Small experiments

Churches progress through small experiments, author says

“Churches often assume that trying something once means they have to get it perfect,” writes Dwight J. Zscheile in his book “The Agile Church.”

“If they fail, the whole endeavor (new ministry initiative, worship service, program, etc.) often just quietly disappears, without seeking to learn what changes might be made in the next round. Often, there is no next round. Churches tend to have unrealistic expectations of success. Innovators make clear that you have to try things out again and again, while making small modifications, to see what works. That is the value of small experiments.”

Intrigued by this idea of small experiments? Please join us this fall to discuss “The Agile Church” as it relates to our journey as a congregation.

And check out this short video about experimentation, “Learn from Failure,” that may relate to our efforts:

Choose one of two book discussion groups:

  • Sundays, Sept. 8, 15 and 22, at First Hour, 9:15 a.m.
  • Wednesdays, Sept. 11, 18 and 25, at 6:15 p.m.

We hope you’ll join us for the “adventure of God’s mission.” Sign up for one of the book discussions on the clipboard in the lobby, or sign up online.

Newcomer information series coming up

Are you new to Falcon Heights Church? Or are you a member who needs a refresher course on all things UCC? Here’s your chance to learn more about our church!

Join us from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sundays, Sept. 8, 15, 22 and 29, when Rev. Rick and others will lead a newcomer information series. The group will be a mix of folks new to FHC and those who’ve been coming for longer. Child care will be provided, and dinner is on us!

Sign up here or on the clipboard in the church lobby. Also, please let us know on the signup form if you need child care, and if you have any dietary needs that we should be aware of. We hope to see you soon!

Book discussion: “The Agile Church”

As we continue to explore what God is calling us to do at FHC, the Crossroads Team has planned two opportunities in September to discuss Dwight Zscheile’s book “The Agile Church.”

Zscheile writes:

We come to recognize leadership as less about managing people into the plans, programs, and visions leaders create, and more about accompanying people on the Way of Jesus as we help them reinterpret their lives and world in light of the gospel. In order to understand this movement more deeply, we must reenter the biblical narratives and trace how God meets people where they are and calls them into the adventure of God’s mission.

The two discussion series will be:

  • Sundays, Sept. 8, 15 and 22, after First Hour
    Wednesdays, Sept. 11, 18 and 25, at 6:15 p.m.

We hope you’ll join us for the “adventure of God’s mission.” Let us know if you need a copy of the book and look for the signup for the book discussions soon.

Vitality-building projects underway

In recent months, the Crossroads Team has been discussing ways to build on the vitality of our congregation. We’ve looked at reaching out to the community, meeting people where they are, and sharing our space with other organizations.

Here are some innovative examples of that process already in action:

  • Sarah Wright, Susie Risher, Nancy Duffrin and Rev. Rick canvassed the neighborhood prior to the Community Swap Meet June 15. They recruited 25 neighbors to attend, far exceeding their hopes (see “Top News: Healing the Earth builds community ties” elsewhere in the TAB).
  • Outdoor Painters of Minnesota now has its offices at Falcon Heights Church. The group exhibited members’ work at Art Night on June 12.
  • Crossroads team members will be reaching out to community leaders in July. We hope to learn from them and discuss possible collaborations between church and community.

–Larry Schumacher

Carillon rings again

The FHC carillon rings again! Thanks to a gift from the estate of Sue Reitan, the church’s carillon is restored and ringing again.

The original carillon, running with cassette tapes and belt-driven players, was a gift decades ago from Evylyn and Jerry Palmer. Parts were no longer available. The three loudspeakers on the roof were originally mounted on a wooden sawhorse that rotted out and collapsed. That caused one of the speakers to fill with water!

A new iPad-driven system has replaced the cassette tape unit. Now we have hundreds of new musical options. We removed the speakers earlier this month and Metro Sound & Lighting restored them to original specs. Simultaneously, Alex Olsen fabricated a custom steel hanger to mount the speakers that allows them to be aimed more broadly than before.

Currently the carillon rings at 8 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. As we move through the liturgical year, we’ll add music (e.g., a Fourth of July concert and a Christmas Eve ringing).

Pick-up soccer for kids

Kids of all ages are invited to play afternoon pick-up soccer Monday through Thursday this summer at Curtiss Field in Falcon Heights. Mike Bradbury of Falcon Heights Church will be running it from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Encourage your kids to come down to the park and play whenever they can. The City of Falcon Heights will soon be starting on construction of the new basketball court, so there will be two sports available.

And if sports are not your kids’ thing, there’s plenty of space to play other games or on the playground. The whole point is to get them out of the house and playing together as a community.

Summer fun and service

Get ready for a summer of fun and service for people of all ages. The ad hoc Growing Young team is planning three special events you won’t want to miss.

On Wednesday, June 26, join us for the Saint Paul Saints Toilet Paper Drive at CHS Field. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. The Saints will be collecting toilet paper donations beforehand for Second Harvest Heartland. Tickets are $14 for adults and $13 for seniors and children under 13. Please sign up HERE BY JUNE 9 if you’re interested, or on the clipboard in the Gathering Room.

Be sure to save these dates, too:

  • Saturday, July 13: “Newsies,” presented by the Rosetown Playhouse.
  • Sunday, Aug. 18: Community clean-up followed by all-church picnic.

FoodShare drive exceeds goals

Church donors’ generosity during our Minnesota FoodShare drive will feed hungry people with more than a ton and a half of food and $840 in cash, thanks to multiple matches.

Falcon Heights Church contributed nearly 750 pounds of food for the Department of Indian Work food shelf at Interfaith Action in St. Paul.

That was matched by an anonymous donor at FHC, who got so excited about our congregation’s efforts that they increased their match to 1,000 pounds.

The FoodShare organization is matching the donations again, for a grand total of 3,500 pounds of food–roughly the weight of a compact SUV.

Thanks to all who made this a successful campaign!

Food donations

New group aims to support immigrants

Want to help your immigrant neighbors? Want to find out how to increase our church members’ involvement in helping immigrant neighbors?

From 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, Falcon Heights Church is hosting the inaugural meeting of CAN, the Coalition to Accompany (Immigrant) Neighbors. We will be activating a group of concerned neighbors to provide support to immigrant families in our community facing issues today. Come and find out what it’s all about and how you can get involved!

Meeting agenda:

6:00 — Welcome and introduction to CAN

6:10 — Individual introductions: Name, where you live, what community of faith you are connected to

6:25  — CAN: immediate needs vs long-term goals

  • Immediate needs: equip a small group of people to provide support to immigrant neighbors as an extension of Ana’s ministry
  • Long-term goals: engage congregations in the IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory), have quarterly meetings for CAN group to gain support, insight, education, expand partnership by building relationships with other nonprofits, advocacy groups, and community organizations.
  • Tonight we are focusing on the immediate need of activating a group of concerned neighbors to provide support to immigrant families in our community facing issues today.

6:45 — Current situation and urgent needs: Describing the current situation and needs, explaining desired form of communication between her, families, and CAN members, ways that CAN members can accompany families.

7:20 — Accompaniment vs. “saving”

7:35 — Note on confidentiality and privacy

7:45 — Group inventory – interests, availability

8:00 — Closing prayer

What is God calling us to do now?

What is God calling us to do and be. . . TODAY?

Did you read the recent Star Tribune series of articles on organized religion? We watch and hear of declining attendance, financial struggles, and closing churches. And we know that profound societal shifts are demanding that churches change in response to them, or die. As a matter of faithfulness to God, we all must ask what God is calling us to do and be…TODAY.

To help us find our calling, the Minnesota Conference UCC has invited our congregation to be part of a new program called Crossroads. This program builds on the work of our Discovery Team and pastoral search process. As part of a consortium of other UCC Minnesota churches, Crossroads will help help us answer this vital question.

We will work with Vibrant Faith, a Christian research-based organization that provides training and coaching. Eight members of Falcon Heights Church have volunteered to undertake this exciting one-year journey.  We will be “looking inward” at who we are and also at how we can “turn outward.” We will consider what dreams we have for the future, and where we go from here.

Vibrant Faith will prepare participants in the Crossroads program to develop new forms of ministry and leadership. We need to respond to the changing ways people approach faith and religion in our society. We can expect coaching on ministry models, leadership skills and supportive learning communities.