Be in our kids’ play

Rehearsals are starting for our kids’ spring play, “My Name is Jesus. WHAAAT?” The show will be performed at Falcon Heights Church Sunday, April 28. Do you know a young person age 6 to 14 who would like to get involved? Everyone is welcome!

Margot Olsen wrote and directs the play. It tells the tale of a group of children who find a stranger sleeping in the sanctuary of their church who says he is Jesus. The children try to determine if it really is Jesus. If it is him, why is he back, and how can they help? The story will be told through music, and conversations, and interactions between Jesus and the kids.

Margot is a theatre and music teaching artist and member of Falcon Heights Church, UCC. She is an experienced magician at creating a fun theatre experience for kids of all ages and experience levels, bringing out the best in each one and telling a very creative story.

Rehearsals are from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Wednesdays, March 13, 20 and 27, and April, 3, 10, 17 and 24, with a possible dress rehearsal April 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Contact Margot at margot@olsenfamilycircus or 651-646-2983 and leave a message.

Mardi Gras party March 5

Come celebrate Mardi Gras with us Tuesday, March 5, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

  • Eat a rich dinner of pancakes, sausage, donuts and fruit before we head into the season of Lent.
  • We will have a craft project starting at 5:30 and dinner around 6.
  • After supper, join us for a pancake toss and limbo.
  • We will conclude the evening with a simple Ash Wednesday service appropriate for all ages.

Lenten activities on Wednesday evenings

Wednesday evening Lenten activities begin March 13. We’ll have soup suppers, rehearsals for our spring children’s play, and an adult faith formation series.

Lenten soup suppers

Everyone is welcome at our Lenten soup suppers at 5:30 p.m. A brief worship time follows just before 6 p.m.

Children’s play rehearsals

Children’s rehearsals during Lent are from 6 to 7:15 p.m. This year’s show, “I’m Back…”, will be performed during worship April 28. The play will be performed by kids 7 to 16. It tells the tale of a group of children who find a homeless man sleeping in the sanctuary of their church who says he is Jesus! The children try to determine if it really is Jesus. If so, why is he back, and how can they help?

Margot Olsen wrote and will direct the show. She is a local theatre/music teacher/artist and member of Falcon Heights Church, UCC. Rehearsals are March 13, 20 and 27, and April, 3, 10, 17 and 24. There’s a possible dress rehearsal April 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. For information or to sign up, contact Margot at margot@olsenfamilycircus.

Adult Lenten discussion group

Adults will meet from 6 to 7:15 p.m. during play practice to discuss Media Literacy. What does it mean for our kids and for us as adults? We’ll continue a discussion that began in First Hour adult faith formation around use of media by children. We’ll explore media literacy through a series of videos and discussions to give us the tools to decide how we and our kids should be interacting with media. Watch the first video before play practice begins and bring your questions to the discussion each Wednesday night after supper.

FoodShare drive begins

Falcon Heights Church will once again take part in Minnesota FoodShare. This is an annual campaign to collect food and raise funds for food shelves statewide.

Our church’s participation benefits the Department of Indian Work at Interfaith Action in St. Paul.

  • When: Sunday, Feb. 17, through Sunday, April 7.
  • Recipients: All food and money (more later on this) will go to the Department of Indian Work.
  • Where do I bring the food? Leave it in sturdy bags/boxes by the white buckets in the entry or in the shopping cart in the coat rack area.
  • What types of food? Non-perishable food in cans and packages. Same as what you want your family to eat: vegetables, especially varieties of beans, fruit, and the same types of foods with protein that the Outreach Team requests monthly. Don’t forget healthy foods that kids like to eat too.
  • Is there a maximum? Absolutely NOT! Nancy Duffrin and Chuck Gramith would LOVE to make multiple trips to the DIW (Department of Indian Work) with a minivan or pickup truck loaded down with food.

Job opening: 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.

Christmas greetings from national UCC leaders

Christmas greetings from the United Church of Christ! The national officers of the United Church of Christ share the blessings and love of this sacred season in a video card:

Appearing in the video are the UCC’s general minister and president, the Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer; Executive Minister the Rev. Traci Blackmon; and Executive Minister the Rev. Jim Moos.

Boundaries training for working with kids

The Minnesota Conference UCC will present a boundaries training workshop Saturday, Jan. 12. This training is for lay leaders and volunteers who work with children, youth and families. The workshop will be at Mayflower United Church of Christ, 106 E. Diamond Lake Road, Minneapolis. It will cover:

  • An introduction to boundaries, power, and vulnerability
  • Appropriate touch and healthy self-disclosure
  • Boundaries, the internet, and social media
  • Essential self-care
  • Best practices in safe child/safe church policies

Lori Alford, program director of Pilgrim Point Camp and Retreats, and the Rev. Kevin Brown, associate conference minister of faith formation for children and youth, will lead the training created by the Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune of FaithTrust Institute.

The registration fee of $25 covers materials, a continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Register by Jan. 4 at http://uccmn.org/calendar/healthy-boundaries-workshop-101

World AIDS Day remembrance

Remembering Uncle John on World AIDS Day

The following was written by seminary intern Claire Klein in memory of her uncle.

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. It has been a special day for my family as we take the day to remember my uncle, the Rev. Dr. John Klein. As some of you may know, my dad is a UCC minister, as was his dad before him. Although my dad followed in the “family business” after an attempt as a high school drama teacher, it was really my Uncle John—my dad’s triplet brother—that wanted to be a minister. As a child, Uncle John would arrange his siblings in rows in front of him and preach to them. I cannot attest to the quality of his sermons at the time, but I know that Uncle John felt certain about what he would be when he grew up.

My uncle graduated from Princeton Seminary at a time when the world was still understanding what it meant to be a gay man. He went on to earn a doctorate of ministry degree from Chicago Theological Seminary and then received a call from a small church in southern Wisconsin. He helped the United Church of Christ find their open and affirming footing.

All of these memories, however, are echoes of stories that I heard from my parents or from paging through photo albums or watching home movies. You see, my Uncle John contracted HIV, which developed into AIDS as he fought cancer. He died when I was 6 years old.

My parents tell me that when Uncle John was in the hospital, his congregation would call his hospital room from the sanctuary on Sunday morning and pass the phone around so everyone could check in with each other. I heard that my Uncle John was much more of a theater nerd than a football player. I was told that Uncle John played the French horn—like me. These memories are not my own, though. The disease of AIDS robbed me from making my own memories with Uncle John.

As I am concluding my seminary journey, I’ve often found myself trying to piece together Uncle John’s history with others around me. My ears perk up when a professor mentions a time or place that may have overlapped with him. I’m curious about how we might have bonded over Tillich or pastoral care approaches or UCC polity and history. The mustached smiling man from the home movies seems more like a missing member of my family than ever before.

On this World AIDS Day, may there be more memories made together – instead of families passing on stories in the past tense. I thank churches like Falcon Heights Church and others in the UCC who have continually supported and welcomed LGBTQIA people.

Blue Christmas service

Blue Christmas

Feeling blue during the holidays? You are not alone. Join us Dec. 21 in a Blue Christmas service at 7 p.m. in the contemplative space in our sanctuary.

For many people, the holiday season is a time of loneliness, sorrow, alienation, anxiety and chaos. On the evening of the Winter Solstice, Dec. 21, Falcon Heights Church will offer a space to claim those feelings and find hope in the compassionate love of God.

There will be candlelight, silence, music, readings and time to reflect.

Come and find comfort for your soul.

“Bethlehem Inn” Dec. 16

On Dec. 16, come be a guest at the Bethlehem Inn, run by Eli and his wife, Sarah. A cast of characters ages 4 to much, much older will retell the old Christmas story in  song and movement during 10:30 a.m. worship.

Accommodations in Bethlehem are hard to find due to the census, but Eli has managed to hire a rambunctious group of younger workers to assist in making your stay comfortable.

Oh, don’t mind the pounding on the door, the complaining about taxes, the strangers sleeping in the stable, a fiery star (or is it a dragon?) overhead, and a ragtag group of sheepherders with an alarming story to tell. Follow the Christmas Star right to the Bethlehem Inn and maybe you will find a room, but wait…come quietly. There’s a baby sleeping…hush!