News and Notes

Some Important Decisions and Actions for the Church:

This week our Executive Committee decided to extend the contract for Interim Pastor Bob von Trebra through the end of October, 2018.

CROP HUNGER WALK

October 6


Check-in /registration opens at 8:30 AM. The CROP Walk begins at 9:00 AM

The CROP Walk begins and ends at the King of Glory Lutheran Church (29th & Wilson).  Walkers travel along 29th Street to the Benson Sculpture Park (about 2 miles) where they can stop for refreshments and view the sculptures.  From the sculpture park, walkers can either walk or take a van back to the starting point. The walk is family and dog friendly. All donations should be turned in before the walk begins.


What makes the CROP Hunger Walk special?

Every year since 1947 churches across America have joined together to feed the hungry. The CROP Walk is a wonderful tradition that brings together people from local churches, of different ages, faiths and backgrounds, to address a daunting challenge. These people put their faith and feet into action, disproving the skeptics that think churches aren’t relevant and don’t do anything anymore.


What’s the point of walking?

Hungry people in developing countries typically walk as many as six miles a day to get food, water and fuel, and to take their goods to market.  We walk to be in solidarity with their struggle for existence.  We walk because we want to end hunger. We walk so those people will know that God is alive and through us, He is still at work in this world and can overcome the challenge of world hunger.


How can I help?

Walk and collect donations! The more walkers, the more the public (and other local churches) notices. The more money, the less hunger. Craig Jump will be downstairs during fellowship time to register people for the walk. If you have questions, please call him at 970-667-2621.


If you can’t walk, you can still join or donate to Team ‘First Congregational Church’ on the CROP Walk web­site. It is an easy way to collect donations from distant friends and relatives.


Sign up for First Congregational Church’s on-line CROP Walk team:

1. Open our CROP Walk website at: www.crophungerwalk.org/lovelandco/UCC

2. Click on the “JOIN OUR TEAM” button (on the lower right side of screen)

3. Fill in your name and other information and click on “Create your account”

4. Follow the instructions to customize your account, if you wish


You can create an URL that you can send to friends and relatives to contribute. They can use their credit card to make a donation and will be emailed a receipt for tax purposes. There are also options for posting a link on Face­book.


Donate to First Congregational Church’s on-line CROP Walk team:

1. Open our CROP Walk website at: www.crophungerwalk.org/lovelandco/UCC

2. Click on the “DONATE” button (upper right side)

3. Follow the instructions to donate either to our team or a specific team walker

New Members

We are grateful for the new members who have joined our congregation recently: Noe Cantu, Julie Ferguson, Barbara Scott, and Ward Scott.

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 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.

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!


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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BUTTER BRAIDS ARE COMING!

The youth fellowship is kicking off our fall fundraiser.  Butter Braids and caramel rolls can be ordered through one of our youth members August 26 through October 6.  Orders can be picked up starting Sunday, October 21, after church. Thank you for your support!

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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

MEATLOAF CONTEST AND FUNDRAISER LUNCHEON

Join us next Sunday for a meatloaf contest with luncheon.  Please bring your favorite meatloaf to share (1-2 lb loaf); Dawn and Karen will bring the sides.  Please sign up to enter the contest – the first 10 are eligible for a prize!  Please see Dawn Briggs or Noe Cantu with any questions.