News and Notes

Some Important Decisions and Actions for the Church:

SALVATION ARMY RED KETTLE BELL RINGERS AND COUNTERS ARE NEEDED

First Congregational Church will again be ringing the Salvation Army Red Kettle bells this year and needs vol­unteers.  Our designated Saturdays are November 24, December 15, and December 22 at the south King Soopers on Eagle Drive in Loveland.


We ALSO will be counting  the kettle proceeds on Mondays at 9:30 am and need from 8 to 10 counters.  This a fun and easy job inside a warm building, hope you can come.  All are encouraged to participate in this commu­nity outreach program.


Sign up sheets for ringing are on the trophy case.  If you have any questions, please see or call Mary Kauffman 290-4152 or Judy Bernard 689-8336.  Thank you!

A TOTALLY 80’S HALLOWEEN PARTY

Saturday, October 27, 6:30 pm

Fun for the whole family!  Come enjoy your favorite games and activities from the 80s. Dress up as your favor­ite 80s icon (examples would be a ninja turtle, Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson, Madonna, etc....).  There will be a prize for the best costume!  Please bring your favorite dish that was popular in the 80s to share, such as a seven layer dip!  Kate will be bringing piggies in a blanket as her dish to share.

FALL PICNIC/HAYRIDE

Sunday, October 28, 3:30 pm

We will meet at Jim Croissant's Farm at 3:30 p.m. (Wear your costumes or favorite fall colors.)  This is a family event for ALL AGES!  Friends and grandchildren welcome!  Dinner, drinks, and snacks provided at the end of the hayride.  Please bring a favorite side dish, snack or dessert to share!  (We will be enjoying our dinner outside at the campfire).  Please contact Kim Leibbrand at 970.646.5561 with any questions.

BELL CHOIR IS COMING!

The leaves are just beginning to change colors, but the Christmas season is right around the corner!  The bell choir will once again be playing for Advent and Christmas Eve services.  If you are interested in participating, please sign up at the trophy case so that music and schedules can be planned accordingly (Rehearsals will be on select Tuesday nights from 6-6:45 PM, starting in November).  You do not need to be able to read music, and all levels are welcome to join us.  Older children welcome to join as well! 


Talk to Nikki with any questions.  Please sign up by November 12.

2019 COMMITTEE SIGNUP SHEETS

2019 will be an exciting year in the life of this church … with a new minister and other changes.


And the Nominating Committee is trying something new to fill our committees for next year.  Rather than “assign” people to committees based upon responses to an Interest Form, we are letting people sign-up for the committee(s) that they would like to serve on.


All our committees need some new members. As planned for in our Constitution, every committee has a couple people whose terms have expired and will need some new people and new ideas.  So, there is a committee where your talents and skills are needed.  Please sign up for a committee that you think would be a good fit for your interests and talents. Join in the excitement, the changes, and some things that we just want to keep run­ning as they are now.


There will also be “interest sheets” for many of our non-elected groups, such as the Dinner Groups or the Soft­ball Team.  If there is enough interest, these groups can ramp back up.


The sign-up sheets will be on tables in the basement, so that people can look them over during refreshments af­ter church.  The sheets will be available until about Thanksgiving, so there will be some time to think and pray about your decision.  The sign-up sheets are based upon the Circles of Ministry work from a few years ago and try to answer many of the questions people have about the committees.  If you have further questions, ask a Nominating Committee member or someone currently on the committee.  (Members of the committees are posted on the bulletin board next to the kitchen window.)


PS. The Nominating Committee will still be contacting some people during this sign-up period.

WHY ARE THERE FEWER PEOPLE IN CHURCH?  SOME REVEALING NUMBERS:

A recent poll by the Washington Post and ABC News compared the number of people in the United States who identified with various religions in 2013 and in 2017.  The percentage of Roman Catholics remained unchanged (22%).  Those identifying as “Other Christian” increased from 11% to 14% (these may be Orthodox Christians, or various others).  Those that were “Other Religions” (Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc.) increased from 4% to 5%.


The biggest changes were the Protestant Christians (like us), which decreased from 50% of the U.S. population in 2013 to only 36% in 2017.  That means a lot fewer people in our country are looking for a church like ours.  By contrast, the percentage of people identifying with “No Religion” almost doubled – from 12% in 2013 to 21% in 2017.


It seems to me that we must face the reality that we will have fewer people looking for a church like ours in the future.  Simply being welcoming and friendly – though that is a good thing – won’t do much good if people just aren’t interested in being a part of a church.  Either that, or we must become much better about sharing why be­ing a part of a church has made a difference in our lives.


In my sermon last Sunday, I shared my belief that “the opposite of faith is fear.”  My faith helps me live and love without fear.  That is why I am part of a church.


Bob von Trebra

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 acting as a second adult for Sunday school.  All of the Sunday School lessons are already planned you would just be needed to be an additional pair of hands.

We would like to get enough volunteers in a pool so volunteers would only be needed every 2-3 months.  If interested, please sign up at the trophy case, contact Eileen Walker,  or any other member of the Faith Formation Board.  If you have any questions, please contact Eileen Walker or put your name on the sign up sheet.

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.

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, contact HomeShare directly at phone 970-488-2374 or Email homeshare@n2n.org. Their website is www.n2n.org.

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NO HARVEST SOUP FESTIVAL THIS YEAR

It has been decided that there will not be a Harvest Soup Festival this year due to uncertainty about getting enough volunteers able to work at one time.  We are instead planning to hold several fundraiser luncheons or events.  Noodles will continue to be sold as well.  Watch for more information as events are set up