UCC pastoral letter on migrant families

Leaders of the United Church of Christ have issued a pastoral letter on immigration. It urges church members to pressure national leaders to keep migrant families together. Link for contacting elected officials

Condemning the unconscionable assertion that migrant children should be separated from their parents because of ‘orderly and lawful processes that protect the weak and lawful,’ — a Biblical statement used to justify U.S. immigration policies — United Church of Christ National Leadership has issued this pastoral letter, urging the people of the denomination’s almost 5,000 congregations to take action now! First, by contacting their Congressional representatives, and then by providing funds to keep families together. Money to be used to support the people sleeping in the streets at the borders of this country, or those parents and children separated upon entry!

“Still, when God saw the trouble they were in and heard their cries for help,
God remembered God’s Covenant with them, and, immense with love, took them by the hand.
God poured out God’s mercy on them while their captors looked on, amazed.”
Psalm 106:44-47 (MSG)

Friends, once again we stand at the brink of a moral precipice in our society and the question before us is will we choose to act in covenant with God on behalf of God’s people or will we sacrifice our soul. The United Church of Christ has long been a supporter of migrant families seeking refuge within our borders from intolerable and unsafe living conditions in their homelands. As people of God committed to the sacredness of all creation and the sanctity of every life, we are compelled to heed the cries of families now being violently torn apart at our borders for political expediency and profitability. Such violent acts are unnecessarily punitive and place at risk the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and developmental stability of hundreds of families who now find themselves separated, caged, and commodified in a strange land.

All of our sacred texts, no matter the faith, identify the disregard of the humanity of the vulnerable as sin.

And God hears the cries of God’s people. The plight of black and brown migrant families whose children are ripped from their care cannot be the policy of a civilized land. We’ve been here before. Our nation’s history bears witness to a legacy of lost love. We separated the children of Native people from their families. We separated the children of enslaved people from their families. We separated the children of Japanese people from their families. Many of these families were never made whole again. This legacy of white supremacist ideology is idolatrous and leaves an indelible mark of evil that can only be redeemed by a conscious act of spiritual repentance and repair.

The United Church of Christ strongly condemns the dismantling of families, the criminalization of the quest for freedom, and the caging of those whose only crime is to seek shelter from harm. How we treat those who seek shelter in our midst is a direct reflection of how we treat God. We call upon our 5,000 member churches to write letters to your representatives in Congress as an act of worship this month. Refugee Justice Sunday is June 17, World Refugee Day is June 20. Remind Congress there is a law that supersedes partisanship and political bantering, and that is the sanctity of all people of God.

Faithfully yours,

The National Officers of the United Church of Christ

The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President
The Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries
The Rev. James Moos, Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries

The Council of Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ

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We’re seeking a part-time office manager

We’re looking to hire a part-time Church Office Manager. This position is for 30 hours a week.

The Office Manager:
  • Works collaboratively with the Lead Pastor and staff to support the congregation’s vision. Our vision is to become “seekers and servants, growing in God’s transforming love.”
  • Advances the priorities and programs of Falcon Heights Church, United Church of Christ, by performing administrative and office support functions. This work strengthens us as an inclusive, intergenerational community that models progressive Christianity.
  • Reports to the Lead Pastor and works with the church staff, congregation, and general public in the church’s ministry and mission.
Additional responsibilities:
  • In addition to general office management, the position includes communications, record-keeping, and building use coordination.

If you’re interested, please contact the Rev. Rick King at revrick@falconheightsucc.org.

Summer at Falcon Heights Church

We don’t take a summer vacation at Falcon Heights Church. Here’s what’s in store on summer Sundays beginning in June:

  • Worship time moves to 9:30 a.m. as of June 3. Summer hours continue through Sept. 2.
  • Our Summer Sundays children’s ministry, “Whole Children,” starts June 3. Kids will begin worship with their families. Then right after the children’s message, they’ll go to Faith Formation. Kids will learn practices such as seed art, aromatherapy, meditation and labyrinth walking as a basis for developing self-care and wholeness of life.
  • We’ll have an informal Contemplative First Hour at 8:30 a.m. Sundays through Sept. 2. There will be an ongoing Centering Prayer group and a Labyrinth Walk set up. Both these are open to youth as well as adults.
  • Starting June 10, worship moves from the sanctuary to the more informal, inviting Gathering Room. We’re planning elements of worship to make it more participatory than usual.
  • We’ll resume 10:30 a.m. worship time on Sept. 9 with a “Gathering of the Waters” liturgy and special festivities to kick off the new program year.  And, our First Hour start time in the fall will be 9:15 a.m., which will give us more transition time before worship.

Deliver Meals on Wheels

We need more drivers to deliver Meals on Wheels to seniors in our area. By volunteering, you can help seniors stay healthy and live independently at home. All it takes is one morning every three weeks.

Falcon Heights Church provides drivers every third Monday morning for Roseville Area Meals on Wheels. We pick up the meals at the Fairview Community Center at 10:45 a.m. Delivery time usually runs about an hour.

The delivery routes cover Falcon Heights and Roseville. We need drivers either to take on a regular route or to be on call as a substitute.

Typically, each route includes six to 10 meals.  Our drivers use their own cars and work individually or as two-person teams.

If you are interested, please talk with Carolyn Hill at 651-646-6656 or by email: davidcarolynhill@msn.com.

United Theological Seminary moving to St. Paul

United Theological Seminary announced recently that it will move its campus from New Brighton to St. Paul at the end of 2018. The 55-year-old ecumenical graduate school is an affiliate of the United Church of Christ.

Leaders cited a desire to better serve students who rely on public transportation, to be closer to urban ministries in keeping with the seminary’s social justice emphasis, and to relocate in a smaller, more intimate space. The school currently has 85 students, almost half of whom are distance learners.

The school is looking for new quarters in the Hwy 280/University Avenue neighborhood. It plans to sell the New Brighton facility to Global Academy Charter School, which serves first-generation immigrant students.

Healthy Aging Group under discussion

Falcon Heights Church and other local churches and agencies are discussing establishing a Healthy Aging Group in northern Ramsey County.

The goal of a Healthy Aging Group is to enable older people to thrive in their communities. Two other groups are already operating in the St. Paul area: The West St. Paul group includes Hamline-Midway, Rondo, Union Park and the West 7th area; a second group focuses on the East Side of St. Paul.

Ours would be the third area group, and like the other two, would focus on the specific needs of our particular populations of older adults.

Falcon Heights Church has been looking for ways to advance our senior ministry. Rev. Rick King has been in touch with Julia Wolf, a planner with St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health, and Lisa Kane of the Living-at-Home Block Nurse program about this potential partnership.

On March 27, our church hosted the first gathering to explore starting a group, which Julia Wolf would establish but which would become self-directing, self-sustaining and community-based.

A follow-up meeting is scheduled April 24 at 3 p.m. in the Gathering Room at Falcon Heights Church. We expect to meet with people from Como Park Lutheran, New Life Presbyterian, Lyngblomsten, District 10, and others.

Congregation elects 2018 leaders

The congregation of Falcon Heights Church elected its lay leaders for 2018 at its annual meeting Jan. 28. They are:


Moderator: Pat Bohman
Moderator-elect: Carol Holm
Financial Secretary: Lee Barry
Clerk: Bryan Seyfarth
Treasurer: Dave Hill
Assistant Treasurer: Sue Lillehei
Historian: Kyle Roeckeman

Executive Board

Jeanie Morrison
Jacob Kanake
John Reitan
Kyle Roeckeman
Conee Biggs
Peter Duddleston
Marv Fabyanske
Bob Olsen
Noah Keitel

The congregation also approved the 2018 budget and nominations to ministry teams.

Conversation with immigrants

Join other  volunteers from Falcon Heights Church who are helping adult English language learners at Fairview Community Center to practice their conversation skills. We meet every other Wednesday from 10:30 to 11:40 a.m. when the public schools are in session. Many immigrants and refugees are taking daily classes in English, but it is tremendously helpful for them to have a chance to talk with native English speakers in more informal conversational settings. We talk about everything from families to food to life in people’s native couintries and in America. The volunteers learn at least as much as our conversation partners!

Contact Nancy Duffrin at nduffrin@gmail.com or 651-348-7880 to learn more.


Rev. Rick King is called as pastor of Falcon Heights Church

The congregation of Falcon Heights Church, United Church of Christ, voted unanimously Aug. 13 to call the Rev. Rick King as our next lead pastor. He will join us Nov. 1, after completing his current interim ministry in Colorado.

Rev. Rick graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1989 and was ordained Jan. 28, 1990. Over the past 27 years, he has been called into covenant with several congregations, serving 10 years in Winona, Minnesota, and eight years in Longmont, Colorado. He has also served in interim roles in Illinois, Colorado and North Carolina. He is a member of the First Congregational Church in Loveland, Colorado.
Rick and his wife, Linda, have three teen-agers: Gabe, who will start high school in St. Paul this fall; Samuel, who will remain in Colorado with his mother for his senior year; and Elijah, a student at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon.

Watch video of July 8 Service of Prayer and Recommitment

Videos from the July 8 Service of Prayer and Recommitment are now online at YouTube. You can view all nine of them here as a playlist, or go to https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOoJSJzmgg2gd5qAM5exRuQaoj9voA8zK