News and Notes


BELL CHOIR RETURNS FOR EASTER


We'll be doing a special bell choir performance during the service on Easter Sunday. Everyone is welcome to join us!  You do not need to be able to read music, and all levels of music experience will be able to follow along (you just need to be able to count to 4!) Older children are invited to play as well.


If you are interested in participating, please sign up at the trophy case so that music can be ordered and pre­pared. Talk to Nikki with any questions or concerns. Rehearsals will be Tuesday nights, March 6, 20, and 27, from 6-6:45pm.


CHURCH MEETINGS AND EVENTS


If you will be having any meetings at the church, please let Staci know so she can add it to our central church calendar (office@lovelandUCC.org).  This helps ensure that space is not double booked, and allows for clean­ing/straightening after all events.  Thank you.



FAITH FORMATION VOLUNTEERS NEEDED



The Faith Formation Board is looking for volunteers interested in covering Children's time or helping with teaching Sunday school.  All of the Sunday School lessons are already planned out.  You only need to teach the lesson to the children.


We would like to get enough volunteers in a pool so volunteers would only have to teach one Sunday every 2-3 months.  If interested, please sign up at the trophy case, contact the office, Pastor Bob or any member of the Faith Formation Board.  If you have any questions, please contact Karen Jazowski or put your name on the sign up sheet.


CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER


An introduction to contemplative prayer (sometimes called centering prayer) will be offered at the church on Saturdays during Lent, 9-10 a.m.  We will meet in the church sanctuary.


CONFIRMATION


Our Confirmation class this year is open to anyone who would like to learn more about what it means to follow Jesus and be a member of our church – even adults.  Many of our sessions will be on the 3rd Saturday of the month, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Let us know if you would like to join the adventure!


We will not meet on March 17 because several Confirmation class members are away for Spring Break.  Instead, members are encouraged to attend these events:


Sunday, March 25:  Palm Sunday worship at church, 10 a.m.


Thursday, March 29, 7:00 p.m.:  Maundy Thursday worship at our church


Friday, March 30, 7:00 p.m.:   Good Friday ecumenical worship at First Christian Church, 2000 N. Lincoln Ave. in Loveland


Sunday, April 1:  Easter Sunday worship at our church.  Confirmation Class members may be asked to help with the Easter Egg Hunt after worship.


Friday, April 6:  Attend a Shabbat worship service at a Jewish synagogue in Fort Collins.  Meet at our church at 6:15 p.m.


Saturday, April 21:  Confirmation Class at church, 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.


OPEN and AFFIRMING (ONA) DISCUSSIONS


Our Open and Affirming discussions have concluded – at least for a while.  We may have more occasions for learning and discussion later.  Watch for details to come.


At our most recent discussions we talked about how people in our church seem to be “open” to many kinds of people being a part of the church and even sharing in positions of leadership and ministry.  I believe that is true -­- we have lesbian and gay persons participating in the life of the church.  But some people may not be ready for the “affirming” part of being ONA – they just aren’t sure if same-sex relationships are right and what God in­tends for humankind.


I understand that, and I think many other people do as well.  This is a learning experience for many of us, and it seems to go against what was taught in the past.  There are also many other Christians, and even other members of the United Church of Christ, who are not sure this is right, and who would be against being “open and affirm­ing.”


After reflecting on this, I thought we don’t have to necessarily say that we are ready to affirm people’s behavior.  We can admit that we are still learning.  And, I realized there may be many people in our church whose behav­iors I don’t want to affirm – including my own.  There may be people in our church who have money and have­n’t given it all away in order to follow Jesus, as the gospels recount that Jesus told some people they should do.  There may be some people who do not love their enemies as they love their neighbors (Matthew 5:44).  There may be some who sometimes speak unkindly of others (Matthew 5:22).  I am occasionally guilty of these things as well.  And yet such people are welcome in our church through the grace of God in Christ.


HALLELUJAH CHORUS


We will be continuing the tradition of concluding the Easter service with the "Hallelujah Chorus," and everyone is welcome to join us!


If you would like to have a chance to practice, the choir will be singing through this at the start of rehearsals (7pm) on  March 20 and 27. However, rehearsals are NOT required if you would like to sing on Easter - we will have plenty of music available and will invite anyone interested to come up to join in singing!  Last year, we had a great turnout on Easter morning, and the hope is to have even more this year! Talk to Nikki if you have any questions.


CANDY DONATIONS NEEDED


Faith Formation Board is requesting donations of candy to fill eggs for the children’s Easter Egg Hunt.  A dona­tion box will be available in the narthex. Thank you for supporting our events for children!   


ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING



It's not too late to contribute to the UCC's annual March drive for One Great Hour of Sharing!  You don’t need the special envelope that was handed out 3/11: Simply write a check to First Cong. Church, mark OGHS on the memo line and put it in the offering plate or mail it to the church office at  800 North Lincoln - Loveland CO 80537.  Thank you!


HomeShare: An Innovative Housing Solution


Neighbor to Neighbor and the Partnership for Age-Friendly Communities in Larimer County have worked to-gether to offer HomeShare – a program that matches Larimer County homeowners, age 55 or older with extra room in their home they might be willing to rent, with people who are looking for a place to live and can offer in-home assistance to the homeowner. Participants are screened and matched by a certified Housing Counselor.
If you would like to learn more, flyers are available at the church, or contact HomeShare directly at phone 970-488-2374 or Email homeshare@n2n.org. Their website is www.n2n.org.