 PM.

SpirtKidz Explore Peace

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Our SpiritKidz elementary Sunday school class just wrapped up a month learning about peacemaking and getting to know some peacemakers of the Bible. From Abraham to Jesus, they experienced the power of making peace.

SpiritKidz is for kindergarten through fifth grade. After the children’s story in the worship service they go to their own class with two trained, caring adults to engage scripture and spiritual concepts at an age-appropriate level.

Together Through Technology

Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.    Acts 2:46-47 (NRSV)

A big part of the efficacy and power of the early church was that its participants spent a great deal of time together. They met together, shared meals, cared for one another. Most of us living in the 21st century in the United States would not find such a lifestyle practical (although many within the new monastic movement, including the simple way, are experimenting with just that).

facebook-churchLately, I have been wondering how technology might nudge us toward “spending much time together.” There is much to critique in the virtual world. It can be used to waste time, bully or exploit others, or keep us from more interactive, face to face relationships. However, I am wondering if this tool could also be used in positive, life-giving ways. The possibilities are many. Our Facebook page could be used for sharing prayer requests and encouraging one another. We could have small groups that meet on line. A group that meets at the church at 6:30 for an hour and a half might be difficult for some, but a group that meets by video chat at 9:00 for a half hour after the kids are put to bed and the dishes washed might be more convenient.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Can you imagine yourself being more active in community here on the internet? Would that even be community for you?

You may respond here or on our Facebook page. Speaking of our Facebook page, make sure you check it out every once in a while. Unfortunately, the way Facebook works is that even if you “Like” and “Follow” out page, you will not see everything that is posted there. If you go to the page itself, you’ll see everything posted. While you are there, you can comment on posts and share posts that you think your friends will appreciate. That will make our page more visible to others.

I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and spending time together, if not in the temple, then here!

 

Peace,

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Family Night Out

sweettomatoesOur monthly Family Nights have been an enjoyable time for those who have participated. It is an opportunity to gather together with church friends and enjoy fellowship together. In August, we are going to Sweet Tomatoes on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard in West Palm Beach. They have great food at a reasonable price and there is enough room for us to sit together. Check the newspaper and mail for coupons, or sign up to receive them by mail at www.souplantation.com. Mark your calendars for Friday, August 29th at 6:15 PM! Come hang out with your church family and invite your friends to join us!

You can RSVP and invite your friends by sharing our Facebook event page for this event.